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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Group work?

In almost every class the question arises: "Can we work in groups?"

My first inclination is to say "no" unless it's specifically stated in the lesson plan.  From personal observation I find that, in group work, one person ends up doing all the work, while the rest just copy but there are exceptions.

In a project like this, I can see group work making sense...

See what 600hrs and a passion for LEGO's can do!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Sometimes I Forget How Old I Am...

My 2-day assignment was a 4th grade class for Thursday and Friday.

In Social Studies, they are studying the geology, climate zones and famous people of our home state, California. Thursday's lesson plan naturally included earthquakes.

"If you remember our last big earthquake in 1989..."
As soon as I said it, I realize that these little people didn't even exist yet.

I had to back track and explain what it was like when the earthquake happened. I told them how building I was working in seemed to bounce up and down for what seemed like a long time but was actually only a few seconds.

I looked out the 2nd floor window of my office to see people parked on the side of the street. They were walking around their cars looking for the flat tire or something they hit that made their car swerve so suddenly.

All the power was out and no telephones or radio stations were working. It took me 2hrs to drive home when the normal commute should have been 20mins. All the traffic lights were out and everyone was trying to get home.

They listened intently and asked many follow-up questions. It was an ideal topic for a homework assignment. I assigned the writing assignment to interview a parent for their recollections to share on Friday. Imagine my surprise when more than a few came back saying that their parents did not remember much of anything and instead asked a grandparent for the interview.

Since my own granddaughter is currently a 3rd grader, I should have realized how outdated anything before the new millennium actually is.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Roving Is AOK...

The first week of school is usually the time for school principals to schedule individual teacher planning meetings. I am busy "roving" this week and next.  Four days total at two different schools covering meetings for 8-9 teachers per day for 30mins each.

Since the teachers do not know who will be covering for their meeting time, the usual "plan" is pretty much monitoring the class while the kids continue work on their current assignment, outside P.E, silent reading or some other individual class work.

When roving, I take only a hat, whistle, pen, pencil, and my Kindle. The heavy subbing bag stays in the car.

The meetings themselves rarely last the full 30mins and that sometimes allows me time for the short restroom break or time to read the next couple chapters of my current Kindle book.

A usual single class subbing assignment starts 30mins before the school bell and ends after the end of day report is complete and the kids are gone.

 A roving day starts about 15mins after school bell and ends after the last meeting is complete which can be as much as 10-15mins early.

That extra bit of sleep in the morning and avoiding the parent traffic jam in the parking lot in the afternoon makes "roving" an AOK day.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Fast Start 2012/13...

The first few weeks of a new school year are not usually a busy time for substitute teachers.  The year 2012/13 is starting to appear as an unusual year.
I was able to pick up nine assignments in the first three weeks.

I was also able to pick up five future assignments sprinkled out for the rest of the far. I even turned down one assignment because I had previously promised some quality time with my dentist.

In only these first nine classes, I have been amazed by:

  •  One 3rd grader who apparently grasps the concept of algebraic computation. ie: (3x4)+1=13
  • At least one new 1st grader that knows the concept of negative numbers.        ie: 8-9 = (-1)
  • A 5th grader that cannot add 2-digit numbers yet as the concept of "carry" is just not there
  • I had to break up a fistfight between two 4th grade boys the first week of school. Both slugging it out with shots to the face! Both claimed the other kid started it.
  • Arriving for a 6th grade classroom assignment, I discovered that the teacher changed to teach 1st grade but did not update the subbing system to that effect. That explained the teeny- tiny chairs in the classroom and my temporary confusion.

Based on events so far, it promises to be a real interesting year.