Monday, November 28, 2005

Thoughts & Updates

I have to make about 100 honor roll certificates for the sixth graders, for various subjects and for our "scholars" - students who achieved honor roll in all four major subjects for the marking period. We're having a little ceremony in the auditorium for them on Wednesday morning.


My AP & Principal responded positively to the proposal I wrote for the extra 37 1/2 minutes; I have scheduled meetings with my AP for the next few Wednesdays to iron out the details. I warned them that it might be all for naught, if the DOE comes up with some plan that supercedes this one. My principal said, basically, that we aren't going to wait for them to come up with something we DON'T like and then react, we are going to come up with something we DO like and then negotiate. Amen!

And yes, it is very much like a sixth period. The 37 1/2 minutes always has been, except of course that a period with ten students is a far cry from a period with 30. My goal was to come up with something that teachers in my school would like, and that would be better for our students. The teachers I work with would much rather do a little extra planning in order to lead a cluster on a topic they are passionate about than do (more) Math & ELA Test Prep. You're right, though, it's not for everyone or every school. Before we implement anything like this, we will meet as a staff to discuss it and make sure everyone is on board and it is set up to run as smoothly as possible. And it is that process of making important decisions together that makes people happy at work, at least, in my experience.


Does anyone out there teach in a middle school that offers Regents-level Science courses in 8th grade? This looks like something we might be doing in the future, and I'd really like to discuss it with someone. Please drop me a line in the comments or via email.


Somehow I ended up doing a little review of how to punctuate dialogue today for my mini-lesson with the 7th graders. I think I might be going a little too far in integrating literacy into the Science curriculum. The thing is, I want their stories to come out really well, and they had much more trouble with punctuating dialogue than they did with including Science facts.


I'm trying to change my yoga routine a little. Last week's class with a substitute teacher showed me that I've fallen into a rut in my yoga practice; I still love the Tuesday and Friday classes that I've been attending for months, now, and I still have a lot to learn from them, but I need classes that will challenge me in totally different ways. So, I took Bryn's class at Laughing Lotus this afternoon. She can be a little overwhelming - really high energy, very out-going teacher, extremely fast-paced classes, tricky sequences of asanas (poses) - and in the past, I've stayed away from her classes. But today, although I just barely kept up, her class felt just right. So, I might be switching to Monday classes, at least during weeks when we don't have PD.


To work!


Oops, well, okay, one brief break to share my latest musical obsessions: the one am radio, which I discovered all by myself because I thought the cover art on an ep was pretty, and Dios (Malos), given to me by a friend. If you buy just one song on iTunes, try Don't Panic by the one am radio or The Uncertainty of How Things Are by Dios (Malos). All really mellow but kind of intense at the same time.


Blogger Mrs. English said...

I'm an English teacher who has one science class (7th grade life science). I have them do creative writing with science topics, and we talk about ways to make their writing better. Of course, that isn't the main thing we talk about, but it doesn't take up that much time and it helps them improve their communication of things scientific.

They enjoy writing what I've coined "sci-ku" ... haikus about science. :)

10:46 PM  
Anonymous Chaz said...

Ms. Frizzle:

Many middle schools give their honors class Regents Earth Science in 8th grade. Giving Regents Earth Science to a regular class was found to be too difficult for regular 8th grade students. This is based upon over 30 years of data from both urban and suburban school districts.

it may be possible to give the regular classes Regents Living Environment, which is a much easier Regents.

Hoiwever, you first need a fully functioning lab to have a science Regents course accepted by the State.

I think it is a good idea to explore for your school.

7:41 PM  
Blogger John said...

I'm a first year TfA science teacher (7th and 8th), and I'll be teaching at least my honors class Regents Earth next year, with a strong possibility that I'll work my other classes into the curriculum if not the exam as well. I stole a bunch of the materials from the Bronx School of Science and had a field day at the copy machine.

5:20 PM  

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