Bloggers In The Making

Wednesday as I stood in the hall for the second drug raid of the week in my classroom, I was feeling a bit jaded and annoyed.

But as always a skype night with my bestie put a few things in perspective. The most important thing being that at the end of the day they are just kids. The drugs, the kids having babies, the inappropriate comments or behaviors all are coming from kids. Using that perspective for the rest of the week I started to enjoy my kids a little more and spend a little less time being annoyed when they aren't listening or doing as I asked.

And all this enjoyment lead me to realize one very important fact:

My Students Are Bloggers In the Making


EXAMPLE ONE: Selfies

Bloggers love taking selfies, we need to fill our blog posts with some pictures and whats better than different viewpoints and expressions of our lovely faces.


My classroom computers have webcams built into them and we use them for documenting progress on our build projects and to assist in our writing in how we solved problems. But lets be real for a second put a camera in front of my students face and they will be way too tempted to snap a few or a billions pics of themselves. And I generally let them until it becomes an issue, who am I to judge.

EXAMPLE TWO: Pictures

Taking pictures and taking selfies are completely different categories, says the 'professional' blogger that is me. I find myself constantly taking pictures a few dozen pictures at every chance I get just to make sure I have pictures for my blog memories sake. Case in point my iphone could not download the new ios7 update because of the 1000+ pictures I have that I refuse to delete. Reason number eight hundred I upgraded my phone last weekend.

In my classroom this week we were demonstrating our Kicking Machines - a machine they built that could hit or kick a ball into a target accurately - the group that hit the most shots in 60 seconds was deemed the winner. I had a student who was absent the whole week we built so on Monday I wasn't sure what to do with her, I deemed her class photographer passed over the ipad and asked her to take a few action pictures.



She took 252 pictures of four groups kicking machines. Perhaps it was over kill but at least I had some good shots for my blog class website. And my student aide got stuck with the task of deleting 200 or so Friday. 

EXAMPLE THREE: Music

Bloggers love music. Case in point Whitney's #backthatazzup weekly link up and Helene's Songs that Define Me link up.

I put a lot of thought into picking a song of the day each day at school, but sometimes I rely on old favorites like Thursday when I just put on:


My sixth period walks in and one by one they all start saying "I love that song" and proceed to go to their seats singing the lyrics. I couldn't recall when I saw Imagine Dragons and then it dawned on me they opened for AWOLNATION and I mentioned that and opened up a whole can of worms. For the next 15 minutes we discussed music, bands and concerts. Off topic, of course but such a fun way to start a class period.

A few other winners from this week: 


EXAMPLE FOUR: Pop Culture

Bloggers try and keep up with pop culture. I learned what twerking was from fellow bloggers. I would never know the ups and downs of Miley's life if it wasn't for bloggers. And who needs People Magazine with bloggers keeping me up to date with pop culture.

My kids life's are embedded with pop culture that completely changes they way the speak. And since I am a teacher there is no way that I could possible understand their language. Little do they know that I have blogging on my side. 

Case in point: this week while checking in on groups progress of their Kicking Machines I stopped by a group and the girl responded "I know Miss its pretty ratchet" and her partner responded "she don't know what that means" when I assured them I did, their eyes grew super large and its as if I broke some sort of barrier between student and teachers. I quickly walked away to avoid further confusion.


EXAMPLE FIVE: Opinions

Bloggers have opinions. We wouldn't spend hours a week writing out our opinions, offering advice, commenting on other bloggers, commenting on instagram, tweeting and facebooking if we didn't have opinions and need them to be heard, read and shared.

Students have countless opinions, really more than this blog has room for. But they are also quick to offer comments on other students work, a teachers dream really

This week we have been testing our Robot Smart Cars on our activity mat in the center of the room. Students have to complete three activities, like racing, parking, etc. In my third period most groups have two activities pretty much perfect and its mostly not due to my help. One group gets their parking right and then they sit there and offer advice and opinions to the other groups as they practice. I never suggested doing this but really it has been amazing to watch. And also funny to hear: "you can't just run over the stop sign" "you're programming needs help" "my robot will destroy your robot" etc.


