Friday, September 30, 2005

Friday--thank god


Remember how I slept ten hours on Wednesday night? Well, I was all prepared to continue to stay rested, so I went to bed on Thursday night at 10.15. What happened? Nothing.

No sleep. At all.

I'd felt awful all day long, and it got worse in the evening. The pressure, oh the pressure. Half my head felt like it was gonna implode, and I could hardly move a limb without nausea. Ugh. Today my mom validated me by saying, That was a migraine! That explains why neither the Sudafed nor Airborne had any effect whatsoever.

It was a waking nightmare, though, to be wide awake all.night.long. At about three-thirty, I pondered just getting up and having a leisurely morning at home and at the copier at school. (nerd!)

In about five minutes around 4.30, the pressure lifted, and the rest of my body was like, ahhh. I got to rest physically, if not sleep.

Somehow I made it through the day. I told my classes that I wasn't feeling well and couldn't raise my voice. Sure enough, they were very awesome, as always. I kind of love my kids for that--they're so damn well-behaved! I think I trained them well and set the tone right, because the math teacher is always telling me they're all squirrelly in her class, since they can't talk in my class. Sweet! Not for her, obviously, but dang--what I did worked!

We did a quick "mini-lesson" on sequencing. Mini-lessons, I'm coming to realize, are really just going over the artifact you've prepared. And I had three posters and two overheads today (for the two altogether). Phew. The kids read the first two pages of All Summer in a Day (thanks, Nancy!!), and I led them in finding the correct beginning sequence of events. None of the students did it on their own. I'm curious if older kids would pick that out easier and how quickly. I asked them a pretend test question out loud:

Which of these least describes the environment of Venus:

lush, barren, rainy, mountainous.

One student in each class raised their hand to answer "rainy" which was great, so I could remind them that the test will try to trick them! They must outsmart the testwriters!

In writing workshop, we quickly discussed setting, and then put that together with descriptive writing. I read them excerpts from a Goosebumps haunted house story, and the description of Mr Twit's disgusting beard. We call that kind of writing SNOT--Show and NOt Tell. I gave them seven "robot" sentences--It was hot. She was happy. etc and they were to come up with ways of showing that sentiment or setting with creative and sensory details. And ooh, there were some great ones! For one about "the house was scary" this girl wrote about how the house even avoided itself. For the "hot day" another girl wrote a whole paragraph with details about sweat, and frizzy hair, and smelling like garbage and cutting the humidity with a butter knife. All kinds of good stuff.

The past two days, I've had students stay at lunch with me to work on the library. It works well because I have a double period with that class around lunch--the periods before and after. So they're not late for anything. And boy, how it does help to have eight pairs of hands working on something, even if they're distracted, eleven-year-old hands. We've got almost all the nonfiction leveled (so phew--my AP no longer has anything on me, in case she was ever to check!), and all the books are fairly well sorted into genre and subgenre. Awesome.

Mr CuteTeacher invited me out with his friends tonight with an extra ticket, and--STUPIDLY!!--I declined on account of this alleged sickness. I've been kicking myself since. Stupid, stupid!! I figured I would get home and crash, since I've been so out of whack. But no, look at me, awake at 11pm after getting zero sleep. Stupid, stupid!

I am going to a meeting on Monday--field trip!--to be the school coordinator for one of the city promotions. And today I was asked to head up/coordinate donation drives for the hurricane relief effort. Wow. I'm excited to be becoming a more important part of the school community. I'm worried about my follow-through; I don't have the best track record with that. But I feel honored to be noticed for extra responsibility, and I hope I can handle it, along with teaching and coursework (thank god that's such a joke), as well as the grade field trip that I have so many ideas about. Whew.

It's Friday! Hurrah!

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Sooner than I thought:

I am officially getting sick. Boo.

Last night I went to class, and thought I might pass out from bodily fatigue, so I skipped my second class and went home. I went to bed eight-fifteen, and stayed there all the way til my alarm at 6.40am. Wow. I felt quite awake this morning, which was something new for me.

However, as the day wore on, my head began to ache dully and my tummy to feel weird. And just generally feeling-shitty-ness.

Okay, done whining. For now.

Yesterday one of my Class 1 girls came up to me between classes and said she'd told her mom about me, and her mom wanted her to tell me that she (the mom) really liked my standards. I asked what she meant and what she'd told her mom about me, and she said, "that you make sure no one's talking, and they do the work, and you explain things really clearly, and you teach really well."

Aw, you guys! This was so awesome to hear. It definitely made my month. I was touched that my student told me that she told her mom about me. You know?

Yesterday in class we started plot. I did a neat activity to start class. It was a story-building exercise, and they had to pass the paper to the student on their right:

1. Write two sentences about a character. ANY character.
2. Write two sentences about a setting, ANY setting.
3. Write two sentences about a goal the character has.
4. Write two sentences about the obstacles between the character and their goal.
5. Write two sentences about someone or something that helps the character overcome the obstacle.
6. Write two sentences about how the character finally reaches the goal.
7. Write two sentences about what the character learned during his/her journey.
8. Write one sentence to end the story.

I talked briefly about how all stories need characters with a goal, and some kind of obstacle. "Let's say we're writing a story about a 17-year-old boy named Billy Bob. Billy Bob really wants play in the state football game. But maybe he breaks his leg and can't walk. Or maybe his girlfriend threatens to break up with him if he keeps playing. Or maybe he gets kidnapped by aliens before the game. Or maybe he gets to the game, only to discover the football is not a football, but a bomb."

I showed them the graph of the elements of plot, and gave definitions for each: exposition, conflict/rising action, climax, falling action, resolution.

Today, pairs of students completed the worksheet I made last year matching parts of Aladdin and Lion King with elements of plot. If they had time they could take another story (some did Harry Potter, Spiderman, Matilda, etc) and identify each element. I saw lots of great cooperation and smart work. Hurrah!

Oh, I found a great site that I hope to use for daily grammar/punctuation warmups: My plan is to print out about sixteen copies, then put them in sheet protectors, and give each pair of students a dry erase marker. Quick and painless way to practice mechanics and editing, which is part of the new test.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

A pictorial representation of some of my character traits

I am not a sumo wrestler.

The Bitch is Back!

Today was my first cranky day of this school year. Whee, I'm back!

Mostly, I was cranky because I was so damned tired. And sneezy. And throat-tickly.

