Today, I held my first Saturday Study Session of the year. Yup, 2.5 weeks into the school year. And you know what? I had 13 kids show up to talk about math in a meaningful way. We talked about their need to improve upon their skills of adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing. But then I forced them to do it on the calculator. I know there are teachers out there who are screaming because I allowed them the use of the technology. BUT, I am getting them to think at a higher level because I am not holding them back on previous skills. And, they are buying into it. <evil laughter here... muhahaha> They are tired of getting bad grades when they know the concepts, but their skills are weak. Don't worry, I still do work on improving their skills at arithmetic. We will keep shooting for higher understanding and improve their foundation at the same time.
When they left an hour later, they all thanked me. I even had a parent come in to personally thank me and another email me. I secretly hope that math has now become their favorite course this year.
Now... I need to figure out how to help the other 20 that really should have been here too.