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Showing posts from January, 2005

Last Minute Grading

I'm one of those teachers - the ones who accept late work while compiling the finals grades. In fact, while I was finishing everyone elses grades, one of my students sat in the classroom for 4 hours completing enough make up work to give her a 60%. Smart kid. Various family tramas. Way to interested in the social scene. I had another boy pull off a major miracle by turning in papers on Friday. I'm fairly sure that he copied someone elses work, but no wholly and have no proof, thus he'll also receive a 60%.

I had an interesting conversation with another teacher about reading evaluations. Basically, she had gone to a conference where she heard all about this fluency assessentment test and was interested to hear if I had any experience with it, which I didn't. The conversation was interesting for the ideas that I was able to plant. First, that I previously had taught a course devoted solely to improving reading (and we should have one) and that at the high school level, c…

Moving Vocab

I wish I had taken pictures - having the students come up with movements for their literary vocabulary worked out very well. Many of the movements were very creative... such as posing as the statue of liberty for the word allusion. There were several "dancing" animals for personification and so on. What was really amazing that all the students actually did the movements without any whining about how childish it was... the few slackers were brow-beaten by their fellow students into participating.

As the day went on, the activity did go a little downhill, but I believe it was mostly due to the fact that 6th period isn't really allowed to do these type of activities. 6th period is pretty rowdy and they really can't focus on an activity that requires them to move around... it always disintegrates into a free-for-all of loud talking and somewhat violent horseplay.

Finals for the semester are over tomorrow! The new semester starts on Monday with several new student additio…

New Addition

What is a new teacher in a very small town to do for companionship? That's right, get another bird. Sunday, I brought home a loverly lilac purple/blue parakeet. I'm pretty sure it's going to be named 'Lila.' It's impossible to tell the gender of adolescent parakeets - especially ones colored in the blue family... so, for now it's Lila.

Also on the plus side, I actually got home before dark yesterday! I did leave a bit early, but it also stayed light until almost 5.10pm. And it's January thaw! The sun in out, it's getting warm enough so that I don't have to wear long johns in the classroom - thank goodnes, 'cause I'm sure that all work has stopped on the school boiler.

Today, my classes will be trying kinestetic memorization activities for the upcoming final - which I still haven't written. I'll let you know how it goes.

And... End Scene

For all intents and purposes the semester is over. There is a final next week, but it doesn't count for much. Although I relied upon a good final score in my own high school history, as a teacher I find it a little hard to swallow the idea that some lazy schlub who did nothing all semester can pass by utilizing good test-taking talents. Feh.

After school on Friday we started the attendance appeals. I was a little surprised to discover that the school can deny students credit for a class they pass if they have missed more than 10 days. I don't remember this from my high school days... although I don't believe I missed more than 10 days a semester (think of the gossip I might have missed!) or that the school counselor kept up on stuff like this. Cripes, the high school I teach at actually has one person devoted just to attendance... my high school had one person for all administrative assistant duties for the entire building.

Care to Dance?

I promised one of my students that I would dance in front of the entire class if he passed the class. At the time it seemed like only a miracle would save him from flunking... This afternoon he presented me with a stack of assignments and had finished two AR books overnight.

Apparently, I'll be doing the Hammer dance. Anyone know where I can get some gold pants?

end of the semester

There's only nine days left of the semester.... and I'll bet half of my students are flunking. I'm too afraid to actually count for fear that it's true. Am I a bad teacher? If their failure were due to low scores, I might have a better picture. The fact is that most are failing because of missing assignments. No papers, no daily papers.

I do remember not turning in assignments in school - but I wasn't ever stupid enough to totally bail on an assignment that had been worked on for a week or so. Most of the parents are worthless. They don't give a crap if their kid actually does homework, just as long as they pass. The logic of this is a bit strange... Am I not getting through to the students that these assignments are worth a large amount of points? Do I need to make a change with the assignments? Which ones?

I saw this last year and no one else seemed to be having the same problem... may be I need to plan more or lay it out more or something. I'm just not …

Old Man Winter

I've never been so happy to have a 3 day weekend in all my life. Yesterday, we finally got the worst that winter offers around here in the form of freezing rain. I promply fell down the stairs and tried to severly injury myself the minute I went outside. Thank heavens for all those bagels and doughnuts (fat padding) and my innate ability to fall spectacularly and safely. I only have 2 small bruises; it's still nice have a few days to recover.

