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Reflections from Week 3 of Year 3

I had another great week at school, even though some of my students completely let their hair down and began showing more of their…um…”personalities.”

We finished up with our textbook mapping / text features unit, and I assessed my students.

Most of them did a terrific job on the three page exam, although I did hear them gasp when I pulled out the text packets that part of the test was based on.  They didn’t realize, at first, that I wasn’t actually testing them on the twenty chapter pages but was, instead, testing them on their ability to pick out headings, subheadings, etc. from the packet.

Poor babies.

😀

I had my students complete exit slips on their way out the door…answering three questions:  1)  Did you feel prepared for the test, 2) What could Mrs. AuburnChick have done to better prepare you for the exam, and 3) What could you have done to better prepare for the test.

The slips were anonymous, stuck on my closet door as they walked out, so students felt free to share honestly.

By and large, the consensus was that I had done a great job preparing them.  Only a couple of students mentioned that I could have given them the answers to the test.

Really?

Yeah.

Good sense of humor is what those students have!!

I was amazed to read their answers to the third question.  Most students said that they could have studied more.  A few said that they could have taken more notes.  One student said that he/she should have spent less time being social.

😀

One student said he/she could have come to school to get the notes.

That gave me pause to think.  I should have been more proactive about that child getting the notes.  I learned something about my classroom routine with that answer and will work to rectify that for the future.

Still, most of my students made As and Bs on the test, so I was pleased.

We are now beginning to move into QAR country.  We will probably spend a couple of weeks on it.  I’m working on those lesson plans now.

I continued to work hard on making connections with my students but blew it one day when one of my gals got very angry with me.

I’ve learned that when a student, who also happens to be an athlete, refuses to follow procedures, a quiet whisper about contacting the coach is all that’s needed to cure the behavior.  My student, however, grew very angry with me.

I didn’t email her coach, choosing, instead, to follow the discipline procedure I’d outlined to the class.  My first step was conferring with the student, and I told her so.

As we talked about what had happened, she told me that I’d disrespected her by telling her not to talk to me.

Now, I know that I probably said this in the middle of her interrupting my classroom instructions, but I apologized instead and told her I would try not to allow that to happen in the future.  I also told her that I could have been nicer in my request to have her stop talking.

She was gracious to forgive me, although I knew that I’d taken a few steps back in that relationship.

Still, I knew all was truly forgiven when the next day, after school, she saw me and said, “Mrs. AuburnChick, you can take a picture of me now.”

See, I’d taken pictures of my students wearing caps and gowns on the first day of school, and she had not liked her picture.  Well, on that particular afternoon, she was getting ready for volleyball pictures, so she was suited up in her uniform.

She was proud, let me tell you.  She also knew that I’d attended one of her matches a week ago.

As she smiled, she told her friend that I was her favorite teacher.

I was so surprised and asked, “I’m your favorite, but don’t I annoy you?”

She said that I do, sometimes, but that I’m still her favorite teacher.

I’ll add that picture to the picture frame that sits on a desk just inside my classroom.  The picture frame plugs in and runs a slideshow of photos I’ve been taking since the beginning of school.  I regularly add the pictures I take of classroom activities, so she knew that her new picture would become a part of the slideshow as well.  The students LOVE watching as their photos show up in the frame.

My third class of the day continues to befuddle me a bit.  Their inattention is growing, as is a few of my students’ determination to not follow the procedures I’ve put into place.

They do not like my quiet signal at all.

By Friday, I’d had enough and explained to that class that the procedures would remain in place, and we were going back to square one.  We then practiced the “Signal, please” procedure MANY times.  I had to wait a number of times for certain strong-willed students to put their hands up in response to my directive.

We will get there.

However, there was some disrespect going on, so I went to step 2 in my discipline system…Think Sheets…which require students to acknowledge their actions in writing.

As I grabbed the stack, students grew very quite.  They thought I was writing discipline referrals.

😀

Four of my students completed the think sheets while the other students were occupied with other activities.

I am a determined woman who will not allow this class to walk all over me or each other.

Learning gains will happen in this class because of the measures I’m going to take to ensure that students do not interrupt the learning process.

Oh, and before I end this week’s reflection, let me share a story with you.

During first period on Thursday (or it could have been Friday), one of my students was having trouble finding a personal connection with the book 13 Reasons Why.

As I tried to help my student understand that the book is about a teenager who commits suicide, I began to share why I had connected with the book.

I told them the story about a girl in my seventh grade class (I believe that this was the grade we were in) who committed suicide.

As I described the events of the day, time seemed to freeze in my room.

I was taken back to that day, and I think I took my students on that journey with me.

My story was so sad, and I’ll admit that by the end, I had tears rolling down my face.

One of my students…a sweet young man I taught last year…grew very concerned and said, “Now, Mrs. AuburnChick, don’t be doing that.”

He is a gentle soul who cannot stand for people to be upset.  He doesn’t handle sorrow very well (a trait I saw last year when I showed a political cartoon about 9-11 and the Twin Towers).

I finished up my story by explaining that everyone has a hard time with life sometimes but especially teenagers.  I encouraged them to talk to someone if a friend told them they were considering suicide.

I finished the discussion by telling my students how much I loved teaching because I remember what it was like to be a teenager…the angst involved…and how I wanted desperately for them to succeed despite their circumstances.

And that was my personal connection to the book.

My student didn’t have any trouble writing down a connection after that.

It was quite a teachable moment, let me tell you.

The funny part (yes, there was one) came when the student I’d taught last year said, “Mrs. AuburnChick, I’ve never seen you cry.”

I was surprised and asked if I didn’t cry last year during his class (which was one of my more difficult, by the way).

He said, “Naw…you didn’t cry.  You just ruled with an iron fist.”

I just had to LOL…literally laughed out loud at that comment.

Sweet child…honest reflections of his own.

Thus finished my week.

Next week promises to be a bit stressful as I have Open House, lesson plans to write, an assignment to do for an online class I’m taking, and material to prepare for a substitute who’s coming to fill in for me on Friday afternoon (more about why later).

Please say a prayer for teachers everywhere.  We continue to be treading water…doing our best to keep up with the demands of paperwork, teenage emotions, and our own personal lives outside of the classroom.

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3 Responses

  1. Keep that iron fist strong. Your students know you care for them and their future, and they realize they need boundaries and even appreciate knowing what they are.

  2. My son is a professor at a Texas University and I know just what you go through to expose the learning process for your students and I also know how a teacher tries to ‘examine’ the personalities and skills of each and every student during the course of the year….and I also LOVE the idea of your slideshow, that shows not only that you CARE about your students, but gives a sense of self-worthiness to them as your ‘team of learners’….which in my opinion would give off a much needed incentive to them all.

  3. Thirteen Reasons is a great book with a valuable lesson. Is the whole class reading it?

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