Day 60 of 180 2016-17

One third of the way down!  That’s insane to me.  Completely insane, but there it is.  My ninth graders are working on open responses right now.  I pulled up my PPT that has the grading rubric for how I score them right there.  I feel so much more organized than previous years, which is odd because I see many more students.

I think my organization is definitely related to my bullet journal.  It was a new organizational system to me part way through last year, but it’s definitely working.  I know what I’m doing each day of the week.  I know what needs to be photocopied when.  Over my previous years of teaching, I’ve used an organizer.  And I still use it now to keep notes and such, but the act of drawing out my days and month has definitely helped me.  It makes me take the time to look over my week and plan what I know needs to be done before I do it.  It’s helped me organize what I do with my classes, and has helped me to keep a rhythm to my weeks.  I’m so grateful that I’ve stumbled into this system.

November is an odd month here at my school.  As a vocational school, we rotate A week and B week.  I saw my A week students 5 times in this entire month.  Between a district Professional Development day, Veterans’ Day, and Thanksgiving recess, that was all the time we had.  For the most part, the fact that these weeks are so uneven will get fixed in the wash, but it still shocks me.


Day 57 of 180 2016-17

It’s been a long time since I last posted.  This year is fairly crazy in terms of how many students I see and how many rooms I float into.  It’s been burning out my ability to keep track of my days here.

I thought I wouldn’t like my schedule this year, but as is often the case, I dig being the underdog and attempting to elevate my station.  The new teachers working with me are great, and I love seeing all the kids.  I won’t lie, the work load can get intense with so many students.  I see twice as many as I saw last year.  But I’m having fun with my curriculum.  With the classes this year it feels more like discrete problem solving with my students.  Specifically what are you struggling with, and how can I focus on that issue? Don’t get me wrong, I like the global teaching of ELA that I’ve done in the past, but the more specific tactical help is an enjoyable change.

I can’t believe I’ll be through a third of the year on the 29th!  It’s flying by, zoom!

Day 34 of 180 2016-17

Yesterday I had an amazing conversation with a few of my students about the difference between fair and equal.

We were discussing why there are organizations for black students or Hispanic students but not groups for white students.  (Keep in mind the students involved in these conversations do not identify as Caucasian, so it wasn’t a “we feel privileged and don’t like it, waaah!” conversation.)  I asked why black students would want to have a group.  The student thought about it, and then said it was because of all the shitty things that happened to them in the past and are still happening.  Okay, I said.  Why would white people want a group then?  The light bulb went on, and we proceeded to have a conversation about privilege.  We talked about how technically there are options for all groups to meet because things are equal, but how that isn’t the same.

I love those moments with students.  It’s my favorite part of teaching 10th grade.  Seeing the students’ emotional and intellectual growth flourishing in front of my eyes.  My Grinchy heart grew a million sizes during that class yesterday.

Day 27 of 180 2016-2017

Okay, so I was doing well with Read180, but now I’m overwhelmed.  I’m watching what is going on and seeing where my mistakes are but now I need to be able to plan better than I am.

I need to: switch up the small groups; do a group lesson on the point of Read180; explain the goal; explain what needs to happen to get out of class; separate all the pairs of friends; create seating charts for both small groups and while they are on the computers (the computers!!!!), plan better whole group lessons; try not to beat my head against a wall.

Also, I need to grade like a wild thing. Maybe at home tonight, I’ll have a me, my headphones, and my desk night.  That does not sound enjoyable.  And it isolates me from the wife.  Sometimes a teacher’s work is never done.

Day 20 of 180 2016-2017

Today was the first day it was cold enough to feel like Fall was officially here and winter was officially on it’s way.  It’ll get warm again, I’m sure, but for today it was chilly.  I ordered a pumpkin spice iced coffee from Dunkin’ Donuts.  (My first of the Basic White Girl season.)

Today I’m having students practice public speaking; 90 seconds in front of the class talking about themselves.  Some of the students have enjoyed it, but others told me they almost peed themselves.  So far everyone has done it.  Hands out for public speaking is going on my list of lesson supplements to put on my TeachersPayTeachers store.

For now, I have to grade open responses.


Day 17 of 180 2016-17

Tomorrow is day 18, which means a tenth of our year will officially be in the books.  For us, that means that progress reports are due.  It’s bizarre.  This one comes so early.  I always think it should be:

  • 180 days = year ends
  • 90 days = semesters end
  • 45 days = quarters end
  • 22 or 23 days = progress reports end

Maybe it’s done differently because of a concern about snow days later in the year?  Maybe there is logic at work that I don’t understand as a teacher of ELA?  Maybe something else entirely?  The world is full of too many maybes for me to understand.

What is helping me to understand life better is continuing to use my bullet journal, now in a Traveler’s Notebook, to organize my thoughts.  It’s helping me keep much better track of my notes this year.  Plus, because a TN uses inserts, while I continue to use the index concept of a Bullet Journal, I can also separate my thoughts into different types.  For me, this is HUGE.

Read 180 and Enrichment continue marching ever forward.  All I need is a desk, and life will be good.

Day 10 of 180 2016-17

Today is day 10.  1/18th down.  I’m surprised by how much I’m going to like teaching Read180.  People told me it was super prescribed and left no room for originality, but that is not the case.  The students and I give it originality every day.  Neither of my classes are alike.  Their personalities change the way I teach whole group and small group lessons.  What they get through on the computer changes them.  While the stations are clearly defined, that’s the least of what they should be doing.  I’m enjoying it.

My 10th graders are working in groups on posters that advertise their shops.  It’s cute.  They’ve all got serious opinions on what is important, and it’s nice to see them so passionately focused on their work.  I’ll post pictures of the posters once the kids have presented on them.