Monday, October 31, 2005

Today the kids were really amped up. All because of Halloween. Also, today in PE/Art/Music they had a "Fall Blowout" or something like that where they had all these huge, elaborate inflatable playthings set up in the gym (slides, obstacle courses, moonwalk, etc..) and the kids just played on them the whole time. They were waiting for that ALL day. I didn't feel good today and i started losing my voice midway through the day. I've already arranged for a sub tomorrow but if I wake up and feel great in the morning I'll still go in. Not voice will probably only get worse from here.

As I said, today is Halloween so they were pretty wired. Some of the teachers showed movies and whatnot but that never really even crossed my mind honestly. I don't really "get into" Halloween anymore (although I did as a kid, big time) but I did read a kind of creepy book to the kids today. Not a horror book or a halloween book...just creepy. It was all stormy and raining and dark outside and we sat by the windows as I read them a book called The Mysteries of Harris Burdick by Chris Van Allsburg. He's the guy that did Polar Express, Jumanji, etc... Later on I'm going to have them do some stories as the person in the link above did about the pics. They're great pictures and it's a great book for jumpstarting imaginations.

Tomorrow the entire 4th grade is supposed to go to the symphony. Too bad I most likely won't be there. That'd be cool.

I hate missing a day. It's already hard enough to keep up!

Well, I'm gonna go. Trick-or-treaters will probably be here any minute.

Sorry no Friday was a busy day. Now we're back to the manic Mondays. See ya this evening probably.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Well I think I insulted all the 4th grade female teachers. I guess it was bound to happen eventually so it was good to get it over with.

Yesterday we were talking about teachers' clothing. At my school male teachers have to wear ties and button-down shirts. Well, I made the comment that the clothes that many of the female teachers wear isn't even close to being comparable to a man's shirt and tie as far as formality goes and that many of the female teachers were "slumming it and looking like they're dressed for a day at the beach" while we've got to wear these ties. As you can imagine that didn't go over so well. I knew that was going all wrong the second that I got my first response of a somewhat offended sounding "I don't look like I'm going to the beach." Oops. I wasn't referring to any of the teachers in my grade when I said that but not really seeing the big picture I dug myself a little deeper by then referring to something that they all wear when I said "For example - capri pants are not at all comparable to nice slacks." Well at this point I've now implicated all of my female coworkers directly and thus accidentally tied them up in a direct association with the teachers who are "slumming it." I guess I put my foot in my mouth (nothing that I'm not used to). I noticed today that all three of them seemed to be dressed a little nicer than usual. I made my apologies at lunch and told them that if I'd been including them in those comments I would have said it in a nicer way. Really. Hopefully I didn't sour any relationships with that.

This morning my class all comes in and one kid tells me that his mom got an email from me telling her he needed to bring some cookies to class today. I was totally confused by that and assured him that I sent no such email and I had no idea what he was talking about. Then all of a sudden I'm getting showered by packages of cookies and juice and whatnot. I was like "Whoa! Whoa! What's going on here.." Kids were literally dumping cookies in my lap and just walking off. Apparently my PTA "room mother" had called all the kids' parents the night before and asked them to bring snacks for this parent meeting they were having that night and bring said snacks to me. She didn't let me know about this until around noon or so, well after I'd gone through the confusion of sorting out the cookie shower. Oddly, one parent sent juice and a big box of saltine crackers.

Today while the kids were reading I opened up the Merriam Webster dictionary online and looked up one of the kid's name. It was I hit the button to say the word out loud and the computer said his name..much to the surprise of himself and the class. Then I realized I could find reasonable representations of everyone's name in the dictionary and make it say the name out loud. They got a big kick out of that and everyone was saying "Make it say my name! Make it say my name!" That was kinda funny.

Ok, I'm out. Later.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Today was a pretty good day. We read two chapters of our book, studied cells more in-depth, went to the computer lab and did some required typing exercises and made some anti-drug posters for Red Ribbon Week. I would have personally rather spent the poster time doing writing but we have to do it and the kids had fun with it I think.

