Friday, February 15, 2008

Migrating from the lap pool

This resolution seems to be falling into the stereotype of resolutions. Love the way Frazz sums it up.

This week has been bad for posts over here. It's hard enough to figure out what I want to write about during a normal week. But classes keep being interrupted by one thing and another.  I revised my long-term plan before school started back in January. The algebra class is already two and a half weeks behind schedule. My pacing of what I can get done in a class period seems to be on target. We've missed that much class.

We wonder why students are already mentally checking out of school. Could it be that the routine of classes isn't established enough to make it worth checking in?

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Teach it right.

R is one of those student who argues and complains.
His two favorite phrases:
"You didn't show us that."
"Yeah, well, you didn't teach it right."

Definitely a student who makes me want to claim the victories while I can.

Yesterday was a practice day in his class. I gave them time and space to work, checking in with everyone periodically. After looking over one problem he'd solved, I told him it looked great.

"That's all you have to do? That's so easy."

A relief to know that even though the day before I hadn't taught him anything, he can work through problems that require mastery of previous concepts in addition to the new material.

Good morning sunshine

Juniors and seniors had an assembly today that started during first period and went until middle of third. A few of my second period juniors and seniors showed up at the beginning of class. While I was trying to sort out with them whether I could keep them or not, a sophomore from third period came in. He looked groggy as he picked up his notes. Standing at the door, I said his name.

"I know I'm tardy. Just..." mutter under his breath.
"You're in the wrong class."
"What hour is it?"
"Second. See you in an hour."

The second period students had a good chuckle, before the hall monitors came to take them to the assembly or ISS. (Really? They can't do the work in my room? How is ISS any better?)At least, having a handful of students coming to class, getting ready to work, when they don't need to is a morale booster.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

"You want to talk about technology in schools?"

Tomorrow we have an early release so that the staff can break into teams discussing different issues at our school. Conceptually, the meetings are a good idea (though maybe they should occur on inservice days rather than cut into teaching time). I remain to be convinced of how useful they are.

I joined the technology team in hopes of finding a way to exploit the system to benefit my classroom. That hasn't happened. We spent the first half of the year discussing what our research question would be. I think we settled on something broad enough to include anything and not really spur us to any action.

I was talking to my housemate about how I'd like to bring in ideas from the blogosphere (or maybe just mention the presence of the blogosphere) to the meeting. An hour later, she complained that she doesn't know if the school secretary has an e-mail that gets checked. I happen to have the address in my book. It's a yahoo address. Mine's g-mail. We don't have school addresses. It sparks the comment, "You want to talk about technology in our school? Talk about getting everyone communicating by e-mail."

It's simple enough, really. I have the impression that at one point we were all going to be given school e-mail accounts. But I haven't tried opening Outlook on my school computer this year. My housemate tried hers.... once. No one knows other people's personal e-mails. There's no formula to figure them out.

Communication can be a struggle at our school no matter what the form. All the papers in my box just get shuffled around and lost. Conversations constantly need to be written up in memos in order to be documented. I know I'm more comfortable with technology than others, but could we join the e-mail movement to help our organizational skills? To save on printing? To make everything searchable? Please?

P.S. I know I didn't post for my resolution last week. I have some entries that need editing. I need to go through so I can have a better outlook for my own sake.