My first bulletin board and other random thoughts…

27 09 2009

I’m taking a “vacation” of some sorts to see Kira in Catskill again, but with my time recouping and planning for next week, I want to show my first bulletin board. This was put up outside our classroom before Curriculum Day for the parents last Wednesday.

The Telling Time portfolio piece deals with both ELA and Math Standards.

Telling Time Standards

It was mostly a creative thought-out assessment by myself and my co-teacher. It looks great and some of my students took the time to be more creative in their coloring.

Cloudy clock

Names are blurred out for protection.

The set-up looks great outside the door. I was actually geeking out about making it stand out. Most of the students fully followed my directions and it was one of my few major highlights thus far this year. The glass case makes it hard for people standing straight across it from seeing the first names on the top, but otherwise, it was a good first attempt.

Bulletin Board

Other thoughts:

  • Being able to have this extra day to recoup will prove dividends for the next two weeks. I felt like I collapsed emotionally when I got to see Kira late Friday night. It’s not that my mind is tired… in fact, that’s the problem. My body is definitely feeling the tiredness, but my mind has not been able to turn off. I haven’t had a good night of sleep since last week (until this Friday night). My mind feels sharp, but at the same time, it needs to just relax.
  • Before going over to see Kira, I got to stop by the Peace Games training at my alma mater. As tired as I felt that day, it was just fantastic to see old friends and see new volunteers taking the plunge into the work I did that inspired me to become a teacher. Brielle and Caitlin, if you’re reading this and if you’re interested in taking the teaching plunge, I have full confidence you two will make amazing first-year (and second-year… third-year… etc) teachers once you graduate. About the Fellows in particular? You’ll hear more about that later.
  • I have my first full professional development (PD) day on Tuesday. Surprisingly, my first reaction was “get me out of the PD!” Sure, my students can get on my nerves. Some of them try and push me, especially with immature and ridiculous remarks. However, I am starting to finally get on my two feet and feel more established. I actually like my class.

    I feel more confident with the math curriculum and I feel like I’m starting to get to know my students better. Most importantly though, I feel there is a foundation of trust between me and my co-teacher. However small that foundation can be at the end of September, it is still there. I really enjoy working with her and I feel we’re building a stronger rapport in the classroom. Though I am going to take my co-teacher’s advice and just enjoy “being a professional” for one day at PD, I’ll miss my sweet, immature, sometimes annoying, sometimes bratty, but mostly eager to learn (even though that may not reflect on their test scores at times) students. Wow.

  • I need to stay nervous. The last few lessons I’ve given, I felt ridiculously nervous beforehand, like I was giving a lesson for my first time. However, those nerves force me to be extra careful and alert. I can’t get too comfortable. That doesn’t just go for giving lessons but for the classroom in general.
  • Lastly, I just need to understand how to adjust and move on. I’m not a fan of distractions during the school day, though it seems like every day brings an endless string of them. Sometimes, I can focus on the silly things that I have absolutely no control over. From a haphazardly-planned assembly to cluster teachers not covering their period, I just need to relax, adjust, and move on each day. That, among many other things, is something I’ll keep working on throughout the year.

Blessings.

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Precious.

17 09 2009

Sometimes, you get a day where some things just don’t matter. The almost-constant distractions from administrators. The whining and tattling from my students. The getting up early and staying after school late routine. The frustration you feel when your students act out or just don’t listen hard enough or focus long enough to get a lesson. All of that melts away when…

  1. You tend to two crying kids: one who was so upset that he forgot his homework folder and another one who cried about a “I’m gonna tell on the teacher who you like” situation. The fact that I operate in a classroom where over 95% of the kids not only do their homework, but want to do their homework so bad that they would cry about it is a blessing. I also enjoy dealing with silly crying situations… my patience and compassion works well there.

  2. When the first time you ever had to raise your voice higher than normal and you notice two things:
    • Your voice actually sounds and feels serious and stern. I’ve been trying to find that for weeks!
    • Your voice carries extremely well in an almost-empty stairway while bringing your students back from lunch. If only I can carry Math lessons in the stairway…
  3. Your lesson goes well and your students actually get it. I have been struggling with trying to teach my students on how to use the number 100 grid to solve problems since yesterday. I taught the lesson, but even with my co-teacher’s help, my kids could. not. focus. She suggested I try again, which required me to jump ahead of the curriculum by one day.

    I started today reviewing the same lesson as the day before. The kids seem to slightly get it more, but not as much. I was pushing but I was getting nothing back. I looked up at my co-teacher wishing she would give me a figurative life-preserver. That came in the form of period 7 gym. However, as some of you should know, add period 8 (my last period) with a mix of kids coming straight from gym. That should have been a recipe for disaster… except today.

    The kids were respectful. Scary respectful. My co-teacher was pushing our point system for each group, so all the kids were on their best behavior. However, I felt there was something else. Maybe they got all their antsy-ness out in gym. Maybe they pieced together all the numbers at gym. Maybe it was divine intervention. No matter what it was, it was amazing to see most of the class actually get what I’m talking about. I was rejuvenated for the rest of the day. Frankly? It was awesome. Indeed.

  4. When you read two of your students’ reading assignments on their heroes and you see yours and your co-teacher’s names on them… as their heroes.

I live for those moments.

I’ll leave you with my co-teacher’s Donor’s Choose proposal. If you have any type of funds, it would be amazing to have these puzzles for our students to work with. Just like Sudoku and Tetris helps our minds, ESL puzzles can do the same for our kids. If you have a dollar or two, why not help us out? http://www.donorschoose.org/donors/proposal.html?id=287660

Blessings.