Discussion in 'General Education' started by Ms.Holyoke, Sep 23, 2018.
Sep 24, 2018
No, I have never heard of it.
Oct 1, 2018
Is it normal to feel like you are always behind in the curriculum? I am FINALLY finishing my unit on decimals on Thursday which took a month even though it was supposed to take 12 days. I lost 2 days to behavior in one of my classes. I now have only 9 days to teach fraction division with models, word problems, etc. which is crazy!! My mentor is in the same place as me and I'm hoping I can speed up my pace (I lost a few days to not planning too well/not knowing where the kids are coming from) and to behavior which I do not want to allow to happen again.
A month vs. 12 days is rather significant and unusual (and the losing two days to behavior is worrisome). That said, a good teacher will be flexible and adjust to his/her students' needs, which often requires slowing down or speeding up with the pacing. Taking a day or two extra here and there if needed is fine.
Last week, we did lose one day to behavior (it was a 1/2 day and the kids could not focus on the lesson) and we lost a day (or maybe 1/2 a day) to behavior on Friday in one class (tried to do stations and failed unfortunately). This is mainly for the class I have been posting about and it is frustrating.
My mentor is also on target with my pacing. I definitely spent way too long on multiplying decimals because I had no idea so many kids wouldn't even know the standard algorithm! So I had to backtrack which wasted time. I am thinking that the pacing guide did not account for the fact that most kids are coming in not even knowing the standard algorithm. So we had to do a day on comparing strategies, several days just teaching the standard algorithm, expressing the remainder as a decimal, decimals in the dividend and finally decimals in the divisor. It is a lot and it seems like there isn't a ton of time. I'm hoping to make my fraction division unit quick because it needs to be. But we have to do manipulatives, models and equivalent fractions. It's a lot!
NO!!! Operations with fractions are SO MUCH more important than all that decimal stuff. For next year, PLEASE short change the decimals in favor of fractions. When they get to higher math, no one cares if they can multiply and divide decimals by hand, but if they can't work with fractions, they're screwed! When I get kids who want to do EVERYTHING in decimals and it takes a tenth of the time to just work with the fractions, it makes me sad.
I agree -- I wish I flipped it. This entire unit has been painful to teach but all of these topics are in the standards. It's just that I couldn't move on when I had half my class who can't multiply and then I had to teach the standard algorithm for division in 6th grade which is ridiculous in itself and took forever. I will be spending a lot of time on ratios this year. My math coach encouraged me to spend more time on multiplying and now I am rushed!
I'm also frustrated that these standardized assessments are so HARD. I looked at last year's test and the division question was a five digit number divided by a two digit number. Seriously?? I don't get why they always have to assess at such a high level. Maybe it's just that I teach a lower group of kids but it's frustrating. I'm just thrilled that most of my kids can finally use the standard algorithm for smaller #'s.
My mentor also said she wants to teach fractions in 9 days.
Oct 15, 2018
So I am still trying to figure out pacing and I feel behind compared to the pacing guide!
My kids are taking a district assessment next Wednesday and Thursday. I want to wrap up my fraction division unit by Friday. I am hoping that I will be able to because my next unit (ratios) will take forever. My mentor said she is moving on to ratios asap as well. My issue is that the students have to take a fraction division test! I was thinking that they could take the fraction division test on Friday but that would mean that they are testing 3 days in a row & they might not be ready. My math coach wants me to do more with models and spend more time but I trust my mentor when she says that ratios will take forever!
There's nothing saying (well, unless there is for you - ha) that you can't wait and give the test slightly after you start working on ratios. Why not start on Friday, and then take the fraction division test next week? That'll also give you time to do any reteaching before the test for those kiddos who might still have a bit of trouble.
I think it might be a little bit confusing for the kids...I'm not sure. I honestly have no problem giving the test on Friday if they are ready. I will review for about 25 minutes anyways so it's not like the whole period is the test. I also wonder if the district test will take all period...
Does the district assessment contain problems on fraction division? If xo (and if there are enough, could a sub-score from those problems also be used as your "fraction division" test?
Yes...but the test is hard. Mine will be easier & will assess different things. In my opinion, there's not a lot you can get from a multiple choice test. I want to see that they can draw the model, use the rule for fraction division, and solve word problems.
I also realized that we are supposed to teach all of this stuff before state testing but I know I will be able to teach the whole curriculum even if after testing. Last year, my mentor didn't get to one unit and taught it afterwards. But she also teaches inclusion while I do not. However, I do feel like with larger classes pacing is unfortunately slower and she has two teachers in the room.
Oct 16, 2018
Just a thought. If you don't mind doing the test then, then go for it -- they'll be resilient. But just keep in mind that if students end up not being successful testing on a concept they learned just because they learned another concept in between then and the test, then we probably haven't taught them well enough. I have to hold myself to that same standard.
I’m leaning towards a Monday/Tuesday test as I want them to learn the material. My mentor is giving hers on Tuesday too. But she teaches inclusion so I feel like I should be ahead of her...
Don't compare. Every student, every teacher, every classroom dynamic is different. I'm 3-4 days behind my colleagues. But we spent some time at the beginning focused on mindset that I'm hoping will pay off. I'm not worried; down the line, if extra needs to be fit in, I will.
It's frustrating because I CAN teach the whole curriculum in a year but state testing is in April!! My mentor said I should at least try to teach the whole curriculum by April for test scores.
I kind of disagree with this. Do you think their scores will be better if they are taught 80% of the curriculum very well, or 100% of it just jammed through for the sake of covering everything? I recommend looking at what the test covers, and arranging the topics so those things that show up the least on the test can come later.
I'm honestly not sure. The last unit is on absolute value/negative numbers so it seems important. I heard that the highest pass rate for state testing for the level that I teach is 50% and that was 8th grade. We don't get to decide the order of our units. I wish I could teach negative numbers before statistics and do statistics after testing.
Hi there! I love reading your posts and questions.
Pacing is such a challenge sometimes.
Things to remember:
1. Kids are often the rustiest at the beginning of the school year.
2. You've been working with them and they are improving.
3. If your experienced co-teacher is at your place, you are not doing badly.
4. You can likely pick up the pace as the year progresses. However, don't skimp on the super critical skills like fractions. I don't think the extra time on decimals is a bad thing because it is a great way to segue into fractions that are not tenths and hundredths. Most kids don't get enough practice and experience with all of the operations and fractions.
5. Give it your best shot. You seem like the kind of person whose best shot will be better than most other people's efforts. You care. You work hard. You ask great questions. You are not afraid to try new things. You are looking at every student and working to help them all. I'd say you are in good shape, and so are your students.
Watch and see. As you keep working, as they keep learning, you will be able to pick up the pace. You've been given great advice regarding the assessment so I'm not piling on that.
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