“How’d I Do?”

That is the question I kept hearing over and over last Friday with it being report card day. It seems like that wouldn’t be a question anymore with my students since my grades are posted weekly on Headmaster, but it is.
So I started thinking, how have I done over the last nine weeks? If I got a report card what grades would I receive?
The first nine weeks ended with a bang. Student led conferences went so well and I was on a “teaching high”! Then came Thanksgiving break, Winter break, and the inevitable January blues. Before I knew it the nine weeks was over and I felt that I hadn’t accomplished as much as I did the first semester.
So I have been doing some soul searching to see what I have accomplished.
The question that always goes through my mind is am I giving my students “real” learning experiences? I hope the answer is yes. In math we have been working on a unit dealing with fractions. I have tried to ALWAYS tell my math students WHY I am teaching the skill to them. We talked about candy bars and pizza. We talked about paint cans and juice cartons and the list goes on and on. I really don’t know if any of them will ever have to figure out the exact fractional amount of a can of paint that they have used on a given day, but you never know. The good thing is, the Fourth and Fifth graders can add and subtract fractions like crazy AND they understand what a fraction actually represents. This is the best thing about Singapore Math…it helps the student to understand what things are and why we do certain math operations the way we do.
The best “real world” experience that we did this nine weeks was the “Class Store”. This is where the students can cash in their money that they earned for good behavior, doing homework, etc. We have a cashier and a secretary that keeps track of the student’s spending while they are shopping. It is a wonderful, exciting, happy, and authentic learning experience for the kids. They learn the value of a dollar and how to budget and save for something they want to buy. (Test passes are always in demand, but are the most expensive item!)
So how have I done this nine weeks? I haven’t been as productive or creative as the first nine weeks, so I guess I will say “satisfactory”. So now I need to get going again by reading more blogs to get new and innovative ideas and bring my grade up to a “good” for the third nine weeks. Wish me luck!
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Teacher-Twenty-One

February 2013
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