Sorry it’s been so long. Along with all of the school issues, I’ve lost my father and a brother since Christmas and it’s just been crazy around here. I’ve got some things to post, just need to find the time……….
Universal breakfast* for the first 20 minutes of the instructional day. 25 minutes later we had to be in the MP room for an awards assembly, by the time it was over it was a half an hour until lunch time. Forty minutes after lunch we had Music and then we rounded out the end of the day by counting and gluing 100 Cheerios onto a hundreds chart followed by their class reward ice cream party.
It’s hard for kindergarten kids to sit on the floor for close to an hour while other kids are getting awards and they aren’t. I probably had 10 kids decide they had to go to the bathroom during the assembly. Then there’s the ones bothering the rest of the kids. I had to move three of them to sit next to me. One of those thought he was in trouble and had a meltdown. Loudly. Two kids had 101 fevers shortly after lunch and went home.
Oh, and I re-arranged the room and seating assignments Thursday night after school, so THAT created a lot of chaos. They don’t take to change well.
*Universal breakfast- free breakfast for all children, every day. We are a Title One school and someone thought this would be a good idea. Usually the breakfast consists of 4 items, BUT they have to take all or nothing. Last year kindergarten was allowed to eat theirs in the Lunch room. This year we have to take it to the classroom like everyone else. The carpet in my room is ruined. There is some kind of spill EVERY DAY. And the breakfasts are boring. The same things over and over again. Nutritious breakfast bars that taste like sawdust, raisins, canned fruit, apples (at least they finally started giving them pre-cut apple slices), cereal with little or no sugar (because they are all about HEALTHY) cinnamon rolls, hummm, that about it, oh, yeah, string cheese, but I haven’t seen any of them for awhile)
So one of the problems with testing kindergarten kids is that so MUCH of it has to be done one-on-one. Which leads to the problem of what to do with the rest of them. The admin kind of frowns on a lot of videos….. so you usually have to come up with some kind work that they can do at their seats….. by themselves. They can rotate through the computers, and they can silent read-to-self, but they can’t do either for very long and you can’t have all of them doing it at once.
So one of the other teachers had a four page project that looked fun and involved a lot of cutting and gluing that I decided to try. It was a giraffe, with the head on one page, and pieces of the neck on each of the other three pages. The alphabet went down one side of the neck in upper case letters and they then cut out spots for the giraffes neck with the corresponding lower case letters on them to glue on. Really kind of cute.
Oh my heck.
Even after demonstrating and posting examples……… if they could find a way to mess it up, they did it that way, each child in a new and original way. It SHOULD have used 120 pieces of paper. I finally cut them off when we got close to a ream of paper………
I couldn’t stand it. So naturally I had to supervise……..
Which meant that I got NO testing done. Which sort of defeated THAT idea.
You’d think that I would have learned by now, if it looks like a good idea, look again.
And wear your glasses.
The testing window opened today for our Common Core Exams. The test is much more time consuming this year than last. They allocated some money for us to help with the testing, We could use it for subs while we test or we could be paid for testing outside of our contracted school day. As a grade level, we opted for working after school to test. So this week we are each staying after school for an hour and a half and testing kids. I have 5 kids each night. I’m testing one on one and the others can play on the computers, or the Smartboard while I’m testing. We won’t get all of the testing done after school, but I think it is really going to cut down on the class time that has to be taken away from instruction time.
So far, I’m really impressed with the growth my students have made from just the beginning of the year.
I wasn’t thrilled to get him. I’m at 30 kids now and 17 of them are boys. Boys are just so much more ACTIVE than the girls. This one came from the school down the street, and the grade level chair there used to be a kinder teacher at my school. So I sent her a text. I guess they had a lot of problems with this boy. Stealing, lying, hitting…… He’s doing the same in my room. The other children are constantly complaining about him hitting, touching, messing with them. Today I moved him to a desk by himself. He chopped his phonics paper into confetti, ate his glue stick and drew a picture of Sponge Bob on the wall in the boy’s bathroom.
Mom says he never had ANY problems at his other school.
Why do they do that? I KNOW he had problems there, I talked to his former teacher.
I enjoyed my job.
I wrote this blog because I liked telling about my job.
Once upon a time……..
I’m not alone.
I follow 33 teacher blogs, many of them kindergarten
15 of them show no activity in the last 6 months
7 had 2 or less entries
At least a third of them are behavior problems. Some of that is acerbated by there being 29 children and one adult in the room. With a smaller class size some of them might behave better due to receiving more individual attention and help. I have two kids from Special Ed Pre-K who are still special ed. in that they can not seem to get anything done without LOTS of individual attention. I have two that get pulled for Speech. I have one who I think is undiagnosed but could be in the Autism spectrum and another who started 4 weeks late, has a late August birthday and knows NOTHING. He’s ruined two glue sticks in two days by twisting the glue all the way out and then mashing it. Probably 60 % of my class is considered as non-English speaking, or very limited.
