Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Three Minutes of Joy

Since third grade started, the fast fifty have been the bane of my existence.  The kids get four minutes to do fifty problems. My daughter dreamed of seeing her work taped outside the classroom with the loopy big neat cursive of her teacher's praise, "Well done Faith" or some such.  She studied.  We did flash cards. We did videos to try and memorize the times tables.  We did practice tests. Most of the time, she had "U"s (unsatisfactory) or I for Incomplete.  The closest we got was a high "S" for satisfactory.  But to be on the wall in the four minute club, you had to miss five or fewer.
For a time, we thought the glasses would allow greater focus and improve performance, but we'd reached February and the times tables were now considered to be known facts.  So the test was now only three minutes.  The S's slipped back into U's and I's again as she perpetually left the sheet with 14 or more not completed plus about five actual errors. 

Because it is Spring Break, I have given her practice drills to prevent backsliding with the week off.  Yesterday, she did a four minute test and I peeked at 180 seconds.  She still had 8 left to complete and five she'd skipped and five I knew were wrong period. These practice tests were as trying for her as for me.  At the end of four minutes, she had five wrong and three she still had not tackled.  I'd feel like an ogre as I checked off the incorrect problems.

Today we began the big experiment.  I've still got my reservations about Ritalin.  I don't want her to think a pill will solve her problems, but a pill may have temporarily solved her problems.  At three minutes, she had five she had not answered but every answer she had put down, was correct. What's more, she knew she'd aced it.

"I feel smarter and stronger." she said.   Me too.

1 comment:

Natalie said...

Oh my I HATED those tests! And my parents worked with me like how you are and I still HATED those tests. I rarely got the answers wrong, but the time limit was silly to me. I can totally understand her frustration, but I hope it gets better.

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