Thursday, September 30, 2010

Happy Friday

Happy Friday! Another week marked down. A few things happening in the next few weeks.

1. Get to see some great friends this weekend
2. Big day next week for planning
3. Big goals going to get crushed next week - test taking strategies
4. First ACT test to be taken - so let's see this growth
5. One full week of diagnostic tests BREAK TIME
6. First 9 weeks COMPLETE

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Friday - 1 Day Early

Mom, Dad - close your eyes. Don't read this post.

I am NOT going to work on Friday. Get over it if you're offended. The achievement gap is going to take a day off while I relax. BOOM to Thursday = Friday. Woot woot!

Positive movements

Don't let anybody get you down. Don't let anybody get you down. Don't let anybody get you down.

I repeated those words a lot today.  And I am still moving in the positive direction. Don't let em get you down!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Lesson Plans due Friday!

I am sitting here on Sunday night and I keep having mini-panic attacks. WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO BE DOING?! And then I remember we are now required to turn in our lesson plans on Friday mornings! So, here I am completely planned for the entire week.... Sweet!

So these are the things I did on this lovely Sunday:
1. Drove to Memphis
2. Went to Whole Foods, Target, Anthropologie, Ann Taylor Loft, J. Crew, Macy's.
3. Bought two cute outfits from BCBG at Macy's
4. Drove around aimlessly being super happy to be in a city
5. Called the following people (it's out of control): Ann, Jacqueline, Laura, Michelle, Abby, Mom, Dad, Mike, Mary, Tom, Drew, Alex, Eric, Hannah, Charlotte, Mom again, Meghan, and Car
6. Did some aimless work that puts me even farther ahead then normal
7. Drank some coffee, ate some sushi
8. Bought some country music songs
9. Drove home, happy

Solid. Reinvigorated. Ready for Monday. Yes.Yes.Yes.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Stumble, Stumble.

@ncd - Thank you!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Short Story Super fun?

Alliteration? Successful? I shall see.

Have you read these stories?
The Necklace
How Much Land Does a Man Need?
The Gift of Magi
Story of an Hour

I am excited. I went through them and found 10 literary terms in each one (at least). Man oh man, if I had these skillz in high school - def would have done better. Now, to teach the children these skills! :)
Happy Hump Day!

Wins for Today

PAY DAY. that's a great day.

...now to get to a bank, that's an 1.5 hours away.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Nicolle's Weekend Adventures

New Album and Songs

My Monday just got infinitely better. Thanks to Jacqueline, I now have access to innumerable albums and remixes. Everyone check out www.datpiff.com.

Recent downloads:
1. Kid Cudi - The Past of Mr. Rager
2. Kid Cudi - Best of, Top 30 Remixes
3. Bruno Mars ft. Lupe Fiasco - Just the Way You Are

Thanks JACATTACK.

Bus

Drove a bus today. Here are some of the things I encountered;
1. gravel roads without places to turn around
2. a bus that squeals when you go anywhere over 45
3. 35 screaming children that I couldn't yell at because I didn't know their names
4. 1 student throwing an eraser out the window and it bouncing back into someone else's face
5. Me have a nervous breakdown multiple times because a semi was coming at me on the 2 lane road
6. sweating through my entire shirt because I was so nervous
7. a turtle that had no chance of survival
8. "Miss you ain't go to bus driving school did you. You suck" Thank you....


I've never earned my $15 dollars quite like that.

Monday

....rocked my socks today. So clearly did not have a plan and the students responded accordingly. Boredom, annoyance, talking, walking around, etc.

At least I can admit it was my fault.

Start fresh tomorrow.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Video = Characterization

Watch this video. Too funny, and I am using it for my characterization lesson.

video

Thursday post - hump HORRIBLE

I thought the hump was on the downslop. Dude, Thursday was way worse.

Top 5 Bad:
1. Student saying "Shut the F*** Up, [Student]" & "You're a Bi***"
2. Students screaming at each other and being the only adult to even ATTEMPT to diffuse the situation
3. Student crying about their progress report grade
4. My car wouldn't start, again
5. Yikes, I'm complaining a lot this week.

I'm over it all. This time last year I would have taken this home with me and been angry for awhile. Probably would be rude tomorrow to those students, etc. Now, I just need to vent once (or twice) and I can move on. Happy about that.

And what else am I happy about? 5 weeks down! Happy Friday everyone!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Bus Driver Training

Title of Session: Bus Driver Safety, The Unknown Threat of Terrorism
Topic: What to do when a terrorist threat comes up

Instructor: Sometimes we've got to deal with the mistakes of people before us. In 1980 there was this little thing called the Refuge Act. It allowed anyone who wanted to come here to come. Well, most of those people came from "militant countries," like Somali and the Middle East.

Me: Uh oh, this is not going the right direction.

Instructor: These refugees are terrorists. Did you know that there are 47,000 Somalians in Minneapolis, MN and over 25,000 Muslims in Deer Born, Michigan?  These terrorists could take over your bus at anytime. It's not what it used to be here, you're never really safe. They could have a gun, blow up your buss, tamper with the gas tank, send bad cookies.


This really happened. Seriously.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Tuesday Write-up

Student: Redneck has a negative connotation
Me: Good, I agree. Why?
Student: Because those people are fucking rude and can fuck off
Me: Excuse me? Did you just cuss?
Student: Yes
Me: You need to leave. Bye bye.

