Friday, October 28, 2011

Teaching is Acting

I'm pretty much done with my Holocaust unit. I'm using Thursday of next week to finish up and have my students use all the evidence and resources from the unit to prepare for the Holocaust survivor who is coming in to talk to them. One big thing I need to work on is my "excitement." I was not totally into the Night activity because I knew the students weren't and my mentor teacher said it showed. Also, today I was saying that we needed to hurry up and get done with the presentations because we were going to do a "fun" activity that we needed to get to. My MT said that I should say that to students because then they'll think that some lessons are more important than others. So, basically I need to act like everything I teach is the best lesson ever, which is a lot harder than it seems. However, he made a very good point!

Next week is intercession week and the theme of the week is college. There will be college visits and college related activities. Well, the committee planning the intercession let's just say isn't all together. Only 60 of our 10th graders will be able to go on a visit on Monday. The other 108 will be in the school. My MT told them that the students would be able to go to the college visit on a first come first serve basis. This was Wednesday. On Thursday they were actually lining up at the end of the hall (they aren't able to be in the halls before school starts) waiting for 8:35. Once the bell rang it was mass chaos with people running to the door. Students were falling. It was hilarious but also pretty dangerous. My MT said he's never going to do that again after he got a laugh out.

One of my students is hilarious. I can't even describe his personality because it's just so unique. For one of the lessons the students were presenting sections of Night. If you haven't read the book it's Elie Wiesel's account of surviving the Holocaust. This particular student's section was a part of the train when they were throwing off dead bodies and they wanted to throw out Elie's father because they thought he was dead. When he was talking about getting rid of the dead bodies he described it as "They were throwing them off like KitKats and a bat." I have no idea what that meant... Then later, as he was wrapping his presentation up, he said, "And if you have a father, hug him." It was so funny. Sometimes I just can't keep a straight face.

Today we had an awards assembly for the 10C students (which are our students). We had them all go to the auditorium and the teachers stood on the stage to shake each of their hands. When a students name would be called some of the cheers from the crowd were hilarious. A few kids tripped up the stairs which was kind of funny, no offense to any of them. One of the students I really like, the one who always compliments my clothing, received an award. When she went up she to every teacher, "Love ya!" But when she got to me she goes, "And I really love you!" It was cute. I'm not here to become besties with just a few students, but it's nice to see that students still appreciate me even when I teach them because there are several girls who are really salty at me for actually taking the job seriously.

Today for my first two bells the participated in a fishbowl discussion. In my teaching I love discussions and anything "artsy" so I will definitely be incorporating those in my classroom. However, I wanted to try out the fishbowl to see how it would work. It went so well! I found out after that it might have gone easier than usual because they are used to doing seminars. I adapted the fishbowl discussion to fit my classes and the goal. For example, you are supposed to have students watch another student and take notes on the student. Instead I had students take notes on the discussion and important points. Below is the prezi for the instructions and expectations. It is important for any discussion like this, I believe, to have your expectations on the board the entire time.



They really enjoyed the discussion and I was surprised that they I didn't even have to use my premade list of students because I had volunteers the whole time. One thing I like about the fishbowl discussion is that only the students in the center were able to talk, which kind of annoyed the students on the outside who wanted to say their points but couldn't, which I think helped me have more volunteers. Also, one thing about classroom management is that any sort of disruption to the usual classroom set up can throw off a class and make it difficult to handle. This scared me because usually the class is set up in rows, but I had to have it set up in the fishbowl setting with 8 desks in the center and the rest in a circle around it. The students were actually really good walking into this set up. They were slightly chattier than usual, but it was also partially my fault since I wasn't as prepared second bell.

As I mentioned, next week is intercession so I should have more time to blog, but I might also have less since I really should work on my TPAC for graduation. :/

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

I'm Back!

Sorry for the prolonged absence. My computer broke on Wednesday, I didn't get my new charger until Sunday, and I was busy Monday night. Lot's of things happened though. Let's see if I can remember all of them.

I started my unit on Monday. I've been having trouble with my 5th and 6th bells. I feel like they are out to get me. My mentor teacher keeps giving me points to remmeber.
  1. Don't talk when other students are talking. Even if you have to stand for 10 minutes in silence until the class finally stops they will eventually get fed up.
  2. State expectations clearly.
  3. If an activity fails and a little later you want to try to start it up again don't give students open ended questions, such as "Who wants to try reading aloud again?" Be direct and don't let students dictate what you have planned. Don't give students a choice.
  4. Don't answer call outs. (This is what I'm having the biggest problem with).
  5. Don't confront students in front of the class. That will give them all the more reason to talk back at you in front of their peers and will make things worse. Quietly tell them to go out into the hall and then talk to them with no one around when you get a moment.
I wanted to cry on Tuesday and this Monday just because I thought it went so badly. I didn't though because I don't want my students to think I'm weak or unable to handle it. I just wanted to cry because I'm so stressed out right now, not necessarily because I failed at teaching. The other days I had a girl taken by security and suspended. She was using her cell phone in class and I told her to hand it to me. She refused and when that happens you need to have security remove them and they are suspended pending a parent conference. I don't know how long she's suspended for, but she still isn't back. I think she wanted to transfer schools because she didn't want to do her summer homework. She's a bright girl, but she wants out if teachers try to challenge her. It's a shame. She'll never get anywhere with that attitude.

