Friday, June 29, 2007

Heard from 3 ...

...about comments. Great talking to Hannah's mom and at least it got Sam to write on the blog. I bet there were a few conversations generated about attitude in homes this week--I'm sorry and I can't apologize enough. Please have your parents call me and I will tell them the real scoop about each and every one of you!

Today's poems come from Erica, Courtney and Jai. Two are on writing poems and one is on friends. I like the wording cheesy and crimpled with Courtney's and I love the refrain with Erica's. Jai started right off with a simile. Wow!

There are two essays from the final today that I decided to put on in their full form. Zach has a great perspective on the whole picture. I like that. Sometimes when kids are driving teachers nuts, we forget that school is only one part of life. I like how Zach brings in his whole life. And, I like how he came back to the beginning in his conclusion: that last deep breath. Good job.

Gage's essay is another I wanted to put on here. Now, if you were in my 2nd period class, you've heard me call Gage my absent minded professor. He is one smart guy who goes along at his pace. I loved it when I read his essay because he writes about walking, not running, through life--and we all know I tend to zoom through! The thought in this essay is terrific. Now, you can sure tell that Gage didn't have time to proofread his essay, but as you all know, I said that was the least of my concerns because I quickly realized that I had not given you enough time to do this assignment. I know Gage would catch most of these errors (thank you to your great growth in proofreading skills!!), but the thinking is worth reading through the errors.

My final quote from the essays comes from Heather: "Everyone picks on others about different things. ... I think it's not right to judge people on the way they look, act or dress. Everyone is different. Some people might be richer or poorer. It's just the way things happen." How true is this?!?!? And, you'll be happy to find that in high school most kids get beyond the picking. People figure out being themselves is better than everybody being the same. I like how Heather picked this out because I think we both judged eachother at the beginning of the year. I was a dreaded teacher and I thought Heather hated learning. By the end I had seen great growth in Heather (and all of you!!); I hope she saw I was more than just a teacher....or an okay teacher at least.

Okay. Enough. I have to go help move a dining room table. My friend is having a yardsale and I'm the mover for her. Then we're off to get a gerbil. Rori is just dying for one and so this old lady will have yet another caged animal in her house. I'm thinking gerbils's tails don't wag like a dog's but such is life!

Get out, have fun and enjoy the weekend. I don't know if I'll be on or not, so till Monday--keep reading and doing! (and remember: your parents can call to get the real scoop!!)

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Wrong comments!

Today's first message? Wrong comments on the report cards! I must have used old numbers, so all the "is a pleasure to have in class" became something like "needs to have a better attitude". So sorry!!!! My comments were the pleasure one or, if you didn't do some work, it was "inconsistent effort". I apologize for any misunderstandings!

Now, for today's new 8th graders' work. I have Emily's about a giraffe-- I love it, the message, the look, the use of terms. Wow! Can't wait to get more from her! Second will be Marie's about wondering. Mr. Lott and you guys did some great work with poetry. It's going to be a great year! The last poem for today is Keegan's about the Yankees. I don't follow baseball so hopefully they're doing better. (note for future....I don't allow the word suck in my classroom nor 'cause either, but Keegan used it correctly here so it works, but not in formal essays, right?) Keegan's opinions really come through in this poem. I appreciate that!

For some on the essay, what will I do to become proud of myself, I have three quotes.
From Hannah, I have a quote about speaking up about opinions. "Now at age 14, I am a quiet student, who doesn't always like to talk about opinions or what I believe in, but now I feel is the time to start." I like that Hannah knows herself. Some people are outspoken and some aren't. There are lots of ways to speak out: doing what you should as a role model, actually speaking out, writing out, teaching others to believe in themselves. We all don't have to speak out all the time. Really, learning when to speak out is important too. Pick what you care about and know that there might be consequences, but if you're sure, okay. You'll know when it's something you care about and want to speak out. Just listen to yourself.
I also like Aimee's quote, "I want to be able to live my life the way I planned it to be and not make any big mistakes on my way to success." Aimee talked about getting her education and not making mistakes that would stop her from that. I like how Aimee understands that education is the key. I really ended up being so proud of Aimee this year. What growth she had. Yes!
Finally, there's Wally. I like Wally's quote because he knows himself and is sure of himself. "I believe in trying hard. I have a learning disability but I did not let it keep me down. No matter how hard it got, I still didn't give up or give in." What a great quote. And, it's so true. We all have difficulties with some skill; that's not the problem. It's giving in to it. Wally came in at the end and fit right in, working hard. I feel very lucky to have worked with him. He taught me a lot with his efforts. I try very hard in my classroom to work with all students where they're at, and not worry about labels. If you need more time and you've tried, then you get it. If you haven't worked, then I don't have a lot of sympathy for any student. Trying is what matters.

