Sunday, October 08, 2006

Make-Up Work

DATE: 10.8.06
TO: Elementary School Teachers
RE: Something you could do

As we know, teaching kids to read and write who are not fluent in English, not grouped appropriately, not receiving adequate interventions (especially in the 4th and 5th grades), and are square-pegged/round-holed into an inadequate curriculum is difficult. I get it. You're struggling and it's rough going. The seas are choppy and the lighthouse is going unmanned.

Here's the thing: Could you at least ensure that kids can print both capital and lowercase letters correctly? They don't necessarily need to know when each is appropriate -- I'll handle that -- but if you could make sure that when asked to produce a lowercase b, g, j, p, q, r or y for example, they are capable of this grueling academic task.

That'd be swell. Thanks.


Blogger Ms. H said...

Seriously. I hear you. I really don't know how to teach printing skills to my seventh graders.

9:34 PM  
Blogger Polski3 said...

Ha ! As a junior high teacher, I might add, Teach these little twits to WRITE THEIR NAME ON THEIR PAPERS. And, past third grade, don't let them write in half inch high letters!

Speaking of kids learning English, as part of my recent lesson on the Fall of Rome, we had a short lesson on the Germans. I assigned my kids to do a 6+6 activity about the Germans (six pictures with six facts about the picture). As one wrote: "The liked to drink bear." Will this kid ever pass the CAHSEE?

5:08 PM  
Blogger Mrs. B said...

Ms. H,
Try to make an accessible and non-condescending lesson about writing (printing or handwriting) for twelfth graders. There is no way to avoid sighs and comments of,” We got this far writing like this, why should we change now?"

5:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Teaching Geometry to 10th graders, I'd appreciate that elementary teachers work on development of the fine motor skills required to rotate a protractor in place and to align a ruler with a line. Actually using the ruler for measurement would be good too. Understanding the difference between area and perimeter may wait til high school, perhaps.

Forget about the shortage of qualified math teachers. We need more and better teaching on handling shapes in the early years. Excellent Head Start programs for everyone!


6:04 PM  
Anonymous shipmate said...

With all due respect, you don't seem to "get it." They are not "little twits" because they do not "WRITE THEIR NAME (sic) ON THEIR PAPERS." Their elementary teachers, at the bare minimum, showed lack of vision for the importance of placing their full names on their work. I, too, share the same frustration, but holding students to a standard to which no one held them before is simply poor education. The solution: we teach them - without sarcasm and without demeaning commentary about how they should have already learned this - to write their full names on each piece of their work. We hold them to that standard, and we kindly remind them to maintain that standard throughout the year. If we do not hold them to the standard, nobody else will.

We can lament their lack of skill, but we cannot disparage them for the shortcomings of those who did not teach them. In the end, the potential for their "twitwood" lies solely with us, their teachers.

11:53 AM  
Blogger TMAO said...

Thanks for writing that Shipmate.

9:16 PM  

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