Thursday, September 25, 2008

5pm is an early day.

my desk is a rainbow of temporary disorganization. i have much work to do when i get home, but as i look across my desk, which contains the following piles, all photocopied onto different colored paper, i'm laughing:
- "all about me" 1st drafts, 2nd drafts and zine pages
- my School Quality Review binder
- comic strips about the creative process
- progress reports
- collages
- late work in the "inbox"
- my attendance/grading grids
- a "comp check" graphic organizer
- a fake letter about my crazy class.

ryan is a genius. so we've been having a huge problem with this one class, and elizabeth was looking for a way to talk to them about primary source documents in history, so they drafted a fake letter to the principal from a staff member about this class and blocked parts of it out. the kids got all into it and were like "what? who's writing about us?" as she tried to get them to think about whether or not the source was reliable. brilliant! and what a creative way to deal with a rowdy class and also have them get into the concept/material. this is why i moved back to new york.

texting with my coworker, he keeps saying "this is going to be a good year." we've already chilled out as a staff a few different times, and we all feel the energy that we bring to the table. i'm exhausted, i pull myself up the hill from the train station to my house, drag myself up the stoop and usually plop myself into bed everyday. but i sigh the deepest sigh of contentment. i love what i do. now, that doesn't mean that i feel confident in what i do everyday, i am hella insecure right now, but i enjoy the struggle and the small triumphs... like getting "I" to school ON TIME today. i was shocked with my mouth hanging wide open. baby, baby, baby steps.

much love... bless you with the sounds from above...

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

ayo, i'm tired of this lack of internet.

i have to back-blog about 9/11 real quick (more to come), i had an excellent anniversary of the event in my classroom. students whose lives hit up against that event with such close proximity that we all pushed back the chairs (and the lesson plans) just to talk, just to remember what it felt like. colleagues told me that the students were too young to remember, but i begged to differ, and though it was important that we talk. what if my class was the only time that day that they got to speak about it. it's much different to be teaching IN the city again, unlike last year, in the D, when students were more disconnected from it. ever since that day, I, in my second hour, has been glued to my class like glue. can't get him out of room 318.

yesterday i introduced them to zines. they freaked out at designing their own pages, or pimping their pages, as i called it. today, we're speedreading, doing a comprehension check with a sequence comic strip. creative assessment is my thaaaaang, girl. i keep gettin kids' phrases stuck in my head, this morning S told me "that quiz was O.D., miss" (translation "that quiz was awesome"). anyway, can i just brag about the fact that i got breakfast in bed today? i am a spoiled lady to have a man who will get up at 5:30 to make sure i have breakfast by 6am. more to come soon, just waiting for the internet to grace me at home.

so excited to begin the int'l poetry guild project with ICS. i've framed all of our technology projects into "tech thursdays", so we can have the time and space to get our work done. we have three online projects this term, and i'll have to tell you about them later because it's lunch time, and my ELL students come in for extra help. i love having lunch with my students. i need to make the first round of parent calls tonight, maybe Carlos will be my translator... most parents don't speak English and now is the time to really strengthen my Spanish speaking skills.


Saturday, September 6, 2008

first few days of school.

here are some highlights and conclusions from the first and second days of school. it's been a whirlwind of a week so far. everyone keeps checking on how i'm doing and really, i'm easing through it one day at a time. this feels so natural, but there's still so much preparation that i must do on the daily. i've been sleeping a lot, when i'm not planning ahead. having no internet at home has also been a challenge, because i don't have access to the resources that i usually use for lesson planning. so much to do! but keep your ears open for an invite to our housewarming party -- after a month on anti-biotics, i feel the need to get a bit ridiculous.

* showing 7th period my scars and having B squeal
* having 6th period tell me that they prefer making animal sounds to raising their hands.
* having the kids say "we're going to EGYPT?" because they take everything literally and my metaphor of our class being a journey is being lost on them.
* in "Roses and Thorns" today, having "I" tell me that I look very professional.
* meeting Amelia and learning about the United Playaz' New Orleans trip from last year.
* S, who is cute as a button, explaining to the class why she likes KRS-One so much ("he made history because he talks real about things that matter to the community, who does that in rap nowadays?" Girl had my heart with that one.)
* my summer students rushing in to give me a hug yesterday morning, even if they didn't have me until 7th period.
* having them give me a "rose" for getting to write the rules of the class, instead of me writing them down.
* having t-skillz come up and say "we missed you, lauren." when i came to 4th period on friday after my dr. appt.

lessons learned

* you only ever get through 50% of your lesson plan, if you're lucky.
* never give them freetime (i did not learn this from experience, fortunately)
* do something different EVERYDAY.
* don't take "this is boring" personally.
* if T blurts something out that isn't harmful to anyone else, ignore him. reacting will only exacerbate the situation.
* there will be a fight in my classroom before the year is done. i'm glad the I team (our intervention team) is just down the hall.
* the attendance bubble sheets from the district are always wrong.
* Fridays, with half-days for students, are a blessing blessing blessing, even if disguised by department and grade-team meetings.
* you MUST rely on your colleagues to support you. going it alone = burning out quickly.
* your sub plans better include worksheets. though on my first half-day out, i got lucky enough to have a 17 year vet in my classroom.

with that, it's movie time. i'm in brookyn for the mini storm!
much love!