Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Middle of the Week Day

Moments from my Middle of the Week Day:

The most enjoyable part of the school day today was 5th hour social studies. The class is studying Canada and spent part of the hour filling in and coloring a political map (a map that shows lines defining countries, states, or territories). I worked with a group of 3 students ,and I did a map along with them. Drawing in the provinces (how many know what a province is?) was a bit challenging (we were given an outline of Canada) and figuring out where to put the Saskatchewan River tricky but then it was time to COLOR! Jacy didn't want to color, but I insisted because I love it so much, and, well, that was part of the assignment. (Jacy's been in a mood the last few days) I have always loved coloring and find it relaxing. To be able to color while also answering questions and joking with the kids was a perfect combination. (It helped that my most reluctant learner was absent)

Math is covering graphs and coordinate planes. The class had no problem with graphing but coordinate planes are challenging them. Or maybe it is having to use positive AND negative quadrants (anyone who knows my math skills is probably amazed that I know what a quadrant is!). Homework is an assignment using integers to draw a picture. I can't wait to see what the pictures are but explaining how to use the 50 sets of integers was challenging. I tried to remember what was stated in the short video the class watched prior to the coordinate plane explanation: "Integers are our friends." Well, I hadn't known that, but my day was just brighter knowing I have all these integer friends.

Homeroom (known as Connections) is the last 35 minutes of the day. Our 17 Connection kids are DONE by this time. Their attention spans are non-existent, hyperactivity (diagnosed or otherwise) has kicked in, and we try to corral and focus them --- not always with success. As frustrating as this can be, by the end Jeramie and I are laughing if for no other reason than relief that the day is done. Today was trying to get 7 of them study for tomorrow's science test (4 of them did listen--finally) then 3 worked on math homework -- back to the quadrant quandaries (come on, how often do you find an opportunity to use "q" in consonance?). Jeramie will be in Madison Thursday and Friday for state football finals (I mouthed "I hate you" to him from the doorway as I left) so the sub and I are hoping to survive the last two connections of the week.

Don't get me wrong...the majority of the students are nice kids and I enjoy them. But the disrespectful, cocky, jerk students take away from the class, disrupt learning, and suck adults' energy. In science there are 24 students and 7 of them are disruptive. I try to have contact with the good kids as often as possible just to keep my sanity and perspective. I also try to remember that the jerk kids just may grow out of this phase and become product adults.

Monday, November 16, 2009

How Many Know?

My high school chemistry teacher was a brilliant man who should have taught college students. Eldred Judd was a sincere, kind, hard working teacher whose talents were sorely wasted on me. He had a speech pattern that was also wasted on us -- questions asked were prefaced, "How many know ------" So, dear readers, today's entry will be a tribute to Mr. Judd's questioning style:

How many know that
"Nothing matters but the weekend,
From a Tuesday point of view...." (The Kings)

How many know that talking about farting is almost as unappealing as the actual occurrence (that one's for you Ms. Ex).

How many know what a vacuole is? You may not, but this week 6th graders will be expected to know this on a test which leads to How many know how many times they've ever in their lives needed to know what a vacuole is?

How many know the national capital of Canada?

How many know that announcements 15 minutes after the start of class disrupts 6th graders for about 4 minutes? How many know that what is being announced is probably not worth the disruption?

How many know that the Mac computers in the library are a pain in the butt to use? Sorry, Ann, but NO ONE likes them.

How many know that "Dude" is a unisex proper noun? It's that or these children are seriously lacking in health ed. I've been called "Dude" numerous time of late. (How many know that adding "Ms." would make it more appropriate when addressing a teacher?)

How many know that I'm going to avoid the lounge at lunch time to avoid listening to a certain some one's self inflicted tale of woe?

How many know that shock collars around the necks of certain children would implement instantaneous behavior modification and allow for the sanity of educators and enhance the learning environment of the majority of other students? How many know that some will profess this notion to be distasteful because they are soooooo tempted by it?