The Next Page Entry 49: Supermarket Spree

The Next Page Entry 49: Supermarket Spree

Leonardo da Vinci self sketch saying oh lord, the questions!

So, it’s like this. 

I’ve unleashed a new brand of crazy inside and outside the classroom.

It’s called ‘the da Vinci-zone’. 

I got the kids all amped up on being observant and curious. Oy. It’s so not easy to rein them in. Am figuring it will calm down, but for now…they were in full-swing on the walk to the supermarket and back. I take that back. Inside Food City as well.

The poor manager was engulfed with questions, like:

  • What temperature do you keep the ice cream at? 
  • How old are the spare ribs?
  • Which gum sells the fastest?
  • How early in the day does the smell of your roasted chicken start to travel around the store?
  • What is YOUR favorite smell in the store?
  • Do you move the older apples from the bottom to the top so they don’t get old?
  • My mom says in the old days the cashiers had to punch in numbers for the prices. Was she kidding?

I decided the day before to scale back on their activity sheets, so it was down to:

  • English/Language Arts: Write down the sentence or sentences that make you want to buy a product.
  • Report to your iPad/camera buddy and have them record you telling two things you learned during the visit.
  • Math: Fill in the blanks: I would buy ten [name of product]. It would cost me [_______].
  • Science: Find an item that depends on aging or fermentation.
    Find an item that you think consists of 30% to 70% water.

Let’s just say there were multiple flurries of activity throughout the store.

Of course, nothing compared to the cheer for the free donuts they scored at the end of the visit. [When we got back, they had to calculate the number of calories they consumed, based on Dunkin Donuts estimated per item count of 260 calories. I told them the donut gave them each enough added energy to do the math.]

When we got back, Mr. Taylor told me Mrs. Nix was looking for me. 

Film at 11 on that one…

The Next Page Entry 48: Creating a monster

The Next Page Entry 48: Creating a monster

Between thisred button push this

and this notebook collage

well, I really am doing myself in. I’m feeling, well, like…

bee juggling marbles

But, more and more, I’ve realized… 1. Philosophically, I reeeeallly don’t belong here.   2. I’m still helping kids…despite my utter inability to follow the ‘painstakingly-concocted-but-unrealistic-to-many-learners’-needs’ schedule. 3. I’m not just juggling lessons and activities, I’m juggling emotions and suspicions…and baking chores. [After all, Mr. Taylor and Mrs. Helm do need the occasional dose of

baked goodsAs crazy as things are, I’m almost scared to take the whole class  into a grocery store.

Almost…

***

Bee image by Roland Mey from Pixabay

Baked goods image created from Canva collage tool.

The Next Page Entry 47: A new teacher tool

The Next Page Entry 47: A new teacher tool

red button push this

So, this is different.

Someone told me about a teacher who printed out an image of a big red button and posting the words,

 “Press the button below and get ready to create!” above that image.

He posted it at the entrance to the classroom and kids were expected to press the image every morning and any time they needed a jolt of inspiration.

Loved it.

So I figured, why not go one better?

I ordered a pressable button with my own message.

It even lets me record a message, but while that sounded cool, the thought of hearing it 27 times every morning…and the extreme likelihood that the kids would treat it as a source of teacher annoyance…well, I’ll keep batteries miles away from that thing. Still, though, looking forward to it. [Can’t help wondering if our principal will take the bait on her next visit.]

 

The Next Page Entry 46: A new inspiration

The Next Page Entry 46: A new inspiration

Last night I ran across a show about  Leonardo da Vinci. Learned about things he did I had no clue about. And I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be cool if he came to visit Room 36?”

Pretty sure he’s not immediately available, but what if we could recreate a little bit of his aura…and his genius?

Of course, fitting this idea into our hallowed schedule and curriculum…well.

So this morning, I marched around the room and plopped new notebooks in front of each student. The usual reactions… “We’re already writing enough!”  “I’m not done with the one you gave me!”  “I don’t like green. Can’t I have one with a blue cover?”. 

I explained the codex would follow them around everywhere [well, almost everywhere…thank you, Beth, for the suggestion that the rest room wouldn’t be appropriate.]—the classroom, our activities outside, our offsite trips.

As expected, using that new word set some kids off. After I talked about Leonardo’s notebooks came the question:

“Can’t we just use an iPad?” [Beth…again.]

I reminded her we don’t have one for everybody, but I loved the idea of incorporating them further into what I called, off the top of my head, ‘our classroom codex’. This sent them into all manner of disequilibrium. [one of our ‘words of the week’, thank you very much.]

More later. Time for a latte and cookies in Mr. Taylor’s classroom.

 

The Next Page Entry 45: Mr. Taylor answers back

The Next Page Entry 45: Mr. Taylor answers back

blue email-icon

To: Ms. Page

From: Mr. Taylor

Ms. Page: Happy to take any kids who aren’t on-board with your supermarket spree.

As for your ongoing challenges from Mrs. Nix [challenges which, I might add, you seem very willing to answer a few of your own], well, consider me an interested onlooker.

