Monday, March 17, 2014

Student Appreciation Day

Today was Student Appreciation Day.  This was our focus of the day:

The morning started with all of the teachers greeting the students at the door.  We even opened the door for them.  Our high school students were very confused and unsure what to think about this.  We had special, small activities which took about 5-10 minutes planned for each class period.

Today was a fun and positive day!  Today was a day where we focused on our great students and we put aside our frustrations!

What do you do in your school to help with climate?

Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Sun

Today was a fun and exciting day!  Yesterday the students did online research using to learn about and create a digital model of the sun.  Students then used google draw to create their sun and label it.  They also needed to include descriptions about the different layers.  Today they brought their sun models to class.  I was so excited when I saw their results!  The best part is that they are all unique models yet they all met the standard!  My struggling students did great with this activity.  Here are a few of their digital models.  Two of these models were created by "at-risk" students.  I'm so happy with the results!

Monday, March 10, 2014

A heavy heart today

I got a new student midway into the second quarter.  He is an "at risk" student.  He has been in a lot of trouble but I don't really know the details.  I must admit when he walked in my door with his pants hanging low and tattoos all over his arms I was a bit uneasy.

I soon discovered that he was very polite and attentive in class.  The first time I emailed him back a digital assignment with comments for improvement, he emailed me right back asking if he could improve it.  Yes!

Then the day before his first quiz he stopped by to ask me questions concerning the quiz concepts.  He really wanted to do well!  When he missed a question, he wanted to know why he missed it and how he could be better.

The last few days, this student has been missing from my class.  Today I asked one of his friends if he was absent again.  His friend replied, "Yes, and he's not coming back...he went to Mexico."

My heart sunk.  "Why did he go back to Mexico?  He was doing so well."

"I know but he made a bad decision and he's in trouble now."  His friend said.

I went to talk to the principal about this.  She said that the rumor is that he went back to Mexico.  The problem is that this breaks his probation.

I am saddened by this.  My heart is heavy.  He was doing so well in my class and other classes too.  I know that he could have been successful!  What can educators do to help "at-risk" students see their potential?

Sunday, March 9, 2014


It's 9:45, my three children are all tucked in bed dreaming of a fun day of playing outside (finally).

I wish I was getting ready for bed too.  However, I'm running around trying to get everything done...

I am doing the dishes.  I cooked today...I don't mind cooking the problem with cooking is the final result; a mess and lots of dishes.  I cooked twice today and did the dishes twice today.  Actually, I literally just finished doing the dishes.

I am doing yet another load of laundry as I type this blog.  I have piles of clean, folded clothes on the laundry room counter just waiting to be put away and I have more heaps of dirty clothes waiting to be washed.  Sometimes I wish I lived in a nudist colony...well not really but it would help with my laundry woes.

I am finalizing lesson plans.

I am finalizing grades.

I am thinking about conferences this week.

I am thinking about the housework that I didn't get done this weekend.  I guess it will still be there when I get around to it...which let's face it with conferences this week it will get messier before it gets clean.

Being a mom and a full time teacher isn't easy.  How do you balance it all?

Oh, and I missed my blog post yesterday because I fell asleep.  I guess I needed to sleep to make up for the hour I missed last night...and who knows how late I will be up tonight.  :)

I am hoping I'm not alone in my struggle to balance it all.  I hoping for a great week at school and with my family!

Friday, March 7, 2014

It's Friday and the end of the quarter!

It's Friday and the end of the 3rd quarter!  My students were restless today!  It has been a long winter and I think they are in need of some nice weather and a break...and I am too.

I teach 9th graders physical science 9th period.  Yikes!  It is a challenge sometimes, but especially today.  Today they seemed to have a lot of extra energy.

We did a hands on lab creating series circuits to test the conductivity of various objects and solutions.  They were surprised that salt water and pickle juice were conductive.

Pickle juice is conductive because of the salt (NaCl) in it.
The lightbulb is on and working (it might be difficult to see from this picture).

After we finished the lab, we watched a National Geographic video about a golfer getting struck by lightning.  This was right up their alley.  I find that keeping this group engaged with labs and things interesting to them makes class run more smoothly.

After school I had a few more students come in to redo a quiz and turn in some missing work.

I should be thinking and preparing for next week (parent teacher conferences) but really all I want to do is relax on the couch in a hoodie and fleece pants while watching a movie with my family.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

A Great Concert!

Tonight I enjoyed watching my 5th grader play her trumpet in the 5th grade band.  It is so fun to watch the 5th graders play because they are so excited about their new abilities!

Before the 7th/8th grade band played, the director spoke to the audience.  She said that she had been reading this fall in her Band Director Journal about 10 things that make a great band director.  She said one of them talked about sight reading.  At first she was really excited because she explained that they sight read often during class.  However, as she continued to read the article said that if students can really sight read then they should sight read at a concert.  So tonight in front of a full audience, the band director passed out sealed envelopes to each band section.  We listened to the band discuss the piece prior to playing.  They discussed the key signature, tempo, skimmed it for tricky rhythms etc.  Then they played the was really cool!  I was so impressed!  I was impressed not only by the song but by the "guts" and "faith" of the teacher.

I'm thankful that my daughter has a great band director!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

A great class!

The highlight of my day today is a class that I'm is a great class!  Our Tech Integrationist is teaching a class after school that meets every Wednesday.  This was our focus this week:

1) Spend time on twitter!  I love that!  We are encouraged to participate in a chat.  I already do this but there are a few teachers in the class that are new to twitter.
2) Sign up for a few webcasts on
3) Create two lessons incorporating technology using the SAMR model.  
4) She also added a challenge that I'm excited to try Twitter in the Classroom.

I am so lucky to have a Tech Integrationist at my school!  Check out her blog...she has great ideas that you will love to use in your classroom!

What twitter chats are your favorites?  Have you used twitter in your classroom?