Friday, September 30, 2011

Bullying

During advisory on Tuesdays and Thursdays we've been working on a seminar about bullying. The students have really gotten into it which is really cool to see. The school gave us the folders in the picture and a book mark. Can we just talk about the pictures on the folder. I started cracking up because they are so ridiculous. It's been interesting too because one girl in our advisory just got suspended for 5 days for bullying people in the hall way. It's not the traditional bullying where she has it out for people but she's a bigger girl and she tends to just plow through people and not think anything of it (even teachers!).

The student I keep talking about who said I had the key to his heart I'm going to call Diante from now on so it's easier on me. Anyways, this conversation happened:
Diante: You teachers set a bad example for us.
Me: How is that?
Diante: You drink during class.
Me: This is not a democracy. It's a dictatorship. I can do whatever I want.
Then he said something about a cell phone which I didn't quite get.
Me: I don't use my cell phone in here!
Diante: No, you can play with mine.

That boy is ridiculous. He also said:
Diante: Miss Albert, that shirt brings out your eyes.
Me: Diante, that shirt brings out your eyes.
Diante: Thank you. I may just start wearing this color more often.
The funny part about this is that they wear uniforms and black shirts every day.

Today we had a grandparent come in with the student and it was found out that the student had been or had someone forge signatures on her progress reports. I felt bad for her (she started crying), but then I had to remind myself that she lied to her grandma and her teachers. She is a mess. It appears that she has been hiding her grades and going to her house around 6. Even if she stayed for study tables they end at 4:20, so she'd be home way before 6. That girl just dug herself a hole.

Today one student told me that I look like someone off street fighter. I don't know what street fighter is, but if it's anything like this picture we're in trouble.

So, like I said the students are making World War II wikis. Some of the students have gotten to the point where they can finally get their username and start building it. Before they start though my MT told them to listen to a tutorial video. During the last class my MT came up to me and told me that the students thought it was me talking in the video! Haha! That's hilarious!

Finally, I bought this skirt yesterday at where else? Urban Outfitters. It was college id night, though. I obviously had to buy something. Anyway it was about $7! I got a lot of compliments on my outfit. My roommate and I decided that one way to build rapport with the students is to dress good. I really think it does work.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Famous People

Every fall and spring the school stops for a week and they have intercession. During the spring intercession teachers run different themed intercessions. My MT does one called Big Red Barbecue. The students will learn all about barbecuing and make wiki websites and stuff for a week. Well, he watches this show. I can't remember the guys name, but he has a couple grilling shows and stuff. My MT e-mailed him telling him that the kids watch his grilling shows for the background and the guy actually responded back and wrote about my MT and his school on his blog! Isn't that neat? It reminds me of "Holler If You Hear Me" because the girls wrote to Sandra Cisneros and she wrote back. Gives me inspiration for sure!

Also, there is a producer in Hollywood who has worked with every one from Beyonce to Justin Bieber who is actually a graduate of the high school I'm at. I can't give his name out because I don't want to give out the name of the school, but he's on a new show which is pretty cool.

While the students are working on the computers I've been walking around to help out, make sure they don't go to sites they aren't supposed to, and I make sure they are only having "work place" conversations. It's awesome too because I'm short and I wear ballerina flats so I always sneak up on them, especially when they aren't on task and scare them so much when they look behind and see me. It's hilarious. I'm so mean.

There were two boys that kept talking and I stood by them to get them to stop talking. Then this conversation happened:
Student: You close.
Me: I'm watching you two.
Student: You like what you see?
Me: No.
Then the students start cracking up.

In other news, I finally finished this series. It was really good, and I was actually surprised. I really recommend it. You kind of have to get over the corniness of the flirting and stuff, but it's worth it. I actually cried when I finished the last book, Mockingjay. It's not really that shocking though because I cry at the end of books a lot. I can't wait for the first movie to come out!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Quotes

I have a really bad memory, so when things happen at the school I have to write them down. Yesterday I forgot the notecard so that is why there was no post from me. However, today I have it. Mostly they are just quotes.

Student to his girlfriend (I don't know if they're dating, but she's always hanging in him): [jokingly] "Go ahead and leave me after all I bought you from Family Dollar."

Student to me: "Miss Albert, do you want to be a gangster boss?"

I have been getting so many comments on what I wear. One girl told me that she loved the way I dress. I also always get comments on my ring that's made from a fork.
I had just finished disciplining one of the groups for talking and I overheard one girl say, "Yeah, but she's dressed really cute today."
A teacher to me the other day: "I like your sweater. I wish I was daring enough to wear all those bright colors."
Student to me about the same sweater: "Why did you choose to wear green?"

Remember that student who said I had the key to his heart? Well, today I was standing by him to help the people around them and he was pretending to point to something but was flexing his muscle. It was funny. My dad used to do a similar thing when he would ask girls which way to the beach, so it was even funnier that he reminded me of my dad.

We have 30 computers in our classroom with half being macs and half PC's. Well, the PC monitors can move up and down, but it's really hard to figure out. One student was trying to get his up, but couldn't so the girl next time him tried, but she pressed the wrong button and the whole monitor fell off. It was so funny. At first I was laughing so hard that I couldn't even attempt to get it back on. But I eventually did and we figured out how to move the monitor up and down as well!

Finally, the teacher next door is really annoying and she can't control her class.. ever. My MT does not like her at all. Today after the lunch bell we have our planning bell. We have to stand outside to monitor the halls and I went in right away after the 4th bell tardy bell rang. A few minutes later my MT came in and said that he was going to try to sneak away from the lady next door and would be back in a few minutes. It's so funny that he left to avoid her. She is super annoying though.

