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March 31, 2017 / sharoncopy

Independent Writing

The teacher left plans for the 3rd-4th grade kids to write a paper on the animal of their choice. Fine. Except that:

  1. Only about 5 of the kids in the class are capable of following directions and gathering the info and writing a very, very short paper about an animal of their choice.
  2. Most of the kids can’t figure out where to find information, can’t figure out how to choose the important facts, can’t spell, can barely read, and can’t manage to write more than a few sentences. ¬†Therefore – they are still at the level where they should have done a paper ALL TOGETHER with the teacher so as to learn the procedure step by step.
  3. There were no books. No lovely volumes with pictures of their animal and descriptions of how fast, sleek, hungry, or ferocious it was. Nope. This is the age of the internet, so chrome books were brought to the room and the kids were supposed to search for the info. I helped them, and believe me, it’s nearly IMPOSSIBLE to help about 25 kids all working on different subjects work on their papers in the same time frame. We went to Discovery Kids. We went to Britannica Kids. We went to National Geographic Kids. Mostly what we found were cool videos (which required borrowing headphones from the technology lab) and attractive very short bits of prose about each animal. Eventually I discovered that if they just typed in a question like “How big is a dolphin?” they would get a pat answer that they could use in their report (of course, since most can’t spell and NONE of them have been taught how to type – personal pet peeve here – typing in a sentence is a long or impossible process for them.
  4. Another teacher walks her kids to the public library every couple of weeks – this one hasn’t. It may be because a few of the kids are so poorly behaved that they can’t be trusted to walk 3 blocks away with 2 adults – I don’t know. Or maybe this teacher thinks that it will take up too much of the class time and then they won’t meet their goals.

Like – they are meeting them now?

Some of the education seems to be done bass-ackwards.

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