EXAMPLE SIX: Themes

Bloggers love a good theme. Probably the reason why links up are so popular, give a blogger a theme and you will get post after post about pinterest, working out, what I wore, etc.

In Web Design this week we started creating our calendars, hands down a favorite project, students are using publisher to create a 26 page calendar with a clear theme. I like to go around while they are working and ask them what their theme is just so I am clear that all students are on the right track. All thirty students love their theme because it was something they picked out and were invested in.

I stopped by a male student who never really knows whats going on in class, like ever. And I asked him what his theme was bracing myself for the 'huh' that was sure to follow but instead he turned his head, his eyes lit up and his smile covered his face as he shouted 'snapbacks'. 


I could have been holding 10 brand new snapbacks and I don't think I could have brought that much excitement to this kid.

EXAMPLE SEVEN: Tutorials

Bloggers love a good tutorial, probably has something to do with themes and all. I have watched countless of hair tutorials, cooking tutorials and DIY tutorials on blogs to know that those posts are popular and relevant. 

In seventh period yesterday when I should have been helping students with their robots I was struck by how cute this girls hair was, another female student (one I have behavior issues with) commented on it as I was walking by. So I asked her how she did it and she stopped and gave both me and the other girl a tutorial. Was it off task, of course but I engaged a student who I don't normally engage and learned hopefully how to do this hairstyle next week, I consider it a win win.


EXAMPLE EIGHT: Spotlights

Bloggers are spotlights: always seeking attention. Maybe I am making a broad statement but the truth is we post on the internet in order to hopefully to gain attention, readers and comments. I am pretty sure no blogger out their is posting and hoping no one reads this post, correct me if I am wrong.

My students are mini spotlights or spotlights in the making. I could go on forever with the different ways both good and bad they seek attention but one story stands out from this week. In sixth period a student with way too much energy broke out into the Carlton dance in the middle of class for absolutely no reason.


The randomness in his actions and the fact that 17 other students turned and just stared at him cracked me up. I was hysterically laughing, I am pretty sure I snorted. Perhaps it wasn't that funny but sometimes students surprise you in the oddest ways.

This post might lead you to believe that most of my week was spent off topic or task in my classroom but we did get a lot accomplished and I am starting to make those connections with students not because we are sharing any deep conversations but because bloggers connect and relate with other bloggers. It's in our blood.

Linking up with WhitneyMiss Nelson and Doodle Bugs.

- The Babbling Box!

Listening

I had no intention of posting tonight, SOA is coming on soon so I am hurling through my evening routines with a purpose but I couldn't help link up a silly activity with Holly for Tuesday's Tried It Tuesday, basically it was the only highlight of my day so its completely worth sharing.

By 5th period today I needed a chuckle and while it might be cruel to use your students to entertain you, its just so darn easy to do sometimes.


Do you ever feel like your students just aren't listening to you? 

I feel like I get either the:


Or they seem like they are listening but the truth is they are just hearing:




I do the normal teacher thing: ask if they have any questions, check for understanding, have them access themselves, give time for them to figure it out, leave instructions in their agendas, on the boards...etc.

I could do a song and dance routine while giving instructions I think I would receive the same level of interest/understanding sometimes.


While the annoyed part of me just wants to leave them all be and let them fail, the truth is I can't. Not only because my luck would be that an administrator would walk in but also I just can't handle that many failures. Stupid overachiever in me.

But sometimes I like to make a point about how little they listen, like today.

Today we used a listening comprehension activity for their warm up: basically there are twenty questions that make you do silly things like hop up and down 10 times or take your left shoe off and leave it on your desk. BUT the catch is the students really don't need to do any of these activities.

At the beginning of class I pass out the paper with the questions and I tell the students that they must read all the questions before they answer any of them. 

Side note: If you skip down to the last question it tells you to only complete question one and two, turn your paper over and you will get a prize. And out of 20 kids today 1 kid received a prize.

