Wednesday, November 01, 2006

My Birthday! Whee!

Today I am twenty-seven! It feels like a regular day, except I'm wearing a pretty dress and lots of kids wished me a happy birthday.

My morning class, the smarter and quicker ones, got to have a party, since they do their work so well. I directed the passing out of plates and cups and napkins, and then brownies, chips, candy, soda. Y'all, that takes a long time. Phew. It's annoying. Anyway, when everyone had a snackysnack in front of them, we settled in for some BrainQuest. It was fun, because many kids knew a lot of answers. I explained more about the chemistry questions, and about Roman numerals, and we took a few minutes to identify each state and label with its postal abbreviation. The kids had to correct or remind me on a couple, like Vermont/New Hampshire, and where Missouri is. Heh. All those middle ones are kind of a blur for me, but I know them better since I drove through there.

The other two classes did NOT have a party. Buggers.

The middle class had a quiz first, on all the things that we've already done. Because recently they've been slacking and not paying attention to things, and they must push themselves to succeed now, if they want anything later in life.

After the quiz, I finally did the mix and match four square activity. It was actually pretty cool. A long time ago, while trying to plan this, I wrote out all the pieces to a four square, about a vacation to Spain. Today I wrote each piece on an erasable sentence strip (go buy them if you haven't!) and put them randomly up on the inside bulletin board. Their job was to look and figure out where each piece goes in a four square, by figuring out relationships among and between the statements. They were to work in groups and try to build the correct four square out of these elements.

I think these are all of the pieces. See if you can figure it out!
--Mediterranean beaches!
--Guggenheim Bilbao Museum
--Birthplace of flamenco dancing
--My next trip will be to Spain.
--Taking a siesta every day
--There are many fascinating sights to see.
--My vacation to Spain will be fun, educational, and relaxing.
--Anton Gaudi's architecture
--Running of the bulls
--The country has some interesting history.
--I will be relaxed.
--Pre-Spaniard region of Basque
--Lots of eating out

It was actually a lot of fun to watch and listen to the students. They immediately got to work, and I heard tons of accountable talk and productive discussions. They pointed and checked and debated and it was awesome. I quite enjoyed it.

After awhile, after noticing that almost everyone had the wrong thesis--they knew to look for that first!!!--I told them to keep looking. What most of them had done was see the conclusion, which restates the thesis AND the ideas. Soon most of the class noticed the error and had begun filling in ideas and even some details. (Apparently they didn't remember that the details are not written in full sentences, while ideas are; that would have made it very easy, had they been paying closer attention to every time I drilled this!)

A couple minutes later, I asked someone to find the thesis, and they took the sentence strip off the bulletin board and put it on the chalkboard. (Whenever I can, I try to do large group activities that allows a couple students to physically move something--multiple intelligences!)

They kept working, a few minutes later I had someone find one of the idea sentences, then another, etc. Then still later they matched all the detail blurbs to the appropriate idea. Fun! The kids seemed to really like it.

It was easy for me; I just kept circling the room, supervising and checking facts. I really hope it helped the kids understand how and why we can use four squares. I think I'm going to do that activity with my other two classes tomorrow. The smart class should be able to do it faster, I think.

In my afternoon class, only half the students turned in their final essay. We've been working on a compare/contrast essay, about two Greek myths. Since the class as a whole didn't do their jobs, the class as a whole did not get to celebrate. So they read the whole period and continued identifying adjectives as they did so, although almost none of them did that second part until they saw me coming around to check. Grr.

After school was supposed to be fun, but the students were all, durr, and not paying attention or really working. So I set them up to work with the (sixth-grade level) grammar books. We started with adjectives, and about half the students had a really hard time. Eventually they caught on when I kept helping them find a noun first, and then see if it's being described. Everyone worked independently at their own pace, first with adjectives, then proper adjectives, adverbs, and then a couple kids made it to trying to diagram with adjectives and adverbs. I introduced diagramming last Friday, and they pretty much got it. Sort of. So the two that got that far were definitely challenged, and they totally loved it--doing something more difficult at their own pace. Good job.


So anyway, blah, enough teacher stuff, it's my birthday today! Whee! I got a few phone calls from friends and family, and gifts from students. I have been told that more things are on the way via post. I'm cool with extending the celebration of me! ;)

Boyfriend is on his way here to go out for dinner and drinks. Yay for the best boyfriend in the world to celebrate with me today!

Several excellent, nonpersonal things also happened:

--Copy machine has been programmed. I got my code yesterday, I tried it out today, and it works! So pretty and new. I tried the top feeder and it jammed, but I totally fixed it easily. I'm good at that kind of problem solving, though it's tougher the more knobs and levers you have to push and turn and pull. I got good at that while being a copy drone at the mortgage office a few years back. The point? Finally I can make copies!!!

--I think my raise has come through! I forgot to pick up my check this afternoon, but the online account shows an increased deposit that's far too high for even coverages. WaHOO! for more money. How long will it take for backpay to come through?

--Official ATS-W score printout arrived in the mail. I am now official and ready to be certified! I just checked TEACH online, and my certificate has been issued! It's not effective until February, but I guess that doesn't matter.

Dinner time! Ooh, and drinks time!


ejpsjjjf said...

Happy B-day!!!!

Schoolgal said...

Sorry, I wrote those crazy letters where my name should be.

TinyNose said...

Happiest of birthdays to you, my dear! You deserve it!

NYC Educator said...

Happy birthday.

Hopefully, with that raise, you'll be able to go to the movies again. I just took my kid to one last week, and they're doing great things with IMAX 3D.

Of course, if you want to see movies that don't prominently feature talking penguins, you may need to look elsewhere.

tbf said...

Happy B-Day. I found your blog on Teacher Magazine. You clearly put lots of effort into it.


Todd Finley

Lady S said...

Vermont and New Hampshire are not as interchangeable as people think.

Vermont is the right side up one. NH is upside down (in, oh, so many ways).

Fred said...

Happy Birthday! You have the same birthday as The Missus; we were out last night whooping it up.

Kelly said...

happy, happy birthday! dinner & drinks sounds nice... enjoy!

Chaseblogger said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chaseblogger said...

Hey, you're 27? Weird, I just turned 27 too.

I know what it's like to move a distance away to get away from family, but Queens, NY!? In a strange turn of events, I know work 5 minutes away from where Kelliegh lives.

boyfriend said...

Don't forget to change your profile from "almost 27" to 27! :)

the reflective teacher said...