The Next Page Entry 58: Suspicions arise

The Next Page Entry 58: Suspicions arise

woman spy in dark glasses

So, this was interesting. On Friday, Mrs. Nix was not available for the weekly behavior awards assembly, so she had the head custodian run the show. 

Now I have nothing against custodians and they are pivotal to a school’s smooth operation, but doing what the principal, or at least a teaching staff member, should be doing? 

I guess the reasoning is the custodian sees pretty much every kid every day, whether it’s in the lunch room or in the yard or hallway…I guess.

There just seems to be something more here. 

I can’t put my finger on it, but there are times when it feels like we are being ‘observed’ by Shaina, as if she’s taking mental notes. And who she might share these mental notes with, well, the same person who assigned her Friday assembly ’emcee’ duties would be my guess.

Some of this suspicion comes from the kinds of questions she ‘casually’ asks us when she’s cleaning the room, questions that beg for opinions about how the school is being run, rather than the simpler, more objective, ‘what did you do today?’ type comments. Or even more preferable, ‘I promise I won’t skip cleaning your room every other day.’

And she seems to be lingering in the staff room more than I recall, and that’s coming from me, who keeps staff room time to a minimum.

Odd…this much I can say. I’m buttoning up around her a bit.

The Next Page Entry 58: Word clouds and class rules–perfect partners

The Next Page Entry 58: Word clouds and class rules–perfect partners

classroom rules for respect word cloud gif

Gotta say, I’d be in dire straits without ol’ Beth and Sanjay looking after me. At least when it comes to technology. These kids know everything, and not just about the inner workings of the equipment.

They showed me a site that makes word clouds.

I love the randomness and freedom these things give the kids, who can still show what they know in their own personal style. And when it’s something new, it’s easier to sneak in an actual lesson, some valuable content, without them realizing I’m actually assessing them. They see it as more of an art-type project. Perfect.

Note to self: Ask teachers if they’re open to giving up their designated bulletin board month. We won’t need to let Mrs. Nix know…

***

And so, why not keep up the momentum on mutual respect [I prefer that topic to ‘bullying’.].

Simple: Make a word cloud of rules or guidelines focused on courtesy and consideration of others.

List your guidelines on paper. [At least five.]

Throughout the day, take turns with the iPad to use that list to create your word cloud from your list.

At the end of the day, we will create a whole-class word cloud so be ready to contribute one of your guidelines.

[This journal is turning out to be a good way to think through activities.]

***

I wonder if I can use these things for math…

Science would be a breeze. And it’s time for another field trip to our park…yes, our park. Hey, why not give the kids a little sense of ownership when it comes to a study site? They like that phrase, ‘study site’. Makes them feel all ‘college-ish’, to use Beth’s word.

The Next Page Entry 57: A matter of time…

The Next Page Entry 57: A matter of time…

clock drawing on chalkboard

Saw a cartoon in the paper recently with the caption, ‘Alarm clocks…because every morning should begin with a heart attack.’

My version: “School bells…because every day should end with a heart attack.”

I swear they [whoever ‘they’ is…but I have a pretty good idea.] crank up the volume to 11 [aka’ Led Zeppelin-KISS-AC/DC’] at 3:00.

And is it just for Room 36?

Or am I being paranoid?

Or, should I say, more paranoid than before?

The Next Page Entry 56: P.S.

The Next Page Entry 56: P.S.

Received a memo about a districtwide change in expectations–an uptick, really–re: our adherence to the common core standards. [Hmmm, I noticed I didn’t use upper-case for ‘common core’. Shrug.]

Anywaaaay, an observation…P.S. In a letter, it usually suggests an afterthought, some added notion to throw in at the last minute.

Pendulum Swing.  And.  Paradigm Shift

Both favorite momentum killers in education today…

Both are P.S.’s.

Coincidence?

The Next Page Entry 54: Bullying…fill in the blank

The Next Page Entry 54: Bullying…fill in the blank

bullying prompts word cloud
Click for ‘special effect’.

Re: the bullying activity…

Three additional bullying prompts…more like ‘treating others decently’ prompts, actually.

This time, I asked them to fill in blanks.

I created groups of three for them to share their answers.

I didn’t require them [though I encouraged them] to share their answers.

Sanjay was in Jeremy’s group. Yes, I engineered that. It was to be a test for both of them. If Sanjay could at least address the peripheral issues of bullying, with Jeremy in the group, that would be a step forward for him. 

At the last minute, I switched cards. I decided ‘too much too soon’. And instead—wonder of wonders—Beth ended up in the group with Jeremy.

Here were the prompts I provided:

—By standing up for a friend, I learned to…

—Knowing what’s right is meaningless unless you…

—Respect others, so that…

I was tempted to linger/lurk near the Beth-Jeremy group, but that would have been too obvious. So I circulated and watched from afar.

Beth read her answers and I noticed she went wellllll beyond short phrase fill-in responses. And she looked right at Jeremy as she read, with an occasional glance at Annie. Jeremy sat with his arms folded, looking elsewhere as Beth read, but watching Annie as she read. Watching her intently, in fact.

Hmmmmm…

young black haired girl looking skyward wondering

Do I possibly have another ‘ally’ in my search for justice in Room 36?