Monday, September 20, 2004

(Blue) Monday Notes

My school-year sleep pattern - wake up in a panic once an hour all night - has returned with a vengeance.

My windows were open over the long weekend - just an inch or two at the tops, so far above my head I didn't even notice - and Hurricane Ivan left my classroom very, very cold. I felt like crawling into a cave and sleeping away several months. Time to bring a sweater to school for fall and winter.

In all my moving over the last three weeks, I misplaced a book on conflict resolution which I was planning to use in my sixth grade health class. I've scoured every bookshelf in the school, but no sign of my book. It's a difficult book to replace; neither Amazon nor Barnes & Noble have it in stock. Now I have to find and order another book to use, and re-think my lessons until something arrives. I'm not happy.

Not blue: The new science teachers feel like they are making progress in getting and keeping their students' attention, thanks to my suggestion that they really need a clear procedure for this. Mr. Richter says, "Eyes and ears on me" and then counts down from three. I'll be observing again tomorrow.

Mr. Kelvin - the new Physical Science teacher - gave his sixth graders a diagnostic test which included questions about graphs. We had talked about the need to spend serious time with the students on how to read graphs and how to create graphs from data, but it didn't hit home until he graded the diagnostics this weekend. Take nothing for granted, Mr. Kelvin; some of the sixth graders have never seen a line graph. Others think they should make a little pile of X's and a little bar of Y's. Still others will number the axes in ways beyond your wildest imaginings.

My principal handed out a memo today saying that although we are not contractually obligated to arrive before 8:30 am, she wants us to start homeroom at 8:20 to set a tone. She's right that the extra ten minutes to get settled will help the children, and an earlier start will allow our students to enter the building on a staggered schedule from the students from the other school in the building. Nevertheless, asking teachers to give another ten minutes of "on" time - time actively working with students - is a bigger deal than it might initially sound. I now have absolutely no doubts that I was right in speaking to her about wanting my administrators to be around after the school day ends.

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