It's been a good teacher week. Most of my classes are in different stages of working on their research papers, and it's really neat to watch. The students are running around finding books and sharing information with one another. Occasionally one comes up to me, "Miss Anonymous, did you know ::fill in the blank with the information the student just found::?" The hands-on work really seems to be getting the students involved. I love to see that kind of business in the kids.
Two classes just finished the rough draft...my freshmen. I'm a bit nervous to read them; because, while I know they worked very hard to find the information and create the product, their writing skills are still not where I'd like them to be. Maybe I'm setting my bar too high for them, but I had hoped they'd be a bit further along with writing at this point. But we're working. I've got some ideas to implement next week to help them to revise the drafts. We'll see how those go.
My lower-tracked students are the kids who seem to be benefiting from the research paper the most. As of right now, we're not too far into the process, but even in introducing it, I noticed the kids seemed to respond very well to the entire process. Several of them about had a heart attack when they saw that the entire project was worth nearly 1000 points, but when we went through the schedule and broke down the points, they really got excited to see all the different parts making up the whole. It's really giving me some good ideas for introducing writing next year. I'm going to break it down into parts more to see if that works. If I have time, I may even try it after we read our next novel.
The icing on my teacher cake came at an I.E.P. meeting I had this week. At the beginning of the year, this student simply could not pay attention. He was constantly elsewhere when it came to the classroom. His grades reflected that. So, I met with his parents right before finals, and we came up with several ways to get him back on track. From what I heard at the I.E.P. meeting, it really seems to be working. This is the first chance I've had to really talk to this student's parents since the first meeting we had, and they said with English (my class), he's like a different kid. He wants to show his parents his work...and actually do his work. He's doing very well in the class, and they told me that's the first time he's ever earned a consistent A in an English class.
From what I see, the student is doing all the work. I very rarely have to redirect him anymore, and he works his tail off to do well. I'm very proud of his progress and let both him and his parents know.