Monthly Archives: September 2013

A Crazy Week to Wake Up

This week has been one of the craziest weeks I have ever had. From putting in my application for graduation, to having a meltdown in class, to “krumping” in front of 100+ people, I feel like I have hit all ends of the emotional spectrum. (I was even mad at my boyfriend for a whole day.) As crazy as I feel, I think this has been a constructive week.

For you who don’t know, Krumping:

No, I am no where even close to being kind of in the same league as this guy, but I pretended for 8 seconds. (This was for the spirit rally on 9/19/13.)

I want to thank Dr. Ellington for letting me have my 30 seconds. I really wish I could explain why I just melted, but I am sorry it happened. However, I do not know if I would be aware of the problems I have been having with my writer’s journal if I hadn’t. See, I haven’t been thinking about it for my future students. I have been thinking about it for me. I felt as though the notebook was my sacred space to be used to play, not something that I could actually use to grow as a teacher. Well, those days are over! I think I can actually write things to use in my journal and be okay with it. I need to stop acting like a student and start acting like a teacher. I have been calling this going into teacher mode. So, I have a whole new perspective and this perspective helps, a lot.

The application for graduation is not as bad as you’d think it would be, but doing loan exiting counseling is not so fun. My advice to future students, keep track of your student loans or you might end up like me and not realize just how much you have. This sounds like I have an immense amount of student loan debt, but I do not, it’s just more than I thought I would.

Many of you have probably heard of “The Fox” song. Well, the people who sing “The Fox” were on The Ellen DeGeneres Show and I learned that they did this whole thing to be funny. If you want a little laugh, watch this and perhaps watch other episodes. 

One more thing, here’s my cat!

Image 

She is such a cute fatty and probably the best snuggle-bug I know; well, when she wants to.

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Why am I surprised anymore?

I was browsing around WordPress and reading some lovely blogs when I ran across this one by Pernille Ripp. http://pernillesripp.com/2013/09/14/why-reading-sucks-and-its-ok-to-talk-about-it/ She talks about how one of her students made the comment that reading sucks and then she started asking her students to come up with why they think reading sucks. This reminded me much of what Dr. Ellington does with us when we have woes and worries. I do not know why, but I was surprised that she took it that far. I am beginning to wonder why I am even surprised anymore. I have been exposed to so many things that I did not even think were possible. I am looking forward to being able to implement many of the various techniques and ideas I have learned about, especially the ones I have learned in about in the last few weeks.

Related to my hypothetical question, I hope I am surprised almost everyday. When I stop being surprised then I need to move onto a different path in life. As a teacher, I am sure many things will surprise me. I am also sure that many of the surprises will not be pleasant, but that will be okay with me.

Mountains sunshine Wallpapers Pictures Photos Images

On a different note, please pray for Colorado.

Le Blog Part 2: (What I want to learn)

Things I would like to know:

1. I would like to explore various techniques to motivate a variety of students (and people in general). 

2. I would like to know if heaven really exists.

3. I would like to know more about the application of reading workshops in the high school classroom. 

4. I would like to know the content on the Praxis II test that I am taking soon.

5. I would like to know what is  really  happening in the government without reading yards of legal documents.

6. Sometimes, I would like to know what other people are thinking.

7. I would like to know how to deal with students and parents who believe I give grades (instead of students earning grades). 

8. I would like to explore the pros and cons of students having portfolios for my classroom.

9. I would like to know how to sew, by hand, hems and stitch holes in clothes and know how to fix any car.

                                               

10. I would like to know how to incorporate “the classics” into my classroom while engaging my students/ not boring them.

The end…. and this is just for you:

Le Blog

I am struggling to write this week. Though I have plenty to write about, I just have little desire to do so. I know several of my students will feel as I do now, but they will just not do the work. How can I encourage and motivate my students to write, especially on weeks, days, or months when I do not feel like writing myself? There we go. How can I motivate myself and my students?

 

Be B.O.R.E.D. !!

I will encourage my students to be B.O.R.E.D. sounds crazy, right? Please allow me to explain.

I have been reading a lot of material on classroom management, philosophies, education, and teaching. I have been reading many blogs by educators around the world. One blog that really struck home was “My 5 Words” by Garnet Hillman.  http://bit.ly/13BOSwe In this blog, Garnet lists and explains 5 words that describe her classroom. I came up with my own five words. I thought I was set, but then I read another two blogs about classrooms and behaviors of students. One of the blogs was about Kindergarten and how his only rule is to “be brave” in his classroom. http://bit.ly/13r31MK I really really liked the idea of encouraging my students to be brave. Then there was another blog that just really made my whole day. http://bit.ly/QuRSp3 The blog is called “Behavior Management: not systems, but relationships.” This blog  reminded me of the importance of incorporating each individual into my plans for how I manage my classroom. This impacted me greatly because I usually think about managing the class as a whole, but this blog reminded me to think of each student when managing my classroom. Also, in this blog, I liked how she brought attention to the difference between disciplining a student because his/her behavior was unacceptable and disciplining a student because his/her behavior was annoying. I will have to keep that in mind for later.  

  

Image from  http://www.elcajonneighbors.org/blogs.html

Without further ado, here are my 5 words for my class and to encourage my students. 

