Posts Tagged ‘Students’

Horseshoes & Hand Grenades

© Michael Frank – istockphoto.com

    Literally, that is what I’m thinking about as I try to figure out what to do with my classroom setup.    Right now, the room is a mess with books, papers, notebooks, scattered everywhere.   I like to think I have a pretty high tolerance for chaos but I can’t work in this room.   I am sharing a room with an art teacher.   She teaches two periods at the beginning of the day while I teach one class in another science classroom.    It’s not too bad to teach one class in another classroom but the fact that my primary classroom is an art room and not conducive to science learning IS a problem.

     The tables are set up in a horseshoe pattern which means most of the kids have to turn their neck 90 degrees to see what is being presented – long narrow room.   Why would a 7th grader do that when there are other 7th grade students – far more interesting than the teacher – in the most direct line of sight?   I need to change this but it will probably mean a lot of furniture moving for me on a daily basis.   The art teacher is not interested in change.

    On Thursday, in one of my classes, some of my students were throwing small bits of crayons that they found on the floor at each other;  thus, the reference to hand grenades in the title.  They thought they were being sly but I knew they were doing it, the problem was that it was about eight boys.   If I cast my eyes down slightly to write on the overhead, somebody threw something.   A 12-year old boy is quick and deft but still looks guilty as sin.    This class got to sit quietly the next day and work in review books so that I could watch them carefully.   If I had it to do over again, I would have stopped the lesson immediately and gone to review books.  The problem is that if I turned my back to get the review books, World War III would have broken out.    The art teacher says that neither she nor the students should have to clean up crayon pieces on the floor because that’s what happens in an art room.    On Friday, I swept the floor after the art class left to get rid of the ammunition.

     None of the behavioral issues are a surprise.  We will get there.   The school was closed when I went over today to organize my classroom.   On Monday, I will turn the tables to row seating.   The goal is learning pods where active, engaged students do group projects.    I am having trouble seeing that from here.


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Just for Fun

     This is a Word Sift of my blog over the last few months.   You can do this for any document by going to http://www.wordsift.com/ and pasting in a text selection.   I’m pleased that student was the most common word because that is the real focus!

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© Dietmar Klement - istockphoto.com

     Over the last two weeks, we’ve watched sections of a video, Minds of Our Own, which can be viewed online at http://www.learner.org/resources/series26.html  The most interesting part was interviews of recent MIT and Harvard graduates who couldn’t light a lightbulb with a battery, wire, and a bulb OR describe how a seed turned into a tree – hint the tree needs the chemical shown above and a few other things.

     There is an interesting list of the most common misconceptions at http://www.amasci.com/miscon/opphys.html   Obviously some of these apply to very young children but some continue through adulthood. As long as a person has not discovered information to challenge their view, why would they bother to modify it? It will be a major focus of my teaching to both discover my students’ misconceptions and motivate them to change their views.

     On the subject of green stuff. My garden never happened this year. I bought the seeds and started some of them but stalled before putting them in the ground due to grad school. I briefly hoped that I would plant some lettuce, chard, and kale during my brief hiatus in August – a few sheets of plastic and I could have had fresh veggies through the end of November at least and some years into January. I am fortunate that I can rely on my CSA and the farmers there who transform carbon dioxide and sunlight into food for my family.


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Come si chiama? – Wie heißen Sie? – Comment vous appelez-vous ? – ¿Cómo se llama usted? 

      Names have been my big challenge this week.   There are three classes of Science 8 at my field observation.   I’m at a small school, 70 students or so per grade – my CT knew all of their names before they walked in the door.   I have a seating chart with pictures but they are tiny pictures that are a year old AND these are eighth graders so the physical changes are ginormous!   I’m grateful to Joanne and Ashley for providing some other ideas of how to learn names.   I definitely plan to take pictures and use them as flashcards when I have my own classroom.

     I really like the school where I am doing my field observation.   It is a suburban/rural school in that it is still within a metropolitan county but is about 15 miles from the city and the area borders on rural.   I dug into the school report cards on the State Education Department website and was surprised to learned that a quarter of the students get free lunch and a third fall into the category of free or reduced lunch.   This is a picture from the foyer overlooking the courtyard where seniors with honor pass privileges can visit.  That’s the school mascot in the corner.


     I enjoy working with middle school students, because although they are sometimes off the wall, they are funny, still interested in everything, and there is never a dull moment as they change attitude and demeanor frequently.    They like goofy humor and the kids in the classes that I observe all seem to have a great relationship with my CT despite the fact that part of his job is being the “discipline guy”.    I think I would prefer to teach the more challenging science studied in high school but am not sure where I’m headed yet.    I’m glad that one of my student teaching blocks is middle school and one is high school – it will help with this discernment.

     Happy almost weekend everybody!   My youngest son is home sick from school today which probably means our weekend trip to Canada is canceled.   He is very disappointed – me less so, I really have too much to do anyway. 

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