Thursday, December 22, 2005

So we're now out for the holiday break (about 2.5 weeks). Yes!

Yesterday one of the 4th graders from another class was sitting outside after school and she had this litte Reindeer zipper pouch. She held it up and said "I have a guitar pick in here." Being a guitar player myself I asked her to show it to me. She unzipped the case, reached in and pulled out a rock that was vaguely shaped like a guitar pick. I feigned being impressed. She told me that she has a guitar and plays it all the time. I wonder if the guitar is made of rock too.

Yesterday was kind of a whirlwind day. I had zero free time. It was nonstop from morning until afternoon. In the morning I was trying to get all this last minute work done since report cards go out as soon as they get back in January. I think I got it all done. Then I was scrambling to get all their graded work sorted to go home and then the comments added to their take-home folders and then get ready for their party. Then we came back and they had their little party. I think they had fun. It was still busy for me though. I had after-school duty when they left early at 2pm. Then I came back to my room and tried to get all my grades and stuff ready so I could submit them for report cards without any sweat when I come back. I got all that done, came home and crashed. Whew!

Glad to have this break now! I guess I'll post again in January. Don't forget me!

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 19, 2005

So I kicked off this week by completely forgetting that I have morning duty this week. That means one other teacher was in the gym with the kids by herself trying to keep them under control. I was actually at the school...I was just hanging out in my room and I came strolling into the gym at 7:55 wondering why people are staring at me. Oops.

I set an alarm reminder in my cell phone for tomorrow. This is only a three day week so I've already missed one third of my morning duty responsibilities.

I have so much to do before Wednesday. I didn't realize until last week or so that grades are due for report cards the morning I come back from holiday vacation on January 9th. That stinks...that means I have to get all makeup work and corrections done by Wednesday morning (since Wednesday afternoon is our class party) and then they're gone for the holiday.

These kids are chomping at the bit. They're ready to get outta here. Some of them are already on a mental vacation. Today my kid came back who was on a cruise last week. I told him that if he wants to have any hope at passing he needs to spend every bit of free time this week working on makeup work. He brought back his writing was allll about his cruise and playing bingo and shuffleboard and the nice people and swimming and the climbing wall and shopping in the Florida Keys... Hope it was worth it. It sure is a pain in my rear.

Two days left until Christmas break!!

Thursday, December 15, 2005

As we get closer to the holidays it seems like it gets harder to make myself update this every day.

Today was kinda hectic in the end. The 4th graders are putting on a holiday musical and they performed it for the school this afternoon and they're doing it again tonight. I have to go up there.

I don't think there's been much of note in the last two days.

One day one of my kids came in from the other class and they say down and another kid goes "Hey, Valerie, what happened to your eye?" Some other kids piped in with "yeah, what happened? Did you get hit?"

I looked over at Valerie and I could see exactly what happened - she apparently had a collision with a makeup truck. Yup...this 4th grader decided to wear makeup and thus the blackeye look. It was funny. The kids thought she had a black eye. She was emarrassed I could tell. Who needs to be wearing makeup in the 4th grade anyway?!

She's always struck me as one of those kids who's trying to grow up too fast. There's another 4th grader who obviously plucks her eyebrows...or has someone pluck them for her rather. I'm quite sure she didn't just decide to start plucking her eyebrows on her own one day. It looks horrible though IMO. I wonder if she'll have any left by the time she's grown up.

I revealed to the kids today who wouldn't be able to attend the celebration day tomorrow as a result of too much missing homework, etc.. The ones who aren't allowed to attend were digging as hard as they could to find some reason that I was mistaken. Poor kids.

4 school days left until Christmas break! Woo hooo!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

I guess I had to skip yesterday since I posted on Friday.

Yesterday was a tad discouraging. The vice principal got a call from a parent who said that her kid told her I'm mean and that he's scared of me. This kid cries at the drop of a hat. This morning he was high-fiving me so I suspect that he came out with those claims in response to a bad grade or something. That's how it often happens. Then the parent gets a very one-sided story. Anyway, while I realize it was probably a very unreasonable claim it still weighs on me somewhat that a kid would even claim that he's scared of me. I'm trying to be more gentle I guess but not too much so. This class will take advantage of that.

