As easy as 7, 2, 10

We've started our wonderful (NOT) math program. This is the 3rd year we have had our program and I am liking it more and more. But I have also searched high and low for supplemental materials to make it work.

Our first "topic" is on the numbers 1 - 12. I take for granted that the kids come in and know their numbers, at least to 10. All my kids can count to 10, but that's as far as their number knowledge goes. I have many kids who know their numbers, go to 100 and are ready for the nitty gritty in math. But, OMG! I have 3 poor little girls who have no clue what the numbers are. Again, they can count, but it's just saying the numbers. When you ask them to write the numbers, they struggle. One little girl can't get past 2. She doesn't know what the numbers are without having them written down and counting/pointing to each number each. and. every. time. My math lessons are stretching forever! I would love to pull her aside and work with her, I just have to find the time to do it. I would love to be able to stay with her at recess, but our recess are short and spread out, that it's all I can do to make it to the office for my few minute break to hit the restroom (with all the other female teachers! Yeah, 2 stalls and 40 something females - not so good planning there!).

I never thought of this first math unit as hard or difficult until today. I was frustrated and I know my numbers. I can imagine these poor kids who don't know their numbers. Makes me sad for them. Then I start to feel inadequate. I will probably be awake at 2 am trying to figure out how to work with them more. And to make it worse, they are also in my lowest reading group. Double whammy for them. And 2 of the 3 of them are only English speaking, so they don't have another language to overcome.

This is the frustrating part for me. There are so many standards and time restraints we are up against. If I could just spend some time away from the curriculum to help them, they could do well. But it's push, push, push, drag, drag, drag. I think back to when I was in school and it seemed like there was time. Maybe my memory of being 6 was different. I don't know. It sucks for these little kids. They are already behind and facing an uphill battle, 6 days into school.

I'm at a Title 1 school, so you think there would be help, but there isn't. With a new principal, office staff, etc, things are freakin' chaos. We have classroom instructional assistants, but they are few and far between. Not everyone gets aide time, and people who do gets aides are too bitchy to share. I've had an aide once, and it was because another teacher felt sorry for us. One teacher, the queen bitch of the grade level, had an aide all last week for 3 hours a day! Me, 25 minutes 1 day. I'll take what I can get, but come on. Share the wealth!

Enough of my ranting. Time to go do dishes so I can sit and look over their work for toady before I pass out from exhaustion. The beginning of school with 108 degree temps and humidity is kicking my butt! I will welcome fall when we get it...in November!

1 comment:

  1. Hmm... working with students who are far behind can be difficult.

    Have you tried math centers? I think differentiated instruction could be your best bet. Perhaps schedule one or two days where you can work with the struggling girls in a small group, while the rest of the class works on something more their speed.

    I know many K-1 teachers have tubs with manipulatives for the students to work on independently. The rest of the class could even do number worksheets with coloring a picture. While the other students do that, you can spend 15 or 20 minutes (or maybe even 10, if you have time constraints) with the girls and catch them up to speed. I know those few minutes can be very valuable. Once they understand numbers, they can work in the centers, too!

    Good luck!