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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Haiku To You Too!

I kinda knew that commenting on “fluff lessons” these last few days of the school year was gonna come back and get me.

Karma struck in a 6th grade assignment. The lesson plan called for teaching “American Haiku” imagery to thirty 6th graders who had already mentally checked out for the year.

Not that I’m all well prepared to teach Haiku, because I’m not. All I know about the subject is what I read in the teacher’s edition text some 20min before class.

Three 5-syllable, 7-syllable,  5-syllable lines of imagery describing a scene, feeling or thought.  This was to be followed by an art project representing the students’ Haiku poem.

What I got in return were mostly variations on the theme:

I don’t like Haiku,
It’s really boring to do.
Can’t wait until two… (Dismissal time)

At least it was 5-7-5 syllables in three lines.

I didn’t even attempt the “art” project part. Instead went out to join extended P.E. with all the other 6th grade classes for the rest of the day.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

You Know the Year Is Over…Part II

The school staff knows it’s over when they send a late comer student to the classroom with a tardy slip indicating the student is late because…

“My shoes flew up into a tree” – Unexcused

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

You Know The School Year Is Over When…

I was able to pick up the afternoon half of 6th a grade assignment yesterday. The room was empty when I arrived which means the class is out for P.E. or already at lunch. 

There was no lesson plan for the afternoon on the teacher’s desk, so I went searching the lunch room/yard for the teacher. She was out back monitoring her class playing volleyball.

She gave me a copy of the lesson plan for the rest of the day and indicated that individual students will conduct and teach all the lessons. All they needed me for was “monitoring” until the end of day bell.

Today’s lessons:
·      Crochet
·      Magic Card tricks
·      Volleyball Serves

On the list were “classes” for the rest of the week also:
Gin Rummy
Paint Ball
Henna Design

Baseball Pitching
Basketball History
Making Cupcakes
Iris Folding
Drawing Cartoons
Cake Pops (?)

At lunch in casual conversation, I mentioned some of the “creative” lessons for the day.

One of the teachers indicated that all the testing and grades were complete for the year.  All the textbooks have been returned to the library. So, while there are still twelve days of “school” left, there was actually nothing left to do…

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Sex Ed...

This is why the schools don't deal with the subject until 5th grade. By then, they already have a good idea how it works...

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Nurture, Nature or Demographics?

The first two classes after three weeks off (two weeks vacation, a third week to recover from vacation) were like night and day.

The 5th grade class preparation at the country club school included all neatly stacked materials in the order needed.

A single page lesson plan succinctly stated that all I had to do was monitor the class while trusted students handled everything from taking attendance, conducting the morning meeting and some of the actual lesson instruction. The class required only minor orchestration from me.

It was an amazing demonstration of twenty-eight well organized, motivated, self-sufficient students.

My next day’s assignment in a 4th grade classroom in the working class neighborhood school less than 5 miles away was the polar opposite experience. Herding cats might be harder, but not by much.

Classroom prep for the sub:
I needed a stapler. Found four empty staplers and one empty refill box. I borrowed some from the classroom next door.

Warm-up activity instruction: Scan the warm-up book under the doc reader until the kids stop saying “We done that one already!”

Get the laptop cart for the kids to use for their “city reports”. When the time came, I was told that: “Subs aren’t allowed access to the laptop carts”.

I called the school library and got permission to bring the class over to use the library computers.

Student conduct:
Three boys, two girls kept the party atmosphere going for the other twenty-eight kids in class.

Afterwards, I couldn’t help but wonder what differences would result if these two teachers swapped classrooms for the year.

Could the 5th grade country club teacher repeat the “miracle classroom” or would it devolve into much the same as it is now?

Could the obviously exhausted (I assume after 150 days with these guys) 4th grade teacher duplicate the same motivational skill with the same 5th grade population or would the class devolve into a six hour, party day?

Is it nurture, nature or demographics?

Thursday, May 10, 2012

What’s SUP?

It’s been a few weeks since the last post. We went on vacation for a couple weeks and I didn’t want to advertise that the house was empty while we were gone. We’re back now and I’m scheduled to be in a 5th grade class tomorrow...

Here are a few pics for you to try and guess where…

 (SUP:  Stand Up Paddling)