Well, I’m not gone yet, just very very busy.
I also think I’ll start adding new things, especially during the school year. For example, here’s something I would like to do more of . . . Scenes from the School.
Scene from last night’s school dance.
Mr. Cates, our music teacher on the mic: Okay, here’s a classic to dance to!
(Starts playing “Eye of the Tiger)
(My 5th grade Students start running over to me)
Students: You need to dance to this, it’s a classic!!!
Me: Wait, I have to dance to this because “it’s a classic?” So when you think “classic” you immediately think of me?!
Me: Is this because I’m old?
(Students start laughing)
I’ll exit stage left now.
Okay, so consistency has never been something I’ve done on this site for, well, a consistent period of time. But that doesn’t mean I give up on it!
Anyway, here’s a few new photos to keep you interested (at least I hope) in the site. I may, or may not be doing something more with photography soon. I’m also still going to use this site to talk education as well, especially here in Nevada . . . and especially in light of all the recent news that has been happening. News like “rankings” and Bills for spending more on education and the like.
Again, I’m on Instagram if you’d like to see more or on 500px. Again, I may just keep this blog for education and general information while I may start another primarily for photography. We’ll see though!
I took last week to get myself back into the flow of running a classroom again. I’m still in the process of doing so, even with the second week in full swing. Every day, the class gets closer and closer to where I think they should be, at least in terms of management and I can’t wait until it does. This year has been a little “rough around the edges” as I’ve told a few people, but I think they can get there and be the classroom I think they can be. They’re just taking a little longer than other classes I’ve had in the past. Some classes get there within a week, others within a few hours (those are the classes you remember fondly). Anyway, I think I’ll write more about this on Friday.
Since school is in session, I thought I’d hop back onto a train I once started.
A few months back, I decided to start watching Dr. Who, at least the rebooted version that started in 2005 on the BBC. I was gathering up steam, but then the CRTs came around and I got rather busy. I didn’t think I’d pick it up again, until I saw this video below:
The video above was a part of a list about 20 Science Fiction moments that would make you cry. I definitely recommend checking out that link as well. Unless, of course, you have no heart which means I can’t help you.
Anyway, after watching that video, I’ve started binge watching Dr. Who episodes starting from Saturday night (yes, I wild party animal I am). I got through the first season with Eccleston as the Doctor and I’m just about done with Season Two, with Tennant at the helm. I think I may have to reserve judgment about a favorite Doctor until I’ve caught up. However, I did sneak a peak at the actual “Vincent and the Doctor” episode so I do have a little exposure to Matt Smith as the Doctor.
Anyway, like a few other “cult” shows out there, the mythology behind show absolutely fascinates me, especially when more of the characters are flushed out and left exposed (in a good way). What’s even better (at least in my opinion) is that some of the villains, and there are some incredible ones within the Dr. Who universe, get time to develop their character. It’s subtle how the writing builds these “antagonists” then completely gives them another facet to their personality.
It just makes me smile.
I also think a small part of me is infatuated with Rose Tyler, but I think that should be given, correct?
Anyway, the Doctor has already climbed the charts in terms of favorite characters in television or film. Unfortunately, I’ve stopped watching for tonight (possibly) but I can’t wait until “school is in session” with the Doctor.
And yes, I also just saw the episode where the Doctor was a teacher . . . and apparently Giles from Buffy the Vampire slayer was the “Headmaster.” It was nice seeing Anthony Stewart Head as a bad guy!
I have to say, reading through Rafe Esquith’s new book Real Talk for Real Teachers was a very poignant experience for me, both on a professional and personal level. Starting with the book itself, it’s an excellent read and for those who have read his other books, Rafe does a very good job of diving a little deeper into his practices and reflecting on his past experiences.
For example, one of the helpful sections of the book describes a typical day in his classroom, how he prepares and what his students do, almost to the minute. Observing other teachers is definitely one of the best ways to improve your own teaching and having Rafe describe his typical day to the reader was very beneficial. At least for me, this was worth the price of the book itself.
However, on a personal level, what ended up more beneficial to me was the motto on the cover: “No Retreat, No Surrender.”
I’m just about to start my seventh year of teaching and reading this book definitely helped reinforce why I started teaching in the first place. Honestly, if you haven’t read anything about Rafe Esquith, please do. He’s starting on his third decade of teaching and the fact he still feels this passionately about making a difference just makes me want to do the same. My energy was sapped a bit last year. I encountered a few things I didn’t anticipate (most of which were outside influences, nothing really within the classroom itself. I loved my bunch of kiddos last year!) and it left a very bitter taste at the end of it all.