We have this reward system where each kid has a card with a circle representing each day in this grading period. As long as the kid returns all homework each day and is good then he gets a hole punched in that day's circle. If he/she doesn't turn in homework or gets his/her name on the board with a check by it then he/she doesn't get a punch that day. So now this Friday is a big celebration day and each kid that gets 42 punches or more (85% of the total punches) gets to take part. Those with less punches have to sit in the library and work on stuff all morning. I have about 7 that have no chance at getting 42 punches by Friday. Most of it is because of not turning in homework on time. Today the principal came by my class and asked the kids "Who thinks they're going to be able to take part in the celebration day this week?!" Every single kid in my class raised a hand. Some of these kids are dreaming. I tried to prepare them for the sting of finding out they can't take part by telling them all that they need to think back to how many times they didn't have homework done on time or their names on the board and that there are some in the class that will not be taking part. I don't know how they'll react when they actually find out. It's too bad. I have one student who is very smart and doesn't really misbehave much but he has habitually not had his homework done this grading period and he will not be taking part. I think he's one that is going to express surprise.

I stayed after and got a lot of grading done today. That was good.

Well, I'm out. Later.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Hey look at me! I'm actually posting an entry about my Friday!

Friday was a pretty good day. Both of my classes did much better on their big science tests than they did on the big social studies and english tests. If you don't remember these are "benchmark" tests that the district (and maybe the state?) uses to see how well your class and school is coming along.

Friday morning the first question several kids asked when they saw me was, of course, "Are we having recess today?"

So yesterday during my conference period I got a call from the front office saying "Jerry's dad is here and he was wondering if he could come up and speak with you." I said sure. We had no appointment or anything and I didn't know he was coming but I don't mind at all (As long as it's not on aTuesday when I'm trying to get the take-home folders or progress reports together). So he comes in and tells me "We've really been trying to get Jerry back on track and so I'm taking him out of school next week and we're going to get him caught up and back on track. What we're going to do is his grandparents are going to take him on a cruise."

"Huh?" Did he just say that they're taking this kid on a cruise for a week? Somehow that's supposed to get him "back on track." That's pretty puzzling to me. Not only is the time of this one week before they get out for Christmas vacation (when he wouldn't have to miss any school) but now he's going to miss a major math test and get further behind than he already was. Needless to say I'm still shaking my head on this one. This is not a kid who can afford to miss a week of instruction.

These kids have no concept of how the weather works. As I said on Thursday we had a kid walking to school in just a t-shirt and no coat when it was about 20 degrees outside. He HAS a coat, he just decided not to wear it. Today after school it's windy and 40 degrees out but it's sunny, so the kids all have their coats packed into their backpacks thinking, "It's sunny so it must be warm," and about to run out and wait for their parents in the shade in their short-sleeve t-shirts. They also ask me "Is it gonna snow?" as if all adults know the answer to that question at any given time.

I'm out. Have a good weekend.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

I got to sleep in a little this morning since I didn't have to be at school until 10am. That was very nice. My car was covered in a sheet of ice. I started to scrape the windshield a bit but then I just turned it on and let it run with the defrost on for 2o minutes before I left. The guy two doors down was pouring water over his windshield. My wife, who grew up in the north...great lakes region, thinks it's funny that people do that down here.

Today another teacher and I were walking down the hall and there was a pre-K class sitting in the hallway having a story read to them. This little girl looks at the other teacher that was with me and held up her middle finger in a position which just happened to look exactly like the infamous gesture and just stared at him holding out her hand like that the whole time we walked by. I told him it was obvious she didn't want to be in his class when she gets to 4th grade. We think she was trying to show him a "bobo" on her finger. It was funny just looked like this little blonde preK girl was flipping the bird at him as he walked by.

The kids weren't as crazy as I thought they'd be today considering the ice and the late start now that I think about it. They usually have recess at 10am. The first thing that they asked when we walked into the room at 10:10am was "Are we gonna have recess today?!!" My response to one kid was "You just had a two hour recess!" He said "But I slept until 9am." Exactly.

We put off our big science test because we had a high number of absences today. It's pretty ridiculous that these parents are keeping their kids home because it's cold outside. Get real people...we've got things to do here!

It bothers me when parents send me a note saying something like "Call me to set up a conference." You know what? I'm in charge of 40 kids here, you're in charge of 1. Why don't you call me if you want a conference? If they have time to write a note about it they have time to pick up the phone to call me. What? Do you not want to go to all that trouble of getting out the phonebook or something?


Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Today we had all this talk of frost and snow and these kids were nutso. We played a game to review for our upcoming science test. The other class that comes to me was just fine. They did great and played and worked together. My class was a different story. Every single answer and round was "You were wrong!" "Why'd you answer that?!" "I told you so!" Ugh. I know they're just 4th graders but the other class is so much more mature or something. My class just argues and starts stuff and reacts to each other in kneejerk fashion. Sometimes it gets real old. One kid started crying when I told him he had to sit out for arguing. He cries at the drop of a hat though.

