I have hit the end of year panic, but what makes this year scarier is that since we adopted our new textbooks and haven't "covered" every chapter yet, I feel very very scared. However, I do feel like I have deeply and thoroughly taught all of the "new" content that my students need. I only have some geometry and probability to go through and my kids have all been taught this in previous years. I am tackling this by continuing with the pacing guide of my textbook and supplementing with our NJAsk Coach workbook. I think its working pretty well, I've told the kids that they should be annotating the text (Yay! Adding some ELA skills in there!) So we can really pinpoint what needs to be reviewed/covered before the big day.
What worries me the most is that we had our 4th benchmark testing of the year and my kids tanked. I mean so bad that I spent about three days looking for mistakes in my grading spreadsheet, answer key, etc. When I asked them about it I got two types of responses, "Mrs. Nehila, I looked at the test and it was stuff you taught in the beginning of the year! I can't remember that!" or "I was just so tired, I gave up!" Neither response was encouraging. However to the first one, I've been trying to instill the message that if you forgot it, you never learned it the first place. Frustrated is an understatement. Again, I feel like what the heck have I been doing all year? I might as well have been staying home eating bon-bons with these types of results. Its just sickening!
Next up is Common Core. While I don't know how it is for the younger grades or for ELA and it very well may be bad, I don't have a problem with the 7th/8th math standards. I think they are laid out pretty well, and I really like how my textbook progress through them. Now onto my rant which actually turned into a cool conversation with the president of our PAC! She posted this:
So after reading all of the horrible hate comments, I decided to add to the commentary:
She liked that response and then asked some other good questions about how parents can help their students with homework and stuff. I told her to show them the way YOU know how to solve the problem. I told her one of the best things about common core is that it encourage students to think about problems and show their work in many ways. As long as they understand that is the goal!
The conversation ended with us discussing a "learning about common core" session at a PAC meeting! Yes!!
Finally, the next exciting thing I want to write about is that I am going to be a part of a presentation at the NJ Charter School convention in Atlantic City on Monday!! Our school raised our math scores last year, so we are talking about some of the things we've done. I will report back after our session on how it goes. I am excited and not the least bit nervous. Should I be?