Then, in common planning, I was trying to print something out and the stupid thing would not print, from TWO different computers (in the resource room, not in my own classroom. My "computers" are "paperweights."). It irritated me.

Common planning always irritates the shit out of me. First of all, there is ZERO planning that ever gets to happen. What does happen is someone giving us a list of things to do or not to do or some such crap. And two of my colleagues bug me to no end. The more annoying of the two was mercifully not at this meeting. She is loud, brash, a bad speller, and thinks she's still teaching in an elementary school. Um, hello, no. Middle school means no more babying of the children. They need to learn that the real world does not involve writing spelling words and storytime on the carpet.

The other one bothers me because she is very unprofessional. Even lazy, in my opinion. She came to the school last year as a sub, and ended up having to take over an ELA position, when she's in school for a different subject altogether. And she was very vocal about "hating" ELA and "hating" everything else. I never saw her actually work, or try to find some kind of success. My unofficial mentor/friend said once that she was the one doing all the work, and this lazy woman just copied the lessons and did no planning at all.

Plus, she wears jeans and sits around on her preps going online and talking on her cell phone. Like, if you hate this job and "can't" do it, wouldn't it make sense to use that time to find out how to make things better/easier?

This year she's in our department, and last week she got transferred to our grade. And she just sits there in meetings, face slack yet somehow lazy and defensive, as if to say, "I didn't want this stupid job, so why should I have to actually work at it?" And ooh, it bugs me.

I don't like singling out people in a blog entry like this, because it feels spiteful and ucky, but these kinds of colleagues make my job a lot less fun. I have a hard time covering my emotions; I usually end up with a big ol' sneer around people like this, because I just can't take them. Why be difficult like that? Quit the fucking job if you hate it so much.

And yes, I know that this is the ultimate irony: me, the ever-whiner, whining about someone else constantly whining. But really, it's stupid. I don't poison the environment of the department. And if I irritate my colleagues, they hide it really well.

When I told her that I still wasn't sure what I was teaching this morning, my friend N hands me a lesson printout, and says, "Oh here's one I found online." I looked at it and swatted her. "*I* sent this to you yesterday, dummy!" We laughed. It was funny, not irritating or stupid.

Okay, let's see. I have more, lots more.

Like I said, I was tired and cranky before I even saw one of my classes. I took the opportunity to be especially bitchy to them. But listen, it wasn't just spitefulness or cruelty.

Last week, an email from the Fellows reminded us about the stages of group dynamics: forming, storming, norming, and performing. And that right about now is when the forming/honeymoon stage ends and the kids start acting real again and testing boundaries. Which got me all scared that my good year has been a honeymoon fluke and they'll turn into monsters. Thus, since I felt shitty anyway, I figured that would be a good motivation (remember that teaching is acting?) for my bitch act, to remind the students who's boss: Me.

For reading workshop, I read them the story Eleven by Sandra Cisneros. It's amazing, because it's so short, but very emotional. I read the whole thing aloud twice today and got chills both times.

While I read, they were to simultaneously (I introduced them to that vocabulary word. Go me with my teachable-moment self!) take notes in a t-chart. One side was "Actions/Statements" and the other was "Trait they reveal". For example, when the teacher says, "Of course it's your [ugly red sweater]" and ignores Rachel's feeble protests, that shows the teacher's stubbornness or inconsiderate, while Rachel's inability to stand up for herself demonstrates shyness.

I spontaneously brought the test into it, and gesturing to our colorful chart of character traits, I asked the class, "Which of these traits is LEAST like the teacher?" then "LEAST like the main character?" Good answers for both.

It was a successful lesson. One class got to read their independent books and do the same thing. The other class will just have extra reading time next time we meet for two periods.

For writing workshop, I did another thing with character traits. It was a web with traits, characters, and reciprocal feelings (yes, I used that term. Lexicon expansion underway!). I did a sample with Snow White, then showed them the format for a Bio Poem. In groups, they chose their own character, made a web, and began to write a Bio Poem.

It also was a successful lesson. The kids really get into discussions of well-known characters and stories, because everyone knows it and is comfortable with it. I guess that's one good thing about Disneyfied fairy tales.

So tired. So not caring about grading or looking over plans or finishing the homework for class tomorrow night. Blah.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Y'all, I am losing my mind.

This morning, I sat down at my desk and rummaged through my purse for a good three, increasingly-frantic minutes, looking for my teacher keys. I took everything out, then put it all back again, and nada. I plunked it down in frustration and heard a jangle. I lokoed down, and the keys were already around my neck.

Seriously. Losing it.

I am also tired and have a distinct throat tickle. Bad news.

Question: why does everyone in television and movies still have fucking answering machines? Do those even exist anymore? Welcome to 1999 already, sheesh.

In other news: Monday nights on Fox are turning out to be hottie central: Jason Bateman, Bradley Cooper, and Wentworth Miller. Mefuckingow.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Letting my hair down: Literal vs Figurative

I love letting my hair down at the end of a long day at school. Sadly, that is not a figurative statement referring to my active social life.

Every day I put my hair up in a bun. I do it on purpose to help my image as a professional. I don't know if it really makes a difference or not, but I know that partway through last year, when my kids saw my hair down and loose, they were all surprised and impressed. (You know, white girl hair. Remember the tendril girl in Class C? Did I ever blog about that?)

Anyway, my Friday Fable today was The Swollen Fox. The moral of the story was 'Don't get too big for your britches.' And you know what I was shocked to find out? NOT ONE of my students had ever heard that saying! Shocked, I tell you! I kind of flailed around and talked about not having a swelled head. But I'm not sure that's the best comparison. Please, blogger friends, how else can I explain that? Was I totally off?

When I asked kids for their input, they talked about getting overweight. Which led me to discuss a bit of literal vs figurative. I asked if anyone ever did instant messenger with their friends. Of course many hands waved in the air. On the overhead, I wrote ROFL and asked what that meant. I said, "Don't EVER use that unless your butt is ACTUALLY ON THE FLOOR, in helpless laughter!! Don't say "LOL" unless there is an actual "hahaha" emitting from your mouth! It irritates the rest of us!" "And don't even THINK about using an abbreviation like that or like 4 or U in school or anyplace but instant messenger or text messages!"

I did my best, people, to help educate the young'uns about proper use of language. It's up to them to take it to heart.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Ho hum, is it Friday yet?