It was cold today. It started out in the upper 40's and by noon was down to 28 degrees. That's cold here for this time of the year. And yet there was still A/C blowing into my room. The climate control in my room seems to have a mind of it's own. It bows down to no man's thermostat. Sometimes we freeze in there and sometimes we burn up.

I went to the grocery store this evening and by 5:30 or so the streets were already starting to freeze over. I was in the grocery store for 20 minutes and when I came out my windshield was already totally iced over. They've delayed the beginning of school tomorrow by a couple of hours. I now don't have to be there until 9:45. Cool. If that holds then it will still count as a full day that won't have to be made up at the end of the year.

I think the kids should be well prepared for the big science test now. If they still do poorly then oh well..I did all I could.

They're preparing for the big holiday music show. Two of my boys had to go practice dancing during recess. I went in today and they were singing some kind of song about Kwanza. I seriously doubt any of those kids or their parents celebrate Kwanza or even know what it is and yet...there they are...happily singing their lungs out about it.


Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Sorry no entry yesterday. It was really busy. I was trying to get ready for the progress reports that were going out today. Parents like to see grades for some reason so I was getting those entered into the system and papers graded that I've been procrastinating on.

I was up at the school until about 6:30 last night. Then I had somewhere to be at 6:30 and then I had to go to the store. Then when I got home I filled out the weekly behavior reports for the kids that go home in a folder.

Today I got to school and realized that I forgot all the folders and my grade book at home. Luckily my wife got off early and was able to bring them to me. I managed to get the progress reports all printed up and sent home.

Got another note from a parent today whose child obviously gave them a one-sided story and they totally bit. That's always fun.

Tomorrow is supposed to get real cold. Hopefully we'll have an inside recess time. Those are good when it's your day to go outside and watch the kids during recess. I can just sit at my desk and get stuff done while they play with...blocks...or whatever it is they're playing with over there...I don't know, who has time to pay attention to that?! It'd be sweet if it iced over and we had a snow day but I don't think that's going to happen.

Thursday we have another test to see how the kids are progressing. This time it's for science. Hopefully I'll have them ready this time. My english and social studies test results were wretched if you happen to remember those posts. I started reviewing today and we'll do that some more tomorrow.

Today we went down to the computer lab for an hour and the technology lady taught a lesson with the kids using the Access Database. She was going so fast and half of my kids were still trying to find the letter 'L' or something when she's already puttting in the next record. They got through it though.

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

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Had another pretty good day today.

At the end of the day after school there was a baby shower for the vice principal and his wife. He's a really great guy. I'm happy for him too. Oh, and also going to baby showers is like pulling teeth. In fact going to any kind of shower is like that...I can barely bring myself to take showers daily just because it's the same name as those grueling parties that women like to go to. Do you hear that inventor of the shower?! You're threatening my very hygene!

So anyway, they're having this shower and I kind of feel like I have to go. I walked down to the library where they're having it and walk in and look around and just get this really uncomfortable feeling. You know the's like's like...being in hell. Yeah...hell is probably like a shower or something...maybe with more fire and demons and doilies and stuff. So I get that feeling like "Oh crap, this is a shower and I'm attending it." So I turned back around hoping that no one noticed that I just walked in and I went back to my room. About 5 minutes later the only other male teacher who was there comes to my room and tells me "Your presence is requested." Awww maaan...someone did notice. So I went back down there and had my teeth pulled for 40 minutes or so. Seriously though...I'm happy for the guy. He really is a great guy...couldn't ask for a better vice principal. It was probably more painful for him to sit there being stared at by everyone while opening gifts and reacting overenthusiastically to burp rags and something called "onesies" which I still have no idea what that is.

I think my dog has fractured my nose. The other night I was wrestling with her and she jerked her head back real hard into my nose. Now it hurts on one side and when I press it there it makes this clicking noise that gives me the heeby jeebies. Is that how you spell "heeby jeebies?" I think that's first time I've ever spelled it.

This week I've been struggling with feelings of imbalance in my teaching and how I treat my class. I feel like I get in authoritarian mode and can't get out of it very easily. I like to have fun but it's too much when my class starts going crazy. On the other hand though I don't have that problem with the other class that comes to me. They're a more mature class and we have fun without that maybe it's just my class. I don't know...I wish I could be more laid back without them just flipping out and bouncing off the walls.

I'm out..