|Bunny Source and Everything Else Source|
And then I found this adorable rabbit clip art, and I remembered Emmy's story, and I decided that it was better to jump in and get going again. Maybe I should have found some parachuting clip art instead...
It's really not all that great of an analogy anyway, because I wasn't really "running away" from blogging. It's more like school was stealing or kidnapping my time. But that clip art collection would have been much scarier. And I'm actually rather scared of scary things. So I'm sticking with the rabbit.
This year has been... ummmm... complicated. I can think of lots of other adjectives, but "complicated" seems to sum up a range of feelings. And, just like I said during the summer, I am STILL blaming Common Core--because some of the "complicatedness" falls on their shoulders (whoever "they" may really be!). Reconciling "rigor" with "reality" is not always easy.
I'm not giving up on either of those, but a peek into a part of our day may give you an idea of the paradox.
At this point, we are about five chapters behind in math. But only if you look at the "old" textbook. In the "new version" of math, the scenario is probably much worse. However, since we don't have any new materials and we have had very little training in how to implement Common Core math, I decided that the pacing guide would have to wait. You know why? Because most of my students do not have a solid understanding of fractions. In my little brain, I believe that fractions should be taught before decimals. (It's that wholes-and-parts thing, you know?) So we are doing things out of order, out of the pacing guide, and at this point, out of the curriculum.
What led me to this decision? Some very interesting assessment data. Here are two examples... (I tried to re-create them on the computer to protect the innocent...)
Draw and color 1/6 of the circle...
Which is greater 1/3 or 3/4. Explain your answer, using a picture to support your reasoning...
One third is biger than three fourths cause its in the picher.
It's obvious that we have a lot of work ahead of us. But these kids are in a difficult situation. Some have had up to seven substitutes in the past two years. And some have just gotten lost along the way. It's not their fault. And I don't have all (or many) of the answers. But time is precious. And now that I know where we truly stand, we are moving forward.
And I'm not really blaming Common Core--or giving up on it either. I'm just slowing down and focusing on kids AND standards--not just on standards.
I do have eight kids (out of 32) who have LOTS of skills. It is an added challenge to keep them interested and moving forward, but it is fun and I just consider it an odd version of a "combination grade." There are also some kids in our classroom with different struggles and challenges. This group is coming together in being patient and supporting each other when necessary. Further, my students have shown an enormous interest in our friends in the room across the sidewalk... all of whom have disabilities such as autism. My heart is warmed daily as they find creative ways to interact during recess or to be helpful when the teacher needs assistance or to be quick-footed when one of the students has temporarily left the area.
Sigh. For all of the challenges that face us, those successes are far more important in the bigger picture!
So, that's where I've been. I don't know why that first step back was such a big one. (Maybe it's because I have such big feet?!)
|Tennis shoes from HERE|
I do adore being a part of the BlogLand community and I am thankful to be able to learn from such a dynamic group of teachers (and a wonderful counselor-friend too!).
So... I will try to do a better job of blogging, and visiting blogs, and leaving a comment here and there. And I hope that you know that my heart was always here--even when my keyboard wasn't.