I will admit I like the safety and security of my status of semi-neo-noncommittalness.

I just wish—purely for professional development purposes, of course…though popcorn wouldn’t be refused— there were video replays of her visits. I’d even consider setting up a little informal pool for cash-backed predictions on the results of each visit. Cash-backed predictions…others might use the unsavory term ‘betting’, but I’m above that, at least semantically.

Anyway, I will grant you this—things around here could use a little jolt, though I’d prefer you not share this with the ‘morning java status quo queens’—say that five times fast—I don’t want to have to hire someone to pre-taste my food in the lunchroom. And if you do tell them, I’ll deny everything, including even knowing that you exist. ;->

Have a good day and thanks for the toffee bar cookies. Majorly good.

You should drop by after school to sample your own cooking. It’s really quite impressive. I might even pull out the ultra-uber-top-secret espresso machine and make us a latte. Ssssh, only Nick the new night custodian and I know about it.


Email image by 200 Degrees from Pixabay

The Next Page Entry 44: Seeking help

The Next Page Entry 44: Seeking help

To: Mr. Taylor

From: Ms. Page

So, I’m guessing you read the Mrs. Nix note I photocopied [such an old technology, right? ;->] and shared with you. It appears I can’t win. I have to say, it looked like the most fun she’s had in her job in years, but still, she chooses to pick at nits. [eeewwww!]

It’s looking more and more like I’m going to either tow the line [or is it ‘toe the line’?…I’ll get back to you on that.] or I’m going to actually enjoy my job, with no in-between.

Could you send over one of your kids to write my lesson plans for me? I’d have a better chance of pleasing ‘the boss’.

Okay, I just realized you may not want to get dragged into this…well, the ball is in your court.

Thanks.

Ms. Page

P.S. Thanks for offering to take any of my kids who aren’t going to the grocery store with us.

Free 20-Idea Teaching Packet: Pancakes in Your Curriculum

Free 20-Idea Teaching Packet: Pancakes in Your Curriculum

In my recent serialized book [first 20 entries] The Next Page, Ms. Page delved into making pancakes.
And the teaching ideas just kept springing forth.

Here is a PDF entitled ‘Weaving curriculum into a pancake morning’.

Hoping you get a few useful, fun ideas.

The Next Page Entry 42: Enough already on the pancakes!

The Next Page Entry 42: Enough already on the pancakes!

pancake with measuring tape 2

Sanjay needed an assistant to help measure his work.

I glanced at Mrs. Nix patrolling the class as I awaited Sanjay’s decision on his assistant.

We were in what I’ve called ‘the dead zone’ where 90 percent of the class is sitting and waiting.

Not good when an administrator is in the crowd. So I asked the class to partner up and first estimate the radius of their paper plates, then measure the diameter, and then figure out how accurate their estimation was.

This ‘ad libbing’ thing is getting exhausting. But I wasn’t done.

I asked Mrs. Nix if she could give me Sanjay any hints on his challenge. My thinking: the busier [i.e. more distracted] the visiting administrator, the better.

And I liked the idea of cold-calling her.

She suggested that because batter spreads he needed to do some pre-testing with a little glop in a corner of the griddle.

And then, inspiration hit.

I pulled Beth aside and asked her to move the laptop next to the griddle and set up the document camera.

“You’ve never even used it before,” she said to me. As usual, she lets me get away with nothing.

I told her now was as good a time as any and that she’d get a second round at the griddle.

Five minutes later, in a sea of cables and plugs and elbows and mouse-clicks and laptop and camera repositioning, we had a pancake on the big screen!

Sanjay’s pancake didn’t quite make the four-inch mark.

Out of the blue, Mrs. Nix stepped forward. She poured some batter, waited about five seconds, and asked for a measurement.

Three inches. The kids were glued to the big screen.,

Mrs. Nix lifted one handle of the griddle and said, “How about if we play with gravity a little bit?” The batter spread and then she lowered the handle again and asked for another measurement. Four inches.

Our guest took a ladleful of batter and scribbled out a big number four on the griddle. The kids cheered and I couldn’t help but smile.

Mrs. Nix…spontaneous. Who’d have dreamed?

The Next Page Entry 41: Even more on pancakes…

The Next Page Entry 41: Even more on pancakes…

pancake-with measuring tape

Entry 41: So with Mrs. Nix’s visit, I made quite a discovery.

Time marches on.

Brilliant…

She joined us during the language arts portion of her treasured schedule and darned if the clock didn’t turn over to the mathematics slot.

And there I was still up to my elbows in pancake batter.

It wasn’t as if she was trying to mind-meld me into switching subjects, but still that expectation hung heavy, at least in my mind.

And so…

“Sanjay, are you ready for a challenge? Come on up!”

He shrugged, but I noticed that Beth the Enforcer gave him a healthy nudge.

Up he came. 

“In the next five minutes, create a pancake with a diameter of four inches, give or take a half-inch.”