Enough for now. It's volleyball day, so there's my activity. I'm still reading Prodigal Summer and starting a book about diagraming sentences (I know, crazy, but it's good.), which I plan on introducing next year--I know you're happy about that!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Tuesday and the start of summer blogging!

First, to my volvo guy--parts! Ha. My car will still be going when your third one quits!!

I missed getting on yesterday, sorry, but here I am today, and hopefully, I'll get on each morning and share some great writing and what I'm doing. Yesterday, I biked into town for coffee and then Rori and I took a kayak trip halfway across the lake. My arms are shot today! Write in and tell me what you're doing to stay active. My one daughter is supposed to get outside for 15 minutes a day, and it's killing her! Oh, the computer/couch age!! So, get out and be active....then veg.

I'm finishing a book set on the mountains of the Appalachian. It's good; the major gist of it is that everything fits in together. Mr. DeVoe might like it since it shows to this simpleminded person how all creatures need to be in balance. The name is Prodigal Summer; I wouldn't recommend it for many, but I'm enjoying it. My next will be one I can recommend....well, if I like it!

These three poems are from Kyle. I like them! What imagination. We're going to have a great time with poetry...which we don't start till December, but I sure am looking forward to it!

For some essay quotes: From Shelby to start her essay on her life, "I am very young to today's society. I am getting older, experimenting new things, learning valuable lessons, but at the end I am sure to be proud of myself." I like that beginning, using keys words, but putting herself in there. It made me want to read the essay.

And from Jon, "Pride is all about how we perceive it. Is the glass half full or half empty?" Then, on religion he says, "religion has no relevance to me. I do believe that actions speak louder than words." Jon is a thinker. Now, I agree with a lot of what he says; I do agree with actions speaking louder than anything else. (and remember: people should be able to have their opinions; you might not agree with them and you may have dialogue, but people may have their opinions.) I was raised religious and I still talk to what is my idea of a higher being, but I don't believe where a lot of religion has gone to.

Finally, here's Markie's essay. I like how well she writes, formats, and what she has to say. Markie is a fine student. I met her mom at my favorite coffee shop and enjoyed telling her that Markie is a fine student....when she's not fighting me to show me she's the boss!! (okay that I said that, Markie?)

Tomorrow! Remember read, get out and be active, and enjoy; it's the summer!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

New post!

I am so sorry that I haven't gotten on in a while! But, I am sooooooooooooo happy two people commented and wanted this updated--thank you! I have two more days of work in school and then next week summer begins. With that, I will be putting on excerpts from the end of the year essays--loved reading them!!!!!!!!!!!! Stay as smart about life as you all are now; sometimes as life truly comes at us and we grow up, what we knew as teenagers we forget and have to learn it again. Many of you wrote such good thoughts.

I wish I'd given the essay as a two dayer so you could have done a rough and final. Your thoughts deserved less errors. But, live and learn on my part and I will next year. Because I realized that you needed more time, I was easy on that and looked for thoughts.

I'm also going to be putting on the seventh grade poems that Mr. Lott gives me. I did stuff the report card envelopes with the blog address for the seventh graders so people can get on and see them.

Maybe I'll get pictures from tonight's School's Outfest for it too. Gotta go; I've got skating to do and pizza eating to do!!

I promise to get back to updating the blog next week. Keep reading!! (I'm also hoping to put on titles students might like all summer, so get to the library and read!)

