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Home : 2002 : Jan : 31

    By Carolyn

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    I think apathy in my fifth grade class has occurred for a variety of reasons, all of which I tune into. They have included:

    1. Too much repetition of a certain type of work task. My kids got bored with daily journal writing, so I changed it a bit. One day, I had them create a shape book. They were still writing their journal entry, only they weren't doing it in the way they usually did it. Another example: They became apathetic with the morning DOL. I changed my approach to this, and they responded more eagerly. I guess the idea here is to make changes to their "menu" from time to time.

    2. Time of year. I found a great deal of apathy, even misbehavior just before Christmas. All that Christmas cheer, plus the promise of an extended vacation, made them very apathetic. I did all but beat them over the head to get them to learn. It was a losing battle. I heard too many cries of: "Do we have to do this?" "Can't we do something fun today?" Hey, we do have standards to cover, Christmas vacation or not and your vacation doesn't begin until December 19, I told them. I am also prepared for the same apathy near spring break, and in the month of May. (Do we have to learn anymore, now that testing is over?)

    3. Lack of parent involvement. I send home weekly reports to parents, plus the kids' test papers to sign off on. I can always tell which parents are the most involved with their children. These children fail a test, and their parents ground them or punish them in another way. The child comes back to school with the resolve to do better. The child who doesn't get this at home just doesn't care. Sadly, I have a few apathetic ones who need a good kick in the pants by supportive parents. I just wish all kids had parents who cared.

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