Today we were talking about cells and DNA and then the kids started asking me about cloning and one kid asked "What if they put a goat in a cow's womb?" Then we started getting silly with "If they put a pig in a loaf of bread would it give birth to a hot dog?" and whatnot. It was a good time of silly bonding. The science thing with learning cells is so dry. I can't think of a really great way to teach about the endoplasmic reticulum, mitochondria, vacuoles, etc... I try to make the conversations as interesting as possible by connecting it to things they're familiar with but it's still very dry stuff. They try REALLY hard sometimes to get the conversation off track and onto something more interesting.

This week in our writing journals one of my students accidentally had hers upside down when she wrote her two pages. She told me that Monday. Today she hands me the journal and says "Don't forget that it's upside down," in a very concerned voice. Did she think I was going to look at it and think it was some alien language and give her a zero or something?! Gimme some credit, 4th graders!

Today I finally went and got my fingerprints to send in for my standard teaching license background check (I'm on a probationary license this year). I've put it off WAY too long. I have a friend who was told by her school district over a month ago that if she didn't get hers they were going to put her on part time hours. Mine havent' said a thing but I'm fairly certain I was supposed to get it done long before today. I'm glad to have it done though.

Well, that's about it for me. Later.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Not much time for blogging today. It's been a long, busy day ending in a world series game that's still going on. The sacrifices I make for you, the blogreader. :)

Had my new kid in class today. Everything went fine with that. He's in special ed most of the time anyway.

I still get frustrated sometimes with my class's self-defeating behavior. We really have a lot of fun in the other class I teach because I can be silly and have fun and they handle it appropriately. They can laugh and then move on and continue learning and it's great. My class, however, just loses control if I start being silly. They just spiral into an almost chaotic state. I've tried telling them we could all have more fun if they'd just listen and follow directions but it doesn't help. I'm still looking for solutions to that. They're so impulsive at this age but I can't blame it on age alone because the other class is able to conduct themselves just fine.

This is drug-free red ribbon week. We all wear these red wrist bands all week and each band has a number on it. They draw numbers at the end of each day and the person with the matching number on his/her wrist band gets a prize. I'm not sure where elementary kids winning little plastic frisbees falls in the war on drugs but I'm sure it's an important piece of the puzzle.

Ok, I'm out. Good night.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Today was one of those restless days where the kids just won't stop talking all day and aren't following directions etc.. I'm getting another new student this week. He sounds like he could perhaps.

I was so sleepy today. All the 4th grade teachers had a meeting with the principal during our conference period and I could barely keep my eyes open. Falling asleep during a meeting with your principal is probably not good. Luckily I don't think she noticed.

Oh yeah, I had the principal come in and observe me teaching today. My lesson was really pretty lame, I think. Hopefully I can come up with something more creative next time. Seriously day to day lessons are typically better than that. I don't know what I was thinking. I should have had her come last week when I was doing all the cool electricity experiments. Today we were just talking about "characteristics of living things." Pretty dry stuff.

One kind of funny thing happened today. During our reading time reading our novel I was enouraging the kids to read with expression instead of like monotone robots (the usual). This one kid, bless his heart...he really tried but it was hilarious. He was just putting the emphasis, exclamations and expressions on all the wrong words where it just didn't make sense. It was pretty amusing. He's kind of a stuttery, start and stop reader to begin with so it just wasn't working out for him. I appreciated his effort's better than some of the robot readers.

I thinking my writing and english teaching is going to start coming together a little better now that I've had that training and I've got more of a method. I needed something more organized. Now I have focus.

I'm sleepy...later.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Sorry, busy day Friday. Busy weekend. I just accidentally typed "busty weekend." It was definitely not a busty weekend if anyone was wondering.

Nothing really interesting happened on Friday that I can remember. That's why it stinks when I forget to do an entry on the same day though..I can never remember anything.

Oh yeah, I took those bubba teeth that someone put in my box and put them on for the kids. As my reading class was entering the room I had them in and was bent over my bag as if I was looking for something, then when they all got in and seated I turned around and said "I just want to thank you all for being good for the sub while I was at the dentist yesterday." The teeth have this fake loose tooth that wiggles really nastily (is that a word?) and is attached by fishing line. I kept flipping it and wiggling it back and forth with a look of contentment on my face. They loved it of course. I did it for the other class and when I first turned around two of the students near my desk seriously jumped in fear at first. That was my Friday fun.

