Monday, November 26, 2012

What? No Comments?

A year and a half and almost no one comments on my blog. Only, I know that I am a middle school history teacher from a little known state that doesn’t match anyone from our parishes (counties) to our food to our language, to our voting preferences. But heck, I am a teacher and I do have a little bit of good stuff. I am getting some sells – not nearly as much as Mrs. Jump - but it is some. I have a lot of other great ideas but I want to know that I am making a difference before I just jump in to upload a bunch of new stuff.

I figure someday people will begin to notice me. There is not a lot of us middle school folks here but that number is increasing almost daily. I have gotten some really good emails asking for this or that and help with this project or came you help fixing this or that. I love emails.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Ideas? Where do they come from?

Where do you go to get ideas to help you class over the next few weeks? I know where I start. It has always been TpT and The Mailbox magazine I get every month. I also have bought the past yearbooks of the Mailbox just to get ideas. I have created a large number of projects. Plus I get items sent to me from various teachers around the state. Some are really good, some need to be reworked and some became just ideas for the future. I have even had students come up with ideas for next year’s classes.

I love TpT’s freebies, many of which have turned into some really good projects. I have taken ideas from my fellow history teacher and have one planned for right after the Thanksgiving holiday.  I have looked through books at our local Teacher’s Aid shop and I have turned several ideas I “stole” into really good projects.

I have written plays about the era that we are studying, created card games from ideas I have gotten from UNO, taken games from that period and created a simpler version to be able to teach it to my students. I have made my students watch videos then had them write a sequel (that takes place two years later).

Ideas come from everywhere. I love to hear stories, I take workshops, I interview teachers, all just to get ideas. I have posted many here but there are hundreds that will never see the light of day here on TpT. So many of them have been tried by my students and so have flopped, some have been very successful, but I have come up with a better and newer way to present the information.

Today we did a Barter and Trade in-class project which has always been very successful but I had to modify it from what I saw somewhere about the Egyptians. I changed it to fit the B&T of the early French here in Louisiana. It has worked really well but it took some time to convert it over to the 1700s. I have created Slave Cabin fold-ups, French Pop-up, and many more from seeing things in books.

You just can’t sit and hope things will come to you. You have to make them happen.

Monday, November 12, 2012

What works and what doesn't

Last week I made the students mad because of grades plus I got parents all worked up because of grades but in the long run it all worked out. At least for all but one. I gave the students their Native American group-booklet back and a bit more time to work on it – one their own time – and then I re-graded it. It worked! Their grade came up big time.

They also learned that I am not the big bad wolf, just the teacher that expects more from them. It was amazing what a couple of extra days did. They also have not been late on any other project since. Maybe it did pay off.

The mid-quarter grades are posted tomorrow and grades look much better. I think they will like some of the next projects that or coming up. Even today’s won’t be bad. I am not one to do the same thing over and over again. Every day is a new day with something else in store for them to work on. Tomorrow they owe me their 5-paragrahs on John James Audubon and on Wednesday they own me their Explorers cards modeled off the old baseball cards. Last Thursday we read a play that I wrote years ago.

It is always a new item that has worked in the past. A few items I have posted in my store and a few things I am still tweaking before I post them for others to try.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

I DID vote, but I didn't win!

It is so sad but I guess I knew that last night’s election was going to go that way no matter how much I hoped and prayed. I know that my state again became a red state but it was not enough. I made my voice heard but now I will just have to wait four more years before things can get back to normal. I am so sorry for my kids and grand kids and great grandkids who will be paying off this debt for their entire lifetime.

I know my house price will come down and down and down. I know that my mom and dad’s old house will never sell and that I will have to work till I 80+ but at least I love my job. My wife has been offered an after school program from a new principal that she likes and he likes her and what she can do with a strings program.

I know my health is good at this point so I paid to hang in there and continue to do what has to be done. In our part of the country things generally aren’t affected by what those blue states decide but I fear for the next four years.

The one thing I really hate is our two congressmen are in a runoff and will duke it over the airways for another month. I am so tired of their bickering. I voted, my choice won, but with five guys in the race it had to come down to a runoff. I hated that.

I hope we can survive another four years without what I am hearing coming to pass. I love my country. My dad, and brother in law and fought for this land and I know that my father is turning over in his grave.

Oh well, at least I voted and made my voice heard.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Why oh why

Finally the honeymoon is over. I am not happy about it but I can feel the difference. Suddenly parents are email me wanting a conference. They want to know why their child is not doing well in class. I tell them that they play around, talk too much, do complete an assignment, make bad choices, and other reasons.

But I do tell parents that if they want me to continue to give “FLUFF” grades I will be happy to. It want be any better when they head off to high school but it will make my job easier. I will just give their child a 100 and move on. I saw it happen last year and now I hear back that the girls that I tried to help with lower grades last year are struggling this year in HS.

It is early in the quarter and grades can be fixed if the child changes his or her ways. They can have the grade that they want if they settle down and do what is asked. Or I can just give them fluff and parents can deal with it next year.

I was hired as a transition between all the fluff that students have gotten for the last 7-10 years and a look at what High School will be like in the future. After 23 years of public school working with AP class from the HS’s in the area you would think I know what the students are about to face.

Last year I refused to change several grades but the administration went over my head and changed them anyway – just to make their parents happy. I knew what was going to happen and sure enough these girls are having problems in HS this year. They are struggling and filing several class, I wanted to help them get ready but was told “NO” and here they sit in HS without the safety net that our school laid out for years and years.

I get to meet with several parents today about the playing around their child has done over the past two weeks. I KNOW these kids can do the work and CAN make good grades but they need to settle down and show me what they are made of. They also need to stop “pulling the wool over their parent’s eyes” and show them what they are really made of.

Monday, November 5, 2012

It has been strange looking through the middle school blogs recently. There have become so many, and so many have really great ideas. Used to be my own blog was on the first click for middle school, now it may be on the fifth click or later. I have to wade through so many to see my own. I guess I better start blogging more if I want to see it come up sooner.

I have not posted any new items in a while – not that I don’t or haven’t created any – just I haven’t posted them yet. I have created several new ones that seem to have done will with my own students so I guess I will post them soon.

Lately I have been emailing lots of teachers around the state and talking to others about what they do in their classrooms. Some of them have really great ideas but don’t work well in my setting. I have tweaked them and will try them again in the future. My brain is always working on “something new” that I can try first then release to others.

I just finished my Native American booklet which I have to say went okay even through it is going back to ‘old school’ because I don’t have access to as many computers as I used to in my old school. I will tweak it even more before next year to see if I can make it better.

I have taken material from my fellow history teacher and tweaked it to fit my own Louisiana history subject but I have to use it with my own students first before I post it. I think it will work but  I will not guess about it before I tray it myself.

See y’all again in a bit after a few things get tried first.