Thursday, September 26, 2013

Parent Teacher Conferences

We've passed the mid-nine weeks point of our first quarter. My district holds two evenings of parent teacher conferences. Often the evenings seem to go slowly. Most of my classes in the past have been high school junior/senior level and my parents haven't really needed to conference.

This year, I had lots of interested parents attend. I think it is because my HS classes shifted to freshmen and my junior high parents really wanted to get a grasp on our new schedule. I was very excited by the turn out and I really had some good conversations with both parents and students.

Several of my students commented on our new Reading Like a Historian lessons. They enjoyed the conversations and class discussions. I'm really excited about using the common core integrated lessons even more after our conferences.

A few days later, I treated my World History classes to a Roman breakfast. I found some great Tuscan loaves and boule. I added olives and dates to the menu and had planned on cheese. But as I gathered things that morning, the cheese was left behind in the fridge. :(  I asked each student to simply try a small taste of the dates and olives. They didn't have to eat the entire item. Only a few students weren't up to the challenge. I knew that many of them had never tried dates before, I knew because I hadn't either! If I'd eaten dates, it had to be in the Christmas fruitcake.

The breakfast was a success. The more adventurous students loved exploring the new foods and they were full of suggestions as to what ethnic food they wanted next. I had to remind them I was feeding 40 on my grocery budget. They had some great ideas and we will definitely try new foods again!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Exciting School Activity Days

What do you do on those days in the school calendar that seem to override teaching? Here in the south Football Homecoming is a huge celebration. Last week we had Homecoming for the high school students and today our junior high celebrates the day.

This means that my students have very little focus on academics. All the young men can think about is the "big" play they are going make and the young ladies are all leaving school early to get beautiful! It is a very exciting day for my students. Those not directly involved are still excited because their friends are excited. But their focus is missing.

In addition to Homecoming, our library is having a book fair. I'm a huge supporter of the library and I take my students to the fair during class. If I don't work it in to my class, they only have 10 minutes during break.

Because, the majority of my last class is leaving to get ready for Homecoming, I'm using this opportunity to take the others to the fair. I usually plan a very "light" lesson. If I introduce new material, I will have to repeat it for a large number of students. This may also be the day I break out the History Bingo game.

How do you prepare for these days? I'm would love some new ideas.

Sunday, September 8, 2013


Several years ago, I had a class that refused to believe that Pocahantas and John Smith weren't married. After all, the Disney movie had them convinced and why would Disney be wrong about history. :)

In using Reading Like a Historian, they have a great lesson plan discussing this very topic. As I've gotten my materials pulled together for this lesson my co-workers couldn't believe how many students really thought the movie was true.

We did a quick survey of students in the hall, including some older students I had in that first class. They couldn't believe I was actually going to show my class the movie (about a 5 minute clip) because I had refused to show it to them. I can't wait until Monday to see if this group of students has as much faith in the movie as my Disney loving class!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Pinterest Project

I have been a traveling teacher for the past few years. :) I've been the floating history teacher and only in my computer lab a couple of periods in the day. Typically, my lab students haven't completed work that could be displayed.

This year, we have changed to a modified block schedule and as the schedule filled it became apparent that I would be teaching some of my history classes in my computer lab!! I love this because I get to do a semi-flipped classroom and really integrate technology into my classes. But I also can decorate and change the lab atmosphere into a total learning environment.

My students' work can be displayed around the room (I didn't want to take over another teachers space when I floated.) My first thing to make for display was washi taped clothespins. I kept seeing them on Pinterest and I knew needed a set.

They were easy to do and with a little Elmer's glue, they were up in no time. I still have some reorganizing to do. I need to group my word walls for the different classes I teach in the lab and I want to add some lamps so that we don't have to use the glaring overhead fluorescent lights.

But I will add things slowly, I have zero $$ in a decorating budget.

Monday, September 2, 2013

September Currently

I've linked up with Farley at Oh' Boy 4th Grade for this months Linky Party! I love to follow Linkys, I find lots of new blogs to follow and often get lost in the new information. I love that I figured out how to add text to the jpg and thanks to Farley for such a cute design!