bookaddict88: (History)
So, things are finally starting to settle down in my second year of teaching. This is going to be a crazy week, as one of the sixth grade teachers is going to be moving down to fifth grade, but at least that means we'll have smaller classes (Currently I have two classes of around 30. With the third teacher, it will be three classes of around 20).

Anyway, on the day of our first social studies lesson, I asked my students, "What is history? Why is it important?"  I laughed at almost all of the answers I got. Here are some of the highlights:
  • "It is in the 1800's"
  • "History is important because of learning the past it like when you were a baby that the past. History is the past and not the future it like George Washington and Abram Linelinon just like you are going to be in the past."
  • "History is important because History tells us of the past if it wasent for aberham linken we would not have a Presidant if it wasent for world war 1, 2, and 3 we would not have freedom and the Smithsonian."
  • "History is a story of what hapend in the past tense. without history there probly be no us"
  • "history is what happend in the past. Because, it help's you learn better. The Cristiffer found Oklahoma."
  • "History is like people who lived in the past. it is important because we can figure out how they did stuff like how they washed close."
bookaddict88: (History)
Tomorrow is my second first day of school as a teacher. At the beginning of summer, I dreaded this day, as last year was hard.  But after an amazingly relaxing summer (I'll have to put up pictures of my China trip eventually!), I'm much more ready to take on this new year.


I was reading last year's post from right before the first day of school, and it's odd how a lot of it could have been written this year.  I'm still probably going to be up late tonight, getting last minute preparations ready.  And once again, I'm both excited and nervous for the upcoming year. And yet, in many ways, this year will be quite a bit different this year.  We'll be in a new building (which has caused a ton of hassle and work, but also means I get a much bigger classroom, which will be nice.)  And almost half the staff is new, including my fellow fifth grade teacher.  This is actually a good thing, because while I'll really miss some of the teachers who are gone, I can already tell that this will be a fresh start in a good way.  Also, I'll be departmentalized (teaching language arts and social studies instead of everything), and will have class sizes about twice as large as the ones I had last year.  I still feel like I have no clue what I'm doing, in both classroom management and language arts and social studies (I feel like math was the only subject I started to get a grasp on last year), but at least I have a better idea of what I'm getting into, which helps a lot. 



And I could go on, but I doubt anyone cares about the details of this year, and I probably should go back to planning instead of writing on LJ.  So I'll leave it there for now, and hopefully I'll be posting more than once every couple of months this year!
bookaddict88: (Default)
I survived my first year of teaching!!!

It's been a crazy and challenging year.  Frankly, I'm not a very good teacher yet, especially in the area of classroom management.  And that led to lots of stress, tears, exhaustion, and even burnout at times.  The year was not without its high points, of course.  Teaching can be fun, and rewarding...even if you're a first year teacher who feels like she has no clue what she's doing and not enough support.  I had a not insignificant number of those happy moments.  And I certainly loved each of my kids individually. 

But I'm incredibly glad it's summer.  This summer, even with my trip to China, will be the most relaxing one I've had in probably 10 years.  I'm looking forward to the chance to relax, rejuvenate, and ready myself for next year.  Because next year will be crazy again, especially since my school is moving buildings and adding a sixth grade.  But by August, I will be rested, and will hopefully have things planned and prepared so that next year goes much more smoothly than this year did.

Bunnys

Mar. 2nd, 2011 09:18 pm
bookaddict88: (Default)

We're preparing for the state writing test (next week, AHHH!), and so my fifth graders are having to do a lot of writing based strictly off of prompts. They've missed being able to write about anything they want, and so I wanted to give them a chance to do a free write. They were supposed to write an essay about a page long, on any topic they wanted. As expected, I got papers of varying quality about families, vacations, school, and zombies*. And then I got this one, from my student who I describe as gifted, lazy, and very... unique:

 

Bunnys

Bunnys, bunnys, everywhere.

The smell of bunnys is in the air.

Bunnys cannot breathe in the sea.

Bunnys also have stinky pee.

Bunnys also eat a lot.

I caught a bunny in a pot.

Bunnys are as thin as keys.

That is why they eat peas.

Bunnies also are different.

Some of their legs are also bent.

Bunnys are really thin.

I can stick them to the wall with a pin.

Bunnys can be very sweet.

That is why we use them for meat.

Bunnys are everywhere.

But they also pee.



*Zombies and those annoying paper poppers are the current fads in my classroom.
bookaddict88: (Holiday)
 ...until winter break. I am SOOO excited.  This past week has been crazy, and I could really use a break.