Well, I'm going to try to finish Mockingjay of The Hunger Games series so that I can finally focus on my school work!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Arts & Crafts Time

So, I know I mentioned this before, but it's weird living near the school I teach at. The other day I was driving to my friends house and saw one of my students at the bus stop. I was awkward and waved to him. The next day I was like, "I saw you at the bus stop!" He's a quiet guy, so I'm pretty sure he thinks I'm totally weird. Today as I was walking home I was walking behind 3 of my students and they saw me and were shocked to see me outside of school.

Today in advisory they had to make Family Banners where they draw something to represent their family. It could be pictures, symbols, words, etc. Sounds like a craft right? My teacher told me that I should make one to share with them on the day they get to share. I told him I was already planning on it! I love crafts. At the end he said that he thinks that having the students do stuff like that on a Monday is a really good idea. He told me that he knew I loved making crafts and asked if I could come up with some ideas of art activities. Don't mind if I do! I will take suggestions though! Do you have any ideas?

I should have them make this for me, with my name of course, to make myself feel better and pretend they actually do like me! Hahaha.

During advisory I was walking around, like usual, watching the students make their banners. I would stop and talk to them. You know, normal teacher stuff. My MT comes up to me at the end and told me that he has seen such a drastic change in the way I interact with the students. He's like "It's so nice to see you interacting with them, cracking jokes, sipping on your coffee. You look so comfortable in the room now." I mean, I do feel more comfortable and stuff. But it's really funny how noticeable he is. He also said he's is so glad I'm his intern. Seriously, I am so lucky to have suck an awesome mentor. And to think I was losing sleep over the fact that I was terrified to be working with him.

So, we have to do these stupid CAL's (Collaborative Assessment Log's) for our internship. They are meant for the interns to reflect on their teaching - the good and bad. Pretty much it is a waste of time especially since I keep this blog and my MT is awesome at giving me feedback right away. Anyways, you might not realize how much body language and movement affects the way you teach. Last year my supervisor told me not to stand with my arms crossed because it makes me look intimidating (yes, I'm intimidating). One thing I've noticed that I do is that I'll walk around the room, but I'll have my back to the students a lot of the time. It might not be a big deal, but when I'm walking from one end to the other the kids in the back or vice versa could do things while I have my back turned. I've been trying to make an effort not to have my back turned so often. Any advice for how I can better move about the room?

Today one of the girls came in with rainbow hair. It was really outlandish, but in a weird way it was kind of cute. The colors were really pretty. I can't really describe them, but I'm never seen hair colored so colorfully before, if that makes any sense. She said it was done because she was in a hair show yesterday. I felt bad because so many people were hating on it. But, it like went down in a cascade. I wish I had a picture to show you all. I mean, I'd never ever in a million years die my hair like that, and I don't think many people would be able to pull it off, but I really think she could.

I have so much to do now, so I better get off and started!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

School Spirit

Sorry this is a day late! I know you won't hate me though. Yesterday during advisory it was fire pit Friday. I'm pretty sure I explained how it works before, but just in case we all sit around in a circle and someone poses a question. Each person has a rock and the only time they can talk is when they put their rock in. The question that was asked was "What was the best thing that happened to you in school today?" After everyone answered we had some time left so we went with another question, "What are you doing this weekend?"

I told them I was working at my other job. The kids were shocked that I actually worked another job. I explained that it was an actual paying job. Again, they were shocked that I would even be teaching if I wasn't paid. One girl didn't understand how I paid bills if I only worked every other weekend. I tried saying I had money saved and I don't buy things I don't need (most of the time!). I even told them that I actually had to pay to be there. My MT teacher broke in and said that being a teacher is hard. You have to give so much and you want to help kids only to have them treat you like crap. The students were shocked that my teacher could actually make an accusation, even the students who I could say would be one of the offenders. I got a laugh out of that. I even heard some say that they were going to be good from now on. Let's see about that! haha!

I had a list of other things I was going to talk about, but I left the list at the school in my attempt to leave early! On Thursday a group of elementary students came to tour the school and stopped in our classroom. It was sad because a lot of them were taller than me. My height bothers me sometimes, especially as a teacher because most of my students tower over me. One of my students is 6'5"! Compare that to me at 5'1". Sad.

In high school I NEVER had any school spirit. In fact I pretty much hated everyone. Not really, but I didn't care about sports. Despite my lack of school spirit in high school as a teacher I do want to support my students. One of them plays on the football team and asked:
Student: Are you going to the game tonight?
Me: Uh. No.
Student: Why not? Don't you want to show your support?
Me: I don't have a car to get down there.
Student: Take the bus.
Me: I don't have any change.

I actually ended up going to the game though! I went with the two other interns on the team who I have gotten to know and become friends with. The game was actually a lot of fun. It was kind of weird seeing the kids out of school. When we first got there we were walking past the fence to get a ticket and walk in. One of the students saw us and yelled, "MISS ALBERT!" and then a few more followed. One of my friends said, "Why are they only calling for you?" I don't know why they called me. We gave some hugs and went to take a seat. A lot of our girls are on the cheerleading squad, so we got to see them too.

