Friday, December 14, 2012

A Day of Prayers and Hope

Dear Dialog,

I know that this blog is for education related postings, and I guess that this post is to some extent but I have to say that today, I question my faith in humanity and the goodness in people. Today, one of the most horrific incidents in recent American history occurred. Twenty elementary students, ages 5-10, were murdered by a 20-year old man at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Connecticut. The identified gunman, named Adam Lanza went to the elementary school for reasons that have yet to be determined and now the country is trying to figure out all those questions that have yet to be answered.

Why did this happen?
How could it happen?
Why so many victims?
Why an elementary school?
Why did this happen to children so young?
Why did this happen to kids who had their whole lives to live?

These questions I do not know will ever be answered. Today these questions and this tragedy has brought so many feelings to the surface. Five and a half years ago, there was a shooting at Roseburg High School in Roseburg, OR. In 2008, there was a shooting at Virginia Tech University. In 1999, there was a shooting at Columbine High School in Colorado and in 1998, there was a shooting at Thurston High School in Springfield, OR.


Every few years, there seems to be these unimaginable tragedies that are continuously occurring. No one has been able to answer why these events happen or why they have transpired, but what we do know, is that there will always be fear. There will always be blame. There will always be changes in laws by State officials. There will always be tragedies.

Today, a friend on Facebook posted the following:
"A much wiser person than I gave me this exercise so you might try it. When you are feeling anything negative, especially as strongly negative as today's events would inspire, imagine it as dark smoke. I feel it as very thick, black, almost choking smoke. But use your chest, your heart, your lungs, your love, to change that black smoke into white. Breath in the dark smoke and using your own love change it to white and then breathe it out. Imagine it coming out of your mouth looking white, calm, compassionate, and peaceful. Breath in and breath out and each time you do, choose to breath out white smoke. Hold hands with someone as you do it. And give yourself permission to take a break from your day and spend a few moments in silence imagining your own body changing this hateful black to compassionate white and breath it out slowly. Feel it surround you and fill up the room. If others are you are breathing out black smoke, recognize that they are hurting and are responding as they know how and breath in their black smoke and use your own good will and compassion to change their black smoke into white. Choose to breathe theirs in and feel the black change to white through this choice you have made to put more white smoke into the room. Visualize it. I'm doing it now. Breathe in and breathe out. Breath together."

So today in closing, I hope that you chose to continue to breathe in and breathe out. To breathe together. To pray for the good in people. To hope that these events no longer occur. 



Sunday, December 9, 2012

Memories

Dear Dialog,

Today has been a day of memories... Today I went Christmas Tree Hunting with my boyfriend and my dad who is in town for the weekend. He brought me a bunch of ornaments that were on our trees when I was growing up and it brought back all those memories of decorating the big tree in the middle of the living room, the smell of hot coco, the smell of cinnamon pine cones and the sounds of family...


I am going to be able to bring in these memories to my school tomorrow. A fellow co-worker asked if we could bring in an extra tree since she knew we were going hunting... We found a wonderful, tall tree that will work perfectly in our lobby. My homeroom students are responsible for decorating the tree and maintaining it while it still maintains it's residence at school. With almost 75% of my students being low SES, and many of them not only unable to have a Christmas Dinner but also a tree and presents, bringing that sense of holiday cheer to them is wonderful and makes this time of year even more special.

Well more tree pictures are to come and I hope that everyone has a wonderful and happy holidays... Only 12 more days until our Holiday Break!!!


Saturday, November 24, 2012

Grading time!

Dear Dialog,

Well our first Trimester is coming to an end. It has been an interesting one at that. A trimester full of firsts, full of surprises and full of drama!

On November 30th, we have a teacher work day to complete our grading. I am in the progress of getting my students grades entered before hand as I do not want to wait till the last minute to get them entered in. We have to put in comments and they can get monotonous so I like to do one class at a time and separate them over the course of a couple of days.

With this grading period ending, that also means that classes are changing. I am quite happy about that. I am teaching one class of Economics, two classes of Pre-Algebra/Algebra I, one class of US History, one class of World History and one class of Girls PE.

