Friday, May 16, 2014

The big finish

I can't believe that it has been two months since I have written. I have so many things that have gone on this year that there will need to be lots of reflection and journaling as we wrap up. After today I will finish the last of my final exams. I am glad to put this school year in the books because it has probably been one of the most challenging ones I have had so far.

Trying to change the culture with Juniors that were able to skate by and get good grades last year has been a huge challenge. Some of my students really rose to the challenge, but too many were happy with mediocre grades and middle of the road work throughout the year. No where was this more apparent than in the final exam project.

For the Spanish III final exam, students completed the "Choice" projects that we did last year. On the advice of students last year, I moved this from being a regular project and made it the final exam. Many of my students this year did use the class time to do the research necessary on their topic of choice, but when it came time for the final presentation, it seemed like the majority of them were still put together the night before. I even had a few students that moved to English when they got stuck presenting.

I love the choice project because students do get the opportunity to work on something that is interesting to them. This year I had a wide variety of topics. Between all of the classes I had environment, math, culture, food, sports, music, etc. I have to say I was so proud of the kiddos that did math. They went over different vocab, how to do problems, the history of math. It was awesome!

My grades were a little lower this year than in previous years, and although my students made good strides in increasing their proficiency, they are behind the proficiency levels that I have seen in the first two years of my flip. I believe some of this is a result of the lackadasical Spanish II, but I also think that I missed too much school this year to be as effective as I normally am. So, I am cutting back on my presenting for next year and cutting back on my Student Council duties to be more available for my students next year.

I have a ton of new goals for next year, but they need to marinate a little more before I write them down. I hope all of you are enjoying your last days (or month) of school. ;)

On a personal note, my oldest is graduating this year, and I am looking forward to it and dreading it at the same time. It is hard to imagine my daily life without him in it. So, I am still running around like crazy for the next week as we prepare for the influx of family.