One of my other students told me to "Stop talking to us" in front of the whole class. I was so pissed, but I sent her into the hall and didn't have time to talk to her. I'm giving her a Thursday Night School. She's one of those girls who needs your attention at that moment. And she's a huge bully but is oblivious to it. When I talked to her today I made it clear that next time she has a question she needs to remember that she told me not to talk and that I won't answer her question unless she stays after school. I told her if she needed something right away she needed to talk to my MT. She responded, "That's okay. You're not the real teacher."

They keep trying to play the "you're not the real teacher" card on me now. But I am recognized by the school, district, and state as their teacher so they can stop trying to beat around the bush. I try not to take what they say to me seriously. Why do I care what a bunch of 10th graders think of me? I don't. My mentor teacher says that despite how bad I think things are going they aren't that terrible. He told me that if I took a tour of the school I'd feel much better about myself. He also said that he doesn't want me to do that though because he wants me to be the best that I can be and by watching other classrooms I might ease up a bit.


Every week we have 2 student of the weeks. On Wednesday we had the quarterly party with pizza and pop. It was fun and it was awesome to hang out with the students who make an effort to be all around "good." Also, on Friday we finally had our donuts and juice for winning the door decorating contest. They actually gave us enough donuts for 2 per student. It was awesome!

Today we had a former Miss America contestant come in to talk to the school about bullying. I was SO disappointed in how the school behaved. They did not respect her. Some students were laughing at the stories of how she was bullied and about other students who committed suicide. If I were her I would have just walked out with how disrespectful they were being. They were a little better towards the end, but I still couldn't believe them. I wanted to cry because some of the issues she was talking about resonate within me and to see students laugh about that stuff makes me glad I am no longer in high school.

Last Monday I had the students complete exit slips before they left class. The question I asked them was "What impression were you given after being introduced to the Holocaust?" I finally graded them and was VERY impressed with my students responses. It made my bad day on Wednesday so much better. The students went into detail about their impressions and some even connected to past historical events (like slavery) and to how they would feel in that same position. Part of my philosophy in teaching is that students connect the content to other subjects, events, and their own lives and not just memorize facts and dates. I told them the next day how proud I was of them.

Some funny things my students said:
Student: Are you having a baby?
Me [thinking she thought my dress made me look like I was pregnant]: What?!
Student: You said we'd find out later if it was a boy or girl.
Me: Oh! No! I was talking about Elie in the book we are going to read.
(By the way, it was Elie Wiesel)

Student to my MT and me as he was walking past our door: You know. You two make a cute couple.
(Awkward for the fact that he's way old than me, he's married, has 3 kids, and that would never ever happen!)

Me to the student presenting: What Jewish holiday did the Germans turn against the Jews in Sighet?
Student: D-day?
Me: Did you say D-day?
(The class burst out laughing)

This past weekend my cousin got married in Columbus. It is so weird that he is actually married. However, it was so much fun! It was a Duthie family reunion. I love my mom's side of the family so much and it was great to see everyone. I wish the weekend was longer. I can't wait for Christmas though! Pictures from the weekend are below:
My grandma and me

My mom and her brothers

My cousins, Jacqui and Rachel, me, and my sister

My sister, Jillian, and my cousin, Jacqui

My cousins, Catherine and Rachel, and my brother, Jeffry

Mustaches

Me and my cousin, Nate

The grandchildren (minus Matt, Rachel, and Ryan)

The granddaughters (minus Rachel)

The grandsons (minus Matt and Ryan)

"Our wedding day"

Monday, October 17, 2011

Reality

Today I started my Holocaust unit. I went through the entire lesson with the first three bell. Since the last two bells were way behind to begin with they just got the worksheet. Second bell was by far the best bell! They were so well behaved and their questions were awesome! I could tell they understood the visual discovery activity. The first bell was alright, but Diante was making me so angry with his comments. I talked to him later and he acted like he saw no problem. But I need him to realize I am the authoritative figure in the class and I need to be taken seriously no matter how much he joked around with me during the last lesson. Third bell I am using as as my focus class for this TPAC that education majors need to finish. This means that I use them in my planning commentaries, I have to film myself teaching the class, and I have to use their assessments for how I reached my objectives. I filmed myself teaching today (I will NOT put that up on here - hahaha). Well, of course third bell (who is usually the most behaved) had to keep being reminded to stay quiet. Hopefully tomorrow will be much better.

If you want to check out my Prezi I posted it below:


For the visual discovery I would ask the students questions and they would write their responses down. There were three levels of questioning and the point was to get the students to think about the Holocaust. The questions below accompany the picture in the Prezi. Then after each question I would have volunteers (and some students I called upon) to share what they wrote.

