I turned 40 on day 87 and my tenth graders brought me a balloon and chocolate. It was super sweet. I don’t understand how, when I started teaching, my oldest students were eight years younger than me, and now they’re twenty years younger than me. Where did the time go? I’m convinced that teaching keeps me young. It must be that, because outside stress definitely can wear on me.
Reflecting on this week, I feel like I was not productive and I’m not sure what I missed. Maybe it’s the last week of the semester woes on me?
My juniors had an incredible debate today, even if they struggled with the words sometimes, during an anticipation guide for The Great Gatsby. (Big love to Simply Novel – Secondary Solutions for the unit plan!) It was cool to watch them defending their opinions to each other and trying to persuade the rest of the class to agree with them.
On the flip side, my freshmen are ready to make me bang my head against my desk. “Miss, who’s Rowdy?” Really? You chose to write an essay about a character that you don’t know? “Miss, I didn’t read the book.” Okay, but we read two-thirds of the book in class, so you didn’t read it or listen???? “I didn’t do my homework, Miss.” Yeah, well, I can’t help you with that. And the millions of excuses? They don’t cut it.
Today I learned that my students believe these are all viable excuses:
- I fell asleep so couldn’t do it.
- I had a game.
- My sister had a sleep study so I didn’t get home until 3am (and didn’t bring it to the hospital to work on, either).
- I never read the book.
- I don’t do homework.
I would like to cry now.
And we’re done for the day! Now I’ve had all my classes at least once since break. It’s challenging to get students into academic work mode when they’ve had vacation and then a week of vocational work.
I had partially prepped an activator sheet for them. Turns out I needed to prep it more. In reality, I need pictures of it, and not just use the example. However, I think that now that the kids have done it once, it shouldn’t be as confusing other weeks.
When using an interactive notebook, I wonder if I should have a prep day every quarter, where we number pages, insert some sheets that I know we’ll use, fill in what we can, and so forth. Would that be a waste of a day, or would it be a time saver? Obviously I can’t guess everything because things change, but I do know that I need activator sheets. I do know that pages need to be numbered. I know that the table of contents can be at least partially filled out. Time to do some research!
More research: Where do people put vocabulary sections in the INBs? Not vocabulary for a novel necessarily, but the important terms that would be used in any unit, in the case of ELA I’m talking about literary terms and maybe Greek and Latin roots.. Do people create one section or put it through out? I was thinking of putting it directly after the Table of Contents so that the list can keep growing that way.
100 days left, Ladies and Gentlemen! 100 days left and finally I feel like I’m getting into a rhythm. This year has been a crazy ride so far. However, I have an essay on my left turned in by one student. I have other students in front of me who are finishing them up. Focusing on the positives! (Two more essays were just turned in!)
I sold my first item on TeachersPayTeachers this week. I won’t lie, it made me feel super cool. I’ve got more things to put up too! I’m loving my interactive notebooks. I’ve purchased quite a few items – and they are awesome – but creating my own has helped me more. The more I focus on my own foldables, the more I understand not only the how but the why of it.
As of today I only have two items in my store, but I’ll be adding more over the next few weeks. Check me out, yo! Many of the items I’ll be adding are for helping my poorly organized students organize within their interactive notebooks.
… It took all the strength I had
Not to fall apart
Kept trying hard to mend
The pieces of my broken heart
And I spent oh so many nights
Just feeling sorry for myself
I used to cry
But now I hold my head up high
I will survive
Oh, as long as I know how to love
I know I’ll stay alive
I’ve got all my life to live
I’ve got all my love to give
And I’ll survive
I will survive
I will survive…
Day 2 post Winter break, and tomorrow is a full day of Professional Development. Also, from tooooooooo warm weather (almost 70 on Christmas = wrong and bad) to feeling -6 when I woke up this morning, this is a rough day. I was missing 8 of 16 kids this morning and had an observation from an outside consultant.
I posted those lyrics as a reminder that I can survive this. There are so many things that are negative that I could focus on, but the truth is that the more I dwell, the more frustrated I get. it’s no good. So I’ll survive. My students will survive. Even if I’m frustrated with how things are being done here this year, it cannot stop my actual goal.
My actual goal is to educate students. And as of Monday, I only have 100 days to do it!