1. I’ve had a TON of things to write about over here, but I’ve just not found the time to do it. I’ll try to get here a bit more regularly; things are happening – exciting things, even – that I want to let you all in on!
2. I was practically eager to get back to work after the holiday break. I found that I missed my students and the things that we do together. I was delighted to go back to work on Monday, and it was fun to hear all their stories about things that happened to them during our vacation.
3. Knowing full well that this week would essentially be a wash (while the kids got used to getting back into a regular schedule and, you know, thinking), I planned a pretty “easy” week. My I/II kids are working on getting ready to participate in our local Poetry Out Loud competition (which is happening Monday) and my III/IV kids are going to do a month-long investigation of film as literature. We started with the Cinderella story this week; they read several versions of the story and we started watching Ever After today. They’ll see The Karate Kid on Thursday while I’m away at a workshop.
4. Speaking of the Poetry Out Loud competition, I brought a guest speaker to school this morning. One of my former students is neck-deep in the slam poetry scene in our area, and he practically JUMPED at the chance to come to school to perform for and talk to my class. I invited my colleague’s class to join us, and all the kids were enthralled for the whole hour and a half that Beau talked to them. He delighted me as a student when I had him in my first semester at TCC, and I’m incredibly proud of him now. He’s poised, articulate, creative and, well, just awesome, and I’m so glad he agreed to come to school today. He’s totally going on my guest speaker list; we’ll do this again the very next chance I get.
5. I’m terribly excited about the Film as Literature unit I’m doing with my III/IV kids. I’m looking forward to seeing some really great films (Amistad, Secondhand Lions, Nuremberg, Ever After, The Karate Kid, I, Robot, and possibly Timeline) with these kids. We’ve spent all semester practicing critical thinking skills; I’m eager to see how well they can apply those skills to their viewing practices, as well.
6. I’m going to three professional development workshops being held at Local U this week and into next. It means I’m going to miss three days of classes at CHS, but it’s going to be totally worth it; my colleague will take my I/II kids into her class (we’re all working on literally the same thing, anyway) and my III/IV kids will be viewing movies and working independently for the time I’ll be away taking more than nine hours of FREE professional development workshops. One does not say “no” to free professional development hours, especially when the workshops are interesting and relevant to one’s practice. Plus, they’re feeding me lunch! Score!
7. I still don’t know what I’m going to be teaching at CHS next semester (which starts February 1st). I know I’ll be teaching something, but exactly what is still a mystery. It turns out that the school did not get a grant that we’d applied for a month or so ago, which means that my director is going to have to scramble to make the money work. I don’t really care what she pays me; I just want to teach.
8. Being a teacher is sometimes (okay, quite often) awesome. I just bought 6 brand new books for $3 each through a publishing company that wants us to buy our books from them. They sell exam copies to teachers in the hopes that we’ll find something we like and place a bulk order. I wouldn’t be surprised if they hear from me again sometime very soon.
9. Two separate people gave me posters for my classroom for Christmas. I will buy frames for them (because I think taping posters to the wall is tacky, and I know I can get poster frames for 5 bucks each at the Christmas Tree Shops), but I’ll have to wait a bit before I can hang them; I still don’t have my own room. My dearest wish is that, by the start of the next school year, I’ll have a space that’s just mine. While I don’t mind sharing my space with others (in fact, they’re sharing their spaces with me), I really do want a room of my own.
10. I discovered, just recently, that my style of teaching has a name (who knew!? Not I!). What I really want for my new classroom (when I get it) is a big oval table that we can all sit at as a class. The scheme we’ve got now is that small groups sit at separate tables, and while I CAN make that work, it’s hard to keep everyone focused on the group as a whole. Anyway, I’m going to be putting out the call to those of my friends and colleagues who have a knack for getting good stuff cheap (or free – free is good!) to see if anyone can score me a big ole dining room table big enough to seat 12-14 people. I have NO idea how I’m going to get it up to the fourth floor (or through my classroom door, for that matter) but I’ll worry about that when I get there. What I know for sure is that I definitely want to figure a way to get my classroom more together than I can manage if everyone’s sitting at separate tables.
Happy Tuesday, Everyone!