sábado, enero 08, 2005


finding my groove

yesterday i left school at 3:20. insert jaw drop here. granted, i went in for a few hours today, but i really thought i would be staying late every day in addition to weekend visits. i really like being in my room by myself, tidying up and doing all the little things i don't have time for when the kids are there. today my parents came up to take care of some property business, but they stopped by school first to see my classroom for the first time. my dad walked in and asked me why the hell everything was in spanish. shouldn't the language of instruction be english so they learn faster? i asked him where he was while i was in college and he responded by saying he just wanted to know where his tax dollars were going. to this pillow, so students can lie down while they read? to all these colorful bulletin boards and visual aids? to these fancy pointers with every letter of the alphabet? yes. but not to my salary, dad. why the hell, indeed.

my mom was quite useful. as dad assembled an organizer, she sharpened pencils and put my classroom library in order, something i wanted to do but don't have the energy to, knowing full well the kids will tear it up on monday. at least it looks nice for right now. monday morning i have cafeteria duty and after school we have our first all-staff meeting of the year. it will be a very long day, and tuesday i should be out all day for training. a friend of mine is subbing so she can actually teach some content for me. i went to the library so i could find some videos and books for her to use in conjunction with both language arts and ESL and the guy at the help desk had a blogger shirt. weirdness.

to backtrack a bit, my first week went pretty well. friday behavior was MUCH better, and i keep adding things to my arsenal of reward systems. now we are tracking individual, small group, AND class behavior... friday i decided to integrate behavior and mathematics by rewarding tables with 100% good behavior or instruction-following with a compliment stick. the table that accumulates the most compliment sticks by the end of the day wins a sticky note on our gráfico de super mesas. the table that gets the most sticky notes in one month gets some prize, something currently undecided but that will definitely be fabulous from the pov of a six year old. i've got some free pizza gift certificates and placed a large order with oriental trading co. things should turn out pretty spiffy. on an academic level, i feel that week one has definitely been challenging for them, but they are ready to be challenged after so many weeks of fluff. i gave them a fairly complicated word problem that integrated science knowledge and required them to sort through a lot of information, and we solved it as a group very quickly and with a lot of great explanations from the kids. today i went through their science and math journals to see how they've been doing individually, and unfortunately it seems like i've got several kids struggling with math. i can't tell if it's a cognitive issue or just severe distraction messing with them, but i need to get to the bottom of it soon. i'm starting to lay a lot of responsibility on parents now too... if their kids can't produce anything in the two hours i give them in class, then they need to start doing it at home. i think that's fair given how open-ended (or just plain easy) my assignments have been so far. while most of my chamacos are ready to learn, there's still a few that were probably much happier when school was mostly play and hardly work.

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