Yesterday I got to cover a dance class with Class 1. We did some yoga and some salsa steps. I had so much fun. Later, I met the new French teacher, and got to practice my francais. Awesome!

Class was easy but not too boring, and we got out early. I like that.

Now it's Thursday but I keep thinking it's Friday. Boo.

Today was good. The kids looked at some old NYC photos to find stories. They'll get to finish those stories tomorrow, and then I hope we'll get to start on characters for short stories.

I'm tired. And a little sleepy. Watching tv from the last few days. The good news is that I already graded two classes' homework while still at school, and I already know what I'm teaching tomorrow. So tonight should be nice and calm. And then it will be Friday!

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

I'm sleepy.

The past two nights, I have gone to bed at the ungodly late hour of...eleven P.M. And it is too late, because I am tired. Yawn.

This week has gone well. I've done a lot of work. Actually, that was mostly yesterday. I'm letting myself chill a little bit more today.

I didn't have to bring home any papers to grade tonight, because the students wrote in their notebooks and I just checked them off in class. Sweet! The same thing will happen tomorrow. Double sweet! Way to go for intelligent homework assignation!

Um. Short stories just got off the ground this afternoon. Will continue beginning stuff tomorrow, and start character things for Thursday, I guess. That, and "things good writers do." Which I already got started today during reading workshop. Sweet!

I am tired. If there weren't so much good new tv on tonight, I would crash now. But eh, I'll stay up. Better be worth it. Tomorrow is class, and snore....

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Out of the mouths of babes who have high aspirations

Assignment: Write a paragraph explaining your career choice, and giving examples. Then write another paragraph explaining a career choice you DO NOT want, and giving examples.

Class 1:

--"Though I may seem old enough I am still not sure about my definate career choices. Some are a model, a professional dancer/actress/singer, or the president.
...I would like to be the president because I want to make a change in history. I want to try to be the first woman and/or black president. Even though it will be very hard I will use my knowledge as a citizen to run the country.
The one job that I would never do is be a teacher. I would never do this job because it is alot of work and sometimes you have to teach kids who are bad and rude. I also would not be a teacher because you have to teach the same thing class after class, and year after year. Yes, teachers get summer vacation and Christmas off but they don't get paid enough because of this. Finally I would not be a teacher beause it is to much schooling and way to much stress!"

--"When I grow up I want to be a police officer. I've wanted to be one ever since I was three. I want to be a cop because I want people to feel safe when I'm around. I don't want them to be doubtful of cops. For example if a mass murderer is running around Queens looking for his next victim people shouldn't have to look over their shoulder ever few seconds even if I'm close by. I want to give cops a good name."

--"I really don't want my career to be a drug seller....Like if you sell a drug to a kid, it will destory some of their dreams. It will be sad if a little boy or girl dies after taking drugs. That is why that is the worst career to me, and say "NO" to drugs."

--"When I grow up I don't want to be teacher. I don't want to become a teacher because there are a lot of rude children. And I have been known to have a temper. I might just slap some manners in a kid. That is why I don't want to be a teacher."

--"I would like to be a doctor. It's a noble proffesion. You can help mankind grow stronger and become more immunized against powerful disease. You can help prevent millions of people from death. You can help them stay alive from deaths door. You can help save a million lives. Thats why I would like to be a doctor. Besides if you get sick you can treat yourself...for free.

I don't want to be the army. First you go through camp thats like hell. You can get killed. You have to kill. You deal with millions of weapons. So you can end up killing yourself. A mistake you can't make up for."

--from a boy "The job I definently don't want is a ballarena becuase it is [embarrassing] and girly. Another reson why I don't want to ballarena is that you have to wear dresses."

Class 2:

--"One career choice that is not on my list is a teacher. Because it's alot of work being a teacher. Being a teacher means going home with a headache everyday and I can't handle that. Teachers have homework too. Every night they have to plan the next days lesson, mark the homework, ect..."

--"I would not like to be a bar tender as the customers get drunk and do crazy things. It would be a dangerous job. I don't think it is a good place because you make money off peoples bad habits."

--"I would like to be a paleontologist. I want to be a paleontologist because they study dinosaurse and I lik dinosaurs. They are wealthy and they find new dinosaurs. Its thrilling and I get to travel the world. This is why I why I like to be a paleontologist."

--"Something I wouldn't like to be is a dentist. The reason is because I wouldn't like to pull people's teeth out. The reason is because it creeps me out."

--"I always wanted to be a lawyer or a secretary since I was six years old. But I always said I don't want to be a lawyer or secretary because of the money."

--"A career I would not like to have is being a doctor. I would not like to be a doctor because I hate blood. I hate when little kids cry. I don't like to take care of really sick people because I can catch whatever they have. You can hurt the people and kill them."

Class 3:

--"I want to just work at a supermarket or grocery store when I grow up. That's because I don't like seeing blood or organs, so being a surgeon is out. I also don't want a job where there's always a chance i'll die, so being a policeman is out. But with working at a supermarket, you just walk around, check on things, put stuff on shelves, and stuff like that. Plus, there's always those robberies with the guns to add some more excitement."

--"What I don't want to be is a entrepreneur. I don't want to be that because I am not good at coming up with ideas. When I come up with ideas they are always used or stupid. For example, I thought of the solar powered clock. I couldn't set my mind to it because it was already done."

--"A career that I don't want is to be a teacher. Teacher teach and teach and nobody listens to them. They have to yell. I want to have a good voice. Also they have to study hard. They also have to prepare Lessons. Thats why I don't like teaching."

FINAL COUNT: Of 93 students, the number who...

Want to be a doctor/nurse/surgeon/vet: 24
DO NOT want to be a doctor/nurse/surgeon/vet: 21

Want to be a teacher: 8 (mostly girls)
DO NOT want to be a teacher: 8 (mostly boys)

Want to be police: 1
DO NOT want to be police: 7

Want to be an athlete: 15 (nearly all boys)

Want to be in entertainment (actor, director): 7

DO NOT want to be specifically a cashier: 8

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Rants and Photos

Grr, I tried to post a comment in reply to Fred and Memory, but the link won't work.

Sadly, the principal and his bigwig friend were not there to observe me OR the kids; they looked at the fucking room: my desk, the yet-to-be-sorted library, the artifacts. They seemed oblivious to the fact that actual TEACHING (well, story-telling, heh--but hey! that was the lesson!) going on in the room! They didn't appear interested in what I was doing, or what work the students were producing, they seemed to want to peruse the ROOM. Cause that's what measures good teaching and accurate learning. Gah.

