Sunday, May 27, 2012

I Can Count On Death, Taxes And...

  • unexpected visitors when I begin to prepare food (I love people, but this always happens when my hair hasn't been brushed, I'm in my pjs and have Randy Travis blaring from my laptop)
  • the nanosecond I get comfy in my bed, the house phone rings, necessitating a trip up (and because I'm particular I have to find the phone with the caller ID working so the call can be screened)
  • the briefest moment my attention is diverted from those sweet kids (who I seriously miss), they will come up to me.  The minute after the phone has stopped ringing, attendance has been taken, or the parent has left, they are totally autonomous.  Again.  I call that playing possum.
  • picking the absoulte worst line anywhere-groceries, Wal-Mart, Ticketmaster.  If there's a line, don't get behind me.  No Midas touch here.
  • Pinterest to completely disown me when I'm ready to waste lots of time devote a lot of time to research.  One day it kicked me off there so many times within fifteen minutes I gave it up cold turkey for a weekend.  Serves it right for being so sassy.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Why I Love My Job

Like most teachers, the students in my room have classroom jobs. 

One child, who for the sake of this post we'll just call Precious, was my helper this past week.  I adore him.  But he is one of those kids that really likes attention.

So the other day, he finished his work early.  The others are still working, but Precious is going to return graded work to classroom mailboxes. 

Our classroom was absolutely silent-the only thing you could hear were the sounds of pencils across paper.  Everyone was so intent on their task.

And I am basking in the 90 seconds of sheer peace.

And then all good things come to an end.

"MISS!" yells Precious.  "This paper doesn't have a name on it!!!!"  He's looking pretty smug because a) I have preached and preached on the importance of names and b) he's broken the peace and quiet of the room, called attention to himself, and now going to get to see who had forgotten such a crucial academic element. 

It's May.   I've had it with basic things.  If they don't address papers, I don't grade them.  I know where they name is-on the other side.

"Precious," I say calmly and sweetly, "flip the paper over."

"Oh," comes a sheepish response after doing so.  "It's mine."

Don't you love a happy ending?

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Kentucky Derby Learning Centers, Part 2

(If you haven't read part 1, click here.  Also, for some free Derby puzzles, go right here.)

Hello again. 

We're coming around the final turn. 

If you have lots of classroom help, then start with the four centers I mentioned in Part 1, but add these:

Games:  You will need an adult.  You have two options.  You can play bingo.  (I made my own cards years ago with Derby vocab, and called it HORSE instead.  I'll see if I can find the website where I made those cards and post it.)  Or you can try this game requiring nothing more than a deck of cards.

Computers:  At my school each teacher has their own folder on the school wide server.  I saved a couple of links in a Word document.  They can take a virtual field trip.  Or they can go look at all the hats.  And we've seen a massive interest in Secretariat since the movie.

Derby Read Alouds:

Perfect Timing by Patsi Trollinger-This book is my favorite because a) the story is beautifully written b) the illustrations will give you chills and c) I know the author and her family personally.  Use this book to discuss how the character overcomes adversity, as well as sequence, and compare and contrast horse racing from 1800s and today.

The Last Black King of the Kentucky Derby by Crystal Hubbard-The main character in this book looks up to the main character in Perfect Timing, so you can make a connection between those two books. You can also discuss the important role of African Americans in the Derby. 

Seabiscuit, the Wonder Horse by Meghan McCarthy-Yeah, I know Seabiscuit never raced in the Derby.  And he beat Man'o'War.  But there are great themes in this book about second chances and friendship.  You can also identify the key idea and details.

I also keep juvenile chapter books about the Derby and some photo books about the Derby in my room during the week.

Hope you and your class have a great time! If you do something that's not on here, please let me know...I'm always on the lookout for new ideas!