Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A real v unreal appology.

I love my students dearly, and usually take their apologies at face value. However, I just received a note today that said,

"I'm sorry I was so rude yesterday. I'll do what you ask me to do today.

p.s. My mother made me write this."


That would be silence as I go, "Yeah.... not a real apology at all."

Friday, March 25, 2011

An Uncomfortable Position

We're asked to fill our survey's all the time to give our 'opinion' on different things ranging from how the current meeting went to how well structured our Professional Development is. However the question remains:

Are we honest or are we nice? AT one point this year we were told we were being too much of a downer on the school and we should lighten up and only provide 'constructive feedback' when we can. However, when it is a likert scale how do you provide constructive feed back.

Bad news of the day. I probably won't be rehired next year. We're having to cut full-day kindergarten because of budget cuts and all of those teachers get preference. It's a very, very sad thought all across the board. Thus, I guess I shouldn't be too worried about if they take question with my opinion. :(

Friday, March 18, 2011

Rethinking Modivation

A very cool look at motivation reposted from A Teacher's Education It makes me rethink my motivational strategy. Maybe instead of game time, I give them 40 minutes to work on whatever they want so long as they have something to show for it at the end of the time.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Parent Teacher Conferences

I feel like another one of those first-year-teacher rituals has passed by.  My parent teacher conferences are over.  I rather like how I did them the students had a majority of the stage and I only picked up the last 5-7 minutess.

The Steps:
1. Show the portfolio and explain its contents. 
2. Offer parents juice and cookies.
3. Bring them to the back table.
4. Get juice and cookies.
5. Tell one thing that has gone well this year.
6. Tell one thing that still needs improved.
7. Turn the time over to Ms. JAy to talk about a plan to improve that thing.

For the most part it came out well.  Only had one parent upset with me, more of them were upset with the child not taking responsibility.  Which is much nicer for me!  A few upset kids who aren't performing up to their potential and Mom and Dad were NOT happy.  More than a few kids who have shown amazing growth and had a hard time coming up with an 'improvement' because they're doing so well.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Duncan Says 82 Percent of America's Schools Could "Fail" Under NCLB This Year | U.S. Department of Education

Duncan Says 82 Percent of America's Schools Could "Fail" Under NCLB This Year | U.S. Department of Education

Comparing apples to apples makes a whole lot of sense to me. Last year my current school set the bar so high that we're going to really struggle to do better than we did last year. The school's population has really changed because of what Arizona has done to education so we have a whole new set of kids.

It makes more sense to compare school's growth to that school's growth and intervene if it doesn't grow - not if it makes a stupid arbitrary standard.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Joanne Jacobs — lnking and thinking on education by Joanne Jacobs

A very interesting, very different look at tenure. Especially when it says, "She proposes raising pay in exchange for offering less job security, attracting more risk takers to teaching." I love this. Teaching is a risky endeavor, and without a risk taking ability (which I lack) it's easy to get burnt out. The students are new, and each year is a risk.

I know I didn't get into the job for the pay, or the security or the benefits- no one does these days (because they aren't there!) I got into this because I love teaching, I love seeing kids learn, and I love being a part of the process. Am I a career teacher? Yes. At the same time though, I'm willing to take change (even if it's hard) and run with the ball because I know nothing will ever be settled. I just have to run and see what comes.
Joanne Jacobs — linking and thinking on education by Joanne Jacobs

(Not saying my measly 15 points on the RIF rubric didn't make me very much sad.)

Monday, March 7, 2011


I love technology. I'm saddened that I have been too shy about using it this year. However, I'm getting better.

I'm 15 hours away from a smartboard (provided I work in this district next year...). I'm taking technology classes as I can. My class has done wordles, we've written and recorded radio stories and we make a classroom podcast. I'm working the hardest on the last.

I just found Audioboo. It started out as an Iphone app, and now has an online based uploader also. It's so simple. I set up an account, the students login as me, they click the upload, speak, save it with a title and Bam! It's there! I'm so excited for my kids to use this super simple uploader this coming Friday for our weekly podcasts!

(Maybe I can actually have dinner this week!!)

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Oh John Stewart!!

I love how John Stewart can just cut right to the heart of almost any matter. I'm not the greatest fan because I think he overuses profanity- but this is classic and amazing. I hope it puts a smile on many of your faces throughout these hard times when so many of us are unsure about the stability of our positions.

God bless all of you.

Friday, March 4, 2011

A little scared

I'm trying to not be worried by the blogger who said offensive things on her blog-but I am. I know that once something is on the internet it is there forever. Just sometimes... you forget.

I'm on a personal crusade to erase anything I ever said that should not have been said. And I am dearly hoping that no one reads this blog till I am long out of here!

Right now it's the end of the 3rd quarter. One more week left until Spring Break and only three weeks away from the start of our district testing- AIMS. I'm more than a little worried about my kids and AIMS- they're very bad test takers.

For example. I have one young man who can 9 out of 10 times get a multiple choice question right.... if he actually reads the question and goes back and rereads the passage. It makes me uneasy because he often doesn't. Today I FORCED him to go back and reread the passage at ever question and underline where he got the answer from. I said, "Keep going." or "Keep reading." or "Is that what the question is asking?" I didn't even acknowledge when he got the question right, simply moved to the next question. I know he can do it. But his test scores say that I should be referring him for interventions. Where's the line when you know a child can do it- but they don't? I won't say they won't, because I don't know that. All I know is that I have too many kids who have the absolute ability... but just.... don't.

Another child- She has some hyperactivity problems and now some recently found anxiety problems. She came into my classroom mid year. As a first year teacher I don't have supports in place to really force a child to learn (lunch intervention groups, morning groups, peer tutors, etc.) so her grades have drops to D's and F's from C's. This is a blessing because it made mom really say, "oh, yeah, I guess my child does need extra help!" So now we can start working. But what am I going to help her do when she has AIMS sitting in front of her and her anxiety overwhelms her?

I'm feeling... disillusioned right now.

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