What's the point in staying?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Deedah86, May 18, 2011.

  1. Deedah86

    Deedah86 Rookie

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    May 18, 2011

    Our school (elementary) had grades due last week and Monday they collected all of the text books for each grade. We have two weeks of school left! Now EVERY single teacher I walk by is having their class sit in front of their smart boards watching movies while they pack up all of their things.

    So much for learning these last two weeks!

    Is your school like this??
     
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  3. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

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    May 18, 2011

    That is bizarre...I've NEVER heard of that before. What a waste of time! :huh:

    If I were there, I'd see an amazing opportunity for things like art projects, science experiments, etc - things that there isn't enough time for during the year! A lot of those kids will probably be sitting in front of the TV all summer anyway! :(
     
  4. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    May 18, 2011

    My kids never knew that we finished taking grades almost 3 weeks ago. We continued like normal. They got graded papers, we took tests, etc. Now, we did do more fun things. More things like ice cream in a bag, oobleck, etc. We also pulled out of our reader and read The Twits which they loved. These past two days have been pretty light, though. More word searches, board games, etc.
     
  5. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    May 18, 2011

    I could maybe see doing that the last week, but not with 2 weeks left to go.
     
  6. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

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    May 18, 2011

    See, this is a good use of time! :)

    Ice cream in a bag is one of my top 5 favorite activities to do with kids - I've done it with all ages K-6th, and it's always a BIG crowd pleaser. :)
     
  7. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    May 18, 2011

    My first year, I taught right up to the last day (well, second to the last day. The actual last day of school was a field trip to the park and zoo). I was hard core man! :p

    Typically, though, I teach as long as I can. Then, the last few days of school is packed with field day, saying goodbyes, fun projects, etc. And the actual last day MIGHT involve a movie. I rarely show movies in class.
     
  8. Mark94544

    Mark94544 Companion

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    May 18, 2011

    My first thought when I read this: "How absurd, to turn in grades and textbooks two full weeks before the end of school." It's an insult and disservice to staff and students alike. (I'd even question whether, in this situation, the district can ethically claim that these are legitimate instructional days, but of course we all know that legally they could huddle all the students in an cafetorium all day with no activity at all, and call it an instructional day.)

    My second thought: "Why did you become a teacher?"

    That's not intended as a slam or insult: I'm asking you to actually think about what it is that motivated you to become a teacher, and what is it that brings you into that classroom every morning?

    What motivates you on the best day of the year?

    Now that grading is off the table, how can you be the best teacher possible for your students?

    Here you are, in YOUR classroom (with no state tests coming, no scripted curriculum, probably no real oversight). You have two weeks left to help your students learn/grow/enjoy/experience/communicate.

    Yes, if they know their grades are already set in stone, it's going to be difficult to get them to be serious, so this is an opportunity to find ways to engage your students in a more challenging situation.

    Motivation and discipline are more challenging, but maybe we can view that as an opportunity to identify new strategies (or to exercise old strategies).

    This is definitely one of those situations where you can "think outside of the box." (You're already being forced to think outside of the textbook.) You're NOT limited by the state standards or any specific curriculum (though certainly there are lots of limits, ethically and legally, on what you can do).
     
  9. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    May 18, 2011

    Our grades are due next Friday, but we have another two full weeks of school after that. We don't really use textbooks to be honest, so that's not an issue. I think a lot of people are planning to just do project like things the week after grades. That next week is only 4 days, and one of them is field day and the other is awards/picnic. Those other two days we will probably be asking the kids to help us pack up, to be perfectly honest. We have to box up everything we have because we are moving schools, and we only have until the day after school ends to do it!
     