I walk around and grade them just like a normal warm up and you see them start taking their shoes off or yelling 'I found the answer' and I try to hold in my snickering. And then there is the single kid in the corner who followed instructions and he is just staring at the other wakadoo's in your room and full on laughing at them. I provide him the prize and allow this to keep going for another few minutes until you hear the "aw Miss that was cruel" or "you made us do all that for nothing."

And then I pull the whole class in and we discuss the warm up and what it means to be an active listener. 

Not only does this activity provide me a good chuckle it also serves as a helpful reminder to the students about what active listening means. And starting today I plan to not repeat instructions more than once...or something like that.

Here is the list of questions I used for listening activity, its not cute or frilly but feel free to use them if you would like.

Following Instructions Quiz

Read this whole paper first, and then follow the directions given. You have 10 minutes to complete this test. The instructions are important, so read carefully!

1. Write your name in the upper right hand corner
2. Put the date in the left hand corner
3. Write your age: ________
4. Write the name of the President of the U.S.: ______________
5. Call the name of a friend, wave to them, and say hello.
6. Stand up and shake someone’s hand.
7. Get two others to tell you their favorite colors. Write their favorite colors here ____________ and _____________.
10. Put your left shoe on the desk and leave it there.
11. Give a high five to four different people.
12. Tell two others your middle name.
13. Add 237, 4986, and 866. Answer: __________________
14. After you do number 13, yell “I found the answer!”
15. Write the name of your favorite food. _______________
16. Sit down and stand up 10 times as fast as you can. Record how long it took you here: ________________
17. Print the name of the planet you live on ____________
18. Look to the person at the right and tell them something you like about them. 
19. Draw one red circle and two blue triangles on the bottom of this page.
20. If you read all the instructions first, good job. Skip all the instructions and only do #1 and #2. Then sit quietly at your desk until time is called. 

Hope your Tuesday went a little better than mine! On the up side tomorrow is Hump Day!!!

- The Babbling Box!

RESET

I am going to be completely honest here for a bit, I fell off the wagon.

All summer long I was posting about my workout successes, meal ideas and generally just kicking butt at keeping healthy.

Proof: May, June and July I managed to complete 30+ miles in 30 days.

And then August reared its ugly head and I managed a wooping 4.98 miles.


I am the queen of excuses. New York killed my routine. Going back to work is hard. I am tired. It's not Monday. It's not the first of the month. I didn't eat the right lunch. I worked too late. I would rather see the mister. I would rather wash my hair. I am tired from being on my feet all day. I just need quiet time.


The reality is simple I would rather lay on the couch, eat cheese nips for dinner, have a few adult beverages and watch PLL. I am constantly weighing the pros and cons, if I go to the gym how much time will I have to: blog, sleep, see the mister and relax. 

But the flip side to all of this is I feel like shit. Plan and simple. I know that eating crap makes me feel like crap. I also know that I handle my job and everyday stress better when I go to the gym. But most importantly my moods and self esteem are so much more stabler, well as stable as they can get, when I maintain a healthy lifestyle.

So this weekend I finished off my box of cheese nips and decided it was time for a reset. I planned ahead a few meals that I would actually enjoy but were still healthy...nothing makes me want to drive through Jack in a Box than knowing I am going home to rabbit food. I made a few small gym goals. And prepared myself for easing my way back into a healthier lifestyle. 

To me its all about balance, if I tried working out seven days a week and jumped head first into a grain free meal plan by day 3, I would be burnt out and drinking my way through a bottle of wine in order to hide my shame at only lasting two days. 

Here are a few snapshots from my weekend reset:


one. Anytime I think of resetting my personal health a cleanse comes to mind, I blame my mom she made us do them all the time. So I ordered the Advocare 10 ten day cleanse to jump start my system and perhaps clean out some of the cheese nip dust.

two. Nothing mind blowing but I pre-made lunch for the week. Spaghetti Squash + homemade paelo meatballs + Italian stir fry with tons of veggies. YUM!

three. Perhaps these shouldn't be on the reset list but I think its important to treat yourself within reason. 

four. I stopped by the gym on Saturday on my way to the grocery store. Yes, it was a small workout and yes it was pretty pitiful in terms of results BUT the first step is always getting yourself there.

five. I ordered a Yamuna Ball and video. My mom actually is certified to teach this, the main reason we went to New York, and she kind of got my hooked. I am hoping to balance three days of cardio with two days of ball rolling instead of traditional weight training.