I think I'm being observed by the principal tomorrow. Unfortunately, because I had such a busy week and weekend I didn't really have time to plan an awesome, bang-up lesson so I'll just have to rely on my natural charm. Yeah...I'm screwed.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

So today I went to this writing training. It was really pretty good. I learned some good stuff. There was this one lady at my table though with a total chip on her shoulder regarding the training. She stops the lady who was doing the presentation near the beginning and goes "Excuse me, I've been teaching 26 years and I wanna know if you're going to give me something I can use here." She said it in what was, to me, a rude way too. That's kind of inherently rude as it is.

Then later on she was commenting on an aspect of the training totally from a strict old school perspective that completely missed the point of what the lady was teaching us.

Then there was another lady that said "So this is going to make my kids good writers in four months?" I was thinking "Lady, you want a miracle, not a method."

Some people just have no concept of appropriateness...and they're teaching your kids.

I went up to the school this morning and went over how to stream a video off of the computer and onto the TV with the substitute. She seemed comfortable with it...I hope that went well. I also hope she gave my kids their report cards.

I've got to spend that educational money tomorrow. I think I'm going to look through all the catalogs of the vendors the school does business with and see if I can find one of those little cheapo video cameras that you can hook up to your computer. Then I want to try and build some kind of makeshift apparatus where I can suspend the camera looking down at a table and I can write or do things and they'll show up on the TV. Follow me? You can buy such an apparatus (Called an "Elmo") but it's very expensive. I was just thinking today I could probably easily make something on the cheap that does the same thing.

I'm out.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Tomorrow's the big substitute day. My first day to be out. My inservice that I have to go to is at 9am but I don't even really get to sleep in because I need to go up to the school before classes start and make sure that the sub can do this thing I need her to do on the computer tomorrow.

Today we started reading our new book and the kids really dig it so far. That's a good feeling when you choose a book that's one you enjoy and they really enjoy it too.

Today one of my kids kneed another one of my kids in the crotch for no reason. From what I can gather there was no conflict or anything. They were standing in line and he just turned and kneed. The first I saw of it was when I looked over and the kid was crying. It kind of reminded me of when I was a kid and I punched my older brother in the stomach to see what would happen. Well, actually there was more to it than that...we were playing Space Invaders on Atari and he beat me and I turned and punched him in the stomach and took off running into the back yard. Of course he didn't chase me because he was doubled over trying to get his breath.

Speaking of my older brother, he just called to tell me that his wife just gave birth to their new baby. Congrats, broseph!

I was just told yesterday that I have until Friday to spend the rest of the money that was allotted to me for classroom supplies. So now Friday is going to be a mad dash to spend money I guess. I have my eye on some things like microscopes and a game type thing where there are buttons that go out for the kids to push so you can play Jeopardy type kids games and the person with the answer can hit the buzzer. That might be fun. I think I'll also buy some chalk...I need some of that.

I'm tired...I'm out. Probably won't be much of an update tomorrow because I'll be in classes all day but who knows...maybe the classes will be wild, wacky and blogworthy.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Get well, dad. I love you.

Well, just as I expected they did not make it through a third day in a row with only 2 names or less on the board. That ended immediately when it came out that 7 students did not do their homework. So much for that. SO, they start over on their reward board where they have to get three days in a row for their first reward.

Today wasn't a bad day though. We had fun with magnetism and electromagnetism in science. They went to the library which is a nice little extra break for me on Tuesdays. Tomorrow we start our new book that we'll be reading as a class. It's The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. I loved that whole series when I was a 4th grader and I don't think I've ever talked to anyone who read that and didn't like it. So that should be fun.

During my english lessons I've been writing sentences that have the names of my students in them doing something silly....eating monkey brains, riding unicorns, stealing each other's homework and going on subsequent high speed chases etc... They love that but at the same time it seems like they lose control every time I do it and start going crazy. Maybe if I already had them written out on an overhead instead of turning my back and writing them on the board it would help. Maybe I'll try that.

