Friday, April 23, 2010

Progress is coming along in room 25; I have 2 more weeks with my students so I needed to assess them ASAP, to their pain (sorry kids). I've much to grade this weekend (math facts, comprehension, fluency .. agh) it's nice to hit em fast and hard, get it over with. They did really well, and I know it wasn't easy for them, or me...I hate tests as much as they do.

You might be asking, was there another ice cream party this week? Nope, unfortunately. I had some items that held them back, yes, I held my student's back (not intentionally) ... but I can only do so much in so little time. They have the tools to succeed now, but I couldn't get it done soon enough for this week. These are HUGE changes in a classroom and it takes time and patience. Some lessons did suffer for it, but behavior has improved, gosh unbelievably! They're so proud to show their initiative! A loud classroom brings out my silent signal (without prompt) from my scholars, and the whole classroom responds quickly. I'm soooo proud of them.

**The desks needed to be re-arranged into groups/teams (The Sharks, The Dodgers, The Sports Team, The Eagles, The Incredibles),

**They needed mailboxes,

**they needed an individual Super Scholar who reads my mind and does what's expected without my prompt awarded daily,

**They needed me to finally own my class.

I talked about this last week, and it wasn't until Wed. that I made it all come together. Baby steps. Thursday and Friday were AWESOME!! I wanted to celebrate, but ... not enough marbles, bummer.

Next week I will be proud to have the BEST class on campus.

PS. Today we had a fire drill (just as the students finished cleaning out their desks moving into their new team, CHAOS). I used my silent signal, the class followed suit and a hush allowed me to deliver instructions to guide them out of the classroom to our safe area. As we walked my 23 scholars kept their silent signal up (2 fingers raised over their head) as we walked I was able to manage the class and guide them safely to the checkpoint. The line was straight and perfect, thanks to my line leader. We were the most impressive classroom on the field for the fire drill! These are not my words, this was said to me by the assistant principal! I have NEVER been so proud of my students. Funny, I was a bit emotional and I definitely them know how awesome they did.

Rock on Room 25!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Manly Manners

Manly Manners
Originally uploaded by *jenny b allsorts

Today my students EARNED an ice cream party. Earned because they had to show me positive behavior for them to get the required points (marbles placed by me in a jar). What is positive behavior? Following my instructions, being respectful and staying on task. Not easy for students to do when my rules and expectations are new and opposed to what they're accustomed to. They did it though, and I wasn't about to let them fail. I actively looked for opportunities to reward students and it helps to encourage a positive environment.

This past week I just expected them to do what I asked ... blind and robotic response. Bla.

Next week the stakes go up. They have to earn 70 marbles. They WILL succeed. This time I'll arm them with knowledge. Wha??? Yes, the most essential knowledge, manners.

Next week they'll know not to just to do what I say, but how respect is earned (everyone wants to be respected) and the tools they need to earn it, manners. My marble dropping will be much more discriminating, but they will succeed because they will have the tools to succeed. Bring on the ice cream!!!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Open House Brainstorm
Rule # 1: When you are teaching in a classroom for more than a week, OWN IT! I'm subbing for 2 weeks or more in a second grade class.

The first few days I'll admit I trying to blend in with the teacher's structure and organization model, but with the teacher's podium too being too small, papers on the floor, overhead projector not usable, no space for student workstations ... NOT working for my style. Executive decision yesterday? Reboot the classroom structure to meet my needs.

I cleaned up the piles of paper on the floor and moved around desks so that the class is more fluid during transition times and the classroom is structured with better usable space.

I set a check in structure so I don't have to take roll.

I created a lacking positive reinforcement behavior plan using LOUD clanking marbles to sound off students that are doing well and are contributing to a reward at the end of the week (if 50 marbles are in the jar at the end of the week, reward!!) WHOLE CLASS REWARD.

I defined consequences so that students may take ownership of actions.

I created my own lesson plans that best suited my expectations, and offered the support so that students will succeed.

I offered an positive incentive individual behavior plan so that students can evaluate and correct their own behavior choices.

I created my own lesson plans (do this only if the teacher allows deviation from their plan!!!).

One week down, and things are finally rolling along smoothly ... now that I OWN the class. (Just don't forget to put things back :))

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Music speaks. Who cares if the lyrics are accessible, bonus if they are. It's the sound, the emotion that bleeds. I've thought recently about art and the permanence of paint or charcoal ... meanwhile music bleeds it paints across cultures, instantly accessible, instantly creating a memory, soon to be forgotten, soon to be a memory painted in the mind. Water of the soul.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Post Thanksgiving Swim!
My runs have been pretty good, I'm happy there. Now the scary part - swimming.

I haven't swum in at least a month AHH! Getting back into the pool, or bay is both pain and humiliation. I will suck and be disappointed with myself, not to mention getting back into the speedo, which is okay if I'm swimming regularly, sure, it's the uniform. After time off it becomes less a uniform but a pretentious bit of lycra mocking me with it's promise of speed undelivered, fun times.

Doesn't help that in 2 weeks I need to be ocean ready for the Seal Beach lifeguard tryouts ... which I WILL be ready for. Today, it's overwhelming ... next week, it's a challenge to be destroyed.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Spilling coffee on your pressed shirt just before work,
knocking over your favorite mug full of coffee, all over the floor,
running out of coins for the dryer leaving only wet clothes,
unnoticed pile of sh*t from the neighbors dog under your shoe,
your favorite pen betraying you bleeding all over your shirt pocket,
last minute print job for directions and the printer says Fu*k you I'm sleeping in,

your co-worker buys you another cup of coffee, with a cap and a smile,
cleaning up coffee on the floor and finding 75 cents you never knew you had,
remembering the 75 cents found can dry your clothes,
the sh*t smell pales to your own feet stench (new socks),
the importance of suit jackets,
knowing that the destination waits for you...