Wednesday, February 02, 2005

tidbits

  • this morning in first period i rapped for the class. they told me not to quit my day job but still supplied me with a beat.
  • also in first period: two kids got a hold of markers and scribbled all over their hands and arms. i half expected them to eat the markers. A sphincter says what?
  • in second period we were watching a clip on simon bolivar and how he was influenced by enlightenment ideas. during the recitation of the declaration of independence, the first line that talks about unalienable rights, one of my students shouts out, "hey, that comes from john locke, right!" i was so overcome with excitement and joy that i fainted in a heap on the floor. (what she's referring to is the influence of john locke, and his idea of natural rights, on jefferson, who then included this idea in the declaration. i've really been stressing the connection between the enlightenment and the american revolution).
  • in fifth period i battled for power. i explained (again) that my procedure for completing work involves no talking. everyone has the right to read without listening to other people yap...yadda yadda...and thus there is no talking while completing the assignment. this one nasty little fuck looked me square in the eye and said, "well what are you going to do? i think we should take a vote." i smiled and said, "i didn't ask for your opinion. this is the procedure. you may begin." i don't like to get into power struggles with kids. but i will control my classroom. or someone will die.
  • i referred a kid to a therapy group. anger problems. history of sexual assault. excessive neediness. great kid. folding under the weight of her issues.
  • i walked aimlessly around my school trying to find a room. i intended on going to a brainstorm meeting about activities for black history month. after 15 minutes of freezing to death (hey, for us texans 40 degrees is really cold) i resigned.
  • i finally admitted to myself that i hate grading and i'm letting it pile up. my desk is beginning to look like a nuclear war zone.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

live report from...richard where are you reporting from?...okay austria...

I experienced (aka sat through) another professional development yesterday. Yawn. I say yawn because we discussed taks again for the third prof. dev. in a row. We get it. The kids need to take TAKS seriously. That's why I'm going to offer a joint to every kid who passes TAKS. I think this will be the best incentive yet. But the point of this blog was to rant about my lesson today because I'm narcisistic and I rock. *

So we're running behind in the schedule of "where we should be to prepare for TAKS" and I decided to throw two small sections into one. The task was simple: I give a group of four students a prompt addressing a question, complete with the page number to look up the answers, and they manipulate the information into a CNN news report, a poem, a rap, or song. Something where they can teach the class and be creative.

While the smart slacker kids were instantly bored (skits are sooo juevenile, not that they made them creative or funny but sat around and complained), the rest of the class struggled. I mean, they struggled. I had to model how to write dialogue for them. We engaged in discussions of what a reporter might say in his breaking news report. They wanted to write a rap but couldn't think of words that rhyme with Congress or Vienna. I'm like, people, pick another word! Like meeting. Or plan. Or date. Ultimately the lesson worked but it took all freaking period. At the end of the day I find myself at the usual cross roads: I love group work but I don't have the time to do it. I'm on a strict schedule (it's called teaching to the test) and my kids have no reading and writing skills.

What's a teacher to do?

*please do not report me to the homeland security or dep. of education. i'm not really going to give my kids joints. even though they offer to sell me drugs all of the time.