Monday, July 07, 2008

Heading to CAMT in the morning! Plus Teaching Update

I'll be attending CAMT until Friday in Dallas and hope to bring back a lot of useful material to use with my students. I'll be rooming with some other teachers from another district at Hotel Lawrence but the meetings will be at the Sheraton, formally the Adam's Mark. I am thankful the school district's professional development department is helping me attend this much needed math conference. Thank you Dr. H. and WISD!

I realized I hadn't given an update on my students with their 7th Math TAKS test. We made our number, however our school is still rated unacceptable by TEA standards. We didn't meet the standard in another subject/grade level. Even though TEA closed down two of the four schools who were in the same situation as my school, the strides our students made across the board in all other subject areas didn't warrant closing our middle school. Whew! The kids worked really hard. I had only four students get commended, but many were eight or less questions from getting commended. The end of the year was easy breezy because the kids were feeling "so smart" because of their successes. We ended the year on a great note! I did have more than I wanted who failed, but most were to be expected from being a couple of grades below level, poor attendance, behavior, and a sour taste in their mouthes about Math I just couldn't sweeten them up on. I tried my best, and only anticipate more improvement from them next year and years to come.

One of the sweetest memories I'll have from my babies was having a few of them tell me constantly at the beginning of the year, and throughout the year for that matter, that they hated math and didn't understand why they had to do it. Some of those very same students not only passed their math TAKS test, but came to me before school ended and said, "Miss Evans, I used to didn't like math, but I kinda like it now. Thank you."

Well, to add more good news, a few who were over-aged went to accelerated summer school and will be skipped up to the 9th grade, their right grade in the fall. You don't want to know how many over-aged students I had. I think it's an epidemic. Nonetheless, you keep on striving, never giving up.

Not because I intended it or planned it, but by timing beyond my control, I was offered a transfer back to the school I subbed 8th Math/Algebra 1 long term back in the fall of '06. I will not be a grade level math teacher, but primarily focusing on TAKS Math & Reading. It will be a challenging assignment as I will have 6th, 7th, and 8th graders, for both Math and Reading. My biggest concern is that since this is only my 2nd year teaching, I'll be struggling to build up my supplies without having to constantly "borrow" other teachers' supplies.

With that being said, I am doing what I put off doing last year, which is having an "on-line" teacher shower. I'm asking for anyone who wants to "donate" to my supply fund, to do so by either my email address, mymk1070 @ paypal account, or by sending donations directly to the teacher supply places in town The Learning Center. I also find plenty of manipulatives and supplies at Mardel, Office Max and of course Walmart/Sam's. I lived in each of these stores, mostly dreaming of supplies I wished I could buy for my classroom and the kids. I know I gave probably a whole paycheck easily to them last year, cause it was just necessary. I know it will be the same because I'm not "taking" over another teacher's position, with their Math and Reading supplies on the shelf. That very thought scares me. My principal assures me that I can use anything in the "math closet", but for those of you who are teachers, you know that having your "own" TI graphing calculator is not the same as a teacher as "checking" one out. So for those who would like to share in my on-line "teacher shower, please do. I appreciate any help and thank you in advance. Blessings and good night!