Posts tagged ‘classroom’

July 10, 2012

All it took was a little time away…

by stryson

… to remind me of how much I like doing this. By “this,” I mean both blogging and teaching. After a bit of a hiatus, I’m back to both. I’m not teaching summer school – I haven’t done that since 2009 – but I am tutoring, which is just enough for me during the summer.

It seems to be an annual occurrence for me to get incredibly burned out and irritable by the end of the school year. I’m certain that I can’t be special in this – does anyone have any good tips for keeping it cool through the end of the year? I hate the way it spills over into my personal life… I’ve been spending summer trying to get back in touch with people after my coping strategy became “hunker down and ignore what you can until it all goes away.” My husband put a very positive spin on this troublesome habit the other night, though, which made me feel better: “You want to give each person and each thing 100%, so then when you’re not able to, you get frustrated.” While this is a kind way of viewing the situation, I’d love to get to a more balanced place, where I don’t get thrown for a loop as easily.

Ah, well. Back on the horse, at any rate.

I was going to end this post with a picture of the artwork with which my kids covered the board on the last day, but the picture is on my computer at home. In its place, I’ll share the artwork they left on the day of “Expo,” which is like a spring back-to-school night. (Clicking the picture should show you the full-size version for a closer look.)

Artwork

April 17, 2012

Welcome back from break!

by stryson

One of my students started my week off with this joke:

Why was the math book sad?

It had too many problems!

This, of course, called for an instant rimshot.

April 4, 2012

Quotes before break

by stryson

I daresay I’m as fried as the kids. Spring break starts after dismissal tomorrow, and it cannot come soon enough!

To cheer us through the last twenty-four hours, here are some quotes. Enjoy!

 

“May I get a drink? I feel like a cactus.” – 4th grade boy

***

“Can I have funny? Because that’s what I am.” – request made by 4th grade boy when choosing words for a synonym game

***

“I’m not going to be here tomorrow.” –5th grade girl

“Why not?” -me

“I have to go to a mountain!” She cracks up. “I don’t even know what that means!”-5th grade girl

March 27, 2012

I’m baaaaack!

by stryson

Sorry for the radio silence as of late. March can be a tough time – conferences, objectives, report cards, and IEP/ISP meetings have swallowed much of my time. Working on my increasingly beautiful new home has taken up the rest.

The kids remain as hilarious as ever. Today, I received two different notes from fifth graders, each of them purposely made to look like they were trying to forge a note from their parents. No, I did not word that in an unnecessarily complicated manner. The part they found hilarious was making it obvious that they were the ones writing the note… making a big show during snack of writing it and of using bad grammar and spelling and whatnot.

The first went like this:

Please let me go to school. I need to learn about scientific proof about precipatation. I have a WEdding to go to so Ms. Trison please not forpoint.

From (—)

My reply, on the same piece of paper:

Dear (student’s name),

What???

From,

Mrs. Tryson

The second one read:

Dear Mrs tryson

do not Let me go to school today I have a dog apointment please not atte ym niotps today.

The explanation she gave for the second part was that she was trying to write the note backwards. It came out sideways.

My job is so surreal sometimes. I find myself uttering sentences that I never thought would come out of someone’s mouth. “Why are you dancing the hula in your chair?” “So you’re saying you’re secretly a squirrel.” “She has a wedgie, get over it.”

I’m looking forward to regaining my appreciation for the hilarity. As the overwhelming workload lightens, that should be more possible.

February 8, 2012

Synonym Scavenger Hunt

by stryson

My classroom does not really make a good case for proving my sanity right now. If you were to walk in through my door, one of the first things you’d see is this:

Yes, at first glance, it appears that I’ve labeled my printer “automobile.” No, I haven’t completely lost my vocabulary skills.

I actually set up an ongoing game/activity for my reading classes, in which I have a stack of index cards with “simple” words on them, like “funny,” “sad,” etc.

Around my room, I’ve taped fancier synonyms for these words. Examples for the ones in this picture include “hilarious,” “considerate,” “stroll,” “canine,” “automobile,” and “luminous.”

 

 

At the beginning of class, as they walk through the doorway, each child receives a card. He or she has to find the matching synonym and return both cards to me before he or she is allowed to sit down to begin class.

Today, it went well. Moving forward? We’ll see how it goes. I’m reaching for any fun entertaining way to expand these kids’ vocabularies and to make them really think about their word choices.

February 7, 2012

Oh, my homeroom…

by stryson

Kid 1: Do you believe in Santa Claus?

Me: Of course I believe in Santa Claus.

Kid 2: Do you believe in harmony?

Me: Of course I believe in harmony.

Kid 3: What’s harmony? What’s harmony? What’s harmony? What’s harmony?

Me: When two notes sound nice together.

Kid 3: Well, that’s dumb. Of course harmony exists!