Our football team is actually really small, especially compared to the other team. However, the cheerleading squad was huge! We joked that the cheerleaders should start their own team and what we lacked in football players we made up for in cheerleaders. Unfortunately we lost 49-0! :( I felt so bad for them. It was funny because some of our students who were watching were yelling and making up songs about how everyone on the football team has a 4.0 and our school has a better GPA, and so on. I can attest, though, that those football players do NOT have 4.0's. I think I might be going to the volleyball game on Tuesday, or sometime soon. I'm excited to see the girls play. We should have a pretty decent volleyball team.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Advisory Update

Today was the first day in advisory since the fiasco. Let's just say it was SILENT. I was actually really impressed how quiet they were. My mentor teacher was as well. He said that they definitely got the message. One girl who I get along with was actually REALLY pissed at me. It was actually kind of funny. I'm glad I got to do that with them though so they don't think they can walk all over me. The plan for Tuesday is to give them another chance to do a whole class discussion. However, my MT said that if they act out again and disrespect each other I should just stop the lesson and make them do the silent reading again.

Today was another uneventful day, so I don't have much to talk about.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Zoo Field Trip

Today was the field trip to the zoo. Unfortunately it poured a lot, but it was mixed in with some dry spells. The field trip was for several of their classes and they students were split up into 30 groups. Each group had an iPad and a book bag filled with technology such as video cameras. They each had a packet and it was kind of a scavenger hunt and they had to answer questions that dealt with global warming and climate change.

The first place I went to was called CREW because they wanted a teacher positioned there. I had never seen it before but it is where they do a lot of their research. When I got there there was only one group and the lady had me go on the tour because she thought I was a student! It was cool, but do I look like I'm in 10th grade. One of the workers was shocked I was a teacher and said I looked too young. We saw a surgery on a cat, a place where they do studies on plants, and also where they are doing research in order to see if they can find ways to diagnose pregnancies in polar bears through their poop. It was pretty interesting actually.

After the tour I went back up to wait for the later tours to finish so that I could make sure the students didn't misbehave. The group I was with were talking about what they wanted to do next and what they needed to find. Apparently there was a question that they had to find something that looked like the principal (who has red hair).
Student 1: Oh! You know that one lady down there with the red hair?
Student 2: They mean an animal!

I could help but laugh so hard at that.

After I went and walked back up to the front. I saw the English teacher and sat with her because it wouldn't be too long before the students came back to check in at 12. We talked for a while and the rest of the teachers came back. We checked in the students then they were back off to eat and finish. After some time the English teacher and I walked to the cafe to get food and get the students moving.

One of the employees came up to me while we were eating and asked if I was a teacher. I said yes and he told me that he was really pleased with how the students were behaving. We were shocked but really proud of our students for this (apparently another group at a different food court wasn't so well behaved). The students were really good though which was definitely a relief because of how some of them act in school. They also worked well with their groups especially since some of them wouldn't normally work with the people they were partnered with.

After lunch I walked around trying to find groups to film because I had a video camera and as part of the schools grant they need evidence of student participation. It gave me a chance to enjoy the zoo a bit. Of course I couldn't find any groups. Well, I did, but not as many as I hoped. Then I walked back to take another post where students would go for any questions or technology problems. The English teacher was there again so we just chatted until it was time to go.

So, I must say some of the students were adorable. Many were sharing umbrella's with group members and it was cool to see them so close especially since it isn't something you'd see in a more familiar setting like school. This one bigger girl had the "world's smallest umbrella." It was hilarious seeing her standing with it. There was another group and one of the boys was holding the umbrella over a girl's head as they were walking, and he wasn't even under it!

My day finished with a team meeting and class! Everyone in my applied methods class went to our professors house to have class and eat pizza! It was nice to see everyone again. I'm so wiped out now. Field trips take a lot out of you, but it doesn't help that it was raining!

I didn't bring a camera, but I did take some pictures with my phone.




Tuesday, September 20, 2011

My Mentor Teacher is Awesome!

He sent me this e-mail today:
I don't think I thank you enough for all the work you do to make our class so successful. I know today's advisory won't make your top 10 classes of the year however I also know you will finish the unit strong and have a lot of wonderful classes. I look forward to helping you get advisory back to where you need them to be and spending a fun day at the zoo tomorrow. Thanks again for all your hard work.

He's the best. Advisory really brought me down, and I'm shocked that it showed that much. I'm so grateful to have such an awesome mentor.

Just When Things Were Going Well...

So, today was the first time in a while I felt overwhelmed and like a failure. Basically the advisory I ran today fell apart. The students were so rowdy and I couldn't control it. I wasn't sure if I should discipline them because they are our advisory and therefore it should be different than the regular class periods. However, I didn't and it was too late. My mentor teacher asked how I thought it went and I told him that it was my fault because I wasn't as prepared as I thought I should be. He told me that he didn't think that at all. He actually thought I was very prepared.

One of the problems I notice I'm having is that I have selective hearing. I never catch anything my MT does. Apparently, one girl right in front of me called another student "cripple" because last year he was on crutches. I did not hear this at all but my MT in the back of the room heard it (and our classroom is very big). I just feel so crappy right now.

My MT said that I lost control of them today, but tomorrow I need to come back and bring it back together. He told me that when you start off with a class you have to be a b***** so they don't run around me. He told me how to get the class back tomorrow. I need to have them silently answer the warm up and they need to sit every other seat with no one sitting at the computer. The kids who are going to cause the biggest disturbance I need to move to the back of the room. Then I need to apologize and say that it was my fault for how class went yesterday because I had assumed that we were all at a place where we could watch a video and answer questions without everyone talking at once. I need to say that yesterday was on my but today is on them. Basically, tomorrow is a silent day and if they can prove that they can work silently than we'll try again in the film tomorrow.