Don't get me wrong; I really like and respect my principal. But this gestapo nonsense about posters and abbreviations and bulletin boards and rubrics is SUCH BULLSHIT! I hope I get to see a new mayor and chancellor of education--and a resulting new regime--while I'm still teaching in NYC. Otherwise, they're going to lose me to another state.

As much as I like to check out edWise, this is why I should avoid it; I have to keep myself ignorant of politics (schools, Iraq, hurricanes, all of it). I get irritated and worked up, and there's nothing I can do.

Anyway, I wanted to finally post the before and after pics. Yay!

When I got there two weeks ago...

And Now....

Expect Excellence!

I am in desperate need for filing systems. And a small bookcase/display for my personal books (those two milk crates).
That is a radiator doubling as a storage case. Did you know New Yorkers pronounce RADiator like RADical? I say it RAIDiator. Goofy New York.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Friday! Whee!

Whew, what a week. Don't get me wrong; it's been a pretty good week, considering that I know just how bad weeks can be. But it feels like Monday was forever ago, and we're all tired.

Today went very well. We actually did our workshops. In reading, we talked about ways to choose a reading book. I solicited a couple answers from the whole class, then told them to finish the list in their groups. Then we came back together and made one big list.

You should have seen them in their groups! It was so great. They brainstormed, they took turns, they had eye contact, and they all stayed engaged and on task. I LOVED it. Granted, it was only about four minutes max. But still, it was most excellent to see. Last year, group work was a fucking JOKE. Maybe one student at every other table was working. Alone, not with the group. So I know how lucky I am with this. And yes, I think I expressed this opinion the other day, but it's still miraculous to me, and I don't want to forget my roots, so to speak, so that I can continue to appreciate the bounty of goodness this year is showing me.

In writing, we reviewed the stories we shared yesterday: First, "Thank you Mr Falker" by Patricia Polacco, and second, my story of the horse running away with me. I told one or two classes that story today, and by the end they were smiling and giggling. Then one boy raised his hand and asked, "Is it okay to laugh?" I tried not to goggle at him and replied, "Of course it is!"

I also shared a quick, sort of pointless story about the cricket in my kitchen drawer. The drawer was kinda broken; a bolt had torn a hole through part of it, so you couldn't remove the drawer. And I kicked the drawer, to try and get the big cricket out of the drawer. All that happened was the contents and the cricket bounced up and then back down. "Whee! Whee!" That also made them giggle.

These kids better love me by now. I already know they don't think I'm mean. I suppose that doesn't necessarily mean they think I'm nice (which means weak), but based on their responses to me and my teacher persona and stuff, they seem to respect me. They really respond to the stern thing. It's so interesting.

Anyway, after I shared my stories and we mentioned that Patricia Polacco writes stories from her own experiences, I told the students to take a few minutes to think of a story from their own lives. Then they shared with a neighbor. They saw me begin drafting my story, and then I let them go to start drafting their own stories. They didn't have much time, but I saw some great beginnings. Most wrote some creative titles: The Roller Coaster That Never Stopped; The Bug Attack; The Big Bounce. I was very pleased.

Oh! Mr Principal came in during one of my classes, along with a bigwig guy, I think he's at the district level or something. They came in right before my cricket story and left right as I let them start writing. And I didn't see or hear from Mr Principal after that. I was eager to hear feedback. Well, I was eager to hear positive feedback, but I would be fine with constructive criticism too. Just, you know, feedback.

It's the weekend! I have no life tonight, but am going to hang out with my friend N tomorrow evening. I forgot the homework assignments at school like a dummy; if I feel up to it, I'll retrieve them tomorrow morning.

I'm not quite as broke as before yesterday's paycheck, but I'm not well-off, either. I'd love to take myself to a movie or something fun...but I bet I won't.

Edited to add:

On my way down the hallway after school, I saw one of the girls from last year's Class B, sitting in the chairs outside the office next to her mom. She saw me coming, tugged at her mom, and excitedly pointed down the hall at me. And then she waved and I waved, and when I got up there I said hi and we chatted pleasantly for a moment. She's a good kid and should go far in life.

It was a small encounter, but it made me feel all warm and fuzzy anyway. It was so cute that she was excited to see me!

Thursday, September 15, 2005

On Monday afternoon, I filled up at the gas station near my school, for the bargain price of $3.29. And that's not even sarcasm; on Saturday I saw stations in Astoria selling gas for $3.37!

This afternoon, when going home, I checked the price: $3.09. Immediately I thought to myself, "hey, that's so cheap!" And then I remembered that it's GAS for OVER THREE DOLLARS A GALLON. Oh, for the days of $2.55 through the American Midwest in August.

Also while driving home, I went past a couple boys from my school hanging around a corner store, their uniform shirts undone. My first instinct was to yell out the window, "Fix your ties! Tuck in your shirts!" And then I remembered that I was off-duty and they were off-campus. Take a chill pill, me.

Today was fine. I scheduled the first real writing workshop lesson, but I didn't get to it with any classes. Our Thursday Thesaurus took more time than anticipated. This is the sentence I put up: Our house was bedlam on our first morning back after vacation, with my sisters and I frantically searching for our school things in time to catch the bus to school. From that context, they were to attempt to define both "bedlam" and "frantically." They made good guesses, and I was pleased.

I had them take a benchmark reading test too, which took about half an hour. And that meant that I had time to sit at my desk and grade their homework, right in class! It was excellent. I've kept on top of homework grading all week, and I'm very proud of myself.

Of course, today marks ONE WHOLE WEEK of school. Oh god, oh god, this year sounds interminable. June seems about a hundred years away. Boo. My friend N today had a career crisis. She said plaintively this morning, "I don't want to teach any more. Even this year. Like, next week. I'm tired." Aw!

While I'm still trucking along on my positive-thinking route, I can feel her on the tired, worn-out thing. And it's only the first week of our second year in this thankless, endless job. Geesh.
Ms Frizzle's edition of the Carnival of Education!

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Same shit, more bureaucratical minutiae

It's not a "Do Now," it's a "Motivation."

We may NOT abbreviate "instructional objective." We must actually write out those two long words every day. Because, of course, we have NOTHING else to do with our time than play at the fucking chalkboard.


