Monday, March 30, 2009


...lesson 7.

I really like how the writing of sentences is going. Do, please, concentrate more on the spelling words. Spelling matters. It really does.

Also, we will go back to do the charts for the words. I thought they worked better than last time when we just tried to jump right into the sentences.

I'll do four with my first classes tomorrow, and then I'm out of the room for a meeting in the afternoon. We'll finish on Wednesday.

It's a reading day tomorrow. Don't waste your time; otherwise, you'll be reading at home.

Friday, March 27, 2009

To integrate

...what I say with what you do, I love it!

My favorite was Sheldon's this week.
He took a serious line and surprised me with a fear of flying. Yes!

We had a love poem by Jenna that I really liked and liked how she took the line and made it her own.

Yes, I might have still edited, but who knows if I'm right.

Tiffany's was the sport poem of the week. I really like it and I like that she tried different fonts, but next time? Find only one and use it all the way through--the continuity of the poem deserves one font.

We had two, Brenna's and Donny's, on parents- one imaginary

and one real- but both paint the love parents feel for their kids and

the love kids feel for their parents.

We also had two that were more dark, or sad. Bethany writes of a person's alienation from others or how others can disappoint us. Again, I might have tried to edit a bit more, but it worked so well I wanted to leave it alone. I wonder what would be a good title for this? (Are people trying to do the title? Most important line, most important idea from it?) Chris continued on with the dark world that he is sooooooooooo good at writing on. I certainly hope he has read the Lord of the Ring series because that what I picture when I read his poems.

There you have a selection of poems. Many didn't have to write this week because of their 100 last week. Some don't have to this next week. Some have still written when they don't have to and for those if they want to use their grade to replace a lower one, I'm up for that too.

Enjoy the weekend. Do what you like, get out and clear those lungs and then, write your essay if you have one due on Monday.

Oh, and what's that? That's me with my hockey guys!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Okay, I understand why Mrs. Morey is so mellow. To be a math teacher, one has to be mellow....or crazy. I'm closer to the second and being one would put me over the edge!

Seriously, it was fun trying a different subject today. We did Mathdukos, a suduko-like puzzle that was just in Time magazine. I like it because it's the fun of sudukos but with actual math involved.

My family and friends tell me I sometimes skip the main idea when talking. I realized when giving math directions, it is very important to start at the top. I got better as the day went on. I sure appreciate Mrs. Morey, though. Everyone working at different speeds; some wanting help; some zoning out....she's a saint!

But, with that said, every student worked today. Some got it quickly and went on to help others or work on their own--Jenna D. and Steffanie were two who finished all ten. I'm not sure Steffanie said a word once she got going.

Kaitlyn was another who said nothing but went right to work--so cool to see!

Others did a great job helping others till they could go out on their own. Chris worked with Brenna

and Phil and Mitchell worked. They decided that they should. I'm doing that more and more in my classroom, and I liked how that worked so well today. Learn how to with others, and then go on to work alone--that's a pretty good way to live your life, actually!

Jenna Z. got it but worked with Kylee still. It was really neat to see the differences in how students went about it or how much confidence they had in themselves or how quickly some went at it.

It was a good reminder that we all work differently and at different paces.

The only thing that could get me to raise my voice was when a student just immediately went to "I can't do it."

Emily said that and then did fine. Loren too. Life isn't about being able to do; it's about being willing to do. Much of life is possible as soon as you open yourself up to the possibilities.

So, tomorrow you're back to English in English. Notes are due. Friday, though, you get to carry on in math with the kenken, otherwise known as mathduko (Bring an eraser!).

Monday, March 23, 2009

I am


I have graded two sets of book reports.
A few, very few, are very good.

Steffanie and Brenna are very different examples of good ones. Stef shows how it can be done correctly with just the right detail to do it all in very few words.

She almost writes too little, but she condenses so well, it works.

Brenna did the exact opposite. Look at how much detail she pulled out of the book!

And, Brenna tied it so well to her life and today's life. I really like it.

For the most part, though, people have forgotten what goes where in a book report and somehow, after me going over it twice, people didn't get the idea of writing about what they learned about the Depression and what trait they want to take or not take....

am I speaking in a foreign language? Please, use the resources at hand to follow the format and directions so that you truly write a book report of which you can be proud.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

A successful

...Friday. Since it was a half day Friday, I decided to use my three classes to testdrive my new proofreading unit for next year.

You guys did great! Mrs. Shurtleff was especially happy to see how involved everyone was and interested they were. She explained the word 'shoddy' to Jenna, telling her it basically means 'crap', which now, we're hoping Jenna decides to use shoddy rather than crap in her use of language.

I was tickled that once again there was some terrific working together. Donny worked well with his partner; Kenny and Joey always work together, giving eachother credit. Chris and Zach did their own and then traded and checked out eachother's.

What did I learn? First, I now know I want to fill in each outline myself, so it won't be a part of the assignment next year. I also saw that few if any kids understood the error of parents'. Since there are two parents, it was ownership of both. Then/than, which I knew is a problem, continued to be one, and are/our was worked on. I'm hoping next year, after they do five of these in three weeks, my students' eyes will be more attuned to those errors on their own papers.

It was a successful morning. Then, in the midst of it, we had an important visitor--Dr. Myers' dog (nice to see the superintendent, but much like when I have Benny in, the dog takes the spotlight!).

Dr. Myers had heard we were a dog friendly room--and we are! Benny will be in Wednesday, I think, this week.

