Thursday, August 31, 2006

you still have a detention if you cry

Today I made my third kid cry. I really feel awful when they cry. I mean in the moment of the offense I kind of want to shake them really really hard, but when they're in my room later and I pull out my cell phone to call home or I'm lecturing them and the tears start coming, I feel like a jerk. Not enough of a jerk to stop what I'm doing, but still, it's not a great feeling. Isabel is a very bright and outgoing girl (by outgoing I mean she never shuts up). She was already devastated that I gave her a detention for not turning in her homework the day before, but then in my class she ended up on a tile (two feet, one tile is my new policy if you talk when you are supposed to be working) two times and she had her shirt untucked more times than I can count. I've got enough problems in my day trying to get my boot camp boy to leave all of the girls in my class alone and simply do his work without majorly distracting my class, I am not going to chase Isabel around for the rest of the year telling her to tuck in her shirt. After Isabel wrote her detention essay, I pulled out my cell phone and asked for the number. Then the begging started. When I started dialing the crying started. It was the second call home that day. What is with these kids, when it rains it pours.

The past couple of days have been going pretty well. They're doing the work (everyone turned in HW except Isabel) and generally participating. Today they cut my third hour from 26 to 18, which kind of makes me feel like I owe someone somewhere the most amazing Christmas gift ever. Eighteen students is an unbelievable number. I feel guilty having a class that small (not guilty enough to take some back mind you).

PASS is finally up so I've gotten a peek at some of my kids past work. I've got some kids in Pre-AP who are reading below a 5th grade level. This is just another illustration of how at McReynolds pre-AP simply means "the good kids." I'm not sure how I'm going to "add rigor" to my Pre-AP curriculum when I've got kids who don't even read at a middle school level. I'm still trying to figure out how one of my kids went from reading at a 5.3 level in 2005 to a 4.8 level in 2006. How exactly do you lose your ability to read? Anyone? We also got our diagnostic scores back (in pretty much the most amazing format ever) and my kids are about where I expected. I had a few who really surprised me, but for the most part we've got a lot of work to do. In my pre-AP class, about 53 percent meet the passing standard on the 7th grade test. In my other two classes, we're at about 15 percent. Some kids were just a few questions off. And some... well... I had one girl who got 6 questions on a 48 question test right. I'm thinking we're going to start a little bit before reading strategy with her.

I don't want to be overly ambitious in saying this, but I'm thinking that maybe tomorrow might be a better Friday than last Friday. The munchkins are somewhat under control and I have a three day weekend and a trip to the beach to look forward to. Our first quiz is tomorrow... if they know what's good for them, they're all studying right now.

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