Thursday, August 27, 2009

Cleaning House

The dishes have been stacked on the counter from beside the sink all the way over to the stove, and it looks like the pile may be heading toward the fridge next. There is laundry everywhere except folded and away, it seems. Tonight's dinner consisted of oatmeal and "sweetie, will you go buy some grapefruit juice, cough drops, and Mucinex?"

Oop! I hear the car pulling into the driveway. Guess it's only moments before The Hunk finds out what "cleaning house" means...

Finishing draft posts for the blog! yaaaay! ^.^

The new year (in teacher terms) is well underway, and I've been meaning for some time to review my plans and wish lists, so to speak.

Clearly I need to prioritize this; right now it's a list of pretty much ALL my ideas/goals, going back... actually maybe more than a year now.

1. Bulletin boards - more student work.
2. Parent contacts: 1 per month for each student, minimum. See 22.
3. Student assignments graded & returned w/in 2 days for daily work, w/in 1 week for any major assignment. (Does this seem a reasonably quick turnaround?)
4. Showcase more student work. (See #1.) NEED HELP; how to make showables that aren't just artsy-crafty?
5. Detention for uncompleted work. Must contact parent before assigning - tedious, but parent should know student isn't turning in work. Connect with 2 & 22
6. 3P HW: Identify what skills you learned in lang arts gr 3, 6, 9.
9. Including a unit calendar on the back of the syllabus.
10. Grammar starters rather than quizzes - exception: memorize prepositions & helping verbs.
11. SSR - Use as sponge at END of class (5-10 min) & have them continue for HW (25-30 min).
12. Literature guide - Definitely want to do this as a final project.
13. Revise required units (JC, novel, research) and continue with short pieces. Choral readings? Recitation? Possibly choral theater of "They're Made of Meat," "The Southpaw," "Who's on First," and choral readings of the preamble, the Gettysburg Address, and excerpts from the Declaration of Independence.
14. If I can get just a FEW more computers, I may see if I can go deskless. Then I can spread the computers OUT more and we won't be so cramped.
15. I think all the dinosaurs have Word. Ironically, the new computers don't have it (because *I* had to buy them & I'm not paying for it).
16. Nothing I can do here.
16b. (Whoops! I had 16 twice.) This might actually be a great activity for when a sub is there. It'll definitely take up some time, there's a clear finishing point, they can work in groups if they want, and if I have them put their names on the info sheets they do, I can tell who's done work & who's messed around.
17. Going to the library really depends on when I'm ready to return books & what my after-school schedule is like, more so than what sort of timeframe I've got the next day. I don't want to just go get books so that I can show my students I've got books. Goes rather against the point.
18. SSR responses on a wiki - not going to happen this year. How do teachers organize computer use when it's not 1:1?
19. Clipboard! yes! I did start doing this for attendance & in/out toward the end of the year. Want to expand to participation grades & behavior notes.
20. I just don't see how I'm going to suggest this without sounding pushy. *pout* Suckage.
21. There's SOME stuff on para writing in AC. We'll see how it goes S1 & may do more practice before starting the unit S2.
22. Not sure HOW to do this. But phonecalling doesn't seem so tedious when you're not suffering alone. And snacks help!
23. Yes, yes, yes. Practice first! Dunno about lit circles with grade-level books; kinda want to go back to whole-class as it makes formative assessment & feedback a little less INSANE.
24. like the WNs; not happy with the idea of continuing last year's notebook. Clearly, all that nonsense about "you don't have to follow a script! you can make it your own!" was just nonsense, b/c I can NOT "make it my own" when the notebook's already been formatted. GRH.
25. I definitely need to connect to the unit's focus questions and the state standards more often.
26. Still not sure how to avoid "someone took my folder!" Every time I have stuff that gets kept in the room, I hear this ... well, not really often, but more often than I want to. ;p Also, if they're freewriting regularly, can I give detailed, descriptive, individual feedback on a timely & regular basis? Scared. SO scared.
27. Also SSR as transition OUT of class instead of INTO class? Use curricular lit for starter instead? Make sure to have it on the board...
28. Re-testing - any student who makes under an 80 on the test is required to re-take it (when?) but to get CREDIT for the retake, must do remediation and/or come in for tutoring.
29. Not sure about this one - refer to incorrect answers as non-examples & explain & analyze?

I'm feeling better about this than I thought I would, particularly since I'm still flying by the seat of my pants with the English IV course. It helps that though the content is unfamiliar - at least as far as teaching - the standards are incredibly similar. I've been able to use a lot of material I'd already developed, and fine-tune it to fit this particular setting. Still, doing so does eat into my time, and I haven't been able to reflect as much as I would've liked so far.

Image thanks to


Mrs. Chili said...

"There is laundry everywhere except folded and away"

Hey, wait! Are you sure you're not at MY house?

I'm flying by the seat of my pants in MY English IV course, too, but I think it's going to be a hell of a ride.

Sarah said...

I have taken the six week break off work so I can concentrate on my family, and consequently, my house is clean, the laundry is mostly done and I have even cleaned the inside of my car, and done some gardening.

I feel smug.

Problem is, I will be back at work soon, so the laundry will pile up and touch the ceiling and house will once again be a mess.

There is never any real balance.. it is always one extreme or another.

Thanks for stopping by on my blog, I admire you for it - not everyone would you know!

Would you mind if I provided a link to yours on mine? I don't expect a reciprocal given the nature of my occupation :)

Sarah x

Clix said...

Wow! Sarah, I would truly be honored. Thanks :D

And - *grin* - thanks for understanding. While I do blog pseudonymously, that's never a sure thing! I love my job as much as I hope you love yours, and I think a permanent link MIGHT be deemed inappropriate enough to move me out of it, should anyone figure me out. ;D

Liz said...

Sheesh. I didn't get a chance to read your list. I read everything else though.

I just thought I'd stop by to tell you that I'm having my homeroom kids journal, and it's going really well.

I'm patting myself on my back on your blog.

I also challenged all my students to a reading competition. (Actually, the competition already goes on school wide - it's just that our block always comes in dead last because we've been pushing other stuff. But not anymore. I asked the librarian for my own log-in and I'm offering boe-coup (don't speak french) prizes for anyone who beats me - which I'm confident will be no one.) We'll see how this goes.

Clix said...

hahaha... well I'm glad the journaling is working! Are you going to use it in any of your other classes?

What are the terms for the reading contest? do you have to earn AR points or something?

Clix said...


Liz said...

ugh... blogging? no thanks. i'm up to my pits in online crap as it is.

terms of the reading contest? get more AR points than me. (i think the website is or something REALLY close... maybe

and no, it takes me a good hour to get through the homeroom class of journals. i write back quite a bit.

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