Level One: Gathering evidence
  • What do you see in this image?
  • What are some key details, or pieces of evidence you see?
  • How would you describe this scene and the people?
  • What do you hear or smell in this scene?
Level Two: Interpreting Evidence
  • What do you think is the approximate date of this scene? Give one piece of evidence to support your answer.
  • Where might this scene have taken place? Give two pieces of evidence to support your answer.
  • What do you think is happening in this scene? Give two pieces of evidence to support your answer.
Level Three: Making Hypotheses from Evidence
  • How do you think these people were feeling at this time and place?
  • Why do you think these people look this way?


I asked 'How would you describe the scene and the people.' One of my students in third bell goes, "They look like David" (another kid in the class). I had to remind him that that was not appropriate to say especially since I warned them about making fun of the subject. I do not want to watch that clip. I hate watching myself teach!

Yesterday I didn't drink any caffeine. Problems arouse. 1. I couldn't concentrate on my homework last night and slept too much. 2. I had a massive headache today. By the time lunch rolled around all I wanted to do was take ibuprofen and sleep. But I couldn't. Luckily it went away after I put more caffeine in my body. I'm too addicted to caffeine.

Today I found out that one of my students was the victim of an arson. Her families house was burned down on purpose and they lost everything. It just brings into perspective the type of situation these kids are in. My heart just breaks for them. I want to collect donations for her and her family. If anyone reading this has anything they need to donate please let me know!

Also, Happy 30th Birthday to the Department of education!
NPR's link can be found here.
National Archive's link can be found here.

Finally, I received a package today from one of my best friends from back home! She made me a Cleveland painting and sent me a news clipping of Cleveland. If you couldn't tell we love Cleveland. All my friends back home are huge Cleveland fans. I love receiving and sending mail! So, if you ever want to mail something I will always bear that burden! :)

Saturday, October 15, 2011

And the Winner Is...

All our (and by our I mean my advisory students) work paid off! We won the door decorating contest! However, they picked a winner from each floor (there are 4) and I thought it was the entire school. Anyway, it's still awesome that we won! We were all sitting in our fire pit circle when the winner was announced and it was so cute to see all their reactions. My MT would mention our door as the winning door during each class and the students from out advisory in the classes would get so excited. You could tell there was definitely a sense of pride and ownership for each student. We had some haters boo us and some accused us of cheating, but we won fair and square. Plus, we had TWO doors to decorate. Those haters can just give it up.

Yesterday the students finally finished their wikis! I am so glad they are done with it. Five weeks on a project is draining. Although now this means I have to start my Holocaust unit. I've been having nightmares and not being able to sleep. I don't know why I'm so nervous. One dream I had I forgot every students' name. I was trying to think of it and finally as soon as my MT walked back in the room I remembered one. The students yell, "YOU DIDN'T KNOW OUR NAMES! You're lying." It was a horrible dream. Hopefully I remember their names. Now that the wikis are done I have a list of all of them below. I put and asterisk to the really spectacular ones!

The students had a pep rally yesterday. I must say that attending the pep rally's in this school district is a complete culture shock. I thought that it was hilarious, but it really was nothing compared to the school I was at for my winter placement. Their pep rally was CRAZY. Anyway, it was funny to see how all my 10th graders behaved. I will argue that we have the best behaved kids in the entire school just because our team is really good at making sure they all behave. However, once they got to the pep rally they were the loudest and rowdiest of all the grades. The one student I gave the detention to at the beginning of the year was wearing a hat at the pep rally and I asked him to take it off. Later he had it back on and I realized it was a Miami Heat hat. When we made eye contact again at the end of the pep rally I told him to come to me. He rolled his eyes because he thought I was going to yell at him. I didn't I just told him that if he's going to wear a hat in the school at least make it the Cleveland Cavs.

Friday was absolutely draining on me. I couldn't sleep the night before because I started worrying about this unit. I woke up wide awake at 3 and decided to work on the worksheets. I managed to fall back asleep but then I was at the school from 8-6. The pep rally was exhausting even though I just stood there. Then I had to grade binders and give them a process grade for their wikis! I didn't even have to grade last bells because they didn't have class on Friday because of the pep rally. My muscles were hurting so bad and I thought I was getting sick. Luckily, I don't think I am. It gave me a look into how much work teaching on my own will be.


I wore this dress that I bought at Urban Outfitters last Christmas to school for the first time. I got SO many compliments yesterday. The one girl who always compliments me goes, "Miss Albert, I love your dress! Can we go shopping together!" Some of them asked where I got it and when I said Urban Outfitters they were like, "You shop at that expensive store?" But I had to make clear that I go right down to the sale rack and I usually shop on days that are already discounted. The day after Christmas was a 50% off all sale items sale so the dress was only about $10. It might sound crazy but I feel that dressing "cute" builds rapport with the girls at the school. It gives us something to talk about and I feel that it makes them see me as more than an adult.

