Wednesday, October 19, 2011

well DUH!?!?!

One project down – actually it’s THREE down and a new one starts now. My students have just finished their Louisiana Festival projects and I have posted the edited videos online. Yesterday we began a little bookwork on Louisiana Native Americans which will be followed up with a bit more today. From there it will be another project.

Over the years I have modified the project to a model building, photo taking, and a bullet point power-point since I had 13 computers in my classroom. However, here at my new school I had to go back to my “old school” way of doing the project. Funny thing is, they loved the old idea. It’s all about writing, drawing, researching by reading, and creating a table of contents and a bibliography. Funny how all old things are new again.

It may be a new school – for me – but a very different setting in which to work. They are even still using a text book that the system changed six years ago. Luckily I still had all the old questions from the old green book PLUS all the questions from the new blue book. Good thing I keep everything on multiple jumpdrives.

Nine weeks of school and I still have 19 of 24 eighth graders with A’s. My worst grades are a couple of C’s. Last year my best grades at this time were a couple of A’s and a whole lot of U’s. And I have not changed a thing about what I am teaching, how I am teaching, or what I am requiring. It’s all about WHO I am teaching. Even the worst kid in my class is making a strong C grade.

Over the years I have been told to stop teaching this way, modify this lesson, rewrite this work sheet. I was always told HOW to do my job. It wasn’t me that needed to change. This I bring the same lessons, projects, goals, to my new school with a better class of students and thye eat it up, do a better job and make better grades. What happen? Oh, I know, better students!


Sunday, October 16, 2011

Allways something new

The “Festival project” is complete. All I need to do is film them presenting their festival items, posters, power points, tri-folds, bumper-stickers, and all the other parts of the work they did. I will do that on Monday then we can start their next project Tuesday.

My student will delve into out Louisiana Native American tribes and research them and create a booklet about them. They will have to create a project that will include a table of contents, a long list of things about their chosen tribe, a bibliography, color pictures – and all work done by hand. I don’t want any ‘copy/paste’ so it has to be handwritten.

I know. I’m a meany but it has to be done this way for now. Over the last 10 years I made this a digital project but I had 13 computers in my classroom. I may be at a fancy church school but I don’t have many of the resources I had earned over the years at the public school. Therefore I have to revert to “old school” ways of doing things. Sure we have a really good tech lab but we also are dealing with a PK through 8 school and the elementary takes up much of the lab time.

Coming up in a few days will be my first dress up of the year. I get to do my French trapper stories and dress. Should be fun. I hope to do this in our own 7th/8th grades plus a 4th grade and a PK2 class.

Thursday, October 13, 2011


I lost my mom yesterday as Jesus finally decided that He wanted to take her home.

I lost my mother years a go to the effects of Alzheimer's so it did not not hit me or my brother as hard as it did my sister.

Mom, I love you and thanks for all the years you did everything for me and all your children, may God take care of you now and may you enjoy seeing your brothers and your mom and dad. I'll see you again in the future when you are no longer in pain and have your full memory back.

Rest in peace.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Not as easy as it looks

One project down and another well on it’s way. “It’s just how this class rolls” as one student put it. Students have completed their first real major test in my class by completing their large Louisiana poster map. I graded them then put them outside on the wall for all to see. I have gotten lots of comments from other students and teacher alike about how nice they look.
From there we moved right into their next project – creating a new festival. The idea came to me years ago as we wanted a project that asked the students to use all their talents in creating an all new festival. The project is called “I can’t believe there’s not one yet!” festival project.

They create festival location, t-shirts, bumper-stickers, posters, tri-folds, weather research, power-points, etc; all about their newest festival. In Louisiana that is a very hard thing to do since you can’t do a festival that already been done – and we have lots of them. Just check this out to see how many festivals are in the state this year. CLICK HERE.

This year I am getting a sandwich festival, a breast cancer festival, a pelican festival, cowboy festival, and assorted other “new festivals”. They have to create the foods, music, queen’s contests, costs, look at other festivals in that city on their weekend, etc. It has been a pain to come up with something new.
Next week will begin a look at Louisiana's Native Americans through a new project - a booklet based on all they can find out about maggiage, culture, war, housing, worship, what remains, etc. Like I've said, the students work, I monitor.

Okay, I see that over 600 folks have viewed or stopped by here but no one seems to leave comments. I gonna ask that you stop just a minute and comment and then I will come by your blog and do the same. An eye for an eye sort of thing. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Photo shoot Saturday

Saturday was a fun day but knowing me it is always about school and how I can better teach the subject. My wife and I spent the day traveling to Lafayette, she so she could work the honor band tryouts 2nd round, me so I could travel and photograph additional points of interest.
She did her thing all day and I did mine. I visited the Alexandre Mouton house. Mouton was the 12 governor of Louisiana so it became a great stop on my list of things to do. 12th is not a big number to celebrate to why waste the time if you are in the city right? From there I shot photos at the university, the local park honoring southwest Louisiana individuals.
I drove around the city just laughing at the fact that the streets of Lafayette must have been laid out by a drunken Cajun because there is no straight lines, no rhyme or reason to any of the streets. Lafayette’s streets are the strangest mish-mash of streets anywhere in the nation. No where can you start driving south, end up going east then end up in north Lafayette and never getting of the same street – plus going through four street names. My GPS was a waste of time here.
It took me over an hour just to get back to where I started and I still didn’t know where I had been. When I got to Lafayette that morning, I knew right where the school was, drove right to it and dropped my wife off from there the day was a gas eating mess but I did “accidently” find what I was looking for by just forgetting my GPS and driving directionally. Around noon it was tuff due to the sun being overhead but I stopped long enough to eat lunch at that time.

