A Modern Bildungsroman

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Mar 12 2012

A Monumental Day

Today was a wonderful day, and here’s why:

  1. My homeroom didn’t have to take a standardized tests today, but the other grade across the hall still had to test.  This meant my students would have to be quiet for 1.5 hours, when back in the beginning of the year, they could barely be quiet for 1.5 minutes.  Nevertheless, my students remained quiet for the entire 1.5 hours and many even completed make-up work, allowing me plenty of time to enter recent grades (something I’d been putting off) and, more importantly, not be worried about disrupting the class that was testing.  I’m bringing them all donuts tomorrow.
  2. The university student who is shadowing me came in right after the testing block with a coffee for me.  French Vanilla with milk and sugar.  My absolute favorite, and a more-than-welcome present in the morning.
  3. That same university student also helped me grade three sets of Exit Slips. I know how important Exit Slips are, but grading them each day is definitely time-consuming, and I was glad to have the help!
  4. My classes got all of their tasks done, with very little resistance!  Of course, there were still a couple students who didn’t complete their class work, but about 95% of students got done everything they needed to get done with no complaints.  And they earned free time, which many of them chose to work on English homework during.
  5. I’ve been adapting the Cornell notes format to help students develop their summarizing and responding to text skills.  We chart the main events of our current book (the mystery Wanted!) on the right side, and then they independently write a question or comment for each main event (they must have an equal–or nearly equal–number of questions and comments).  Their questions are getting more specific, their comments are getting more personal, and I love being able to clearly see how they’re reacting to what they read. Their ideas are organized this way, plus they write a final summary at the bottom.  As much as students used to whine about Cornell notes (I had a very unflattering picture drawn of me in the beginning of the year–I had fangs and was saying, “Students, set up your Cornell Notes!”) they seem to be learning from this format.

So there it is.  When I’ve had times where every day of school feels like a struggle and I go home questioning myself, I have a day like today to hold onto.  I truly enjoyed teaching today, and I saw my students really developing the skills they’ve been learning.

One Response

  1. Sieng

    Bravo!

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Grade
Middle School
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English

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