February 2, 2012

Overheard in the classroom

by stryson

This morning, as I look at the steadily growing pile of quotes from children on my desk, I can’t help but think of the website Overheard in New York. (Warning: if you’re unfamiliar with that site, it may not be appropriate to open at work because of language.) Many of my classroom quotes of late have very little context – and I feel that way even though I was there! They remain funny in an absurdist way, even if they are not an explainable kind of funny.

For example, a snippet of overheard conversation in my Take Aim class produced, “Moby Dick eats aliens.”

Another student in that class was trying to defend his illustration of the word “reside.” He’d drawn a woman and a box. To justify it, he said, “She lives in a box! She loves the box! She’s going to marry the box!”

… no amount of coffee allows me to make sense of that.

I have had some funny moments this week that do make sense, though. My two clever fourth-grade boys that often get quoted in here have been at it again. One is notoriously pessimistic, and the other is quite a wisecracker. The other day, when it was FDR’s birthday, I asked if anyone knew what the Great Depression was. The wisecracker said (and I’m replacing the other child’s name with “Pessimist” here), “Pessimist is, because he’s always depressed!”

We start the day with Brain Gym exercises, one of which is “hot air balloon.” When I announced that move yesterday, Wisecracker announced, “Pessimist, this should be easy for you! You’re full of hot air.”

These guys are best friends, and Pessimist sees the humor each time, so I let the ribbing continue. I’m hoping that Wisecracker can loosen him up. In the meantime, it’s hilarious.

 

January 18, 2012

Earning Points

by stryson

We have a great behavior management system at my school, in which the students need to earn points for each class. Most hour-long classes are worth 10 points, though some non-core classes (such as computers or gym) might be worth 6 or 8. One earns one’s points by completing & handing in homework, participating appropriately in class, and exhibiting good behavior.

As you can imagine, though, particularly in a setting where the students have language challenges, the kids can sometimes lose their grip on why they are or are not earning their points.

Just before the holiday break, I had a sixth grader that was really struggling in my class. She was not consistently completing her homework, and she was often having meltdowns in my class. To boot, she was taking 20-25 minute long bathroom breaks almost daily. Thus, she was not earning her points in my class on most days. One day, she completely lost it on me. She stood up, stomped her foot, looked me squarely in the eye, and bellowed, “I really want to succeed in your class, but I can’t if you keep taking my points!”

I have to laugh, because the other option is to descend into a rumination on entitlement.

In that same class, I had a day in which a young man did not earn his points because he did not hand in his homework. He looked at me with complete astonishment when I signed his points at the end of that period.

“Why do I lose points??? My birthday was two weeks ago!”

At this, I simply stared. Of course, it didn’t help when, from across the room, his classmate chimes in, instructing me:

“Go on, just laugh about it. You know you want to!”

It’s a precarious line, trying to maintain respect and order while taking into consideration the fragility of some of my students. It’s a good thing I can keep a sense of humor about it.

November 30, 2011

4th grade quotes

by stryson

There are two boys in my first period class, fourth graders, who are quite funny naturally… and who have been striving to get in my quote notes often of late. (They realize I write down quotes; they certainly don’t know what I do with them, other than laugh to myself.) Here are some beauties of late.

First, boy #1 found out that he needs to not consume dairy for a month; it has something to do with allergy testing that he is receiving. He comes in that day and announces to me that his life is over, because, “If I don’t get my Cinnamon Toast Crunch in the morning, I’m nothing!

This same boy had a strange comment after I gave an example for the word etcetera, wherein I listed a whole bunch of objects I own that are orange. (Orange is my favorite color, and the kids know this.) At the end of my giant list, this boy announces, in a spooky storyteller voice, “Legend says that Mrs. Tryson’s bones are made out of orange.”

…what?

And boy #2 gave me a bit of a clever response this morning. The exchange went as follows:

Me: Have a seat.

Boy: Thanks, Mrs. Tryson! I’ll sell it for a million bucks!

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: my job is not boring.

September 28, 2011

Cheering activities on a Rainy Day

by stryson

I’m feeling very beaten up and under the weather today. It’s dark and rainy, and I had a dentist appointment yesterday that has left me with a tender mouth. Additionally, it’s grey and rainy. In short, it was the perfect day to start a funny novel with my kids.

I know I’ve mentioned at least once how much I adore Ken Derby’s Top Ten Ways to Ruin The First Day of School. It’s funny, relateable, and a nice, easy novel for starting the year. I used it with my fifth graders last year, and I’ve just begun introducing it to this year’s batch. It cheered me up to see them laughing at Tony Baloney’s Stupid Human Tricks. Unfortunately, as I’ve gone to write this post, I’ve found that this book is currently out of print, but Ken is working on that situation. See his comments here.

Speaking of things that have brightened the week in my classes, I’ve found a typing game that the kids really love: Dance Mat Typing. One of the girls in my homeroom was literally in tears because she was laughing so hard at the interludes. I liked it because they’re so methodical about presenting the keys in the order a normal typing program would.

Enjoy!