Saturday, September 19, 2009

I Couldn't Be More Excited

Sometimes you have to be careful what you wish for. I asked to be the 5th grade math teacher four and a half weeks ago and our principal said that we couldn't do that because we "compact" math and we aren't allowed to group our kids in all subjects according to ability. Therefore, I was stuck teaching all Language Arts to the entire 5th grade in 45 minute segments.

Our county recently adopted a new Language Arts program and you should see this mother. It says that it needs at least 2 hours per day for it to work. At least.

Hello? I wasn't getting enough time to look those kids in the eye, let alone teach them how to read. (and kids who can't read in the 5th grade perplex me - discuss) I was barely getting in spelling and grammar and some shared reading. And I was ready to quit. It took me three weeks to get in subjects, predicates, fragments and kinds of sentences. And people failed the test.

So, yesterday, our team went to the principal armed with a new schedule for every 5th grader that maintained the integrity of the compacted math classes, and didn't ability group them anywhere else, an email from the teacher of the year at a nearby school who is responsible for teaching all the math (and showed a 13% rate of growth last year) and an agreement from our teammates to each take a section of this hellacious Language Arts program while I take on all the math. After we got the special ed teacher on board, the principal agreed.

So, now, I am responsible for all the math. Go ahead and joke. Who couldn't teach 5th grade math? Some of you need to take a look at the standards. You have to be able to illustrate decimal multiplication and division. You have to be able to do pi. Add and subtract fractions. Volume - three dimensional stuff - that some kids don't always wrap their minds around. And one of the classes I'm taking over is about two weeks behind the others. Because they are the low class. Well, that ends Monday. They are hopping aboard the Teachergirl Express. When I told my homeroom on Friday afternoon what was going to happen on Monday, I heard one of them say, "You'd better hold on. She doesn't play." Thankyouverymuch. I couldn't have asked for a more ringing endorsement.

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Blogger Brittany said...

45 minutes for language arts?! That is crazy! I have an hour and I still can't fit everything in. Hopefully the math works for you all. I really want to group our kids by ability, but some of the teachers are not quite in to that yet. Maybe next year! It's supposed to really help their scores, like you said. Best of luck and keep us updated! I can also agree that 5th math is not the easiest. I taught 4th grade math last year and had to look a few things up!:) You forget the little things throughout the years.

9/19/2009 9:23 AM  
Blogger Lennye said...

Hey, noticed your blog over at Clemsongirl's blog. I teach 5th grade ELA in Georgia, and I see 125 fifth graders per day. I'm exhausted! We adopted Scotts Foresman/Pearson and it is killing us! My home room is an EIP class with 14 students reading on a low third grade level or below. We've yet to pass a reading test! I feel your pain.

9/20/2009 4:36 PM  
Blogger John Deere Mom said...

I love this! We are departmentalizing more this year too. I am doing language arts for my homeroom...but hello! 45 minutes? WTF? It takes some of my kids 45 minutes to find their damn pencils!
The rest of the day I am teaching science. It's heavenly...until I have to grade 90 labs. That's not so great.

9/23/2009 7:23 PM  

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