Today I did something I don't like doing... I forced kids to stay in for recess. I said, "If you didn't understand the math homework from last night, and I can look at your work and tell that, you won't get to help with the lower elementary field day this afternoon." Slowly, after rewording that a few times and the students figuring out I was serious, they trickled over from the "go out to recess line" to the "stay in line."
I felt like I was holding them captive, against their will, (except for those few who decided to come in before I made the "threat") as we looked over the assignment again, I did some reteaching, and then students worked or reworked the problems. See, I give the answers to the math homework so they can get feedback automatically as to if they are doing it correctly instead of waiting until it's checked by me. They can see right away if they "get it" or not.
One might say that you shouldn't give students work outside of the classroom until you are sure they can do it on their own, and I agree with that. But I get this response from many of them in class....I actually have this Baby Blues comic posted on my bulletin board. We work problems on individual white boards in class, and they seem to get it. Does it just fall out of their heads when they leave? Retention is not the big question I'm struggling with here.
The big question I'm struggling with and have been for a while is: WHY DON'T STUDENTS CARE? Why won't they come in to get help? When is it my job to force them to come in so they get help? When is it their turn to step up and take responsibility for their own learning?
I know I'm dwelling on the negative here...I should celebrate the kids who came in on their own. Today I did not do that, and that is something I regret and will learn from...but with 8 days of school left, I'm kind of at my wits' end.