Archive for category Educator
Gone like a freight train,
Gone like yesterday,
Gone like a soldier from the Civil War,
Gone like a ’59 Cadillac,
Like all the good things,
That ain’t never coming back,
She’s gone, gone, gone, gone,
Except, well, I’m coming back.
Which this song may well be saying since it has the nice use of a double negative there at the end. I suppose, technically, ain’t never coming back does mean I’ll be coming back? Right?
I have a teacher’s workshop, for an entire week, get a weekend off, then I have another three days. And this all takes place in a town about four hours away from here. Which interferes with Vacation Bible School and causes all sorts of babysitting mishaps. Not to mention a whole horde of problems. Like messing up my entire summer vacation! But I’m not bitter….
So I’m gone.
I have posts ready to go up each day, so I’ll have posts here. I just won’t be able to moderate comments. If you comment and it doesn’t show up, I promise, as soon as I’m back on Saturday, I’ll get your comments up!! I am not ignoring or deleting you! Well, unless you are spammy!
See ya later!
My six and seven year old students never fail to amuse me. I thought you might enjoy some of the tidbits from my classroom…
We recently did a unit on our state, Mississippi. I always think it sad when kids don’t know information about where they live. And it’s common at this age to confuse country, county, state, city, etc.
So, I was trying to see what my students already knew. I was pretty impressed that I had a one kid who knew Haley Barbour was our governor. He also knew George W. Bush was our president (He even took pictures with him after the hurricane and brought them for show and tell.) Still, I really didn’t expect anyone to know our mayor’s name was Brent Warr. I just expected silence after that question….Heck I had to look that one up. Shameful, I know.
“Does anyone know the mayor of Gulfport?”
“I do! I do!” says the same kid who knew the president’s name and the governor’s name. This boy is pretty bright, and since he knew the other questions I assumed he had really politically minded parents who deemed it worthy to keep him up to date on politicians. It could happen. I saw a girl like that on Primetime Live or something like that while at a restaurant once. Maybe this little boy was like that…
“Okay, J. Who is it?”
“Oh. I know this. I know this. I saw it on the news. It’s…it’s … George Clooney!”
The problem now is that obviously George Clooney seems to be a more memorable name than Brent Warr. Every time I ask this question, a whole two weeks later, some kid manages to remember that George Clooney is our mayor…er, except that he isn’t.
And more on Mississippi …
I asked my students if any of them knew the capital of Mississippi. Many excitedly waved their hands around, so pleased they knew the answer…M! The capital of Mississippi is M!!
Today is my last day of freedom. Tomorrow, work begins for another ten months.
Not that today was especially free…I spent hours at the bank, hours in my classroom, and hours in the grocery store. But, in a way, there was freedom. I chose which errand to do first. I could have skipped any errand and completed them tomorrow. It was still full of choices I made.
Tomorrow, I get a schedule that I have no say in. I am told activities I must participate in.
I love teaching. I’m not dreading going back. I’m actually looking forward to it! I’m just going to miss the freedom that comes with summer. The daily decisions that involve what time I get up, how long I may dawdle over breakfast, and how long I can wear my pajamas. Whether or not I can read an entire book, watch a movie after lunch, or actually do something productive like clean my house or grocery shop.
Well, wish me luck!
P.S. My classroom looks so cool! I’m lovin’ it! I’ll post pictures sometime this week.
They are their own special group of guys. They are instantly recognizable inside the public school around the end of July and early August. You see them hauling large stacks of books, building bookshelves, and screwing pocket charts into the concrete block walls. All while managing to hold down their own jobs.
And my husband is part of that group. I’m not so sure he knew what he was getting into when he married me. That first year, when we were engaged, I wasn’t very demanding. I was much more concerned about my upcoming wedding than getting things done in my classroom. But, well, I have no upcoming wedding anymore, and I’m all into my classroom again. The last two summers, Josh is finding out what it means to be married to a teacher.
“Do you think you could help me hang a dry-erase board on that wall?”
“I really need this rack screwed into the wall above the board.”
“Oh yeah. I volunteered you to help hang book bag hooks in the hall in our building. PTA agreed to pay for them for us if we had them installed. The husbands of the other teachers are all helping. I said you would too. I know it’s Saturday and your day off. You don’t mind do you?”
“Is it possible to get these screws that some other teacher, years ago, put in the wall here? They are in the way of the cork board I want there for my art displays.”
“Oh. I couldn’t figure out how to put this shelf together. And I don’t have a hammer. Could you do it please?”