I have taught each of the classes before with the exception of World History. We are going to be focusing on Modern World History. We are going to be studying the connections between various countries and how they impacted one another.

I am ready for these new set of classes and excited for the new term! I cant wait to see what surprises are coming!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

A Day of Thanks

Dear Dialog,

Today is Thanksgiving. A day when growing up you learn that the Pilgrims were friends with the Wamponoag Indians and celebrated with each other the seasons harvest in a big feast. While this may be somewhat true, we also know of the atrocities committed against the natives. Instead of dwelling on that, we have made today a day where we say thanks. A day when we take in family and friends and celebrate life's treasures with one another.

This year, I celebrated Thanksgiving with my boyfriend David and his parents. It was only four people but people who were thankful for what they have received and been given.

So today, I am thankful for:
-My family and friends
-My students who, without them, would not make me push so hard to love what I do and push them to be better
-My special hot coco, that takes all my worries away
-My life, while it has been stressful lately, I am still appreciative of being here

And finally

-Love... for if there was not love, there would be no life nor happiness to be thankful of.

So have a Happy Thanksgiving all and remember to be thankful for what you have.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Sick... and Glasses!!!

Dear Dialog,

This year, I have been sick countless times... I don't know if there is some super viral bug going around or if my immune system just isn't keeping up, but I have been sick three times already since August. This last round, has me on Day 4 and still kicking my butt. I have tried countless medications, herbal remedies, tea with lime, peppermint tea and so on and so on...

Unfortunately, this bug has spread to other schools in the area, causing the early closure of an Elementary school in town because half of the students and staff were out sick with a type of intestinal virus. This intestinal virus causes a high fever, vomiting and diarrhea. I have a combination of this virus and a head cold that has made my life hell... I am afraid my boyfriend is now catching this horrible bug. Although, his might be caused by the questionable Mexican food he had yesterday too... Too soon to tell. :(

On a separate note, I know that with the holidays coming around, money is tight. I myself, are trying to figure out how to be cost conscious this holiday season while getting something special for my family and friends. Recently, I thought I lost my glasses. My eyes and contact do not get along well so a friend referred me to www.FirmOO.com. It is an online Rx glasses company which has extremely affordable glasses for as low as $8.00 a pair! If you are a new customer, you get your first pair for FREE!!! All you have to do is pay shipping and any extra upgrades that you want. I just purchased two pairs of glasses with free shipping for $25.12!!!!!!!!

I just got these glasses http://www.firmoo.com/eyeglasses-p-1754.html  and these in black http://www.firmoo.com/eyeglasses-p-1017.html.

These glasses are very durable so check them out and click on the link or picture below!



Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Privileges versus Entitlements

Dear Dialog,

Recently it has come to my attention that many of my students are taking advantage of privileges in my classroom. Some of these students seem to believe that these privileges are now entitlements. 

Dictionary.com defines Privilege as " a right, immunity, or benefit enjoyed only by a person beyond the advantages of most". 

Dictionary.com also defines the word Entitle as " to give (a person or thing) a title, right, or claim to something".

Currently, it is a privilege in my classroom to use a cellphone for music and the occasional text or phone call with permission. Seeing as though many students now believe that they can answer calls from anyone in class without permission, communicate with others to "meet up" during class and overall, be rude and inconsiderate, I have implemented a cell phone ban during my 5th and 6th period classes. My 1st, 2nd and 3rd period classes are on the cusp of this happening to them too. The moment students enter my room, they are required to surrender their cell phone (turned off) and placed it into the cell phone box on my desk. They are able to text or make calls during our three minute passing periods if they have me for both class periods. Many students were not happy with this ban and I gave my principal a heads up that a few may come and complain about my new rules. 

A few students also seem to believe that they are entitled to leave my class at any point without notifying me to get food from a fellow teacher, go to the restroom, or just wander and take their leisurely time returning. Because of their actions, I have also instituted a hall pass. This is a first for me and I hope that I never have to use it again. When a student leaves, and I mean only one student at a time may leave, they are required to take the new hall pass with them and return back in a reasonable amount of time so that others, who are now waiting for them to return, may leave. This new hall pass is a very very very big jug with a National Guard lanyard attached to it so it is quite visible to anyone who sees them or walks by.