Besides getting my reset this weekend the mister and I had a lot of together time which is probably why he is hiding in his room playing video games I loved. 












Saturday we stayed in and watched the Longhorns actually win a game. Sunday we stayed in and watched the Rams lose get crushed by the Cowboys. Our set up was pretty nice both games, plenty of relaxation, booze and no annoying stupid fans trash talkers. Our only venture out of the house consisted of going across the street to AT&T and upgrading my phone to a Galaxy 4s...leaving iphone scared me a bit but I am loving it so far. And then of course Smashburger is wonderful. And finally we ended the weekend with the series finale of Dexter...I was unimpressed...but I tend to get too attached to shows.

How was your weekend? 
Any Galaxy fans out there...what are some cool tricks and tools?
Am I the only one who wasn't impressed by the series finale of Dexter?

Linking up with: SamiBreCarly and  Logan.

The Babbling Box!

Baffled

All and all I would say this week was a win. I finally feel a bit calmer about my to do list, my pure torture morning and afternoon duty is over for the next four weeks and I am getting some time with the mister for the first time since last Thursday. That is as soon as I get done blogging.

But that didn't stop the 'stupid' 'mind numbing' 'perplexing'...basically downright baffling moments from seeping into my week. 

Top Ten Baffling Moments of The Week...aka...
The Heart Warming, The Stupid and The Stupider

Dear Football Players and Cheerleaders: You pretty much made my week, I puffy heart y'all. Tuesday we had our first football game, so I went and stood in the rain to support our school. We got crushed, the bruises on our quarterback the next day made me wince. But as I was walking into the stadium the bus with the cheerleaders arrived and 12 girls were leaning out the windows yelling my name. It was sweet. Then the bus with the eighth grade football players arrived and there were 30+ boys hanging out the windows yelling my name. It was downright baffling how 'loved' I felt.


Dear Weather: Frankly I am sick to death of you. It's supposed to be fall but it's 100 degrees every day. The random daily rain storms have actually been great for our lawn and that's about it. After the rain storm it literally feels like steam is coming off the ground. My poor hair begs this whole process to stop, it already has to smell like pubescent boys that should be punishment enough. 
Fall as a season is just baffling.

Dear Female Students: My heart hurts for the choices you are making. One of you is about as far along as one of our teachers, not a shining achievement at 13. And note to the female student that wore a red lace see through shirt with a red bra the other day, I get your curves are very voluptuous after giving birth this summer but perhaps you should consider the signals you are sending by wearing something like that to middle school. Babies having babies, baffling.


Dear Former Student: I hid at the 7-11 rather than be recognized by you: it wasn't that your mom was cursing at you or that you gained 100+ pounds in two years or that you grew a foot. BUT it was because of the tear tattoo you are now sporting under your eye. 
Former students are now scary, baffling.

Dear Clueless Student: This week you asked me if you would be receiving grades in my class. I just stopped to stare at you. We are on week four, warm up number 16, daily grade number 14 and project number two. What exactly lead you to believe you were just here for fun. Clueless seventh graders baffle me. 


Dear Ex-After School Director: I let you take advantage of my kindness when you worked at our school last year and happily begrudgingly made your newsletters each month. The fact that you had the nerve to email this week me to make you a flyer for your new job/school leaves me absolutely speechless. Baffled.



Dear Sixth Graders: You are cute and sweet but the whining about due dates is killing me slowly. Yes every project has a due date. No this is not a finish when you finish type of class. I am sorry that you weren't better prepared during elementary but its time to put your big boy underpants on and start acting like a middle schooler. Due dates being mind blowing = baffling.