Day Four (good god, is that all??) went well also. Pretty mundane stuff today, housekeeping and that kind of thing. My Do Now--er, Motivation (and you bet your ass I told my students about the joys of bureaucratic demands) was to list the parts of speech. Do you know, NONE of the students had any idea what that meant. Now, when someone suggested "noun" or "verb" they all went "oh!" But I took the opportunity (that's called the Teachable Moment, in case any administrators happened by...) to review the better-known parts of speech: noun, verb, adjective, adverb, proper noun, pronoun.

While in the hallway with one of my classes, playing my drill sergeant role etc, I glimpsed Mr Cute Teacher, watching bemusedly. And I totally cracked. Thank god I wasn't facing my kids when I broke into a grin. I can't have distractions like that when I am acting like a tough teacher! It's kind of fun, and after all, once I realized I couldn't be an Olympic gymnast (shut up), I wanted to be an actor. I don't get paid to act per se, but it's pretty damn close, huh?

People are still giving me lots of compliments on my professional outfits and stern demeanor with the kids. Yay!

This week, let's see, three more days, I am giving a reading benchmark test, the language assessment, plus at some point I have to begin introducing the four square, not to mention starting the goddamn reading and writing workshops. Um yeah, three days. Sure.

Next week-ish (emphasis on the "ish") I need to start story writing. I found an excellent packet of lesson things from Teaching That Makes Sense. I really like all their stuff, so English or writing teachers, check them out.

Monday, September 12, 2005


An absolutely BRILLIANT post from a retired NYC teacher, about the reality of NYC teachers vs. the city.

The downside of EXCELLENCE

Yes, there is one. I've been such a fucking Mary Sunshine this last week that it's about time I complain about something. You all might be thinking I'm a pod person or something. :)

I have approximately one hundred students. A little less maybe, 95, something like that. Anyway. All but two of them turned in their weekend homework assignment! (One said they didn't finish, and one said it was left at home, so technically, all of the students completed the assignment.) I was excited and proud. What a great start to the year!

On my prep, I sat down to grade/comment on them--because these is going on the bulletin board--read a few, was rather delighted, but soon enough, I realized:


And that sucks. Like, a lot.

I got half of one class done in that prep. Just now, I graded for an hour solid and finished that class plus an entire other one. There's still another class to go. UGH. I don't WANNA read another 30 essays!


Today was Monday, our first one of the year, and it went well. My first prep coincided with a grade assembly, so I got to spend time in my room, and at the copier. I copied off 100 assessment sheets, plus 100 four-page language/mechanics/etc assessment tests (I did those double-sided, cause I like trees :) ). Go me!

Plus I got to chat with Mr CuteTeacher a bit. And that always makes my day, doesn't it?

Class today was pretty tame, since I had two single periods. We did the new seating chart, handed in homework, finally got to do a real Do Now, talked about individual and group points to be earned, and finished the fall survey (the one that was supposed to be done on Thursday. Ha.).

For each student, they can earn "Points for PEP!" I explained an acronym and told them that PEP stands for Preparation, Effort, and Participation. Ten points each for a total of 30 daily and 150 weekly. Good job notes for 125-150 points.

For each table, they can earn points for being quick, good group work, doing all homework, blah blah. Those points, when up to 25, 50, 75, etc, will earn them cookies. Yay, cookies! I will swear on oath (to the students) that the cookies are homemade. But--shh!--they are from the cookie dough tub at Costco. Don't tell!

We had grade planning and PD today too. PD was easy; I finished my paperwork thing really quickly. I stayed a bit after to start my bulletin board. Get this: we get a memo today to have them up by Friday. Not too bad, better than today or something. But in PD, Ms AP announced that a super high bigwig is coming on Wednesday morning, so "Mr Principal wants bulletin boards up by, like, yesterday." ....Fun. So far I've got the title, my name, rubric and standards. Once I finish the third class's essays, I'll choose a few (lots of great ones to choose from! some are hilarious) and throw them up there with some construction paper.

Y'all, I wish I was a good enough writer and blogger to make these school posts more interesting, and actual pieces of writing, instead of pieces of crap. But I don't have energy or inclination for that at the moment. So I intend these posts to be very useful for me in the future, in terms of lessons and things, and hopefully useful/inspiring/interesting for other teachers, to compare/contrast things and get ideas and stuff like that. Thanks for your patience! :)

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Oh right, I have no life. Good thing I'm a teacher.

It has just hit noon on Sunday and I am bored.

Already this morning, I have:
*gotten up by 8.30,
*eaten a healthy breakfast (gasp!),
*worked on the big paperwork assignment from my AP (We'll have time to work on it in tomorrow's PD. I sure hope we get updated rosters, because each of my three classes has 3-5 no shows and 2-4 new adds. Anyway, I hope to impress her by finishing in like ten minutes. Let's hope for some brownie points at the beginning of the year!),
*taken a nap,
*put together my bulletin board rubric. (Shh, don't tell: it's the exact same as my homework rubric. I'm going to keep it up all freaking year, unless we're doing something with poetry or art-related.)

Yesterday, by 3pm, I had:
*gotten up by 8.30,
*worked out,
*marked off homework,
*redid seating charts,
*mapped out most of next week's "lessons" (it's all introductions and procedures and tests and things),
*went to the post office and the bank,
*took a three hour sojourn to Costco AND a regular grocery store.

The rest of yesterday involved watching television, eating, and then watching two chick flicks on VIDEOCASSETTE. Old skool, baby.

I feel very proud that I have been so productive. My goals are still on pace to become reality. I still feel like a completely different person that all of last year, and it's pretty fucking awesome.

Now, if I only had a life and something interesting to take up the rest of my time. For instance, Monday and Tuesday evenings, Jack Johnson is playing in Central Park, and I REALLY want to go. Sadly, I
a) have zero money,
b) have two homework assignments for grad classes to catch up on (I can't do them yet because the textbook I ordered last weekend has not yet arrived. Which leaves Monday and Tuesday, whichever day the stupid thing gets here.),
c) have to do PD on Monday afternoon,
d) suspect that I will not have the energy to spend all evening in the city.

Wow, this is an entire post of lists. Sweet! [Fred, aren't you proud/jealous? :) ]

Friday, September 09, 2005

Second day AND the weekend

As I was chillin' in the teacher center on my lunch break, I heard an eager knocking. I looked at the door and could barely make out two little heads trying to peek in. I walked over and opened the door to see Little K and Little C, and they were all excited to see me. All grinny and happy. We didn't have time to chat, but it warmed my heart that they wanted to see me. I love being a teacher whose past students--even the ones that bugged the shit out of me--excitedly say hi to me in the halls.

