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Wichita fourth-grade class misses homework goal, will start over, teacher says

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Monday, Oct. 21, 2013, at 7:06 p.m.
  • Updated Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2013, at 6:23 a.m.

A group of Wichita fourth-graders trying to complete all their homework for 100 consecutive days “hit a speed bump” on Monday, their teacher said.

After 32 days in a row, two students did not have their homework completed Monday, so the class is starting back at zero.

“It was depressing,” said Brianna Falvey, the Colvin Elementary School teacher who challenged her class with the homework goal last month.

“We had a long discussion about how when one person on a team doesn’t do their job, it affects the entire group,” she said via e-mail. “We discussed how obstacles and mistakes happen and that people have two roads to take: Whine and give up, or put your game face on and try again.”

Falvey’s homework challenge had galvanized her fourth-graders and others at the school in Planeview, one of Wichita’s poorest neighborhoods, where nearly 98 percent of students are from low-income families. If the class hits 100 days in a row with everyone turning in homework, the teacher had pledged to dye her hair orange and wear a prom dress to school.

On Monday, she said, two students did not have their homework. One cried at his desk.

The other student, a girl, stood up and said, “I want to tell everyone how sorry I am for not doing it,” Falvey said in the e-mail. She said the student explained that “we spent much of the time in the hospital this week with my cousin, so I didn’t do it. I hate myself for not getting done and letting all of you down.”

A classmate stood up and said, “Thank you so much for telling us the truth and for apologizing. It must have taken a lot of courage for you to tell us all that,” Falvey said.

“To be honest, the conversation … was really awesome,” she said. “Taking ownership of mistakes, expressing how they feel. … I reiterated that although we are disappointed and upset, we are not mad. Nor do we not believe in them anymore, nor do people in the community not believe in them.”

The class counted the days left this school year and realized they could still reach 100 days by the end of the year.

“I told them it is up to them to come together as a group and decide what path they are going to follow,” Falvey said. “We told them how proud we are of them for even getting to 32 days in a row and that they are going to have to kick it up a notch and start over.

“It will be interesting to see.”

Reach Suzanne Perez Tobias at 316-268-6567 or stobias@wichitaeagle.com. Follow her on Twitter: @suzannetobias.

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