Speaking of the holidays, you know what would be an awesome gift you could give me and my classroom? Donate to one of my Donor's Choose projects!  I currently have one project up for graphic novels, and another up for social studies materials.  And do you want to know what the best part of this all is? You can do so without it costing you a dime! Just go to www.bing.com/give, make Bing your homepage (you can always change it back later), and you can get a $5 Donor's Choose gift code.  Of course, if you want to give even more than that $5, we'd REALLY appreciate that as well (and it's tax-deductible!). :)

It's here!

Aug. 23rd, 2010 01:34 am
bookaddict88: (Results Beyond Hope)
So...I haven't been posting much. I've just been so busy! The rest of Institute went well, overall, and I'd love to talk about it some more later.

For now, though, it's 1:30am, so I just have one thing to say: My first day as a 5th grade teacher begins in 6 hours .

I really should get to bed. Sleep is probably more important than planning at this point! But I'm so nervous/excited...
bookaddict88: (Default)
Well, I started teaching math today. Let’s just say, my improving skills at reading comprehension didn’t transfer over well. I failed pretty miserably today at teaching my kids to identify subtraction questions in word problems. It was a difficult objective (particularly for students who have trouble reading), my students were behind where I thought they’d be skill-wise, I was disorganized, and I really had no clue how to teach a math lesson. I was all over the place, which meant my kids were all over the place, both academically and behaviorally (though at least “bad” behavior for them isn’t really that bad). To make matters worse, I was incredibly nervous during the lesson because I was being observed by both my CMA and by another CM who wanted to learn something from the way I taught. I think the only thing the other CM learned was how not to teach math.

Still, despite the fact that I was pretty upset after the lesson, I’m a lot more optimistic than I was after my first real day of teaching. My first reading comprehension was a disaster (though not quite this bad, I think!), but I learned from it, and was doing much better by the second week. I’m hopeful that my math lessons will similarly improve, so that I don’t fail so much in front of my students this fall!

I'm Alive!

Jun. 24th, 2010 08:50 pm
bookaddict88: (Default)
(Cross-posted from my TFA blog)

Yep, there was some doubt as to whether I’d be able to say that by this point in time. But my first week of teaching at Institute, while rough, was something I survived!

With all the lesson planning and such, I’ve been getting no more than 5 hours of sleep a night, which is the main reason why the week has been hard. For the first couple of days, the teaching itself wasn’t bad. That was mostly because I was only in charge of explaining our rules, rewards, consequences, and some procedures the first day, and get to know you activities the second. But it also helps that my 2nd graders are pretty awesome (most of the time), and there are only 12 of them. Still, I was pretty exhausted, since beyond my time teaching and lesson planning (using TFA’s very lengthy and particular template), I still had lots of sessions and workshops.

Yesterday was about my breaking point. Tuesday I had trouble waking up and staying awake during sessions, and yesterday was about the same. Beyond that, though, my first academic lesson plan didn’t go as well as I’d hoped. My read aloud was fun, but I just didn’t do a good job explaining setting and its importance to the plot, because my kids didn’t get it at all. I also ran out of time (which was a problem today as well). I was fairly upset by the end of the period, and almost started crying when talking about my lesson to other CMs and my CMA. It wasn’t even that big of a deal, in retrospect (after all, it was my first real lesson!), but when we’re running on so little sleep, everyone’s emotions are heightened. I walk by the halls, and every day I see at least one person crying. And talking to people, I don’t think there’s even one girl who hasn’t cried over something this week, and often that something was really actually pretty minor.

Today was better though! My kids seemed to get what I was teaching them (though I may have helped them too much on their independent work), and I was operating on slightly more sleep (it’s sad when two nights in a row of 5 hours of sleep makes me feel this much better, since I’d been getting less before that.) My CMA observed the last part of my lesson today, and my FA said as the kids were leaving for lunch that both she and my CMA gave me two thumbs up for the lesson today! Most excitingly, I have nothing to do before tomorrow! I get to go to bed before midnight! I still have to wake up early, because we still have sessions tomorrow, but at least we get up early.

Anyway, that has been my roller coaster week. Hopefully things will just get better from here on out, as I get more experienced (and have somewhat less to do!).

