Sunday, November 25, 2007

If Wishes Were Horses...

There is a nursery rhyme: If wishes were horses, then beggars would ride; if turnips were watches, I'd wear one by my side. It feels that way when I work on the personal development side of the report card.

We used to give one personal development grade for each student. This year, each subject area teacher will give twelve marks to each student. The list is as follows:
  • Works to ability
  • Completes classwork
  • Completes homework
  • Follows directions
  • Works well in groups
  • Works well independently
  • Respects the rights and property of others
  • Demonstrates self-discipline
  • Obeys school rules
  • Shows a sense of responsibility
  • Uses time constructively
  • Exhibits positive attitude/ behavior
Sixth grade is a whole new ballgame for these students. They are used to having a mostly self-contained classroom up to fifth grade. They did switch for reading, social studies and science. Now they have a different teacher for almost every class: reading, English, Spanish, math, social studies, and science.

To help me keep track of everyone, I put together a Personal Responsibility Report. If they have a lapse in responsibility (a uniform untucked, nail polish, forgotten homework, missing signed quiz/ test, notebook forgotten) they fill out the form. It tells me who, what, when, and why something is awry. In my mind, it forces the student to be more responsible than just saying "I forgot".

If wishes were perfect responsibility, I wouldn't have to take time to go through so many forms. It has taken a good few hours and I'm almost done, but I'm seeing some holes. Next semester, I have to be more on top of some of the categories. I have good data tracking what they bring to class, but I need better data on how far they get with practice problems in class and when they drift from their independent work. I want less anecdotal evidence from my head and something more concrete on paper. I want to reward students who don't forget a single thing. Still, I don't want to drop a child from outstanding to satisfactory for forgetting something just one time.

Then there is the improvement needed and unsatisfactory categories. I wish every student did almost every assignment. I really only have a handful of students that need more phone calls home. I'm going to have to focus on those few children.

So, all in all, it's a good exercise to have to go through for each child...but I wish for the perfect world.

Image Citation:
"200602 watch your step.” supercilliousness' Photostream. 18 Feb 2006. 25 Nov 2007.

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