Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Happy Hump Day

OK, the week's more than half over. Yay! Today was relatively uneventful. We actually managed to get a lot of work done, which is good, because I need to hang it up in the room. We are having our first CPS Walk-through tomorrow. You may recall me telling you about walk-throughs in a previous post. A bunch of know-nothings from Central Office will be in tomorrow to walk around, stick their heads in our rooms for all of a minute and a half, and then have a sit-down with the Big Cheese to tell him everything we're doing wrong. It's such a crock! But, I'm still going to try to have all the crap they're going to be looking for up in the room.

One of the things is "authentic student work." That basically means no worksheets, or as we called them back in the day, dittos. Yeah, well, my babies still can't get their names on paper yet, so I'm not exactly sure what they're expecting to see! We've done a few drawing lessons (draw your family doing an activity together, draw what your hands can do) and those are already hanging up, but they aren't graded. I kid you not, I have to put actual grades on these things!! And, we have to use something called a "rubric" to establish these grades. I'm sure you all know what those are, even if you don't know the educational jargon for it. It's basically a scale (I use 0-4) for scoring work and an explaination of how each score is determined.

Now, the rubric must be posted along with the work, and they expect the children to know what the rubric says. Yeah, ok, these babies have been in school for 20 days, and they should be able to read this piece of paper, huh? Get a clue!! Here's the rubric we use for just about everything.

  • 4 I got a four because I did so much more
  • 3 I got a three because I did what was asked of me

  • 2 I got a two because I still have work to do

  • 1 I got a one because I'm not quite done

Now, on the actual paper, next to each is some type of 'smiley' face. 4 has a great big smiley, with cheeks, 3 is a regular smiley, 2 is a flat-mouthed smiley, 1 is a sad face. We don't have 0 on the chart, but I always explain to them that the boys and girls that don't even try, and don't do any work will get a zero. I always put a number and the appropriate smiley on their papers. Naturally, we have to have a lesson (or two or three!) about the rubric, (what it means, etc.) and then we usually score the papers together. I go over what was expected to be on the paper, and then ask the babies themselves to decide what the score should be for each paper. It's really interesting to see how well they are able to do this. Usually, I try to have 4 things required on each paper, because it makes the scoring that much easier.

For example, today they had to draw and then label pictures of goldfish for science. They were expected to 1) put their name on the paper 2) draw a goldfish 2) draw an eye, fins, gills, mouth and tail and label each of those parts 4) color the fish orange. Most of them got 4's, a few were given 2's by the class because they didn't write their labels themselves. I wrote them in dotted letters and they traced them. I was amazed that the babies decided a 2 would be a fair score for that! I can't say that I disagree with their decision. Those are all now hanging up, along with the rubric, in our Science Corner for the benefit of the walk-through team. Woo hoo!

I have a couple of things left to do in the morning, but for the most part, I have what they're looking for in my room. However, at this point in time, my attitude is a bit more like "Like it or lump it. What are you gonna do, fire me?" I know how that sounds, but quite frankly, they need me more than I need them right now, so I can get away with such a poor attitude. It's not that I'm intentionally trying to defy "the powers that be" but they really don't know what the hell they're talking about, so it's really hard to take them seriously!

Today would be the perfect day to post The Teachers' Creed for the quote, but sadly, I keep forgetting to copy it! It hangs on the wall next to my desk at school. I'll try to do it tomorrow. I do have a picture, though, that sort of puts into perspective how The Board makes us feel.

I'll leave you with a different quote for now. It is still fitting in this situation:

I found one day in school a boy of medium size ill-treating a smaller boy. I expostulated, but he replied: 'The bigs hit me, so I hit the babies; that's fair.' In these words he epitomized the history of the human race. ---Bertrand Russell
Obviously, we (the teachers) are the 'babies,' the Big Cheese is the 'medium sized boy,' and The Board are the 'bigs.' Big pains in the ass, anyway! :) Wow, I almost said something nice about the Big Cheese. I'd better be careful, I might actually start to defend him.... Nah!


Smileygirl said...

I absoultely LOVE that pic. Too bad it's not Chumley under that dog's ass.

ChiTown Girl said...

Amen to that, Sista! I figured you'd like it.