Horrible Report Cards

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by cruiserteacher, Mar 26, 2011.

  1. cruiserteacher

    cruiserteacher Comrade

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    Mar 26, 2011

    My class this year is very different from any class I've had before. I have many students that are just low. And a majority of my students are extremely lazy. Just an example, we read Charlie & the Chocolate Factory together as a class. I created a reading journal for students to complete while reading with chapter summaries, character traits, setting pictures & descriptions, and a critical thinking section with writing prompts. This unit expanded over the nine weeks. We finished reading the book last week. Over half of my two classes didn't even turn one in. Many that did, turn ed them in only partially completed! Well, it's come time for report cards, and my students' grades are horrible! Even though none of the grades are undeserved (I've checked twice just to be sure), I still feel bad. At this point, I only have two students with honor roll, but the grades don't include their math, science, or spelling scores yet (taught by another teacher). Those scores may eliminate those two from honor roll, and then I don't have any!
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2011
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  3. Mrs.DLC

    Mrs.DLC Comrade

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    Mar 26, 2011

    I give what they earn. So many students(and parents) seem to think they are entitled to good grades just for showing up!! There may be some subjective grades, but many are not. Students must take responsibility for their learning. Hope it works out for you. :)
     
  4. Pisces_Fish

    Pisces_Fish Fanatic

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    I feel your pain. I have an unmotivated bunch as well. I have not had any principal's list (all A's) once this year. I think I will only have 3-4 Honor Roll this quarter, too.
     
  5. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    I think you need to re-think what was done and how it was done so this doesn't happen in the future. It seems they probably need more support if these are low students.

    How was this task broken down and how often were check points?

    Where was the work supposed to be done, in class or at home?

    What was done at check points when the work was supposed to be completed?

    I'm assuming that you didn't just hand out the packet that was supposed to take 9 weeks to complete and not have frequent intermediate checks. So, determining how you planned this long term project will only help you in the future when you assign things like this to the current class or future classes.

    There was definitely a break down even if it was in positive academic behaviors.
     
  6. Sagette

    Sagette Companion

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    Mar 26, 2011

    :yeahthat:
     
  7. cruiserteacher

    cruiserteacher Comrade

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    I was just using this as an example for how my students are not taking pride in their work and are unmotivated. I read the book aloud to the class. After reading each chapter, I gave them time to write their summaries. After reading each section, I gave them time to work on the responses and setting/character traits. I do not give homework, other than to read 30 minutes at home each night. Most don't even do that. The reading journal I was speaking about wasn't even worth that many points. Their scores definitely were not based on just this one assignment. It just so happened that it stretched out over 9 weeks because we had snow days and other things going on throughout the term.
     
  8. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    I guess then there is nothing different you can do in your classroom to help develop positive academic behaviors, make sure they are on track or get back on track, etc. You will just have to fail them and pass them on.....


    I wouldn't give it a second thought since this was just one example of how they don't take PRIDE in their work. Seems these low kids just have a problem with PRIDE, not academic skills or positive academic behaviors.

    Sorry for suggesting that there might be something YOU could do differently to aid the students in improving. :sorry:
     
  9. cruiserteacher

    cruiserteacher Comrade

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    Mar 26, 2011

    There is nothing wrong with looking inward at ourselves as teachers! There are certainly things over my career that I reflect upon and make changes. But, unfortunately, with this group, it really is a pride and motivation issue. I welcome any suggestions on how to motivate these kids!
     
  10. TeacherApr

    TeacherApr Groupie

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    I completely understand where you are coming from!
    My students did HORRIBLE with the district test they take every quarter. So horrible that many of them dropped from Approaching/Meeting the standards to falling far below! Of course, this was looked badly on us as teachers! The kids ARE lazy AND not to mention the fact that we are now at 32+ kids in 2nd grade, have no aides and no support. We are at the worst than we have been in the past 4 years. AMAZING how admin doesn't realize this. Oh no...they just blame us as teachers and think if we hammer math and reading into their heads for 6 1/2 hours for 2 weeks before the state tests it will fix the problem.
    eh, sorry...not doing it.
     
  11. schoolteacher

    schoolteacher Habitué

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    Mar 26, 2011

    I have a low group this year as well. I find it helpful to give feedback as students are working. I will read aloud to the class the work of a student who has followed the directions and is making good progress. I will tell them explicitly why this person is doing top quality work. This motivates the others. They know exactly what I am looking for, and they know what grade they will get if they strive for it. I tell them what they need to do to get an A, a B, etc.

    For a lower group, I would recommend collecting work done on a long term project frequently.

    Many times what appears to be a lack of motivation is really a lack of understanding, or a lack of scaffolding of the material on the part of the teacher.
     
  12. ecl

    ecl Rookie

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    Mar 26, 2011

    Calling students lazy is unprofessional.

    It's a self fulfilling prophecy.

    If you see your students as lazy, then they will be.

    I see my students as hard workers who want to succeed in life.
    I work in an urban school. My students work harder for me than for many of the teachers at our school who have your unfortunate point of view.

    Turn around your attitude, and I guarantee you they will turn around theirs.
     
  13. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    :yeahthat:
     
  14. porque_pig

    porque_pig Comrade

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    Mar 26, 2011

    I remember having reading journals when I was in seventh grade. I really struggled with them. It was the only time in my entire middle school career that I made a C on my report card.

    I recall feeling overwhelmed by the assignments (which involved writing down unfamiliar vocabulary words and notes about what was happening with the plot). I needed more guidance with the assignments. I didn't really understand what the expectations were for the assignment, and I had a hard time motivating myself to complete it. To this day, I cannot take notes on reading because I have such negative memories of that assignment.