Last night I went to Kings Island for the Halloween Haunt with my friend, Emily, and her manager and her manager's friend. It was so much fun. I haven't been to a haunted house since, I think, 8th grade. I honestly didn't think I'd be as scared as I was. I'm so lame. I definitely screamed. In the corn maze one of the people popped out to scare us and then started dancing! It was hilarious. Then in the same maze one person popped out and scared my friend and then on the other side they scared me. When they scared me I fell and almost hit the ground but luckily my friend and I were walking with our arms locked. I ended up stepping on my own foot! It hurt so bad! It was a lot of fun though. I laughed and screamed so much. I started losing my voice!

Now I will delight you all with a list of the World War II wikis my students created. I put asterisks next to the ones that are extra spectacular!
Wiki A . Wiki B . Wiki C . Wiki D . Wiki E . Wiki F . Wiki G . Wiki H . Wiki I . Wiki J . *Wiki K . Wiki L . Wiki M . Wiki N . *Wiki O . Wiki P . Wiki Q . Wiki R . Wiki S . *Wiki T . Wiki U . *Wiki V . Wiki W . Wiki X . Wiki Y . Wiki Z . *Wiki AAA . Wiki BB . Wiki CC . Wiki DD . Wiki EE . Wiki FF . Wiki GG . Wiki HH . Wiki II . Wiki JJ . Wiki KK . Wiki LL . Wiki MM . Wiki NN . Wiki OO . Wiki PP

Thursday, October 13, 2011

I Love the 80s

A few weeks ago I was grading binders and some students were in the room working on projects. One of the students there was also in my advisory. I was listening to Mae and she goes, "Who is this? I really like it!" I told her it was Mae and that they were my favorite band. It turned out we have a similar taste in music. I decided I wanted to make her a mix of Mae songs, but it took me a while to finally get it done. When she came in yesterday I told her I had something for her. When I gave her the cd she goes, "I'm going to cry. I'm going to cry. You just made my day." It was so sweet. Today she told me that she had listened to the cd all day yesterday. I decided to put a playlist on here of some of my favorite Mae songs. It's not all of them, but there are too many good songs!


Today was 80s day for spirit week. It was pretty hilarious. One kid rode through the halls on old school four wheel skates - he ended up getting in trouble for wearing them inside, but it was so funny! Everyone was shocked I didn't dress up in 80s wear. I wish I would have! However, my supervisor came in and probably would have thought I was a nut! I told everyone it was okay because I was made in the 80s and that's what counts. One student said, "Really?! What did you wear." I responded, "I was just a baby." One girl was dressed up like D.M.C. My MT was talking about her outfit and how good it looked then said he knew every word to the songs. The students went crazy and told me to show them he did. He starts rapping in the class and it was HILARIOUS! It was really good too! I was surprised. I didn't think he'd actually be as good as he was!

Speaking of spirit week, I took pictures of the door! We will find out tomorrow who won! Our classroom has two doors because it's a double room, so we had extra work. My advisory is awesome though and definitely pulled it off. They also made T-shirts for the pep rally tomorrow. They were so cute.

The math teacher had everyone draw a picture of themselves and they put it on the door. One student has an IA because he's legally blind. The IA went crazy with it. I had to take a picture of his drawing. The other drawing is of my student. She was there when I took a picture, so I had to put it on too!
Tomorrow I will have a list of all my students wikis! Their last day is tomorrow! I'm so glad we are almost done with this project. Finally, my MT put me in charge of the craft activities. He wants me to think of some fun Halloween activities we can do so I've been searching Pinterest. I'd love suggestions and ideas though!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Spirit Week


Like I said, this week is spirit week. Today the students were allowed to wear college clothing with their uniforms. This meant I got to wear a UC sweatshirt! It was nice to wear something comfortable for once. I also mentioned that we are having a door decorating contest (which we are going to win, by the way!). Here's a preview. I'm bringing my camera tomorrow to take pictures of the final product.

We are at the point in the projects now that I just want to be done. It's so hard because I was the "model" student. I always did my work and turned it in on time. I'm getting frustrated because a lot of the students are not ready to have everything complete by Friday, which they really needed to have finished today. This project is just draining everything out of me. Plus, work called and woke me up at 5:30 this morning to see if I could work, even though I told them I teach every day. So, I'm pretty much running on nothing. Wednesdays are the worst anyways because I'm literally busy from 8-6:50. I need to have more patience... and sleep, especially in my first few years of teaching because they are going to be the worst!

It's funny/awesome the rapport I am building with my students. Remember the boy I gave the detention to at the beginning of the year? Well, he's FINALLY warming up to me! It's awesome because I've been trying so hard to show him that I actually care about his learning and I don't have it out for him. One of my other students told me that I was their favorite teacher on the team (second favorite teacher in the school). I told them I was leaving and the girls were so shocked and told me not too! I love that they like me, but part of me has to remind myself that I'm here to teach them not to become buddies with them. In the classroom setting I am more adult and professional though so that should make my unit go well.

