Sunday, August 31, 2008

On the subject of tee shirts...

Classroom discussion on tee shirts, circa 2007 -
Hector: "Miss, I hate it when girls wear shirts that say the word PINK on them but the shirt is actually orange or blue!"
Chemissy: "Well, does what a shirt says have anything to do with who's wearing it? Harlan, what does your shirt say?"
Harlan: "Dirty ghetto kids."
In this case, Harlan's tee shirt was a bit fitting, and the class had a good laugh.

Classroom discussion on tee shirts, Friday, August 29th....
A bit of background - the science department at my high school decided that it would be "cute" to wear matching tee shirts to school on the very first Friday of the new year. I have been trying to establish rapport with my kids, trying to come across as tough, yet cool, at the very same time.

Tell me how easy that is when on Friday, a day to wear spirit shirts and jeans and kick back a bit and get comfy for the day, you are made to wear a shirt that not only has the periodic table on the front, but the formula for momentum on the back. Chemistry party in the front, physics business on the back. Some sort of sick and twisted dorky one hundred percent cotton black science mullet. Maybe more like ten percent cotton, ninety percent humiliation. Can my kids see through it? I could only hope.

I trudge into school on Friday, clutching a white jacket and an emergency back up shirt in my hand. For now, the jacket is all that's keeping me from ultimate high school student embarrassment. Usually, the A/C is on so heavily in my school that it's December year round.
NOT today - today the A/C is broken and our rooms are in the high 80s. The jacket comes off, and I am vulnerable to 70 teenagers whose definition of cool has never involved a screen printed formula chart.
I pretend that I'm okay until third period.....
Me: "Okay kiddos, let's pass in your lab contracts...."
Trendy Girl: "Miss, did they make you wear that shirt today?"
Me (eyes wide): "Yes!!! How did you guys know?"
Trendy Girl 2: "We were talking, and we think that you wouldn't wear something that nerdy. You are too cool for that shirt!"
Me (smiling HUGE): "You guys are great - this is the first, and the last time, you will ever see this shirt...."
Class giggles.

I am redeemed.

Did I mention that my neighbor science teacher got a tattoo?

Ever seen the chemical structure for caffeine permanently inked into some one's forearm? There's a type of tee shirt that doesn't come off.

Bring on the second week of school! :)


Saturday, August 30, 2008

Exit Tickets

I have my kids write me and "Exit Ticket" in their journals before leaving at the end of the day... it can be about anything that happened that day, something they learned, something they liked or didn't like, a note to me... whatever - just SOMETHING.

On Friday I rushed through reading them so that I could get out of dodge and start my long weekend, too. In the very last journal, from one of my most outspoken kiddos:

"Whoever decided that the kids and the teachers needed a three day weekend after the first week of school was really smart. Actually I think they were a genius."

Ditto that.

Happy Labor Day Weekend!!!!

-Mrs. G

Thursday, August 28, 2008

My Name is NOT Ms.

One of my ultimate pet peeves is to be called "Ms."... It's really important to me that my kids address me as Mrs. LastName and understand WHY its so important to me. Some teachers in my school argue that its better than not being called anything or that its a sign of respect. I really don't like it and tell my kiddos that its like me calling them "boy" or "girl". They get it.

Anyway - the point of this post is that over the past week my class has officially decided (umprompted, I might add) to call me "Mrs. G" and has dubbed our class the "G-Unit".

I love my little 5th grade gangstas.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

H is for Jalapenos

Back in college I tutored (actually, all of the site’s contributors did!) for a program helping struggling readers and English Language Learners. One of the precious little boys was in second grade and had only been in the US for six weeks when we met.

During some our first tutoring sessions we spent a lot of time going over the English alphabet and the sounds the letter make (the letter “sound” is written as the letter in “slashes”… i.e. J says /j/) .

A says /a/, around, astronaut. B says /b/… bear, butter (montequilla!? … yes… montequilla!), bunny… and on through the alphabet.

About the second or third time through with me modeling the sounds I asked my sweet friend to think of words he had learned and say them when we got to the right letter. I would say one first and then he would say his. A, /a/, apple… alphabet (YAY!). B, /b/, baby… book (hurrah!)… we got to H… /h/ is a tricky sound to “get” for a Spanish speaker learning English (at least in my experience it is!).

I said H, /h/… homework. A long pause, an uncomfortable look, and just as I am about to suggest a word and move, on my creative tutee gets a sly look and a huge grin and says at the top of his lungs, “H! /h/! JALAPENO!!!!” Oh my, did we have a laugh at that. He KNEW that jalapeno didn’t start with H but he sure did get that it started with the same sound that H makes!

I can never go to type or write “jalapeno” without first writing out Halapeno.

Loving every moment,

Mrs. G

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Meet the Teacher...uh, I already have

Today was "Meet the Teacher" day. Funny, my students have met me. The question is do they remember?! Considering I have a tiny class, if just one person showed up, that would be a pretty good percentage. And what do you know; one showed up! Walking in with hands over his ears and feeling very unsure about what this torture is all about, his mother drags him into our classroom. (note: my classroom moved to the other end of the hall, but I set it up exactly the same way it was last year) He is very upset, then suddenly, he notices his favorite lace-up toys right on the shelf where they're supposed to be! The world is getting better. He goes over to the toys and begins to take them off the shelf, then, WOW! With a slow glance around the room, it all starts to come back! With a small grin, he decides he wants the play dough instead. I start talking to mom, and before we know it, he's got playdough, blocks, lace-up toys, and books all over the floor. Amazing how quickly that happens. As I approach him to prompt the clean up, I get the push away. He does not want to be bothered. Uh oh, someone got used to having their way over the summer. Time for "The Clean Up Song"! Works like a charm. It's amazing, the power of song. Gets kids to clean up, and gets my husband to want to tape my mouth shut! (those darn songs get stuck in your head; I'm working on that)

Looks like we'll be starting the year off with a big refresher course in the rules of the classroom! And as an aside, let me just say that they grow soooo much over the summer! My goodness! Before I know it my elementary kiddos are going to be bigger than me! Let another year of excitement begin...

I Hate Icebreakers

Staff Development, Day Uno

Principal: "Let's go around the room and introduce ourselves! Tell me who your are, how long you've been here teaching, and something wonderful you did this summer!

Chemissy: "Hi! I'm Chimissy. This is my third year teaching. I graduated from our wonderful high school and made my way onto Texas A&M (whoop inserted here) where I graduated from in the fall of 2005. This summer after I taught summer school I got to see my best friend from college marry a guy with my last name. So now, there's two of us - the only difference is that she has a husband....and I have a cat.

Everyone around the room: "Awwww....hahahahaha. You're better off with a cat!"

- Chemissy