I am just waiting to see how quickly it will take for students to earn back their privilege to use their cell phones in class. Students may use an I-pod or Pandora on the computers to listen to music, but cell phones are now off limits until further notice.

Let the groaning commence!!!!!!!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

What I learned at my Conference..

Dear Dialog,

I was probably one of a few who signed up at my conference to receive 500-level graduate credit for attending the conference. Now just because I attended the conference, doesn't mean that I got the credit that easily...  

Just like I tell my students... "Having your butt in a seat does not earn you a grade, the work that you do, does."  

The same applies to me here. I have four assignments I have to complete by November 3rd with an 85% or better on all four assignments to receive a passing grade. This is only for one quarter credit too!

I completed and submitted my first assignment last night. My assignment was to state what each of my workshops were about and what I learned from each. 

The first workshop I attended was called "Empowering Students Through Action Research and Storytelling to Transform Classroom Culture" This particular workshop, I was not fond of. In this workshop, I felt, based on the description, that we were to learn about how to Action Research and Story Telling in our classrooms and how that would change the dynamics of a teacher oriented classroom to a student orientated classroom.  I felt like the presenter was not prepared and used this workshop to get feedback towards her Master’s thesis rather than how to use Action Research and Storytelling within the classroom.

The second workshop I attended was called "Contemporary Issues that Inspire Historical Fiction".
I found this workshop to be very informational. This workshop demonstrated how to turn characters in real life stories, whom you may not have any information about, and create a back story to them. In this particular session, we read the transcripts of an NPR session about tomato farmers in Florida. This story dealt with illegal immigrants and the hardships that they face on the fields.

The assignment for this workshop included first writing a short story about an experience you had with a tomato. The leaders of the workshop then played for us the transcript from the NPR session. After that, we discussed the audio clip and had the assignment to write a story about one of the characters involved in the clip. For my assignment, I wrote about a young girl named Esmeralda who was taken by a coyote and forced to become a domestic servant for a local family in Florida.

The third workshop I attended was called “Minds Matter: Case Studies in College Counseling for Low-Income and Underrepresented Students”. In this workshop, I learned about the Minds Matter Program and how it has been an asset to low income and underrepresented students in the Portland Area. In this class, I learned several different methods in how to help students identify what they want to study and where they might want to go in college. I was also given information regarding different schools who specifically gear programs towards first generation and low income students. Schools like that of Western Oregon University or Southern Oregon University.

Some of the questions I learned to ask are:
  • What are areas you might want to study?
  • Do you want to be in state or out of state for college?
  • What are your study habits like?
  • What are some strengths and areas that might need to be improved upon?
  • What is the cultural diversity you are comfortable with?
  • What is the educational background of your parents?
  • Are you willing to talk about family struggles in college essays?
    • Reveal single parent, homelessness, teen parents, talk about school struggles, jobs while working and going to school?
  • Should we look at no-loan schools?
While there are always going to be pros and cons about any conference and any workshops that you attend, there is always a learning experience. I feel that I learned a lot in this conference and I am glad that I went. I hope to attend this conference next year.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Conference day!

Dear Dialog,

Well today is conference day. I got here pretty early this morning. I slept in my 3-year old nephew's bed last night so I didn't get much sleep. I have chosen my three conferences and are excited to attend them. I am hoping to get some valuable information out of them.

That's it for now. I had my coffee, got my diet coke and ready to get the started!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Teaching Social Justice Conference

Dear Dialog,

This weekend I am attending a conference in Portland at Madison High School through the Rethinking Schools Program. http://nwtsj.org/

I will be attending three workshops where I will learn about Teaching Social Justice in my classroom. I have chosen a few workshops in each time period.

