Sunday, November 9, 2008


5th graders/magnet school for performing arts

great kids, no shortage of helpers (a few almost too helpful!)... when I suggested a Venn diagram as a problem-solving strategy, a student piped up and said "Hey, that's my great grandfather! He invented it." -- my first education-related brush with fame!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

since I can't afford one of those cool teacher bag/brief case things yet, is it ok to show up with a backpack?

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


what not to think, or if the thought occurs, what not to say, when teaching:

How could you not get this?!?

I assume parents and administrators frown on that type of comment directed towards students...

It seems we have done several lessons twice, in part because the explanation was not clear (clearly made or clearly received?) or the students became totally off track (poor instruction or poor understanding?) -- make sure the vocabulary and examples of the lecture/lesson/class practice match the text/worksheet/homework... if I use certain phrases or strategies in the lesson it needs to transfer directly to student independent work, they shouldn't see anything new/different when doing the assignment

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


Why does C. act the way he does?

from my lecture notes: "repeated behavior (classroom disruptions, attention seeking) has a motivation (find it!) and reinforcement (stop it!)"

So when I have a student like C* with repeated attention-seeking behaviors, I need to find his motivation -- why is he doing it, what is he getting out of it? What is he seeing, and where does he see it, that tells him his behavior is ok?

*side note re part of the problem: his Mom uses this phrase, 30 seconds after meeting me for the first time, regarding her son -- "spawn of satan" -- should I be worried? should I be extra careful not to piss off his Dad?

Sunday, November 2, 2008


43 6th graders.

I shoulda brought candy.

1st 3 periods went well, good discussion with lots of "explain it to me" review, mixed a lot of students in the convo or showing me what needs to be done.

large crowds -- stay in one place, moving around allowed the tables/talkers behind me to get started up again; table by table reading of the text? teams to answer questions? nothing to get them too loud -- group work at tables than each share an answer/evidence? Or at some point just give up on the lesson plan and ask what they are interested in? Bribe with free time at the end if they can stay quiet AND get through the lesson...?

did have good result from a few defiant/smart alec students that I gave the stern "need you to cooperate" talk, then went right back to them to explain an answer and find evidence

The VP came in and went over SLANT -- Sit Straight, don't Lean, A...?, Nod at the teacher, Track the teacher as he/she moves around the room... I'm not sure I got those right, have to check the district/school's website.

seriously, need to hit Costco for suckers and jolly ranchers to keep those mouths busy with something other than yakking