Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Taking it Sitting Down

I dunno what is wrong with me lately. I'm so sick these past couple of days. I can't remember the last time I stood all day to teach. I keep taking advantage and giving the girls writing or their history project groups so that I can sit down.
Today was no different.
In eighth grade I started off the day teaching history. I could tell the girls were bored. I know that it's a dumb aim, but usually I can make it interesting. Today it took a while before I could get the girls into it.
Once they got into it it was fun though. We spoke about cowboys and cattle drives. The girls were telling me everything they knew about the wild west, and that produced a couple of funny comments and laughs.
After history I gave them time to revise the first part of their Letters to Self. They were having a hard time doing that because they all decided that they did an amazing job to begin with. Yeah right.
T.B.N. does not belong in an 8th grade. She still hasn't finished her first part when the girls are already up to revising their first and second. I dunno what I'm gonna do with her.
T.G. has been getting on my nerves lately. She is a little bit of a baby. Yesterday, she had one of the damaged sweatshirts and she made such a huge fuss about it. Today, the first thing she wanted to know was if I already had new ones for her. Then she needed to know why they couldn't come any sooner than two weeks from now. AGH!
During recess I had an interesting conversation with my co. She and I both feel very overshadowed by the 7th grade Hebrew co. We feel that we can't really do anything with the seventh grade because she is always mixing in. My co said she wished that the Hebrew teacher would just stay in the Hebrew dept. and leave us alone.
We have a meeting with the principal next week Wednesday to discuss some extra-curricular things for the 7th grade. We want to make sure that we get our way, that we get what we believe is best for the class, and not just what the Hebrew co wants.
Problem is, whatever we do end up doing, we won't be recognized for it. It'll be the Hebrew co getting the credit. Oh well.
Seventh grade worked on comparing and contrasting in essays while I supervised sitting down. they didn't do too a bad job either. Of course, B.B. and S.S. and some others did terrible jobs, most of the girls were pretty on track.
I gave them independent reading while I marked them, and then I let them get into groups.
I will never put C.S.S. and C.K. in the same group again. They are fooling around and letting the other girls do all the work instead of them. I'm so not impressed.
On other days I see what they're doing, but I know that E.L. and M.B. are working and while they aren't happy doing all the work, at least they have each other.
Today, E.L. was absent and M.B. was left doing all the work herself. She handed in the summary the group was supposed to do and it didn't include everything I wanted, so I asked her to just add one more paragraph.
She left the class crying, and I spoke to her after school to tell her that there was a reason I gave a separate mark to the group and to the individual girls. I told her to go home and not worry about the summary, that I would give her time to do it in class, and I would speak to the other girls as well.
I remember having this in one class last year too. I hope this works out better though.

Monday, October 30, 2006


My sweatshirts came!! The 8th grade was thrilled! We had a little problem with some damaged pieces, so I sent them back to the company and they promised to send them back within two weeks.
I wore my sweater all day because I was soo excited too.
The seventh grade totally keeps me on my toes these days. We learned to compare and contrast by doing a Venn diagram on the board comparing myself and my co.
The girls were so funny.
They were analyzing all my clothing and how I like to wear sweaters and zippers and how I have a million pairs of shoes compared to my co who wears suits and buttons and one pair of flats.
They were saying how I am soooo skinny, and I had a good laugh.
They went nuts to hear that their Hebrew teacher and myself lived on the same block as kids. I hope they don't drive her nuts.
I used the time I had while the girls were in their groups to test them on their reading levels. Most girls were on Y or Z, but I was shocked that C.K. was on R, a 4th grade level. And F.E. was on a 5th-6th grade level. B.B. won't be above a 3rd grade level if I know her. I have to finish testing by tomorrow, because I really have to start doing their groups by next week.
Aside for the problem of when to do all the groups, I'm kind of excited to start. I've been reading up on it a lot, and I got some really nice things to use for them. I hope it all works out.
I'm having a little trouble trying to make up a test for 8th grade. I'll be finishing their next chapter by the end of the week, and I need to give them a test. Problem is, the chapter is so boring, and the test that I was given by the book has all the info that I don't plan on teaching. That means I'm basically stuck making this up by myself.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Acting, Mining, Teaching...Etc.