In my first workshop, I will be attending one of the following:
A. Empowering Students Through Action Research and Storytelling to Transform Classroom Culture
B. Unearthing the Voices Silenced by History

In my second workshop, I will be choosing one of the following:
A. Contemporary Issues that Inspire Historical Fiction
B. Financial Meltdown Tribunal
C. Weedflower: Teaching about Social Justice and Activism through a Novel Unit

In my third workshop, I will be going to this:
A. Minds Matter: Case Studies in College Counseling for Low-Income and Underrepresented Students

We get a lunch and for an extra $40.00, I get one Graduate Quarter Credit which is AWESOME!!!!!!!

I also get to see my wonderful nephews!!! So excited about that. My brother and sister-in law are being kind enough to let me stay at their place. I am packed, ready for classes to be out and ready to head up!!! I cant wait!!!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

A Thank You...

Dear Dialog,

Last night I received some amazing comments on my Facebook page from both students and colleagues concerning my post regarding the second Presidential debates...  Today, I would like to keep this post light hearted and share some warm words of admiration and inspiration from them. They are the reason why I do my job. Thank you to all who posted. Your words meant a lot.

"It is sooo sad, you are funding our future, building the bridge for the people that may one day be genius's, geologists, and for so little ability to enjoy what you earn for it..."

"If a person were to figure out how many hours teachers work during the school year, then spread it out over a year, I'm guessing, we average at least 40 hours a week over the entire year."

 "... Honestly... you guys deal with a lot more stress than any other job, I can say you guys put your heart out, and often times get stomped on, mistreated disrespected and defiled... one day someone other than a very select group will appreciate teacher for what they do..." 

"You guys are shown so little appreciation, and it makes me sad, to know that right now, I am spelling and using words I would have never known, or even heard of, that at one point a teacher taught me."

 "All of my knowledge except for the self taught. self explored came from a very select amount of teachers, we have a huge effect on how teachers feel about there job, and you have a very large amount of information that we all learned, people always say they hate school, that they think it's stupid... I honestly can't help but laugh at the because almost all they know came from school, if it wasn't for schools and caring teachers that extend their own knowledge and kindness, then the world would walk around being a bunch of prehistoric cavemen."

Thank you 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Presidential Debates... Round Two

Dear Dialog,

I am watching round two of the Presidential Debates tonight and I have to make this statement regarding comments made on Education..

-Half of the members in my cohort from my graduate program were unable to obtain teaching jobs because of the lack of job availability in Oregon. Oregon has a surplus of teachers and too few jobs due to budget cuts... 

-I know it is simple, but this year I have paid over $1,200 for supplies for my classroom out of my own pocket... While I am able to write these items off on my taxes, I will only receive around $150 of that $1200 back!!!

-Fund our schools properly. Pay teachers a livable salary to attract the most experienced and successful teachers to the field. I, with a Masters degree, make 50% of what I could make in a non-education job with a masters degree. I currently owe almost $50,000 in student loans in a job where after maybe teaching 10-15 years, will I make that. 

-For those who believe that I get summers off... well I do... But it is spent working a second or third job or attending college classes that I have to pay for in order to keep my teaching license.

-We as a nation for the last 80 years, have had an educational system that puts kids through the motions and then spits them out. Now, all of a sudden, we to make an absurd amount of changes required by NCLB or No Child Left Behind with our current funds and if we don't meet those changes or requirements, instead of helping us meet those, they take our funding away... This creates a horrible Catch 22 which is crippling the education system. Teachers are no longer teaching for the love their subjects. But instead, to the test to ensure that they have their jobs the following year. Their job is tied to their students standardized test scores... This is a huge mistake

-We have lawmakers, who have never spent any time in the classroom, dictating the way our schools are run. They tell us how to do our jobs. Telling us... Telling us to do everything wrong when we as teachers, know what we do is right. They do not have to manage 30-40 kids at a time. They do not have to attend IEP Meetings before school, during lunch or after school. They do not have to pay for supplies out of their own pocket. 

