Thursday, February 26, 2004

What I need to do right now is choose a teaching routine and stick with it. I am still exploring different ways to teach to my students, therefore I don't have a routine to guide my lesson planning. Each chapter is taught a bit differently. Ideally, my students would be more active in their learning and I would be more of a guide. I really do want that, but I don't know how to do it. I know that once I have a routine down (like last year it was read the chapter, lecture, do review questions, lab, review, test) my life will be easier, 'cuz then I'd know what I was doing. Now that class time is only 45 minutes long, I don't feel like I can get anything done. And, these kids don't handle lectures well like the high school kids. Also, they don't have a lot of background knowledge for me to build upon.

Anyway, my day went well. No one seems to know what the big deal is about evolution. My 8th graders just took a test on Newton's Laws of Motion. There were a lot of good grades and a lot of bad grades and very few in-between grades. Hmmmm.....don't know what that means. Anyhooo, today they are putting together alka seltzer rockets. Yes, a nice, messy two or three days. bleh! But it should be fun, and that is alright.

Thursday, February 19, 2004

BOOBY! yup, the kids discovered the photo of the blue-footed booby in their textbook. That was a lot of fun (smirk).

Well, surprisingly enough, I had a pretty good day. I have my 7th graders designing a bird for a wrap-up of adaptations before we get into natural selection and evolution. I think they do get the fact that organisms are adapted to their environment and if the environment changed they might die.

For my focus question today, I asked them to list 3 adaptations of a whale (we discussed, albeit briefly, the evolution of whales yesterday, so thought was a good question). Boy, talk about your teachable moments! Kids in each class said something about gills. It took a while to convince them that not only are whales NOT FISH, but THEY ARE MAMMALS. I figured I might as well go all the way, and talked about baleen and how toothed-whales (what, they have teeth?? what, dolphins are whales??) used sonar/echolocation to locate and capture prey. One kid even asked if I was making it up!!

Introduced Newton's third law to my 8th graders. They are getting more and more chatty; maybe I'm just getting less and less patient???

I don't know if I want to cover astronomy after Newton's Laws or bouyancy. The teacher I leech off of is doing astronomy, which would be fun since we will be making rockets next week. It might be nice to teach the kids something that they find interesting.

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

'nother bad day. But looking back through the blog, I've also had some good days.

Well, I resorted to bribing two students into being good. I thought instead of always punishing them I would reward them for good behavior (novel, I know). The deal is they get one star in their planner for each day they are well-/better behaved in class. Once they acheive 3 stars they get a full sized candy. 5 stars constitutes 2 pts on an upcoming test, so their grades would improve. They seemed excited about the candy part, so we'll see how that goes.

5th and 6th didn't go over so well. I will admit that it is very likely MY FAULT. Not entirely, but I wasn't as well prepared as I thought, so lacked confidence and control over the situation. I plan on fixing it tomorrow. We will do a lab which will keep them busy most of the time. Part of the problem is the fact that I have a lot of kids and I keep getting more. I don't have any room for more.

I had to give 6th period a QUIZ today. Bleh. I did get my two week calendar up, so hopefully that'll help me plan and let the kids know what is coming up.

Some of you are curious about how my evolution talk is coming on. Haven't gotten around to it yet as they didn't really understand what adaptations were nor had an idea about the history of life on Earth. I showed them the old Fantasia, the part with the dinosaurs. Some of the details are no longer correct, but the big steps are still the same.

OK- typing this out on the floor of our new place is not comfortable, so I'm going to bed.

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Well, another day closer to June. But really, had a good day.

Test days are always good. They mark the end of one unit and the beginning of another. Tomorrow we are beginning EVOLUTION! (or evil-ution as one kid called it). In grading the tests so far, the kids didn't do so well in Punnett Squares, so I might give them more practise in this unit.

Anyway, looking forward to the usual questions: did we come from apes? Which really did come first, the chicken or the egg? did whales have feet? when is the world coming to an end? (that last question has been on their minds for a couple of weeks when they studied the Mayan calendar. Got to tell them that maybe the world will be fine but we will just kill off the entire human race.... God I love playing with their little minds!!)

In my 8th grade class we took notes on Newton's Laws of Motion. On Friday I did these cool inertia demos: table cloth and another with a pie pan and eggs. So today I was going to let them try it. I chickened out during 5th and only let 3 kids do it with a papertowel and paper cup with a bit of water. By 6th I figured "what the heck" and let everyone try it (you know, that "magic trick" where the guy pulls out the tablecloth from underneath a place setting). Well, while I was pouring water in everyone's cup at their desks, I accidentally poured about a litre of water down one girl's back. There was a huge puddle and pretty everyone took it as a sign to get up and run around and go crazy with the intentions of helping out. bleh! well, couldn't really get them under control after that. Luckily only a couple of minutes left for class. Got some of them to realize that the trick was much easier to do when the cup had water. They even said that it was due to an increase in mass!! Wow! I then reminded them about inertia.

