Things I taught the kids this week without formal...
What “flush” means (while building a garden box and trying to make the end of a plank flush to another) How threads on a screw work (when I was asked why we weren’t just using nails) That metal can be soft and flexible (while building a pizza box solar oven) That complementary colors make one another darker (while working on a poster) What “mixed media” means...
The Question Book For Kids
Fourth-grader: "If you could go back in time to any time or place where would you go and what would you do?"
Me: Hm...I think I'd go back to Renaissance Italy to meet da Vinci and get art lessons and science lessons, and just hang out. Do you know who that is?
Fourth-grader: No. I'd go back and watch the guy who painted the Mona Lisa make the painting.
Me: ...that's him! That's da Vinci! We can be time travel buddies!
Seventh-grader: I was gonna say I'd wanna watch that guy who landed on the moon, but can I come with YOU guys?
I was coming in an hour late today because we needed me to stop off at a hardware store to get the supplies for the garden box (after which I am fairly certain hell is being a female customer in the lumber section of a hardware store, for eternity). When I got to the program space I was greeted by a rush of kids who acted like they thought I was never coming back. Apparently the supervisor had...
A new crop of potential Massachusetts jobs popped...
Part of me wants to go home with my tail between my legs, do glasswork, and try to figure out what the next step it supposed to be. Instead I’m going to call the district tomorrow and ask, before I start this process all over again with another school, whether they would consider someone with a NY State Certification. And if the answer is yes I’ll put it in. And if the answer is...
I shouldn't have tracked down this dice company. ... →
I’m already no longer allowed to look at teacher supply catalogs. Now gaming catalogs, too? (Oh who am I kidding — anything I look at can be turned into a lesson plan, there’s nowhere to hide!) My favorites: the variety of mathematical operators, and the Where Are You sets.
At a local comic shop — this may not surprise anyone familiar to some extent with comic shops — is a shelf lined with canisters of dice. One of these canisters is full of emotion d10s — ten-sided dice with either words or faces noting a variety of emotional reactions. Health lessons involving emotions and roleplaying, art practice, writing challenges and character development...
Geeky Kids Get to Ride Up Front
I'm driving the kids to another program space on our designated weekly travel day. My shotgun passenger is trying to figure out how to turn the heat off, to no avail.
Me: Okay, okay, we'll just keep the windows down.
Him: I almost got it.
Me: Unhand the captain's control panel.
Him: Hey, this isn't Star Trek, I've got it.
Me: Excuse me, I'm driving. That means I am Kirk and this is the Enterprise. So unhand the control panel, Scotty.
Him: *laughs and switches to changing the radio volume*
Things on tomorrow's to-do list for the program:
Don’t forget construction paper Buy chicken hearts Make room for lumber in van None of these things are related to one another, but I have to say — it’s the best to-do list I’ve probably ever had in my life.
So I had a revelation today that was likely a long...
I make much deeper connections with students at the middle school ages than I ever have with students at the early elementary ages. It isn’t that I don’t still have meaningful interactions with younger students, or that I put any less value on my relationships with them as a teacher, mentor, or whatever capacity in which I interact with them. But it seems like I’m more usefulto...
Children with short attention spans 'failing to... →
infoneer-pulse: More than four-in-10 teachers said children failed to read for pleasure at the age of 11, it emerged. The study – by the publisher Pearson – found that many schools fear children have short attention spans and prefer to spend time online rather than reading a novel. Teachers also said that books were not seen as “cool” by pupils and raised fears that parents are failing to do...
pandaseal: Shifting the Focus From Individual Bullies and Victims to School Culture blackenedbutterfly: rapeculturerealities: While eliminating violent acts is imperative, reducing the concept of a hostile school environment to the acts of individual (troubled) students who can be rehabilitated merely contains and manages the violence, rather than addressing its causes. When the absence of...
I have a backup job, officially.