Sunday, June 10, 2007

This must be the girls' set with a token male thrown in, Mr. DeVoe. I think I've talked about the twins and how much they've grown, but have I talked about what a great job the newspaper staff did this year? We're missing Alen and Gage and Katie, but man, did they hang in there and do a good job. I'm proud of them! Of course, I will also always remember the good poetry they did too. Stacey did one on her dog and Danielle did one on pizza that I remember. It was a good year. And, there's our energizer bunny, Ashley. What a treat for me to realize the energy is contained when she's sitting in a classroom, and I sure enjoyed her efforts, especially in essays. Thanks for being you, Ashley!
Then there's Sara. Do you know what a good student Sara is? She was one of my surprises this year. I love surprises. Come back and tell me how you're doing in high school, yes? You were a treat, Sara! Next, Hannah. What would I have done without you this year? Hannah did most of the Cereal Box organizing for me. I sooooooooooooooooooooooooo loved having her work with me. Thanks! A great student who can help others, well, wowowowowowow! Finally, Heather (I think I've mentioned Danielle already, right?). I did my darnest to bug Heather at the beginning of the year. I swear, she was doing her darnest to be disinterested in my class, and that only drives me to distraction!! So, I bugged right back. And, you know what I found out? Heather's a good student who I enjoyed watching growing and doing a fine job. Heather worked in a group at Thanksgiving on the poetry packet--what a great group who knew how to work together and get along, great traits to take into the world.

Ok. That's it for a sunny Sunday. My husband has car talk on, and it's time for me to me doing some real work, not fun on the computer. More tomorrow!!

Teacher of the Year

Hopefully, on Monday you'll notice another scroll that went up Friday. Mr. DeVoe was voted by the middle school staff as Teacher of the Year. Some of the comments that were attributed to him are on the scroll. You all had Mr. DeVoe as a first year teacher. Now, as a second year teacher, the 7th graders have gone through his course also. He is an amazing teacher. Mr. DeVoe has been an inspiration to students and staff alike. Congrats to him!!

We have (even if students sometimes can't stand us!) a really good staff (and a lot of that credit goes to Mrs. Filzen who has an uncanny ability to pick out wonderful middle school teachers!) -- I know you're thinking, "If you think I'm going to agree with you, Ms. B., let's remember we're middle schoolers and we want out!!" I know that, but for a corny moment, I get to say how wonderful the staff and students do together. You know, in my classroom, trying to teach just a little bit of health class, I say, 'It takes two to tango.' (Ha! English teacher using the metaphor...impressive, yes?), but in this case I'm going to say, 'It takes two to tango,' meaning to make a great middle school. You know what I think about our students, you're great, but I feel the same way about the adults too.

Mr. DeVoe certainly is a wonderful pick for our first Teacher of the Year, but if you think about it, I'll bet you've got a few teachers you've connected with. As you're heading out the door this week, you might think about telling them. They'd appreciate it.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Final pics from Friday

There's Charles, Tyler and Nick. What a threesome! Charles, who has soooooooooo much going on in his head--you're all going to be amazed when the atoms stop spinning and he settles into the student he is! (Of course, just when I was seeing it all, the brain atoms took a spin for a while, right, Charles?!??!?) Tyler, man, I always appreciated when Tyler took the time to answer in my class; they were always on the mark. He sees the big picture. And, Nick. Oh my gosh, Nick. Did you drive me nuts or what? But, for all that, you settled in and became a student for me, thanks. Now, if we could get you to leave the messing around at the door....just a bit more, please?

Ah, Jazmine and Danielle. My talk straight girls. When they get it all together ("Going for a walk is all, Ms B."), they're going to be able to change the world. Right now, though, "We're just doing our own thing, Ms.B." Strenghth is good, especially when it's used to make the world a better place. Come back someday and let me know what you've done. I look forward to it!

And my last pic of that day? The girls' line up. From Shelby and Deanna to Jennifer waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay down there, what a group. It was a wonder to watch you grow and reach out. The twins, doggone it if they didn't become more vocal. And, Deanna, what a smile when she's laughing at my shenanagans to get you all involved. I see Vanesa and Katie, two of the best writers this year and all of you were readers. Jennifer and Shelby did some great poetry work and effort for me; how could I not like to come to work? I was working with some of the best!!
I'm telling you, what growth and learning this year!

I'll try to remember to get some more pics on. For now, it's off to the sports' awards. See you tomorrow.

And still more!