He said that if I just let them run all over me in advisory it will seep into the classes and I'll never have control. He said that it was good that it only happened in advisory and he also said that he'd rather have it happen this year with him in the classroom than next year when I have a class of my own. I agree. I'm just so stressed and frustrated. I haven't been able to sleep lately, especially last night. I was woken up at 12:20 and couldn't call back asleep until 3:30 and then I had to be up again at 6:30. Plus, I was so nervous to run the seminar because it wasn't my creation and I'm nervous about starting classes at UC again.

On the bright side we're taking the students to the zoo tomorrow for another class! I'm so excited that I get to go to the zoo for free. Teaching has it's perks! Please pray for me though, I just feel so weak (not physically, but mentally). Plus, other aspects of my life are creeping back in and bringing me down. I don't want this to get in the way of my energy for my students. They don't deserve it from me.

I forgot to take a picture of my outfit this morning. Basically, the last 20 hours have been pretty awful, and I should have seen it coming. But I did take this picture with my webcam! I made Pumpkin Spice Iced Coffee!

Here's how to make it:
  • Freeze coffee in an ice cube tray.
  • Cool a pot of coffee
  • Mix sweeten condensed milk and evaporated milk in a container and place in the fridge
  • Pour the coffee into a cup with the ice cubes, add as much creamer mixture as desired, mix in some pumpkin spice!
Mmm mmm mmm. Basically I needed that treat after a day like today!

Monday, September 19, 2011

It's Monday

I don't, but I thought this picture was cute. I found it here. Today in particular I am very sleepy and cold. The rain doesn't help either.

Sorry I didn't post on Friday. I was at the school late because I was grading binders and then I just came home real quick and was gone the rest of the night. Plus, not too much happened on Friday that was real interesting. Oh, the one boy who made the remark about my sweater and necklace made a very inappropriate remark to me and I had to kindly remind him that I was his teacher.

One of the problems I feel like I'm going to face on my own is the fact that I'm a girl and that I don't look much older than my students. I feel like I'm going to face a lot of "sexual" remarks, not blatant ones, but just things that I feel students should not do or say to their teachers. Like a few weeks ago this boy (who wasn't our student) came dancing up to me like we were in a club. I felt awkward because I didn't know what to do. I thought I was safe portraying myself as an adult especially since all the students were uniforms and the teachers don't, but apparently not.

We are starting a new seminar in advisory on cyber bullying. My MT asked me if I wanted to lead it to give me practice on teaching, especially because the classes are working on their projects for the next couple of weeks and that involves almost complete individual instruction. I'm kind of excited about it, but I wish I was able to teach my history stuff because that is the kind of stuff I love.

On Friday two students that my MT teacher had years back (who are older than me by a few years) came in to visit him. They were talking about people they knew and someone made the comment that his classroom was the one that people meet their spouses. My MT said, "No. Usually my room is where they meet the one the will get them pregnant in high school." Awkward. Haha. Then I found out today that a lot of students actually get pregnant at the school after school is let out because there isn't really anyone watching them and the school lacks security guards. Really? I mean I can't think of anywhere more romantic than a high school. Just kidding. But seriously, that's gross.

Here are Monday and Friday's outfits. I realized I have a huge problem. My pants don't fit me anymore. I bought a skirt last year and it doesn't fit me anymore. I'm flattered that it doesn't, but I'm also kind of mad because I need more clothes! Whatever though, I'm over it. Also, my bangs are getting long now! I have to start wearing them to the side again, which is alright! I love the side bangs, but they are definitely at that awkward stage that won't work either way! haha.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

You Have the Key to My Heart

In advisory we did a seminar on a reading the students had been doing on Tuesdays and Thursdays the past few weeks. We split into two groups. One group went with me and one went with my MT. One of the girls was upset that she wasn’t in my group. The seminar went so well! I was so happy. I had to keep them on track and a few people didn’t participate, but I felt like they were really passionate about the topic, which was “Does high school performance affect college performance.” It was actually a really interesting article and perfect for them to read.

I like that my students are in groups for their projects because it gives me a chance to interact with them in a more relaxed setting. I may sometimes take them off topic (don’t tell!), but never really for long. There is a group with two girls and yesterday one of the girls asked if they could bring in cups to get some coffee. I went into a discussion with the two about coffee and when they started drinking it. It’s kind of sad (or brilliant!) that I’m bonding with my students over coffee! Today we started talking about coffee again and the one asked if I ever tried caffeine pills. I said, “No,” and asked her if she had. She said she had and she started describing it. I said “That sounds kind of dangerous!” and the two girls started laughing.

While they were in their groups I also graded their OGT book homework. Today the students who got an A also got a stamp. During second bell I went to one table and gave some stamps and A’s (which they earned, of course). But they wanted stamps on everything, so I went around and put some on their checklists for their project. It was cute, especially because one of the boys who wanted them was the laid back “cool” kid.

I also have several handshakes with my students. They’ll walk by and I’ll do the hand shake with them. The one girl who I have one with I am awful at it. It’s been taking me forever to do it perfectly. The one boy actually just started it today and he’ll do the handshake when he walks past me in the hall. Today we were walking opposite directions and he did it among a group of people. It was funny.

Student: I can't open this powerpoint.
Me: Okay just double click on this.
Student: It wouldn't work for me. You are magical.
Me: I know because I'm a teacher.

