Ten Things Tuesday

Ten things I’m doing and thinking about as I gear up for another year at CHS:

1.  I think I have a better idea of how to pace my classes now that I have the calendar and can count how many classes for each section I have for each of the marking periods (it works out to be about 9 for the Tuesday/Thursday kids and about 11 for the Monday/Wednesday/Friday kids).  My work for this week is to try to figure out how I can get decent units done in that short amount of time.

2.  I cleaned out my fish tank a few weeks ago when I came in after our heat wave to find that my two remaining fish had cooked died.  Yesterday, I filled it back up and started the filter running in anticipation of bringing in some new fish.  I’m hoping to introduce something a little prettier than I had in there last time.

3.  Our school-wide theme this coming year is “working.”  Anyone got any novel/short story ideas that deal with the idea of working (or not) and how systems affect the way we live?  I’ll take any suggestions you’ve got (except The Grapes of Wrath; I was traumatized as a kid and just can’t imagine re-reading it, never mind teaching it…).

4.  I’m still waking up at my regular school time, so getting back into the routine won’t be much of a thing for me.  For my teenage daughters, however, I fear the story may be a little different.  I’m going to start next week getting them up a little earlier to try to get them back in the habit before we have to get going for real.

5.  The building in which I work has finally installed a passenger elevator, which means that our handicapped students (and teacher) no longer have to wage a battle with the unruly freight elevator anymore (honest to God, folks; when I threw out my back, I had to wait for the handicapped teacher to get there to work the elevator for me).  It also means that someone (probably me) will have to be assigned to sit at the ground floor every morning to keep the able-bodied kids from taking the elevator.  I was very grateful for that elevator yesterday, though, when the girls and I hauled three laundry hampers full of plants that I brought home for summer vacation back to school.

6.  I have replaced a number of my quotes and sayings on the walls and cabinets.  I’ll update with a picture or two later this afternoon (I’m going in for a little quality time with the scanner this morning).

7.  I’ve been doing some meditating and centering in anticipation of what’s likely to be a very hectic year.  While it has the potential to also be about six flavors of awesome, I’m trying to remember that there’s only so much that I, as one person, can do.  As a consequence, I’ve been meditating on the starfish story.  I bought myself a starfish charm to wear around my neck, and I’ve got a poster of a starfish on the beach that I’ve hung in the room to help keep me focused.

8.  One of my goals this year is to give the students as little paper as possible.  I’ve got a handle on how to scan things into PDF format, so most of the material I’ll give my kids will come through their computers.  Of course, they’re going to be giving ME plenty of paper; I’m going to continue my habit of daily in-class writing. but I’m going to require that their major assignments be submitted electronically.

9.  I need to not forget that I’m also teaching a freshman writing class at Local U.  I need to figure out where my old syllabus is and update it for submission before the 22nd due date.  I went to campus yesterday and got some paperwork in order and my email account all set up, my next trick will be to set up the blackboard site for my course.

10.  I’m thinking of getting my hair cut; maybe I’ll start the new year with a new look.

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10 Comments

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10 responses to “Ten Things Tuesday

  1. “The Help” may be an option for your theme. Not only does it address the “working” aspect, it revolves around themes that are near and dear to your heart that the kiddos need to be aware of, too.

    • Oh, PERFECT! And it just came out in paperback! I’m giving that to the seniors, I think.

      I’ve been trying to think of novels with a distinctly New England slant to them. I’m thinking of people like Sarah Orne Jewett and Linda Greenlaw, and I’m going to do some investigation into novels that deal with the textile industry’s rise (and fall) in this area. I may sic the kids on some field work to research the effect that closing plants has on the small towns that grow up around them, and how architecture (and housing), especially in this area, has been influenced by industry.

      PLEASE keep thinking, Everyone; I can’t do this by myself.

  2. Zee

    The Jungle by Upton Sinclair although that traumatized me as a teen.

  3. How do you think you would look with a Carson hair cut?

  4. How are you planning to distribute your PDF documents to your students? Do you have a website? Twitter page? Facebook? Blog? I’m curious, as I’m looking to do the same thing.

    • We use the Haiku learning platform. There are still a few things I wish that it did more elegantly, particularly when it comes to grade keeping and reporting, but overall, the program rocks my socks. I have a “site” within the platform for each of my classes where I can upload content, issue and receive assignments, comment on and grade student work, and where both teachers and students can maintain a portfolio of work that demonstrates mastery. It’s pretty cool, very user-friendly and, I think, not terribly expensive (but I can’t vouch for that last part; I think the price is pegged to how many students will be using it, and we’ve got less than 70 at the moment…). Check it out.

  5. jrh

    I am always intrigued by people who work in an area they are passionate about, especially if it takes them a bit to get there… check out Here if you need me by Kate Braestrup (New England ties) and What should I do with my life by Po Bronson.

    Also, the starfish story kept coming up for me last week. Loved that you mentioned it today.

  6. Studs Terkel’s volume on work is pretty amazing and could be a great launchpad for oral histories….

    I’m thinking of getting a hair-makeover for the new year too!

  7. You’re so organized for the year! I wish I was. Although I’m getting there.

    At least I’ve got a good attitude about heading back to school. :-)

  8. Melissa

    Of Mice and Men, though only marginally less depressing than Grapes of Wrath…Are you including any poetry? Some of Whitman’s poems about workers, or Philip Levine’s poetry about working class Detroit might be a good supplement. For nonfiction, Nickel and Dimed or, a personal favorite, The Glass Castle. Hm, most of my suggestions seem to be the wrong genres, sorry!

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