It was as if the artist had read my mind…
Little did the neighbors suspect it would soon come to life…
Buddy had big plans for an appetizer before dinner…
iPad distribution day…
I gave out index cards [I now have controlling interest in the Dollar Tree simply based on my unlimited purchases of index cards.]
I had them write their name on the card.
And I called out seven names.
And I asked them to stand up.
And I didn’t say anything…kind of fun to have them puzzle over whether they were caught snacking during read aloud or cutting in the cafeteria line or slipping an overdue book under the library door.
And then they started crossing their arms [Well, Beth Carson did. No surprise there. And no surprise that her name was chosen—I think she rigged my own deck of name cards—I don’t know how she would do it, or, not knowing my reason for calling names—why she would do it, but hey, that’s Beth! And that’s me…being paranoid.]
Anyway, I picked up the box of iPads and gave one to each of the students standing.
I gave them a handout with the following info:
“You are the iPad team captains for the next week. You will receive a list of your team members in the next five minutes. In the meantime, come up with a list of ways you and your team might use the iPad for the purpose of learning or for creating something.”
After that five minutes, the new teams met for five more minutes of brainstorming other ways to use the iPad.
I can tell you this…we’re going to get a lot of footage of our field trip to Buy Mart.
The visitor’s arrival was minutes away…
He was seconds from revealing the secret…
Beth decided weightlessness *was* possible…
Got this in my mailbox a day after my traffic cop performance in the parking lot.
I prefer to think it’s from a friend…
Mrs. Nix: So you’ve been busy.
Joanna Page: We’ve all been busy, right? Kind of comes with the job.
Mrs. Nix: Even after school.
Joanna Page: Yeah, I’ve met with a few kids about photography.
Mrs. Nix: In the parking lot.
Joanna Page: Oh, that.
Mrs. Nix: What got into you?
Joanna Page: I’d just seen one too many close calls and I just kind of snapped.
Mrs. Nix: Any way you could have handled it differently?
Joanna Page: You, and probably the parents, wouldn’t have appreciated my other ideas.
Mrs. Nix: Which were?
Joanna Page: Let’s just go with ‘more extreme’ and leave it at that.
Mrs. Nix: So, are you done with your little venture into law enforcement?
Joanna Page: Yes.
Mrs. Nix: So on to other things…how’s the instructional schedule going in your room?
Joanna Page: From my viewpoint, it’s going fine.
Mrs. Nix: What exactly is your viewpoint?
Joanna Page: I would think we are meeting instructional minute expectations.
Mrs. Nix: You would think?
Joanna Page: I don’t watch them too closely, but I feel there is plenty of learning and skill practice going on and throw in a little creative and divergent thinking.
Mrs. Nix: That all sounds nice, but is it fitting in with the Common Core?
Joanna Page: Well, I haven’t exactly checked it word-for-word, but I think there is a standard or two that applies.
Mrs. Nix: How about posting your daily learning targets?
Joanna Page: Not exactly every day.
Mrs. Nix: Hardly ever, from what I can see. Remember that term we talked about as a staff–‘laser-focused’?
Joanna Page: Okay, I guess I could use a little work on that…
Mrs. Nix: Do you even want to be at this school?
Joanna Page: Whoa! Where did that come from?
Mrs. Nix: Well…
Joanna Page: No need to answer that. But yes, I love my kids and so, yes, I want to be here.
Mrs. Nix: There seem to be more times than not that you seem to be paving your own way.
Joanna Page: Which means?
Mrs. Nix: You’re hardly following our routines.
Joanna Page: Routines…
Mrs. Nix: I have another meeting, but think about my concerns and check in with Mrs. O’ Brien to schedule a short meeting for tomorrow.
Joanna Page: It will have to be after school. We have a field trip to Safeway tomorrow.
Mrs. Nix: Safeway…
Joanna Page: Yep, a little ‘math and writing in the real world’ activity. You should come.
Mrs. Nix: Thanks, but I’ll stay where I belong.
Joanna Page: Okay…anything I can pick up for you at Safeway?