Dear 7th Period Student: You 'wooted' like an owl for 15 solid minutes of instruction time this week. 
No words, just baffled.


Dear Robotics Students: Your built your robots in two class periods. That has never happened before in four semesters. I am so overwhelming excited about all of the activities we will be able to do this semester if you keep up this work ethic. Except for 7th period, but I was trying to stay positive. 
Eager students still baffle me.

Dear Austin Drivers: Today it rained. I know this might be a new thing...water following from the sky. BUT you do not have to stop driving and stare at the raindrops. You do not have to stop and stare at the drivers who failed driving and have now wrecked their cars. You do not have to max out your speed limit at 10 mph. You are the reason traffic is horrible. Baffled by the amount of stupids who own vehicles and drivers licenses.


Something I am definitely NOT baffled by, how much I love Justin Timberlake's new single...but really this man does no stupid so what's not to love.


The mister and I joke that we are constantly surrounded by stupid and if this week was any example I believe are joking is just a pathetic attempt to not break down and cry at how baffling the people that surround us truly are. And this is why we are ordering take out, parking our cars in the garage and camping out on the couch until Monday. 
Gotta take a break from the stupid sometimes. 

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend filled with the least amount of 'stupid' as possible!

Linking up with AshleyWhitneyLaurenSarah, and Jennifer.

- The Babbling Box!

Songs That Define Me

I was super excited by the link up 'Songs That Define Me' that Helene hosted last week, so I started making a list of songs I should include and when the list reached over a 100 I knew I had a problem.

Helene in Between

See I love music. Obsessed might be a better word. I can tell you where I was at, who I was with and probably what shirt I was wearing when I hear certain songs. I could never though tell you the important stuff like who actually sings the song or the name of the song.

Case in point:


I heard this song last summer while in Orlando with my bestie sitting at a moonshine bar. Another couple was in the bar and the guy kept playing this on repeat to the point where all five us, it was a small bar, were screaming the lyrics. It literally just took me thirty minutes of trying to type in the lyrics to locate who actually sings this song. Artist loyal I am not.

Besides never knowing who sings a song I also have an obsessive personality when it comes to music, blame the Gemini in me, I will love a song or artist and play the album on repeat for weeks on end and never get sick of it. But then something new comes along and its hello new obsession. Gemini's are known to be fickle but obsessive...its the twins.

Regardless of the fact that I will play out a song or never be able to tell you who my favorite artists are, I can tell you music speaks to me. I feel that no matter what 1,365,765 different mood I might be in a song will tell the story better than my babbling might. I hold onto songs like memories, use them to tell stories, play them in between classes to wipe the slate each period, calm me down or amp me up.

So I think I was able to whittle down my list of 100 to 10 18 20, but I am a Gemini so I might change my mind thirty minutes from now, I make no promises.

Childhood: In my house country was King: George, Reba, Randy, Clint, Travis...etc. I thought my dad did not know other music might exist. Every Saturday he would fill the house with country music and we would all be forced to clean house while he sang along. I resented country because it felt like I was given no other option. When all the other kids at school knew who New Kids On The Block or Boyz II Men were, I had no clue music existed that wasn't:


My mom wasn't much help, she just went along with whatever my dad liked...believe me that left a pretty strong impression. Although I did own Paula Abdul cassette tape and definitely choreographed a few hundred dances behind my bedroom door. 


Middle School: The middle school years were dominated in an odd mix between Alanis Morrissette, probably the first time I ever listened to non-country music in a car with my 'boyfriends' mom, and of course Brittney Spears along with all of the other boy bands: Backstreet Boys, N'Sync, 98 degrees or LFO...



High School: High school was another weird mix of music taste, if you haven't figured it out by now my taste in music tends to be all over the map. I was introduced to 'rap' and suddenly I was blasting away: Eminem, 50 Cent and Nelly. I thought Nickleback was amazing, judge away. But also the Counting Crows sucked me in during Cruel Intentions.