So, remember that story about me giving my first detention to that boy and then having it turn into a Thursday Night School? Well, if you give a TNS you have to call home about it. The student told me that he served the detention, so I said alright, but I just needed a note from someone running it. He failed to produce the note so I had to call his mom during lunch. I was dreading this phone call and I had just hoped he would give me a note. I finally got the courage to call his mother. I was so awkward on the phone, but I got it done. She was not pleased, but what could I do. I sat back down and was talking to my MT teacher about it when a minute a security guard walked in and said that he needed to tell us that the student had served it! I couldn't help but laugh, and neither could my MT. So, I had to call his mother back right away. Ugh, I hate giving out consequences.

I don't care about what all you haters say, I love ugly sweaters. I figured this sweater I bought at a thrift store in Michigan was decent enough to wear today. Hilarious story though. So, while they were working in groups I was stopped at a table and talking to them. The boy at the table goes, "I like your sweater, Miss Albert." I told him thank you and he continues, "It brings out your eyes, and your skin, and your hair, and your pants." If that isn't funny enough I am also wearing a key necklace. At the end he says, "I like your key necklace. You have the key to my heart." I had to walk away because I was laughing so hard.

I love them!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Hot Chocolate River

I wish the explanation of what I am about to say has something to do with that picture, but it doesn't. In advisory we went out to the front of the school and did an activity called Hot Chocolate River. You can find instructions on how to play here. Basically, the gist of the game is that there are two teams and each team has to use "marshmallows" to get their team across. If they fall in the river by stepping of the marshmallow the whole team has to start over and they have to have a foot on any marshmallows in the river at all times. So, basically it was hilarious. I wish I had a camera! There was always one less marshmallow than the number of people on the team so at one point one team had everyone one these small folders that were being destroyed so fast by the dew on the grass. Two girls were trying to get across and the one started slipping and falling back and the other girl (who was a bigger girl) grabbed her by the leg and pulled her back up. I had never seen anything like it. It was so funny though, the whole game.

Yesterday one of my students lost his OGT books and I told him I would look for it, but I had a suspicion that the last bell class would have something to do with it. Well, I was right and as I was checking books I realized that one students was different than the rest (because the school doesn't have enough money to give all students the same book). I looked at the number and immediately saw it wasn't his. He said that the boy left it in his locker and he didn't realize it when he completed the assignment. I told my MT and he told me just to give extensions to both boys. Well, today I saw the boy whose book it was and gave it back I said that the other boy had it, but the first boy had no idea who the second boy was. Which made me suspicious because the second boy said the first one put it in his locker. But anyway, I made a mistake about giving names out! My MT told me that if something like that happens you shouldn't give out names, but I had thought they were friends since it seemed like he had put it in his locker. My MT said that there is so much going on at the school that something like that could come back and start a fight, etc. He said that he didn't think anything would happen here, but he said that we needed to be particularly careful with the girls. Good to know! The girls are pretty catty though!

We got into the project today! It seems that my groups are actually looking pretty good. I had to make some changes because my MT wanted to put people who weren't here today on the same team so they would all be on the same page. As I was giving names my MT told me to make them write the letter of their group on their paper and that when you give directions about where the group is going to work you have to physically walk to the area, touch the desks, and repeat it (and you'll still have kids asking where to go). It's kind of sad how specific you have to be, but then again I know college kids that can't follow directions.

There was one girl who was suspended for a while because she has emotional/anger issues and can snap in a second. She came back today and asked me for the stuff she missed. I didn't recognize her at first, but then immediately I knew who she was. I really hope she doesn't turn on me because I am like half her size in all directions! I mean she's not fat, but she could definitely take me down! Fortunately, she responds well to adults and not her peers, so hopefully we'll be okay! :)

Some funny things to happen today:
  • One boy asked if the wiki they were making could have their own web address. "Can we have our own url, like michaelbasketball.com?" I laughed so hard, I don't know why.
  • Some girl told me it looked like I had a blush mark on my collar bone. I have pale skin so I know that any little make shows up, but I don't even know what a blush mark is! Anyone know?



Besides getting me that illustrated history book as a gift I would also love some Sharpie pens! :) I adore them.

Okay, I made a mistake yesterday. That shirt was NOT from UO! I actually bought it at TJ Maxx in Michigan! So, I do actually wear other clothes! Unfortunately the dress in this picture is from UO and the boots are from Target. I got so many compliments on the boots, even from girls who weren't my students.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Project 1: Begun!

Want to start off by saying that I have never read truer words. Just kidding, but I totally agree. Teachers put up with much more than anyone can imagine.

Anyways, today we gave the introduction on our first project. I'm super excited, and I'm also kind of jealous that they get to do this. Right now I'm putting together the groups and it is much harder than it seems! Luckily, next project they get to pick their own partners. For the next 4-5 weeks this is all we are working on. It might become a little bit repetitive and boring, but there will be so much attention we have to give to them. My MT and I co-taught the instructions where I would read some and then he would and he would mostly go more in depth on explaining. I handed out several detentions to kids who wouldn't stay awake and we also had several stand in the back of the room. I mean, I don't blame them, but come on. It's only one day of instruction. Also, as the classes progressed we both got better at giving the instructions. It was pretty funny.

I must say I love when my students say 'Hi' to me in the hall or outside of the classroom. This morning I saw one of my students who I feel like a big sister too. He is so precious and he said a few words to me as I was walking into the school. As I was leaving this afternoon some of the girls were practicing for cheerleading and the group said, "Bye, Miss Albert" as I was walking out of the classroom. Then as I was walking to the sidewalk from the building another student said "Bye" to me. Then I saw two students that were in study tables walking around campus and I just said a few words to them as I passed. Seriously, I can't stress how precious they all are. I wish you all could meet everyone of them. Now, I will admit I get fed up and annoyed, but I can't let that get the best of me.