But I made it through. However, as the summer began, I was still feeling a lack of excitement for the next school year. I felt “drained” after this past year and wondered if I could do it again. It made me ask myself . . . “am I losing that desire?”
After a few weeks of reflection and a couple of summer field trips with the students, I found my answer to that question.
However I felt about last school year, spending time with the students during the summer allowed for some perspective. As I chatted with them about their goals and their lives in general, I definitely realized I still loved my job. Teaching has definitely helped define who I am. Though I felt like I was knocked around last year, I still felt the urge to get up, to keep on fighting.
No retreat, no surrender.
So now, to the educators out there who have started the school year or about to start like I am, keep that motto in mind. Our careers allow for a certain amount of doubt, disillusionment, disappointment and frustration, so I’m not going to tell you we have the best job in the world, as some other teachers might say.
However . . . I am going to tell you that we have one of the best jobs where we can make a difference.
No retreat, no surrender.
I can’t wait to start . . .
Tomorrow marks the official “end” of summer, at least for most of the teachers in my district. Yes, I’m included in that number and at this point, I think I’m ready to head back. Going into my seventh year of teaching, I’m glad that I still love my job. I didn’t think I’d last this long after the first few months of teaching as a newbie, but here I am (I’m going to write more about this on Friday).
So now let’s talk about “Geek Week” on YouTube. Two of the channels I subscribe to, Nerdist and Geek and Sundry, are a part of this presentation for all things “geek” on YouTube. If you haven’t subscribed to either of those channels, I definitely recommend it. Honestly, there’s so much content being uploaded on both of those channels, it’s getting to be a difficult to catch up, especially with our official “report back day” happening tomorrow. There are a few other channels presenting on Geek Week as well so I’m sure I’ll check those out too.
Anyway, I do want to show two of the videos I saw which have something of an educational component to it.
First, we have this video talking about the “issues” of building a fully functional Death Star.
Honestly, TIE fighters would be easier to get to, since they’ve already developed Ion Engines.
Then there’s this video, which is self-explanatory.
Okay, honestly, there is a very small educational component to both of these videos . . . I just want to show them because they’re pretty rad.
Yes, I used the word “rad.” Deal with it.
As I’m gearing up for the new school year, I’m always scouring the internet for things I could incorporate into the classroom. There are a few sites out there that does this (I’m told Pinterest has bunch of these) but I also wanted to share a few things I try to do to make life easier in the classroom, especially the set-up.
First, I teach 5th Grade so working in an elementary school does influence some of the choices I use in the classroom. I’m thinking a few these could work with any grade level though. I also don’t go “cute” too often in the classroom, but I do think trying to brighten the room helps keep the environment lively.
Now, I don’t have a lot of “hacks,” but I can share what I always use in the classroom. I actually might add more to this post as I’m continuing to set-up the classroom next week.
1) Fabric for Bulletin Boards
I know a few people already do this, but if you don’t, I highly recommend it. A few places, especially fabric stores like Jo-Ann’s, will give you a discount as a teacher. Instead of using monotone butcher or chart paper for your walls, you can actually get different patterns or designs, or even get sport-themed fabric to hang up on your walls. Of course, you can still get the monotone colors for fabric as well, which I also do!
Here is one example from my classroom. This will eventually be my Language Arts/Writing Wall
2) Different Color Whiteboards for Displays
This is something new I’m going to try this year. I was walking by a few “back-to-school” displays and saw purple, green, orange and blue whiteboards being sold. Now, one of my bulletin boards is for school information and short of installing some digital display that would show the students school activities, I thought I could just thumb-tack a few of these colored whiteboards to the board and use fluorescent dry erase markers to write out messages weekly. We’ll see how well I keep going with these!
Here’s the School News Board. They’re easy to take down and the fluorescent markers show up pretty nicely.
3) Student numbers for easier filing.
I think a lot of teachers already do this, but it also makes it easier for the students to file work.
4) Equipment Checkout list
I created this as a job for our class economy, but it definitely works out well in terms of teaching responsibility and maintaining the quality of the equipment we have in class. The equipment checkout person is responsible for signing out the equipment to students in the class and must make sure the equipment is returned properly. If there are any issues with the equipment, then the student will report that to the teacher.
Those are a few things for now. I may keep posting on this subject, but there are a few places you can look for any sort of classroom or teaching hack. In fact, I just saw this website which gives you a few other things you can do as well.
As I said, I may continue posting on this topic next week. I also decided to try to post twice a week, with a Tuesday/Friday schedule going (in case you wanted to know ;). Now, if there are other teachers out there who may happen on this post, are there any other “hacks” you use within your own classrooms? Please share with a comment below! 🙂
And teachers, don’t forget to have fun, be nice and work hard!