So here is my message to you... Until you lawmakers, spend one year in my classroom; teach the classes I teach; grade the assignments; create interactive lessons to keep students engaged; pay for supplies out of your own pocket; be paid a salary comparable to a high school graduate instead of a person who has a masters... 
Do not tell me what to do.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

A Preparation for the New Term

Dear Dialog,

There seems to be quite a few different opinions when it comes to the teachers versus the administration when determining the future of the school. A new requirement for graduating Seniors this year is that they have to pass both the OAKS Reading and Writing exams. These, to me, show that a student can pass a test, NOT that they know the material. I myself, could not pass one of these exams, but I know the material.

The reading exam is in a multiple choice format which is ridiculous... How can a student show proficiency in reading by taking a multiple choice exam??? This is absurd!!! Also, the writing exam... What do I have to say about the writing exam... Well you don't know how to spell, but you need to know your conventions, how to formulate an essay, word choice, make the voice of the writer evident and oh ya... Conventions again...

Currently, some people at school believe that those who pass the Oaks exams in both reading and writing, should be given upwards of 3 Credits of English! This would only mean that students need 1 Credit of English before they fulfilled their requirements. Our English department has decided that they should be given no more than 2 Credits but they have since been overruled even though they were asked to decide how much credit should be allotted in the first place!!!

This argument continues both in the departments of Math and Science... Social Studies is a department that you don't even want to get me started on...

Any who... Currently the staff at school are all working without a Prep period... This has caused chaos amongst students, hectic classes without proper direction and exhausted teachers! For many of us, our Prep period is our time to prepare for classes. To have meetings. To regain our train of thoughts. To get prepared!!! I have been talking with various teachers at school and have created a schedule that allows us to not only have a prep period, but also to keep our classes around 15-18 kids per class. We are also able to keep our Academic Focus classes. I am going to send this around to the staff once again and then when I have input from everyone, I am going to present it to our principal. I am really hoping that it goes well and that the administration adopts the schedule.

I am also starting to think about how I want to structure my Academic Focus classes next term. Next term, they will be all the same students, three class periods in a row without anyone moving from class to class. There will be consistency!!! A big goal of the school is to be a Proficiency school. Unfortunately, many of our students have yet to get the memo and our Proficiency model has turned into a lazy model. Most of our students need consistency. They need a regular schedule. They need accountability...

My next move this term is to determine what this consistency, regular schedule and accountability will look like.

Any who...Life is being life...

Chelsea

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

A 180 Degree Change

Dear Dialog,

Today has been a much better day than yesterday. It is almost like it was a 180 degree flip! Almost all of my government students attended class today. Our Education Specialist for the district came in today and observed our classes this morning. I haven't heard anything from her visit to my room, so I am taking no news as good news. The majority of my students have been working diligently on their assignments today. Many of them turned in work and increased their grades. It truly is surprising when they realize how much their grade increases when they turn in work.

The day went better over all, and much better than yesterday. Sometimes, I feel like the stress of it all is really going to wear on me and make me cynical, but I know that this is what I was meant to do and while these days will come, they will always go away as quick as they came.

Chelsea

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Today was a day (fill in the blank)

Dear Dialog,

Today was one of those days... One of those days that you dread as a teacher, as an educator, as a friend... 
-Today was a day of student problems. 
-Today was a day where some people cared more about being right because they had to be right, not what benefited the student and hurt others in the process.
-Today was the day where I broke up a fight. 
-Today was the day where I got told that my lessons were "fucking stupid".
-Today was the day where I was told to "fuck off".
-Today was the day where I had to remove myself from my classroom so that I did not yell at a student. 
-Today was the day where I questioned, again, why I am in education. 
-Today was the day where I wished we had more direction from the higher ups.
-Today was the day... 
-Today was the day that I know will happen again... 
-A day that there will be more of... 
-A day that will make me question why if students don't want to be at school, we force them. 
-A day that makes me just want a huge glass of wine. 
-A day that makes me want to just scream at the top of my lungs. 
-A day that makes me just want to quit.

Today was a bad day.

Monday, September 24, 2012

"Oh, Damn... It's Monday Again"

Dear Dialog,

Today was most definitely a Monday. This photo represents how I felt this morning...

And the day only got better...