My 5th bell boys are still giving me a hard time about the Browns. I told them that I am the one that holds their grades in my hand. My dad gave me a whole schpeal on how the Browns will have a better record than the Bengals. So, I'm arming myself with that information tomorrow when I see them. One of my students also asked me today if I could be her mentor and help her get back on track academically. I told her I would have to put my history classes first, but I would definitely help her out. I wish I could give all my students individualized attention, but it's just not possible with the large class sizes and all the other crap we have to put up with as teachers.

Outfit from Urban Outfitters. Of course.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Cleveland Browns

Today was once again a typical day in the classroom. I ended up leaving late and taking my time walking to the school.... and was still there by 8! Does this ever happen to anyone else? You try to take your time getting somewhere but manage to get there at the same time you usually do? Well, it happens all the time to me.

Sometimes, actually a lot of times, it's awkward walking to the school because I happen to walk past my students. I don't want to say anything to them because I don't want them to be embarrassed by their friends. Today I was walking behind one of my students and her friends for a bit. When we were finally on the school property she finally saw me and told me jokingly not to listen into her conversation. I swear I wasn't. I was in my own day dreams for sure.

Today in advisory we played Silent Squares. If you haven't played it or need a team building activity of some sort you need to play it. As an outsider it was kind of hilarious!

In class the students finished up the last of the Interwar period stuff and they got progress reports. Word of advice hand out progress reports at least every 2 weeks. It's the only time students actually care about their grades and it keeps the teacher from having to answer a bajillion questions at midterms. Even with two teachers it's a lot of work to answer all their questions, I can't imagine doing it alone. Tomorrow we are starting our first big project: The World War II wiki! I'm excited for it. Now it means less teacher instruction and more answering student questions. This is a great project also because it means that 4-5 weeks of lesson planning is not needed because the students will be working on their projects.

As some of you may know the Browns played the Bengals this weekend. I would say it is a shock that the Browns lost, but let's be real. I love Cleveland, but I'm not surprised. Anyways, some of my 5th bell boys were giving me a hard time about it. They would make comments as I walked by or would pretend to throw a football. It was really funny. Also, remember how I gave that girl a detention on Friday? Well, it was for today and today is her birthday! Hahaha! Whoops.

There was a staff meeting after school. It was dreadful. I was so hungry and tired. All I could think about was trying to keep myself awake. But I did. Tomorrow I get to hole punch a ton of papers and introduce the project. I also foresee a lot of students coming to me after school for help. I don't mind though. I love them.

The shirt I'm wearing I also bought at a thrift store. It's actually one from the Miley Cyrus collection. As much as I hate her with a passion I do like some of her clothing line from Wal Mart. I was excited thought when I found this shirt at a thrift store in Kentucky. I forgot the name of it, but it's in Florence, I believe. Anyways, I running out of clothes to wear. I need to go thrifting again soon! :)

Friday, September 9, 2011

I Love My Job

So, if any of you have every thought about buying me a gift (I know it's a reoccurring thought in your mind, so I'm making it easy for you) you can get me this book! The Kingfisher Illustrated History of the World which can be found an Amazon! We used this in the classes and I fell in love. The reading is simple and concise, but provides an adequate look into an event, especially for 10th graders. It's so much easier to read than a textbook.

There were several things I noticed my MT do that I love. He goes through a procedure of telling students how groups should work and he starts off slow. He explains with a powerpoint that groups should be 3 things: 1. Group work = work; 2. Work communication only; and 3. Team work voices. He obviously goes in depth about what these look like. Then he starts off small by pairing students together with just one other person. He says that if you give students an expectation they have to know what that expectation is, so they need reference points. While they are working together in quiet voices just about the assignment he will stop the class or explain after that is what silent looks like or working in groups/teams looks like.

Today was firepit Friday. We asked the students to come up with a question and then they voted on what question they wanted to answer. One girl suggested we talk about how we felt then or 10 years later. I was shocked about the variety of responses and it made me feel so old. Now, I remember that day so clearly. I went to a Catholic school and we were coming back from Reconciliation when our teacher stopped us and told us that someone had bombed the World Trade Center. I remember we started laughing, imagining a guy running through. I don't know what that would be funny, but in my 7th grade mind it was. I remember one of the teachers running out into the hall hysterically crying while I was trying to reassure my sister everything would be okay. I remember talking to the librarian and she said that terrorists from Northern Africa were probably behind it (She was right because the Taliban trained in Africa). I remember eating spaghetti for dinner and my grandma coming over. I still have newspapers from that day and I remember every year imagining what would happen on the 10th anniversary. I can't believe it's almost here.

To hear the students responses was a reminder to me that they do not remember 9/11 the same way I do. Many responded saying that they didn't really have any feelings towards it. It's weird to think that an event like that that I remember so clearly and sometimes want to cry over doesn't even phase my students. Now, not all of them were indifferent, but they were so young. It's crazy to think that my students from now on will not have the same connection to it that I do.

Onto a happier note, well, maybe. I gave my second detention today. And remember my friend at the beginning of the year that I gave a detention to? Well, his DT turned into a Thursday Night School because he failed to serve it. But this means I have to call his parents. :/

I do love my students though. They are so precious, and I want to have pocket-sized versions of them. One day my advisory asked if they could call me Ms. Avacado because one girl accidentally called me that (back from the first week with the name game). Today a bunch of students stayed after to get the notes to get A's on their binder checks. My MT and I were surprised, but happy that they were so concerned with their grades that they would take the time to stay. They were so cute and talking to me. I love being a teacher.

