Thursday, October 18, 2007

Just 3 Words

This past weekend, I saw a great segment on Good Morning America. They had viewers send in a summary of their lives using only 3 words. I loved the idea so I found the clip on ABC's web site and modified it to use with my students. Here are some of their responses. We were also able to get a great bulletin board out of the activity because the kids also cut out outlines of their hands and wrote their summaries on them. Great responses!!!

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Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Dr. Williams' Mom

Yesterday, I experienced something very strange--I team taught classes with my mother. I was hired several months ago as a long-term sub, but when a full time opening in a different subject area opened up, I was very interested in it. The problem was that the classes I was subbing for were all gifted with demanding parents,and the class had already had several subs to start the year. The principal was understandably nervous about putting yet another sub in the room. Unbelievably, my mother, who has been retired from educating for several years, agreed to finish the last month of the long-term sub position if it meant that I got a full time job. I tease her that she was worried about having to pay my mortgage if she didn't do this for me... The principal understood that mom was doing this to help me out and tried to find someone else, but she couldn't find anyone else who was highly qualified in English, had years of experience, and had a doctorate in gifted ed and who did not admit openly that the reason he/she wanted the job was so that he/she would be close to the bar where he/she played the guitar at night. (Yes, someone actually admitted to that in an interview.) The end of the 9 weeks is fast approaching so we are going to team-teach this week, and I'll start the other job next week.

I don’t know if you are like me or not, but even at 33 years of age, I still want to please and even impress my parents. They never have put pressure on me, but I wanted mom to see that I am a great teacher. I thought I would be nervous because it was still my class and my students; however, I wasn’t. The kids’ reactions to 2 “Dr. Williams” in the class were very interesting. One asked if they could call my mom “Dr. Williams’ mom.” Thought that was pretty cute…I am one lucky person to have a mother who would sacrifice trips with my dad and little pay to help me out. Besides, she had gotten use to sleeping past 6 o'clock each day.

Off to dry my hair so I can go back to work with “Dr. Williams’ Mom” again today.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Something I Hardly Ever Do

This weekend, I did something that I hardly ever do--I did nothing. When I left the house, I didn't take my phone with me to check in case I got a call or email. I didn't read anything except "mind candy" trash. It was great! I have to say that although I miss being an administrator at times, I don't miss feeling guilty for taking some time off...

Saw this morning that the temperatures are finally going to cool off toward the end of the week. Just in time for my trip to the mountains with friends. Two weekends in a row! What is the world coming to?javascript:void(0)

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Thursday, October 4, 2007

Banned Book Week

The week is almost over, but it is Banned Book Week. My kids went to the media center yesterday for a talk with the media specialist and were amazed at the books that had been challenged according to the the American Library Association.

I know that people have personal issues with different books; however, I can't imagine ever challenging a book in order to take it off of a shelf. I am glad our media specialist shared this lesson with the kids because we have to hope that each generation is better than the last.

Blogging With Students

Yesterday, I got the go ahead to have blogs with my students! All of the teachers have a blog, but they have the comment ability turned off and use it as a place to communicate homework. I asked several different people if we were allowed to have the comment ability activated; I finally found someone could answer. Then, I was in a department meeting the other day, and one teacher shared how she use her blog with students. A rumble went through the room because teachers feared the amount they would have to moderate. The teacher presenting did a great job explaining the benefits and explaining that by blogging you can give something else up. As I was reading different blogs, I came across, Classroom Blogging, which has ideas for using blogs in classrooms. I can't wait to get the kids started, and I'll share how it goes!

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Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Play.Blogger.Com In reading this morning, I came across Adventures in Educational Blogging. Susan shared this cool site that allows you to see a slide show of pictures being uploaded to Blogger.

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Monday, October 1, 2007

Learning Styles

In Ed Tech Journeys, PReilly discusses the importance of knowing our students. I so agree! As teachers, we are asked to differentiate instruction, talk to parents, work on discipline, provide extra help, etc. How do we do any of these if we don't know more about our students than what we can find out by looking at registration information? We must spend time with the students and look for every opportunity to TALK with them--hall duty, in line in the cafeteria, and blogs. As an English teacher, I can utilize their writing to learn more about them. Doing this allows us to design lessons that truly meet their needs instead of throwing in strategies and hoping that they will resonate with the students in the room at any given time.

Easy-no, but the best teachers realize that teaching isn't an easy profession.

Here are some resources that might help us all learn more about our students.

Free Learning Styles Inventory

Index of Learning Styles Questionnaires

Vark: A Guide to Learning Styles

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