My 1st period went well... My students were pretty quiet, but I think it was because they were not awake yet.

2nd and 3rd sped up quite a bit. Students were doing everything but their assignments...

Pathways (4th period) came along and they were pretty mellow. The energy was dying down because lunch was about 30 minutes away...

5th and 6th period resulted in a couple of students drawing a a picture of the male genitalia with hair and all,  and then tyring to keep it from my by sliding it into one of my textbooks. This resulted in me going the textbook, trying to find the picture of the penis and FAILED... I had to have another student find it because I could not.

7th period was PE and the girls were excited to go as always although most of my students are sick. It was ok though because we are starting ZUMBA and were learning the basic steps of ZUMBA today. Unfortunately, a certain someone at school failed to realize that I was teaching a class and continued to call me regarding problems with students that could have easily been dealt with over email or waited till after school was over.

8th period was Core Check out... the dread of my day and the dread of my students day as well... It is the last ten minutes of school but most of the kids just wait by the door and count the seconds till I release them.

Oh... How I loathe Mondays!!!


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Will I make it?

Dear Dialog,

Earlier this week, a student of mine told me that she didn't believe that I would make it as a teacher.... BOOM!!! I felt as though I was hit by a freight train. I have never had a student tell me that I would not make it as a teacher. For the rest of the day, I kept second guessing myself. I kept wondering what I was doing wrong to have her say that. I wondered if any of my other students thought the same.

But then... I had an amazing moment that solidified the reason why I was in education and why I am a teacher...

At school, we are doing Academic Labs and students are doing project based assignments in order to show proficiency in a subject area instead of taking a test or doing regular assignments. Two boys came up to my room, who had another teacher during that time, and asked if they could do a project on the Oregon Trail. They wanted to write a paper, do a diagram and present it to us. They wanted to do MORE than what was required because it was going to be fun and they could do something that they were interested in instead of doing tests or worksheets. They kept asking me for ideas, ways to work the project and materials that they needed. They are taking this project on and I am so excited to see the final project!!!!!!!

Ya!!!


Thursday, September 13, 2012

A week of struggles

Dear Dialog,

Warning... This post is a bit of a downer...  :(

This week has been a week of struggles. My Academic Focus class I wrote about earlier has been kicking my butt. When I was first told I was going to be teaching an academic focus class, I was under the impression that I was going to be doing it as a block class where students would be with me for two class periods instead of the typical one. This however, has not become the case. I have some students for one, two or even three class periods in an Academic Focus class.

When I planned for this class, there was going to be a focus on English and History, more specifically World History. Since this obviously has not happened, I have been going around in my head trying to figure out what the hell I am supposed to do!

At this point, I have come to the conclusion, that I am going to have to do packet work (something I am not a fan of but works well if you have to differentiate multiple lessons for many students). I guess that my kids this term will be doing a lot more independent work. Not that I don't mind the independent work at all, I just like working together and feeling like I am doing something in my classes instead of just answering a question or two. I like having those "ah-ha" moments and I don't get those with the packet work. Unfortunately, there is no way for me to create a single lesson plan for 50 students that I can differentiate for all... It just can't happen and that upsets me.

I guess the fact that it upsets me is a good thing.

Oh well, I guess that next term I will just have to be a little clearer when talking to my boss about what I am teaching and how I am teaching it. That way I don't make this mistake again. Lesson learned!!!

Monday, September 10, 2012

A successful first day of classes

Dear Dialog,

Unlike a traditional school who rushes students into classes hoping that their "track" and speed will work for the student, our school takes a week to get to know the student and help them chose their classes according to their skill levels. Today, was the first day of classes classes. This term I am teaching, Government, four Academic Focus Labs where I am focusing on English, World History and Math, in addition to a Girls PE Class which is a first for the school. This PE Class is not your traditional PE class either. I am teaching kickboxing, yoga, pilates, weight training, circuit training and Zumba! Holy crap on a cracker!!! The girls in the class are really excited as am I!!!


