Monday, October 08, 2007

Remembering the good days

Since I've been bad at the blogging and my memory ain't so good.

Thursday was one of my best days so far, I think. It was a really long day, but there were many good things.

I had to give our first assessment, so I gave my little spiel about the scantron and reading questions first, and then, since I had classical music playing already, asked, "Okay, now do you want to keep the soft music or have silence?" And the whole class chorused, "Soft music!"

I was astounded and said, "Wow, cool! That was the right answer, good job!" Heh. For the first few weeks, I didn't play any music and so when the kids would get to work quietly, I always got a bit antsy at the silence. So a couple weeks ago, I just let the music keep playing when the kids came into the room. They've never really said much about it; I wasn't sure how much they noticed or minded, but now I know they appreciate it!

That is one of my quiet goals of teaching, silly as it may seem: to expand the students' musical horizons. I want to say there's no way they listen to classical music on their own time, though obviously I can't be sure. But it's not just classical I play for them; also there is sometimes Celtic/Irish music, folk rock, oldies, or international stuff.

When it was time for my last class of the day, I asked the same question about music or silence. And again, they all wanted music. Well, except for two, who looked skeptical. I told them it was quiet classical music, not loud rock music. One student piped up, "Can you? Play loud rock music?" "Absolutely not," I replied. "This has no lyrics to distract you." Another kid asked, "Can you play the stuff that was on earlier?" I said, "That was French jazz, you liked that?" He nodded vigorously. "Maybe later," I said.

And after they were done with the test stuff, I did put on the French jazz, and told that kid, "Here's your French jazz." He started bopping happily.

The middle class (gah! I must think of names, like X!) didn't do their test that day, since lunch interrupted their time. So instead we began our novel study of Htchet. That is my smallest class and I don't have a full class set of books, so a couple people had to share, but it wasn't a big deal like it was with the bigger classes.

Anyway, so we began by previewing the cover: I told them to write down what they saw and noticed on the front of the book only, and then write their predictions. (One kid was examining the entire book with interest, and asked, "Can I start reading now??" I was like, "we'll get there in a second, hang on!" But how cool!) We shared as a class and then they quickly read the back blurb, which pretty much gives away the story. Don't you hate that?

Then we got into the good stuff. I did a guided, think aloud reading of the first chapter. I read it aloud, they read along, and we stopped to take notes on what was happening, what seemed important, and what we were figuring out about the character and his situation and how he feels. It was so good, they were totally into it and adding on to what I was saying. I was impressed and so happy with them.

When the bell for lunch rang, the class groaned! They didn't want to stop reading. As the class filed out, one girl told me, "Miss, I really like the book we're reading!"

They are the cutest class, and the smallest, and I have been enjoying them a lot. What's even better is that most of the time, I see that they're enjoying class too; they're right along with me.

After school was a movie thing for kids who did well the first month of school. It was kind of loud and crazy a bit, but it went off fairly well.

When I got home, a bunch of prints I'd ordered had arrived, including a ton of new 8x10s of pretty shots from this summer. I love seeing photos printed out!

Then I left again, to go see Brandi Carlile live for the second time this year (Boyfriend and I saw her play here in April, right after her second album came out and way before she was on tv). I had planned on not staying for the whole show, as it was a school night and all, but she was just so good! And I love all her songs, which have so much more energy live, and so I stayed until the end. Meaning I didn't get to bed until 12.30, but it was worth it.

On Friday, I was definitely dragging, but it wasn't too terrible. Instead of working on grading papers and figuring out next week, I had to do the bulletin board, which I wasn't really prepared for. Turns out that I had a great project to put up (book recommendation letters), but they weren't graded. So during lunch, I had to take the existing papers down and hastily put up a title (Read this book!) and objective/standard, and during my other prep, grade the letters. I put them up after school, which went quickly.

It's a three day weekend! It's Monday and I'm not at school! Whee! Woo!

No comments: