Saturday, October 16, 2010

Blogging before Thanksgiving: A Good Sign

Don't get me wrong, I hate my life right now.

Clarification: I hate work right now. And work is my life. Ergo, I hate life.

But I am optomistic that it will get better. And my kids DIDN'T bomb the 9 Weeks Test (from what I could tell from walking around and reading over their shoulders). So, yay?

*Sidebar vent: UGH! J. P. S. ?! The pacing guide does not have us covering division or function tables in the first 9 weeks... but of course, there were 4 division questions (all word problems), and at least one input/output table on the test. DUMB. At least my homeroom babies are geniuses. And we're not even going to discuss the children of the corn right now. And don't think I'm not aware that the fact that I think of them as the children of the corn totally influences our interactions in the classroom.*

So... life/work. I'm revamping management (management, what's that?) and setting up stations to better utilize my awkward and limited instructional time in the afternoons (1:15 - 1:55, and two of my students peace out at 1:30). My homeroom students will visit four stations (writing, social studies, conceptual math, and science) by the end of the week, with tiered math groups on Thursdays. On days that The Doc is in from 1:15 - 1:45, she'll work with my inclusion students and students who need to complete make-up work for reading and language, and I can pull students for remediation of daily objectives based on that day's data (FINALLY assigning Exec. Assistant jobs!) AND to update students on their academic performance. It's going to be chaos for the next couple weeks until we get used to it, but October sucks anyway.

Also, I'm assigning classroom jobs to every student. Like the aforementioned Executive Assistants, I'm going to have Facilities Managers, Materials Distributors/Collectors, Behavior Trackers, Team Leaders, Science Blog Editors, Bathroom/Hand Sanitizer Monitors, Carpet/Overhead-Time Assistants, etc. I've designed a set schedule for each day of the week (down to which days, and at what exact time, I'll use the overhead vs. carpettime for INM, which days we do centers, who's team leader on what days, and which days we'll ACTUALLY HAVE TIME FOR SCIENCE). And I'm getting a large, digital timer so when I say "At 8:25..." it actually means something because my students CAN'T READ ANALOG CLOCKS. I'm supplementing PBIS with a clearer list of classroom rules and procedures ("The Answers to Academic Success!"), and a stricter, clearer, consequence list that is coordinated with my team teacher. Who, by the way, is as AMAZING as everyone says.

I will have a Student of the Week from BOTH CLASSES, which was a huge oversight on my part because I developed the display before I knew we were departmentalized. My 3 students from each class who ACTUALLY FOLLOW our procedures the first time, everytime, are going to be rewarded by putting their names into a raffle for awesome prizes (Make Ms. Dorman Do Tricks & Math Man CDs, anyone?). AND I'm tutoring my two most difficult students (ironically, from my homeroom) every week, so maybe I can make some personal gains there. One of them was my second student of the week, and has completely fallen apart since. *Sad face.* Another student wrote me a note saying that she was acting bad because her mom is in jail and she's upset about it. Life is too much for my kids, too...

AND (taking-on-too-much-at-once, what's that?) I want to have once-a-month Saturday meetings with my Proficient-Advanced students to make sure they're getting the enrichment they deserve, which means on top of Pro-Sat, MAST5, and meeting with students from Mrs. W's and my homerooms, I have very few open Saturdays for the rest of my life. BUT it's awesome, 'cause I'll finally be working as hard as I expected of myself when I joined TFA.

And I will be compensating for that hard work on weekend nights... ;)

IN OTHER NEWS... our parent coordinator had one of the only white girls in the school dress up in a fancy dress for School Lunch Week (the theme was Personalities or something), called her Sarah Palin and had her shout to the cafeteria that, actually, "Alaska is CREATIVE! Alaska is CREATIVE!" :) Also...

ANNA BANANA IS COMING TO MISSISSIPPI!!! I have the best friends in the world.

And with that wild update, I'm going to return to drinking and watching HIMYM with my roomies on a Saturday night.