Well, I guess I gave them a day they will remember for a while, even if some of them didn't learn anything!

Monday, February 09, 2004

My teacher friends say that I should look at this year as a wash and concentrate on surviving, that I am doing a whole lot of stuff in class, which is good, but try not to kill myself in the process. They say I should not overwork myself, that there is ALWAYS something to do and you will never get it all done, so don't stress out. What do you think??? It would be a lot easier on my psyche, but kinda sounds wimpy.

Well, Tim and I spent most of today packing up. We are moving this coming weekend to an apartment in Carpinteria, which will cut my commute down to about 30 min which is much more doable. Last week I eyed my new exit with longing and I felt like those banners along the freeway which tease you with "If you lived here you'd be home by now." But this time next week it will be true!

I also started another project: a flower-shaped washcloth. I needed a break from the sweater I've been working on. It is orange and made out of a terrycloth type of yarn. It is the second pattern I've followed and the first round one, so I'm pretty excited about it!

Monday Night Movie is at our house tonight. I got "What About Bob" which I love, so I hope Tim likes it too.

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

My rats are bored. They love running around during the evening (tonight I let them out for 3 hours) and they enjoy their nightly salad, but then they just sit on the top shelf of their cage staring at us. Tim and I keep promising them a bigger cage in our new, bigger apartment. I hope they can wait that long.

Well, had an OK day at school, though rather long. Bleh! Apparently all the teachers feel this way right now, and they kids aren't making it any better. Fortunately, I am giving a test 5th and 6th periods, so my day will end well.


on the upside, had a nice time knitting with my new teacher friends. the kids liked the lab activity we did. invented another quickie review game. (classroom"horse" where kids try to toss a marker onto the whiteboard shelf or get a letter or have an option to answer a science question). also spent some quality time with the rats downstairs and am looking forward to cuddling Tim soon.

i'm off for bed now.

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Stormy night
Lights flickering
Will blog

Was career day at school. I thought it was kinda boring, as did the kids. There were some interesting professions, but I don't think they make good speakers. Also seemed to run out of folks to come and talk to kids, so had district personnel talk, which was boring.

One of my kids impressed a scientist with knowledge learned in class. Was proud.

Are brown outs occuring as we speak. Must return girls to cage.

Monday, February 02, 2004

New note:

I don't know why I am surprised to find cartoon geeks. If it's a part of pop culture, you can be sure there a bunch of geeks around talking to each other about it and setting up websites supporting it and linking themselves to geeks around the globe. I mean, I never knew other people felt that way about a Bugs Bunny cartoon. I mean the same way I do. I love that cartoon. The Bugs-as-genie dance (flippity-flappity floop) is hilarious! I also love Wabbit Seasonings. But I digress. My main point is to check out that site and get a laugh remembering those great cartoons.
OMG-Let me sum up:

1) Got engaged! I can't believe Tim asked me to marry him! I am the luckiest woman in the world to have a man like him in my life!

2) Girls still doing fine.
They are so big now. I introduced them to pasta tonight and they loooooovvvvveee it. I guess they are carb junkies. Hmmm.....gotta watch that.

3) Still surviving my kids.
School is halfway over now. Whew! I still have a challenging 1st and 3rd, but then the rest of the day is pretty good.

Did I tell you I got engaged???? Yeah, I did. The ring is beautiful. I never would have chosen the setting myself, but I love it. We went camping this weekend and I left it at home since it is half a size too big for me and I didn't want to lose it. That would suck royally.

OK- camping.....We left on Fri night and headed for Pismo, me dozing most of the way there. I fall asleep if I'm in the car for more than 30 min (yes, my commute home is sometimes a bit scary), but I tried real hard to wake up every now and then to keep Tim company, but he's used to my sleeping in the car now. Anyway, got there and woke up to discover there were some butterfly trees in the camp ground so we checked them out before heading north to Piedras Blancas to see huge sausages (ie: northern elephant seals aka Mirounga angirostrus) come ashore for birthing and breeding. We also checked out Cambria's Wine Tasting and Art Festival. Well, we checked out the art 'cuz that was free. But decided Cambria was another charming little town we couldn't afford to buy a house in. Maybe Pismo. Of course, I can't think of Pismo Beach without thinking of that Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck cartoon where they end up in Pismo Beach (wrong turn in Albuquerque) and Daffy finds treasure and gets in trouble with a genie and Bugs gets him out of it ("OOhOOh Eeep") but to no avail. Ali Baba Bunny @ The Big Cartoon DataBase

Anyway, had a good weekend and came home in time to get some stuff to make snacky things for a SuperBowl git together at Tim's friends' house. It was kinda fun. Got home way late and now I'm staying in from Monday Night Movie to eat some lower points foods (yes, still trying to shake off those pesky 5 lbs) and go to bed early, so good night.