Monday, September 12, 2005

Swamped

Part of it's because I didn't get much done last week thanks to consumption. Part of it's because of the insanely confusing staggered schedule that I have until we hire another science teacher (I see five classes, four times per week - but thanks to the staggering there are days when I teach four periods, four different lesson plans - tomorrow, for example). Part of it is because I just plain FORGOT over the summer. Part of it is because I assigned a lot of upfront stuff, like getting to know you questions, a diagnostic test, etc., and now it all must be graded or commented upon or replied to, times 150. Part of it is days like today, when - also due to the lack of a third science teacher and our clever plan to split the third class - I teach every single period except lunch (don't tell the UFT!) and of course I met with our AP to discuss some random issue during lunch... Part of it is that when I get the hang of one part of teaching, I find another challenge to work on.

I'm a little overwhelmed.

Anyway, today we started designing pendulum experiments in sixth grade. I hung makeshift pendulums - washers tied to string - off the sides of the tables, and the kids wrote down what they noticed and wondered, and then I introduced the idea of an independent and dependent variable, and we identified some relevant to the pendulums. Tomorrow they will continue designing experiments in groups of 2-3. Some will test string length, others the weight of the bob, others the release angle.

In seventh grade, I put trays of rocks and minerals out on their tables, and they looked at them, then passed them to other tables, and made a Noticed/Wondering chart (I like that better than K-W-L). I panicked a little in the middle of the lesson, because it went too fast, but they were perfectly fine spending 20 minutes looking at rocks.

We have a candidate. I refuse to get hopeful until she's actually working here, but I will say that she seems pretty good and is teaching a demo lesson on Wednesday. And then I could get a normal schedule again, and more importantly, the kids could get five periods of science per week! I have to admit, I would miss the seventh graders, though.

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