SOUTH BRONX SCHOOL: Flamingos Are Not Friends of Kindergartners

Monday, December 28, 2015

Flamingos Are Not Friends of Kindergartners

So how is my ATRing going? Not bad, but the bloom is a bit off the flower.

I have been on the same school in District 10 for the last week and a half. I know the school well from my District 10 days. My first paid teaching gig as a sub was there back in June of 1995. I sent thirty 5th graders to the closet at once to get their stuff at the end of the day. Whoops!

But it has been uneventful. My first day there, on December 14th, I covered a 3/4 bridge class. I was lucky. The teacher had not left any lesson plans but there were two great paras in the class with me and without them I would have been lost.

I had this same class on the 16th and in between covered a 4th grade class for the day. The 4th grade class was awesome as well. Again, no lesson plans, but 3 students stayed with me during my 1st period period prep to show me where there are. In fact the principal walked in when they students were working independently during Math and looked around and left.

I clustered Thursday and covered another 4th grade ICT class (Alone) Friday. Another awesome para and another great class.

So last week I was in the class where there actually is a vacancy. It's a Kindergarten ICT class with no general ed teacher. The first day was good. It was a field trip to the Swedish Cottage in Central Park to see a marionette show. By the time we got back it was lunch and then prep and the day basically over. Not so much Tuesday and Wednesday.

The teacher is very good but she just can't, or just won't, remember my name. I am referred to as the "other teacher." I try to help out as best I can, but I am basically on my own more or less. It is kind of an awkward situation, but I am putting my best foot forward.

On Wednesday the teacher had a meeting with one of the AP's to discuss her observation and left me to teach her lesson plan. Now mind you this is an ICT K class. The title of the lesson was;
"Understanding Information in Fiction and Nonfiction Story Elements--Non-Fiction Writing"

The teaching point (Which goes up on the board);
"Students will identify information found in the table of contents page by citing evidence"

Can someone please explain to me the purpose of a teaching point for 5 year olds?

I am in no way blaming the teacher for this, in fact she is an awesome teacher and I am sure this directive comes from above, but WTF?

And more WTF. Why in K are we teaching them not only informational reading (I know, I know) but on top of that, "table of contents," "glossary," and that bold words mean the information is important.

The name of the book is "Flamingos Our Feathered Friends". But I read the book to them remind them to pay attention to the questions on the page and the bold words so they know this book is telling them about flamingos.

Check out some of the bold words that are in the glossary;
Guess which two words I learned on that day. The same two words a five year old will not retain. By the way, did you know that flamingos are born grey?

This just seems too much for K students. Even tropical weather is too much especially when I have no idea if they have previous knowledge of it.

The independent work was for the students to go back to the tables, find an informational book and point out some features of informational texts to one another at their tables. It was differentiated that the middle group will identify topics, and the lowest group will identify the difference between non-fiction and fiction.

Again, this is not an indictment of the teacher, but rather the dunderheads that force fed us the Common Core crud. What happened to the days of KWL charts, then reading the book to the class, and just having fun. Any non-fiction book can be informational, no? I read the Billy Martin biography a few months ago, it was full of information.

K students arr sponges. They will soak up everything. We must stop making them grow up too fast.

Oh, one more thing. A student was very thoughtful and brought me, as well as his teacher and the para, a box of chocolate on Wednesday


Santana said...

I know how you feel...the teachers at that school are basically left on their own...hardly any help from administration, no support...

Mr. Hinesley said...

Hey Zuck,
Hang in there, man. They are going to give you a ton of jobs that make you say WTF and hope that you quit. Don't give them the satisfaction. My Favorite Billy Martin story is the one where him and Mantle shot the cow.
Keep pushing forward.