Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Midterm Preparation

Midterms are next week, and I'm pretty worried about my 9th graders. This is their first time going through a major testing piece, and they don't really know how to study. I've been trying to break it apart for them, and every night have been assigning a separate task to study, and exactly how I want them to study. Today, I decided to give a "practice midterm quiz" of ten possible sample questions from the midterm.

A lot of the kids did well, but enough did horribly to make me send out emails to about 60 students and parents this afternoon. I created a form email where I plugged in relevant information, and just sent it out; it ended up taking only about fifteen minutes.

One of the greatest uses of my time at the beginning of the school year is plugging in all of my parents' emails (or, at least, all of them who have email) into my gmail account. It's so quick and easy to use, and I try to send out weekly updates about what the students are doing in the classes. I also try to spit out quick emails to struggling students' parents. I think it helps create a cachet of good will from parents, and it's something that I remind myself of when I hear colleagues having lots and lots of parent conflicts. I've had a few (one parent this year called me a "snake in the grass", I kid you not, but it was to another teacher and I am not currently teaching the student), but I try not to take it personally when it does happen, as rare as it is. I genuinely like to talk to parents and want to use them to my advantage as a teacher, with things like the email blast I sent out today. I bet these kids start to study.

Tomorrow, I'm having my baseball pre-season informational meeting. Very excited.


A BCPSS Parent said...

The City Schools web calendar says mid-terms (and associated early dismissals) are the week after next (posted as 1/20-1/22, but given schools are closed on 1/20 I was figuring 1/21-1/23). Is that in error?

Teach Baltimore said...

Our school is doing it the week earlier because we correctly predicted that we would have Inauguration off and couldn't fit out exams into a 3-day week. But I think most schools are sticking to 1/21-1/23.

Anonymous said...

Check with me later on if you are using easy grade pro for your gradebook. There is a way to enter email addresses into the student info section and then easily send PRs or lists of missing work that you may already know how to print out as hard copies.

BTW, did they say what KIND of snake? Many are quite beneficial and vital parts of a healthy ecosystem!

-The Chaplain