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am i asking too much of 5th graders???

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am i asking too much of 5th graders???
Old 01-20-2019, 12:49 PM
 
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i'm at school working on a project (that i needed the copier for) and glanced at some posters that kids had turned in....and it got me thinking: maybe it's NOT them, maybe it's ME--could i possibly be expecting too much of them?


1. we have been using nonfiction text for use in supporting claims since 1st quarter--it's the 2nd week of 3rd quarter--we've been citing sources in-text this whole time. they have several examples of "how can we tell the audience where we got this info" in their Writing Logs.

2. last week we read an article about how a girl is working to get companies to stop using disposable plastic straws. i gave them a research project to use TWO resources (that article possibly being one of them), and to write a claim: Should we ban disposable plastic straws? they had to write 3 supporting facts which had a general statement that they had paraphrased, a specific fact, and an in-text citation. i then asked them to write a Resources List. i gave them a sheet that detailed what it should look like and underneath each direction was a sample. i physically modeled the entire process in front of them and created my poster/research project while they watched. and left my poster on the front board. *this was supposed to be an easy/short project after they'd worked their butts off on essays all 2nd quarter!*

3. i've learned to have someone besides me check their work so for this project they were supposed to have their "Check Team" look over the project and make sure everything required was there and looked correct. so tired of kids not following basic directions--let someone else get that first crack.

4. several, several, several times last week i gave posters back because they had *garbage* as their Resource List (as well as other basic issues). i stopped them working and reminded them to USE THE DIRECTIONS and examples and LOOK AT MINE--does yours look like mine? no? then you did it wrong.

here i am on a sunday at school and the poster on top doesn't have a name--did the kid not have his Check Team look at it--did 3 kids actually not look at the requirement list that has WRITE YOUR NAME ON THE FRONT on it? did they all miss that the name wasn't there???

one student used bullet points for their Resource List. i am so frustrated! for the record--if they make an effort to make the resources look correct, that's one thing, to just do whatever you feel like drives me bonkers.

am i expecting too much out of 10 year olds?


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Old 01-20-2019, 01:32 PM
 
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I dont think you are asking too much-is sounds as if you scaffolded the assignment, identified the barriers and addressed them with a gradual release method, and gave them feedback with opportunities to edit and correct. The task that you asked of them should be within their ability level, lines up with grade level expectations and standards and you provided the needed support. Unless this is a sped class of a class that came in too low to access the content of the research articles they should be able to do it.

My third graders do a similar essay in the second quarter-"should cell phone towers be put in national parks". It is only 2 paragraph and the works cited pages is created for them with fill in the blanks though. I do a similar modeling and gradual release method and I also have peer review check offs. Most do well, some dont. But its the same few who rush through and goof off. If my 8 year olds can do it, so can your 10 year olds.

Also they will be expected to come in to 6th with those skills so they need to step up.
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expectations
Old 01-21-2019, 03:36 AM
 
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I sometimes second guess myself too! But with all of your explanation. You should hold them to this important expectation.

One question:
With the directions, is there a rubric to score it?
I've spent more time this year with teaching them how to assess their own work and grading against the rubric. Some kids are harder on themselves this way

I do have 2 groups, one is the lower and one includes a gifted cluster. My low group has a difficult time completing ALL the directions. It's like they can get started, but fall off at the end....They cannot handle too much!
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Old 01-21-2019, 08:22 AM
 
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I think that you are NOT expecting too much.

I have also started using rubrics. I have gone to them mostly because we go over them together and the kids have to highlight what they think they earned. They then have a class period or day to revise/fix. I then use that rubric to grade so parents can see that kids knew that they didn't meet the expectations when they turned the project in. We do have to go through this together as a whole class, but it has really helped. (It has also helped when parents have complained that their child didn't know the expectations ).

You can't make them want to do better. Just assign the grade they've earned and move on.

Last edited by SportingKC; 01-21-2019 at 08:23 AM.. Reason: typo
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Focus Correction Areas
Old 01-21-2019, 08:23 AM
 
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I have been asking myself the same question for years. I'm not sure you are expecting too much, but I'll share something that has helped my stress level and the students, as well.
I have moved toward the Collins FCA* method for everything I teach. I give the kids a rubric (with examples) for the two or three areas that must be perfect. On the last project I had the draft, final copy, and mechanics (expected at this grade level) as the rest of the rubric.
This keeps the focus to two or three items and allows me to focus on those areas. If I want to do more, I add that at the draft stage where I can address one more skill with an individual. It has taken a while, bit the skills are building and the kids are turning in better work.
*John Collins Focus Correction Area


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Old 01-21-2019, 12:08 PM
 
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I am a 5th grade teacher and feel your pain! What a great process you have created, but the way!

What I started doing is having the kids present BEFORE I grade. it's like the dress rehearsal where lo and behold they notice or are called out for mistakes by their peers during the presentation. I tell the kids that's what the presentations are for: for some reason presenting in front of the whole group really puts a spotlight on their work. They then make the fix ups before I grade.
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Old 01-22-2019, 04:05 AM
 
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I'd concur that your expectations aren't unreasonable. I would also throw in the thoughts that:
  • Kids aren't learning to "pay attention" -- I'd say discipline issues aren't related only to classroom behavior.
  • Kids tend to focus on the end--the prize of a completed project. Quality isn't a consideration.
When I'm in a classroom that uses a "turn in" basket, I change the procedure--the kids have to show me their paper/project before putting it in the basket. (Some can't even remember that instruction!) I barely look at it while asking questions like, "Have you done your best work?" "Are you proud of this?" "What did you forget?" It's my personal campaign to increasing attention to compliance. I'm not pointing out the errors--it's the student's job to find them.

A fifth-grade teacher and I stood in the back of the room during a guest presentation... the presenter held up a gold coin and indicated that it would go to the first student who could solve the problem he outlined. The kids went crazy, shouting out answers that weren't even close. I could see the pain and hear the groans from the teacher. She whispered, "They KNOW how to do this!" In fairness to the guest, he's not a teacher--but the kids "forgot" the process and focused on the prize.

I'm not suggesting that's what happened here but I do think we, in general, are unintentionally teaching and rewarding undisciplined thinking starting at a very young age. (Undisciplined thinking has value but there's supposed to be a balance.)
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