Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Be a Steward in the Community - Donate your Children's Books!

Dear Dialog,

Working in a charter school, one of our pillars is to be "stewards in the community". Being a steward in the community to us, means being a role model, upholding community values and being an asset to the community.

Tomorrow, each teacher at my school is going to present to the student population one activity they will be doing this term that helps our students be "stewards in the community". Some will include yearbook where your job is to create a living memory of the school year and the people who helped you get there. My activity is a little personal to me.

Over the years, I have seen a severe lack of books that many HeadStart classrooms and Children and Family shelters have. This has led to decide to have my activity be the following:

Students will write, illustrate and publish childrens novels which we will then donate to both HeadStart Programs and Children and Family Shelters across Douglas County. 

I am currently looking for a company that will publish these books and create hardbound copies of them for free. If you know of any, please let me know so that I can get in contact with them.

I hope that my kids are able to produce works like these that will influence kids forever.

Have a good night all!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Welcome to My Classroom

Dear Dialog,

Today I had the opportunity to take pictures of my classroom. It is still a work in progress. I plan on creating a "Graduation Tree" where my homeroom kids will paint their hand print on the tree and sign their name and year inside of it once it dries. This will happen towards the end of the year.

Now, I have three quotes on my walls. These are my themes in my room for the year. This years are:

"I can't teach you anything. I can only teach you to think."
When teaching Social Studies, more importantly History, I could care less about dates and facts. What I want kids to be able to learn is how to see what caused it. How to analyze a primary document. How to interpret what the original author meant over 100 or 200 years ago. I want them to be able to have a productive and meaningful discourse with multiple people and have the skills to do so. Teaching someone to think is a lot harder than teaching someone facts or dates and that is what I aspire to do.

"You will never get where you are going until you decide where you want to be."
This is a big one for my kids. Due to the economic down turn and the overall low socioeconomic status, the majority of my students tend to have a hard time deciding where and who they want to be after high school. This year I am really going to focus on helping them find something that they might want to do or study because without knowing or at least having a general idea of what they might like to do, they are less likely to get that college degree and obtain that higher salaried position that will provide for them and their future families.

"Education without desire, is no education at all."
I feel that in order to enjoy what you study, you have to like what you study. I am trying to make my lessons a lot more kid friendly. My focus has been on creating units that they specifically would want to learn about and projects they would actually want to complete, not just a regular assignment.

My room gets loads of wonderful natural sunlight, has five computers for student use, three whiteboards that get tons of use by me, 20+ mini whiteboards for my students to solve math problems and do mini pop quizzes in Econ, a NowBoard which is a much cheaper but just as good version of a SmartBoard and LOADS of storage space that works wonders!

Lastly, I leave you with some student art that hangs next to my desk. These are some of the extra special items I have collected over my now, soon to be three years of teaching in addition to my student teaching.

I hope you like my room just as much as I do!



Tuesday, September 3, 2013

First Day of School! The Excitement Begins!!!!

Dear Dialog,

Wow... What a day today was... If hectic/crazy/exhausting/overwhelming/absolutely amazing are not the words to describe how today went, I do not know what words will.

My classes were great. I have an amazing group of kids in the morning for my Academic Lab. We started their Diagnostic testing today in Reading and will work on their Writing and Math tomorrow. I will be then sitting down each each student and going over how they scored and what I can do in class to help them. This is very personalized and I think suits our kids better. I will also be creating an Education Plan and Profile which will help them see what classes they need to take, what skills they have left to learn and how close they are to meeting the requirements for graduation.

My 4th period US History class was a handful but good. My room is only set up to handle 20 students max, but because of a scheduling mishap, I had 27! It was crazy but fun. I have not had a class that large in 3 years! We are working out some of the bugs and kinks, and thankfully they will be fixed by Friday at the latest. We are also starting our Native American Unit tomorrow which I am very excited about. I have not taught this unit in two years, so it will both be a learning experience for me, but also a great opportunity!

And what can I say about my 6th period... I most definitely have some characters in there, one in particular that can either destroy my class or make my class wonderful. I am hoping to have a sit down with him tomorrow and see if I can make him a class leader so that he is able to keep the kids in line. He is the type of kid that likes to start a riot and then sit back and watch his work. If I can get him in the right direction, I feel that this is going to be my best Government class yet!

With all the craziness of the day, I did not get the chance to take photos of my room. I will post them tomorrow for your viewing.

And so, the glass of wine to my right that needs to be drank, the reading comprehension tests to my left that need to be graded then entered and the dogs who want to cuddle, I sign off for the day.