Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Sing it with me: I love surveys!

Oh, why not? So I added these questions to my previous survey, and now, because I love surveys, I will answer them.

If you had to choose...

1. Chalkboard or Whiteboard? Whiteboard. I would be the teacher with giant chalk prints all over herself otherwise.

2. LCD projector or ELMO? Tough call! If I had to choose...probably the ELMO. That way we can mark up student papers as a class.

3. Teacher on a cart or a Classroom with 3 bulletin boards? OK, so at first I thought "Cart, as long as I could have a filing cabinet somewhere" because I really hate bulletin boards. Really hate. But then I remembered you'd have to travel through the halls during class changes...and I sighed and accepted the bulletin boards. Final answer.

4. Computers in classroom or a computer lab? Computer lab. Maybe if I went to an in-service where they showed us realistic, useful ways to use stations with high school students, I might feel differently.

5. Fire drill or tornado drill? Fire drill. Mostly because it's a nice break, we get to stretch and get some fresh air, and it's not a big deal if the kids talk. Why fire drills are okay to talk through but not tornado drills, I dunno.

6. Field trip or pep rally? Pep rally. The idea of planning/running/being responsible for a field trip terrifies me.

7. Office volunteer or club sponsor? Club sponsor! The idea of answering phones and dealing with all that administration stuff: also terrifying.

8. Old quirky classroom or independent mobile/portable? Mobile. I've heard teachers say they enjoy it, plus I've had the old quirky classroom. The paint peeling off the walls, the threat of termites...no thank you!

9. Faculty meeting, PLC*, or In-Service? PLC definitely. I love to swap ideas with fellow teachers, and I liked my fellow 10th grade English teachers. Perfect combination.

What ONE thing do you want your kids to know when they walk out of your classroom at the end of the year? I want students to know the art of questioning and critical thinking: to know there is always more below the surface, and to explore those depths with enthused curiosity.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Oh, oh, I have an idea!

Frivolous questions to add to teacher survey/meme:

If you had to choose...

Chalkboard or Whiteboard?

LCD projector or ELMO?

Teacher on a cart or a Classroom with 3 bulletin boards?

5 computers in classroom or a computer lab?

Fire drill or tornado drill? (and if you choose a Code 3/Lockdown, what is WRONG with you?)

Field trip or pep rally?

Office volunteer or club sponsor?

Old quirky classroom or independent mobile?

Faculty meeting, PLC*, or In-Service?


What ONE thing do you want your kids to know when they walk out of your classroom at the end of the year? Yes, ONE.

*professional learning community or whatever your school might call it.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Still alive

Just going through a bit of a blogdentity crisis.

I have a stockpile of ideas that I collected in anticipation of "slow days." I expected to be able to still use my day-to-day experiences as motivations and discoveries and keep the stockpile for emergencies. But I didn't anticipate having a collection of No Days.

That and I just haven't been "feeling it," which I know (from telling my students) is no excuse.

So stay tuned as I give my rear a much needed kick in the pants.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

10 Books for a (MS) Classroom Library

These are some of the younger books that I just adore but probably wouldn't promote as "necessary" for a HS classroom.

The Mysterious Benedict Society (Mysterious Benedict Society, #1) 1. Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee

The Goose Girl (The Books of Bayern, #1) 2. The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale

100 Cupboards (The 100 Cupboards, #1) 3. 100 Cupboards by ND Wilson

Tangerine 4. Tangerine by Edward Bloor

The Outsiders 5. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

When You Reach Me 6. When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead

The Graveyard Book 7. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

The Face on the Milk Carton (Janie Johnson, #1) 8. Face on the Milk Carton by Caroline B. Cooney (or one of her more contemporary works, Code Orange)

White Fang (A Watermill Classic) 9. White Fang by Jack London

Hitler Youth: Growing Up in Hitler's Shadow 10. Hitler Youth by Susan Campbell Bartoletti

Monday, September 6, 2010

10 Books for a (HS) Classroom Library

10 Books for a Classroom Library (HS)

The Hunger Games (Hunger Games, #1)1. Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Looking for Alaska2. Looking for Alaska by John Green

Twisted3. Twisted by Laurie Halse Anderson

Such a Pretty Girl Speak4. Such a Pretty Girl by Laura Wiess / Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

The Boyfriend List: 15 Guys, 11 Shrink Appointments, 4 Ceramic Frogs and Me, Ruby Oliver (Ruby Oliver, #1)5. The Boyfriend List by E. Lockhart


Cold Sassy Tree6. Cold Sassy Tree by Olive Ann Burns


American Born Chinese7. American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang


The First Part Last8. The First Part Last by Angela Johnson


Book of a Thousand Days9. Book of 1000 Days by Shannon Hale


Impulse (Impulse, #1)10. Impulse by Ellen Hopkins


(ok, so it's technically 11...I'm not good at making decisions. Even still, I feel bad about leaving others out...but these would be a top 10 to give an adequate variety, I think)

Friday, September 3, 2010

10 Must Have Back-to-School Teacher Supplies

10 Must Have Back-to-School Teacher Supplies

1. Band-aids

2. Ibuprofen

3. Chocolate stash

4. Post-Its. Many, many Post-Its.

5. Calendar with School Appointments/Events/Dates

6. Colorful pens (orange, bright blue, pink, green, purple...anything but red)

7. Legal pads for notes-to-self, faculty meetings, and professional learning communities

8. Dry erase erasers (I run out of these before I run out of markers)

9. Fine-tip Sharpies in a variety of colors

10. Color-coded hanging accordion files

What are your must-have teacher supplies?

Thursday, September 2, 2010

10 Things

Teacher Meme

1. I am a good teacher because… I constantly strive to make learning fun through researching creative & challenging lesson plans/strategies.

2. If I weren’t a teacher, I would be… a stay-at-home mom.

3. My teaching style is… centered on respect and student-empowerment. I respect them and expect respect (for me and their peers) in return. I give them opportunities to take ownership of their learning through responsibility and passion.

4. My classroom is… currently much smaller and without any personal touches.

5. My lesson plans… aren't always fantastic but generally reflect the amount of time and thought I put into making the material engaging.

6. One of my teaching goals is… ONE?! to strive to learn more and be a better teacher every year. And to try a variety of grade levels.

7. The toughest part of teaching is… not always reaching every kid, by either just not knowing how or just missing him/her in the crowd. (it's a tie between this and bringing the kids home with you, emotionally)

8. The thing I love most about teaching is… getting to know young people and working with a new generation, wondering who they will become.

9. A common misconception about teaching is… that we are done by 3pm, have free & easy weekends, and 3 months off. All real teachers know the truth of those myths, so I won't get into it.

10. The most important thing I’ve learned since I started teaching… has been two things: 1. it is possible to love them through strict/strong discipline (i.e. don't be too nice.); 2. Don't beat yourself up for mistakes/little things.