Friday, October 31, 2008

How the Cookie Crumbles

Check out today's Modesto Bee for a Story on predicting the presidential election.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Inspirational Child

I have a student this year who is very low performing. She was tested and didn't qualify for special education because she didn't have a large enough discrepancy. Her IQ is low. Her psych and academic testing showed her as performing at the early kinder level. The work she does in class is low.

that being said, I have never seen a child that is so low work so hard. She gives her school work everything she has and then some. She is literally working above her ability. I am amazed everyday by her. She is a fragile child emotionally when it comes to academics. She knows that she is low and it hurts her if she thinks others are making fun of her work. I have really worked on protecting her in this respect and in turn she works even harder. At the beginning of the year I didn't call on her when I asked questions because I didn't want to embarrass her in front of the class. Now though, I do call on her and she can handle it. I am amazed by what she gets right and proud of how she handles getting a wrong answer. (smiles and says, I will get it next time!)

On a side note, this girl is a cutie too. She is a very carefree and into everything kind of child. She comes to school with her hair done very nicely and within the first half hour it is all messed up. it is not uncommon to find her with smudges on her faces from active play on the playground. She is quite the Tomboy!

Today she started going to a pullout class for math. When she returned from her class I asked her how the class was. She quickly responded "it was hard, but I learned!" Wow! her response just made me smile. If only all of my students had the internal drive that this girl has.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Columbus Day

Every year around Columbus Day teachers on the message board I subscribe to ask for "cute" ideas for teaching Columbus Day. For some reason, Columbus Day and cute don't belong in the same sentence to me!

What do I do on Columbus Day in the classroom? Nothing special, it is just business as usual in my room. I don't have too much time for anything else.

If I did take the time for it though, I might use the song posted below.

Nancy Schimmel

In fourteen hundred ninety-two
Columbus sailed the ocean blue,
It was a courageous thing to do
But someone was already here.

Columbus knew the world was round
So he looked for the East while westward bound,
But he didn't find what he thought he found,
And someone was already here.

The Inuit and Cherokee,
The Aztec and Menominee,
The Onandaga and the Cree;
Columbus sailed across the sea,
But someone was already here.

It isn't like it was empty space,
Caribs met him face to face.
Could anyone discover the place
When someone was already here?


So tell me, who discovered what?
He thought he was in a different spot.
Columbus was lost, the Caribs were not;
They were already here.


Saturday, October 04, 2008

Blog Hiatus and other stuff

These past few months I have been on a sort of hiatus from blogging. I was not feeling quite right and I had no drive or interest in blogging. For the past two weeks or so though I have been feeling a little bit like my normal, healthier self. Yay! I have also started thinking of blog ideas as I drive to work, stand in line at the grocery store or while working out on the machines at the gym. As usual, I forget all of the clever ideas I thought of when I open up my blog. Go figure!

Here are a few thoughts that are floating around my head right now though:

1) Teaching: We are in such a mess right now due to the stupidity of the NCLB. My district, along with almost every other district in the state and most likely, the nation, is wasting VALUABLE teaching time filling out ridiculous papers, and assessing kids just about every day. We really don't have time to actually teach anything to mastery because it interferes with our testing schedules. When we do test, we don't get to reteach items students don't do well on because there is no time built into our pacing calendars.

2) Standards: Still on the subject of teaching and assessing, why have we had NCLB for so long and not had anyone at the national level question why it is that all states are compared against each other but we don't have the same teaching standards, the same assessments and the measure of success measured by the assessments isn't even the same. Isn't this a pretty basic idea?

3) My Class:I have been back to school for 8 weeks now and this past week was the first week that I wasn't counting down each day to the end of the week. The group that I have this year is pretty tough. They are academically very low and very young. In addition to teaching, I have to mediate fights, teach how to blow noses, tie shoes, remind children to wipe their hands after using the toilet and listen to a million "tattle tales" all day long.

4) Presidential Race: Palin is such an embarrassment to the nation. I can't stand her. I can't wait for Obama to win in November and have Palin take her behind back to Alaska where she can fade into the woodwork and be forgotten.

5) Best Soft Drink of the Year: Green Tea Ginger Ale... LOVE it!

6) Facebook: I am addicted

7) My daughter: She rocks! I am so impressed with her academic achievements, her confidence and willingness to take risks that I never took. She does have her willful moments but she is a good girl and I am proud to be her mom.