Tuesday, September 28, 2010

It's been a while- Slice of Life

It's been a while since I've posted a slice of life. My schedule this year is crazy busy and I've been swamped and exhausted. One of my 8th graders today summed up nicely what I would love to be able to do.

Our first Scholastic Book Club order of the year came in yesterday after school. Only three kids had ordered, but I had ordered some for the classroom and got several free books to boot. I excitedly shared with them the new treasures and then stepped back and said, take what you want. They descended like ravenous wolves. Usually I say "who want's this," and hand them out- got to remember to do that next time. Luckily no lives were lost!

We then got talking about Rick Riordin's new books and before we knew it, it was time to head to chapel. H sighed and said, "Can we just talk about books all day?"

Oh, H. If only. I, too, would be happy.

At the end of the day H snagged the three Margaret Peterson-Haddox Missing Books off the shelf and stuffed them into her backpack with three other books from my library. "Six books!" I said, "Are you going to get any homework done tonight?"

"I got all my homework done. I can't wait to read!"

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Banned Book Week

Head on over to the ALA website to learn more about Banned Book Week.

There have been lots of discussions on various blogs about recent challenges to Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson and Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler, as well as other books. It's so cool to see people speaking up for the freedom to read and think for ourselves.

I went to the library today and picked up Twenty Boy Summer, Fahrenheit 451, and 1984. I've been reading Finnikin of the Rock and really enjoying it, but plan to take a break and read Fahrenheit 451 and Twenty Boy Summer. I'm not sure if I'll get to 1984 this time.

In Honor of Banned Books Week

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Heart Mapping

This year one of the first activities I did with my 7th and 8th graders was Heart Mapping. It's a great activity and it is so much fun to see how the kids interpret the assignment! I guided them in the brainstorming and framed the assignment, but asked them to make it "them". Here are some of the results:

Talk Like a Pirate Day

Talk Like a Pirate Day is Sunday. My students were not excited about talking like a pirate at church, so they decided that the day needed to be extended to Monday. I think several of them are planning to dress like pirates. Maybe I should go to the dollar store this weekend and see what kind of pirate gear I can find. In honor of Talk Like a Pirate Day they turned me into a pirate- well, not me, but my alter ego that I draw on the board:

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Life is like a box of chocolates

I haven't spent much time blogging lately. School started last week and I've been very busy with that. I'm trying very hard to keep a healthy balance between time spent on work after hours and time spent on personal things, especially time with my hubby. It's a struggle as I've been letting a lot of things go that I know I need to get caught up on. Last weekend was a long weekend and we went away to visit friends that we haven't seen in a while. We had a wonderful visit, but were gone from Friday after work to Monday afternoon. (I also have to admit to trying to finish reading Mockingjay; that will be another post when I get the chance.)

We've been having all sorts of "road blocks" it seems: financial issues at school, short staffed so we all have killer schedules, construction on the street the school is on with the detour going around the school, computer issues... Everything still feels very unsettled, as if things are barely held together.

My classes are going well for the most part. I enjoy the kids and we're trying to establish and settle into routine. The 7th graders are really slow and we are far behind. We're not able to get through everything that we need to in a class period. It takes them twice as long to get to class and settle and do things. I know that eventually they will get it together and we'll get into the flow of things, but right now it is agonizing to see how far behind we are getting.

Last night we had a LONG staff meeting because we were receiving Peacebuilders training. It's this cool new thing we are implementing. I didn't have time to grade the projects that came in or meet with my team. I had been given a message by my team mate that there had been an incident the day before between two kids who have a history and I realized that I had these particular students too close in the seating chart- I needed to put them on opposite sides of the room. Which meant really what I needed was a completely different desk arrangement because the one I had just wasn't working. I planned to do that this morning.

You know how when you plan to do something and things just don't work out that way? Today started out with us running late. As we were driving down the driveway John noticed the "check gauges" light was on. So he backed up the driveway to check his oil level. I could not be later than we were already running so I got into my car and headed out. Leaving my poor husband looking sad because we weren't commuting together. I felt bad all morning. I was going to writing him a little love note to leave on his desk as soon as I had a chance but was busy in classes all morning. Toward the end of my 7th grade LA class my principal came to the door and asked to speak with me. I instructed my students to keep working on the grammar exercise we had been working on and stepped out into the hallway.

When ever people start with, "John's alright, but..." I know an ER trip is in my future. That has happened before. Turns out John had gotten stung by some bees and had to use his epi pen. Which meant a trip to the hospital. I went down to see him before the ambulance arrived and he was doing okay. I felt guilty not going with him, but that was the decision we made- it's not like there was anyone who could cover my classes anyway. I called during my lunch break and he was doing fine. He called me back when he was being released, which happened to be just as school was letting out, so as soon as all the kids were gone I hopped into the car and headed to Worcester to pick him up.

It certainly wasn't how either of us had hoped or planned to spend our day and this left a lot of things undone for both of us. But I am so grateful that he is okay. He's snuggled in to bed now and dropping off to sleep with the help of a dose of Benedryll. Tomorrow is Friday and we have a weekend at home. I'm looking forward to getting caught up on things and just being home.