It's Friday, and it's been a long week. I'm signed up for a conference on instructional strategies tomorrow, so it's not over yet!
I'm really not complaining at all. We started out after-school Study Club this week. I sent the note home Tuesday, and couldn't believe it when 9 students returned their permission slips to stay the following day after school. Today, 2 more brought in notes with parents' permission to stay, so if everyone who has permission all stayed on the same afternoon, we'd have a total of 11 Club members! Actually, I still need to contact the parents of 2 students who really need the Club to be successful, so add those 2 and we'd have a grand total of 13 members!!! Now, remember, I only have 22 students. Absolutely incredible!!!
It's amazing to see those kids get so excited about staying after school to work on school work! Who would have thought it? This afternoon, we worked on next week's geography and language just to get a head start. They couldn't wait to get home and show their parents they'd completed assignments that weren't even due until next Friday!!!! I told them if they continued to work at their current rate, they'd be doing high school work by the end of the year!!!!!
You see, that's why having Study Club is so important. Forget test scores (even though I'd bet they increase) and even forget about getting assignments turned in on time (even though they will). It is really all about the way these kids feel about themselves. Some of them go home all defeated because they have some leftover work from that day, and then they return the next day defeated because they know I'm the big, old meany waiting at the door to demand homework ON TIME!!!! Now, these same kids can fly out the front door of the school to meet their parents feeling like they've accomplished something big AND they have! Call me crazy, but I think that's a total win-win situation.
Even as I sit here and type, exhaustion is threatening to take over my body, but in my spirit I am soaring! As I look back over the week, I see that I didn't get everything in my plan book accomplished, yet I feel successful. I have so much to do to get ready for next week -- midterm already -- but for now, I'll take a moment to bask in the joy of the wonders I've seen this week.
Tell me, J Elaine......just what do you do in your study club and who do you target? In the past I have had an enrichment club, but this year I was thinking more about a writing workshop..........is it just for your grade level or do you invite other grades and/or classes?
When I decided to offer an after school session, I had in mind those children who always struggle to stay caught up with their work. Instead of writing a long explanation in a letter, I sent an "invitation" in the form of a flyer. I threw the invitation out to any or all of my own students. I said I would work with students on homework or reteach concepts not mastered or give a preview of things to come. I wanted parents to know that students would stay even though they didn't have any homework that day, and I would have something worthwhile for them to do.
I really thought I could provide a little more one-on-one type assistance, but over half my class is stayed !!!!!! It worked very well, though, because I put students in groups of 2 or 3 based on which assignment they needed to do, and they went right to work tutoring one another. That freed me up to work with several students at one time, going from one group to the next. I was amazed at how much we accomplished in one hour.
I'd certainly like to offer sessions for other students on our grade level, but we have over 200 4th graders. It turns out I'll have my hands full just meeting the needs of my own students.
It should prove interesting as things progress throughout the year.
I commend you for taking all that extra time with your children. You will notice a big difference in them because of your caring. After I get through Back to School night and all I was thinking of forming some sort of group. I used to do that and offer an enrichment group to all the K students, but like you we have wall to wall kids and that would be too many kids to deal with......I was thinking toward a writing or reading workshop kind of format in addition to what they are getting in school.
As I was reading your post, I was reminded of a "club" that a couple of teachers got going at our school a few years ago. They formed a after-school readers club -- sending out the invitation to all the students in our school. They all read the same book together (in addition to whatever they were reading in their regular classroom). As I remember, it was a very successful effort. It lasted into the second year, and then one of the teachers involved moved to the middle school. So, my point is, if you are interested in that kind of after school group, why not give it a try? Do you have another teacher/friend who'd be interested in giving you a hand with an after school endeavor? It might be kind of scary on your own.
By the way, I've hit a bit of a "speed bump" in my effort to support my children. We have sooooooooo many after school meetings that it is difficult to find enough days to keep things going. Isn't that sad. We are so busy with the business of school that we aren't given the time to provide the kind of support some of our kids desparately need. There was a faculty meeting yesterday afternoon, and I'd scheduled a Study Club session. My principal reluctantly allowed me to go ahead and keep my kids for Club but was quick to remind me to check my calendar more carefully when I schedule the October dates!!!!!! I guess I'm a little miffed because he keeps asking us to remember that we are "here" for the kids. As if we didn't all know that!!!! Well, that's just my vent for the evening. I am so totally dedicated to our Study Club that I'll find a way somehow -- I hope.
I can truly relate to how you feel about an overloaded meeting schedule! There are Staff meetings, Unit meetings, Curriculum meetings, Task Group meetings, Child Study meetings......the list just goes on and on!
One thing that our Principal did.....to help make it easier on our schedules is to schedule the bulk of his meetings on Tuesdays, after school. This way, we all know to keep Tuesdays free from other activities, because we most likely have a meeting of one kind or another that afternoon! By the same token, it means that we can comfortably schedule other things on any other day of the week. (Once in awhile, there may be a meeting before school, but those are rare.)
Would your principal be willing to do something like that? Just a thought!
You are right. I haven't been here. We had open house on Monday, I had a evening meeting on Tuesday, and I did Study Club tonight. Tomorrow, we are going on a field trip. It's just crazy!!!!! Also, we have new math books this year that are proving to be very challenging to implement. The good thing is that my students are wonderful. They make it all worthwhile. Thanks for the message. It's nice know that someone misses me!
Later . . .