By the Numbers

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
May 14 2009

Day 150/151/152: “If we’d make posters all of the time, I’d be passing.”

A majority of ninth period is failing right now. Like 17 out of 24 majority. Monday we made posters about our First Amendment rights that were basically writing down your freedom and coming up with a visual representation of it. One of the comments was, “If we’d make posters all of the time, I’d be passing.” I don’t really like the overly simple assignments for my juniors in high school because it’s not preparing them for anything. We do a lot of reading and critical thinking about those readings. That is a legitimately marketable skill, however, when we hit difficult things in ninth period, a majority of students are just not doing it right now, which makes for those failures.

We’ve given standardized tests for the past two days for four hours of the day. They’re untimed and have no bearing on the students’ grades. You can imagine how little the students and even the faculty cared about these tests. On the whole, the end result was losing an hour of instructional time with each class as we head toward the end of the year. Not something we could really afford.

The softball team, without our starting pitcher, overcame adversity for the first time all year on Monday night. We were down 11-5 in the fourth, but managed to stage a comeback and win 18-15. The girls were very excited, except for our stoic “fourth” pitcher who threw the last four innings even though she hadn’t pitched in a game before.

One Response

  1. wearepennstate

    Just a little suggestion- choice board! When learning about a topic and summing it up (like you were doing with the poster) give students a choice about how they will complete the work. For example, you could tell them they could do a poster, OR a critical thinking activity, OR a one page paper, OR write a poem/song. If you try this, you’ll be surprised at how many students choose the hardest activity. This allows students to work at their own level at something they enjoy.

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Teaching Math on the West Side of Chicago

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