“Let me show you this shelf in another teacher’s class. Do you think you could make me one that looks just like that? I like it.”
Yep. They are good and important people. And no one even knows about them. I thought it was high time to give them some long deserved credit!
Thank you teacher’s husbands! And thanks Josh, for helping me out in my classroom!
We have tons of books at our school that people from all over the counrty donated after Hurricane Katrina last year. Most of the books are used children’s books of all sorts. We’ve found lots of really great ones (my daughter ended up with about twenty of the old hardback Nancy Drew books). The thing is, the pile of books is truly neverending!!
So they have been stored in the gym. Every week or so the P.E. teachers let students go pick one out for themselves. My students will come back delighted with their books (many of the students I teach do not have books at home.) So far, all the books I’ve seen have been appropriate, if not the best literature in the world.
Today, however, one of the girls in my class came back with this book.
Yes, you read that correctly. Militia Movement in America. Really, I’m sure it’s a bit much for a first grader.
(This book is technically a children’s book, recommended for grades 7 and up. But that doesn’t make it any less strange to me!)
Oh! I had no idea how tired I would be when I started back to work! School is going really well….don’t feel sorry for me. It’s just wearing me out!
But I do have a few bits and pieces to share! Just little things that have been going on around here that I find interesting, amusing, or alarming.
I encourage my students say the blessing before lunch each day. (I know….doesn’t happen too much in schools, does it?) I have the student of the day either say the blessing or choose a volunteer if they do not want to say it. They love it!
I’ve mentioned before that my style of worship is not exactly charismatic. So, that is probably why I find this story so endearing.
This sweet little seven year old in my class was the student of the day. When I asked her if she would like to say the blessing or choose someone, she looked at me very seriously and said, “I think I can do it.”
She then raised her arms into the air and with all the passion that little body could muster she said,” God is great, God is good. Let us thank him for our food. By his hands, we are fed. Thank you God for daily bread! Amen!”
My eight year old daughter is a behavior problem it seems. I asked her teacher how she was doing and she told me that the best instructions Shiloh follows is when she is told to get out a book and read when you are done with your work. She then said that she has to physically touch Shiloh for her to hear anything else after that.
She has been in trouble two or three times this year for reading when she was supposed to be doing some other task. It’s not that she’s intentionally not completing other tasks….it’s just that when she’s reading she doesn’t hear anything else.
I can’t decide if this is a bad thing or not. I guess it could definately be worse!
Tommorrow I go to the doctor for the three hour gestational diabetes test. My fingers are crossed that I pass. I’ve never failed the one hour test before, so this will be my first time to ever take it.
I’ve had to be on an interesting diet for the last three days. It’s incredibly high-carb and believe it or not was actually hard for me to do.
The idea of having to eat a certain amount of sugar, desserts, and bread products just didn’t appeal to me. All of a sudden I wanted meat, meat, meat. Any other time….the high starches wouldn’t bother me. I think I’m just rebellious.
Tonight I was cooking a chocolate mousse cake. (I needed two dessert servings!! ) My daughter was reading in her bedroom. My son, had already been sent to bed (he destroyed an entire bag of kitty chow…naughty little boy! ) She came out of her room and said, “Something smells good. It smells like brownies!”
I just looked at her, smiling. “May I please lay on the couch to read? I want to smell that smell even better!”
Josh thinks this is typical girl behavior. Don’t guys ever fantasize about chocolate?
My son is convinced that if he gets a blue smiley face on his daily folder, he is going to go to jail. He misunderstood something his teacher told him and lives in fear of the blue smiley face. His teacher was horrified when I told her this and wanted to clear up the misunderstanding.
I however, did not want her to do this. It was quite helpful all weekend telling Landon that if he didn’t do what he was supposed to do, I would give him a blue smiley face. His big blue eyes would get so wide.
He even told me one day that he couldn’t wait to go to heaven. When I asked why he said because there was no school in heaven. This surprised me, as my son is absolutely in love with school, his teacher, his classmates, and all things schoolie!
“I thought you liked school.”
“Oh, I do. I love school. I just don’t want to get a blue smiley face.”
Maybe I am an evil mother!
I was reading a book about different fruits and vegetables to my class. I was telling the students that apricots were first grown in China. A little girl raises her hand and I ask what she wants.
“I’ve been to China,” she says.
“Really?” I ask. I have had children confused about these things before so I wasn’t so sure she really had been. So I ask, “What for?”
“I went when we got my baby sister,” was her reply.