I spent this afternoon trying to get ready for the sub that's coming for me on Thursday. I'm taking a big risk by trying to have her show a video that plays from my computer to the TV. I hope she doesn't get lost trying to do that. I may come back and find a high heel slammed through my monitor.

Have I ever told you about my dog? My dog is a nut. 40 lbs of pure energy and awe-inspiring chewing capabilities. She's used her mouth to rip the metal nozzles off of both my outside water faucets, she's chewed up every sprinkler I own, she likes to chew on bricks that she digs up in our back yard (relics of when the house was originally built I guess) and today she ripped a board out of the fence and made a door through which she pranced over to give our new back neighbors a visit. Then she came back and chewed the fence board in half. Funny thing is she never chews a thing she's not supposed to when she's inside. She's a sweet dog..just hyper as a 5 year old in a coffee shop.

Well, that's my day. Later.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Another long day today. I was visiting my family and my dad who is sick in the hospital this past weekend so I didn't have time for lesson planning really. I have most of it done.

I'm going to be out one day this week for some inservice type stuff so I have to have a substitute that day. I'm trying to decide what would be the easiest assignments for both the sub and myself. I'm not looking forward to being out a day. I feel like it's just going to put me behind. I need to get this training though. It's pretty key for some stuff I need to teach.

Today I had the kids divide up into three groups and I assigned each group an article out of their Weekly Reader. The assignment was to read the article and then present the info to the class as if it's an evening news broadcast. I gave them ideas they could use and stuff but several groups ended up just reading through the article word for word. One kid even had the magazine directly in front of her face where you couldn't see her at all as she read. I told them I've never turned on the news and seen the anchorman reading articles to the camera. A couple of kids and one group really did do more what I asked for and did a good job of reporting and not reading. Some of them were kind of funny too.

My kid who's been out for a while with a bunch of unreturned assignments showed back up today...miracle of miracles. Another miracle was that he had a bunch of the assignments in his folder and they were actually completed. That's pretty incredible.

My little space cadet knocked my socks off in class today. He was actually paying attention in science and he raised his hands to answer or ask questions!! I was seriously dumbfounded and caught off guard by that. If you realized how hard it is to get him to pay attention for even 30 seconds you would be to. I don't know what caused it but I sure hope he keeps it up. He's a funny, likable kid and I know he's got some brains. I'd love to see him excel.

It seems like some things are kind of coming together. Relationships are warming up, kids who have really not worked much are working better in class... Today they actually had their second day in a row of only two names or less on the board all day! That means that if they get one more day in a row they get their first reward of a class period outside. Five days in a row gets them an extra recess. I don't think they can keep it up that long for least not at this point. I'll be surprised (but happy) if they make it through tomorrow with only two names...especially since we had homework last night...several kids are bound to not do it and that's automatic name on the board. We're also instituting a new school-wide rewards system tomorrow. That might help them.

I'm know I'm usually pretty cynical and whatnot but I really love teaching and I love my kids.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Finally, this week is over. It felt like this was the longest 4 day week ever. I think I'm just about all ready for report cards next week. Who knows seems like every time I think I'm done something else comes up that I have to do.

We did the electricity/circuits thing in science today. That was fun. I created a circuit and then had two alligator clips in the middle and we'd touch them or clip them to various objects to see if the object was a conductor or an insulator. They wouldn't stop suggesting and offering things to test though even after I'd moved on. We had fun at the end of the day with our english too.

Oh man..I just realized I haven't even started doing my lesson plan for next week. I guess I'll be doing some weekend work.

Tonight we're going to a concert so I have to go because it's an hour and a half away. Later.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Another busy day. We studied static electricity in science today and the kids had fun watching each others' hair move around as it stuck to a balloon. They also thought it was cool to see all the little pieces of a kleenex attracted to a charged balloon. That was fun. We read a story about famine in Niger out of our little weekly reader magazine today too. My class all made comments about how "the N word" was on the weekly reader and I quickly corrected them. In the other class it never even came up. My class as a whole just seems less mature and has worse manners I think.