There was a teacher’s meeting today, and of course that meant that I was running late on the way to school. We made it there in time, but it was a hectic morning.
I had been in Manhattan all morning, and of course M.S.’s mother decided to call when I was out. I can’t even call her back tonight because of sheva berachos, so it’ll have to wait till tomorrow.
R.S.’s mother asked me to call her too, but she has to wait as well.
The teacher’s meeting was a joke. In my old school, a teacher’s meeting meant a ton of extra work and a lot of criticism. This was more like a book club.
We are all getting books on classroom strategy that we’ll be reading together and discussing in the group. I think it’s so funny. We also discussed sending home more updates to the mothers and some other little things. I had a good laugh when it was over.
8th grade was fun today. History went by so fast. We learned about the silver and gold rushes in the west and we had good discussions on miners and money.
Later, we did literature, and again, the issue of if money makes a person happy came up. I didn’t mind spending the time discussing it because I got everything I wanted done anyway.
Recess time I had to keep sending the girls out, and they thought it was so funny that I kept running after them to stay up on the roof.
T.G. and R.S. presented their G.O. theme today; “G.O. metric.” I thought that was adorable.
Seventh grade had a great time during literature today. We were talking about playing hooky and how to act sick, so I did some of my acting for them. They were in stitches. I had the entire class trying to wipe their nose as realistically as I did. It was a sight!
Then I let them get into their history groups again.
I got very nervous from R.A. and N.N. who I put in the same group. They were of course, leading the entire thing, and making everyone else feel like babies.
C.S.S. and C.K. were also in the same group and were acting way immature. I don’t believe they actually did any work today.
F.E. and S.N.K. on the other hand, were really impressing me with how they were working so hard.
The third group I made is amazing. S.E., D.A., R.B., S.S., H.B. and E.M.B. were so great together. They shared the work and had cute plans for their 3d model of a colony.
I spoke to C.K. after school to ask her what happened to her test. She said she couldn’t study very well, and I think it’s just a problem with her notes. I told her I’d give her special notes, but I wanted her to take the regular test. She seemed fine with it, but I still want to call her mother.
Another thing for tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Observed, Rested, and Had a Good Day

Today the principal came to observe my class. She put a note in my locker to schedule the sit-in last week, so I knew to prepare a good lesson.
I was so easygoing during that class... such a difference from last year.
The lesson was fun, I taught about why America is divided into the North, South, and West, but no East. I used funny examples to illustrate my point, and it worked well with the girls.
By the time I hit seventh grade I was dead tired and couldn’t stand anymore, so I just got them all excited about a history project and divided them into groups. A.S. started giving me problems about her group, but I refused to make any switches, so she’s stuck. She was cute about it, but if she just sits there without doing her work, it’ll show up on her mark.
H.B.’s mother had asked me to call her to discuss sending work along to Israel with H.B as she was going for two weeks. I couldn’t call her because of my schedule this week, so she sent a letter to school today.
I’m so embarrassed. I sent one back and photocopied notes for her. I hope her mother’s happy.
M.S.’s mother was supposed to call me about her test, but she never did. That means she won’t get through to me until Friday. Too bad.
The office in this school is so funny. They make sure to set aside food for me when I come in recess time because lately I’m always hungry. They are the cutest people.
I love this school.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Gym and a Day Off

My life is a wreck until sometime next week. My niece's wedding was yesterday, so with all the rushing I had to do on Sunday, I didn't get to prepare much. I came to school Monday without a piece of work to give my classes.
Lucky for me, 8th grade had gym so that took up half my period. The other half was spent writing their letters to self.
Seventh spent their time with independent reading and writing a history essay.
I rushed like mad to get home so that I could make it to the hall in time for the makeup artist to do my face. I had 9 people in the car including myself. 3 in the trunk, 4 in the backseat, and one in the passenger near me. I'm just lucky I didn't get a ticket.
Whatever the case was, I made it to the hall on time, and I didn't get home until about 5 am this morning.
I had to go to school anyway, but I had scheduled a test, so I sat and had a day off.
I was disappointed though, when marking the tests, because the averages were terrible. 8th grade had an average of 87, and seventh is going to be much worse.
I know it has a lot to do with the two week sukkos vacation, and that the material was a lot of memorization, but still. I feel bad about it.
M.S.'s mother asked me to call her, and basically, she is another S.G.L. She has way too much pride to take an easy test, but her confidence is shot because she keeps failing.
I thought she seemed like she knew the test today, but when I marked it she got a 63.
T.B.N. took a special test and got a 73, and that was only cause I was being nice.
C.F.C. also had a hard time with the test, but at least she'll talk to me about it so that we can work it out.
C.K. in 7th grade failed her test too, and so did S.G. I didn't get to mark the girls with the special tests, but I already know that S.S. is going to fail.
I think I officially hate N.N. and D.A. N.N. went out of her way to show off things she knew but that we didn't learn in class on her test. What a kiss ups.
D.A. kept her test until I dismissed the class and then made this huge fuss about how she for sure failed it. She got a 90 something. EW!
At the end of the day, B.G. and D.Z. in 8th came to ask me if they could take a picture of me in glasses. I told them yes, but then D.Z. snapped a picture, without permission, of me on the phone. I heard from other teachers that they have been going around the school snapping pictures of teachers. I had explicitly warned them against using their cameras without permission, and I think I will confiscate D.Z.'s for a week. I want to get the principal to speak to them about it tomorrow.
7th grade has been getting on my nerves lately. They wait outside in the halls to see if I'm coming and then scream, "She's coming! She's coming!" I told them off for that a couple of times.
Yesterday, some girls locked the classroom door and half the class, and myself, could not get in. Today, they started shrieking in the halls when I came out of the office.
I yelled at them big time today, but I think the principal needs to go there too.
talking about S.G.L., I met her today. She was with two girls, dressed all fancy, and she looked me up and down but ignored me. Just as well. I'm glad I don't have to take care of her anymore.
Tonight is my last year's co's wedding.
I hope I make it back from sheva berachos tonight to get to her.
I'm way too busy to keep this blog.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Yearbooks, Monograms, High Schools and a Meeting

