Saturday, August 29, 2009
I don't know why the 2 points always worked for me. Maybe I fell prey to the psychology of pricing, too, and subconsciously I thought that tests were where you really showed your stuff, so those were worth 40 or 50 points or what have you, so the homeworks should be worth 2 points.
Anyway, at my new school, all the 9th grade classes have to have the same percentages: 45% homework/classwork and 55% tests/projects. There was some extra wording about deducting 5 points for various homework infractions, and so being new on the block and wanting to at least try things the way everyone else is doing them, I'm deciding this year to have each homework be worth 100 points. Again it shouldn't matter because it's in its own category.
So here was my epiphany. In my old school maybe part of the reason why kids were lacksadaisical about turning in their homework was because, "hey, it's only worth 2 points. no biggie if I don't turn it in." When in reality, it was a big deal because those 0's started to add up. I'm wondering if they would have had a different attitude if I'd assigned each homework 2000 points, just to mess with their minds or to get them to think about how the math all works out.
In other news, how's my new school going? Well, I think all the staff I've encountered have come from a different planet: the planet of graciousness and kindness and hard work. Oh my goodness, I can't tell you how many nice e-mails or cards or words I've gotten from other staff just to welcome me (and other new teachers, I'm sure) and check to see if I'm okay and to see if I have any questions or need anything. I'm so blessed this year. WootWoot.
Saturday, August 22, 2009
So I periodically thought about this as I was coming up with a syllabus or a first day activity or how to decorate my room or procedures I want to put into place. Maybe it's not a "la la la la I don't hear you" type of situation where I think "it's my way or the highway, baby", but more of a reminder to think my own thoughts, then gather other opinions, then go back and reflect about how I think things should be done that carry my personality stamp.
Here's one new idea I'm trying, and who knows if it'll work. For the past many years I have taken a picture of each group of students on the 1st day of school and during that 1st class I had them fill out a seating chart AND print their names on a small sticky note. Then that 1st night I go print the pictures, and with double-sided tape I put their sticky notes on their picture. This helps me learn their names, and I also put all the pictures up in the room. They love to look at them at odd times during the semester.
Because I've seen that they SO love to go up and glance at all the pictures and discuss things and point certain things out (ooh, I just realized one reason why ... this helps them also to see who everyone is). Anyway, because of this, I'm going to ask them to bring in a favorite picture of themselves that 1st week (that I'll return to them later), and I'll use the awesome stikki clips to put them up as a border around either the blackboard or a bulletin board.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
A Movie I Made (I see a side job forming)
I could see it getting old, but it's a nice thing to throw in the mix.
I've also met amazing people at my new school. It's only been open for 2 years, so they're still inventing who they are and what they are capable of doing. They seem genuine and smart and committed. BUT.
Information Overload. I'm totally at the stage of, "I'll never remember to do all this", and "Argh, what if I screw up, and they secretly shake their heads at the mistake they made hiring me", and "Oh My GOD, I'll never be ready come Monday". You know, the usual jitters (and don't forget: they have only HOW MANY copiers? What, no work/eating/microwave room?, etc.)
I'm teaching 4 different preps this year ... well, 3.5 (one is a type of study hall). And I've agreed to be some sort of team leader and occasional yoga instructor. I must be woozy from lack of sleep. Must. Learn. To. Say. No. I practiced a bit today when an afternoon robotics team leader position presented itself: no. Whew! Go me. Baby steps.
Tuesday, August 04, 2009
Comparing Solution Building with Problem Solving
Solution Building vs. Problem Solving
1. "How did you do that?" vs. "Why did you do that?"
2. Focus on the future without the problem vs. Emphasis on past with the problem
3. Solution talk vs. Problem talk
4. Attention on what is working vs. Attention on what is wrong
5. Student is capable. vs. Student is flawed.
6. Teacher skilled at "not knowing." vs. Teacher is "all knowing."
7. If it works, do more of it. vs. Just keep using what you think should work until it, hopefully, does.
8. Change is inevitable. vs. People cannot change.This resonated with me and it's been popping in and out of my mind for the last few days. If I scan down the list, this past year I could count 5 of the 8 where I was more focused on what was wrong at my school than just rotating my thinking and concentrating on what I could change or fix or be a part of making better.
Ooh, 7 makes me wince because in some of my classes, that's what I did sometimes. Off the top of my head: if students were having continual problems understanding, I would tell myself that I was ALWAYS available after school and they had every opportunity to come to tutoring. Yet every year, there are kids who for a variety of reasons don't come to tutoring and STILL fail to understand various topics. Maybe I need to enhance my toolbox of skills so that more kids understand more topics in class or have different avenues of seeking help other than coming to my tutoring.
Anyway, more stuff to reflect on.