Since we're studying electricity this week I had them all walking out singing the 80's classic "Electric Avenue." We didn't learn it in class or anything...I just started singing it because we were talking about electricity. They'll know all the 80's classics by the time the year is over.

This morning the high school cheerleaders made another showing at our school to do some cheers and tell the kids about some homecoming activities. It was kind of funny watching them confusedly trying to line up with every other cheerleader facing the same way down the middle of the gym. That took some time.

Today was fire safety day so the firemen had a fire truck at school and the kids got to go see it and whatnot. Yippee.

I got more grading done today after school but it seems like I still have a lot left. It was another late day that stretched into the evening. I seem to have a lot of kids with missing assignments. That could be a problem if I don't have them by Friday with report cards and all.

Well, my dog is whining to go on a walk and I want to get back for the Astros/Cards game. Later.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Today was a busy day as I predicted. It helped that I it's library day so I could send two of my classes to the library for 30 minutes each. That freed up more time to get some much-needed work done. I stayed up at the school until after 5pm. I turned on my classroom TV and watched some VH1 show about the top 50 childhood celebs and what happened to them or something. Does VH-1 show anything else besides "what happened to them?" shows, nostalgia shows and The Surreal Life? I don't have cable but it seems like that's what's showing pretty much every time I've cruised through that channel. So here's the update for anyone wondering: Corey Haim is fat, Blossom and the girl who played Winnie on The Wonder Years are both nerds, Tootie is fat, Screech does stand-up comedy which seems to mostly center around Saved By the Bell (you couldn't ask for an easier subject to make jokes about could you?), Blossom is fat, Horshack had a boxing match with Screech, Todd Bridges is fat, Molly Ringwald speaks french, Peter Brady is buff, Bobby Brady sort of looks like Sloth from The Goonies now, Urkel apparently makes a living writing a blog (what?! You can make money off of this?!!), Jonathan from Who's the Boss? is gay (shocking? I don't think so), the blonde chick from Family Ties is now a blackhaired chick and sings in a goth band, Anthony Michael Hall was geeky, then geeky cool, then nobody and now he's just cool (if I followed correctly).. well I could go on but you get the idea..

So anyway, I got a lot of grading done after school. Now I have to put it all in the computer and have the kids correct them before Friday. Well, I have more grading to do too.

Tomorrow we start electricity in science. That should be fun. I've got some experiments and demonstrations planned.

I've got some kids who just seem to sink farther and farther behind in the amount of work that they have not turned in. It drives me crazy. One of my kids who is the furthest behind was absent today too so now he's going to be even further behind.

Today during writing though my kid who is one of my worst writers and my tough nut actually started writing as soon as I gave the assignment and wrote a whole page. It was great. Usually I'll give the writing assignment on Monday and he'll still have a blank page on Wednesday or Thursday. So, at the end of class I wrote his name on the board but said I was putting it up there for good reasons instead of bad and put a big star around it and complimented him in front of everyone. He seemed pretty proud so maybe this will help inspire him. We'll see..I felt like that was one more brick removed from the wall at least. The girl next to him is little Miss Superwriter and after I complimented him in front of everyone she holds hers up and says "Look, I'm almost finished." Yeah, yeah...we know ya are, Danielle Steele.

Well, that's about all I've got. Later.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Today was the parent conference day all day. Every single one of my parents that were scheduled for a conference showed up. That's great. Another teacher already had 5 no-shows before lunch.

The conferences went well. It was good to meet some parents that I hadn't yet met and hear some info that i wasn't aware of about some students. Some of the things I was told were kind of sad. I have so much to do this week. Lots and lots of grading to do which means staying late until it's done. Stinkage.

I talked to my little space cadet's mother today. Apparently he used to be a straight A student who was really involved until some things happened in his life and he completely changed. I feel for him. He definitely seems like a kid who needs some love and attention and yet he's not the type that seems to always be begging for attention. He's a sweet kid. They're talking about moving back to another school district soon. That's a shame...he doesn't need any more major change in my opinion and I'd rather him stay here where we are really trying hard to work with him and get him on track.