Okay, so here we go. I don’t have as much time to write right now because I have a meeting with Mrs. Nix. I can just imagine what’s on her agenda. She still hasn’t mentioned the after-school parking lot ‘event’, so I’m guessing that will be a top item.
More important, yesterday, I gave the kids a journal prompt of: “I want to live in a world where…”
The responses were classic, so good, in fact, that I launched us into our first ‘class book’. They’re now almost done with their individual pages–simple in design with just their single sentence and an accompaning illustration.
They had a head start right then, but they were expected to work on it at home, as well. I gave them plenty of choices for illustration. Hand-drawn is always preferred, but they were welcome to create a collage of words and pictures from magazines and newspapers or take their own photos to be printed out.
Some of their responses:
- I want a world where…
- My sister doesn’t always get her way.
- I’m paid to play video games.
- School ends at lunch time.
- My mom and dad are back together.
- Kids could drive.
- My dog gets to sit at the dinner table.
- All books talk to me.
- Older brothers aren’t so bossy.
I threw them a curve today.
Journal time: I asked for a 100-word piece. Exactly.
Yes, a little cruel, considering most of the time I’m pushing fluency–even wordiness–so they can see what they’re capable of.
But this time, a little constraint.
I gave them ten minutes of first draft writing.
I wanted a beginning, middle, and end.
I gave them a sample of my own.
I told them my strategy was to write first, then cut back later.
They could work with a partner, especially if they needed a second pair of eyes to simply count the words.
As happens so often, I end up throwing me a curve. Almost immediately came the questions about hyphenated words and whether ‘a lot’ is one or two words. And they needed more time. Of course, they would, Joanna! What are you thinking?
I gave them ten more minutes and told them ‘Give or take five words’ and that calmed things down. A major ‘duh’ moment for me…give the kids some leeway. Otherwise, word count supersedes writing quality.
So, my little 20-minute challenge? It turned out to be a full-blown [is that one or two words? ;->] on-and-off [enough with the hyphenations!] activity to day’s end. Why was I surprised?
Experience working with constraints.
‘Editing for brevity’ skills. [I told the kids my first draft was 119 words.]
“I was 50 words from finishing my novel and the phone rang…”
He/she had only seconds to send her plea for help…
As the clock ticked away, so did my hopes for the million dollar prize…
My sample for the kids: [Side note: A ‘tech-win’…Later in the day, they watched me compose and edit via the projector. It’s becoming a pivotal part of my ‘act’. What took me so long?]
As the clocked ticked away, so did my hopes for the $1,000,000. I strangled the phone as I thought through the question.
“Name one of the more popular of the fluffiest cat breeds.”
Siamese. No way. Sphinx. No, you dunderhead. That’s the exact opposite! Tabby. Not even a breed!
The ticking continued.
I looked at Buddy. Think ‘cat’, not ‘dog’! Then it hit me…Buddy came in once after a grooming. The lady had gone a little nuts with the blow dryer…”Persian! Mom said he looked like a Persian cat!”
“Is that your final answer?”
So, there I was in the workroom a week ago and I noticed an unlabeled box on an upper shelf. The true teacher in me knows to snap up loose, unattended boxes for, well, you never know—math manipulatives, projects to bring home for review [and 90% of the time return, unreviewed], science supplies, lost-and-found-and-not-yet-catalogued-for-corner-dust-collecting, you name it.]
When I swiveled the box in my direction, there was unexpected resistance. And a label appeared on the other side: Mrs. Snyder–iPads. I pulled down the box, opened it, and eyed a stack of eight iPads. Interesting. And tempting. But I returned the box. I mean, you never know if someone else had laid claim to them. I jotted a checkmark in the lower corner.
A week later, I looked again. Checkmark in place. The box hadn’t moved. The unwritten ‘teacher statute-of-limitations’ had lapsed. It was time to give these babies a home. As tech-deficient as I am, even I checked for the power supplies. Yep. And home they came for a recharge.
Thank you, Bobbi Snyder. I hope you’re enjoying retirement.