During my college years, I used to fall on a regular basis. So much so that my nickname was "puddles" because I would invariably trip in any type of depression that would make a puddle during a rainstorm - sans alcohol. I also have to assume that they were spectacular falls because, while lying on the ground mentally ascertaining my injuries, dozens of people would run up to me to check for broken bones. Seriously, how many people do you know who do sommersaults down two flights of stairs with no injury? Many were convinced I wa…

I am a MEAN teacher

I wanted to be the mean teacher in the beginning of the year, but I think I've taken it too far... I dunno... I can just seem myself doing things that I really don't want to do, but can't figure out how to do. For example, today during the last period the students were especially hyper. Some genius decided that a fire drill would be a great idea 3 minutes before a period ended. This meant that the next period had students straggling in for about 15 minutes after the period was suppose to start. And after a good quarter to half mile hike in the freezing weather, they were completely spazzy. Get everyone calmed down and on task takes forever... Students who are able to control themselves start reading books after 5 minutes of waiting.

I begin the lesson about symbolism - great topic. Desperately wish I could pop in the Napoleon Dynamite movie like certain classes have. We get involved discussion trying to find the symbolism in various poems... I can hear student "Bob&quo…

Books, books...

I've been working on creating a classroom library, but I need to find a way to fill the shelves with cheap books. Garage sales and used bookstores are good ideas, but for newer books or those target towards teens are rarely found... maybe I'm not looking in right areas?

I'm looking for suggestions or store recommendations in the Seattle area, any ideas?

Only 13 days left?!??!

We're nearing the end of the semester. This means I have dozens of students asking for missing assignment reports, extra credit and desperately trying to find a book to read. Less than a 3rd of my students have accumulated enough Accelerate Reader points needed to keep their grades as is... those just barely passing will fail without those points. Now that we have 13 days left, this message is finally getting across. Of course, this also means the litany of complaints, begging, and whining... so passé. Oddly, I never got this reaction with the AR speech back in October.

I think the poetry unit is going well. We've started working on nature poetry - I'm going with themes rather than genre. It seems easier for them to grasp. Now if I could just get them to write more poetry, without massive complaints.

Today we were going through using natural metaphors and how they are used. I put up the metaphor "jewel-box of water" and asked the students to tell me what they tho…

Monday, Monday... la,la...la,la,la,la...la,la

Another week - another dollar.

Mondays are always a somewhat boring day. I hand out the vocabulary lists for the week, go over the words and look at the tests from the previous week. Teachingwise, it's so exciting for me - I'm forced to find interest where I can find it.

For example, while grading last weeks vocabulary tests, I discovered that one student wrote that Figurative language was the language spoken by action figures when everyone is asleep. I'm still trying to figure out if the student was attempting to be funny or just doesn't speak enough english to really understand the multiple choice questions.

The best part is where the students have to come up with their own sentences..

The panflit uses alliteration to present new information. (visions of flying toasters?)

I don't know what alliteration means. (then you shouldn't have used it in this section...)

My family travels a lot cause we like to encompass. (??? Where to start?)

The atomic bomb ensued ma…

Keeping up with the Joneses...

At the beginning of the school year, I plunged a head with keeping up this blog - even though I was barely able to keep it up last school year. I thought that one of two things would happen... either the school year would be good enough to give me time to write or it would be a repeat of the previous year and I would quit after a few months. Quit teaching that is.

Well, neither one happened. This hasn't been as much as an adjustment as last year, but neither have I had enough time to write AND fall asleep at 6.30pm every night. Go figure. Other educator bloggers seem to be able to have all this time to reflect and post - with pictures! So why can't I? After much pondering, I decided that 1. I'm not getting enough vegetables and 2. it takes too much time to do all this site work. Thus, I've added a salad to my dinner menu and move the site to blogger.

The vegetable thing is still iffy - roughage, bodily functions and immature freshmen are not a happy mix.

Snow Day?

One of the greatest joys of teaching... a snow day. It's a little present from gods and a part of childhood joy you never have to let go.
Please let it snow today. On the west side of the mountains, a mere quarter inch is enough to cause panic to sweep through the community.
My to-do list is insane and I need to finish coming up with a unit
plan for the poetry unit we're doing right now. My apartment is still a post-holiday disaster. I could really use a lie-in.
Aside from begging for a snow day - one of my friends finally got her
application in to NYC teaching fellowship and was asked to interview later this month. (really fast! but then she's 5 years of experience
with SpEd and wants to do it). I'm hoping to go to a NYC recruitment fair on the 22nd. Apparently you have to be invited and won't be
admited without said invitation. Mail takes 5 days to travel across country, so I should know by the weekend. …