Thursday, October 22, 2009

"You're Smart Enough"

I just had a student come up to me during a test and ask how she would find the answer because the number wouldn't fit in her calculator so she couldn't figure it out. I told her that she should look at the numbers and find a pattern of the numbers so that she wouldn't need a calculator. She didn't like that answer. I told her that I knew she was smart enough to figure out the pattern and the trick. She glared at me! Apparently telling a student that they are smart and they can figure things out on their own is a horrible thing for a teacher to do, at least in her lazy attitude mind.

Less than a minute later, back in her seat, she whispers, "oh!" She looks up at me and smiles. Uh huh. I knew she could do it. I just wish these kids would believe me once in a while.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Wonders of Technology

Oh, yes. Technology is so much fun (I'm serious), especially when it doesn't work (okay, now I'm sarcastic).

I set up this interactive assignment on Edline, the site our school uses for students and parents to connect with teachers, classes, and happenings at the school. I only want students to respond on the assignment, so I set it for only students to be able to view and respond. Well, apparently many of my students only ever log in under their parents' account because I got many e-mails the first couple days asking me why they couldn't see the assignment. I had no idea what was going wrong until I had a student log in at school today. It took me a minute of looking at the pages to realize that she had logged in using her parents' account. Once I noticed that, the puzzle pieces fell into place and that's when I figured out that all the kids who couldn't see the assignment were logged in with their parents' account instead of their own. Ugh.

So I had one of my other students who couldn't see the assignment log in with their own username. Of course, I had to look up their username because they couldn't remember it. And obviously they couldn't remember their password either. Most of the kids hadn't set up a security question or an active e-mail account so they couldn't get a new password for their account e-mailed to them either. The media center is closed to students this week due to text book distribution happening there all of this first week. I plan on sending the kids down during my classes next week to get all of that stuff sorted out for them. In the meantime, the assignment is due for the kids at the beginning of next week, so the ones who can't get into their student accounts have to either e-mail me the answers or write them down and hand them in. Oh, the flexibility needed for a teacher.

I also got to register five of my students for a new student account on Edline today. Those weren't difficult once I had done the first one. It just takes a bit of time for each one. I can handle that.

And to think I get to go through all of this same stuff again tomorrow!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Year 5

Well, day one of my fifth year of teaching went well. Lots of siblings and fun connections. It was weird...everything felt so natural today. The kids are a lot of fun and I'm feeling pretty good about names already! I've made some connections with some of the more difficult kids, which is a good feeling. :)

My last hour TM class was surprising. They were fun, respectful, and a large class! Double the size of my last hour TM class two years ago and twice as clean and respectful the first day of school (seriously!).

Day two brings with it my algebra kids!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Heartfelt Moments

Two of my first hour A Day students put together a video of their algebra class. They asked me weeks ago if they could make one and I said that would be fine, as long as they took the pictures and video during Connect Time (our school’s advisory time which happens at the end of first block each day).

They brought the video to school today and showed it to the class after they had worked on reviewing for their final for most of the hour. The video wasn’t very long, around five minutes or so. It was put together very well, though. The girls had made sure every student was in at least one of the pictures and made it into the “live action” video of their antics during Connect Time. They even had pictures of things they did during Connect Time the day I was gone last week!

After the video finished, one of the girls who made it told me that she didn’t have time to burn it onto a DVD (she had brought in her laptop to show the video, but she wanted me to have a copy of it if it was okay with me. If it was okay?! Of COURSE it was okay with me! I couldn’t believe that, on top of making this great video of this tight-knit class of 19 and dealing with algebra in the early hours of the morning, these girls wanted to spend their money and time to make a DVD out of it for me. (Yes, I know it really doesn’t take that much time and it is pretty cheap, but still…these kids are 8th graders.)

Fast forward to lunch....

One of our security personnel in the building had a heart attack at the beginning of the school year and then a second heart attack not long after that. The second one took him out of the building for months. The kids and staff all love him and have sent him countless cards and well wishes during his recovery time out of school.

He made a short appearance in the lunch room during 8th grade lunch today. When the students saw him, they jumped up and ran over to him, giving him big hugs and asking how he was and telling him that they missed him and were so happy to see him in the building again. I had started counting how many kids went up to him, but quickly lost track.

After lunch, as I followed all the kids out of the cafeteria into the hallway and towards class, I stopped to say welcome back and chat for a few moments. He had a huge smile on his face the whole time and said that the support and love from the kids and the staff at our school were what pulled him through and helped him throughout his recovery. He smiles a lot on a normal basis, but I have never seen a smile bigger or more genuine than the one that he wore today. :)

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Who's Got the Button?

Setting: "A" Day. Beginning of 5/6 block. Right after lunch.

Most of the students are in the classroom, getting settled and starting on their warm-up. The timer that I have going after lunch each day shows that class begins in just under a minute.

Enter: student of interest.

Student: Ms. G! Can I got to the FACS room? My button popped off!

I look over and see him walking like a cowboy, with legs widely straddled, trying to keep his pants from falling down. Needless to say, I could barely keep myself from buckling over with laughter at the sight.

I let him go down to the FACS room and started class. He came back not quite 10 minutes later with pants properly held in place with a proud look on his face. His comment when entering?

"I sewed the button all by myself!"


Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Binary Clock

So I got this really awesome clock from my boyfriend during winter break. It gives the time (hours, minutes, and seconds) in binary. I put it up in my classroom during first hour yesterady. It's been driving my students absolutely crazy for the past two days (my whole goal with it). :D

They keep asking me what it is. All I've been saying is that it's a clock and that it tells me the hours, minutes, and seconds. I also tell them the time by reading the clock (never deal with the seconds, though).

The kids then ask me, beg me, attempt to bribe me, into explaining how to read it. I refuse. I let them know that it's up to them to figure it out and that the clock will be up for the rest of the year. If they don't figure it out by the end of the year, I MIGHT be nice and tell them. Probably not, though. :P

During 5/6 block today, one of my students asked me about the clock. I gave her the same explanation as always. Five minutes later, she exclaimed, "Ms. Grivna! I think I got it!!" I had her come over to me and tell me the time and then explain how to read each part. She didn't know that the pattern had a special name, but she totally had it figured out. I explained to her about binary and asked that she let others discover the pattern for themselves. She's not the kind of person to blab the fun secrets to others, though. She likes to watch people squirm while she sits back with all the info. hidden away. :)

I wonder how many more kids will be persistent enough to figure out my fun new toy of a clock. :)