More photos later.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Big deal, in and out in an hour

Yesterday I got to meet and have my photo taken with the First Lady of Louisiana, Supriya Jindal, when she made a presentation at our school. I waited through the whole workshop with our first graders, her speeches, her welcoming by the school and her teaching of a elementary class but I did get it.

It meant a lot to me to have the photo to add to my collection of photos with former governors, senators, and actors from Louisiana. I manage only 30 second speaking with her but it was enough. She will never remember me but at least I have it now. And the state police didn’t say a thing. They scooped her out right afterward to take her to her next gig I suppose.

Five state troopers, a total lockdown of the school, disrupted lunch for 1st graders, but it's all in the life as a politician I guess.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Yesterday and last night I spent time emailing over 60 teachers around the state looking for lesson ideas, plans, projects to be added to my website, Over the years many state Louisiana history teachers have stopped by and “borrowed” items for use in their class. I know because I have talked to many of them.

However, many of them have yet to reverse the action by sending me items that I can post for other ‘newbies’ that need help with that one or two items for their own class. As teachers we need to share and share more freely. There is just not a lot of resources out there for our own state history. I have offered hundreds of items and have gotten many others but it is still far short from our state’s hundreds of other teachers.

I know that many of those emails will come up empty but if I get a few things I will be happy. Today I will put together another set of emails. I am hoping that over the next few days I can blanket the state with emails asking for ‘handouts’.

It is easy for teachers to make the offer. All they have to do is attach and item or two and I will do the rest. I will create the pages, give them credit, an host the webpage. It all comes from my pocket. I just need some new ideas.

As long as I have been teaching the subject even I am looking for new directions to go.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Monday's a wonderful way to start the week!

I pulled early morning duty, not because I have to but because I want to.
Life is very interesting as you start the Monday with the blessing of the pets. Our church service was held outside as we welcomed over 100 pets – dogs, cats, hedgehogs, snakes, kittens, stuffed animals, and photos of animals. The kids seemed to love the special day to honor St. Francis of Assisi. Father Jack blessed all the animals that children and parent alike brought. It turned out to be a wonderful way to begin the day.
My eighth graders were gone for the morning after services as they took their annual group photo at Grosse Savanne, a hunting retreat south of town. I had my sevent graders finishing up their Art in Literature assignment and then covered for the sixth graders has they worked on their Art in Literature class project.
 After that my day was done and I came home to spend time with my grand-daughter. After she went home and my wife headed off to her classes at the university and the local community band, I spent time working on lessons and projects for my upcoming classes.
All-in-all the day went well, the temperatures were pleasant and nothing on TV was worth watching.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Getting better as the time rolls on

The weekend has been very productive. I have posted a few more lesson ideas, fixed a few that I already had online, and began some new one based on ideas I got from several long time TpTers. Taking information from many elementary teachers as to how to increase my sales I began to work on new and better details, more freebies, and a more diverse selection.

I redid my blog and just molded it into one that even I can be proud of. I am not the young, spry 20 or 30 year old. I’m the old man doing this ‘giving away knowledge’ but it does not mean that I can’t learn from the best. It just may take me longer.

I have been looking over many younger teachers’ products, downloading their previews, looking at how they have theirs set up and remodeling my own. Sure I know that there are not many of us middle schoolers here but many of my items can be used by other grades and I need to market them as such.

I have begun to figure this blog thing out better and creating a list of my own way to market my items. I have posted the best of the best along the left side of this column with lots more to come. They all will be better and more colorful in the future.

I have blogged for years at another site – since 2000 to be exact – and I have loved it. Over there I have lots and lots of followers but here things are a little slower but I understand. Life starts slow and swells. This old man may not have THAT much more time but I will give it all with the time I have left.

See y’all on this side of the graveyard – for a while at least!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Just this old man

As I have bouncing around different teachers blogs I have seen some really neat blogs. Lots of artwork, lots of color, and lots of pictures. Mine just seems boring. I have loved all the catchy titles and I just kept thinking I need something that was just my own. Since I’m most likely the oldest one around here maybe I should play off that.

I’m just the old man, nothing fancy, nothing colorful, nothing but a bland old guy still hanging around doing his thing with students who are almost 50 years younger, Therefore, I decided my blog should just be that, “The old man’s blog”. It fits ME. I am nothing fancy. I have almost no hair, over 100 pounds lighter than I used to be, out of the public school system, into a private school setting, getting retirement and loving every minute of my day.

I am so glad to be able to continue working, I get to drive to work with "young" people every day. I find it funny to be sharing a room with my fellow co-teacher knowing that he was born three years AFTER I graduated from high school.

The background in simple - cold blue -, nothing fancy there either. I actually like the title, color, and the simplicity of the whole dang thing. Maybe the thing is just me. Very few people come by here anyway. I almost feel like I am in a nursing home just waiting on someone to wander in to say “hi”.

I have a weekend off so I can work a bit on TpT and maybe upload some new items. I currently have five jump/thumb drives full of activities, worksheets, lessons that maybe someone could use. Sales at TpT are dead, dead, dead, DEAD but who cares. AT least I’m not.
"Any day above ground is a good day"