Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Reflection Time

      As I sit here pondering how I am going to put into words the reflective question my school principal left us with today, I am actually procrastinating. I hate to grade papers. Third quarter progress reports go home Thursday and it is Tuesday night AND although I had 8 snow days I did not use them very wisely.
  I, instead:
           1. slept in each and every snow day
           2. read 2 books
           3. painted my living room and kitchen nook (that a lie,                 I kept my hubs company while he painted)
           4. I washed the paint brushes and rollers
           5. braved falling snow to run to the store for Pepsi
           6. napped
           7. snacked
           8. napped some more
           9. surfed Facebook and Pinterest
          10. thought about grading papers and writing lessons

Back to my reflection: The question was...What kind of legacy am I leaving behind in the hearts and minds of the students I touch.  He then gave an example of two teachers with same subject, equal testing results, but different approaches to teaching, both excellent teachers. One was "old school" sit and get, straight laced, dot i's cross ts , the other was warm and fuzzy and very approachable. 
      I'd like to think I am a hard-nosed, get it done, no excuses, kind of teacher. 
     The reality is something different. I fall in love with my kids each and every year. I worry that they are not doing homework, I fret that it is my fault that they are not grasping the subject matter. I want to take them shopping when their clothes are too small, dirty, worn out! It bothers me when it is obvious that there are few boundaries for them.  Students feel safe, secure, and loved when they have boundaries, clothes that fit, someone to make sure the homework is expected of them. I know that every situation is different, every home is different, every child is different, but I still try to fill that gap.  
By making sure that my Stars know my expectations, understand that there are boundaries, and that it is okay to fail but it is NOT okay to simply not try. Students and  parents, who are not my Stars hear my voice, see the way I interact with my students and label me as that hard-nosed, no nonsense teacher. "She's that mean teacher who yells all the time." "My student wouldn't excel in such a harsh environment" 
But my students and parents, my Stars know I do it because I love them.
They walk in the second block because that's an expectation. I hold them to it because they expect me to. No homework is a color change. It is an expectation, a boundary if you will. A show of affection. I want them to be successful and hopefully, I am giving them not only the knowledge but the tools to be successful!
So what is my legacy?  
 I hope it is one of love and belief in self because I have loved and believed in each and every student I have taught!

Back to grading...

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Progress Reports

    So it is 4 1/2 weeks into the school year which means...
 Whoop whoop! 
   I start the year off talking to my kiddos about whose responsibility it is to keep their parents informed of their learning. It IS their own responsibility or at least that is what I believe. Anyway I also promise them I will not run behind them and call their parents if they are failing or not completing work. I have done neither. I recently bumped into a parent in the Wally World and she asked how her student was doing. I joked about her student being a little talkative, and how I enjoyed having the student in my class but looked directly at the student and did not mention grades. I have spoken to my whole class weekly about "it's their learning", "their responsibility", and "their work". Now, it is time to pay the piper, so to speak. I will see by the number of phone calls of to why the parents didn't know the student was failing, as to whether my lesson on responsibility is sinking in. I could just go on and on... 

    Just curious, how do you handle the work responsibility? Do you chase after missing assignments, call parents, beg and plead, or do you simply let the cards fall where they may?

 That is All, V

BTW The reports are due tomorrow!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

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Sorry, New to blogging and trying to attract followers+not blogging=no followers. Wanted to share with you some pictures of one of my Science Interactive notebooks! This is the first time I am using an interactive notebook. I have always used composition notebooks for note taking because the students cannot rip out the pages willy-nilly. I have also always set up my science book with labs in the front, notes in the middle, and vocabulary in the back. I have never set a teacher input / student product pages system. If I wanted a product I would create or give a worksheet, collect it, grade it, and then BEG the students to put it in their science folder so they could reference it later. We all know how well that worked out. So for the last year I have been reading blogs and researching (pinteresting) about interactive notebooks and thought I would put my spin on it.
This is the table of contents at the very beginning of the notebook.
This is one of the labs!
The rules of the lab. I will share with you the notes / interactive part in my next blog! Hope you are having a fabulous year! Stender

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

   So back to my why do I have to procratinate over everything I think to myself with my feet cooling in my pool. . . I think up these grandiose plans or solutions or whatever and I begin to set them in motion, well then I get bored, overwhelmed, distracted (you choose) and I am then stuck coming up with a last minute fix.  It perpetuates because my "fixes" are as fantastic, so says my team/boss/husband/kids. You get the picture? I may need intervention.
    My pupils are challenging me to become a more reflective teacher in how I present instruction, how I collect student work, classroom procedures, the whole kit-and-kaboddle.  What I have learned so far...my instuction must be more structured. The students need more "fill-in the blanks" hands-on notes. Good thing I have embraced interactive notebooking. I have got to still figure out a different way to collect student work and to get it consistantly from everyone.  Tell me how you do it, PLEASE.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

     Okay, have finally created a blog after a full year of blog stalking many great bloggers!  I felt I needed a place to reflect on my practice and to hear how others in our much misaligned profession are keeping it pure for our most precious commodity!   
     I imagine that this sight will continue to evolve as I am a jump-in-the-deep-end-see-if-I-can-swim type of learner.
    Not too bad for my first attempt but now I hear writing journals calling my name and the dryer is going to buzz soon.