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.

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 26: Field trip, a look back

The Next Page Entry 26: Field trip, a look back

girl holding dandelionThe good:
1. Kids loved taking turns at the head of the line AND following my safety instructions. I think they liked feeling the power of the ‘raised flag’ [our signal to stop].

2. Only two kids complained about the ‘long walk’ to the park.

3. The wearing of the gloves– perfect for  a. picking up litter along the way and at the park.   b. pulling back bush branches in their search for colors in nature

4. The diligence in sketching.

5. The cameras: Pics of—

  • artifacts [rocks, plants] that needed to be left where they were found,
  • their adopted trees,
  • their designated study areas for seasonal comparisons,
  • their work groups -they learned how to use the timer function [and taught me]

The not-so-good: The messages awaiting me when I returned. 1. From parents of student I had to leave with Mr. Taylor.  2. From Mrs. Nix.

The Next Page Entry 18: Math Scramble

The Next Page Entry 18: Math Scramble

boys chasing in field of grass
Photo by Jordan Whitt on Unsplash

So, Mrs. Nix wanted us to be ‘on schedule’ during our 10:00 Flex Time.

Welcome to…

Math Scramble

Required:

–Index cards with numbers or operators [=, – x, ÷] on them.
Some cards will have numbers on one side and operators on the other.

Some will have numbers on one side and an operation [like ‘times 2’] on the other.

–Plastic hoops [Hula Hoops]/traffic cones as ‘destinations’. Teacher decides the distance between hoops.

–Marking pens

Optional: First aid kit for possible collisions. ;-]

Student assistants can be used to: [rotate them in so all kids are doing math during the session]

–play music during ‘computation times’ [i.e. math scrambles].

–video record some of the rounds and take photos of groups with correct results.

–check for correct results or give a quick ‘math boost’ [correct answers to urgent requests—’What’s 4 x 15?’]

**Where do the kids with cards that don’t match the description go? To the middle.

Teacher serves as the ‘math inspector’.

Sample rounds

“All kids with operators [great math vocabulary!] run to the red hoops!”

“All kids with even numbers run to the blue hoops.”

“All kids with odd numbers…”

“All kids with factors of…”

“All kids with multiples of…”

“All kids with prime numbers…”

“All kids with composite numbers…”


Now it’s time to team up. ** Hoops aren’t required for these rounds.

A few students can be given blank cards to use as ‘math ad lib’ [wild cards], as needed.

For example: Your team has to create a ‘15’ and if you’re currently at 30, the ad lib card card be used as a ‘divide by 2’ card.

“Make sure your team knows what number you’ve created and decide who will announce/explain it at inspection.” [Ex. “Our team created a ___. This is what we did…”]

“Team up to create a 10!”

“Team up to create a 100!”

“Team up to create a prime number!”

“Team up to create a multiple of 5!”

“Team up to create a number larger than 20!”

“Team up to create a number smaller than 50!”


“Now…you will need to use at least four people to create a 60.”

“Now…use at least four people to create a 35.”

“Now…use at least four people to create a multiple of 7.”


“Now, it’s time to switch cards. If you have an operator card, make sure you now have a number card…Ready? Let’s do a few more rounds.”

The Next Page Entry 17: Aftermath of Chat with Mrs. Nix

The Next Page Entry 17: Aftermath of Chat with Mrs. Nix

silhouette of person scratching head pondering

So I promised Mrs. Nix that I would look into changing things up.

I wasn’t exactly specific, was I?

Gotta admit, I didn’t realize right then how open-ended ‘changing things up’ is. But I like it…

Anyway, I don’t want to alarm poor Mrs. Nix with my being ‘different’. I would just as soon stay off her radar–like all the other years–where she pretty much just tolerated me as long as I followed the ‘schedule’.

For now, I guess I’m on her radar. I was surprised she sauntered out to our rural setting to begin with.

Questions: Did someone alert her to our ‘rebellious’ ways? Or did she just follow her ‘Spidey-Sense’? Or did she actually have a question for me that she forgot to address?

***

Elsewhere on the teaching front…

Beth Hansen is watching me like a hawk.

I wouldn’t be surprised if she kept a dossier on me, though extra work isn’t exactly her strong suit. She’s just that kind of obsessively observant kid.

**I might need to put a bell on her so I know her whereabouts.

On the other hand, speaking of Spidey-Sense, this kid knows when I’m scrambling and seems to show up when I need saving.