I must say, this is a very strong argument for staying in NYC for at least one more year after this one.

Today's Agenda:

--Practiced entering two times.

--Do Now: Share writer's notebook decorations. I modeled how to share with my mug, and then we did a fishbowl so the groups could see how to proceed. And oh, the groups did so well! They listened to each other, they took turns, they were all engaged. It was excellent! I was so proud.

--Quiet sign: I introduced my two-finger quiet signal. We practiced with something I took straight out of the Dr.s Wong: let them talk to a neighbor for two minutes, then I give the sign and they all quiet down. On their third try, two classes took a mere 2.5 seconds to be silent and look at me. Awesome!

--Rule review: We discussed them together yesterday. Today I had them look at the eight rules (three school rules and five classroom rules), and they had to write which one they thought was most important, and explain why. That was Part A. Part B was to consider if anything got left out, and come up with a rule #6, and of course explain why. Again, they were silent and industrious and on task, and it was fantastic.

--Consequence review: I went through the five steps. I firmly told them I would like to be able to stop at the first step (verbal warning). That in a few months we should be able to tear off the rest of the poster, because everyone knows how to obey the rules and stay on the right track.

--Noise level chart review

--Work on the fall survey (still haven't finished that)

--Review Homework Rubric. I only talked about the Level 4/Excellent requirements, because I expect what? Excellence! I told them about the importance of following directions, in life and in school, especially on tests.

--Review homework assignment. Tied in the homework rubric, how to get a 4 on this essay. Had them repeat it to me a couple times, and went around checking that everyone wrote down the assignment.

That was it! It went really well. The students were very well behaved, they participated, almost all of them had their 'homework.' My dean stopped by one of the classes and seemed happy with what she saw. I was proud of myself and my students.

I am feeling good, people. This morning not so much; I actually slept through the night, though I felt like the walking dead. But the school stuff is off to a great start. I'm keeping up my toughness, keeping a sharp eye on any potential chatterboxes, setting up the tone for an organized, safe, excellent classroom. I think we're on the right track!

Thursday, September 08, 2005

The long-awaited first day...

Whew, it's over. I've spent so much energy thinking about and focusing on this day that I kind of forget that I have to go back tomorrow. And the next eight months.

For the third night in a row, I barely slept. Tossed and turned, mind racing, no real sleep. Bah! The alarm went at 6.30, because I wanted to give myself a little more time to get ready and get to school. I arrived at about 7.20, and busily twitched around, finishing up my classroom stuff.

When I went downstairs to pick up my first/homeroom class, oh my god, I was so nervous. I had to wait to get my class, and my stomach was getting more and more knotty. Oy. I still felt like the whole thing was not real and I had no idea what to do with a new crop of twelve-year-olds.

So I got my class, I kept my face blank and/or stern, and silently led them up to my classroom. And for the first class, for the first ten minutes, I was totally faking it and was about two shakes from busting out laughing. Ha! Joke's on you! What, you think I'm actually a teacher? Bwah!

But the longer I was up there, the more I got into my role of tough, no-nonsense teacher.

For each of my three classes, I did roughly the same things. First, I took attendance and walked them through filling out the contact card. Which they industriously, silently did. Then we moved onto the parent packet. I read them the welcome letter and reviewed the supply list.

Then I handed out paper and pens. I told them that they had a mental scavenger hunt to do: I had put some hints about my theme around the room. So they had to look around and decide what they thought my theme was. A few students did notice the signs that say "Expect Excellence" and the quote signs that say, "We are what we repeatedly do. EXCELLENCE, then, is not an act, but a habit! --Aristotle" I had them write about what excellence means to them. We shared out. Occasionally, I would say, "Oh darnit, I forgot. What do I expect again?" And they'd chorus, "Excellence." Fun!

We discussed professionalism: "Why am I wearing this [my lovely new eggplant pantsuit] instead of, say, sweatpants and a t-shirt?" and how your dress impacts the way you go about your job.

Then we talked about the rules. I asked a student to read each rule out loud, and then asked them why that rule is important. I told them that we will be having a classroom that is safe and comforting. And they eagerly raised their hands to contribute why following directions the first time is important.

For one class, I had time to let them start the fall survey. Tomorrow we'll finish those and perhaps begin setting up the reading and writing notebooks.

I went over homework. Probably too briefly. I will leave more time for it tomorrow.

At the end of each class, I had to warn them: "I don't care what your schedule says, you will never hear a bell in this room. You will hear your teacher, Ms C, dismissing you." Coupled with my stern face and sharp voice, I think I made my point.

After lunch, when I was sternly waiting for the class to quiet down and get ready to enter the room, I felt someone fall into my back, and arms fly around my waist. I twisted around as much as I could and saw the smiling face of one of my Class B girls. Two others were right behind her. "Hiii, Ms C!" they squealed. Too freaking cute.

Eventually, the day finished. I wanted to dance a jig. A jig of joy and excitement and relief! I am a teacher again, and I did not get my ass kicked on the first day back to school.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not counting any chickens here; I am going to keep up my tough act because I'm afraid next week they'll turn up with big old attitudes and shit, and all my work and progress over the last year will be for naught. So like I said, I'm not going to rest on my laurels about the management, but I think that today went as well as it could have. And I'm so relieved and happy!

Except, of course, that I have to get up and go in again tomorrow. :)

Wednesday, September 07, 2005


I forgot to take pictures of my classroom! I took 'before' pics last week, and I wanted some 'after' pics to show you all the efforts of my work. It's come quite far and is looking pretty good. I've been getting compliments, actually, on how well I'm doing. Or something. I think it's just that I put on a good front, because I don't feel at all ready. Well, that's not true, actually. I suppose I have done everything I can to get ready, in terms of set-up and planning these two days. But inside, I am just in denial that tomorrow I have to teach. Because the children are coming back to school. Good god.

I made and put up a shitload of charts today. We only had two brief meetings, and I was in my room the rest of the day. I cleaned up my clutter, kept organizing my desk, erasing things off the list I made on the chalkboard. Saw some great ideas to steal from other teachers, like a particular word wall set-up and library system.

