Monday, September 20, 2010

You should always have a backup


Yes, you should always have a backup pair of shoes with you!!! Today during 6th period, I got up to answer a phone call and my shoe broke! They are the type of shoe that fits between the toe, but not flippies. I didn't know what to do, so to make it not noticeable, I played it off like my foot slid in my shoe because they were sweaty! I answered the phone call and then sat back down in my chair at the front of the class, trying not to have to do much to walk in them.

As soon as the bell rang, I poked my head into the room next door and grabbed a safety pin so that I could at least walk out to my car at the end of the day with no problem. I pinned them together, but spent 7th period teaching barefoot. Sadly, when I got home my shoes found a new home in the trash can.

I guess I can't really be surprised that they broke seeing as I have had them since I was at least a freshman in high school. They were just so practical and kind of comfy (not like the shoes made nowadays)! I suppose I will have to go shoe shopping now =)

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Surviving my first sick day

It's going around so get your flu shot!!!!

Last Thursday I woke up with a sore throat and thought this is no bueno!!! I took some medicine Thursday and Friday and thought lots of water and mucinex or dayquil and I will be good to go on Monday! That was not the case....

Monday morning I woke up to get in the shower and couldn't make it from the bed to the bathroom without feeling like I was going to pass out. I was pouring sweat. It had felt as if I had run circles around the house in the July heat. There was no way I was going to be able to make it to school.

I panicked! I didn't know any substitutes and didn't have any sub plans prepared. I went online to the substitute website through Orange County to request a sub. Not more than 10 minutes had passed before someone picked it up. I was relieved.

Now I just had to get a hold of the teacher next door to me and my department head to make sure the sub got my plans. Thankfully they got the plans to him and then I went back to bed! 

I had high hopes for my students behavior, but this was a very much unplanned absence. My expectations were for them to behave as if I was there and to do the work they were asked to do. I also expected them to not cause any problems....well.....that didn't so much happen. Of the 6 classes I have, 2 of them behaved and did their work. I was very pleased with them, but for the rest of them I was disappointed. When I returned on Tuesday,  I made sure that they clearly understood what I expected if I ever had to be out and let them know that I will not tolerate bad behavior.

Hopefully this Thursday and Friday will be better while I am at a workshop for FCAT writing. This upcoming week is Homecoming. I will share the adventures at the end of the week!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

My Classroom!

   Even though it was a short week, it seemed to be a slow week. Monday was a welcomed holiday as it was Labor Day. Tuesday was picture day and since everything is done through the English classes, I couldn't cover much material. Wednesday we touched on parts of speech. It was mostly a review for the students, but I think some of it was a little new to them. Thursday the classes took their vocabulary quiz. I give them the whole time because some students take longer than others. And then it was FRIDAY!

  Friday was the best day of the week. I say that because of how the class went not because it lead into the weekend. We talked about the poem "Mother to Son" by Langston Hughes.

Mother to Son

by Langston Hughes

Well, son, I’ll tell you:
Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.
It’s had tacks in it,
And splinters,
And boards torn up,
And places with no carpet on the floor—
But all the time
I’se been a-climbin’ on,
And reachin’ landin’s,
And turnin’ corners,
And sometimes goin’ in the dark
Where there ain’t been no light.
So boy, don’t you turn back.
Don’t you set down on the steps
’Cause you finds it’s kinder hard.
Don’t you fall now—
For I’se still goin’, honey,
I’se still climbin’,
And life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.
        The mother is basically telling her son my life has been rough and I never gave up. I kept pushing through and doing my best with what I had! Her advice to her son is to keep pushing on and to never turn your back.  I turned this into a life lesson for the class. We talked about times they complained or questioned something in their life and their parents turned it into a lesson. I wanted to show them that not everyone has a smooth, perfect life. There are always obstacles to overcome.  After our discussion, I had them write a letter to themselves giving advice on how to do well in class, in life and how they could handle a hard situation. I will give them back at the end of the year to reflect on.

For the last ten minutes of class, I held a small competition. The task was to see how many words you can make from the word ELEMENTARY. The winning class came up with 65 words. I told them I would bring in a prize for the winning class but I think I will bring something in for everyone!
 I promised awhile ago that I would post pictures of my classroom! Well here they are finally!

*You can see that I don't use the overhead lights and have tons of lamps! I feel that it creates a home-y feel to the class and the students seem to really like it! It's also because I hate the florescent lights! 

The courtyard over looking the balcony walkway

My technology corner

Picnic tables outside of the cafeteria
The door to my classroom

Friday, September 3, 2010

Summer reading, had me a blast

WOOOHOOO Friday and the long weekend!!!! =)

I have successfully finished week two of teaching! Most days were good, some trying, others frustrating, but overall I like how the week went. I put in some long hours and two of the five days I was at school until at least 5:00 p.m.

I am happy to see that summer reading projects are finished! They were due today! The premise behind summer reading is for the students to read OVER the summer. Nine times out of ten that does not and will not ever happen and they will swear up and down that they had no idea about it! I gave out my project list within the first three days of class. I think it is safe to say I have about ten to fifteen students who have extensions, but everyone else had to turn theirs in today and for each day late it is ten points off.

Here are the options they had:
Summer Reading Assessment: DUE SEPT. 3rd

“Summer reading, had me a blast.”
“Summer reading happened so fast.”
“I met a book I’m crazy for…”

Secondary Character Perspective: Write five one page journal/diary entries from a secondary character's perspective during the course of your reading and then to share your entries with group members. Think deeply and carefully about what this character wants, what motivates him/her, what inhibits him/her, etc.

Letter-Writing between Two Characters: Write 3-5 imaginary letters between two characters in your novel. They should incorporate main conflicts, character motivations and eventual outcome(s).

Alphabet Scheme: For each of the letters of the alphabet, choose something from the book that starts with that letter. This can be a person, place, or thing. Then, write a brief explanation of the significance of this person, place, or thing was to the story. Put only one letter per page, but make them two-sided pages so it will read like a book. Add drawings/artwork on each page, or find passages from the book to quote and attach. Type these. Make a cover for the book and bind it together.
A is for...............
B is for...............

Persuasive Essay: Convince someone to either read or not read the book. Be sure to thoroughly explain your opinions and be able to defend your position. Do NOT simply write “Don’t read the book because it is boring.”

Interview: Write ten open ended interview questions for the protagonist. Then have the character respond in their voice.

Board Game: Create a board game based on events and characters in the book you read. By playing your game, members of the class should learn what happened in the book. Your game must include the following: a game board, a rule sheet and clear directions, events and characters from the story on cards or on a game board.

Add a Scene: Write a scene that could have happened in the book you read but didn’t. After you have written the scene, explain how it could have changed the outcome of the book.

I tend to pick more creative assignments as I am a creative person! I think next year, I will make the students do a writing assignment the second day of school on their summer reading book and be done with it!

The other thing I wasn't thrilled with this week was the vocabulary quiz I gave. I have only graded one class at this point and they were NOT good. I gave the students the exact definitions that would be on the quiz, but as the saying goes, you can lead a horse to water but it doesn't mean it will drink. Maybe this week will be better, we will see!

East River has a program called Falcon Guardians. Teachers can "adopt" a varsity football player in order to show support to our student athletes as well as school spirit. I "adopted" one and he is an extremely nice kid. I am looking forward to getting to know him as well as cheer him on at the games on Friday nights!

I am getting to know more and more about the students and some of them are quite the characters! I look forward to helping them grow as learners throughout the year.