The Highs and Lows, Week 1

Week 1 down! Oh yea, go me!!!
I truly forgot how much teaching puts my life on hold, this is only my second blog post of the week, I never made it to the gym a single day despite bringing my gym bag each day and I am pretty sure I only ate salads for dinner not for health reasons but from complete laziness. I keep repeating to myself, it evens out, it evens out! Although considering my schedule of after school meetings for the next two weeks it might be a while.
In an attempt to capture both the highs and lows of each week I plan to try and post a top 5 or 10 every weekend, also I have a large tendency to babble, shocking I know, so hopefully it makes the posts to the point.

1.  No matter how much you decorate, organize and plan for your room and first week lessons, having 23 out of your 30 computers actually working means your manning a sinking ship. All of my activities and projects are computer based, I am a paper free classroom, so 7 students not being able to work means the inevitable classroom management issues.
2.  The janitors complemented my classroom as being one of the cleanest in the school at the end of the day! My paperless plan and focus on tidying our areas every day is really making a difference.
3.  All sixth graders and even some seventh and eighth graders don't know how to log onto a computer. This was news to me! So most of my 30 minute periods were spent just making sure the students could actually log in and knew where to pick up the weekly worksheets. My poor seven students who couldn't log in will get to go through those trials next week.
4.  My students are already telling our AP that they love my class, which has truly blown me away considering all we have done was procedures, safety activities and practicing logging in.
5.  My new attention signal is working out wonderfully! Last year I tried a call and response saying, Hook Em and the class saying Horns. Oddly I was too embarrassed to follow through with the signal, odd I know. This year I am doing the countdown, 5,4,3,2,1 with the hand signal and by 1 all talking should stop and attention is on me. And it works! I rarely need to get past 3 and all talking stops, and I have perfected the concept of stopping all directions mid sentence if talking starts back up. It's really amazing how much more respect the class is showing with just a few reminders of procedures.
6.  Middle schoolers HEART taking pictures of themselves. We have been using and my collection of fake mustaches and they have been having so much fun putting together their about me project. Even students who last year were the frequent hall way runners have gotten into the project.
7.  I have about four students who don't speak a bit of English. This is really scaring me, I have no real means to communicate with them and they have no clue what is going on. I have tried using the ipad translator and it has helped about 5%. Any teachers have some suggestions with communicating with non English speakers?
8.  This year I have been able to go with the flow so much better, I have some classes that due to limited class times just won't get through all of my safety activities and I am just learning to be flexible.
9.  I am two weeks ahead with all 3 of my lesson plan writing! Big happy dance here! Considering last year I was staying up til 1:00 in the morning writing lesson plans, this is such a big accomplishment.
10.  I am enjoying this Labor Day weekend spoiling myself and relaxing. Last Labor Day I was beyond stressed as I would be teaching that following Tuesday for the first time and spent much of the weekend in my classroom trying to get it semi ready and not cry.
In a complete off topic rant, I am a Longhorn football fan, I spent much of my four years going to games and cheering on their wins. I can even tell you exactly where I was and who I was with when the Horns one the Rose Bowl. Over the last four years me and Erica spent most of our weekends either working at a sports bar or watching the games.
Yesterday was the first Longhorn game of the season and while they won I am completely ticked. The game was only shown on the Longhorn Network which is not available on most cable networks. Mr. B couldn't even show it at his sports bar! So in the city of Austin where I am an alumni I couldn't even watch the game. Greedy organizations completely drive me insane. End Rant!
Hopefully everyone has a wonderful upcoming week!
The Babbling Box!

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