Some more comments from my students:
Karim: "Hi, miss Albert. You look lovely today. Do you have any poster board."
Me: "Karim, that is a way to a woman's heart, but no I do not have any."

So, Diante was pretty salty today during class. He barely talked (because he was way behind on his project). I thought he finally gave up but no. He wanted something from me and goes, "Beautiful. I mean, Miss Albert." Then I start laughing because it was hilarious and he goes, "Aw you're blushing." I go, "No, I'm not. I just think that's hilarious."

My sister is awesome and has such a passion and heart for helping girls who are victims of sex trafficking. She went to India this summer to help with the initiative and is pretty involved at UT. She wrote an article for the school newspaper which you can read here. She was also on the news! Don't tell her, I admire her and sometimes I'm jealous of the fact that she is a much better person than I will ever be! I'm too selfish! You can watch the news video below.



Make You Think - Seinfeld Teaches History for SNL
This video is pretty hilarious. Sometimes I feel like him!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Age is Just a Number

I love what I'm doing right now. I love teaching, I love my students, I love my mentor. I get so sad when I think about December and leaving the school. I don't ever want it to come.

Today was switch day for spirit week. This meant all the Center (12th graders) had to wear our uniforms and the STEM kids had to where the Center uniforms (or lack there of). Basically, it was a dress down day. It was the first one of the year, so it was the first time I actually saw my students out of their typical khaki pants, black shirt, and black or white shoes. I must say that some of my students are quite stylish. I loved some of their clothes. Some of the others were quite hilarious. One of the students who always compliments me on my clothing was wearing the cutest outfit ever (she also has the best hair ever, by the way). When I saw her I told her I really liked her outfit and her friends outfit (who is also one of my students). They both go, "Miss Albert! I love YOUR outfit." My students are too great!

The way our school is set up no one should be walking down the 10th grade hallway at any point during the day. Well, during 3rd bell some seniors came yelling down our hall - which they do every morning - but this my MT was able to go out and stop them. However, it was the end of class and so I ended up dismissing the class. I was behind because I wasn't paying attention to the time, but I managed to get them all situated. They actually listened to me and did what they were supposed to do. My MT came back to help me, but when he saw I had everything going he quickly left. He later told me he left as not to get in the way of my dominance in the class. We'll see how good I am come the next two weeks when I lead completely! D:

Me: Do you ever ask the other teachers or interns the same things you ask me? Why don't you ask them?
Diante: If I wanted to ask them out I would have.
Later
Me: Why do you have headphones in?
Diante: I'm going to practice. I'm gonna get buff.
I should have told him that I don't really like muscular guys. Hahaha.

Michael: Miss Albert. Can I ask you how old you are?
Me: How old do I look?
Michael: 22.
Me: Yep!
Kyle: How old do you think I am?
Me: 15.
Kyle: If you didn't know me how old would you think I am?
Me: (smiling and silent)
Kyle: You probably think I was 12.
Me: Yeah, hahaha!

One of my male students said to me today, "Miss Albert, you're looking really nice today!" They are so sweet.

Student: I have a question.
Me: I have an answer.
MT: Miss Albert, you've spent too much time with me.
It's true. I feel like I'm becoming a female version of him. Plus, all the kids call me "Mrs. (his last name)." Awkward. haha

One of the students today was talking about Kevin Hart. I said I had never heard of him and he was in complete and utter shock. Apparently EVERYONE in the school knows who Kevin Hart is. My MT didn't know who he was though. As I was leaving the boy and his friend were getting so excited talking about Kevin Hart and said he was HILARIOUS! He told me that my homework was to look him up. So, naturally I did. I asked if he used a lot of bad language, and my student said, "No, he uses a lot of funny language." After watching a few videos that's not the case, but he is funny. The one I'm posting is the most decent one I could find. So, if any one from the school asks if you know who Kevin Hart is you can say with confidence "Yes!" Of course, embedding is disabled for the video, so you can go here to watch it!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Happy Columbus (Didn't Discover America) Day

I'm a history teacher. Of course I found this hilarious.

If you haven't noticed yet I changed the name of my blog. The other one came from a Mae song (my favorite band) because I wasn't creative enough to think of anything. However, I think this one suits me better. I drink a lot of coffee and I miss Cleveland.

So, I'm coming to the end of my unit planning. I have all these thoughts in my head and need to just start putting the ideas down so I don't forget them. I'm just afraid I'm going to bore the students. I should worry about that though.

This week is spirit week at the high school. We are doing a door decorating contest and I'm super excited because the winning advisory gets donuts and orange juice! Hey, I'll still buy into that as a teacher. One of the girls in my advisory is so cute. She has so much school spirit and transferred from a school that had a lot of it. Our school doesn't have it so much. My teacher said activities like this will help her buy into the school. She crafty and creative like me so we better win! I'll take a picture of the door. Hopefully I remember!

