Thursday, December 14, 2006

The Good and Bad...A Week Before Christmas Break

The Bad…..they’re dropping like flies. Some sort of stomach ailment is traveling around giving bad tummies, fevers, and headaches. I wrote so many passes to the office this morning I was afraid somebody would think I was trying to empty my room. I’ve been on the fringes of the travelin’ crud myself, but since it’s a near impossibility to secure a sub I’m trudging on……

The Good…presents! So far I’ve amassed lots of sweet homemade cards, hugs, a mini-snowglobe and bear figurine from the dollar store, raspberry vanilla and cherry blossom products from Bath and Body Works, a bag of fruit, and a nice watch. One gift was particularly unusual…..I received a battery operated pencil sharpener in the shape of a monster. You put your pencil in his mouth to sharpen it. When you’re done he burps. The young man that gave it to me said, “I gave it to you because you have a good sense of humor.” Another student spoke up and said, “Yeah, you’d get it….you’d think it was funny.” I did get it. I did think it was funny. What my gift giver didn’t realize is the best gift he gave me was telling me he thinks I have a good sense of humor. My students understand me. After the thirtieth burp, however, I don’t know if my sense of humor will still be intact.

The Bad…tempers are short. Kids who have tolerated each other suddenly have had enough and are telling each other off right and left. This leads to shoving desks, shoving chairs and shoving each other. Name calling is high on the activity list, and being in a state of constant alert for everyone’s safety is a little exhausting.

The Good…I have earned a new reputation among students, especially the boys, as a tolerable linebacker. Earlier this week one of my young men became a bit too aggressive during a friendly game of football. He didn’t like the way a play had gone and pushed another boy rather hard two or three times. I began walking towards them telling the first boy to stop several times. The boy being pushed puts his hands up and backed away, but the pusher kept after him. I basically ended up tackling the pusher from behind and held him in a restraint hold to get him to calm down. Once things calmed down one of the boys hollered, “Nice tackle, Elementaryhistoryteacher! Ya wanna play?” The news must have gotten around because several students in other grades mentioned hearing about my “tackle”. I won’t hold my breath….I don’t think the Atlanta Falcons will be calling anytime soon.

The Bad…coordinating a pizza order for 100 students for our non-party, movie watching event on Friday, sweating out the delivery of our presents we ordered for students on-line, end of term paperwork, grading, coordinating exams when students are absent from school more than they are in, and adding the extra load of completing 96 certificates for students throughout the entire school who had exemplary behavior during September, October, and November. These were awarded at our PTSO meeting Tuesday night. They took me three days to complete. How do I get roped into these things?

The Good…Our reading teachers have determined our fourth grade has risen an entire level in reading scores since the beginning of the year. Approximately 90 of 100 fourth graders have 10 Accelerated Reader points or more. This is fantastic since none of our students had 10 points during the first term…..our reading teachers pushed the program, motivated the kids, and they surpassed our wildest dreams. In 9 weeks many of my homeroom students have amassed 20, 30, and even 40 points. Most important of all we have noticed that fluency is increasing and comprehension is improving. What a Christmas present!

The two highest students are in my homeroom. One has 69 points while the other has 70. These points for students represent many minutes of independent reading. Today we recognized the top three in each homeroom with pizza. It was nice to have this small group for a special lunch in one the classrooms with us to acknowledge their hard work. Here is a couple of pictures of our top students.


The young man on the left is my "pencil sharpener guy".


S0….it’s finally here. The final day before break, and I haven’t even started my shopping yet.

The Carnival of Education---Edition 97 is up over at the Education Wonks. Go see the best and brightest in the edublogosphere!

1 comment:

ms-teacher said...

What a relief it is to know that someone else out there besides me is not finished with Christmas shopping. I'm woefully behind and I still have another week of school!

Thanks for commenting on my TT. I really admire you and your teaching style and it's nice to know that you face these same types of issues in your classroom!

Also, any leads on teaching ancient history (besides Egypt, which is easy) more fun & relevant would be greatly appreciated!