Over the past few weeks I have been drowning in paper. It overflowed in mountains on my desk, spewed across tables and empty spaces on the floor. I became extremely overwhelmed.
Luckily, my mom came to the rescue and helped me file and clean it all up. Now that I can see my desk again, I've been thinking about how I got to this point...
At first I started thinking I wasn't using enough technology, but that's not the case. I looked at all the worksheets I haven't even graded yet and I realized I had fallen victim to giving busy work for the sake of managing my class. Most of the work isn't meaningful. There are no fun projects to show their parents, only page after page of barely graded worksheets.
So the question is, what do I do now? The test is next week which means no projects till afterward, but I'm also scared of not giving them work to do because what will I do instead to keep them busy?
I hate that I've turned into this kind of teacher. I read about it all the time and I know better, but the reality is that my class can't handle down time, and reading a book for 20 minutes is still a struggle for many, and it's March! Writing a story is always super quick with them, even when I teach them how to add detail and dialogue. Often times they either finish their assignments in 5-10 minutes or they don't get it so they don't do it. Then I'm sending them off to do a worksheet, that only a portion of them know how to do correctly.
I really would love to figure out a project based learning activity that I could try for the end of this year. Then I can learn from it and be much better at it next year. Or even if I don't do big projects back to back, I still need to find ways to keep my students doing meaningful work and not just piling them with worksheets. After all, it not only sucks for them, but it's a headache for me!
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