    As a student, not having a very explicit step-by-step guide to a large project is difficult. I'm not quite sure how you structured the assignment, but from my overwhelmingly negative experience as a middle school student trying to complete a big reading/writing project, I can say that students (especially in elementary school) need to be given very specific tasks at specific times with specific expectations for what kind of work they will be doing.

    I do acknowledge, however, that you can sometimes end up with an unmotivated bunch. I had a lot of problems with incomplete work this semester--several of those students have since withdrawn from my class, and a few more are on the threshold of needing to drop and try again next year. You won't be able to make every student in the classroom complete their work on time, but as long as you are giving students very specific instructions and the opportunity to work on these assignments during class, you're doing your job.

    I wish you the best of luck!
     
  15. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    What an incredibly helpful response. :rolleyes:

    The kids didn't even turn in the assignment. If they were having issues or didn't understand it, they certainly could have asked for help. There are some kids that just don't care about school-you have to light a fire under them on a daily basis and you still get subpar products from them. It's very frustrating as a teacher to deal with that.
     
  16. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    I know how helpful it was. :D

    I tried to give a helpful response. It was obvious that OP wants the students to change without something dramtically changing in the classroom, but OP is asking the impossible.

    OP said these kids have low skills in the first post. Well, you can't teach low kids with avoidance issues by just pep talking or giving them zeros. You can't bribe achievement. You need to teach at the level of the students and in this case small baby steps with very defined, monitored, and constant feedback and sometimes help until they feel success. Once some success is gained, the motivation and pride will come.

    However, OP want the motivation and pride to be fixed.

    Yes, kids didn't hand in the work. There could be many reasons why. They couldn't do the work in the first place. They knew it was bad, they gave up, they lost it, etc. Could they have asked questions? Maybe. You are right. That is the right academic behavior to have, but if they don't have it yet, it is the teachers job to help foster that, not just meet it with a zero.

    Really, what are we saying to 9 year olds when they don't have the right behavior, attitudes, or skills when we take the attitude it is all their responsibility to have it and they don't know how to develop it on their own?
     
  17. TeacherApr

    TeacherApr Groupie

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    Really? So when I had my parent student conferences and showed the difference between last quarter and this and you could TELL they weren't putting forth their best it's still my fault? ok...

    Personally I have NEVER expected my students to be lazy. I have HIGH expectations for them. Thanks though!
     
  18. SpecialEdTeache

    SpecialEdTeache Companion

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    I get so tired of seeing teachers blamed for everything, especially by other self-righteous teachers. Sigh.
     
  19. cruiserteacher

    cruiserteacher Comrade

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    Thank you. Especially when I feel, deep down, that I have done everything I can possibly do to get these kids to do the work.
     
  20. isabunny

    isabunny Comrade

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    Can you offer any rewards for turning completed work in? I was having a hard time getting students to do homework and turn it in the next day. I offered a pizza party for students that completed work to the best of their ability over a certain amount of time (1 month). I believe I got all but 2 of my students to complete the work. Sometimes students just need outside motivation. I have offered: lunch with the teacher, pizza party, movie one afternoon (related to some theme or project like Iceage for science), no homework nights, ect... Students like to have something to look forward to in the future.
     
  21. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

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    We just did report cards and since I came in at the end of Feb. I had a mentor teacher helping me out. She said she feels the first round report cards/parent teacher conferences is the time to be nice, maybe a little more lenient with grades. She said now it's time to tell it as it is. The students are in fourth grade and they're taking the ELA and Math exam in just a few short months. Parents AND students need to see clearly how their student is doing. We have a lot of uninvolved parents and the mentor teacher wanted it to be very clear who is in danger of possibly having to go to summer school. She told me its better to lay it all out now, but a little bit of fear of them that way if the student ends up making progress and excelling at the test everyone is happy and if not, the parents are blindsided saying "well i didnt know johnny was struggling with reading..."
     
  22. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

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    Its not like she calls them lazy to their faces...that would be one thing. But I totally understand what she meant by it. You could be the best teacher in the entire world and there will be ALWAYS be students who are not working to their full potential 100% of the time, trust me I was one of those students. But its nice you think so highly of yourself.
     
  23. bonneb

    bonneb Fanatic

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    Mar 28, 2011

    Try to focus on progress rather than high grades. Are any of them making any progress?
     
  24. StudentTeach

    StudentTeach Comrade

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    I have similar issues with one class of seniors. My morning section refuses to do homework but is perfectly capable and intelligent in conversation. The afternoon class has almost 100% participation in homework. Same level students, same material. When I inquire with the morning class as to the lack of work being done they repeatedly tell ME that THEY are lazy and know they can do it but just don't want to. I've tried rewards, passes for different things, games, different formats for conversation and same results. I've never called them lazy or indicated that they are less than. I continually expect the same things from them as my other classes and some of them don't seem to care that they are failing... I'd like to see someone try to tell me this is somehow my fault.
     
  25. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    This has been the worst marking period I've had since I've started teaching, at least in terms of students who have wrecked their grades by skipping weeks worth of assignments at a time. It isn't just me, I'm told. My entire team has its collective jaw on the floor. I'm really hoping the closer graduation gets, the more my kids realize that they want to stop stalling and get out of high school.
     
  26. StudentTeach

    StudentTeach Comrade

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    Glad to know I'm not alone! I just about fainted when I sent out progress reports last week.
     
  27. jen12

    jen12 Devotee

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    :yeahthat::agreed:

    It's pretty easy to read a couple of paragraphs and make a judgement without being in the situation.
     

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