Monthly Archives: October 2010

Permission Slips

Who put me in charge of the forth grade field trip?  And why didn’t I see the worksheet until a week before we go?

I think I got everything together, figured out who is going in what group, and what teachers are coming and how many parents they are bringing.  But we didn’t get the “second” permission slip.  Our district makes us use one, and the field trip location  requires we fill out theirs.  We didn’t get theirs.  Until yesterday.  So that leaves me today, Friday, and Monday (the day of the field trip) to send home and get back the second permission slip.

I forgot to send it home today.

That means that I have to send them home tomorrow (Friday) and they have to remember to bring them back on Monday.  Good luck!  I’ll be lucky to get half of them.

My plan is to leave the ones I get at school, and just tell them that I left them at school, and hope they think I meant I forgot it.  Or, I’ll just bring the ones I get, and hope they think it’s the entire class’s.

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(Not) Halloween

Tomorrow is Friday, the last school day before Halloween.  I was hoping to rally the troops and get teachers to dress up tomorrow for school.  I have my “Lutheran bishop” costume ready.  Amy said she’d be willing.  She’s got an “80’s teenager” outfit ready to go.  Kristin said she’d wear her “Alice in Wonderland” outfit, if others were going to dress up.

But that’s about as far as I got, as far as willing to dress up goes.

Too many people were scared about what the principal would say.  Come on!  What could she say?  Even if she didn’t like it, how mad could she get.  She’s not going to write us all up, or send us all home, or something.  Worse case, she calls us into the conference room and tells us not to do it again.

Totally worth it!

I’m disappointed in my fellow teachers.  Come on, take a chance.  Live a little!  It’s not like we’re all going to be dressing indecently.  It’s just a costume.

Oh well, maybe next year.

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Letter From a Mom

Okay, here’s my new rule.  Instead of changing the name of students I am talking about, I’m just going to refer to them by their first initial.  I keep forgetting who I’m talking about after a couple of months.

So, I got a letter from I’s mom.  It was attached to the back of her field trip permission slip.  It instructed me to keep a very close eye on I, as she is prone to seizures (not really).  Among other things, it told me that she is prone to seizures when she was bored, didn’t like the activity, or was frustrated.  Does that sound right to you?  Sounds more like temper tantrums to me (and to everyone else I shared the info with).  I put a copy of the letter in Nurse Beth’s box, and also talked to the school psyche as well.  She thinks the mom is a bit…shall I say… crazy?  Yes.

“I” has a very interesting reaction to female authority.  A few times, my assistant (Janelle) had to have her start over with an assignment, or turn a pin for behavior problem, and “I” has NOT reacted well.  Apparently, that was very common last year, with her female teacher.  She gets obstinate and stubborn.  I haven’t seen it, especially when I have to discipline her.  But when my assistant does, it pops up.

So she had a little hissy fit on Friday.  She wasn’t doing her math assignment the way I had instructed her, so Janelle had her erase and start over.  That did not set well with “I”.  And so the fit began.  Let’s just say there was a lot of grinding the pencil agrily against the paper, and stomping as she went to turn her pin.  I had to go over there and ask her to stop.  I gave her a time out in the SGI.  She had a bit of trouble snapping out of it, but by after lunch, she was just fine and dandy.

Janelle said it must have been a seizure.

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I got my new “pad.”  No, it’s not an iPad.  But what it is is a pad that lets me walk around the class, be mobile, while still able to manipulate my computer desk top and any documents or internet sites I am on, while that is being projected onto the screen in front of the class.  It can also act as a white board for me to write on for the class to see.  So I can show a web site, or a math lesson (it’s computer based, with a video), stop the lesson, call up the white board, and show other examples thought up by the class.

It’s pretty fun, and let’s me get away from my computer.

Today I made a Tree Map with my class, on living and non living things in an ecosystem.  I also wrote the answers to today’s math page.  That way they could see the answers, and didn’t have to ask me to repeat any of them.  And I can do any of that from anywhere in the room.

I can see how easy it would be easy to use the pad almost all day.

I’m actually looking forward to teaching tomorrow.  It’s like when I was looking forward to 2-a-day football practices during the summer in high school, because I had new cleats.

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Okay, really.  For the first time, I believe I’m being asked to do things that I genuinely feel I don’t have time in the day to do.

In between Oral Language (think E.L.D.) and Language Arts intervention (4th grade HAS to have it at 10:15 until recess) I have about 55 minutes to teach my Language Arts curriculum.  That’s about 2 lessons.  Our curriculum for L.A. is broken into 3 sections

After recess I have about an hour and a half for math.  It’s a little long, I know, but I have to have math intervention at 11:45.

After lunch (1:20) I have PE (the minutes are state mandated), read aloud and silent reading (they need some time to read at school), writing (that’s important, right?) and science or social studies (either, but not both).  I usually take about a half hour for a science/social studies lesson, and about a half hour for a writing lesson.

Notice there is no mention of art or music.  PE is taught by the classroom teacher (that would be me).  Art is usually squeezed in somewhere 4 to 6 times a year (sad, I know, but art isn’t on the state test, and it’s all about the test).

Somewhere in there, they want me to put a half hour of  what’s called “Universal Access.”  It’s time for each student to access their grade level curriculum at their ability.  (So students who are lower academically get less work, but they are learning the same thing as the “higher” students.)

Maybe at 11, and push back my math time?  That will really shorten my math time, especially with the math intervention I have to have at that time, and the small group time I have to have.  But then I’ll only have 15 minutes to teach my lesson before I lose those going to intervention.  (Do you see my problem?)

Maybe I could put social studies at 11:30 (after I do Universal Access from 11:00 – 11:30).  Then the students who get pulled for math intervention would only be missing science or social studies.  Then at 12:00  I could do math for a half hour, and finished it at what?  1:20, right after lunch?  That’s not very ideal, to split up a math lesson by 45 minutes.  And 1:20 is usually 4th grade’s PE time.  Any other time very well might be crowded with other grades getting in their PE.  But crowded wouldn’t be that bad.

Or I could finish math after PE, at 1:45.  That would be alright, too.  But I don’t want to wait too long.

No, wait, I got it.  UA at 11:00, Science/social studies at 11:30. Writing after that, until lunch.  Then, after PE and reading, I’ll do math!  Bingo!  Math from 2 until we go home at 3:15.

There.  Thanks for helping!


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My Assistant

I have a Special Ed girl in my class this year.  Autism.  And probably the most obvious case that I’ve had, but not too bad at all.  But she comes with a reputation.

Rather, her mom comes with a reputation.

No, wait.  Her mom’s lawyers come with a reputation.  That’s right.  Lawyers.  They are advocates for her and her mom, to make sure they are getting everything she deserves.  But I hear they can be nasty.  Last year’s teacher, and the school speech teacher, and the school’s psychologist, say they can be a bit…on the attack.  Fortunately for me, they never really bother the teacher.  It’s all the supplementary survives that get in their sights.  The IEP’s last for hours (mind you, most student IEP’s last about 30 minutes).

But the girl, the student, comes with a full time aide.  And she is great!  She is very cool, and very helpful.  She is used to being in the classroom with the student.  With all the students.  She needs to help the student when the student needs help, but she is not suppose to hover.  So when the student does not need attention, or when the student is at RSP, she is free to help me in other ways!  Wow!

She has corrected homework for me, helped me with students, worked one on one with students, and taken small groups for me.  She is really helping my year go smoother.  Last week I missed a couple of days, and she helped when the sub was here, in ways I never thought of.  Small things that really help my class run smoother.

It’s so nice having another adult in the class with me.

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