So, I really like this outfit. I bought this sweater at a thrift store with my friend Ally from Fever Thrift. It's a Forever 21 sweater and the back is all lace. I wore this outfit to the Open House which was pretty boring. I gave like a 60 second explanation of the planner, but after I just mostly talked to the 2 other interns on the team and the math, STEM foundations, and English teachers. Were all under 30 which is pretty neat. There were some really funny stories and conversations I must say.

Today as I walked out my MT yelled, "I hope your Browns lose." I responded, "I hope your Bengals lose." But really, the Browns have to win so I can rub it in his face. :)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Resources to Check Out

So, I'm going to keep this short and simple because not much happened today. We just watched a movie in class and I copied a lot of stuff. I'm pretty much the copy queen now. I'm putting that on my resume.

Anyway there are three links I would like to share with all my teacher friends, or just anyone in general, really. Since the school I'm at is a STEM school I learn about all kinds of technologies and websites since they are an integral part of the curriculum. I'm sure more sites and resources will be added, but for now this is what I have:
  • Wikispaces -- My U.S. history classes will be making a wiki on World War II in the upcoming weeks. I think this site would be really cool for larger projects or even just as a resource for students if your school doesn't have blackboard. You can actually find a sample wiki here and see how it was used for the WWII project. And no, this was not made in my MT's class.
  • Gaggle -- I don't actually know what this site is, but I plan on checking it out more when I get time. One of the teachers on our team uses it and seems to love it and he's a big tech guy, so it has got to be good.
  • Prezi -- Puts microsoft powerpoints to shame. I should have used it for my Interwar Period lecture, but alas, I used to old standard version.


Oh, I forgot. So, tomorrow is the open house and our team is putting together a brochure for the parents who show up. It has a small description and contact information for all the teachers + me! I guess I technically am their teacher also. One of the teachers came around to took a picture of us in action. Since we were watching a movie today this is me in action. I look scared to death! But it was awkward because he was taking a picture of me in a dark room. This also saves me from having to put another picture up of my outfit. I bought that sweater at a thrift store. Surprise, surprise.

P.S. If you look in the upper left hand corner of the picture you can see the bottom of my "Binder Order" sign!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Long Day, Late Night

Sorry, I'm posting this so late. I taught all day, stayed at the school until 4:25, immediately ran over to UC to attend a meeting at 4:30 which lasted until 6ish, then came home, ate and graded papers. This is going to be a VERY long week. I know I'll be at the school until almost 8 on Thursday, so I probably won't post anything that day. Sorry!

Anyways today I gave my first full lesson that I created. It was a teacher centered lecture and powerpoint presentation on the interwar period (1919-1939). I taught every bell but 5 because they are very behind because all they do is talk. I don't think I can upload power points onto here, but if I can/figure out how I'll put it up.


Not only was this my first full lesson, but my supervisor also came into observe me. Our supervisors make 3 visits into the classroom and the first visit is an observation of a lesson, but she came during the third bell, so I had the first two classes as my guinea pigs.
Not to be confused with these guinea pigs.

During the first two bells my mentor teacher gave me advice on what I need to work on for the next class, as he always does and I immediately put into practice. During the first bell he told me that I needed to end the lesson with a transition such as restating the objectives and briefly going through the powerpoint again then instead of making it seem like I didn't know that we still had time left I say, "Because you all were on task and took notes I saved you a couple of minutes to start on your homework." They'll never know! :) During the second bell he told me that I needed to make a transition between the warm up and the lesson by saying something like, "By the number of responses and the amount of hands up I can clearly see that you remember a lot about WWI. Now I want to continue our review with the interwar period..." TRANSITIONS!

I think my supervisor was surprised with how well I'm improving on my teacher persona, such as voice, knowing student names and calling them by their names, etc. I know it's hard to believe but I'm shy in front of people (this is sarcastic). There are definitely things she said I still need to work on, but my mentor teacher said so many nice things about me. Sometimes I think he's delusional, but who knows. HAHA! Later that evening out the meeting for the teachers college at UC my supervisor was telling everyone that I had went in 2 weeks before our high school even started, but she was looking directly at my friend Sarah. She sent me an e-mail later saying, "Thanks [for my CAL]. Sorry for referring to you today in the orientation, while looking directly at Sarah." I got a chuckle out of it, but I laugh at everything so I guess that doesn't mean anything.

Today I told the student who wrote in his binder about Nicki Minaj that I liked his notes about her and he laughed. I think he was kind of embarrassed.

I feel like I look kind of trashy in this outfit, but whatever. I know next time I wear the shirt I'm wearing a tank top under it. I spent way too much time worrying about the bow part because it was heavier than I thought so it would make the neck hang down. It was just a hassle. I did buy the shirt on my shopping expedition with Ally! It's a Forever 21 shirt. I bought the cardigan a while ago at a thrift store near my hometown. It was a chilly day so I definitely needed the sweater, but I'm embracing fall. I love the cool weather and everything about fall, especially the pumpkin flavored EVERYTHING!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Crafty Crafty

My two friends, Brooke and Heather, decided that we were going to have craft nights on Thursday nights as an escape from our lives as teachers. You can see Heather's art blog here! Anyway, I decided I was going to make something for the classroom. You can see the finished product below. The binder order is a list that we write on the board that tells the students which order the papers in between the tabs to be graded should be in. It is on the board all the time so I thought I'd make a more permanent sign instead of the hand written one. He was so excited and after it was up he said that I put is "Objective" and "Agenda" signs to shame. He also said, "You'll probably be like, 'Mr. Frecker, I'm taking that sign with me when I leave.' and I'll be like NOOOO." I told him that I'll leave it as a parting gift and he said that I shouldn't say that so soon because I could leave hating him! Haha!