So the boys are just getting ridiculous. Today two boys said I could go to homecoming with them. I asked if I could have one boy on each arm. The one boy was hilarious. He was saying I could walk in with shades on. Then he started doing the robot. I think it might be the personality of this boy, but I was cracking up.
Diante continued to ask me to homecoming. I asked who his girlfriend would go with and he said, "Her friends." He's a very caring boyfriend. Haha. Then I said I only go with people who can drive. He said he could just not legally. So I quickly said boys over 18. He said he'd borrow his sister's id.
Sorry boys, you are all too young and immature for me.

The school I am at is very old. It was built sometime in the early 1900s. Of course, the just did some major renovations to it, but a lot of the old character is still there. We had a staff meeting today in the innovation lab. The room has stain glass windows, which can actually be seen from the outside. This quote by William Ellery Channing was also on the wall:
God be thanked for books; They are the voices of the distant and the dead, and make us heirs of the spiritual life of past ages.

I really liked it. I also thought about how crazy people would go today if "God" was written on the wall.

During the staff meeting they talked about project-based learning because the school is a project based school. I'm really excited that I have some resources to help me when ever and where ever I get a job. I think project based learning is much more enjoyable for students. It's a lot more work, but how many jobs ask their employees to write essays? No, the make projects!

Well, I'm off to unit plan!

Friday, October 7, 2011

My Students are Famous

Yesterday channel five news came into our school to do a report on students using macs and iPads in honor of Steve Jobs death. They ended up filming my students because they were in that class at the time. I couldn't help but smile when we watched it in advisory. Jobs' Legacy Evident In Schools - Cincinnati News Story - WLWT Cincinnati

During lunch my MT was talking to one of the students and came up with a discipline plan for her. She wanted him to sign something for an after school program. He wouldn't sign it though because of the way she behaves and acts in class and in the halls. It was interesting to see a behavior plan made with a student, so I took notes just in case I ever had to do it myself. He asked her what some reasonable things to be put in a behavior plan would be. One of the suggestions she gave was to be respectful to teachers. Then he asked what would that look like. And she gave examples of what she could do to show she was trying to improve. It was neat to see how willing she was to look at he actions and actually improve.

Diante was at it again today. This kid just won't stop! The STEM foundations teacher left because he is going to Afghanistan. He allowed the students in his class to work on their history projects, so I went up every bell to answer any questions they may have.
Me to Diante: When do you have STEM foundations?
Diante: Fifth bell.
Me: I'll be seeing you again then because I go up every class.
Diante: Okay, and I'll be seeing you this weekend.
Me: HA! Right (sarcastic).
Diante: See, you said right!
Me: You wish.
Diante: I know and it's going to happen.

Later when I went up to his class (which was actually during 6th bell) I asked the students if they had any questions before I left. Diante said something, but I didn't quite catch it. I asked him what he said, and he goes, "What?" Like he didn't say anything. Then he gives me the "call me" sign. Ridiculous.

Also, during fifth bell on of my students asked if I was going to Homecoming. I said no. And then he starts to add, "with your boyfriend." Jokingly, I say, "I wasn't asked!" Then one other student goes, "She's going with me." I was kind of shocked at the kid who said it because I would have never ever guessed he would have said something like that. I just laughed it off like I always do.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Stalkers & Swag

For my practicum last year I always gave my mentor's something nice for allowing me to be in their class. When I left winter I made him a card, record bowl, and a ton of my oatmeal cookies. Another student in the history program has that mentor for his internship and apparently he always talks about my cookies! Haha I think that is totally awesome!

So, today I found out Diante has a girlfriend, but he wouldn't tell me who it was and wouldn't let anyone tell me. As one of my students was walking out she hands me a piece of paper and goes, "Don't open this until we leave." I found out he's dating a student of mine who is also in my advisory, which I think it so adorable. When she came in I go, "So, I hear your dating Diante." She looks at me and goes, "Oh my gosh, Miss Albert! I can't believe you said that." She was so embarrassed but also laughing at the same time.

However, Diante is still his old self today during class. As I was helping him with his project this happened:
Diante: You in a relationship?
Me: You already asked me that.
Diante: I did? What did you say?
Me: No.
Diante: What are you doing this weekend? I might be free. I have to do a little homework though.
--
Diante: What are you doing for Valentine's day? I might be single by then?
Me: 15 year olds aren't my type.
Diante: I can change that. Age is just a number like the pages in this book.
Me: Ha. Not exactly.
He is such a ladies man I can already tell.

So because I'm short and always wear ballet flats the students never know when I stand behind them. It's so funny when they jump because they realize I'm behind them.
Samantha: [Donnell] said you were good at sneaking up on people
Donnell: Miss Albert, you'd be a phenomenal stalker. There's like a company you could join for that.
Me: You have no idea how funny my friends would actually find what you just said.

