Home > Choices, Goals, Reflection, Teaching > Plugging the holes

Plugging the holes

With my kids about to move on to 2nd grade I’m busy figuring out what holes need to be filled before they go.  My primary goal in this is admittedly self-centered: I don’t want to get a bad reputation among the 2nd grade team.  My fear is that I’ll have done such a bad job in something that all my kids will be markedly deficient, and when the 2nd grade team meets next year they’ll say something like “Nicole can’t write to save her life, do you think she needs to be referred for Special Education evaluation?  Oh, wait, she had Miss R. last year.  None of her kids can write. [Teachers nod and/or sigh in agreement.]”

To forestall this possible outcome I’m basically throwing out the curriculum for the last 5 weeks of school and focusing exclusively on the things I think my class is worst at.  This includes handwriting, writing, editing, and (for many of them) explaining their math problem-solving beyond “I thinked it in my head.”  Today we spent the morning hitting editing hard, then spent the afternoon writing math story problems and explaining how we figured out the answers.

I was pleasantly shocked by the quality of their story problems once I reminded them how to write them.  I was less impressed with their editing skills, but we’ll keep working on it.  And while they don’t know it yet, next week I’m starting spelling tests (I still need a good bribe for strong performance – suggestions welcome), with a focus on the high-frequency words I know they can read easily but they they misspell ALL THE TIME.

I’m heartened that they are all at or very, very close to the 1st grade reading benchmark, and if they don’t screw up the end-of-year math assessment with careless errors I might just finish the year looking like a decidedly non-sucky first-year teacher.  So if I can just deal with the few remaining glaring holes in my teaching, my first year might not have been a disaster for my students.

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