Monday, December 17, 2012


I'm trying to remember to breathe...

The words for the tragedy in Connecticut have been said, the questions asked, the reasons posed, and tears shed. 

All I need to do is breathe...

Friday, as I followed the story on my iphone, I just wanted my own kids with me. Today I wanted to hug all my students.

Over the weekend a three year old neighbor boy found his uncle's gun and another life tragically ended much too soon. 

Today in my classroom, I followed no real plan. We talked, we read, and we made cards for the students and faculty of Sandy Hooks Elementary.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Saturday, August 18, 2012

First day ....done!

Yesterday was the first of 175 days with this new crop of 7th graders. After the last two years, three really, they were a breath of fresh air. Oh, they were sweet, and lost, and silly, and scared, and I immediately began that fall I do, that falling in love. I adore that feeling.

My PreAP class has 35 students, I have 27 desks shoved into "the cave", and I had been dreading that class for days. When they arrived 2nd hour, they were so great about finding their seats and the eight that had to sit on the flood were amazing and did not complain once. I had to take them on the school tour and they were so good! I'm supposed to weed out 8-10 of them, but I don't want to, I want to keep them all. They were my favorite class!

My fourth hour class might be interesting. Fifteen minutes in to the hour they had to be reminded about following directions, on the first day!!

Sixth hour is a larger class too and dominated by a motor mouth who could not, would not turn off. He tested everyone on the team, but I think I like him. ;)

This wonderful beginning was clouded by just one thing. My friend, fellow blogger, Jason Zimmerman died a week ago. He was an incredible teacher and selfless friend. I only knew him through blogging, but he helped me a lot. He encouraged me and even sent me zip files of music when he found out I loved playing music videos in my classroom. I'll be thinking about him a lot this year.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

One of my favorite things...

On the last day of school I let my kids write on my boards.

This is a huge deal because in my classroom, my boards are mine and no one else's. 

Other than practice work for the lesson, my kids are not allowed to write on my boards. The reason is because at my last school I had chalk boards and they are so messy and dirty. 

At this school I have a chalk board that is peeling and rough. This school  was built in the 1920's and I think I might have an original board. 

I can't afford to replace it, so last year my husband and I installed white shower board.

I know it won't last very long, shower board tend to "ghost" easily. Also, dry erase markers aren't cheap! 

So, for just one day, I let them write their little hands off. I always take pictures and I always treasure the words that they write. 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

NCTE Annual Convention

NCTE Annual Convention

I am so stinking excited about going to this convention. I've been trying to put my planner together, but there are hundreds of workshops and classes to choose from. The trip will also serve as a anniversary getaway with the mister, so I don't want to fill up every minute (though I really want to!). 

Is anyone out there going or have gone before? I'd love to hear about it.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Poetry Madness

We just finished up our own version of madness whereby 13 year olds recited poetry, and competed against each other until one poem stood the victor. It was fun, but too often excruciating to watch and listen to. So many students did not connect with their poets and their readings were dull and stilted. Kills me, a poetry lover, to hear Frost droned on like a boring tech manual.

I completely understand Collins:

Introduction to Poetry
by Billy Collins

I ask them to take a poem
and hold it up to the light
like a color slide

or press an ear against its hive.

I say drop a mouse into a poem
and watch him probe his way out,

or walk inside the poem's room
and feel the walls for a light switch.

I want them to waterski
across the surface of a poem
waving at the author's name on the shore.

But all they want to do
is tie the poem to a chair with rope
and torture a confession out of it.

They begin beating it with a hose
to find out what it really means.


Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Titanic Project!

I'm supplementing with a great text book this year for my 7th graders. I really like the stories and it has a lot of nonfiction. 

Back in early January we read a story about the sinking of the Titanic. They were really jazzed about it. We went to the computer lab and did research on the sinking and the discovery of the wreckage in the 1980's. 

They got to choose how to prepare and present their findings. 

Some made posters.

Can you believe this?

Look at the detail!

Others created brochures.

It's a big ship!! LOL!!!

Several wrote reports. 

Many chose to talk about their project and present their research to the class orally. I just love it when an idea catches fire and they run with it!

Friday, January 6, 2012

The Titanic Project

RMS Titanic  Photo from Wikipedia    

This week we read a great story about the sinking of the Titanic. The kids are captivated. They adore disasters of any kind. Today in the computer lab they researched basic information about the Titanic and worked on their projects to present next week. They can make a poster, power point, tri-fold brochure, or write a short report.

I plan to use the computer lab more often. Would you believe I just learned we had a computer lab just before Christmas? I had no idea! I saw kids more engaged today than they have been sitting in my classroom. Gosh, I wish I had a computer or two for them to use in my classroom. What I would do for a  cart of laptops!

Anyway, I'm looking forward to their presentations next week.