An Elementary School Teacher in the Show Me State

I flinched
April 4, 2008, 2:38 am
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D.C. was back to his old tricks again, but I had adult witnesses this time. He was upset because he lost his recess due to poor behavior in the cafeteria. During independent reading he scribbled in a book from my classroom library so I took the book away from him. At that point he stood up and got really angry. I walked away and let him have a moment to himself. Unfortunately his peers were not so kind. They began to stare at him and snicker which just fueled the fire. He began shouting and threatening them; he walked toward them to raise his fist in the air. I told him to step away from them, but then he turned against me. He raised his fist toward my face and held it there. We had a stare down for about a minute while I braced myself for the impact of his fist on my face. When he finally moved his fist toward my face, I flinched and he laughed at me.

At this point another teacher walked into the room to try and defuse the situation. D.C. began yelling that he would call the police on me when I asked him what the police would do to me he reconsidered and decided that he would instead call the Army on me.

The other teacher did nothing to stop D.C. so we decided to call the assistant princial. When she arrived, D.C tried to punch her, too. She told him, “You can hit me, but just know that you’ll get hit right back.” He didn’t hit her.

I ran into D.C.’s mom in the hallway later on and she said that she didn’t know why he was behaving like this.

Mahatma Ghandi
April 4, 2008, 2:37 am
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After reading a story to my students about Cesar Chavez, I asked my students if they could think of anybody else that believes in non-violent protest to things that are unfair. I expected them to resond with Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks. One of my 9 year old students raised her hand. I called on her and she replied, “Mahatma Ghandi believed in non-violent protest.”

I burst out laughing and she began to stumble over her words. I said “Don’t correct yourself, you are absolutely right! I just wasn’t expecting anybody to say Mahatma Ghandi!”

April 2, 2008, 2:37 am
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I finally have the scores for my reading class’ March benchmark test: 85% class average. Granted, I do have the highest reading group in 3rd grade, but that is a 19% increase from last month’s scores. Pretty impressive!

March 28, 2008, 2:36 am
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Today I showed my reading group some samples of actual 3rd graders’ answers on the writing portion of the MAP test. When I showed them an example of a 4, their jaws dropped and they were silent. With only 6 days left until the big test day, they were concerned that their writing ability would not stack up. When I showed them a 3, they became excited and happy. They could certainly write better than the example of the 3. When I showed them a 2 and a 1, they were incredulous. Everybody was confident that there was no way their writing would score a 2 or lower, their writing is much better than that. When I showed them some more samples, keeping the official score a secret, the vast majority of the class was able to score it spot on, with the exact same criticism and praise as the offical graders.

Then I handed back the practice MAP tests and allowed them an opportunity to improve their own writing using their new writing. No sooner did they open the book that the hands shot up in the air. “Ms. D! Is this good?” After the 10th person did this I grabbed everybody’s attention. “You guys KNOW this stuff. I just put up some examples of other work and you all told me EXACTLY the same comments as the scorers! You know what we are looking for, you are too smart to be second guessing yourself. Please don’t get flustered now.” Then J.M., the person who hates editing and revising the most out of all my students shouted out, “You’re right! I can’t WAIT until the MAP test now!” I read his writing and it is probably the best I have ever seen him do:

One day me and my mom had a bizzy day planned. Since she’s in a wheelchair she can’t always reach stuff. We went to a store called Walgreens and she had to get some washing powder so she can’t get it. I was a jentolman and I got it for her. Then there was a thanks coming from her mouth. Then she dropped her phone when it was ringing and I hastedly ran to the phone on the floor and I got it before it stopped ringing. That is how I helped my mother when she needs help.

Math Centers
March 26, 2008, 2:36 am
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I attempted math centers for the first time with my class today. It didn’t go too terribly. I mean, there was no blood, so that’s positive, isn’t it? I had a money center, a dice center, a clock center, a cards center, a geometry center and a game center.

I also got my talking globe in the mail and it is much cooler than I thought it would be.

March 25, 2008, 2:35 am
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Tomorrow I get student number 27 in my class. 25 was the perfect number, 26 was too many, so I have no idea how I will manage with 27.

A parent demanded that her daughter be pulled out of her current class and enter mine. That makes the 2nd time this year that has happened for me. I am flattered by the compliment that she specifically requested me, but I’m wary that she’s been having so many problems in her current class. Her current teacher is relieved that she’ll be in my class. I wish I could trade. I can think of about 5 students who I would love to trade… This continues to throw off the gender balance with 11 boys and 16 girls.

11 days until the MAP test
March 23, 2008, 2:34 am
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Tomorrow I go back to school after 9 days of spring break. Will the students remember anything? I feel like I’ve been on break for half a lifetime. This will also mark 11 instructional days until the MAP test. I graded their practice tests this weekend and lordy lordy are we in horrible shape. I know they CAN do this, but I hope they just put their focus on this test and DO IT.