Sunday, June 28, 2009

Catching up On Blogs

I have been writing ideas down as I come upon them. Before school was out I came upon two I thought would be perfect for the blog as they had to do with I D 10 T.

I am a Math Coach. I work at two schools. Didn’t like having two schools at the beginning of the year but in the end I can live with it; like both schools, principals, and faculty.

It is interesting to see how the two schools are different and how they are similar. At one school the faculty works very well together at their grade levels, and they actually teach. At the other school, there are some who come to school just to get the pay check. Both schools break some rules to their advantage, which is fine because it benefits the teachers in some way.

We give a state mandated test every year in April. It is a pass/fail test in 3rd Grade for Reading and 5th Grade for Math and Reading; though parents can appeal the retainment and the students are passed on. In some schools this is recommended, so no student is ever retained.

At one of my schools a grade level did not do as well on the Math portion as it has in the past because of one classroom. I was quite concerned about the results and the teacher. I was very surprised. I had thought this class would do well. Come to find out, only 41% of her class finished the test. They are given 70 minutes to take the test, which is more than enough time. I proctored in a classroom that had no trouble finishing the test in this amount of time. The teacher made her students use their scratch paper (GREAT! they need to use it), but she never updated the amount of time left for the test, so many of her students were unable to finish. And then she justified it by saying a number of them wouldn’t have done well anyway. Yikes!!! 59% of her class did not pass the test! I would be in tears if something like that happened when I was teaching. Needless to say the principal was very upset, though the teacher had warned her as soon as the Math portion was finished that her class hadn’t finished. She’s a veteran teacher. She has been giving this test since it was put into place. What was she thinking!? Obviously, she wasn’t? Plus side, it was not a pass/fail grade.

The county implemented new Math assessments this year. One such assessment was a Performance Task at the end of every nine weeks. A teacher at my other school was concerned with the scoring of them as they are scored with a rubric, so she asked me to come in and help her score them. No problem. We scored about 5 performance tasks at one time about a week before school was out. The teacher commented on how poorly her students had done on all of them. My comment to her was, “If you had been doing them all along, at the end of each 9 week period, instead of doing them all at once, they would have gotten used to them and done a lot better. “ Her response, “Oh.”

It amazes me how some people think or don’t sometimes!

Catch of the Day

At The Register by John Fischer
Chandler and I have a new yogurt spot we like to frequent after I pick him up from school. It's one of those places where you serve yourself the flavor of soft yogurt you want from a row of wall dispensers and then you choose from a number of toppings and finally you pay for everything by the ounce.

One day recently my bill came to $6.63. I gave the young girl behind the register a ten-dollar bill and, as is my custom, I searched my pocket for change. If I have the $.63 in coin, I like to get rid of the change in my pocket instead of adding to it. So I pulled out my change and found I had $.62—a penny short. "Will you take $.62?" I asked. The girl nodded, took my $.62 and I waited, fully expecting four dollars back. Instead, she fished out exactly $3.99 and counted it all out into my hand.

"I don't want this," I said. "The whole idea was to get rid of change, not add to it." She looked at me like she didn't know what I was talking about. I opened my mouth to try and explain, but one look in her face told me it was useless.

"Here," I said holding out the $3.99. "I'll give you back this and we can start over. Just give me change for a ten."

"Can't do that," she said. "The drawer is closed."

Why would I bother giving someone $10.62 so they could give me $3.99 back? It defied logic, but then again, she was just doing her job… recording what I gave her into the computer and giving me back what the computer told her.

I walked away realizing I was not going to get anywhere with this and finally able to laugh over it. The temptation was to call her something dumb in my head, but that wasn't going to help anything. Further reflection led me to realize this happens a lot when people don't understand each other. They are both seeing the same thing in a different way. It's not that one is right and the other is wrong; they simply have two different perspectives on the same thing.

I've realized from this that I need to not always try and get someone to understand my point of view. Maybe I need to put forth a little extra effort and try and understand theirs.

End of the Year

I have been absent from blogging for quite a while; got caught up in the end of the year work for Math and then Social Studies. Even though I am out for the summer, I have continued with my “second” job, helping out the S.S. coordinator. Now I don’t mind helping the man out; in fact he is one of a few people I cannot say no to when he asks for the help; but I never know what I am getting myself into when I do say yes. And yes, the extra money does help. Friends say stop bitching because I do get paid for it, but …. need to vent over the time it took, so I am bitching away!

At the beginning of the year he came to me and asked if I would give him a hand with Social Studies as he didn’t have any school specialist personnel like the Math and Reading Departments. He said he would pay me an extra $500 a month, total $5000 for the year. I, of course, said yes, and as they say, the rest is history; except one of the powers that be decided to change the way we would get paid, so I have not yet seen what was agreed upon. Hmm, maybe this month.

Back to venting. I have spent more time on the computer than ever before. I can’t type. I hen pick! A friend did give me a typing program to learn to type, and I told myself I would do it this summer. So far, it is still in the box. I have spent the whole year writing tests, going to meetings, S.S. fairs, and now rewriting the curriculum guide. Another person working on the guides asked me not too long ago if I was aware we were going to rewrite the whole thing. No! At the time he had only mentioned Unit 1 because he was not happy with it. Not a problem. I can do that! Then we hear he wants them all done, and by the end of the month as he is going on vacation. Me, too; so for the past 2 weeks I have been rewriting the 4th Grade Social Studies framework and curriculum guide for the county.

Now as I said before, I don’t type. I can cut and paste, but I am not necessarily good with formatting; give me the format, and I can almost work with it without too many problems, but when you tell me what you want without a template, I break out in a cold sweat!

I took the old 4th Grade curriculum guide and rewrote it the way he wanted it. It was a lot of work. Now keep in mind, I was on the committee to write these last year. I was on the 5th Grade committee, and I know we did a lot of work on it. He wasn’t happy with some grades, so everything is getting redone.

Since I am out of the classroom and working in Math, I do not know the 4th Grade S.S. curriculum. I had to go through the TEs with a fine tooth comb to make sure everything he wanted was in the guide; not only the core materials, but any additional materials, too; novels, teaching guides, websites; anything extra the teachers could use. The teacher working on the 1st Grade guide emailed me recently and asked if her hours were reasonable; 40 hours for only half the units; I emailed her back, “Yes”, I put in over 70 hours for the 8 units I did.

Ok, back to my typing. I know it slows me down, but so did the formatting; bullets for this, bullets for that, margins so wide, outside boarder (how?), take out text box (how? ). I did finally get brave at one meeting and admit I was not technologically savvy. He laughed because he knows I know more about it than he does! He laughed because he is getting a Blackberry; which does everything; and he won’t have a clue as to how to use it.

I did finish the 4th Grade Social Studies guides Thursday, sent them to him Friday, am meeting with him Monday, and going on vacation Tuesday. Let’s hope nothing more needs to be done!!!!!