Saturday, October 13, 2012

Back to School... Back to Blogging!

Hello Bloggy Universe!

I have been away from Blogging for a while, and I am so excited to be back among such wonderful friends...

Graphic from DJ Inkers

This has not been my easiest year, but it certainly has been among the most interesting!

We started the year with record heat waves--the hottest day being 107 degrees. I recognize that plenty of teachers teach in that kind of heat, especially my pals in Florida, Texas, and several other southern states. It is a bit more unusual for us... there are thirty-six sixth graders squished into our little classroom--and our school is not air conditioned.  We were reduced to "minimal impact activity," (AKA no outdoor recess) and left in search a cool place to sit. The door handles in direct sun were too hot to grasp and the water in our water bottles was too warm to drink. I have to admit, most of us watched the clock and thought of cool things to do when we got home. We all now know the meaning of the vocabulary word, sweltering.

Along with the temperature, the "temperament" of my classroom changes each year (like everyone's, I'm sure). Some years, the kids are quiet and thoughtful. Other years they are rowdy and hard to control. Some years the kids are giggly and immature. Other years, they are mature (physically and emotionally) beyond their age. And this year... Well, I guess I am just not sure yet.

We have a LOT to work on.  I will leave out the scary stuff and instead focus on one troubling characteristic: At this point, they are just not "participators." They don't raise their hands to offer comments or answers to questions. They don't get involved in discussions. They don't volunteer to help other teachers or other kids. They don't work in cooperative groups. And they don't always treat each other kindly. Of course, there are exceptions to those generalities, but overall, many of these students are simply... removed.


Aside from Common Core, we have a lot to work on. I am not used to such widespread apathy and I hope to eventually find ways to engage them. I am not sure if I can teach them to care about their schoolwork, or each other, or their school, or their world--but I am sure going to try. There are a few amazing kiddos in the bunch and I am going to count on them to help me as we change our focus to leadership, service, and academic excellence. The clock is ticking and I'm READY!

And, before I go, I wanted to thank each of you who stopped by my blog when it was stuck interminably on those garage pictures. Thanks for wondering and worrying about me. I can't tell you how much it warmed my heart to come back to BlogLand and find those sweet comments and e-mail messages. I am anxious to visit your blogs and see what YOU have been up to. Again, thanks for checking in on me. I am so glad to be back.



18 comments :

  1. And we are so glad to see you back, friend :) I know you will find a way to spark a little interest in your students. You are amazing! Keep finding your joy :)

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  2. I am so glad to see you again Kim, I was worried!! I agree with Elizabeth...I know you will do incredible work with your students. I'm sorry it has been a tough start to your year!

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  3. Oh Kimjoy ( your new name)
    We did miss you horribly! I hope that as the weather cools things change for you!
    Staci
    Go Nutty with Me!

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  4. So happy to see this post!!!! :) I love it! I am praying for you!!!!
    Also, have you read any of the Rick Morris books? He has some good ideas in there for getting people to participate that I try to use now...I pull sticks a lot so that everyone has to be ready to participate and if someone doesn't know the answer, they can say, "I don't know YET." However, they know I'm going to keep pulling sticks and they should be listening to their friends' answers because I'm coming back to them for another reply. Rick Morris also got me in the habit of saying, "thanks" when kids reply. That way, I'm not affirming their answer and we hear lots of ideas and then I can say something like, "those were all great ideas and I like the one about such and such...or I see why you might think that 4 plus 4 is 9 but it's actually 8.". Or whatever! I love Rick Morris! Some of my language learners will echo a friend's response and they are so proud that they spoke up!!!

    Obviously, I teach first grade so it's different....

    Hugs!!!!!!

    And love!!!!

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  5. Glad to see you're back! Wow I thought Phoenix was bad, but at least we have air conditioning for those hot days!!

    I know those kids are in your class for a reason, and we all be praying for you!

    As I'm teaching uppergrade this year, I will be poking around your posts even more this year for ideas and also I started posting uppergrade journal ideas too (if you like that kindof thing).

    Glad to see you here again!
    Kelli
    Tales From a Traveling Teacher

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  6. I am so so so glad to see you back :) I missed you friend. I know it has been a rough start to the year for you, but you will come out with an amazing class in the end. You are that amazing :)

    ~Stephanie
    Teaching in Room 6

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  7. YAYAYAYAYAY!!! This is the best thing that has happened this Saturday! Welcome back, Kim. And if there's one thing I know for sure, you WILL survive this year, and teach the kiddos a thing or two (or thousand) in the process. Sending you love and hugs!

    Jen
    Runde's Room

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  8. I haven't been blogging much either, but I had to comment... I know how you are feeling about the apathy! I am giving out candy this year (for the first time in years) because it is one of the few things that gets people up and somewhat excited. Makes me sad!

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  9. Wow, your class sounds like the class I had last year! Let me just say, there is hope! I do have to say though, that I wasn't sad to see that class move on. Since I switched to departmental this year, I see the little buggers for LA this year but I know I made a difference because they are participating now. I can't say they are helpful, but at least a good portion of them now care about learning. What did I do? I have no idea. I just plugged along, I used sticks for participation, I made them work in groups and gave group grades (I know you aren't supposed to do that but it worked!) I had lots of hands on projects. And yes, I even lectured them! Good luck to you. I will be praying for you this year.

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  10. I boo'ed you!

    http://journeyofasubstituteteacher.blogspot.com/2012/10/boo-to-you.html

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  11. You've been booed! don't worry, it is a good thing! Check out my blog: http://www.superlativescience.com/2012/10/ive-been-boo-ed.html

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  12. Joy, JOY, jOy!!! You're back to blogging . . . yay! You have such a special gift and it needs to be SHARED with the world. We missed you. Those kiddos are in your class for a reason; work your magic.

    Barbara

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  13. so glad you are back!
    hang in there, you can do it. you inspired me last year when I thought I wouldn't make it in sixth grade. Trust me, if I can do this, anyone can!!!

    Elizabeth
    Hodges Herald

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  14. Glad to see you back! :)

    Lauren
    Life in Middle School

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  15. I am so,so,so glad you are back. Your are an inspiration to many, stay the course.
    :0)
    Donna
    working5to9math.blogspot.com

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  16. Glad you are back! You were missed! Just take one day at a time. Sending you hugs! :)
    Marcia :)

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  17. Hi Kim!
    Thank you so much for visiting me :) We're braving the storm and all that goes along with it. It sounds like you have an interesting bunch this year--just remember that you are given what you can handle. I'm thinking of you and I'm looking forward to reading your posts when you return :)Keep smiling!

    --jen

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