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Showing posts from November, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

I hope that everyone has a wonderful food and laughter filled day!

We're off to shop before dawn tomorrow - I'm hoping that I won't end up on the TV news as the "unfortunate assualt victim" at the front door of some random super store.


Thanksgiving break is nearly upon me. Just one more class and lunch - Can't forget food as we head into the one of the biggest eating days of the year - and I'm hitting the road for far flung places. Ok, not really far flung, but definitely "over the river (or several) and through the woods" I go. In midst of cleaning up the last of grading pile, I'm hoping to do some real reflection about my teaching. For some reason, this year I'm feel off. I don't feel like I'm making as much of a difference this year or that I'm even teaching that much. I am in the classroom every day, but it just doesn't feel like teaching used to... it could just be the five year burn out or it could be that I'm just phoning it in, so to speak. I'm not sure, but it's something I need to spend some time thinking about. On the personal side, I revived Hedgetoad Cottage. It's hard to maintain two blogs, I know. One always suffers, but at the same time, I think…

Parent Conferences

This week is parent conferences - oh, joy. Actually, they're not bad and most of the time I really want to talk to parents. Unfortunately, the parents who show up are not the ones I really need to talk to... this year I caved and offered extra credit for those who could drag their parents in. I had one student show up for his conference, without parent. It would have been even better if I knew he/she was interested in improving the learning rather than just trying to score pity/brownie points. I had a student come to me and claim that the parent I spoke with now believes that "I hate" this student. I tried to say positive things about the student's personality and intelligence level while strongly recommending that the student just shut up in class. (I tried to say it in more positive terms). The student has a very low grade, is a complete distraction to all the other students and driving me mad... but hate seems a rather strong emotion, doesn't it? This student d…

Book Recommendations

ok, readers and lurkers... (if there are any) most of my students are near completing the The Twilight Sagaand have worked their way through Sherman Alexie. Last year they all read the Uglies Set: Uglies, Pretties, Specials. They read A Child Called Itin middle school... I'm running out of ideas and to be honest, I don't have time to read a bunch of books in hopes of finding something of interest. There are just too many books out there!

I need some new high interest recommendations for my students. The books has to start off with a bang and I need ones that interest boys and girls. What is everyone at your school reading?

RtI Update

So, we're starting to make some headway in the RtI areana. Another district in the area is actually paying to do RtI training over the year and generously offered to allow myself and another colleague sit in. At times I can actually feel like I'm understanding things. I still have a to-do list, but at least pieces are starting to fit together.

Of course, there are also snags. Such as miscommunications about scheduling and people not being clear about their expectations. The biggest one right now is differentiating the Level 2's (strategic interventions) and Level 3's (intensive interventions... generally those with IEP's) and now one goes from Level 2 to Level 3. It's communicated that this process has "to be x", while "x" changes according to each person being spoken too. That could be due to differing levels of involvement of each of these people or hearing what they want to hear... this is one of the things on my to-do list.

The to-do list …


Don't forget to Vote today, if you haven't already!

And then tell your students your voting stories - don't tell them who you voted for, it'll drive them crazy. A teachable moment that is so important, especially when you consider past voter turn outs or turn outs in non-presidential elections.

My county does mail in ballots for everyone. They don't offer polling places at all, just a couple of drop boxes scattered here and there. For my students, they've never experienced going somewhere to vote and probably won't. If you're of similar age to me, you've probably voted using a variety machines. Remember the School House Rock cartoon about voting? Yep, I've used the machine with levers to close the curtains while you vote and open them when your done. I've also done butterfly punch ballots, scantron and touch screen.

Ya. The voting machine with the curtains made really feel like I was a "Voter"... I miss them, even if they did break do…