They have revamped the Common Core assessments that we do (AGAIN) and they are much more difficult to administer. They have changed our electronic grade book again (for the third year in a row). We had a meeting on Tuesday, and grade levels were discussing some of the assessments we were supposed to be doing, (new ones, with no training). We used to have a 50 minute “intervention” time in the morning when we did Tier 2 interventions for those children who needed extra help to make progress. This year they changed the intervention time to “whole group focus skill time”. Alternating weeks between Language Arts and Math. We are supposed to use the gradual release model of teaching. I do, We do, You do together, and You do by yourself. Then on Friday we are supposed to administer a 5 item quiz on the focus skill. On the following Tuesday, we turn in our compiled results. It’s just truly amazing. On Tuesday we were trying to figure out just what that would LOOK LIKE IN KINDERGARTEN and were a little frustrated. Near the end, our instructional leader mentioned to the whole staff that we (kindergarten, without actually naming us) were complaining too much and weren’t being productive. And it’s CLEAR that they have NO concept of what the issues that we are facing really are.
Here’s a sample of what the Common Core Math exam has on it for Kindergarten, (items changed slightly)
Make a group of ten ones (students do this on their own) Now using that set of 10, compose a group of ten ones and some more to make 16. Draw a picture or write an equation to match your work.
Using a set of 10, you cannot make 16. Yet that’s the way I read it………
Make a set of 14. Now decompose that group of 14 by making a group of 10 ones and some more. Draw a picture or write an equation to match your work.
I know they use the words compose and decompose in the CCSS (Common Core State Standards) but they are stupid terms, they aren’t in any of our math materials (I’m sure they will be in the NEW math materials that reflect the CC, but they are dumb terms. I could just see going into the grocery store and asking a checker or even a bank teller to “decompose” a $20 bill into smaller bills……. I’m calling it Zombie Math.
One of my friends over at Kindergaten Today wrote a nice post today……..
The district had “count day” last Friday and our Principal received the adjusted school staffing numbers based on actual enrollment (instead of the previous projected enrollment) and we lost two teachers at our school. This caused a variety of adjustments throughout the school and ultimately resulted in them cutting one kindergarten class and adding one first grade. So we met as a grade level and divided the one teacher’s class up into the other three remaining classes and starting next Wednesday, I will have 28 students in my class instead of the current 21. I KNEW it was too good to last. At least I’ll have a few days to get the room and class ready for them. The kindergarten teacher who lost her class will be moving up to first which she has taught before.
Funny one the other day, I was testing the kids on what letters they knew, and I asked one kid what the letter was. He said, “B”. I asked, and what sounds do B’s make?” He said, “Buzzzzzzzzz…….”
Gotta love them.
Well, we are entering our third week and we each only have 21 students (normally we have around 30). Of course THAT was too good to be true so the principal informed the kinder teachers today that she needed to move one of us to Second and split those kids up between the other three teachers. I guess Wednesday when we have a common preparation time, she wants to meet and discuss it……
Oh, joy. Nobody wants to move. We have each spent literally hundreds of dollars of our own money on our classes this year and now she wants one of us to basically throw all of that away and start over on a different grade level. In a different, smaller room, with more kids.
Like I said, “Oh, joy.”
So here is the breakdown of how the District explains my problem with the scoring in the math portion of our Common Core Exam.
Emergent Approaches Meets
.00-120.49 120.50-161.49 161.50-169.00
Those are points possible on the test and how they broke them down.
Counting to 100 has a point value of – 101 (since we start at zero)
Skip counting to 100 from 0 equals - 11 points
Writing numbers from 0-21 equals - 21 points
Counting objects – 10 points
Comparing numbers - 5 points
Addition and subtraction - 5 points (listen to a number story, and correctly write a number sentence and do the math)
Recognise and name 2 and 3 D objects in the environment. -8 points
Use correct terms to describe objects location - 8 points
Clearly someone with a math background did not decide how to score this test. Do they REALLY want to disproportionately value rote counting that much over the other standards? Counting by ones to 100 and skip counting by 10′s to 100 is 122 of the points or 72% of all possible points. Two of the eight standards assessed account for 72% of the score. That’s not right. Next year I should allocate 72% of my math time to those two standards.
The girl in my previous post scored a total of 119 points because of only counting to 49. She would still have had to count to 92 to meet the standard. In my experience, if they can count to 92, they can count to 100.
And they scored it differently for ELA . There were 15 standards evaluated in ELA. If a student got maximum points on all standards except words, and they met the standard with words at 50 words they would earn 179 points. If they miss 7.51 points out of 179 points, they drop from Meeting the Standard to Approaches the Standard. That is such a narrow margin.
- Beginning of year
- Classroom Management
- Common Core State Standards
- End of year
- enVision Math
- Goofy things kids say or do
- It's getting OLD
- Language Arts
- mClass Math/Dibels
- NCLB- No Child Left Behind
- Parent conferences
- Reading First
- REALLY stupid
- Student safety
- the daily 5
- Things I hate
- Things I love
- Title One
- Voyager Learning