Monday, September 29, 2008

All Summer In a Day

Today I was able to teach English for a change. No, they have not yet hired a math teacher at the super cool prep school, but one of the English teachers, Mrs. W., was nice enough to let me teach her 7th grade reading and writing class for the week.

I had written a lesson for the short story "All Summer In a Day" by Ray Bradbury that involved reading the story and then writing a new ending, picking up where the story left off. The kids were introduced to the lesson and began writing their endings today and I learned a very important lesson.



I figured this gem out during the lesson and had to do some quick adjusting on the fly to make sure they story made sense. You'd think that I would be able to count from 63-67 but nooooooo!
Once that had been resolved and the questions answered, the kids began to write their new endings. They ranged from well, anemic to really cool.

Having them revise their endings is going to be a great experience for both teacher and students. Tomorrow I plan to make copies of the self revision form and I need to modify it for having another student read and make suggestions on the endings.

The other thing I forgot to do was to have the pre-writing activity up on the board ahead of time. Because of this there was some lost time in the classroom. Silly me, next time I'll know better... I hope! At least Mrs. W., kept the activity on the board for tomorrow when she teaches the same lesson to her other ELA classes.

If this works, Mrs. W., will let me teach more lessons during my prep periods.

This may sound like the height of arrogance, but if you want a copy of the lesson, let me know and I would be happy to share it with you. Why reinvent the wheel?

Saturday, September 27, 2008


That's what the last week has been. Now that the honeymoon has ended so to speak the kids have decided that the rules no longer apply to them. Two fights, kids stealing, shooting teachers with rubber bands, and swiping pencil cases all occurred in the last week. This with about 150 middle school students. Lucky for us the principal is good at making the punishment fit the crimes and several students have not been to school for a few days if you catch my drift.

I had to rearrange the seating arrangement in my room because of the talking and the fact I could not move around the room easily. I like how it works, I could care less if the kids do. In addition I started a morning break detention list that currently has about 7 names on it. If this does not straighten out some of them, then I guess I'll start going lunch or after school detention for the little darlings.

And I still have my four college classes to deal with, including coming up with a lesson plan for a poem or short story that has an open ending or meaning.

I must be nuts to willingly do this.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

The race that wasn't...

My son and I were supposed to be watching the NASCAR Craftsman Truck race tonight but that didn't happen thanks to a dead battery in between qualifying and the race itself. So instead of watching trucks tear around the track at 170 mph we were at Pep Boys getting a new battery for the minivan so my wife would not have to deal with a dying battery this week. That being said my son and I had a great time. We got to see the crews work on the trucks in the Neon Garage, where he got a 5x7 card from one team and lug nuts off the trucks from a couple of others. He had the biggest grin on his face while watching the controlled chaos of the pit crews in action. We also spent time with our friends Fran and Rich who got us the passes for the garage as a birthday present for my son. Next year I get him better ear protection because the ear plugs I bought were not nearly enough for his sensitive ears. I'm pretty deaf er immune due to my rock and roll listening past.

Hopefully next year we'll be able to watch the race as well as all the other activities...

Friday, September 12, 2008


Update #1 9/16/08: Slow learners this lot, not only did two more from 5th period get the heave-ho, two kids from 1st period also got the boot. That's four in one day, a record of sorts...

That's what I've been doing for the last couple of days, or more precisely my students have become. My lovely 8th graders still have have the terminal chatterbox syndrome and can't seem to find a cure, so it's up to me to keep them quiet. So starting yesterday I've started removing students from my room.

Thursday I sent two two gentlemen to the office, and today I sent two more talkers to face the music. So I'm hoping that on Monday they will get the hint and stay quiet. But if they don't I will continue to remove the talkers from the room until either nobody talks or nobody is left.

I'll take door #2, they won't be able to help themselves. They just talk to much.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A day in the life

If you were ever curious about what 24 hours of my life is like, look no further, and it's only 100 words too!

I stumble out of bed, head swimming with thoughts of students, college and family. A shower, coffee and breakfast later I’m dropping off my son and I start my day teaching middle school. Exhausted, I get into my car and drive home long enough to see my daughter and then head off to college. I come home; enjoy dinner and a cold frothy beverage while trying to juggle homework, lesson planning and family time before I fall into bed for another sleepless night worrying about my students, classes and family only to do it all over again tomorrow.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

A Tale of Two Days

I'm not sure I could have had two days that were so different from each other. Wednesday was pretty much a grease fire from the word go. My good shirt had a food stain on it so I had to wear my other dress shirt with the starched collar. I left my lunch at home so all I had eaten from 6am until 6pm was a couple of handfuls of peanuts. I got punished for doing the right thing and allowing the assistant principal to switch rooms with me so she could use the smart board 1st and 2nd period. Her room had a slight ant problem and the 6th graders got nothing done, and one of my 7th graders decided it was OK to kick a pen across the room nearly hitting several students and yours truly. Then to top it all off I left my power cord for my laptop at school so I could not get much done aside from enter a few grades. Did I mention that I paid for my class at UNLV at the bargain price of $1000? Something tells me I need to go back and find out why it was so flipping much money!

Thursday was the polar opposite of Wednesday. The kids were well behaved, the lessons went smoothly and open house went pretty well. I got to meet many of my student's parents and explain to them how I did things. Funny thing is that nobody complained about the no-name and it's in the trash policy either. My taco dip was a big success and everyone enjoyed themselves. I didn't get home until 8:30 but it was worth it. Not bad for my first open house!

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

In MY Classroom

I did this as an assignment for my teaching methods class. I thought it would be worth sharing with everyone here. Try not to fall asleep...

When I get my own room it won’t be like any other English classroom. Yes, there will be posters about literacy and even the parts of speech. And maybe even an author or two. But the walls will be filled with student work and more. There will be maps of the world, posters of great leaders, art by the great masters and more. Why? Because English is more than just two of the three ‘r’s, it’s the language of business, travel and more.

In MY class current events and history will be read discussed and written about. Street racing, foreign policy, movie reviews, animation and fashion will all have a place in my curriculum. Why? Because English is more than the parts of speech, grammar and high stakes tests, it’s about what makes us tick and what ticks us off. When the students care about the subject, their reading and writing will be the stuff of legends, at least for my students and me.

In MY class, the standards will be high and excuses will be left at the door. I’ll demand more from my students than just being on time and staying on task. They’ll have to hand in their work on time or suffer the consequences of a goose egg in the grade book. They’ll always remember to put their name on their work so that it does not end up in the trash. Why? Because in the REAL world, missing a deadline can cost you your job and your employer thousands or even millions of dollars, actions always have consequences and the sooner my kids students understand this, the better off they’ll be as adults.

In MY class, my students will take chances with their writing. They’ll sleep with their thesaurus and be comfortable pushing if not ignoring the envelope. Their writing will be a destination and not a grade. Writing to a prompt will be second nature to them because there is ALWAYS an angle that they can use to make the subject and their writing more interesting. Why? Because writing is more than POS, LOL and WTF? Its images written with words that teach entertain and irritate us to where we think about it long after we’ve read it.

And that’s what MY class will be like. Why? Because I give a damn, that’s why.