I have been saving my highs and lows of each week for Mondays but my last post was so negative I felt like I would focus on five blissful moments, to me that is, from this week.
one. Inventory. It's a pesky little word and something I dread just a little each semester in Robotics. Mostly because I am worried the kids will think I am evil, and I really am NOT!
In robotics we use an NXT Lego kit, one kit per partner/group, so on average I have about 40 or so kits checked out a semester. Each kit holds 619 pieces. There is no way I would ever have the time to put together all of these kits. When I first started these kits were a bloody mess. But last semester my kids worked really hard the last week of school and we sorted out all the pieces. All the wheels are in one box, axles in one box, gears in one box, etc. And they are all labeled with pictures of the pieces.
So Wed/Thur each group had to get their kit and count out all of the pieces they needed using their inventory sheet.
There are 60 pins (the smallest piece) alone. So in the past this has taken a week to really get right. BUT this semester I had tons of groups done on the first day. I am sure this was some what to do with how organized we are this year, but I really think it says something about how hard my students are willing to work.
Pure teacher/OCD person bliss.
Pure teacher/OCD person bliss.
My whole theory is that if they spend this much time counting out the pieces they will keep their kit orderly for the entire semester and they have no one to blame but themselves if the extra piece boxes get messy. PLUS they have been forewarned that the last week of the semester they have to take it all back apart so keeping it neat speeds up the entire process.
two. In Career Technology this week each student researched a career of their own interest and put together a one page informational flyer with the research and pictures using Microsoft Publisher.
I printed the template and had the students focus on just the research Tuesday using one of my favorite career research sites: http://www.bls.gov/ooh/. And then Wed/Thur (our block day) we learned how to use Publisher and the students used my template to create a bright and interesting one page flyer filled with pictures and research.
My Career Tech class tends to be sixth graders and I currently have a few students who without google translate would never understand what to do, so my thought was that by providing everyone a template they would learn a new software program but everyone would be set up for success.
I was blown away by how awesome the flyers turned out, I was grading Friday afternoon and literally hitting print each time I pulled up the next student's work, I thought they were all that fabulous to go up on my wall. Pure teacher bliss.
three. In Web Design this week we started blogging. I use Kidblog to teach students about digital citizenship and staying safe when using public/social media sites. I like the site because it allows me to monitor what is being posted and comments that are going up because I have final approval of everything.
In the past it takes about a week before the kids really get into it. In the beginning it just seems like a lot of writing to them. BUT this year in two and half days they already posted 42 posts, have another 26 in drafts and have made 73 comments. I should add that the class is only 28 kids so I am overwhelmed with how much they seem to be digging this activity.
All I do during class time is walk around and check in with them to make sure they are moving forward and working on their next blog activity, they have 7 required and then three optional ones to choose from. Each post is worth 10 points so they can really do as many as they want. In the past I have had grades as high as 150 and low as 30, my hope is this year our strong start means our average will be much higher.
One student got so excited when she saw that someone commented on her post, she was bouncing in her seat asking me who it was. I of course couldn't tell her, so instead of bugging me she started writing back to this student so they could have a blogger conversation.
Pure teacher bliss.
Pure teacher bliss.
four. Thursday was another super positive moment from Web Design this week, which I failed to take any pictures of.
One activity we do on our blogs is to write a review of a book, movie, tv show, etc. In the past students haven't really grasped what a review is and then I reexplain it 30 times individually, I just love repeating myself.
So this year I had sample reviews printed from: http://www.kidsandmedia.co.uk/film-reviews/ and the students partnered up and read the review and answered ten questions about the review.
In my head it was a opportunity for some think, pair, share time - meaning they would read silently together then pair up and share out the answers. What I didn't expect was for one partner to read the review out loud to their partner and then the other partner be the writer.
These are kids who don't know each other and the majority are ESL students so for them to be willing to read aloud to a peer on their own free whim made my mega watt smile come out all period. Be still my heart. Pure teacher bliss.
five. This one is really more personal but it is something/a feeling I want to remember. I had stayed late for a meeting Monday night for our CAC and after the meeting adjourned the principal asked if I had a second. Insert stomach plunging fear.
She said that our new 8th grade math teacher was having a hard time with some of the classroom management stuff considering this 'unique' class of eighth graders and she hoped it was ok that she passed along my name as a teacher for the new teacher to go to. I said of course. We continued the back and forth conversation for like another minute or so but then she said the line that was like music to my ears: 'you're one of the best teachers on campus.'
Believe me I held it together until I got in the car but I am pretty sure my smile could have been seen clear across campus.
Normally I wouldn't include something like this on the blog, mostly because it feels boastful, BUT under all the negativity I have regarding our new Numerical Fluency program and how I feel like I am being taken advantage of as an elective teacher, I completely forgot about that interaction with my principal.
Yes, I am still mad. Yes, I still have a lot of animosity towards everyone involved in this program. But all jobs have good moments and bad moments and if I only focus on the negative I will never be able to hold onto those feelings of bliss I felt this week. And if all of my weeks have more highs than lows I consider myself pretty darn lucky.
But please don't stop me to ask how the grading is going for the fluency program, I can't predict my response!
- The Babbling Box!