Pushing your students to excel

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Summersoff, May 14, 2009.

  1. Summersoff

    Summersoff Rookie

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    May 14, 2009

    Im a male 4th grade teacher---first year teaching. Im looking at these standards, and the accompained spelling book I work with from where the kids get their speling list, and these words are just ridiculous! Words like, "ball, there, am, kite, flew. . . " Come on these are 10 years olds. And I have to use this book.
    Are we setting these kids up for success, or a false sense of security in their own ability to learn?
    Ive asked the kids before, "are these words too easy?" They always say yes, and they want me to give them harder words--but i have to use theschool's spelling book. *THIS IS NOT A HIGHER ABILITY CLASSROOM FULL OF KIDS, JUST YOUR AVERAGE 4TH GRADER.*
    I believe these kids are ABLE to learn soo much more and harder words and concepts, but WE as teacher and administrators set the bar so low a monkey can jump through it---no im not comparing my kids to a monkey! =)
    Do you think we're too soft on these kids?
    I believe they should be pushed to their limits, and when you see them starting to get REALLY confused and frustrated or getting low test scores is where you should level off and back up a tiny bit. . . but to not test the waters of harder concepts (of which they are capable) is short changing these kids' education. If we instill the "you can do it, I expect more out you" attitude it is proven to transfer to the attitudes of your students and they start believing they ARE able to learn harder things.
    what's your thoughts?
     
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  3. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

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    May 14, 2009

    Just a thought ... If standards are low, state test scores are always pretty. ?? :(
     
  4. Mrs. K.

    Mrs. K. Enthusiast

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    May 14, 2009

    ku makes a good point.

    Can you be creative with the spelling words - use them as roots and find more complex words that branch off of them?
     
  5. Ms. T

    Ms. T Rookie

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    May 14, 2009

    I agree with you Summersoff. I teach middle school math and I was shocked to discover that 6th graders do not know their math facts. I am also surprised that these students have problems wiriting in complete sentences. I do believe the bar is being lowered to improve testing scores. I expect more and to get this I have to spend time reteaching and reinforcing concepts.
     
  6. 3Sons

    3Sons Enthusiast

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    May 14, 2009

    Yes, they're too easy as spelling words for fourth graders.

    Perhaps you could take the "TeacherGroupie" route and delve deeply into the etymology of the words. I'd bet you give her a word like "ball", and she'd be telling you all about the Old Norse "bollr" the word comes from, and how it initially meant "to swell", and then comparing it to the Old French word "baller" for "dance" and how it relates to the Greek "ballizein" which is "to dance, jump about". I suspect an approach like that might impress a lot of people, and possibly even be better for their overall language skills than teaching them more advanced spelling words.
     
  7. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    May 16, 2009

    My Kinders had those words on their spelling lists this year. Could you maybe do a combination of your required spelling and then "bonus" words to challenge them?

    I read of a study once and I'll see if I can find it. It reported on standards in urban and suburban schools. For the urban schools what they considered an "A" on average in their grading- the suburban schools considered a "C". It was the difference in expectation of the teachers which I think can apply to schools everywhere. You can use higher level concepts to teach in ANY classroom, other teachers don't subscribe to that belief. In my opinion you have to push them to be able to see what they can truly do.
     
  8. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    May 16, 2009

    We always had the students make up their own words. Many times they came up with harder words than were in the book.
     
  9. Mr D

    Mr D Comrade

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    May 16, 2009

    At my first school, we gave a pretest on Monday and the students replaced the words they got correct with their own words. Some students picked appropriate/challenging words, but some picked words that were too easy. I had to pay close attention to the words they chose and often told them to pick more challenging words! :lol:
     
  10. Lotte

    Lotte Companion

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    May 17, 2009

    I think we should expect more from the kids. Many are not used to being expected to do anything difficult and just settle for a slow and easy pace, and thier teachers let them.

    My own kid, 1. grade, did the numbers 1-10 together with the rest of the class last fall. But both me and my DH could easily ask him to do 38+67, mental math, and would get the correct answer. We have had to push the teacher and finally now, last week, she agreed that yes, he should probably have done multiplication instead.. My boy needs to be pushed to excel, which he will if he gets the chance.
    Other kids, low or high achievers can be pushed. You're their teacher, they listen to you. If you tell them you expect great things of them, and show consequently that you have high expectations, and give examples of which standards you aim for, they will come to meet them. :thumb:
     

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