College Years: Really my college years were just a blur and I would need several posts to completely divulge all of my music from college, and probably a few weeks of hard concentration in order to remember those times. A few songs I do recall fondly: blasting Madona driving in Nicole's truck, blasting sad country music driving in Nicole's truck or anything off of Justin Timberlake's Future Sex/Love Sounds albulm. The highlight being when Amber, Nicole and myself went down to Houston for his concert. We literally thought we were beyond cool because we knew every word to his songs.



The Present: For me the present is a lot harder to choose just one or two songs probably because I actually can remember the present and I am not looking back through booze colored glasses. But here goes:

When I think of the mister, myself and Erica...aka...the three musketeers:


When I need to get pumped up for a workout anything off his Recovery album gets my blood pumping:

Love the Way You Lie (feat. Rihanna) by Eminem on Grooveshark

When I think of the mister and our relationship, this is also the first song we ever danced to:

Forever by Dropkick Murphys on Grooveshark 


When I think of my bestie and all of the crazy memories we share:

Drunk On You by Luke Bryan on Grooveshark

If you have never seen Luke Bryan you are missing out, I always liked his songs but seeing him open for Tim McGraw four years ago made us fall in love...and drink a little too much.


Unfortunately we were still 'hurting' from the Tim McGraw concert to enjoy this concert as much as we should have but hands down this album is always on repeat.


I have always had bad taste in music, this is before I let twelve year olds influence me, and I liked this song. Erica hated it. But it followed her everywhere we went, so it stuck.


We are girls, we get sad. Beyonce spoke to our souls. Enough said.

Currently on repeat in the mister's car...aka...music that we both can always agree on:

Pursuit Of Happiness by Kid Cudi on Grooveshark

My current obsessions:








I think for me music has come full circle. I once hated country music and now I pretty much listen to it everyday. I once hid my music tastes because they weren't always mainstream, and now I force my students to listen to them non-stop. I once felt I didn't truly get music because I couldn't recall artist names or song titles, but now I realize its the lyrics that speak to my soul, the tune that gets my body moving and the song that bring back the memories. And that might just be cheesiest line I have ever written on this blog. 

Linking up with: BreCarlyLogan, and Helene.

- The Babbling Box!

Holding Onto Bliss

I have been saving my highs and lows of each week for Mondays but my last post was so negative I felt like I would focus on five blissful moments, to me that is, from this week.

one. Inventory. It's a pesky little word and something I dread just a little each semester in Robotics. Mostly because I am worried the kids will think I am evil, and I really am NOT!


In robotics we use an NXT Lego kit, one kit per partner/group, so on average I have about 40 or so kits checked out a semester. Each kit holds 619 pieces. There is no way I would ever have the time to put together all of these kits. When I first started these kits were a bloody mess. But last semester my kids worked really hard the last week of school and we sorted out all the pieces. All the wheels are in one box, axles in one box, gears in one box, etc. And they are all labeled with pictures of the pieces. 

So Wed/Thur each group had to get their kit and count out all of the pieces they needed using their inventory sheet.


There are 60 pins (the smallest piece) alone. So in the past this has taken a week to really get right. BUT this semester I had tons of groups done on the first day. I am sure this was some what to do with how organized we are this year, but I really think it says something about how hard my students are willing to work. 
Pure teacher/OCD person bliss.

My whole theory is that if they spend this much time counting out the pieces they will keep their kit orderly for the entire semester and they have no one to blame but themselves if the extra piece boxes get messy. PLUS they have been forewarned that the last week of the semester they have to take it all back apart so keeping it neat speeds up the entire process.


two. In Career Technology this week each student researched a career of their own interest and put together a one page informational flyer with the research and pictures using Microsoft Publisher. 

I printed the template and had the students focus on just the research Tuesday using one of my favorite career research sites: http://www.bls.gov/ooh/. And then Wed/Thur (our block day) we learned how to use Publisher and the students used my template to create a bright and interesting one page flyer filled with pictures and research.


 My Career Tech class tends to be sixth graders and I currently have a few students who without google translate would never understand what to do, so my thought was that by providing everyone a template they would learn a new software program but everyone would be set up for success.



