Sunday, February 21, 2010

This Week….Awesome

I had a great week at work. There are three very different events that made it awesome.

First, I was nominated for Teacher of the Year again this year, but I decided to take my name off the ballot so that someone else could be on the ballot. I am not saying I would have won if my name was on the ballot but I really wanted to give others the opportunity. It is enough to know I was nominated again.

Second, my class played the Urban Game. It isn’t really a game it’s an exercise in learning but they think it is a game. Let me take a minute to explain the game incase you have never played it in your world history class. When the students walk into the room the desks are set-up in pairs, with one piece of copy paper in the middle of the desk and two pieces of colored paper with directions and background information for the pairs. The timer was set for 5 minutes to copy the key, when the timer goes off they need to start reading the first paragraph and complete what it says. They had 5 minutes for that as well. If they are not finished when the timer goes off they have to just keep going. They are only told that the river needs to be 1-inch wide, the rest is up to them. With the first 10 minutes completed I start readying short blurbs about the industrial revolution and in those blubs are the directions for what needs to be added to their village next. There are 21 rounds to this game. My perfectionists hate this game because it goes to fast, my ADD kids love it because it is so fast paced and even though my ELLs say it is hard at first as it goes on and they find their rhythm they like it as well. One of the first things they put in their original village is a “nice house” of course many of them draw it way to big so other things have to be really small or they have to erase and redraw. By the end their paper is covered and we then talk about how fast the Industrial Revolution felt to the people of England when it first started. This also launches the lecture about the Industrial Revolution that they now can picture in their mind as we talk and take notes.

Third and to me the most awesomest of all. I know awesomest is not really a word but I used it once this summer and it is now my trademark word. Anyway back to the third item. It occurred this Saturday, I held an AP World History study session at my high school from 8am – 12pm and I had 8 students that attended. I believe that I have between 10 and 12 students that can pass the AP exam. All 8 of Saturday’s attendees are in the 10 to 12 count. It was so great to watch them work together on timelines, the Chinese Dynasties of the Classical Era and essay skills and to see them realize that they knew and remembered a lot more from the first half of the year than they thought they did. I am holding another study session this Saturday and I hope it is as good or better than this one.

On a scale of 1 – 10 I would give this week a 9.5, not a 10 because the one problem I had all week was the temperature of my classroom. It was so warm (above 70 with the fans on) that it flared my asthma.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

What Am I…Crazy….Maybe?

Second semester is upon us and with it comes standardized test season. Oh boy the kids love it the teachers love it. Therefore we are all well rested and in the best moods ever.

Last Saturday I went to data training, from 9 to 3 so no massage that day. I was able to keep yesterdays appointment and believe me it was so worth it. This time of year I think I should get two a week but I do not have the time or the money. Sorry back to data; now that we answer to a test everything is data driven. What SEs (student expectations) are they weak in; lets look at the question and see what they do not know/understand. Usually it is vocabulary, please read to your children and use expanded vocabulary with them. It makes everyone just a little bit less stressed. The training I had Saturday had to be turned around this week and given to our teachers so during our in-service I trained the Social Studies department using the new data strategies.

So I decided I was not stressed enough and I added grad school to the mix. Yes I am back in grad school. I had been once before but then when our oldest son got sick I stopped. I did not return to Norwich for my Military History degree I am now taking classes through Texas Women’s University and getting my MA in curriculum and instruction. Why the switch you might ask when I had only 4 classes plus my presentation left for the MMH degree? Okay maybe you haven’t asked but I’m going to tell you anyway. Money…the district is paying for half of this degree but none of the other. Also an MA in C&I allows me do to so much more than an MMH. I would still love to get my MMH one day because it offers more credibility when I write. So far the hardest part about the class I am taking is not the work load; it is the idea that I have to tape myself teaching. Ugh! I do not like to be taped, have my picture taken ect. One good thing I have lost enough weight and toned that I do not look horrible on video.

Why am I concerned with what C&I will allow me to do since I do not plan to leave the classroom anytime soon? Well first some day I would like to be a full-time Academic Coordinator and eventually a Dean of Instruction. This degree allows for that, plus I might be up for another promotion at work, it depends on what the district will allow. My principal wants me to be the EHHS Academic Coordinator next year but I do not want to leave the classroom so she is pushing for it to be like the LCT spot I teach 3 classes and wear the AC job the other half of the day. It would be so fabulous…but I’m not sure the district will approve it. If not I’ll stay AP World History Teacher/Social Studies LCT.

So I am crazy busy but deep down inside I love it. To make it even better it is shaping up that I will be traveling this summer for trainings that are work related.