It was difficult to remember that tomorrow is not the end-all, be-all. I had to remind myself that I can change things or keep doing things after this week; I want to think that everything has to be perfect right now because it will be permanent. Ha.

My plans for the rest of the month are not solidified, and I have a lot of work to do with that. I have to help the children write a short story in four weeks! I may end up stretching it to six weeks, because there's no way we'll get started right away. Next week will be all benchmark/inventory/assessment tests and introductions to reading and writing workshops. All of that will most likely spill over into the next week, as well.

I suppose that the writing assignments next week can begin having to do with the story. Oh, and my friend told me about her prof recommending that students turn in a final product twice--once to be graded on content, and then on mechanics/conventions. I think that sounds fan-freakin-tastic, so I will adopt that policy. If I have time. Which, yeah right.

My lessons for story-writing last year were pretty good. I liked them, they seemed fun, and sometimes the kids seemed interested. But overall, I'm relieved that I just need to look over them, organize my notes and lessons, and rework them so they might be more effective.

I am vowing to myself several things for this year:
1. Following through.
I was kind of a flake with a lot of things last year. Phone calls, notes, rewards, routines, volunteer things. Bad news. I will work harder to work hard! Lessons must be reviewed thoroughly EVERY DAY. Homework must be checked more than once a week! I MUST KEEP UP PARENT CALLS, ROUTINES, and promises of REWARDS and CONSEQUENCES.

2. Emphasize procedure, rituals, and routines.
I'm not really sure HOW to do this. But I have come up with some rituals. Not sure if I have enough of them, or if they will work, or if I will stick with them (see above), but my re-reading of the Dr.s Wong has helped me remember the importance of managing a classroom, instead of disciplining one. To see how the latter does NOT work, please see the archives, October 2004 through May 2005. Heh.

3. To not belittle myself, my efforts, or my skills.
I am a kick-ass reader and writer. I have passion for my subject. I have a deep love for education.
I already knew all that stuff before I walked into the classroom last year, and even before I walked into the teaching program itself.
My superiors and my colleagues believe in me, but I second-guess myself, I doubt myself, I feel weak. And I must project an image of strength and professionalism. To do that, I must be the Little Teacher That Could: I think I can, I think I can.
Hell, I *know* I can!
I will be a better teacher this year!
I will reach those students!
I will be tough and stern, yet lovable!
I will push them to be their best!
I will push myself to be MY best!
I will reflect on my practices!
I will adopt "best practices" (whatever the fuck that catchphrase actually means)!
I will have exemplary bulletin boards EVERY month, not just once!
I will keep up my assessments of students (and not just because Ms AP will yell at me if I don't)!
I will do lots to prepare the students for the state exam! (it's in SEVENTY-EIGHT DAYS. Can you believe we're already counting the days? Shit.)
I will help my students develop their skills in reading and writing!
I will participate more in extracurricular activities: I will discuss ideas and notes with the principal and the trip coordinator. Today I was invited to join a grant-writing committee. I will do that!
I will expect excellence from the students, the faculty, and most of all, from myself!

I WILL stop now so that I can go to sleep and pretend to be rested for tomorrow.

I can do this. Yeah!

Tuesday, September 06, 2005


I am ridiculously tired.

From 3.30 to 6.00, I was kind of just pretending to sleep. But when the alarm went off, I was able to get up just fine. Off I scurried, to get ready and then get in my car (my car! ee!), to drive to school. Which only took twenty minutes. I arrived, fresh-faced, just in time to park behind CuteTeacher. Teehee.

All morning was spent greeting colleagues and chatting about everyone's summers and comparing class schedules. We had a staff meeting, and I was newly inspired by my principal, who discussed how his own father had been going down all the wrong paths. When a teacher at school helped get him on track, it helped Mr Principal's dad to then succeed and become a professional. However, it also helped Mr Principal, and is helping Mr Principal's own son. So he reminded us that the impact we have affects not just the students we have now, but the children of generations to come.

After lunch, there was a quick department meeting. We got class lists! And some other English -related stuff. Our first mini-unit will be short story writing for four weeks, then four weeks of poetry. Four weeks to write a story?! Oh, and I have very exciting news. Out of the 99 students (I know--yikes), guess how many level 2's I have? THREE. Guess how many level 1's? ZERO!! This year's crop of kids are much higher-level all together than last year's. Sweet! Let's hope that will help affect behavior as well.

I spent all afternoon--about three and a half hours--working on my classroom. I did pretty good, got a good bit done. Not nearly finished, of course, but still, good progress. Word wall bulletin board is up. Desk is together. New bookshelf has piles of books on it. (As part of the lesson on genre, the students will sort all the books later.) Welcome sign completed and taped to the door. List of charts to make on my chalkboard. Pile of other charts and signs on table to be put up.

My 417 copies, plus two enlargements, at Staples cost $37! Damn.

Almost nine and I am pretty exhausted. Am heading to shower and bed asap. Mm, sleep.

{don't think about students coming the day after tomorrow. don't think about it at all. that way, you can catch up on sleep. DON'T THINK!}

Monday, September 05, 2005

Oh, damn

Freaking out a bit...

holy shit, tomorrow I have to go to school. I am repeatedly reminding myself that I won't actually be teaching or anything...but that's not really helping.

I've been thinking and planning for two months, and have gotten into a routine with that. Facing the reality of the for-real alarm (set at 6.45 just in case), driving to school for the first real time, and walking into the building as a second-year teacher...shit, yo, it does NOT seem real.

Just don't think about it, just don't think. This week has been planned since mid-July; I don't need to panic! I'm still working on the plans for the next weeks after that, but it will be mostly polishing and stuff. I have general plans. And lots of activities. And several benchmark tests that I haven't decided when to administer.

I'm rereading The First Days of School, taking notes and marking pages. I'm planning my wardrobe in my head, and pretending to prepare my lunch beforehand, I'm having trouble sitting still. No kids tomorrow! Just teachers! I can do this!

Damn. Wednesday night, I just know I am going to be a wreck.

Happy Labor Day, aka Last Day of Freedom for NYC Teachers

Oh dear me, the summer is officially over today. Boo hoo.

It's been a pretty slow weekend. Yesterday I only spent a couple hours on school stuff. Ha, only. I went through the pile of old lesson plans, not reading them, just putting them in chronological order. And I continued looking at lessons for reading and writing.

I haven't made any further progress on my list in the last two days, because mostly what remains is thinking and chart-making. And I will do as much as I can of those two things tomorrow afternoon.