I was blown away by how awesome the flyers turned out, I was grading Friday afternoon and literally hitting print each time I pulled up the next student's work, I thought they were all that fabulous to go up on my wall. Pure teacher bliss.


three. In Web Design this week we started blogging. I use Kidblog to teach students about digital citizenship and staying safe when using public/social media sites. I like the site because it allows me to monitor what is being posted and comments that are going up because I have final approval of everything.  

In the past it takes about a week before the kids really get into it. In the beginning it just seems like a lot of writing to them. BUT this year in two and half days they already posted 42 posts, have another 26 in drafts and have made 73 comments. I should add that the class is only 28 kids so I am overwhelmed with how much they seem to be digging this activity.

All I do during class time is walk around and check in with them to make sure they are moving forward and working on their next blog activity, they have 7 required and then three optional ones to choose from. Each post is worth 10 points so they can really do as many as they want. In the past I have had grades as high as 150 and low as 30, my hope is this year our strong start means our average will be much higher.


One student got so excited when she saw that someone commented on her post, she was bouncing in her seat asking me who it was. I of course couldn't tell her, so instead of bugging me she started writing back to this student so they could have a blogger conversation. 
Pure teacher bliss.


four. Thursday was another super positive moment from Web Design this week, which I failed to take any pictures of.

One activity we do on our blogs is to write a review of a book, movie, tv show, etc. In the past students haven't really grasped what a review is and then I reexplain it 30 times individually, I just love repeating myself. 

So this year I had sample reviews printed from: http://www.kidsandmedia.co.uk/film-reviews/ and the students partnered up and read the review and answered ten questions about the review. 

In my head it was a opportunity for some think, pair, share time - meaning they would read silently together then pair up and share out the answers. What I didn't expect was for one partner to read the review out loud to their partner and then the other partner be the writer. 

These are kids who don't know each other and the majority are ESL students so for them to be willing to read aloud to a peer on their own free whim made my mega watt smile come out all period. Be still my heart. Pure teacher bliss.

five. This one is really more personal but it is something/a feeling I want to remember. I had stayed late for a meeting Monday night for our CAC and after the meeting adjourned the principal asked if I had a second. Insert stomach plunging fear. 

She said that our new 8th grade math teacher was having a hard time with some of the classroom management stuff considering this 'unique' class of eighth graders and she hoped it was ok that she passed along my name as a teacher for the new teacher to go to. I said of course. We continued the back and forth conversation for like another minute or so but then she said the line that was like music to my ears: 'you're one of the best teachers on campus.' 


Believe me I held it together until I got in the car but I am pretty sure my smile could have been seen clear across campus. 

Normally I wouldn't include something like this on the blog, mostly because it feels boastful, BUT under all the negativity I have regarding our new Numerical Fluency program and how I feel like I am being taken advantage of as an elective teacher, I completely forgot about that interaction with my principal. 

Yes, I am still mad. Yes, I still have a lot of animosity towards everyone involved in this program. But all jobs have good moments and bad moments and if I only focus on the negative I will never be able to hold onto those feelings of bliss I felt this week. And if all of my weeks have more highs than lows I consider myself pretty darn lucky. 

But please don't stop me to ask how the grading is going for the fluency program, I can't predict my response!


Linking up with Miss Nelson and Doodle Bugs.

- The Babbling Box!

When Will It Be Enough?

Monday and Tuesday I was lucky enough to be able to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner at the school. Don't be jealous. 

Friday I worked eleven hours or so. Monday I worked eleven hours. Tuesday I worked thirteen hours. Today I worked ten hours. If I truly worked a 40 hour week I could leave after six hours tomorrow BUT let's be real here.


Before I go any further let me say this: I LOVE my job. 
Hands down I know I am in the right profession. 
I adore my students...well most of them. 
I couldn't be more suited to teach my subjects. 
And my room is the jam.

And here is where you are probably saying:


There are certain things that college/alternative program don't prepare you for when you are planning to enter the field of education.

