Monday, March 07, 2005

Dude, it's Monday.

I hated waking up this morning, because I remembered that I would not get to sleep in for another five days. On Thursday and Friday mornings, when the alarm goes, I comfort myself by thinking about the upcoming weekend. But Mondays suck that way.

I had a coverage first period, which is highly unusual. I normally get coverages Wednesdays or Thursdays fourth period. This one was nice because it was a sixth-grade class, and they are far less rude than seventh and especially eighth graders.

Coming in, I immediately gave them a choice: do some four-square writing or play a game. I wonder which one they all picked? Heh, I love smart manipulation like that. Get them on your side right away! Anyway, we played BrainQuest, of course. They were rather quiet, a little more tentative with their guesses at first. That game is rife with 'teachable moments.' For instance, today I asked a question about the length of a marathon. So then of course my follow-up was, does anyone know why it's 26 miles? They just did a unit on Ancient Greece in Social Studies, but they had not heard of Marathon. I only very briefly explained it, and they didn't roll their eyes at me. That kind of thing is when I get a kick out of being a teacher, little tiny things that I can tell/teach/show kids.

Let's see. The day was not very exciting. We had to finish the assessment during reading period, and then for writing, I put a short savannah-animal dialogue on the board for them to 'translate' into correct dialogue format. I walked around, checking work. Most of it was pretty good, but I had to remind a few people about little things that I thought we'd already ironed out a couple weeks ago. Short memories, much? But anyway. I called volunteers up to fix them, and then got feedback from the rest of the class. It was pretty informative, and it seemed to give them a sense of success.

The rest of the period was spent rewriting their argument dialogue homework redoes. This one was the third version of it; it was first assigned two weeks before break or something, then I gave it back to them last Thursday to redo, and then today I gave them back their redos to fix. Then they go on the bulletin board.

In Class A, I had three kids who are fairly lower-level turn in excellent dialogues (in form, I mean)! I am so thrilled. I gave them high-fives and told them how proud I was of them. A bunch of kids finished and got them in and they all look great.

In Class B, we did not have as much time, so I didn't get as much of an opportunity to address needs of the lower-level kids. Also, none of them finished their redo work. I told them to finish up tonight and get them in tomorrow so I can put them up.

Class C also had to finish their assessment, which took all of reading period, since the special-ed kids get extra time if they need it. The rest of the class read their author study book and answered the chapter questions. Well really, they chatted and pretended to look at the book, but ostensibly, they were answering the questions.

Oh, I taught them the word 'kleptomaniac.' That jackass R was at it again today. Not even pretending to do any work, naturally. He wasn't as loud as he sometimes is, but he never shut his mouth, which obviously distracted the people around him. He of course verbally, well, harrassed, me like he does, calling me names or talking about getting me fired, and other stupid, juvenile shit. At one point, he was out of his seat with my bucket of pencils in hand. I sharply asked him from the next table what he was doing and told him to put it back. Then I made an announcement to the class like the sardonic bitch I am, about how "some people are kleptomaniacs, and they can't keep themselves from stealing." Surely not very appropriate, but sometimes I can't help myself.

When I'm not in a classroom, I swear that I'm a pretty nice person. But these kids are by far old enough to know how to conduct themselves in school and how to talk to a teacher.

Class C is having a harder time grasping the dialogue stuff, as a whole. I don't know if that's because it's inclusion, or if this group of kids just isn't getting what I'm saying. I tried to talk about those nesting Russian dolls as a metaphor for the way that spoken words act as a sentence inside another sentence, like:
"The zebra is asleep," he said.
She said, "The lion is getting ready to pounce."

A few kids are confused about where periods stay periods or change into commas, and why speaker tags get capitalized before but not after spoken words. And I was not very good at explaining why, so eventually I just said, "You know what? It's just a rule you'll have to try and remember." Which is a pretty crappy answer, but really, grammar doesn't necessarily have an easily-known 'answer.' It just is what it is. And I love the fact that I can cram it down their throats. Because I may not be able to teach them to spell, but look at me teach them how to use quotation marks and speaker tags, with correct punctuation! And it's WORKING! They're getting it! This is something that I'm pretty sure many adults do not know, so I feel like I'm actually making a difference in tomorrow's citizens, albeit a tiny and probably meaningless one.
I'll take what I can get.

Let's see. We had a very short department meeting after school, and then we were sort of quarantined; ie told we had to stay in the building until four. This is kind of weird and a little Big Brother, but I honestly don't mind. I had a crapload of work to do anyway, like finishing my bulletin board and making copies of the conduct sheets (I'm up to THIRTY--that's more than one-third of my students that require a little more watching or whatever, because of some kind of behavior and/or academic issues).

I also made some awesome charts about all the words we've been talking about. Let's see. One has a list of character traits. One has the words we brainstormed for using instead of "said," "asked," and "laughed." One has a list of action words to use instead of "walked" or "went."

We'll use those last two in conjunction with the fourth one I made, which I called a Character/Action MADLIBS. I wrote a little vignette about Sally waking up in the morning, leaving out verbs and adverbs. That way they can practice using interesting language to develop whatever characteristic they'd like to give Sally. For classwork, they'll continue going with Sally's morning. Then, the homework will be writing about their own main character 'doing dinner.'

So yeah, that will be tomorrow.

Now I'm home, not working, but not really caring, either. There is SO MUCH HOMEWORK to be graded...but again, just don't care that much. I'm totally screwing myself by being such a lazy sack of shit, but dude, I'm tired and I don't want to think anymore. Now that I think about it, it's not even thinking, it's just tedium that's the issue.


Benjamin Rowlandson said...

I love reading your posts. I'm going through a Masters of Education program in Minneapolis adn will hopefully be teaching in the next year or so. Its nice to read about your triumphs and frustrations. Anyways, keep up the interesting posts.

Lillee said...

Oh my. I just made up my mind. I don't want to be a teacher. I teach preschool and that is enough for me. At least I can look at them scary and they will leave me alone!