Our team gives out Big Red Bucks to students who display acts of C.R.E.D.I.T. It's cool because each teacher gets their own to hand out. I got my own stash! The students can trade in their "bucks" for snacks, supplies, or even save up to get an iPod touch or other high priced items. To go along with this there was a girl I've been butting heads with lately. Yesterday, she said she didn't understand the Economic systems unit right before the quiz. I asked her what she didn't understand and she was like "I DON'T UNDERSTAND ANY OF IT!" I was trying to see what part she didn't understand because her saying all of it didn't help narrow down exactly what she needed to know. Then she flipped out and turned away from me, so I walked away. Then my MT went over and she flipped out again because I wouldn't answer her question. My MT told her to go out into the hall so that he could talk with her. He eventually told her that 1. She needed to be specific about what she needed help with 2. He wasn't going to help anyone who was doing other work in class and said to me "I can multitask" and 3. He wasn't going to help anyone who was constantly talking in class. Today she had time to cool off and apologized to my MT and me. So, for that act I gave her a big red buck. I know I have days where I lash out at people, so I understand that she could have been having that problem.

Lately the students have been coming to me trying to allow me to give them an extension on stuff. I was kind of lax at the beginning which was a mistake, so now the honeymoon is over. One kid asked if he could have an extension on his homework because he had a football game last night. I told him that he couldn't because he knew from last Friday that this assignment was due the following Friday. Another kid asked if he could have an extension because he missed a day, but again he knew for a week that he would have to turn in his homework on Friday. Seriously, people. I worked my butt off in high school so you should too!

Good news! I'm almost done with my power point! I have a ton of stuff to do this weekend though. As soon as I'm done writing this I'm going to grade quizzes. Then I have to create my lesson for my observation on Tuesday! I also have to create a short bio for the Open House on Thursday. Next week is going to be crazy!

So, I didn't realize that this dress was this short until now! I did the bend over test which they told us to do if we were unsure if something would be appropriate or not. I probably won't wear this dress again to teach in, but I was running out of warm weather clothes. I mean, seriously, Cincinnati do you have to be 100 degrees in September!? Anyways, I bought this dress in San Francisco. I can't remember the name of the store, but it was very similar to a Forever 21!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Whale Sounds

Sorry for my absence yesterday. I'm starting to get overwhelmed with this teaching thing. It's crazy because I'm working as a team with my mentor teacher yet both of us are constantly busy with school stuff. I can't even imagine doing it myself. I also signed up for the Praxis II PLT and Social Studies content tests that I will take on November 12th. Both tests are going to be two hours and are required to get my license. I'm nervous and it's stressing me out that I have to teach, prepare for that, and take a class. My mentor teacher assured me that I'll do fine because teachers aren't the smartest people and you don't need that high of a score to pass. I do awful on standardized tests and he informed me it's wayyyy easier than the SAT and ACT so let's hope!

Yesterday during 5th bell we had a fire drill. I remember during my fire drills we weren't allowed to talk or anything, but they were talking and it was pretty much a cluster. I mean they got out fast and in lines, but I felt like there could have been more organization. Everyone driving was staring at us. Also, during that bell I was checking their OGT books and when I came to the one student who always says 'Cleveland suck' to me I wrote "(Cleveland)" in his book. Him and the kid next to him started cracking up.

During our team meeting we were talking about the Open House next Thursday and what each teacher was going to talk about. I didn't know if I was going to be included or anything (I mean I know that my mentor would probably want me to go) but I thought the teachers were going to stay the main focus. However, my mentor teacher asked me if I wanted to give a two minute discussion about the planners. I kind of felt like I didn't have a choice, so I said yes. I'm so nervous though. I feel like as an intern I have to make a huge impression with parents because they probably don't consider me a real teacher.

Today in advisory my mentor teacher and I did academic advising with the students. I feel like I'm terrible at it. I don't really know how to go about the 1-on-1 conversation and I don't really know how to fill out the sheet! I hope I did a good job. I don't know why my mentor teacher had me doing that, but he did. D:

I taught 3 bells today on the systems of government power point. I just lectured while the students copied down the slides. I started off less confident. The microphone was too low so I kept putting my hands over it (because I talk with my hands too much). I also kept talking too fast and would explain things while the kids were writing which meant they weren't listening to anything I was saying. My MT pointed all these things out and I changed them right away. The 3rd and 6th bells went so much smoother.

Bell 5 is behind because they always talk and they had the fire drill so they took their quizzes today. One girl freaked out on my so my MT was talking to her in the hall. While he was in the hall some students started making these "whale" noises. Yesterday the math and English teachers were talking about how the boys do this and it was a huge problem last year with the 9th grade teachers. What they do is make these noises in their throats and you can't tell who it's coming from, but they work in teams so if one does it and you walk over to that side of the room someone on the opposite side of the room starts. I probably shouldn't say this to give anyone ideas! Anyway, so one student started it while my MT walked out of the room. I think I knew who it was because he kept looking at me. Since I couldn't tell who it was I threatened the whole row with a detention if it continued. It stopped right after that.

I took a picture of yesterday's outfit, but I forgot to put the memory card in my camera and it was blurry so I just deleted it. Ignore what I'm doing with my neck because I seriously have no idea. Anyways the dress and the belt are thrifted finds. The sweater and shoes are from Urban Outfitters. The tights are from Target. Again, I wasn't kidding when I said that is where most of my clothes are from.
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