There are hours of the day where I have no idea what I’m supposed to be doing. My team does a nice job of planning math and literacy. We have a set schedule with math and literacy assessments that are directly lined up with our math and literacy lessons.
But we also have blocks of time set aside for science and social studies. These do not have any common assessments and other than a vague topic, my team doesn’t plan those together. We decide that December is a good time of year to talk about “rocks and minerals” and that’s about it. Some of the other teachers like to say they have “good stuff” for our science unit, but rarely do they voluntarily share any of that “stuff.”
And social studies works a lot like the seasonal aisle at Wal-Mart. Last month I threw together some stuff on Pilgrims and Indians and this month I guess I’m covering different holidays.
I suppose on one hand it’s nice to have the freedom to be creative in my lesson planning, but on the other hand it’d be nice to have free time instead of planning everything the last minute.
Also, since we only take grades on the common assessments, I don’t take grades for science or social studies. I mean I try to incorporate our literacy skills into science and social studies and hopefully my students at least get practice reading during that time, but it feels wasteful to me.
I’m also not sure how to teach writing. I don’t get it. We’re supposed to be writing “realistic fiction” right now. I told my students they couldn’t use themselves in their stories because that’s not fictional, but they don’t seem to get it. I don’t get why I have to teach a certain type of fictional writing when most of my students can barely write a sentence to describe one thing during morning journal.
It’s frustrating because I feel like the goals for my students are unrealistic, and since my students are so varied academically, I’m not sure how I’m supposed to teach to the entire class. But, hey, that’s my job I guess.