  10. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    May 18, 2011


    I was in line behind a man in WalMart the other day. He had 3 or 4 boxes of ziplocks, several gallons of milk, sugar, rock salt - all the goodies. I leaned up and said - "You must be doing ice cream in a bag!" He laughed and told me he was doing it with 212 high school juniors. He said that every year new students came in talking about getting to do it and how much they love it. It's a blast for all ages. (I know whenever we do it in a teacher workshop it's always a hit! :D)
     
  11. midwestteacher

    midwestteacher Cohort

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    May 18, 2011

    I don't understand how a school can justify having grades turned in and students in school for another 2 weeks. Are we just counting seat time for that all important federal funding? This is ridiculous. We have 3 1/2 days left and our principal has told us to keep the kids busy. Grades are due the day after the last day of school.
     
  12. midwestteacher

    midwestteacher Cohort

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    May 18, 2011

    I do ice cream in a bag with my freshmen after we finish our dairy unit. I do it with a small and large coffee can so we don't have accidents. We also make butter and eat it on crackers.
     
  13. DizneeTeachR

    DizneeTeachR Virtuoso

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    May 18, 2011

    I knew of a teacher who had all the bulletin boards for the next fall done early & what not.

    We still did fun stuff as well. We did do Father's day stuff, end of the year scrapbook type thing that was writing, fun worksheets. But I think we only did it the last week of school!!!
     
  14. Marci07

    Marci07 Devotee

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    May 18, 2011

    Teaching 8th grade, our grades have to be in 2 weeks before other classes. I continue working on light fun projects and if students complain I tell them that I still have the power to change grades if needed.

    As much as I try to not tell the students every year about the grades being done, they always find out.
     
  15. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    May 18, 2011

    Why is this allowed to happen?? Does anyone seriously think that these elementary school students know all there is to know???

    Why are their teachers allowed to begin vacation two weeks early???

    Why are grades due two weeks before the end of school? And what professional on the faculty lets the kids know that their work won't be graded?
     
  16. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Virtuoso

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    May 18, 2011

    We used to do that, but it's only about a week early now that we have computerized grading. We have to end early to get everything finalized for the awards ceremonies.

    We're expected to teach right up until the last day. After testing we start on the curriculum for the following year.
     
  17. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    May 18, 2011

    Report cards are posted online the day after the last grade is due.
     
  18. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    May 18, 2011

    No my school isn't like that...even on the last days, kids are engaged in meaningful learning activities...it doesn't require textbooks to plan good, and yet fun experiences...math games, tangrams, author studies, picture books, slimy science:making ooblek, bubble chemistry, make a volcano erupt with baking soda and vinegar...there's no reason to just be watching endless movies.:2cents:
     
  19. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    May 18, 2011

    That is pretty crazy...School is out for us on a Wednesday, and grades are due the following Friday.

    School is out for us on June 8th, which is only 13 school days away. However, I am not even close to winding down. We're still going strong. It will probably be business as usually until the last (3-day) week. Then we have field day, parties, and so many other events, that a normal schedule is out of question!
     
  20. jennyd

    jennyd Companion

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    May 18, 2011

    The last grading day of our marking period is one week before the actual last day of school. For the first time this year someone put it on the calendar, so the kids already know. Uhg!
     
  21. smurfette

    smurfette Habitué

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    May 18, 2011

    I'd love to say that I am shocked, but I'm not. This happened to me in my first school. Where I'm at now, I don't use the textbooks that much, so the kids won't notice they are gone. But at the other school, it was really noticeable when all of the textbooks and manipulatives were whisked away. At the school I'm at now, I do have colleagues who show a lot of movies or let the kids bring in games to play (recess-type stuff, not educational games).

    Once we finish taking grades, there are a lot of special school-wide or grade-wide activities, but when my kids are in the room, they are always engaged in something. We'll do arts and crafts, reader's theaters, fun research projects, writing letters to the students next year, next year's math...anything but sit and watch a movie. They have all summer for that. Besides, the busier they are, the less time they have to get in trouble.

    We have to write comments and get lists ready for awards assemblies, so we have to have all of our grades a week before school ends. That's not such a big deal, because I don't tell the kids. I would be so mad if somebody did!
     
