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Showing posts from November, 2010

November Blasts

This month just flew by!

Last week we started every day 2 hours late! Despite every school around us closing on Tuesday, we braved through it and thus saved our snow days for future... or an extra day off in April. Which is nice too!Conferences were. Apparently, if junior and senior parents aren't really that interested in attending. I got some grading done.I'm behind in grading again. I know you're shocked too!I've managed to take two days off for RTI. I've finally got charts filled out for all our current intervention students and started the list of those to "watch." Hopefully, I can arrange for another day in the next week or so to go over those lists.I'm looking forward to doing A Christmas Carol with my senior AP students. Finally, a group that doesn't need two-thirds of the description explained to them. But first A Modest Proposal. I think it'll make a fine intro to the Scrooge like public Dickens was skewering.

RTI

Friday morning, I found myself crowded in a room with several people in order to start planning out an RTI Manual. This manual is needed so that if anyone "decides to leave", someone else could step in to replace them... preparing for coming lay-offs? Ha! We fooled them! No one has a minute to actually work on the manual until this summer.

While doing that the state department of Ed. representative go to be all impressed with what we're doing at the high school. Of course, if you look at all the research, doing anything at the high school level is impressive. Even more impressive would be something that was proven to work... which we haven't found yet. But I am supposed to expecting calls from other schools. God, help me, I'm going to sound like Tim Gun*... "make it work!"

Working

Just to prove that we were actually working on a national holiday - that white spot at the top is the pile of essays we were grading.

It is interesting that the normal business world can conduct business meetings on the golf course or at a bar, but teachers can't be trusted to hold a meeting in a coffee shop, because they might actually talk about something off topic if there isn't an administrator breathing down their necks.

Yes, we drank non-alcoholic beverages and consumed pasteries. All, while discussing essay rubrics and determining how much crappy handwriting should/may affect the grading procedure. My personal feeling is that we do no favors to our students in accepting papers that look like they were written by a kindergartner, especially since most aspire to jobs that still use hand written job applications. That, however, is a point for another day.

A Day Off

As strange as it is to have a Thursday off, I hope everyone is recharging and coming up with new ideas to inspire and motivate.I will be meeting with my department members to grade HSPE type essays for the grade wide assessment. Given the additional duties we all have, it’s the only time we could come up with to meet to get it done. We are, however, meeting at a local coffee shop rather than the school building… comfy chairs and bagels. Should actually be pretty fun.And now you know how truly geeky English teachers are!

Organized Me

I like to think of myself as an organized person. Note: I like to “think” I’m organized. In reality, it’s not so much organized in a Martha Stewart sort of way, but more in an “don’t touch anything, because it’s all precariously balanced, but I know what pile it is in” sort of way.
  I do, however, have to sing the praises of the Avery write-on tabs. I love them with a love that would make Martha’s heart sing. Not only are they good for filing, but also for tabbing my textbooks, literature anthologies, the ginormous binders holding student testing data. Personally, I’m not sure how you could do an effective job in RTI without them.I discovered them this summer when a colleague was heading out on a Sta*^ple# run. I asked her to pick up some tabs for me. The ones I had in mind are from the makers of Post^it notes and are just tabs. They’re tiny, and I usually have to make up abbreviations for titles – which I soon forget and then get can’t find anything. I didn’t, however, effectively co…

Classics

My school requires that all English classes have an Accelerated Reader component. How I feel about that is a complicated rant, but I go along, because that's what we do.  In my AP classes, I try to make it a little more college level by requiring that the students read at least two "classics" each semester, in addition to their choice books. They're busy students! If you could get away with reading Twilight, a book that could be read in 24 hours, wouldn't you?

The "classic" would be defined as something in the Western Canon. Other regions are acceptable, but they have to be cleared by me - they really have no clue about what makes good literature. Just yesterday, I had to tell someone that while Where the Red Fern Grows is a much believe childrens' classic, it doesn't count for AP. We are preparing for the AP test, not just reading for giggles all the time.

It's interesting to see what books gain popularity every year. As one students finishes…

Time Keeps On Slippin’

I know I’ve mentioned several times previously about how little time I feel like I have these days – every minute there are several projects needing attention. And it’s not just me, everyone I talk to feels like their lives have spun a little out of control. Are we all working harder? Trying to pack more in, in less time? What ever happened to simplifying life? Sometimes, I think those pioneer women didn’t have it so bad… washtubs notwithstanding.
The other day, it was brought up in a meeting that my lack of time to devote to RTI meetings was a hindrance to our moving forward. The solution proposed? Offer me more money to spend more time at school… yeah, seriously, that was the genius answer administrators come up with. Give more money to spend more time at school or give more money to those who teach better (determinedly? faster? “intentionally”?). The problem, much like the problem with merit pay, I already stay after school for hours. Without being “paid”, I might add. The money d…

VOTE

Don't forget to go out and vote today - mail it in, stand in line... whatever you do in your local area, just do it!

Even if you think your vote won't count - do it!  Over the past three elections, many contests have come down to a handful of votes... your voice won't be heard if you don't cast a ballot.

Even if you think your candidate has no chance of winning - do it! At least someone else will realize they're not alone and may lead a new group. Grassroots organizations do make a difference and they had to start somewhere.

Even if you think you can't fit one more "thing" into your daily schedule - do it. Will stopping to buy yet another overprice coffee drink affect your future? I mean, beyond the your personal financial bottom line? Skip it today and vote.

Who knows what kind of world you'll wake up to tomorrow if you don't.

Mimio?

Do you have a mimio? Or a smart board?  ‘Cause thanks to USCellular, I’m gettin’ one! Very excited about this, but the amount of extra time I have this year could fit into a thimble.  Seriously, there are not enough hours in the day – especially when you’re a person who needs 8 hours of sleep. (I wish I could get by with 4… but it is not a pretty sight, trust me) How have you incorporated it into your classroom? What kinds of activities, lessons, ect. have you found to be most successful?  No one in my school has this type of technology – in fact, no one had even heard of a Mimio before I started talking about it – so there is no one to compare notes or bounce ideas off of. In fact, my success or failure may determine as whether any one else in the district gets anything similar. Budget cuts, not value added, yadda, yadda.