If I do not get any of the teaching jobs I’ve applied for, I can move back home and work for my dad doing glass installation and repairs while trying to find a part-time MA program in Social Work (the other half of my career aspirations). So if you ever know anyone on Long Island who needs auto glass or plate glass work and I’m not in a classroom you should let me know, and...
positivelypersistentteach asked: That is just what my mom thinks.
positivelypersistentteach asked: I am so not a celebrity.
Apparently some of our #education celebrities are...
We have now reached new levels of geek-a-rific awesome, #Education. Never stop.
Tumblr Teacher: Girl with a Lesson Plan: I guess I... →
girlwithalessonplan: I’m cosponsoring a GSA next school year. We had a student request one, and he asked if coworkerBFF and I would sponsor it. Admin has “approved” it, in that they can’t NOT approve it. But the principal seems genuinely on board and supportive in that “Oh, really? Cool,” kind of way when I’ve talked… One of the most successful events that our college GSA had, one that...
The realization I came to might be the root of all...
positivelypersistentteach: notajournalist: I don’t own a single pair of wearable, matching socks. I may not even own a single pair of wearable, non-matching socks. What kind of adult am I? Sometimes I get tired of trying to find matches for my socks that I throw them out and start all over. I am well-known among my friends and family — and in a place that allows such silliness in...
We Are Ready...: Oh, you teach 8th grade?!? I'm... →
positivelypersistentteach: wordforletter: weareready: The first thing people want to know is: what do you do? And when you tell them that you are a teacher, the inevitable second question is, “What grade do you teach?” Then there is this look. When I say 7th and 8th grade there is this face that people make that I can’t even begin to understand. It’s… I think we all get this. There are so...
I'm having trouble finding a teaching job, and my...
girlwithalessonplan: shapefutures: “I mean UNICEF is following you, you should tell them that too. That’s important, right? And don’t a lot of people read your work? Can you put that somewhere?” It isn’t practical but it was a really sweet suggestion, and an adorable ego boost. Do your employers know you have a blog? My principal knows I have A blog, and he’s aware I talk about teaching...
I'm having trouble finding a teaching job, and my...
“I mean UNICEF is following you, you should tell them that too. That’s important, right? And don’t a lot of people read your work? Can you put that somewhere?” It isn’t practical but it was a really sweet suggestion, and an adorable ego boost. Do your employers know you have a blog?
I know some math people that are going to be... →
girlwithalessonplan: eltrotskysflyingcircus replied to your post: THANK YOU for the Twilight thing. I did my undergraduate thesis on Twilight — I used Reader-Reponse theorist/phenomenologist Wolfgang Iser and interviews with five young women who had read Twilight in their teens. Everyone always freaks out, but it’s a fairly powerful book and dismissing it isn’t being critical, it’s being…...
Super. Super. Awkward.:
Sitting doing coloring and doodle pages with your kids and ending up in the middle of a conversation about how much they hate Obama, in the words of the younger of the two (it was an 8-year-old and a 17-year-old) for being “stupid,” “ugly,” and “weird.” I asked the younger of the two if that was a) the way we talked about people here, and b) a good reason to...
I'm really, really concerned that a thinspo blog...
and would like very much to hear their opinion about that, if they can spare a moment, because I want to give everyone a chance and assume the best before I assume a miscommunication.
dianaplusmore asked: I saw the post with the white board about the girl writing down that she would not eat because she needed to lose weight. I was wondering if after you see the goals posted on the white board whether you have a discussion with the class about the goals and maybe discuss proper nutrition--I mean, not in a way that would make someone feel bad but in a way that would help them improve their goals and...
Yesterday H was barred from program for three...
He referred to another (absent) member, soon to be junior staffer, as the r word. I reminded him that we don’t use that word in program AND that we do not speak that way about people in general here. He (and another few kids) told me that everyone says it. I gave him a disciplinary measure. Ours are usually minor tasks that you pick out of a hat, including small chores, apology letters,...