I am absolutely fascinated with the adoption of Chinese baby girls so I was impressed. I asked her to bring something for show-and-tell from China. She brought a Chinese purse, a picture of her and her baby sister in beautiful Chinese robes, a picture of her in front of the Great Wall of China, a picture of some panda bears they saw, and a picture of the baby girl that they are in the process of adopting.
I just thought it was all very cool. Definately the best show-and-tell I’ve had a student produce.
Of course, a friend of mine from church that also teaches, certainly has me beat.
She has a thirteen year old boy in her class this year that is from Iran. His father was a rather big deal in Iran it seems and had some US business contacts. These contacts just so happened to be Christians!
Through these contacts in the US, this man and his family became Christians. They actually had church underground and entered their church through a hole. They had to run for their lives one night when their church was discovered.
His family fled to Germany where they spent the next three years living in a metal building, about the size of a small camper trailer. This boy’s bed was right beside the urinal.
Finally, the German government told this family that if they stayed in Germany they would be turned over to Iran. They once again had to flee….this time to Switzerland. Here they made contact with their American friends who sponsored them and helped them get into America.
They have been here about a month now.
It certainly would be nice if you would remember this family in your prayers.
Speaking of urinals, I got a letter from the Kindergarten department at school. It was addressed to the parents of kindergarten boys. It asked if we would please take our sons to a public restroom and teach them to use a urinal. They stated that they could explain to the boys how to use it, but it would be better if someone could show them how to use it. It seems that these ladies have their hands full trying to instruct little five year old boys on the proper way to use a urinal…..
I just found this completely amusing.
Our first grade department uses Saxon Phonics curriculum. Each night the students have about ten minutes of phonics homework on a Saxon worksheet. I’m always telling the kids to complete their Saxon Phonics sheet.
I have one student who keeps calling it her Satisfaction Sheet. I did correct her, because, well, I’m a teacher. And I have to. But oh! It was so cute! I wanna call them Satisfaction sheets all the time now!
Like I said, bits and pieces. Things from here and there. Hope it wasn’t TMI!
Just to give you a peek at what I get to stare at for eight hours a day (okay, okay…we do have lunch, recess, and P.E., and I have very little time for staring, so I guess it’s not exactly eight hours….) here are some pictures from my classroom.
Take in mind, these were taken before any student ever set foot in the door on the first day of school. Some of the walls are still quite bare and I promise you things will look a bit messier soonish!
The door to my room…
This is where students sit. I do any whole group lesson here and this is where children are assigned seats. We do not spend much time where all students are here….we have lots of small groups and centers going on. But when they all need to be in a “place” this is it.
The blue chart to the left with the cattails coming out of it is my behavior chart. It has little frogs the studnets have to move “steps” when rules are broken. Treats are given for students who do not have to “move their frog” during the day. And treasure chest coupons can be accumulated after several days of “not moving their frogs.” There are consequences for each step moved. It has been quite effective in classroom behavior.
Across the top of the room is our word wall. We will work on learning 1000 instant sight words (they are not required to learn this many in 1st grade but many of the higher students will learn all of them). The words from the first two lists of 50 are up already. The others will be added as we get to them in class.
Here is my teacher’s desk and where kids hang their bookbags. I spend very little time here! I don’t get many opportunities to sit down. In a few weeks, this desk’s main function will be a catch all for things I cannot decide where to put….but right now it is actually clean. (I’ve been known to use my chair as construction paper storage!)
There are bookbags hanging already even though no students have come yet. This year, because of Hurricane Katrina donations, our school is providing each student with bookbags and school supplies. The district I work in was hit hard by the storm and we have many, many students that live in fema trailors still. I believe I have about ten kids in fema trailors right now. So thank you to any of you guys out there who took part in any of the Hurricane Katrina relief. It is still being appreciated!
The things hanging from the ceiling are frogs with clothespins on them. They are for displaying student work. And the magnets on the teacher desk are a mess because my son was playing with them! But they are alphabet magnets and word magnets for creating words and sentences.
You can see bits of four different tables in this picture. This is where we will have small reading groups, listening centers (stories on tape, etc.) and other small group activities. One will be a math table. We also have an art table that is not pictured. Oh yeah, and my dry-erase table is not pictured as well.
And here are the class computers. Only four…but generally that works out fine. We have a school computer lab if I ever want all my kids on at the same time.
Ah. And no curtains yet. Hopefully I will get some of those soon.
The chart hanging on the wall is our Magnificent and Marvelous Word List. As we run across rich vocabulary in books or conversation, we add the words to our chart. Then when kids use them in context they get an M and M! It’s a lot of fun! In the past I’ve has words such as sultry, frigid, miniscule, ecclectic, eccentric, pallid, terrain, foilage, and other fun vocabulary on our chart. It’s fun to hear kids using interesting words.
