I was truly hoping that drama would stay out of the classroom since I am dealing with young adults that dropped out of high school for various reasons. When I ask them what they did not like about high school, almost every single one mentions the drama!
Yesterday in class one of the tutors and I where trying to introduce a way to make math review more enjoyable by playing a game of math jeopardy. The class seemed all excited about doing so but it soon became an argument about everything else, with voices getting loud and everyone trying to talk at once. Talk about drama!
We quickly changed gears so that something could be accomplished but the incident left me wondering about how to do the fun stuff but leave the drama behind. I have a few ideas, some of which came from students, and I will try to do jeopardy again.
I have been so caught up in trying to find out the changes to the GED that I have not spent much time doing posts. I knew that New York (which is where I live) was not happy with the GED program and went “shopping” for another test to measure High School Completion that had the rigor that is needed to prepare students for college and the work force, as well as meet the cost restraints that the state has. The interesting part is that nothing was being passed on to many of us the the trenches in a timely manner. The change over to the new test was to be January 1st. I finally saw some example test questions in November and found out that any prep materials will not be released until early February. I am sure that many GED instructors were caught be surprise.
I feel that I am lucky in that I was aware that the new tests were being aligned with the Common Core State Standards. I am also a substitute teacher and work in a school district that has been working on making the change to Common Core for four years. Through my work in that district, I have a working knowledge of what Common Core is and resources for information. I, actually, started changing my GED classes to address some of Common Core back in September. I was and am still very concerned that the students will not be as willing to change their mind set about the test.
After working with my students and TEDS (see previous post for explanation) I added another “e”. The small “e” goes with the Topic and together they create the introduction for the essay. This was to help them remember that the evidence needs to be included in the topic but not with the amount of details that is needed in the body paragraphs.
My students are slowly seeing that it is easier to write an essay after doing TeEDS. It helps them to stay focus and include the support that they need to score high on the essay part of the GED test. I have a better idea of how successful they are in a couple of weeks after their next essay.
I came up with a mnemonic for how I teach my GED students to write the essay for the GED test.
T – Topic: This is where they would restate the topic that they are given on the test. They would also add any definitions that will help their reader understand that topic and their opinion. (1-3 sentences, depending on how many definitions needed)
E – Evidence: The evidence needs to support their opinion/ point of view on the topic. They need to have 2 – 3 pieces of evidence. (2-3 sentences)
D – Details: The details to support the evidence will actually be the body paragraphs of the essay. The students can include a brief sentence about the details in the introduction if they choose to but need to leave the bulk for the body paragraphs.
S – So What: The “so what” is the conclusion and should be a paragraph of its own. This is where the student writes their opinion and explains why it is important. It can be considered an interpretation of the topic.
I will be teaching this to my students. This will give me the best feed back.
When classes started, the director and I wanted to hold the students responsible for their choices as to attendance. We had put in place two sessions for the year, both about 14 weeks long, and that if any student missed 3 classes without an excuse they would have to wait until the next session to return. I stressed the importance of being on time as well. Things went well for the first month of classes but recently many of the students show up late. It has really started to be an issue. It is really hard to teach anything when there are students walking in every few moments.
After thinking about it and talking with a few people about what we might do to try to correct this issue, I came up the idea of combining three tardies of 30 minutes together and counting them as one unexcused absence. I asked one of the students what he thought about the idea. He actually came up with a better one. His idea was that instead of simply counting the three as one absence, give the offender a choice. The choice would be to either do a certain amount of homework by an assigned time or have the tardys count as an absence. I actually like that idea very much. I can assign enough homework to cover the amount of class time that was missed (and a little more).