Sunday, September 9, 2007

Color me blue!

I like this template and color scheme much better. Less frantic. Surely this will help me calm down with all my lesson planning, eyeball gouging, etc.

Yes, yes, don't worry, I will fill everyone in on the first week of school. Basically, it was great!

Tuesday: Day 1. All day 8th grade orientation. My partner, Mr. W. and I spent all day on our feet and boy, were we tired after that!

Wednesday: 1st day of normal class schedule for 8th graders. Administered a few writing samples, had my first ELA class at the end of the day. See, I'd been preparing for this all summer. Before this day, I had all my lovely first lesson plans - count 'em, FIVE! - ready, as well as my first two weeks layout of classes. Because I knew that I'd be teaching double periods (90 minutes), my lesson plans were nice and chunky and ready to utilize each minute. Seriously, I had EACH MINUTE planned. But no! Night before regular class schedule, we all get an email that we are having a special Advisory period, 7th period (last period) on Wednesday. Sooo, there goes half my class. And, although I did a clean switch-a-roo of certain elements of the lesson, pushing them into lesson plan #2, the class unfortunately spent a great deal of time trying to figure out who was in whose advisory, and where were they meeting (this consisted of all students talking at once, and me sending a nice girl to my neighbor, Ms. T., and to the AP several times, searching, searching for answers. Alas, I didn't consider that my first "real" class.

Thursday: My first "real" ELA class. Periods 1 & 2, too, so I had control and energy from the start. It was great!! We spent most time on the old "No Personal Attacks" rule (anyone from Urban, or my Pace English fellows group, appreciates what I'm talking about - for more info, email me!), but that was okay. I knew it would take a while. The kids got REALLY into it, and finally, when it came down to the old fist-to-five assessment, the fewest fingers I got was FOUR!! RIGHT ON 8C ELA!!
The day was followed by a staff happy-hour that was a rollicking good time. Unfortunately, when I left I was a little tipsy and just knew I should have used the bathroom once more, because of course I realized that before I got on the train to come back to Astoria I had to find UNO cards (and any other easy game) for the field trip the next day (that was one way to entertain the kids while sitting in the park). So, after several trips, I found my (completely overpriced) decks of UNO at Essentials on 81st (or is it 82nd? no matter), and by the by, those nice people let me use their restroom! Thank you Essentials employees!

Friday: When I woke up and checked my email, this is what I got:
"Hi Ms. S-----, This is Tiffany H---, I just want to say thank you for the wonderful class about no personal attack it was a great lesson I will see you on Monday."
YEA!! How nice to wake up to that. It was also really nice that I wasn't feeling the effects of the drinking from the night before, because I've gone on field trips with bad headaches and it is NOT fun. But I was in the clear, and feeling even happier about my whole No Personal Attacks spiel, so all was good.
Went to Dunkin Donuts, bought a truckload of stuff for the kids, went to school, had our breakfast, went to Madison Square Park on 23rd. The kids were not thrilled at all about the art work, and less thrilled about the worksheet they had to complete, but most of the time was spent hanging out on the grass, playing cards and talking. It was nice. It was especially fun when I scared some of the girls telling them that Madison Square Park was originally a Potter's Field, and discussing what that meant (and one lovely child screaming, "So there's dead people under us RIGHT NOW?!?!"). Fun fun fun.

And that, my readers, was the first week. In a nutshell. Now I've been working all weekend to get the grading system together, and lessons for this week (3 DAY WEEK - THANK YOU ROSH HASHANAH!!). Time for wine and "Flight of the Conchords."

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