The most important lesson that I would have liked to have been told early on is:
it won't be enough.

Work 50 hours in a week, it wont be enough, 60 might have been better in order to get your word wall just perfect.
Have engaging content, it won't be enough, why aren't your students competing in competitions.
Have a greatly managed classroom, it won't be enough, didn't you notice that one student chewing gum.
Show up on your own free will to committee meetings after school, it won't be enough, take on a task or responsibility for this committee during your 'free time'. 

The list could really go on and on, but this post does in fact have a point.

Here is a little background information to help my story:

one. I teach three preps, that means I write three lesson plans a week by myself. Our lesson plan format is 5 pages long and is checked every Friday by our appraiser.

two. On average I teach about 150 kids a semester. If I enter one grade a day for students that is nearly 750 grades I have to enter a week.

three. In a given week I have about 5 hours of planning time, to make phone calls and prepare lesson plans and such. It is never enough, I generally get to school an hour early and stay an hour or two later in order to make sure I can at least have my weekends free.

Occasionally I will get positive feedback from my administration but the overarching theme I see is it isn't enough.

Let's take a core teacher, for example our math teacher for 7th grade:

one. Said teacher teaches one prep. Has CRM's, YI's, district lesson plans and a team of teachers at the school to plan with. 

two. All of our 6th and 7th grade students have block math this year, so they have about 90 students per teacher. 

three. A math teacher will never be pulled to substitute a class so they are secured at least 6 hours of planning time. Plus most of our campus PLC's benefit the core.

four. They of course have to deal with state accountability scores, so that is a lot of pressure.

Reality check: there are positives and negatives with each position. Really with every position in life. 

Here is where the story gets interesting, I promised I had a point.

Monday we had our PLC (professional learning community) and oddly I was the only one required to go at my time slot. Since I am on a random 6th grade time slot and all of the elective teachers are on another...way to isolate me further.

In the PLC I was told that we will be doing a campus wide Numerical Fluency program and elective teachers would need to assist. 


In a students math class they would be completing a one page activity every day. 
Then the math teacher would send them to an assigned elective teacher.
The elective teacher would then grade each paper.
Record the grades in a googledoc.
Then locate the next page if the student passed and staple all of it together.If the student failed they would be retaking the same page, but of course there needs to be a fresh copy.
The elective teacher needed to have all of this done and back to the math teacher by the next math class period.
Oh, and there are a 100 questions on each activity.
And good luck reading the handwriting of students who you don't even know.
Repeat the whole process the next day. And the day after...


Don't get me wrong I think the idea of the program is great: students need to have these basic addition and subtraction type skills in order to ever pass our state test.

But why in the hell do I need to be a grader. It took the average elective teacher 70 minutes to complete this activity yesterday, when we should have been preparing for back to school night.

I feel like our administration is basically giving all elective teachers the middle finger and saying what you do here isn't enough. Your classes and you aren't important. Your family and personal lives aren't important. BUT our core teachers need to be rested and focused on their classrooms. 

It's bad enough that the students know that they do not have to pass electives in order to move to the next grade level but for the administrators to say that basically we are second class citizens at the school makes me feel like I am just an over paid babysitter.

I really have kept so many of my opinions to myself regarding the way elective teachers are treated at my school but this whole math crap is the straw that broke the camels back, if you will.

I feel like my options are this:

one. Don't do it and see what happens. There is no reasonable way this can hurt my PDA's and is this even in my contract. 
two. Do it and allow my disdain for my school to fester and grow. Completely healthy.
three. Speak up, to who I don't know, and allow myself to be made the example of.

At what point am I allowed to say that as a teacher, not an elective teacher, I am handling (pretty darn well might I add) the same amount, students and workload as any other teacher in this school and that IS ENOUGH!

What I would love to know is do other teachers deal with this, its never enough, mentality? 
Am I the only one talking about it? Or is my school just a special kind of crazy?

I apologize for the Debbie Downer rant of a post today but I needed to get it off my chest before I went crazy.

- The Babbling Box!