Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Blasts from the past

I'm a girl who loves traditions. I am very sentimental and I HATE change. Over the past few weeks I have subbed a lot at the school I attended as a child. It's full of memories and has changed but I have to admit it's changed for the better. PE no longer meets in a portable and there are beautiful murals on the walls. Of course some things haven't changed including some of the teachers. It's been fairly easy making the transition from student/teacher to coworkers. Many of the teachers and staff are very happy to see me back in the school. With that being said, there are times when I'm walking down the hall way and I hear them fussing at a student and I stop dead in my tracks, remembering what it felt like to be those students.

I received some devastating news this week. The girl scout camp I grew up going to and planned on taking my daisies to this April has been sold and we will not be able to attend. The news wasn't a complete shock since the property has been up for sale for two years but it still upsets me. There was a clause in the deed saying the property had to always be owned by girl scouts but our council found a loop hole and sold it. The woman who called seemed to have no remorse when telling me my girls trip would have to be canceled. This comes after many changes in our local council. Many of the smaller councils were merged several years ago and very little is offered for girls in my area because there was "better property" in other areas and our things have been closed. It's not fair to the girls. Many of them can't afford to travel to get to camp in other areas. Not to mention the fact that this camp was open for MANY years and generations of girl scouts have camped their and grown up to watch their daughters and granddaughters camp there. Some of my fondest memories of girl scouts are at that camp. I found out today that I can go out there and take some pictures in the next week or so. Keep looking for a tribute post.

Today I subbed for a class that was going on a field trip to the philharmonic! It was great and the kids were super! I miss playing violin so much. If only I had the time to practice. :( After the concert we took the kids to play at a local park. The park was one I frequented as a child. I enjoyed a nice afternoon watching the kids play for several hours in the wonderful 75 degree weather.

So, are you sentimental? Do you have a hard time saying goodbye to things from your past? Have you had to deal with loosing a favorite spot from your childhood? How did you deal? I'd love to hear from y'all!


Friday, February 18, 2011

Full Moon?

Do you think full moons really affect how people act? If not, visit an elementary school classroom during a full moon and then again on another day (say the middle of the moon's cycle). I never really bought into this theory until I student taught. That was the first time I was spending every day with the kiddos. Today I went back to sub in the class I student taught in. Today the moon is at 100%. It was very obvious. I had to wear a mic which I don't normally like to do. A third of the kids had to get a note written home. I was just here on Monday (Valentines day even!) and they were perfect angels. What happened??

It leaves me feeling a little nervous about girl scouts tomorrow. I have 7 very energetic little girls in a room that is not very big. We meet in a building that used to be a church parsonage. There are three small bedrooms, a living room, a dining room, and a kitchen. This used to work out perfect because we all had small troops. One of the bedrooms is now used for storage for the church. My girls are in one bedroom. We have a table that gets very crowded, a couch and a large chair. The other bedroom which is next door to ours is used by the juniors (4th and 5th graders) there are only five of them. just outside of the bedrooms is the dining room where the 17 brownies (2nd and 3rd graders) meet. This gets very loud and because they are in a common area there is no real way to close them off. Unfortunately, the storage closet with all of the supplies is also in our room (you'd think that would be a good thing for me) we get interrupted 3 or 4 times per meeting by people needing something from there. Sometimes its way more.

I'm also a little stressed because after reviewing the calender I've realized this is our last regular meeting for the year. Starting next week we will be doing cookie booths, then a Brownie/Daisy fun day with other troops in our area. Then it's time for camping. I have to cancel our last meeting in April because I have some training to go to. In may we are going to the beach and then it's our awards day. I'm glad we are getting to do all of these fun and educational events but I had so much more to talk to them about. Now I'm trying to figure out a way to do some of the things while we sell cookies at the booths. I know, I'm crazy. I do have a really fun activity planned for tomorrow and I hope to post pictures of it soon.

I have to keep reminding myself to breath. Tomorrow after scouts I will be doing First Aid/CPR training. Sunday is church and time with my moms family(I'll have to miss this for a few weeks because of cookies). Monday I'm subbing for a 4th/5th grade class and Tuesday I'm going with the same 4th graders on a field trip then I have a training session to go to that night. Wednesday I have jury duty. Thursday there's another training session and Friday cookies come in. Of course Cookie booths start that Saturday!!! When am I going to have time to relax?!?

Ok, I'm getting up from this computer and going outside. It's almost 80 today and I'm wear a t-shirt for the first time in ages. I'm going to sit in the sun and enjoy some Sudoku. I hope you enjoy your day.


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Behavior Management

Over the past few weeks, my subbing has picked up. Each classroom is vastly different which was surprising to me (but probably shouldn't have been) The schools are even more different. When entering a new school or classroom, I'm given the chance to see how each teacher works. Their behavior plans, their rewards/consequences, and their classroom set up. You can also tell a lot about the teachers by the way their kids act when they aren't there. Here is one thing I've observed this Winter.

One really interesting thing I have observed has been behavior plans. At one of the schools I have subbed at several times, many of the teachers us a clip board for their behavior chart. The chart has each child's name listed and columns for each day of the week. Each of the five days are separated into 5 smaller columns (Warning, Lonely Lunch, No Recess, Note home, Office). If a child misbehaves, the teacher marks in a box by the child's name. This is also coded by which rule has been broken. There are 5 school rules (be respectful, be responsible, be safe, be cooperative, be peaceful.) From what the kids have told me they earn weekly points and loose a point each time a mark is put by their name. I haven't quite figured this part of the system out since I'm normally only in their classroom one day.

What I like about this system: At the end of a crazy day, you are able to remember what the student has done, and why you are writing a note home. You are able to identify patterns. If used correctly. There aren't lots of verbal reminders and you mark by there name after the first warning.

What I don't like about the system: The students constantly ask if they have lost any points. Because the teacher is in control of clip board, the kids don't always know if she is or isn't taking points. When a student has to get up to "flip a card", "change a color" or even right their name on the board they have to, at least temporarily, stop the behavior and move across the room. With the clip board system nothing is stopping the student from continuing the behavior. Even when you tell them "I'm taking a point because you are not being peaceful when you talk during independent reading" seconds later most of the children are continuing their conversations.

By observing these behavior management systems for a few days, I am able to see what I like and don't like and I haven't committed to it in my classroom. Hopefully before I have a classroom of my own, I will be able to come up with a system that meets My students, and my needs.

So, how do you manage behavior in your classroom? Does a student's age matter(would your plan be different if you taught K5 or 5th grade)? Do you pull cards? Move names/clothespins/ spoons? Write rules? Write names? Do you manage it all yourselves or do the children take part in it? Tell us how your system works, what you like most and any problems that have occurred.

I hope you have a GREAT WEDNESDAY! I'll be subbing tomorrow and Friday so I'm sure I'll have some more inspiration by the end of the week :)