So, my lack of blogging might be one indication that I am having a challenging year. After 15 years of being a teacher of an “elective,” my course is now required for high school graduation. I know everyone feels super sorry for me!
But really, wow, what a change this is for me! I am daily wrapping my brain around IEPs and 504 plans and lack of motivation and court-ordered attendance and general surliness. Sure, I’ve had some of “those kids” before, but this year there are a whole bunch of them! Ay, ay,ay!
One thing that has been blowing my mind is how little stamina some kids have. How little adversity they are willing to endure. Grades don’t matter to many of them, so I can’t use that old carrot anymore. I have to find ways to get these kids to just TRY!
I have discovered that if I ask them to read anything longer than a sentence or write anything down, they shut down and say “I can’t.”
Well, I came up with an idea to trick them a bit into using some reading strategies. The results weren’t perfect, but they were so much better!
What I wanted them to read were some brief descriptions of scenes from the novel we read in class. But I knew from my prior failures that I’d get a bunch of guessing or blank papers (I’d also get lots of 100% tests but those kids will be my concern another time…).
So, I forced them to break the task down into smaller chunks by drawing pictures first, then answering the questions about the passages.
Are some of you saying “Yeah, Placido, DUH!”? Well, that is fine, but for me this was a big ah-ha moment!