Released late last week, the government study revealed that in a nationwide...– Study: More Teens Smoking Pot Than Cigarettes | NewsFeed | TIME.com GWALP’s reaction: I’m surprised. But maybe my demographic is the exception? I see PLENTY of my students smoke or chew, and some of them have been very candid about drinking. (via girlwithalessonplan) In Teen Talk quite a few...
Things to do tomorrow (for the kids):
Draft out a version of the abs challenge that starts tomorrow and is appropriate for middle and high schoolers Make a poster about the difference between healthy living and dangerous dieting Figure out what to do for Art Studio instruction since no one’s really been all that interested when they could be playing ball on the porch instead (…why, why does my supervisor keep scheduling...
The conversation that, even if nothing works out,...
(Some of the older kids know that I'm looking for teaching jobs nearby, so that I can still be accessible and won't have to go back to NY. It's just me and a couple of "difficult" 6th grade girls working in the kitchen.)
Girl 1: So how's the job-search going?
Me: Well, I'm pretty sure I was turned down for one of the big ones, but we'll see.
Girl 2: You should just work here! There are like four teachers leaving!
Me: Haha, really? But that's at the middle school isn't it?
Girl 1: Oh my god you should be our math teacher. Instead of ________.
Me: C'mon guys.
Girl 2: No seriously they're retiring. There's gonna be a 7/8 math teacher and a chorus teacher and I don't know what else.
Me: ...really? ...but I don't think I can teach that level of math.
Girl 1: OH MY GOD! Yes you can! Be the math teacher! I'll be in that class next year WE NEED YOU YOU HAVE TO DO IT.
Me: No I mean I don't know if I KNOW it well enough for 8th, and you need special certifi -
Girl 1: Who CARES? Be our math teacher!
Girl 2: Or chorus! I don't even TAKE chorus but if you were the chorus teacher I would so take it.
(...I cried a little. Then they teased me about it. Then we made garlic bread.)
What's up with Call Me Maybe, or the INSTANT way...
I am not a dancer. That is, I am not a dancer publicly. Or I wasn’t. I’m the kind of person that plays the same song on repeat sixty times with the door closed, makes up choreography, and dances around the apartment to it until I collapse. Late last year I started taking lessons because they were incredibly cheap and I’d always wanted to — and also because I mistook...
It took ten years for someone this age to think I...
I can't remember the context for this at all, but it was an important discussion, I know that much.
Me: I used to get beat up in high school. A lot. A...lot.
Fifteen-year-old boy: ... *stares*
Me: What? I'm serious.
Fifteen-year-old boy: Why? Why would anyone beat you up? You're so cool.
Now that I've calmed down, the up side of the day:
Teen Talk went beautifully. They want to do it twice a week. Well, they want to do it every day, but we can’t do that. So for now we’re going to run it twice a week. They even sat down afterward, a couple of the most difficult attendees, and made a list together of things they’d like to talk about. And it was a really good list, which I can’t share because they...
There's no record of my having taken the CST.
I’m finding this out as I’m putting in for my final certification paperwork. I’m not even in the same state as any of my records and physical receipts. I don’t… I’m going to have to take it again. And I don’t know if I have time to do that before the application will be reviewed. I may not have a certification in time to actually teach next year. ...
Got home. Cried a little. Will probably do it again tomorrow. But as long as you keep going back, as long as you keep trying, as long as you show them that you aren’t giving up…it’s at least partially okay. And I’m not going to say “it will get better” or “it will be okay” — because for some of these students, it won’t. We...
On an up note
We’re starting some new more formal programming upstairs today, which I’m in charge of planning and taking care of because it really isn’t my boss’ thing. Today: a space for teen talk. Their requested topics: …sex, pot, and condoms. I used to teach kids how to write their names. This is going to be interesting.
Whoever said "Don't bring your work home with you"...
One upper elementary boy has been facing some very hard problems at home and is then creating some very hard problems for out program for our program, to the point that we may have to bar him from coming for a week. I cannot go into details, but I am frustrated because there is nothing we can do at this point — the school and home fronts need to step in on a level they’re just not...