And the last picture is of our math meeting boards. We have morning math meeting where we do calander activities (identifying the date, days of the week, months of the year, tomorrow’s date, yesterday’s date, etc.), pattern activities, a weather graph, counting the days of school, place value activities. We have afternoon math meeting where we do hundred’s chart activities, skip counting, money activities, math vocabulary, left and right activities, and will add shape activities, and time/clock activities soon. These meetings all take place on a rug which you cannot see in the picture. The shelf under the meeting board is the beginnings of my classroom library. It’s fairly small as I am in a new school this year and will have to build it over time.
My classroom has a definate frog theme. I must admit, I’m quite pleased with it. The greens are rather calming. I must admit to not being big on the overuse of red, blue, and yellow in the elementary classroom! Call me a rebel….. (Anyway, it still ends up finding its way into the rooms….I do not have much choice in furniture and things of that nature.)
I will be glad when my walls have everything up they are supposed to have on them. I have several quotes from Abraham Lincoln, Jim Elliot, Tim Duncan and others that will be hung soon. I just have to get them out of the trunk of my car! My class will memorize all of these before too long. I also have individual corkboards for each student to display his/her artwork on that are not on the walls yet. It will be a bit more interesting when I finally get around to that!
So…there’s my classroom. In case you were interested! This is the reason I cannot seem to find blogging time lately. Hopefully, I will soon get used to my schedule and not be so incredibly tired before too long. I have a sweet class and things are going well. They are just wearing me out!
I’ve been setting up my classroom…and it’s taking more time than I thought. Sorry I’m disappearing so often now! I really wanna be blogging.
I don’t know about you guys….but my kids are growing up way too fast! Look at these
babies children of mine! Where did my babies go?
…as far as blogging goes anyway. Sorry guys.
I have a workshop this week, so it’s been fun trying to reschedule how to work and blog at the same time. I begin working in my classroom next week and then the next week, I’m officially a working mother again. Boy this summer went by fast!
I hope to not drop off the face of the earth until next summer and continue blogging….but it may take a few days to get some sort of schedule going. (Somehow I managed at the beginning of last school year…er, except for the Katrina part! )
So, I’ll be back. But posting and reading will most likely be light for the next few days. We’ve managed to schedule a pretty busy week for the evenings as well….
See you around!
And just for fun….another picture!
One of the things that I run into as a public school teacher is that I have a room full of kids on various different levels. You have students who are truly gifted and are ready to take off full speed! You have good average students who have been talked to and read to by their parents. They aren’t gifted exactly, but very well rounded. They’ve had lots of experiences, been to lots of places, and have lots of background knowledge. Then you have students who struggle academically. They have a learning disorder or just learn things at a slower pace. And then you have students who have been neglected and haven’t really ever been involved in a conversation with an adult until they entered school. And these students often see their first book in the school setting.
And of course, there are students that fall in between all of these categories or are a combination of any of these!
So anyway, I’m not a sit down and be quiet kinda teacher at all. I like for my students to be able to finish an assignment and move on to something else while others take the time they need to complete it. I like to work in small groups (4 to 6) for the most part of the day which leaves another 18-20 other students NOT in my small group.
Although the things I’m listing as alternative activities for kids is certainly NOT a complete list of what I have them do, it is a few ideas that work well in a home (for homeschoolers or summer learning activities as well as play). So here two ideas using dry-erase markers for some kid activities! And these are also rather inexpensive to create.
1. Build a dry-erase table. This one is not only popular in my classroom but at my house as well. (Sorry, no picture, I left it at school for the summer.) All you do is get a sheet of shower board ($10 at Home Depot) and have some handy guy build you a table with the shower board as the top. You can then use dry-erase markers to actually “write on the table”! It’s tons of fun. This one works well for schoolwork or play!
2. Page protectors!!! As a teacher you can go through tons of paper with worksheets or pre-bought workbooks. But they can only be used once or by one student. I collect sheets that I think will work well for more than one student or that some studnets might need second tries on later and put them in page protectors. Once again, using dry-erase markers these no longer are consumables and can be reused as many times as you like. I sometimes get pre-made workbooks and tear all the pages out and put them in a binder of page protectors (if you get the binders with clear fronts you can even slip the cover into the front of the binder.) You can also do this with mazes or word searches.
Doing an activity with a dry-erase marker somehow makes the activity more fun!
These are some student activities that work for my kids, my students, and it Works for Me.