This is the first term where I am not teaching Economics. It has been my safety comfort as I know that class and know how I like to teach it, but I am looking forward to teaching these Academic Focus Labs which is something that I have not taught before.

My Academic Focus Lab classes are going to be a struggle for me as I am differentiating the material for each class as some students are in my class for one or two or even three class periods. Typically they are in either two or three classes in a row or have them as a block where they are combined, but mine are all over the place and I am trying to decide what is going to be the best way to do this. It will most certainly be trial and error but it will only make me a better teacher in the end.

On a non-blog note, my roommate from my freshman year of college has moved back to Eugene and we are having a glorious girls weekend this weekend. It also happens to be her birthday on the 13th so we are celebrating that at the same time!!! I am really looking forward to this as I have not seen her for two years!!!

Best and more to come soon!!!

Chelsea

Thursday, September 6, 2012

I Survived... The First TWO Days that is...

Dear Dialog,

I survived the first TWO days of the new school year! We do things a little differently here at school. During the first week, we get so many new kids with no transcripts that instead of automatically putting kids into classes and hoping they are right, we get to know them, their likes and dislikes, their strengths and weaknesses, test them in reading, writing and math... THEN make a schedule WITH them. It takes usually the whole first week, but we have fewer kids failing classes and going to them more often because they have a say in what they take.
 
Each teacher at my school has a class called Pathways. It is like a homeroom class. We act as counselor, college and career counselor, parent, friend. We call it Pathways, because we help them create a "pathway" to graduating high school and succeeding after. This year I have A LOT of seniors. Last year I had no seniors and this year, I have 12 out of 18!!! This is going to be one crazy year but one I am so very excited about.

Today we are finishing up our testing and getting to know each other, with games of kickball and softball at Sunshine Park which is not too far from us. We take all of our kids over, all ~170 of them, and let them have fun as one last hurrah before classes begin on Monday.

I am not as prepared for my classes as I thought I would be. I am teaching World History and Literature this year which is a class I have not taught before but I am very excited about it. I have a lot of fun activities planned and since I get two whole class periods with them instead of one, I am able to do more hands on projects. One big project that the kids know about but are not looking forward too is their Final project. This is a Book report that will take around 4 weeks to do. I will help them with it the whole way and since many of them will not be able to or willing to read at home, I have blocked two weeks out just for reading in class.

Well this is it for this morning anyways. I will write again later tonight!

Chelsea

Monday, September 3, 2012

On the Other Side of the Door

Dear Dialog,
I found this poem today. It is a good introduction to the new school year. 

On the Other Side of the Door

On the Other Side of the Door
I can be a different me,
As smart and as brave and as funny or strong
As a person could want to be.
There's nothing too hard for me to do,
There's no place I can't explore
Because everything can happen
On the other side of the door.

On the other side of the door
I don't have to go alone.
If you come, too, we can sail tall ships
And fly where the wind has flown.
And wherever we go, it is almost sure
We'll find what we're looking for
Because everything can happen
On the other side of the door.

-Jeff Moss

Monday, August 27, 2012

Meetings, Meetings, Meetings... How I hate thee!

Dear Dialog,

Today was the first day of meetings for our week of school in-service. Today was categorized by the following:

1. Welcome Back Breakfast
2. Introductions
3.  Group Bonding with Play-doh - Create your Career Tech Program
4. Schedule
5. Subject Articulation with the Local Community College
6. Lunch
7. Classroom Prep Time

Tomorrow, in addition to my regular meetings, I have a training for School Master that I will be attending. This is our data entry system for Attendance and Grades. This year we are using their Gradebook application which we have not done previously. I will be a member of the support team. This means that when any of my co-workers have a concern or trouble with School Master, I will be one of the members that they can go to for assistance. 

Besides having a hard time waking up and now keeping my eyes open, today was a good day. 

I did learn that I will be receiving two additional computers, for a total of five, in my room for student use in addition to an ceiling video projector.  I will also be receiving a type of program similar to a SmartBoard. This piece of equipment will allow me to use and create an interactive SmartBoard without the cost of one. I am quite excited to use this piece of equipment in my room. 

More tomorrow!!!