Be:

Brave: My students will be encouraged to put themselves out on a line (as the cliche goes). I will encourage my students to challenge themselves and to share when they might not normally share.

Open-minded: I will encourage my students to be open-minded about what they learn. Also, I will encourage my students to be open-minded about what they hear, read, or examine in my classroom whether from me or their peers.

Respectful: My students will show respect to themselves, their peers, and me.

Excellent: I will encourage my students to be excellent and all that comes with being excellent. When I apply this to my classroom, I will allow the students to determine what it means to them to be excellent. (I might throw a few things in there, just in case.)

Driven: My students will be encouraged to strive toward their goals and dreams. I will encourage my students to set a goal and begin working toward it. Furthermore, my students will encouraged to reflect and add to their goal(s). 

As a disclaimer, these words will most likely evolve and change as I evolve and change as a teacher. Perhaps I will keep you all posted. 

  

Image from http://robsrangers.blogspot.com/2013/06/im-so-bored.html

 

Crazy? Crazy for cats! 

 

Image from http://iwastesomuchtime.com/on/?i=37567 

This video is a good giggle! 

Would I like to be a student in my own classroom?

Of all the reading I have complete recently, the one that stuck the hardest was, “Would You Like Being A Student In Your Own Classroom?” http://bit.ly/1ahSVTf A more appropriate question for me and my peers would be if we would want to be a student in the classrooms we are currently planning. We should be able to be asked these questions and confidently reply with something like this: “Heck, yes! I am jealous of my kids to be getting this great of a classroom.”  We have the capability to  help students be and to be excellent. 

As I progress toward my ultimate goal of being an excellent teacher, I am learning just how many keys there are to success. Some keys include the following: being able to connect with your students, your students learning, your students doing well on the standardized tests so you can keep your job, you being able to manage your classroom well, you being able to manage your class’ behavior well, you engage your students, and the list goes on. I am sure that the list ends eventually, but I feel that every time I ask someone one key to being successful, I will have another one to add to the pile. Do I ask myself? How can I know until get into the field? I will address this issue in a later blog, perhaps after I begin to figure it out myself. 

I have an idea of a classroom in my head. In this classroom, I have found the perfect combination of workshop and traditional classrooms. My students are willing and even excited to learn about the topics in my classroom. My job, my students, and I am secure in this setting. I would love to be a student in this classroom because I would feel capable of learning in whatever setting suited me best. 

I hope ever single future and present teacher challenges themselves to dream of the ideal classroom in which the students learn. I challenge the teachers to find positive approaches and use these approaches to achieve the classroom of their dreams where the students love learning as they do.  

Do you want to be in your own classroom? Would you want to learning in your classroom? Would you like to be a student in your own classroom?

 

Writer’s Notebooks (and a little Twitter- Twittle)

I love the idea behind a writer’s notebook. I like the idea of getting kids to do daily writing. I like the idea of students writing about what they want and wanting to share, hopefully. In theory, writer’s notebooks are fabulous!

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Unfortunately, my brain immediately goes to worst-case scenario mode when I start planning things. Though this default mode that my brain tends to go into is sometimes useful, it usually brings on an onslaught of doubts and questions. This is why I have many concerns using writer’s notebooks in the classroom. I have many questions and concerns about writer’s notebooks.

How do I grade writer’s notebooks? Do I grade them based on whether the students did them or not? Do I even grade them at all? What do I do if or when a student writes something inappropriate and/or illegal in their writer’s notebook? Am I supposed to read the notebooks? If I am not grading or reading the notebooks, how can I be sure that the students will actually write in them? What do I do if they refuse to write in them? Does it violate the integrity of a writer’s notebook if I give my students writing prompts and then have a Friday free-write?

These are just a few of my questions and concerns for having writer’s notebooks. I know most of these I will just have to sort out myself, but I cannot bring  myself to decide. I do want to use writer’s notebooks because I am a fan of them (minus the part that I am not accustomed to writing in mine daily, yet). Also, a part of me wants to use the writer’s notebook as a diary for the students to let go of many issues they have and then we can get focused on our work. Gah! I just don’t know what do to right now.

So on top of these concerns, I am concerned with the contradictions I am hearing in my methods course and in block. I hear one thing in methods and then another opposing thing in block. I like certain aspects of each class. I feel like that taco commercial, “why not both?” Perhaps that will be how I will start organizing my classroom, by incorporating each.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vqgSO8_cRio

On a different note, I did not think Twitter would be as useful as I am finding it to be. Seriously, there are tons of resources out there and Twitter helps make them come to light. Furthermore, I can keep up with news, even educational news, on Twitter. For example, I learned that more Special Education students are going to have to take the standardized tests. The reasoning for this is that the Special Education students are not being held to the high standards and therefore are not being of value to America. I am struggling with this reasoning. I would like the Department of Education to take a look at real schools, real students, and real teachers before determining some of the things they do.

Twitter

There’s my Twittle^^

As usual my pictures are from the following and in order of appearance:

http://mrsduffsclassroom.weebly.com/the-writers-notebook.html

http://www.snapsurveys.com/blog/survey-ranking-questions-rating-questions/

http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2009/02/03/8-useful-tips-to-become-successul-with-twitter/