First write-up of the year! Easy as pie this year.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Faculty meetings

not professionally developing me. at all.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Some Inspiration on a Sunday Night

Welp, it's going to be a long Monday. Still up, and still have to make quite a bit of work up. Yikes. But I've been listening to a song and I am reinvigorated to work for these kids.

Give you freedom, give you fire
Give you reason, take you higher
See the champions take the field now
You define us, make us feel proud
In the streets our heads are a liftin
As we loose our inhibition
Celebration it's around us
Every nation all around us

Sing forever young, singin songs underneath the sun
Let's rejoice in the beautiful game, and together at the end of the day
We all say


When I get older, I will be stronger
They'll call me freedom, just like the wavin flag

...I think I am going to use this for some investment tomorrow. Maybe Monday won't drag as much as anticipated.

Delta Weekends, Sept 10-11 Edition

Screwing the Top

I just had a mini-panic attack. What about those students at CHS who are significantly higher then the other people? They are sitting in class being left behind from their competitive counterparts because their current class has such low learners that I have to attend to. Am I doing those students a huge disservice?

I think I might be. There are certain learners in my classroom that are significantly farther ahead of others. Especially the ones who should currently be in AP Literature pushing themselves, but were too lazy to do the work this summer. These students unfortunately got switched into my lowest learner classroom, so now there is a huge divide.

These are some of the strategies I think I will try to implement when working with them:
1. Pair them together either high/low or high/high
2. Provide them with additional work to do (aka on writing days they will do AP released items vs. other easier prompts)
3. Talk to them about the importance of reading higher level books or classical books

Any other thoughts?

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Refocus

Today we had our first development meeting for Teach for America - Delta. It was a great experience. I am excited to be a part of the mission of TFA outside of the classroom. Sometimes it is difficult to keep in perspective the reason why we are here. I forget those staggering facts that we once had so memorized. These are a few they reminded us of today.

1. 50% of low income  students will not graduate high school
2. Those who do graduate will be graduating at an average of an 8th grade reading level.
3. 9 year old students in low income areas are on average 3 years behind their counterparts in high income areas.
4. 1 in 10 students coming from these low income areas will graduate college

These four facts have alone completely reinvigorated me to educate my students. It's easy to put these things to the back burner when you have to worry about everyday things like lesson plans, announcements, student issues, etc.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Hate List

New book I am conquering in one night: Hate List
A favorite of my Pre-AP students, and slightly disturbing.

Premise: Hate list of all students/teachers/parents/adults you hate
Outcome: Boyfriend shoots them
Parallels: Columbine, Virginia Tech

Creepy: Yes
Not good for teenagers to read: Yes
Currently in our library: Yes

Thursday

via @CBB318 (a la Tweet) Thirsty. Thunderin. Thuggin. Thursday.
(alliteration)

Monday, September 6, 2010

You can get into heaven if....

Nawlins' pictures via Mary Grawe

Happy Birthdays!

Many happy birfday vibes sent to one Ms. Mary Grawe and Ms. Laura Grosse. Celebrations a many this weekend, recovery...many days afterward. Nawlins: 1798098 CBB: 0

A Change in Direction

I was pretty pumped about my new plan for this year. It's all gone now. But after a few days of sadness about the work I did all summer, now I am refocusing. This year I will be teaching short stories and poems. Hopefully with that change my students will have better comprehension if the stories are short and conquerable in 2 to 3 days.

If you have recommendations for short stories, please send them my way!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

This Gas Situation

My car manual says that it holds 14.5 gallons. This is how much I had to fill up tonight. Sooooo scary when I was by myself on the country roads!!

Now Love of a Song

Sara Bareilles, King of Anything

Super obsessed right now.

Who cares if you disagree? You are not me.
Who made you King of anything?
You dare tell me who to be?

Major High

Look at this picture... closely. Look in the background... closely. Those are my friends...

Labor Day Success

...and it hsn't even been Labor Day yet!

Some highs and lows from this weekend:
1. High quality caravans
2. Tom "Go Hard" Dobberke
3. Some girl walking up to me at a bar and saying "DO YOU TEACH IN ARKANSAS? Were you here for Mardi Gras? I MET YOU BEFORE." Ridiculous
4. Football team killing it on Friday night
5. Running into every person I know that lives within 500 miles of Nola...including some DALLAS friends! :)

lows:
1. Not having conditioner for my hair
2. my Anthro necklace breaking on Beale Street
3. flat tires

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Football and Nola

Friday Night Lights - Starting this week! First regular season game at the end of this week. Surprisingly this, and my pending trip to 'Nola are getting me through! :) Oh yah, I am traveling to New Orleans again this weekend! Here are some memories of past trips - should be another fun weekend!

Blahhhh

Kind of down today. I found out my kids are, on average, at between a 5th grade reading level and a 6th grade level. This is significantly lower then my kids from last year (they were at about an 8-9). I am not sure what to do about it.

I was excited to teach a lot of novels, but now I am seeing that they are even having trouble breaking down a short story written in complex vocabulary. I think I am going to have to scratch the unit I already planned (4 weeks of planning.... down the drain), and just start with simpler things. Then at least they will have foundational skills to work from.

How do certain (ie entire CLASSES) slip through the cracks like that? How does an entire grade function at such a lower level then others? It's an interesting pattern you can begin to notice amongst the different groups within the school. It's a frustrating moment for me, as this is a pivotal year for these students-they must pass my End of Course exam at the end of 11th grade. But really, how can I expect them to truly pass that exam, if they can not even read NEAR a high school level?