Polski3's View from Here

Quote of some personal revelence: "Is a dream a lie, that don't come true, or is it something worse?"

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Work site issue

Do you teach around someone who is almost always negative? What do you do about such a situation? I am close to the point where I don't want to interact at all with this teacher. Any ideas ? Talking to this person multiple times about it yielded no changes in their negativity. Changing rooms is not an option. Getting administration involved is not a good idea. Any ideas?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Pre-Reading Text materials

Do you have your students pre-read history, science or other text materials? I often have a "pre-reading" activity for my seventh grade history students. I have to; too many of them arrive at seventh grade without have ever used a textbook! (thanks, open court!). Basically, I ask them a series of questions (usually on a worksheet or copied off the board to the one-third side of their student interactive notebooks). These questions are answered or statements completed (think: fill-in-the-blank) by students scanning and previewing the chapter or lesson's pictures, picture captions, charts, graphs, and other visual materials. They are not to read the paragraphs of the textbook or other text materials. Students may be asked to identify the sub-section titles and perhaps make an inference (prediction) as to the main idea/focus of that section. They list the important vocabulary terms and people (in my textbook, listed on the first page of each lesson) they need to know.

Example questions from Chapter 3, Lesson 1 of a 7th grade world history text:

1. "__________ ______ _________ ______________________ __________________________," is the title of Chapter 3, Lesson 1.

2. According to the map, "Trade Routes, AD 570," three important trade goods from
India are _________________, ______________________, and _____________________.

3. The three main ideas of Chapter 3 Lesson 1 are:

a. ____________________________ = __________________________________________________

b._____________________________ = __________________________________________________

c._____________________________ = ___________________________________________________

You get the idea. Later, we go over each question, with the textbook or other text source open. If I have a class with a high percent ELL's, students can work on this activity in pairs, and I may put the page numbers where the title, picture, map, etc is located. This helps some of my ELL's because they have a hard enough time dealing with the textbook with their second or third grade English language reading levels.

What do you do to help your students learn to read text materials ? Please share with us !

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Made a difference....delayed, but....

This week is our schools "Parent Conference Week." One of my students who's parents (yes, both of them!), I conferenced with, were on the way out when the mother turned to me and said, "We probably should tell you something about "Katrina," (not her real name).

"Katrina" was a seventh grade student of mine a number of years ago, and the older sister of one of my current students. Anyhow, the mother proceeded to tell me how thankful they were that I'd called them about my concerns regarding "Katrina" and how at the parent-student-teacher conference, I'd insisted on going through her backpack and daily planner with them. The mother recalled us discovering a number of notes and such things, and commenting to them that some of the names listed on the "Social" page of Katrina's daily planner, were names of students who I said I wouldn't want my children associating with due to their behaviors, attitude, etc.
"You really opened up our eyes about what was going on with Katrina," the mother said. "And that got us to pay more attention to what she was doing and what we needed to do." Katrina is now in the upper stages of high school, doing ok, grade-wise, and active in positive school activities. "Anyhow," mother said,"We thought you might like to know you really made a difference for us and Katrina."

Such things are nice to hear. After all, aren't teachers supposed to "make a difference?" I hope that you other teachers out there get to hear some words like these.

Oh, and btw, if you haven't yet had your annual parent-teacher conferences, Ms. Cornelia (see my blogroll over on the left column), has some good tips for parent-teacher conferences.

Have a good rest of the week !

Friday, October 09, 2009

Dangers abound in one's classroom.....

Today was a tough day for my right hand. Well, my index finger and thumb anyhow. Its good that I don't teach shop, or they might be gone. Anyhow, who'd thought refilling glue bottles could be hazardous?

I have a number of white glue bottles in my classroom, (most purchased during "back to school sales" for .20 or .25 cents each) ( I just realized that this computer key board, unlike one of my old typewriters, does not have a "cents" symbol on it....), many of my students use to glue things in their Student Interactive Notebooks.

Anyhow, I have the remains of a gallon bottle of white glue that I got from someplace here at school, and decided to spend a few minutes of prep period refilling some of the white glue bottles. Several of them were hard to open as some students get sloppy with the glue. In trying to use a too small needle nose pliers to open a few of them, I ended up giving my right index finger not one but two blood blisters from getting pinching by the pliers slipping off the glue bottle tops, then, in trying to open one bottle just using my now smarting hand, ripping a chunk of skin off the inside of my thumb from the rough edges of the glued on top of the glue bottle. This also popped one of the already smarting blood blisters.....

Sometimes, it seems Polski3 has ta feel some pain to realize that refilling a cheap bottle of white glue is not worth such physical torment.

Oh, tonight, while Mrs Polski3 and I bravely did our evening walk at the local mall, I stopped by Sears and bought a nice, new, made in USA pair of channel lock pliers that should work better against stubborn glue bottle tops.

Hope your weekend and next school days are pain-free !

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Teacher Reading about Teachers

In no particular order, I'd recommend any and all teachers to read the following three books:

"Up the Down Staircase" ( I don't remember the author )

"To Serve them All my Days" by Delderfield

"Teacher Man" by Frank McCourt

Any comments? Any books you'd add to the list? Please let us know !

Thursday, October 01, 2009

After all these years.....

After all the years I've been in the classroom, I still get questions from students that amaze me. Today, we began a new section and spent a few minutes preparing our student interactive notebooks. I asked my students to number their pages from 29 to 39, and reminded them that even numbers are on the left hand page of their SIN, odd numbers are on the right hand page. Lo and behold, one of my seventh graders asked me, "Is 29 an even or odd number?" The student was sincere in their question. I managed to keep a straight face and quietly told her, "odd."

Is it me or shouldn't seventh graders know odd and even numbers?

Have a Happy Day!