Today was our first day back after nine days out due to flooding. Our school was used a shelter during this time. About 75-80% of our county was affected by the flooding. There's over an estimated $25 million in damages. I polled my students today and 90% spent the nine days sandbagging somewhere in the community. That’s powerful.
In the process, my own home was flooded. We only had about one foot and luckily it did not ruin any electrical outlets and all our appliances work. We are currently moving everything out and will have to redo floors and carpet, repair sheet rock up at least half of the walls, bleach out things to kill the mold, and replace our kitchen cabinets. Lovely.
Some of my students had anywhere from inches to 5 feet of water in their house. Students were literally boating around town because that was easier to do than drive. So today was a pretty much chill day where we gave students time to vent, talk, socialize, etc. But enough of that, they drove me crazy by the end of the day!
But rather than do lesson plans, I felt like blogging instead. I have lost any desire to create lesson plans or basically do anything. I hope this doesn’t last into summer but I can’t even focus on school or think about teaching or…anything. Blech.
To encourage myself, I thought I would post a list of things I feel like I’ve learned or areas I’ve grown in over my second year of teaching. I love lists.
• Concept Attainment: Giving examples and nonexamples which forces students to find a pattern or rule.
• Sorting: Having students sort things without giving them any parameters to sort by which forces them to notice subtle characteristics, similarities, and differences.
• Scaffolded Investigations: Thanks to Mimi, I’ve learned to make activities more independent so that (hopefully) students are thinking more and making connections based on what they already know.
• Bell Ringers: A great way to get class started, get students into a routine, review old material, and introduce new material.
• Cooperative Learning: While I still am not good at assigning specific roles and holding students accountable, I did learn some new structures. I used teams A LOT and I really think at the very least I created a collaborative/cooperative environment for learning. Students were much more independent from me and dependent on each other compared to last year.
• Explaining: I did a better job in my questioning of forcing students to think through what they did and explain why/how. Not that I’m doing a great job, but better than I was.
• Confrontations: I did a slightly better job this year of pulling students to the side and talking to them or just knowing when to drop it and deal with it at a later time. There were many times I should have and didn’t, but I’ve made progress.
• Structure: By being consistent with my bell ringers and assigning homework, my students knew what to expect. I also used my timer a lot to make sure I gave appropriate wait time and to help keep students on task and managing time well.
• Entering Grades: I kept grades updated almost daily so that I wasn’t overwhelmed at the end of the quarter like last year.
• Constructive Criticism: I tried a lot of new ideas and suggestions from my coach, even when I was skeptical.
• Final Exam Writing: I didn’t cry this year! Or curve. I even had a performance event. Ooh!
• Bell to Bell: I have taught bell to bell all year looooooooooong. Yeah baby! I did that like one time last year.
• Confidence: I have it.
Did anyone else notice how many times I used the word ‘forces’? Hm.