  22. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    May 18, 2011

    Our report cards are due in the office about 10 days before they go home. The P and VP have tho read and sign almost 700 reports--and they do read every word and make corrections. The reports go home 2 or 3 days before the end of school to give time for parents to sing and return them before the summer. I can, and have, made changes in reports right up until the hour before they go home. The last two days of school are often taken up with the Talent Show, a school-wide assembly and other "wind-down" activities. Up until then, however, it is business as usual.
     
  23. donziejo

    donziejo Devotee

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    May 18, 2011

    This does not happen where I teach. Finals are given on the last 2 days of school. It's a big deal here and the P walks around to each room to make sure that no one is cleaning up or stacking desks. He started this several years ago and had a lot of parents mad at him. (parents wanted to leave early for vacation) We don't get out until 2nd week in June. He has stuck to the plan and everyone is getting use to it. So, we work up until the last day.
     
  24. Sheila

    Sheila Comrade

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    May 18, 2011

    At my school grades are due five days before school is out. I also teach up until the last day. The teachers on my team send home supply boxes the week before school is out. Mine go home the last day.
     
  25. Joyful!

    Joyful! Habitué

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    May 18, 2011

    No, my school is not like that at all.

    We are not required to return our grades until after all the children have left the building. We have 2 days of inservice following the last day (a half day). If it is an instructional day, I am instructing!:cool:
     
  26. Danny'sNanny

    Danny'sNanny Connoisseur

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    May 18, 2011

    I do have to admit - I'm packing one or two boxes a day, because we close on our house right when school gets out, and I don't want to be moving classrooms and moving houses at the same time.

    But, I haven't packed anything we're actually using - so far it's my teacher books, and extra supplies, and craft stuff, etc.

    And I will probably show a longer science movie on Friday - we have a special event in the morning, so they'll be wired from that, and I have to have report cards ready to hand out the last day of school. An extra 30 minutes to write all those comments would be so helpful!

    But, other than that, we're doing fun math, a pick-your-own research project, and lots of extra science and social studies.
     
  27. DizneeTeachR

    DizneeTeachR Virtuoso

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    May 19, 2011

    I don't think anyone is saying don't pack stuff... but to throw a movie on for the last 2 weeks so you can do it is another thing...
     
  28. callmebob

    callmebob Enthusiast

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    May 19, 2011

    I agree with those that think turning in grades so far in advance is awful. We get out of school next Friday, so we stop taking grades this coming Friday one week ahead. The students never know when grades are "done" being taken though.
    I will say the last few weeks of school I have been mostly doing projects with the students that involves very little teaching (atleast what I consider typical teaching). It is independent work time, creative activities, simple things that are just fun to keep kids busy also.
    At this point in the year I think it is important to keep the kids excited about coming to school. They have checked out, it is important to keep their minds working, even if that means doing things that do not relate to the standards.

    Also, packing, cleaning, taking stuff down; some of that is going on everyday during some of this independent work.
     
  29. princessbloom

    princessbloom Comrade

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    May 19, 2011

    Our P made it a directive that we NOT do this. She means what she says so we're teaching up until the last day practically! (12 more days...)
     
  30. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    May 19, 2011

    Yep, ours is like this too. Frustrating, but I still work through because my kids don't actually realize that grades have been finalized, but more importantly just because grades have been finalized doesn't mean that learning should just stop. It's such a nice way to continue to learn, but without the pressure of grades (or grading, for that matter).
     
  31. Deedah86

    Deedah86 Rookie

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    May 20, 2011

    Because we're in a POOR POOR school district and they seriously don't care about anything. If you only KNEW what else went on this year....
     
  32. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    May 20, 2011

    We have finals the last 3 days of school, two of which are half days. Our grades for exemptions are due Monday morning; however, that's just for exemptions so students know that we are teaching right up until exam days. Most of that teaching is going to be reviewing for their exams. In my resource class, we finished our projects yesterday so Mon/Tue will be used to make sure that they have everything turned in for their other classes and study time for their exams.
     

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