I have two kids who think they're boyfriend and girlfriend. One day the girl told me that the boy "loves her." I discourage that kind of junk...this is freaking fourth grade, not the Dating Game. The boy's mom already knew about it because apparently he talks about his "girlfriend" all the time. The girl's mom had no idea and she's super-protective to begin with. Both parents wanted them separated so I moved his desk away from hers before the day was over. They talk too much anyway.


Saturday, October 08, 2005

Sorry I'm so late posting Friday's entry. I've been really busy the last couple of days doing things like hanging out with my wife, eating ice cream, watching football and going to gun shows. I know, I life is a whirlwind of important activity.

Friday was kinda messed up. We had an unusual schedule because of some kind of practice for something that the other grades are doing. They need to practice in the cafeteria so we had to go to lunch early and change our PE/art time. That caused me to kinda get messed up on my own schedule and I completely forgot to give the spelling test I was supposed to give on Friday. Now I'm trying to decide if it would be fair to spring it on them Tuesday. Monday the kids don't have school. It's parent conference day and I just have conferences all day.

Next week is going to be a very busy week. Friday our grades are due for report cards. That means I have a lot of grading and entering of grades to do this week and a lot of corrections I need to get the kids to do before I can put the final grades into the system. That means that I'm going to be working late a lot next week. So, if I don't have an entry here on one or more days then you'll know why.

Well, it's late and I have to get up semi-early in the morning so I'm out.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

So this morning I finally had a kid from MY homeroom blow chunks during morning assembly. Great...I hope I don't get it. Luckily it was just a little bit.

Today just got off to a bad start in general. This morning after the throw-up we went back to my class and when I asked them to turn in their homework 7 different people didn't have it. Well, yesterday it was a similar number so I'd emailed the principal and told her that if she'd like to drop by I'm sure my class would LOVE to hear her thoughts on the topic of not doing your homework. She stopped by today and told those 7 kids that they had to come to her office during PE. She did the same thing for every 4th grade class. She ended up making them all sit in the cafeteria with their heads down during PE.

Actual class time went pretty well today. During reading we read a story about how the NCAA is banning Native American logos and mascots during post season games. We read two opinions on it and the kids then decided what their opinion was and gave reasons to back it up. There were some surprisingly good reasons given for both sides.

The kids had a good time during english too I think.

This afternoon though I was teaching when they came on the intercom and said "Would the owner of a blue ________ car please call the office?" So I called. I had a flat tire. A while back I ran over a mesquite thorn out at my family's land. The thorn was in the tire and I was aware of it but it was acting like a cork basically...keeping the air in. I was hoping it would hold until I get new tires (soon). It didn't. Today the "cork" popped out and left a good-sized hole. I tried to air it up with my compressor so I could get it to Wal-Mart for a patch but it wouldn't hold air long enough so I had to change it. Oh well...I have a full-sized spare. Hopefully that will last me until I can buy some new tires in a little over a week or so. We just bought my wife a new car so I don't really have the jack to buy new tires at this time. Maybe it's coincidence but I've had what seems like an unusually high number of flat tires since I bought these Yokohama Geolander tires (almost 60,000 miles ago).

Well, that's about all I've got today.

PS - BTW, if you read this and don't know me and would like to email me for any reason I now have an email address available in my profile. If you do know me please continue to use my old email address.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Today was a pretty good. The kids really dug the science lesson this morning on how energy acts upon simple machines. I took my homemade "Incredible Machine" up to school which demonstrates a chain reaction involving 5 of the 6 simple machines and the kids really got into that. It's really not all that incredible, more like a "semi-incredible mediocre machine" but the kids enjoyed it. It uses a Hot Wheels car and a Wolverine action figure. I'm finding that any way you can make a lesson unique by bringing in memorable objects really helps a lot. Like when I did an experiment showing that water is more dense than oil I used Juicy Juice instead of water and that really stuck with them as well.

In the other class that comes to me for science and reading I was just blown away by this little girl today. She's been really worrying us because she hasn't done much and has had bad grades but today she was the star of the class. During reading she read really well and with a lot of inflection and comprehension of the mood etc.. and then in class she had all these fantastic questions and observations. Maybe she had some coffee this morning or something.. I don't know but whatever she's on I hope she gets more of it.