Starting from yesterday.
My sister and I went over with the class every single page that we would put in this yearbook. We told them how many pages were allotted per group and what to do with the pages they had. We now have to come up with a price for ads, but it shouldn't be too much. Any extra money raised will go to the 8th grade graduation trip so it doesn't matter if we overcharge them for the books.
The girls got to sit in their groups and it made it so much more real to them. That got them really excited about everything. We told them that by next meeting they should have thought of ideas and brought in things to start working with so that we can actually do something at the meeting.
I hope we can see this through.
History lately has become a blast because I'm teaching about reconstruction and all the discrimination the Blacks faced. My class is so racist. They keep getting of topic to have heated discussions about whether they are better than the whole world.
Seventh grade's seat change it getting on my nerves. C.S.S. developed this huge attitude and she's a huge distraction. I'm just surprised at A.S. because I thought she was a better girl, and now she keeps schmoozing with C.S.S.
I had to call B.B.'s aunt to discuss a test I'm giving, and the funniest thing was that we were on a tour together in Israel last week. I'm so embarrassed because on the tour my husband and I decided to have some fun and he dared me to go around all day in one of those Israeli shmattahs the women wear to cover their hair. So B.B.'s aunt spent a day with me when I looked nuts.
Go blame it on the hubby.
I honestly think it's a crime to have to wake up early on rainy mornings like today. But it's an English Friday and I had to go to school.
I was supposed to be there early to meet with the principal, but due to the rain we came late.
It didn't matter because she wasn't ready anyway, and by the time she was, I had gotten my class started off davening to themselves with instructions to knock on the office door when the class was done.
The meeting wasn't half bad.
I'm actually kind of looking forward to doing independent reading with the classes and even literature groups don't sound as hard as they did in my old school. This principal was a lot less pressured.
She gave me some great books to read aloud to the class, and I dragged them all home so that I can read them over Shabbos.
I got her approval to begin a project with my 7th grade, and now that means a bunch of organizing work for me. Yay. As if with my niece's wedding my life isn't hectic enough.
I walked into 8th grade and realized that I had nothing to teach. I spent ages on maps with them, and we got way off topic discussion monograms and themed weddings. It was fun, but then I finished up the chapter in history because Monday they have gym and I don't think I'll have time to finish everything I want to then.
Seventh grade also got me off topic talking about teachers who don't know your names and about what high schools I went to and where they should go.
S.E. has an attitude about her, but its so cute. She doesn't mean to be snobby, but I think that's the way she was raised. From what I saw of her mother during orientation, I see where she gets it all from.
We also had to start discussing the literature story we had just finished, so that took till the end of the day.
Boy am I glad the week is over. I can sure use the break!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

I'm Back!

Hey everyone. I'm back from a long Sukkos break. Aside from a bumped flight, some lost suitcases, stolen jewelry and a bit of jet lag, Sukkos in Israel was beautiful.....But I'm glad to be home and back to work.
The sub that came in the day I left lost the sheets I gave her and showed up an hour late. I was a little horrified when I heard.
I'm back now and extremely pressured. I scheduled tests in both classes for next Tuesday and I spent all day Monday and last night making them up. I just finished making up the 8th grade test and I still have to make up the easy tests for both classes.
I began teaching essays in 7th and the Letter to Self in 8th. Writing is finally getting somewhere, but when I have the time I will have to sit down and figure out my curriculum for the year.
The principal wants to meet with me Friday morning to talk to me about reading groups in my classes. I'm so not looking forward to more work now.
I have to organize a history project for my 7th grade, and I'm just glad that I'm way ahead of where I was last year this time.
My niece is getting married Monday so I'm under a ton of pressure to get all my papers in by the end of this week so that next week I can have everything ready without having to prepare after nights of sheva berachos.
My sister is supposed to be coming in for yearbook tomorrow and we spent a long time tonight going through the pages we plan on putting in there. It sounds nice.
I finally ordered the senior sweaters, and they should be here before the end of the month. I'm so excited.
I brought back red strings from kever Rachel for all my students and it was so cute how they kept trying to pronounce the words "roita bendel." I just love these kids.
The 7th grade Hebrew teacher made a seat change and I absolutely hate it. C.S.S. and S.N.K. are always talking, and they sit in front of my nose! You would think they would be a little more scared to act up in the front seats!
D.A. and S.G. are also becoming chummy in the back row. I'm having a hard time navigating the classroom now. I barely learned their names and now they're all mixed up again!
Anyway, I'll try to post tomorrow, but with the mess my life is in right now I can't guarantee anything.... I will try though, so keep coming back!