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Saturday, February 26, 2011


A Public Service Announcement...

Friday, February 25, 2011

Facebook? Is Facebook present?

Ohhh, from the "say is ain't so" file: 

"...Kids with odd names like "Apple", "Rumer" and "Mathew" with one"T," but one man in Egypt may have topped them all. Inspired by the role FaceBook played in the recent protests and ultimate overthrow of Egypt's president, the twenty-something year-old man felt a need express his thanks, and and did-so by naming his newborn girl "Facebook."

From: Egyptian man names daughter "Facebook"

Coffee Is Not Your Friend…

School is out this week for winter break so that leaves idle time to check out other sources and ideas that might help in the classroom. The website “Super Substitute Teachers!” is where I recently came across the “Coffee is not your friend” for substitute teachers tip:

“As coffee is a diuretic, it can be dangerous to drink before school starts…it can be hard to plan a bathroom breaks.”

I learned this tip the first few weeks of the job. Unlike the office job I had before, you just can’t stop work and take a restroom break whenever “nature calls”. The first thing to find out at a new school is where all the nearby restrooms are and the scheduled breaks to make use of them

Substitute any caffeinated drink of choice in place of coffee in the above statement and the warning still holds true. I’m not a coffee drinker. My morning wakeup beverage of choice is Diet Pepsi. It’s also my drive to work choice, my lunch, break and after school down time choice. I drink a LOT of Diet Pepsi as any of my friends will attest.

I'll probably be spending some additional time on the site for tips I can take back to the classroom starting Monday.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Dr's Note?

When I heard the news about thousands of teachers missing school to attend protest rallies outside the Wisconsin State Capitol, I thought "Wow! must be a full employment day for substitute teachers". Not so. I read that they just closed all the schools for lack of teachers. It's just one less potential "payday" for all WI substitute teachers.

How does one just skip work without a valid excuse and not get fired? Here's how the Madison teachers did it:

Friday, February 18, 2011

Teacher Edition Math Books…

Is just me or does anyone else have a hard time locating stuff in the Teacher Edition (TE) subject manuals?

The problem is compounded when the TE is actually two separate volumes. Then multiply that by two again for a combo class of 4th and 5th grade math evaluations. Now multiply the situation by thirty students at different grade and ability levels needing to check the answers of 4 and 5 skill-check problems each.

It didn’t take long before I gave up juggling the four TE’s trying to find the correct skills page with answers for each student waiting in line.

After waiting line reached 4-5 kids and getting longer by the minute, I chucked the manuals entirely and just did the mental math to see if their answers were correct. If I detected an erroneous answer, I carefully redid my own work to make sure I hadn’t been the one in error.

There is nothing more humbling than telling a 4th grader he’s got the wrong answer when in fact he/she does have it right.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Moth Dakota...

I’m not sure if it’s a state wide, district wide or just this school where all 5th graders do a “State Report”. They collect research, data and illustrations on one of US states for compilation into a handmade book. They are allowed to use any resources before refining as a finished product for grade.

My job today as a roving sub ended in a 5th grade class where one student was designing, in pencil, the title and illustrations for the front cover of his book. I noticed an error and being a helpful substitute teacher that I am, suggested that he recheck the spelling of “Noth Dakota”.

I’m almost positive he was kidding when he showed me the corrected title: “Moth Dakota

Monday, February 07, 2011

Middle School Art…

“YOU are going to sub for 8th grade ART?”
Friends who know me are well aware that I know very little about art or how to “teach” it. They were curious why I took the assignment. Short answer: “Because they called me.”

“What are you going to do?”
I won’t know until I get there. Like all subbing assignments, I don’t really know what’s waiting for me until I get to the classroom to read and figure out what’s on the lesson plan before the first period students hit the door.

“What if there isn’t a lesson plan?”
I’m screwed! Fortunately, that didn’t happen today.

Lesson plan:
  1. Take roll
  2. Show video of a famous artist I’ve never heard of.
  3. Pass out worksheets about the famous artist I’ve never heard of and have them complete it in class.
  4. …and repeat (for the next 4 periods)
In the middle of those “working” intervals, I got a 50 minute “planning period” which didn’t have any planning, followed immediately by a 10 minute “break period”. Add to that, a half hour lunch around noon and my day is complete.

Of course it helps if the students are mature enough not to explode into all out party mode when a substitute is in for the regular teacher. So far I’ve lucked out three times in a row for this year.

…I just jinxed myself, didn’t I

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Parent Teacher Conferences...

This isn't true for most schools, but every school year there seems to be at least one that is...

(HT to Darren for the find)