Saturday School Boo Hoo and Area!

I hope you enjoyed your Dr. Shoosh Day today! There was a lot of Shooshiness at our school, but in third grade, we don’t really get to do anything.

I do have Saturday School tomorrow, though, so there you go.
I know, I didn’t even do anything wrong. And I’m still being punished.

We do Saturday School for kids who are struggling to prepare the The Test. That’s really what it is.
We do get paid.
We don’t HAVE to do it, but we kind of HAVE to do it, because if we don’t, somebody else has to work with our kids, and what creep dumps their kids on somebody else and doesn’t show up? AND if the kid doesn’t pass, it’s like, “And she didn’t do Saturday School and let him fail?!”

This year, we also have additional Saturday School days to address “Summer School.” Why? Cause there’s not enough $$ for summer school this year.
Personally, I think Summer School is a bunch of bologna
(Have you noticed it’s not satisfying to spell it ‘bologna’? It feels better baloney).
It’s baloney the way we do it, anyway.

It’s, like, ten half-days of a super structured curriculum.
But let’s stop and think about why kids are in summer school…..
1. They can’t read.
2. They can’t focus.
3. They can’t take a test.

If they can’t take a test, maybe the curriculum will help. Probably not. Test-taking strategies might.
If they can’t focus, a boring worksheet curriculum won’t help at all, for sure.
If they can’t read, the only thing that will help is reading instruction focused at filling in the gaps they have. Not a boring worksheet curriculum written at grade level.
And ten days? We couldn’t do it in 180. 10 isn’t gonna make a dent.
SO it’s baloney.

This is what we did this week. Stuff like this MIGHT help. For math, at least. For reading, I think I already addressed it in my “Guided Reading” vegetables or whatever post.
So that’s my rant.

This week, we were working with area. In our Math Notebooks, we did a little writing about area, including my area song.
Super easy.
To the tune of “The Farmer in the Dell.”

Area is inside.
Area is inside.
Count the squares inside the shape
cause area is inside.

I know, right? It all makes sense now.

It addresses the standard for third graders where I live – they have to be able to count up square units including half-units. But you could easily change the third line to something, “Find the space inside the shape,” or something else.

We, by which I mean, my student teacher, (oh, the blessings of someone else to crawl around the floor) taped off various areas in the classroom using masking tape. We labeled these as Area Stations, A-E. Some were simple arrays, and some were more complicated, using half-squares that had to be combined.

The kids circulated through the stations in teams, sketched, and recorded the area of each shape on the output side of their notebooks. Yes, graph paper would have been ideal.
Shocker: I was not prepared. So we did without. 
Everybody was ok.

We kept it simple because that’s where they are at this stage of the concept.
The best part? Kids could stand in the squares, move through the squares, count them by touching. Their little fingers could DO something. And they got to ‘help’ each other – I LOVE to hear kids actually helping and demonstrating, rather than just telling an answer.
Verbalizing thought processes=learning πŸ™‚

They got a kick out of it, it was suuuuuuppppper easy and everybody learned something! πŸ™‚ Of course, the last step in their notebooks was to write about what they learned.

My Jamie O’Rourke and the Big Potato Literacy Pack! YAY!
This is why I did a pack for both Jamie O’Rourkes: I found my Pooka book first, so I did it first. Then, I found my Big Potato book, and thought…. yup, I’m doing this one. So the week before Spring Break (a.k.a. Thank God Week), we’re going to do some work with the Big Potato book, but either one would be cool.  You can get it at TPT or Teacher’s Notebook! 


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  1. Love, love, love!! Thanks for the song! I'm collecting songs that teach because my students always love to sing! πŸ™‚

    I teach second, so our curriculum dictates perimeter. I have those little sweeties who choose NOT to follow classroom procedures and protocol and end up losing some of their recess. Well, I have escorted them around the "perimeter" of the playground the first time and for the amount of time they must pay, they are required to "Walk the Perimeter!" I think all my students will know perimeter because those who behave don't want to walk the perimeter while those who misbehave do it enough that they'll definitely know perimeter. πŸ˜€

    There's more than one way to skin that cat!


    Stapler’s Strategies for Sizzlin' Second Graders!

  2. I used to do Saturday School a long time ago and I felt the same way you do now! Just keep pushing through! πŸ™‚ Love the area ideas.

    You mentioned testing in this post. I just posted a blog about some ways to get the kids motivated for testing. We have the writing test next week :(. Come on over and check it out. There's a lot more to come.


  3. Hi Chrissy:
    I loved everything about this post!
    I think we have quite similar feelings about teaching kids these days.

    And I really like your area idea. Our room is too small (we're already tripping over each other), but I think I might be able to pull this off in the auditorium.

    I hope it's okay if I borrow your song too. That's a good one!

    Thanks again, Chrissy, for commenting on my blog woes. Posts like yours today one remind me how lucky I am to have so many opportunities to learn from other teachers–while drinking coffee in my pajamas… This beats our PD days any day!

    Finding JOY in 6th Grade

  4. I hope Saturday school wasn't too bad! I love following your blog. I've awarded you the One Lovely Blog award! Have a great weekend!!! πŸ™‚

  5. I feel your pain. Ages ago I signed up to teach summer school and came to the same realization you did. If they didn't get it after 180 days of school, 15 more days was not going to make one iota of difference. Plus, there were always some who were there because it was cheaper for mom than getting a sitter, which meant I couldn't even focus on those who needed it the most since I also had to challenge the top ones! I lasted two summers…

    Hang in there!

    Might modify your area idea for second grade. Looks like fun!

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