Oh! One more BIG thing! I have a placement!!! Well, mostly. I found out that I am almost certainly teaching 5th grade next year, though I don’t know the school. Hooray! Not only am I staying in elementary, but I get to teach upper elementary, which is what I wanted. My 2nd graders are awesome, and there are definitely some great things about teaching younger kids, but I’m excited for the things I can do with older kids that I can’t do with younger kids.
bookaddict88: (Default)
(Cross-posted from my TFA blog)

The first week of Institute is over! It’s been an exhausting ride, particularly since I went home for 24 hours for my sister’s graduation in the middle of it. (Driving 6 hours on 3 hours sleep is probably not a good idea, and locking my keys in the car afterward was an even worse one, since it cost me $130!)I worked harder last week than I’ve ever worked in my life. We get up at 5am to make the bus before 6:40am. We’ve then been at school until 5pm, and most days had other sessions even after that back on campus. And then we had lesson plans and other planning or work to do after that. Sleep happens only in short amounts!

Despite all that, however, I’ve actually been enjoying Institute quite a bit. I work almost non-stop, and my brain hurts because I’ve learned so much at a breathtaking pace in order to be ready to teach this week for the first time. But what I’m learning is so interesting and applicable to what I’ll be doing, not to mention the fact that it all has a purpose. It’s not been easy, and it’s not going to get easier, but it’s definitely worth it.

There are a few things that have helped me get through this week successfully. First, there are all the people at TFA who work with me and teach me. My advisor (CMA) is always there for me if I have questions, and my curriculum specialist (CS) and literacy specialist (LS) are great and teach me a ton. My Faculty Advisor (FA) already seems really nice, though I’ve only met her a few times (once when I ran into her at Subway!). My CMA group, who I share my CMA with, are immensely supportive (they helped keep me from freaking out when I locked my keys in the car!). My collab group, who I will be teaching with, is insanely awesome. I know some people have been having trouble with their groups, but mine gets along really well, works hard, and were all understanding when I abandoned them for a day to go home. Secondly, my Tulsa corps is amazing. We have fun together, support one another, and help each other out. I’m so excited to spend the next two years with these people! Finally, there’s the kids. I’ve already met a couple of the 2nd graders that I will be teaching math and reading to this summer, and I love them already. Some are REALLY behind in one subject or both, so I really want to help them all I can this summer!

Tomorrow’s my first day teaching! Because of where I fall in the rotation, I’m mostly just going to be doing Rules/Rewards/Consequences, Procedures, and Get to Know You activities for the first couple of days. I don’t start teaching academic content until Wednesday. I’ll let you know how all this goes!
bookaddict88: (Default)
This past weekend was Homecoming Weekend at my school, which means it was also the weekend for Pigskin Revue (basically an annual musical revue).  My mom came to see me perform this year, which was exciting.  I loved having her around, even if it means I didn't participate in most of the Homecoming activities.  So yeah, overall the weekend was nice.  It's so weird that this year's Pigskin Revue is the last time I will perform with Sing Alliance ever, though. I have been in the group since spring semester freshman year, and for several months of every semester since then, it has pretty much been my life. But since I'm studying abroad next semester, I had to check off "Do not intend to return" on our Intent to Return slips a couple of weeks ago. It made me so sad! At least now that it's over for the semester, I'll have quite a bit more time.

Fulbright and Teach for America Updates... )

bookaddict88: (Default)
Well, in less than 12 hours, we'll be on a plane heading back home from Morocco. These two weeks have just flown by! And of course, my daily posts stopped after only three days...

I have mixed feelings about leaving. On the one hand, it'll be good to get away from all these bugs. I have over 50 bug bites, some of which are quite big. It's almost like having chicken pox! Also, I'm glad not to have to deal with my unruly class anymore.  You know how I said they weren't a bad class? Well, starting Thursday, they just got out of hand.  Individually, I still think they're great kids, but all together, they're very...difficult.  We had little control over the class, and the fact that we had no way to punish them except by withholding their break made it worse. It got VERY frustrating, especially today. It was the last day, and everything we had planned was not too hard and pretty fun, but they still couldn't contain themselves. I'm going to miss some of the individual kids, but not teaching the class.

On the other hand, I feel like I was still getting to know Morocco and the kids, and I would love to stay to get to know it all better. Plus, I really like being here, especially in Casablanca near the beach where it's not very hot.  I'm also going to miss the members of my team. A couple of the other members were book geeks like me (with a lot of the same reading tastes), so I'll miss especially miss our book conversations. Oh, and the dozens of Speed Scrabble games our team played! Still, at least I'll be able to see them at least occasionally once we get home, and there's always Facebook.

Anyway, I should probably get packing now. Thankfully, we're not leaving at 4 AM like we did on the way here!

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