See you tomorrow. Book report due. We're also trying something; I'm looking forward to how it goes over.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Signs of the

...time: spring!
I'd watched a little of bball (I hadn't realized that bball was turning into such a tackling sport. I'm not sure I'm impressed.) and

watched our gerbils, who went into nap mode.

Then, I decided to take Benny and the camera and go for a walk, looking for spring. Of course, I was hoping I could hone my video taking skills too. I really appreciate the efforts all the teachers who led sessions yesterday, but since I went to Mr. Filzen's,

I particularly thank him.

Out the door and there were bulbs budding,

while down the hill to the field I found

green grass growing.

From there it was onto the trail. Walkers walking in shorts,

boat trailers missing boats,

and mom and son taking a break from bicycling

to view the inlet.

There was a little girl kicking a soccer ball,

boys playing baseball

and people playing tennis behind them withdads at the playground.

Across the inlet, can you see them? The white carts of golf,

and then down the way,
the door to the crewhouse was open,

a sure sign of spring in these parts.

Closer to town, it seems the ducks

were doing the mating thing, pairing off.

Across from Pete's, 2 miles or so from our start,

was the head of the inlet trail. I've found that I can add to my 2 mile normal loop by coming here, viewing our brick,

which we did when we were celebrating the first wave of our friends turning 50, and then heading back.

More signs of spring: the crew out on the inlet

and me

being double. (Can you imagine two of me?!?!?).

Benny was impatient and wanting to move on

when I was trying to enjoy the sun bouncing off the building and warming me.

Back across the 89 bridge to the turtle.

Next sign of spring? A robin!

From there we left the official trail and went up on the old railroad bed, which I'm hoping will be developed with stimulus money into more trails, much like many of the state parks around here were during the Depression era.

First sign of spring on that trail was Benny wading through the creek water rather than skidding across the ice.

Old playground equipment was next ,

soon to be covered over as spring grows.

Then, buds on trees--way, way

too close but the green is it.

A waterfall, not ice fall

and green at another wet area

rounds out our trip.

The walk takes about an hour and a half. We meander, work on our manners- well, Benny's- and enjoy the weather. I'm hoping to do it again tomorrow.

What have you seen this weekend? Send me a picture!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Learning something from Mr. Fizen, the guy who tells us that we have the most information at our fingertips of

any other generation.Let's see if it works!

It worked! Did you watch it? Hollywood quality for sure! Here's another:

And, another!

So cool! We can now take videos for the blog. Can't wait. Hope you have a good weekend.
Do your Depression era book report!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

What little

...boys are capable of when they get working.

As you know, there are moments when some of you boys get to me.

I like you; I enjoy you, but gosh! I wish you'd grow up. At any given moment there are some of you in my classes (and a few girls) who can give 2nd graders a bad rap.

In your favor, when I call you on it, you handle yourselves fairly well. You don't go thinking I've done something terrible to you. All I'm trying to do--okay, in maybe not such a PC, today's educational world, but all I'm trying to get you to see is how it looks to others. I know you've grown and I know you will continue to grow. It's just tough on this old lady sometimes!

But, for this week's lesson on how you did on your first poem from writing from a line of poetry, I've picked 5th's class because, well, because I saw some good potential.

Take a look: The first one is Alex's-- a student who works hard to do what she should.I love the story she tells. Joey's is the bottom one. He loves sports and even with an e e cummings' line he could still do it. That was exactly what I wanted!

Xavoir, yes, even wrote about being immature. And, he followed what I wanted him to do: wrapping his lines so he had unusaul breaks. Now, he just needs to add in capitals and punc. but he's getting it. Yes!
The second one is Greg's. What a story! Can't you see him strutting on a field, a court, a mat? He's the man. I like his use of punctuation. Now, he has to try the wrapping of lines. He will.

Donny's is on bball, again, just like I said to do, write on what you care about. He followed the format, kept his use of similes and wrapped some. Great!
Chris wrote about nature. He's an innate poet and student. I look forward to hearing all the good things he'll do in high school. No immature guy there (just....well, he knows!)

Finally, we have one that wasn't of the format, but it's a good poem. Please: try my format, just to try new things....and then you can do your own thing, especially when you're as good as this guy is. Too bad he's....well, he knows too.Wrapping, which then brings in inside punctuation and capitals: that's what we're working on this month. Enjoy!

And, now, a bit of a cultural comment: Somehow, somehow, somehow we as parents and as educators have to find a way to let kids grow up. We have to let them be responsibile for their actions, their errors and their learning. Too often we cover, cover-up, and run for cover. We let tantrums stand and we let excuses go. We abidicate the enormous, but necessary duty of raising our children.

Then, I see in the classroom cycles of up and down, up and down, little kids to young people. It's tough. On any given day, who knows who'll show up. But, this is 8th grade, one short year away from young adulthood in the high school. They need to be showing up as students who can show respect, a desire for learning and an ability to speak up and keep quiet--and know which is needed when.

All I know right now is that when I reach you guys, when I call you on what you're doing, you know it. You're not fooled. You get away with what you can. That's too bad. Life is about doing, not getting away with stuff. Some day you'll know that. Our successes feel far better when they're ours and not some adult's hovering over you.

Okay. Lecture over. Look at what my students in the first week's efforts are capable of--pretty impressive. There were others and other classes who did as well, but sometimes I just like to remind myself and my boys of what they're capable of.

Keep growing ...and growing up!