There's Wally, who's done a great job in my classroom. Cody is next to him. Man, what a great job he does helping me; I've enjoyed working with him. And, what a smile, Matt: keep it coming and keep on working on your thinking and reading skills. I've enjoyed watching you all grow this year.
Speaking of that, look at all the girls here. Laurie told me in writing this year that she couldn't do English; what a fib that was! Emily, my girl Emily who has a wonderful smile and has been, for the most part, coming to school. Thanks for taking all the kidding I've given you. And then there's my 8th and 9th period girls. Markie, who just has to see if she can annoy me (she can) but man, what a student she's going to be (is right now, when she wants to be). Crissy, too, when she decides to write and do! Jen wrote a great poem about running; I think we have a crosscountry runner for Groton there! Finally, Kerri: what can I say, Girl? You were soooooooooooooo mad at me, but then, that's life and we get over it, and learn from it, right? I'm proud of you all!

Some more pics from Friday

I'm thinking Kris fits right in with Mr. DeVoe and Mr. Filzen; maybe he'll be a teacher someday too? I bet he'd make a good one! And, Cheyenne and Nicole, out for some fun in the sun; they both did some good poetry and reading for me this year. Mr. T is in the background ready to do some cooking with Mr. Giroux- did he go fishing? Hey, why didn't we have any fish for lunch? --oh, yeah, I don't eat fish, not when I can have a great burger! I'm not sure what Jon is doing to Sam's head, maybe getting the brain cells moving again. And then there's cool man Jeff, looking cooooooooooooooooooooool.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

A Poem from Alen

Leaving 7th grade is a tough thing,
I will be sad when I depart,
Coming into 8th grade might be fun,
A new experience.

New teachers, new books, new assignments, a new floor: a challenge! (fun too? hope so...challenging and fun--sounds pretty great!)

Monday, June 4, 2007

more pics from Friday

I'm happy to be ending this week's blog entries with these four poems. Sam used the two sentence format for two stanzas, adding in good use of terms to make great imagery. Ashley did more content than any poetry terms so she has great review of science. Sarah used the listing format, which I think too many have forgotten about. And, Gage, well, one of my better writers of poetry just used what we've worked with to write a great poem about war, creating an intense image. I'm hoping many of you will forget the acrostic and even the acrostic with a phrase. They were more to get you away from sentences and into new use of words and sturctures. Please don't depend on that format much, because it is a format. Broaden your mind to go back to just writing or listing or even the sentences (if you edit out the sentence part). You want to put your ideas down on paper with no restrictions, using the BEST wording, imagery and structure to get your idea across in as few a words as possible, so your idea explodes in the reader's mind, making the poem the reader's and not just yours.

I fibbed. The camera is at school. I thought the pics were on my computer, but once again, the computer has shown me just what I don't know. So, tomorrow I will try to do it at school. I'll do the last of the poems from last week, and then it's the bewitching hour-- 9:00. Time for me to read. I get to start a new book. I finished the one Gage gave me to read and I highly recommend it. The Warrior Heir, a fantasy book, and I still enjoyed it!

poems with pics to follow

I have the last of last week's poems to put on tonight. It's interesting to see what people have picked to write on.
I am also so impressed with what I saw today in the library. You're doing a great job on the textbook.
Good luck to everyone on the history state test tomorrow! These poems are by Vanesa, Hannah, Jennifer, and Emma. History, science and English were the subjects.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

One more set of pics.

I wish I'd taken more pics, but you know, I was having so much fun that I did that rather than take pictures. I heard some good stuff about both the 7th and 6th grade classes. I really am looking forward to next year. I always miss the class leaving, but they're so ready to hit high school that they don't even look back(as it should be)!! So, it's good I can start looking to the next classes to work with. But, first, we all have the summer: more of what we had Friday!

More poems (scroll down for others)

I like Katie's use of repetition. Naomi is a wonderful poet....who just refuses to use anything but pencil!! I also like how they all, Dylan, Jon, Bethany and Katie and Naomi all do so many classes. You've really learned a lot this year. Good!

A Few Pics

The trip Friday was wonderful! The weather was great, the teachers behaved and so did the students. I think a lot of us got a bit of sun, and I know we all came home with some sand and memories. Two more weeks to go. Hey, wasn't the Memory Book great too?