Monday, July 31, 2006

A Time to Reflect, Set New Goals, and Combat Time

passage of time

I sat in a faculty meeting from eight this morning until three-thirty this afternoon with a break for lunch. It was great to see everyone and catch up. Upon the adjournment of our meeting the school year clock began ticking. Precious time has already been wasted lolly-gagging around.

Tick, tick, tick! The parents will be milling about my room at four-thirty on Wednesday. How much homework do you give? Where can I find my son’s bus assignment? Are these the fourth grade textbooks? Where will my daughter sit? She needs to be in the front.

Tick, tick, tick! Busses will begin arriving at seven-twenty on Friday morning. Yes, FRIDAY! There is a simple mission for Friday. Get them off the bus, get them to the classroom, get them fed, get them back on the bus, and finally….get them home safely.

The beginning of the school year means many new things. Students have new teachers, new classrooms, and new clothes. Teachers experience an ever changing curriculum, new students, and new colleagues and sometimes new administrators as well.

A new school year is a chance for a new beginning, to change direction if necessary, and to set new goals.

Ever the history teacher I understand that I can’t know where I’m going if I don’t know where I have been, so I’m going to take the beginning of this school year as an opportunity to look back at some of my previous posts.

My personal top ten…so far….here at History is Elementary are listed below in no particular ranking order. Click on over and read at will....:)

1. Content Delivery: The Thirteen Colonies-a real conversation between myself and my students where I use a “questioning” technique to link an important vocabulary word from one unit to another.

2. George, We Hardly Knew Ye-my thoughts concerning de”myth”isizing history using George Washington as a focus.

3. Different Strokes for Different Folks-Differentiation, anyone?

4. Samuel Adams Isn't Just a Beer-My attempt to help students connect today’s world to an important citizen of the 18th century.

5. A Sticky Easter Memory-a personal memory involving a hot April day, a mixture of gum, chocolate, and Easter eggs, and a funeral. Yes, your eyes aren't failing you.....a funeral.

6. The Star Spangled Banner-Why It Should Be Our Anthem-My opinion and I’m sticking to it.

7. Saying Goodbye to Students-Three hundred and eight goodbyes so far...and going strong!

8. It's Important to Know Your Frontier-Just as it says….

10. Sex in the Classroom-NOT just as it says….

Michael, over at American Presidents invited me to post about presidents on his site last March. I’ve not managed to post there as much as I would like but here are my top five American Presidents posts listed below in no particular ranking order.

Can an Obscure President Become a Lesson in Character? I asked a family member to give me the name of the most obscure president he could think of. He came up with Chester A. Authur. I discovered ole' Chester was pretty interesting.

A Tale of Four Favorite Sons-I enjoyed writing this post. The Election of 1824 is a prime example to show students how the sectionalism began to to divide the nation.

Millard Fillmore Was a Know-Nothing-Vocabulary words can mean different things when used in different contexts

Exploring Campaign Slogans-My 11th grade American History teacher taught me about every U.S. election and the administrations of each President. He always included the campaign slogans, and I found them very entertaining.

So Who Was Our First President?-Some purists argue that George Washington was our 15th president!

So, one of the things that effective teachers and students do as they reflect on what they have accomplished is they set new goals to strive for, and I’m no different.

I hope to continue crafting posts that are entertaining, informative, and worth the time to read. I hope I begin to reach more of those elementary and middle school teachers who don’t blog but would enjoy reading posts about my adventures in the classroom. I hope to actually begin submitting various sections of my writing to other writing venues including magazines and professional journals.

I hope for now……but “time” will remain my enemy. Maybe over the next few months “time” and I can follow in the steps of history and make a compromise.

History is full of those, you know.

6 comments:

happychyck said...

Since I'm fairly new to your site, I appreciate viewing a little of your blog's history. I look forward to more. Hope you have a great year!

Chance said...

What do you say to parents who make demands, classroom and class practice sight unseesn, like "she needs to sit in front?" To me, that's obviously a teacher's decision; you'll see who needs to sit where and figure out who shouldn't sit next to whom. But obviously, parents can't hear that. So do you agree with the parent and then go ahead and assess the seating situation just as you would have normally? or what?

elementaryhistoryteacher said...

Good question, Chance! In the past I've usually honored a parent request...for a few days. I usually try to honor a parent's desire simply because they are doing what they are supposed to....advocating for their child. There are so many who don't.

However, I change up my seating arrangement so much during the year it doesn't really matter what the student or parent wants. Sometimes the child will be happy where they are and sometimes they won't be.

This year I just thought I would wait to do a seating arrangment just to save myself that Open House hassle. I am sure though, by the third or fourth day of school I will begin placing students in certain seats for a variety of reasons.

I always listen if a parent takes the time to voice a concern, however, I am the education professional in the classroom and I ultimately make the decision. Naturally I would not place a student in a hostile situation because that would only bring me more problems.

If it's a matter of not being able to see, etc. I have actually sat in every seat in my classroom to see what the child sees or can't see. Unless they are blind there shouldn't be a problem and if there is I advise parents to get their child an eye exam if necessary. That's a "can't see" problem parents will have to solve!

booklogged said...

I'm new to your site, too, and appreciated looking over the past posts. I left a comment under the Star Spangled Banner post. You sound like a great teacher. Bet your students get excited about history.

GuusjeM said...

Great post - we've gone back, the kids arrive soon and I know all about that ticking clock!

elementaryhistoryteacher said...

Thanks for visiting!

Booklogged, I like your "A Reader's Journal" site. I plan to link to it so I can read your review of The Goose Girl.

Good luck with your preplanning, guusjem!