Sunday, February 26, 2012

No Animals were Harmed during this Blog; A reflective post about life, state-assessments, and human contact.

        I find myself on yet another Sunday holed away from my family completing life-inspiring lesson plans (well at least as I am picturing them), emailing parents and colleagues, playing  researching on Pinterest and writing my blog in my head as I do all the above.  I must confess that I was feeling pretty unin"blog"spired until my 2 1/2 year old, love-of-my-life, had a meltdown when for some odd reason I wouldn't let him shove my only car key into a variety of places, including the dog's ear.
       That's when I started feeling thoughtful and started comparing his exploration with the key to my struggles and joys of teaching my students.  As we draw near to,gulp, test time, I can only hope that what we are doing in our classroom is not only giving the students' keys to successful state testing, (I would like to keep my job), but more importantly are helping them figure out the keys to their future.  My desire is that even one activity, conversation, or moment in my classroom might help them in a positive manner.  I'm not naive enough and hopefully not vain enough to think that their short time with me will be worthy of a Lifetime Original Movie, but I do hope that in my classroom students can feel inspired, smarter, closer to becoming successful members of society, and have a fun time getting to that point.

    Ok, enough reflection...maybe I ate too many carbs this weekend, and it's making me a little pensive.

       The question after that long ramble, (did you not read the title of my blog), is how am I working towards giving them keys?  I have to say that my pizza night was a great success!  While we didn't have a huge turnout, we had a great time, and it was nice to visit with families about non-school related items.  I think families need to see me outside of being the 5th grade teacher, and as teachers we need a chance to get to know the different families and what is important to them.    When I first started teaching, I felt I needed to keep more of a distance personally to maintain that professionalism.  Luckily I realized within that first year that that is a bunch of garbage.  We talk about being a team, and teams need personal connections.  Can't wait until next month to hopefully see more families at the next pizza night!!  (Have to shout out to my brother who is the GM at our Pizza Huts in town- THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU! Also, THANK YOU for next month and the next and...)

     Two weeks ago, I found a fun bulletin board idea on Pinterest.  Thought it was a great idea, but needed to "kick it up a notch," as Emeril would say.  Here are the pictures of my spin.  The original idea was to create a 6'4" Abe Lincoln and allow students to measure themselves.   I kept that idea, but as a class we are also tracking the information and using it in our class landmarks of data; mode, median, mean, range, outliers, and even some conversion practice.  Not only are my students loving the project, we have already had many visitors from 6th grade and down stopping to see how they measure up to Honest Abe Lincoln.
Feel free to be amazed at my artwork. Good thing I don't try to
make money as an artist!  Interactive board for measurement and
data organization/analysis. 
Having students add 12" due to a
short tape measure.

Let's see how long the post-its last! :)

(I spent over an hour trying to find an original post to give credit, but seems many sites have similar bulletin board ideas. If someone find the original, let me know so I can give credit.)

To finish this blog post, I feel I must be honest and return to the story of my son and the keys.  You see, I probably should have let him just explore with the keys, though Amber the Dog is thankful her ear has been spared.  The reason my key is unimportant right now is because my car is out of order...for a long time...No, I wasn't in an accident, it hasn't be repossessed, nor did Aliens abduct it.  However, only with my luck would a 4 legged rodent make a home under the hood of my SUV and chew on almost every, yes every, wire in it this week.  Who needs keys when it's not going anywhere?  Hmmm, maybe I can use the key as a paperweight or a hallpass. Guess you'll have to wait until next post to find out!

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