I had so many kids that didn't bring back their homework today. That's bums me out when I have so many kids that do that.

Today my kid who is probably my "toughest nut to crack" had the worst day he's had so far this year. I ended up having to send him to the office. It was just one thing after another and the final thing was putting soap in a kid's eye at the handwashing station.

Today I was observed by a person from the organization that I did my teacher training through. That was VERY encouraging because she gave me a really good evaluation and had lots of compliments for me. She said that she's seen a lot of teachers and can tell what's going on pretty quickly in any given classroom and that in my classroom the kids were on-task, enthusiastic and learning was maximized. That was really a day-brightener. That thing with the soap in the eye happened when she was there and she said that I handled it very well and in a way that was least disruptive to the other kids. Cool. Good to know I'm doing relatively well.

For the month of October we're doing this thing where someone puts a little treat in your box and then you pass it on and put little treats in three other people's boxes and so on... Someone put a little bag of candy and these fake hillbilly teeth in mine. They're not just regular hillbilly teeth of the teeth kind of dangles as if it's really it's hanging on by a root and about to fall out. They're pretty gross but I think the kids will get a kick out of it when I throw them on during class. I need to wait for the right time.

Well, that's all. I'm out.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Today was picture day. Some of the kids got all slicked up for it. One weird kid from the class that comes to me just for math and science comes in with his hair all slicked up, the collar of his flame-pattern shirt turned up and this paper fan (folded accordian style) scotch-taped to his chest. He told me he was Elvis. Strange kid. I don't know if they let him keep that look for the picture or not. While we were waiting in line for pictures they passed out plastic combs to all the kids. Most of the boys played with them or tore them up. The girls used them to constantly comb their hair for the rest of the day.

My partner-teacher had a sub today. Every time I saw her she had a deer-in-the-headlights look and just seemed like things were falling apart or something. Poor lady. These kids are a handful I guess. We had another sub who is an evacuee from New Orleans. She was a school principal there. You could hardly ask for a better sub! She seemed calm and cool all day.

I just found out tonight that I'm being observed tomorrow by a representative of the place where I did my teacher certification program. Thanks for the advance notice! Luckily I think I have a pretty decent lesson planned.

Today was a looong day. After school at 3:30 I had to go to another computer thing to get checked off on my usage of Excel. That took a while. I finished a little after 4:30 and had to go straight to my monthly ongoing teacher training class. It was close to 9pm when I got home from that. That stinks to not be able to come home for that long.

Well, that's about all I've got. Later...

Monday, October 03, 2005

Another week. It was refreshing to come in this Monday morning and already have my entire lesson plan for the week completed and all my copies made. That's nice.

Today we watched a short video on Heat, Energy and Temperature. We were talking about it afterward and it's funny how kids think about things. Even after that video I asked if anyone knew how mittens keep your hands warm and one girl still thinks that the heat transfers from the mittens to your hands.

In writing today we started writing in our journal about dreams and accomplishing your dreams. We were brainstorming on some things you could write and some of their dreams were kinda unrealistic. I heard "world peace" and "end world hunger." Then another kid's dream was to "end all poaching." I don't know if he was including eggs in that or if he was just talking about animals ("From this day forth I declare that the simmering of eggs shall no longer plague this land!!").

I had a kid who told me his stomach hurt this morning and it wasn't getting better so I sent him to the nurse. We went to lunch and came back and he comes bouncing into class with a smile on his face maybe an hour and 15 minutes or so after I sent him to the nurse and she'd written on the nurse's form "felt better after nap." Well...I imagine so. I think I would have felt better after a nap too. Soon though he says "Hey, did ya'll go to lunch?" Apparently he slept through lunch so I had to send him back down to the nurse so she could find him something to eat.

One of my other kids just recently got some kind of dental retainer. I can't understand half of what he says now. It's all spit and slurs. Poor kid. He's constantly sticking his fingers in his mouth and playing with it too. No one ever accused 4th graders of being sanitary.

I'm out. Later.