The entire week I've been doing the countdown and greeting so that I can easily transition into my Holocaust unit. When the tardy bell rand for the start of 3rd bell I came in and I say the usually, "30 seconds. Have a seat please and thank you." However, they were all quiet and working so I didn't need to shout it. I kind of trailed off and the students were telling me that it was all dull and that I needed more energy. I said that they were already being perfect students so I didn't think I needed to shout it. One student told me I needed to strut in and say it like I meant it. Hahaha. BUT when I said the good morning they said good morning back really dull, so I pointed that out to them. I guess that's what I get! Haha.

Most of my students are African American, so the guys usually brush their hair to get waves in it. I always ask them why they brush their hair when they don't have any, and they tell me to get the waves, but never tell me why they want waves. Well, I asked one student in particular. He goes, "It kind of like gives us swag." So I asked him if I could have swag too if cut my hair short and got waves. He started cracking up. Every day he comes in I ask him if I would have swag if I did that.

The same student who told me about the swag was trying to log into his wiki, but it would keep taking him to Google search. It was seriously hilarious that he kept being taken there.

As you know the students are making Wikis on World War II. One of the events (if you forgot from history class) that occurred was D-Day. Every group has 3-4 people and the students were supposed to find a list of subtopics and divide the list among themselves to research. One boy was in charge of D-Day and while he was writing he asked if he could put "D-Day occurred on June 5 (which is also my birthday)." Haha! I would totally be guilty of wanting to do the same thing.

Next week is homecoming week at the school. All the students have to wear uniforms, but since it's spirit week they have themed days, like most high schools do, where they can be out of uniform on some days. On Thursday it's 80s day. As my MT was explaining the expectations for the days he goes, "You have to dress in clothes that they wore in the 1980s. If I were dressed like I was in the 80s I'd be covered in ladies." The students went crazy over that! Hahaha!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Happy Birthday!

So, before I begin I want to give a huge HAPPY BIRTHDAY shout out to my mom whose birthday is today!:D She's the best mother ever! I even skyped with her today!

In other news I was asked to homecoming by the student I am now calling Diante. He also informed me that he was going to run for Duke of homecoming. Adorable. All the ladies should be all over that one since I laughed my way out of that situation. It's funny though because I went to a high school with 800+ people in my grade alone, but I was never asked to a dance, which actually I don't care about because I hated dances and pretty much half my school anyways. Maybe my students are attracted to older women. I mean myself being all mature and all. Anyways, I think it's funny that he asked me. I told my MT and he goes, "What did you say?" Uh, what do you think I said? Fifteen year olds just aren't my type. Hahahaha.

My students tend to go to my when they have favors because they see me as the "good cop" and my MT as the "bad cop" as one student put it. However, I had a rough time emotionally in high school, so I tend to want to help students as much as I can because I know how hard it can be. One student who is really outgoing and carefree (not in a bad way) confided in my today that she is on medication that has the side affect of short term memory loss. This came up because other students had been calling her stupid for not remembering her password to get into her wiki. She even said she wrote it down, but can't remember where she wrote it. She started crying when she was talking to me out in the hall. I hugged her and so badly just wanted to sit and talk with her, but I knew that wasn't possible. I have a terrible memory myself, but that's just because that's the way I am. I felt so bad and she said she doesn't like to tell people and was afraid to tell my MT that she needed a new e-mail. It just broke my heart.

I just realized that Wednesdays are going to be the death of me. My day is packed from 8-6:50. Every moment is taken up. Ugh, I'm so tired, but I should work on my unit plan. By the way, I realized that using a sketchbook to lesson and unit plan is so much nicer. I get to be creative! I'll take pictures later of my process!

By the way, I fixed the comments, so if you tried leaving one before you can do it now!
Also, I'm trying to think of a new blog name. If you have any ideas let me know!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

It's a Party in the USA

If you haven't noticed, I did a little updating to my blog. Check it out.

Today was kind of rough during 5th bell. What else is new though? My MT asked me to start class because he had to go talk to the gym teacher who always lets her students out late. I started with the introduction again, and the students would be silent, but then they just wouldn't listen. It was so annoying. I kicked on girl out for a second. They like didn't want to acknowledge my authority in the room. That is really what sucks about being a female teacher in an urban school. A lot of the students aren't used to female authority, especially a white girl. Luckily my MT wasn't gone for too long. I refused to allow students to get drinks or go to the restroom because they disrespected me. The ones that wanted to go were really mad at me because they didn't want to ask my MT for a pass.

Some students though did make my day and they said history was their favorite class! I was helping a group of students get signed up for their wikis (which by the way I'll post links when they're done so you can all check them out!) and one girl told me that she liked the way I taught and wished I was the full time teacher. Oh, if only they all felt like that.

One of the girls in my class and advisory told me that the English teacher was her favorite teacher so every day we joke to each other about it. I tell her she is my least favorite student and stuff. It's really funny.

One of the teachers on our team is being deployed to Afghanistan so his last day is Thursday. The school through a little assembly today to say good-bye. When the students were first walking in they had music playing (you know like Rihanna, etc). I wish you were all there to see what happened. As soon as Miley Cyrus "Party in the USA" started playing the students went absolutely nuts! They all started singing. Some got up and started dancing. It was probably the funniest thing I have ever seen.

