Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Why I do what I do

Today we were doing a scavenger hunt. After just explaining it to my first period, I could tell they were having trouble just understanding the concept of how to do a scavenger hunt. I stopped them in the middle of the activity and asked if they had ever done a scavenger hunt before. Every single one of them said no!!! None of my kids had ever done a scavenger hunt before! And then one of my girls replied with "None of our other teachers made math fun like you do." 
I am spending so much time completely re-doing my curriculum and getting rid of all the worksheets, but comments like that make it SO worth it!!

Monday, September 20, 2010

In the Swing of Things...

I have definitely reached the point of the school year where everything just seems normal now. I don't really feel like the "new" teacher, and I like that!! I've settled into all procedures and am used to what days I need to complete things and when I need to be ready for the next week. I am into the routine of sending out my newsletter on Monday mornings and for the most part entering grades at least once a week.

I went to my first 7th grade football game last week! It was sooo much fun! I've heard all about how the parents this year are so intense and we have several dads that come to practices with clipboards and take notes on their own sons. It was amazing how much just going to a game for 20 minutes meant to the kids! I loved hearing "Ms. Lindstrom!!" "Hi Ms. Lindstrom!!!" It's exciting to be able to make the kids feel special just by saying hello! Here's a picture of the little ones playing!!

Ta-duhh!! Here is my very first yearbook picture as a teacher!!! Haha I'm wearing my Heritage Middle School shirt (not that you can really see any of it). It's kinda weird to see it, and I do intend to buy a yearbook every year I teach. I think it will be very cool to look back over all the years starting with year 1! It was funny to watch all the kids' reaction to their own photos. I just kept trying to imagine what my picture was in 7th grade and how much I now despise that picture, but at the time I picked out my outfit about a week before!! ha ohhh middle school..

Even though we just submitted progress reports, we are already having to pick our star students for the 6 weeks.. there are all different things we get to choose, but one of the things I get to do personally is pick out 2 of my students. These students are not necessarily the best academic students but the students who always have a smile on their face and display awesome character traits! Their lockers will be decorated with these stars and I've written on a note on the back just saying how much I appreciate them always doing what they're supposed to be doing! My girl is in my first period and is always willing to participate and just always brightens my mornings! My boy for this 6 weeks is in my 5th period with one of my most immature students I have. While I get frustrated with one student, this student sits behind him and sometimes will correct him or maybe he just stands out to me because he's always prepared and ready! So these are my stars for the 1st 6 weeks:
I think the most challenging part of teaching the accelerated class is these kids are SO used to just doing the problems as fast as they can. They do not care how they do it or what shortcut they use, they just want to know it. At Baylor we learned, very well, to teach students "the why behind the rule" and that is how I teach. So today, when I am teaching them adding/subtracting integers, they want to know why they cannot just "add the opposite." In each class I asked them, well why are you adding the opposite? and no one had an answer for me! So finally in the last class I replied with, "because your last teacher said so?" and they all were like yes!! I really think this is the most frustrating thing because I cannot change how other teachers teach, but I do not want to just teach my kids a rule to learn. They will know why they're doing the math - whether they like it or not!! :)

Friday, September 10, 2010

What? Progress Reports!?

It's progress report time already!! I have to have my grades in by the time I leave on Monday. This means I have brought home a TON of work to grade over the weekend. Not only that, but because our complete email server crashed last weekend I also have had to re-enter my 125 parent email addresses!! I just completed those and so I will be ready to send out my newsletter on Monday morning! Yesss! On top of everything today, I've had a migraine and had my first day where it really was a struggle to get through the entire day. I kept telling myself as long as I didn't get sick in the middle of class, I would be ok! :) I got home and immediately took my mom's big prescription pill and feel much better; however, I am probably going to sleep right after I finish writing this!

Next week are my first tests in both my accelerated class and on-level class!!!!! I am so excited to see how well the students do and I do understand some won't do well. I feel like I have taught everything to the best of my ability and it is the kids responsibility from here!! I am still loving everything and seriously have the best co-workers around me ever. I sat in on my first parent conference this morning. While one teacher is having more trouble than I am with a kid, she invited me to come just so I could be in one together before I had to do one alone! I've already learned parents will always make excuses, but we have to try and get them to tell us how we are going to work around the issues. My principal saw me in the hall and stopped me just to tell me what a great job I was doing! (It's always good to hear that, no matter how confident you are!!) One of my professional development ladies also came in this morning and she just kept telling me "what good authority I had over the classroom" and I had "such poise"..... I just kept thinking to myself... well I better have authority over them!!! ha 

I am very grateful for the opportunity to have a time in my life where I can soley focus on my career and totally being the best I can be. 

I have been in constant, constant communication with my possible illustrator this week over all sorts of details! I should have a test page by Monday and then hopefully I can make a decision if he will be my official illustrator. So far, I have really liked his in-depth questions for me and how he's incorporating me into everything. I don't think of myself as an author so I've kind of said do whatever, but the more questions he asks, the more I realize I do know exactly what I want!