Thursday, March 18, 2004

Big Sticks. What was she thinking??

OK- so the 7th graders had a big writing test to do this week. Some English majors somewhere are going to read and see if they are up to snuff, which I don't think is very fair, as they probably have as their standard sample some 7th grade kid who has had the benefit of private tutors, the best schools, and genetic enhancements.

Anyway, as I was saying, these kids took this test, and to reward them (since all but 3 of the 400 of them took it ) the ASB, headed by Mrs. D, decided to give them each a Big Stick popsicle during advisement class. Now, I was a teen who liked to eat Big sticks ( and I still do), so I remember all the "clever" (and I use the term loosely) innuendoes you made about eating a big stick. And there I was with a group of 12 year-olds thinking they were oh-so-smart with their remarks. I just stood there shaking my head. I mean, what could I do? I could call them on it, but then they would know that I would know or else they would just say innocently, "But Ms. Aranda, we are eating big sticks, right?" I just didn't have the energy to deal with it. My point is, what was Mrs. D thinking giving big sticks to a bunch of hormonal pre-teens????

I did send two boys to the principal during 6th for arguing over a quarter.
Stuff. It's what's for dinner.

Let me tell you about "stuff." Stuff is what I make for dinner when:
1. I don't feel like cooking.*
2. I don't feel like shopping.*
3. I don't have a lot of money.*
(* And Tim feels the same way.)

Basically, I take a can of stewed tomatoes or tomato sauce, a can of tuna (undrained), and whatever I happen to have in the fridge/pantry veggie-wise. For example, tonight's dinner is stewed tomatoes, tuna, mushrooms, zuccini, onion, green onion, potatoes, garbanzo beans, chicken stock, and a bit of canned chili. You heat it up then let it simmer for however long (until I remember I left it on the stove) then eat it up with some feta or pamesan and hot sauce. It usually turns out to be pretty good. Occassionally it tastes real bland.

Well, I had a pretty good day today. My kids are working on project-based learning type of a thing. A teacher friend of mine tried it out with some of her classes and had some success, especially with her more troublesome students, and she suggested I give it a whirl since I was up to here with my 6th period class. So I gave it a shot. And acutally, it has been a positive experience for me. More of the students are engaged than during a "usual" teacher-centered lesson. Of course, there are a couple who aren't getting any work done, but they aren't disrupting those that are, and that is a big plus. They are all researching their own questions they have about the universe. Most of their questions are standard-related and stuff that I would have tried to tell them anyway, but this is better. And, since this school doesn't have an art program (don't get me started on that) it gives them a chance to draw and color, which they enjoy. The only down side is that these kids don't have a lot of if any experience in research projects and presentations. I had to stop them all and explain how to make a presentation poster because several groups had no idea where to begin. Part of it is lack of confidence in their own skills. But now that they are ready to get their posters set up, and they don't do a lot of art, this is their one big shot at showing off to their friends. One group spent 20 minutes debating how to write the title of their project. It went like this--
me: What's going on here? How come you haven't done anything?
them: Ms. Aranda, we are working on our poster.
me: But it's all rolled up; I don't see any writing on it.
them: We've been deciding how to write "stars," like STAR or Star or StaR ......
...I think you get it. It really was cute, in a way.

Monday, March 15, 2004

Lesson Learned: sometimes you just have to get a little crazy.

A student of mine came in to 2nd period, sat in his front row seat with a slouch. I asked him what was wrong and he replied that he was bored. Already! I thought, "Geez, if he's bored already, how is he going to be once the bell rings?" So, when the bell rang and when they least suspected it, I jumped in front of him, waved my head and hands around and shouted, "booga booga booga!!!" While the rest of the class nervously giggled, wondering what the f#@$ happened to their teacher, he just raised his eyebrow. "Well, are you still bored?" I asked, to which he answered, "yes." So, I had to give it one more try, so I did a jig and sang (tunelessly) the agenda of the day. That didn't work, but I think he might have smiled.

Anyway, had a pretty good day. Most of my classes are doing research projects so all I had to do was police them. 6th period went over really well. Then I had a lllllloooooonnnnnnngggggg staff meeting, where we were supposed to learn about next year and "The Change." I'm not sure what that is, except that we will be teaming and I think I will be teaching all 7th grade next year. I'm not sure how I feel about that. I kind of like having 2 preps. It shakes things up and makes my day more interesing. Of course, teaching the same thing all day gives me a chance to actually get better.

The girls are getting more friendly! But they are sleeping later. They aren't ready to get up and going until now, when I'm ready for bed.

Tuesday, March 02, 2004

Lessons Learned: I am not alone. Even teachers count down the last days of school.
<:3 )~ <:3 )~ The girls!
Right now my rats are interior decorating. They have some newspaper in a box to dig around in, and they have been spending the last week moving it all into their pantleg tube! Tim and I made them a bigger, better cage, and they do seem to be a lot happier.

What the heck? I expected some trouble re: evolution, but not a whimper. Hmmmm...... Oh, well, makes my job that much easier.

Beginning to teach about the Universe to my 8th graders today. The Focus Question today was " could astronauts land on a star like they landed on the moon? why or why not?" I got all kinds of answers. Most kids knew that we couldn't land on a star, but a lot thought it was because they were too small!!!!! I guess they all think of stars as tiny lights and not as huge balls of burning, twirling gas! ( I know, you're thinking of the Lion King, too).

Also did revolution vs. rotation. The activity I had them do was to calculate their ages on different planets. They seemed to like it. During the vocab part in 6th per., I began singing "Revolution" by the Beatles, much to their chagrin (hee,hee,hee).

I recommitted to WeightWatchers this week. Again. sighhhhhh. Well, ya' know, weight loss isn't achieved in a day. Or a week. Or a month. But that is the beauty of WW. It is a lifestyle change and not a "diet", so a bad week (or months, as it were) isn't going to kill me, just make me gain 7lbs :(. I just have to get back on track. My friend Katherine gave me a meal plan and while I haven't been following it, I have been inspired to try some new things it had. For instance, I make myself a breakfast sandwich with egg whites and soy bacon (which is pretty good in a sandwich, but I don't think it would be by itself, as it looks very weird). I bring more snacks to school. I'm eating more yogurt and fruit. And I promised myself as per the meal plan to earn 2 APs (activity points) each day. I am feeling better this week than I have in a loooooonnnnnggg time. And, I'm going to another meeting tomorrow night. One problem I have is that my motivation starts to flag at the end of the week, so this midweek meeting should help.

Gotta sleep! zzzzzz