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 38: iPads? Really?

The Next Page Entry 38: iPads? Really?

woman using iPad

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. 

Pretty straightforward.

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 Next PageYet Another Chat with Mrs. Nix

The Next PageYet Another Chat with Mrs. Nix

man on tightrope over canyonMrs. 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?

The Next Page Entry 36: Class Book #1

The Next Page Entry 36: Class Book #1

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

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.
The Next Page Entry 35: 100 Words

The Next Page Entry 35: 100 Words

word cloud with 100 words counting

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?

Desired results?
Experience working with constraints.
‘Editing for brevity’ skills. [I told the kids my first draft was 119 words.]

My prompts:
“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?”
“PERSIAN!”
“YES!”

The Next Page Entry 34: iPads? Really?

The Next Page Entry 34: iPads? Really?

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.