The good-bye was really sad because I was close to him since he was on our team. I'm going to miss him a lot. He's part of the marines so his mission is to teach Afghani's to become police officers. He'll only be gone for 7 months though and then he'll come back to the school. They allowed our students (those on the 10th grade team) to ask questions and say good-byes because they currently have him as their teacher. Some of them started crying when they were up there. It was so cute. He'll definitely be missed.

I'm currently working on a Holocaust Unit. My MT pretty much gave me free range to do whatever I want, except I need to teach Maus and we might have a survivor come in to talk to us. As I work through the process of coming up with an awesome unit (and every day in general) I try to live by the motto above.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Family Banners

I mentioned in an earlier post that students made family banners in advisory. I also made one and participated with them. The one I created is above. I'll explain it for all of you! The outline of the United Kingdom (mostly Scotland) represents my mom's side of the family and the outline of Slovenia represents my dad's because those are the two largest nationalities that make up both sides. I wrote Scottish, Welsh, and Slovenian around the UK because those are the other nationalities on my mom's side. Ross stands for our Scottish clan. German, Irish, and Slovenian are the nationalities that make up my dad's side. The bunting represents the fact that we like to have family gatherings and parties. The black dots represent everyone in my family (aunts, uncles, cousins, etc). The two arrows represent the two families growing up and having families in Cleveland. Finally, the 'Hahaha' bubble was an idea from my brother. I asked him and my sister what they thought of when they thought of our family and my brother said jokes and laughing, which is so true. I'm always laughing with my family.

It was really cute hearing what my students had to say. I enjoyed listening to their stories and asking questions.

Today was the start of the switch from my MT being the prominent voice to me. I started off with the phrase "30 seconds. Have a seat please and thank you." Then I did the countdown and finally said "Good-morning" and gave the warm up. The students were not expecting this at all. A lot of them laughed because it was so different for them. One girl said, "That's cute." My MT later told me that their reaction was cute. However, he said it was good that I'm starting this now instead of when I teach more often. Now, I've taught lessons, but I've never started a class so after hearing the same voice for about 6 weeks it's weird hearing a girls voice.

Speaking of voice (no pun intended), we showed the students the first of several web tutorials they could watch when putting together their wiki since a lot of the students are at that point now. At least one student in every class asked if I was the lady talking in the video. I couldn't help but laugh. My MT said that he should have taken advantage of it and told all the students that I made a series of videos they could watch. If you want to hear for yourself you can go here. If you've never heard my voice, well, it apparently sounds like that.

I also shared my oatmeal chocolate chip candy corn cookies with some of the teachers and the two other interns and they all loved them! Yay!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Oatmeal Cookies (With Chocolate Chips and Candy Corn)

I pretty much make the most delicious oatmeal cookies in the world. I don't mean to brag. I've been craving candy corn lately also and thought it would be a good idea to put them in the cookies... well, it wasn't. I wasn't smart enough to think that the candy corn would melt. Anyways, I'm going to give the oatmeal cookie recipe and you can pretty much add whatever you want to them (raisins- gross, craisins, chocolate chips).

What you will need:
  • 2 sticks margarine or butter, softened
  • 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (optional, I never add it)
  • 3 cups oatmeal
  • 1 cup of whatever else you want

Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Beat together margarine and sugars until creamy
  3. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well
  4. Add combined flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; mix well
  5. Stir in oats (and raisins, chocolate chips, etc)
  6. Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet
  7. Bake 10-12 minutes
Makes about 4 dozen!

Broccoli Quinoa Casserole

Today I decided that I wanted to feel domesticated so I made dinner and cookies. It might seem that I cook a lot, but I actually don't. I've been living off pretzels and hummus. I can't help that it's always on sale at Kroger. I got the recipe here, and I found it on Pinterest. I love that website.

What you will need:
  • 1 10oz can condensed Cream of Broccoli soup
  • 1/3 cup of mayo (the recipe said reduced fat, but Kroger didn't have a small amount)
  • 2 tablespoons skim milk (or 2%)
  • 1 1/4 cups shredded cheese (I used colby jack)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 cups cooked broccoli
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa
  • Parmesan cheese


Directions:
  1. I first started off cooking the broccoli and the quinoa. I followed the directions for the recipes quinoa instead of the boxes directions.
    I put 3/4 quinoa and 1 1/2 cups of water into a saucepan and let it come to a boil. Once it started boiling I reduced the heat and let it boil for 10 minutes.
    I just used frozen broccoli so I just added a little water and let it steam. Once done I cut up the broccoli into smaller pieces because they were huge chunks.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  3. In a large bowl combine the soup, mayonnaise, milk, shredded cheese, sugar and pepper until well mixed.
  4. Stir in quinoa and broccoli
  5. Sprinkle a little parmesan cheese on top.
  6. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until bubbly on the edges and golden.
Makes about 8 servings.
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