Monday, March 27, 2017

I Made a Student cry Today

I made a student cry today. It was during small groups and she needed to be reading. When she didn't, I told her that she had to read for a certain amount of time before going to her group (in the other room with an aide). Which she didn't do. So she got to stay in class and read by me instead. When she decided she was going to her group I said, "No," and turned back to my small group.
Less than a moment later I heard the tears from behind me.

In front of me, at my kidney table, were 3 girls who were trying to partner read "The BFG". They glanced up at the crying student apprehensively. Was I just going to let her cry there? Was I not going to do anything? Was I not going to do anything like earlier when this student had made another student cry? (Yeah. Fun morning.)

I directed the three girls back to their books and asked them to keep reading while I listened. As the tears behind me subsided and stopped, I turned to her and took the time to talk to her about what was gong on and how her behavior could improve.

While I did this, the three girls in my group kept reading their book. And they kept reading their book. And they kept reading their book. And they let me take care of the student who had been crying.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

One Week

Spring break starts in one week.

One week.
One week of students attempting to learn.
One week of math lessons.
One week of students wishing they were outside.
One week of reading every day for 30 minutes.
One week of figuring out something for Blobfish Lover and Miss Fifth Grade Math to do when they've finished the assignment quickly.
One week of pushing all my students to take A.R. tests so they can meet their goal.
One week with my team all together.
One week of hopefully no suspensions.
One week of looking forward to the weekend.
One long, long week

Saturday, March 25, 2017

To Do List

Things I need to do for my class on Monday:
  • Finish planning math.
  • Check up on the student who has a magical star stamp that's supposed to help her be kinder.
  • Update the grades sheet.
  • Find the pre-tests I somehow lost.
  • Figure out how to help all of them pass off "Good Timber".
  • Find a new poem to memorize.
  • Practice my flute so it sounds fine when I play for them on Tuesday.
  • Come up with a new way to help Blobfish Lover behave.
  • Come up with a new way to help Arts and Tanks boy behave.

I can do all that by Monday. Right?

Friday, March 24, 2017

Hard Things

This week I did hard things.

I convinced a student that a star stamp was magical and that carrying it around would help the magic seep into her and help her be kinder to everyone.

I convinced a student to write down something nice about everyone in our classroom. When she's finished, she's going to tell everyone what she wrote about them (the list will be approved first).

I took my students to two assemblies in one day. Once with chairs, once without. For the second assembly I had to convince them it was okay not to take their backpacks down, even though they knew it was the last thing we had planned for the day.

I taught science to a class that had had a substitute for 2 days and they even payed attention to everything. Mostly.

I pulled a bunch of worksheets out of nowhere for the 3 students in 2 days who had some sort of in school suspension. They weren't in my class, but their teachers were gone and the poor substitutes had no idea what to do.

I taught all week even though I didn't get much sleep most nights.

It's a good thing my class motto is "I can do hard things" or I don't know if I'd've made it through this week.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Grading Opinion Essays

Miss maddox can we read lord of the rings

I'm grading essays today. Opinion essays they've had almost two months to learn how to write.

In my opinion that you should read lord of the rings.

Some of my students haven't been able to quite grasp the way to form paragraphs on a google document.

First the book is so entsting

Or that red underlining to the word means it's been spelled incorrectly, even though I've showed all of them individually how to fix it.

If the the movie is good the book is and it has evil parts the book can keep your muscles resting

Some of them haven't even written the essay yet. To be fair, of the 5, 3 are usually in resource during writing and the 4th has trouble coming every day, bless her heart. She got half of her essay written today, though, so that's a plus.

the book can help your reading skills and can help your a.r testing. 

The fifth was going to type hers up, but the computers weren't available and she had a really good story idea that she had to write down before it disappeared into the air forever. Do I know what the story idea was? Nope. Will I find out eventually? Absolutely. She shows me her stories. Then it's my job to come up with ways to help her improve her writing because she is actually good at it.

Next I prefer so you can have good accurse

My other students show me things they've written, too. Sometimes I have to stare at their words for a while before I realize what it is they are trying to say. For example, I've been staring at an essay for an hour and just realized that accurse is supposed to be accuracy. At least I didn't also have to decipher handwriting.

This is a type of book to keep you going.

That student's handwriting is usually very legible, though. Which makes it easier when I'm grading her handwritten things.


Assuming, that is, that she finishes her sentences.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Keeping up with Miss Fifth Grade Math

We went ice skating today for the AR (AR=Accelerated Reader, they get points for reading books and taking quizzes. The more questions they get right and the more advanced the book, the more points) activity. It was super fun. We all got tired out by the time we got back to the school for lunch. After lunch, after math, when they were reading silently, I noticed that one of my students, Miss Fifth Grade Math Even Though I'm in Fourth Grade, was already halfway to meeting her AR goal (30 points, extremely high for my class) for this current term.

The term started Monday.

I went over to talk to her as she was reading.

"Miss Fifth Grade Math," I said to her, "I've noticed you've basically met your AR goal for this term." She gave an I'm-completely-innocent-and-I-really-did-read-all-those-books smile. I smiled back and continued, "I've realized that your goal isn't high enough. I'm going to double it. It's going to be 60 AR points."

She took a deep breath and then consented.

The day is long since done, but from that point to the end of school she earned 6.5 more points. And a challenge to have the highest AR score at the end of term. A challenge I issued to my top 6 readers (really because one student wanted a battle to the death with AR points and I realized she needed some competition to reach her goal of 36 points).

Tomorrow she'll have earned probably at least 6 more points. Friday she'll earn the same, and Monday about 15. But maybe, just maybe, the other students with the challenge will be able to keep up with her.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Practice Seeing the Good

Today I got mad. I got really frustrated.

Stop complaining, I yelled at them in my head. Do something good instead. But I didn't yell. That wouldn't have worked. That would have done the opposite of what I wanted. So I decided to try something new. Something my language arts professor had taught me when I was in school.

"Okay, everyone. You all have a piece of paper I just gave you. On this paper, you are to write down everything you are frustrated about, everything you want to complain about, everything you hate, or are mad at."

Some of them thought I was crazy. Some of them have had absolutely nothing to complain about since the beginning of the year. I made them do it anyway.

"Spelling doesn't matter," I told them. "No one is going to look at these but you. Keep writing."

When I decided that time was up, I had them stop. One of them wanted to share. I told them no.

"Okay, now what you are going to do, is take your paper and crumple it up. And this is the only time you can do this, but you need to throw it at the garbage." I crumpled up my own to demonstrate and threw it at the garbage. It landed at my feet because I'm an amazing thrower in my classroom.

Some of them crumpled it up, some of them tore it up. All but one threw it away. I hope it's valuable for her.

Then I gave them a new piece of paper.

"On this paper, you are going to write everything you like right now, things that make you happy, things you love, things you like. If you can't think of anything, just write the same thing over and over again."

They began again. A few asked if they were going to throw this away too.

"Why would you want to throw your good things away?" I asked them.

A few asked if they could read their's aloud.

I said no. Mostly because Blobfish Lover would have read the name of the boy she kissed a few months ago and isn't allowed to play with anymore. And she'd have read it upwards of 20 times because she wrote it over and over and over and over again.

Then we discussed how they felt when they wrote the first things. The negative things. They felt angry, mostly. And how did they feel when they threw it away? Relieved was the consensus.

How did they feel when they wrote the positive? Good. How easy was it? Harder than the negative, because they practice the negative more often.

But now we're going to practice the positive. It felt happier. It felt good. So that's what we're going to do. All of my students and myself included.