In the afternoon, I walked up and strolled around the street fair. The weather was just perfect: not humid, warm, a cool and refreshing breeze. Mm, lovely. I bought some corn on the cob, a fruit smoothie, a pickle (there are no pickle stands where I come from!), and a leather wallet. I stopped at the bookstore and bought a book of language/grammar activities.

Today I woke up at my 7am alarm, not to do anything, just to restart the whole getting-up-early thing. Ugh. Actually, it wasn't too bad, since I went to bed at midnight. I read for two hours and then took a nap for an hour and a half. Awesome.

Tomorrow my new routine starts. Since I have my car here, I can get up later and get to school much faster. Plus I can carry lots of things if I need to, and I don't have to worry about shoes, since I won't be walking/standing in them for an hour before and after school. Ooh, plus, when it rains, my pantlegs won't get all soaked. Sweet!

As I write this, cookies are baking in the oven, ones that I will bring in to the office tomorrow morning. Mm, cookies.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Holy shit, it's September. And I'm broke.

Yesterday, I went into school to continue work on my classroom. I stayed for five and a half hours. Got the desks arranged (six groups of six), a couple posters up, and some things organized in my cabinet. There's still a lot to be done, little things. Like putting my desk together. (Not like building it or anything, putting stuff in it and that.) And making some new charts--procedures and stuff. I need to ask the custodians to move the bookshelf into my room for me, and then put all my books in it. There are some more things I need to buy: baskets and folder things and such.

Which brings me to the financial sucks. The car, as much as I love having it, is going to cost a lot of extra money that I don't really have.

So this afternoon when I went shopping with my friend N, I tried to restrain myself. I bought a clearance suit and some black pants at one store, then at another store, a blue striped button-down and a beautiful three-piece 'mulberry' suit. I spent $150...which is too much, but I didn't buy shoes and I guess I will have to do with the ones I already have, scuffs and all.

I now have five complete suits, as well as three suit jackets. Damn!

But that will be a good thing; I want to do my best to dress professionally this year. At the very least, I will look very severe for the first couple weeks at school, so as to set the tone in my classroom. And if the children are slightly intimidated, all the better. :)

Oh, that reminds me. Yesterday evening was sixth-grade orientation, it lasted for about three hours. I met some students, and saw a few returning parents. I have at least two siblings of last year's students, which is kind of goofy. I'm used to siblings being a few years apart, I guess. At least these parents are nice ones. One of them was really impressed that I recognized her younger son, since he looked like his brother whom I had for one quarter last year. Way to start off on a good foot with at least one mom!

Oh yes, and guess who else I saw? The mother that gave me all the trouble last year. The one who felt like her son (but really her) should not have to follow my late rules. Anyway, she has a daughter now starting sixth grade....Thankfully, but probably not accidentally, the daughter will not be one of my students.

Now I feel a little more excited instead of just nervous for next week. Which is good.

Ooh, you know what else is good? CuteTeacher is back! Squee!

National Service Programs Respond to Hurricane Katrina

[AmeriCorps press release. Note that this response has taken place just in the first four days of this disaster. I served on disaster relief in the Biloxi region in 2002 after Isadore, doing service center and damage assessment work. I doubt any damage assessment can be done yet; they'll probably dispatch more AmeriCorps members later to help with that.]

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Wednesday, August 31, 2005

(Washington D.C.) -- In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, national service programs are joining with local, state, and national relief and recovery efforts to provide emergency assistance and long-term relief to those in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and other areas whose lives were affected by the storm.

"In times of crisis, citizens and volunteers make up the backbone of support for people and communities in need," said David Eisner, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service, which administers the AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, and Learn and Serve America programs. "We have dispatched rapid response crews and are working with local, state, and federal officials to help coordinate citizen service and philanthropic activity over the long term. It will take many months to recover from such a devastating disaster, and we will ensure that service and volunteering goes where it's needed, both now and in the future."

The Corporation and its network of state commissions and grantees have a long history of involvement public safety, public health, and emergency preparedness and response, including longstanding partnerships with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the American Red Cross, and other agencies. The Corporation became a signatory to the National Response Plan in 2005, making it part of the official Federal plan to protect our nation from natural and manmade hazards and attacks with specific responsibilities in two sections of the plan: Mass Care and Housing, and in the Donations and Volunteer Management.

In addition, the fifty-three governor-appointed state service commissions funded by the Corporation have a key role in managing donations and volunteers in disaster situations. Last year, Volunteer Florida helped coordinate all volunteers and donations for the hurricane – more than 140,000 volunteers who contributed a total of 6 million hours of service.

National service volunteers dispatched to the Gulf Coast region, or otherwise assisting with the relief and recovery effort, include, in part:

§ The first 50 members of the AmeriCorps*National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) from the Northeast campus in Perry Point, Md., flew into Montgomery, Ala., on Monday. Four members are in Montgomery to support a response technology center; 19 members are supporting shelters in Biloxi, Miss.; 15 members are supporting shelters in Pascagoula, Miss.; and 12 members are supporting shelters in Mobile, Ala. An additional 23 members are being deployed today to the stricken region today, and 24 will fly out on Thursday, bringing the total to 96 NCCC members from the Northeast region.

§ 22 AmeriCorps*NCCC members from the Central Region campus in Denver, Colo., are currently assisting the American Red Cross at their call centers in Denver.

§ At least 39 AmeriCorps members from the National Preparedness and Response Corps, a program of the American Red Cross, are supporting efforts either on-site in Mass Care activitiesor at their "host" chapters, where they are manning call centers.

§ AmeriCorps*VISTA Leaders from Red Cross projects in Iowa, Ohio, and elsewhere have been deployed to the affected region by the American Red Cross.

§ A number of AmeriCorps*VISTA members are assisting relief efforts in Alabama and Louisiana.

§ Members of an RSVP Homeland Security project in northern Alabama who have CERT training have been deployed to hard-hit areas of the state.

The Corporation and its programs gained valuable experience in dealing with issues arising from hurricane response and relief during the series of hurricanes that ravaged Florida last year. At the time, several thousand participants with the Corporation's AmeriCorps, NCCC, VISTA, and Senior Corps programs, as well as student volunteers connected with Learn and Serve America, distributed food, set up shelters, put tarps on buildings and supplied the infrastructure and expertise needed to manage the historic number of volunteers that they had in the state.