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Sunday, November 09, 2008

California Missions Project…

The history of the “California Missions” is taught in every 4th grade elementary class in the district I work. It might even be a requirement in all elementary schools in California.

The teacher left a three page history of the California missions to read. While they read the selections aloud in class, I explained some of the unfamiliar terminology like “adobe” and “blacksmithing”. They were then supposed to complete a six question worksheet for review.

If the 4th graders I had on Friday are any indication, I think it’s a wasted exercise because the comprehension skills of some 4th graders (I mean those in this particular class) seem to be lacking.

While a few seemed to be independently working to complete the worksheet there was a chorus of the rest who didn’t seem to have a clue.

Chorus: What are we supposed to do?
Reply: Read each question and find the answers to each question in the three pages we just read. (I thought it was obvious but you never know…)

Chorus: We don’t get it!
Reply: (exasperated…) “Ok. Let’s all do question #1 together”. I also have to coach them through numbers #2 through #4 but I stop helping on #5. There is NO reason they can’t find #5 on their own.

(click on images if you're blind as a bat like me...)

Chorus: “We can’t find the five things”
Reply: (again, exasperated…) Look on page 42, third paragraph.

Chorus: We can’t find the five things!
Reply: Ok, Let’s ALL re-read the last sentence, out loud, the third paragraph on page 42

As they got to the word blacksmithing, I held up my hand and started counting with fingers as they read each “skill” mentioned.

Chorus: So what are the five things?
Reply: (…standing there with my hand up, open palm out, five fingers spread).

Chorus: Can we color the pictures?
Reply: Sure, why not….


Sladed said...

It's scary, isn't it. And they'll be able to vote in a short 8 years.

Law and Order Teacher said...

So much for think for themselves. That's what happens when they been allowed to whine their way through their assignments. You obviously got them after they've learned their lessons well. Shame, shame.