Sometimes, I Eat Cake For Lunch

…and other advice you probably never asked for

Month: September, 2014

Tuesday

It’s kind of a crazy and unusual week because there are two days where I have to go to off-campus meetings directly after school (which leaves no time for copying or planning) and one day where I won’t even be on campus because of a History teacher workshop (woo!), so it’s been a little stressful. But I decided not to plan with literally *all* of my free time tonight — I’m making curry simmer sauce and naan with the pans that Stephen recently bestowed upon me. I didn’t have good pans to cook with, so he showed up at my door the other day with a surprise kitchen gift (they were much nicer than any pans I would have bought for myself) 🙂

Friday!

This week finished up successfully, if I may say so! I completely (and panickedly — why is this telling me that panickedly is not a word?) revamped three whole days worth of lesson plans because I just had a bad feeling about them. I ended up planning two days (FROM SCRATCH) in which they practiced (excitedly, there were raffle tickets involved) identifying what counts as political, economic and social factors in terms of studying history. Then today they took 20 causes of the fall of the Western Roman Empire and categorized them. It was great to walk around hearing their conversations about how something could be a social factors, but it could also be an economic factor because of X, Y, and Z.

Week 3

So far so good. I started my first content unit today — Rome (i.e. the fall of the Western Roman Empire and the Rise of the Eastern Roman Empire, the schism and the founding of Christianity, and Constantinople. Whew).

I had my kids (semi-successfully) reading a short text about the location of the city of Rome by Cicero. I realized first period that they needed a lot more support than I thought, but my students in my later classes got it a lot better. The text is kind of confusing (I re-wrote it into today’s language) because he describes all of the positive and negative things about a city being coastal, and then praises Romulus for founding Rome near the Tiber instead. I think it’s hard for students this age to make those connections about how everything that Cicero just wrote does NOT apply to Rome because of it’s riverside location, etc. But anyway, this plus the basic background information I gave them went really well, and I honestly think my students have a better (and more significant) understanding of Rome than I was able to teach them over many many weeks last year.

Also, on Saturday Stephen took me to a really nice surprise French dinner to celebrate two years together. Escargot, trout with scallops and interesting sides, and TARTE TATIN!! (which he had never had. I was very happy to introduce it to him). I like him a lot.

Back to School night tomorrow!

Paradise

I am absolutely LOVING life right now. I can’t begin to express how great this school year as started. It’s a combination of many things:

Having time to prepare for this school year + taking the time to feel comfortable in my classroom + amazing tiny little angels sent to make my days beautiful + my confidence as a 2nd year teacher + students who let me be the adult in the room + a better understanding of what students want to spend their time doing + a better understanding of the kind of questions to ask to get them thinking + hard work from 100% of my students all the time. 

I was legitimately looking forward to the work week starting today so that I could spend time with my students. LIFE IS AMAZING. THEY ARE SO WONDERFUL. For now, anyway. It’s a pretty much accepted fact that 7th grade is the year that things get more difficult. 

There’s much more that I could say about this year being better, but it is best left off of this blog. Call me anytime for details!

Looking forward to work tomorrow!

Classroom Tour

Since Summer Bridge, I’ve been finishing up school stuff (syllabus, planning documents etc), and besides for a very quick trip to Las Vegas, I’ve been spending hours putting my classroom together. I’m in a new classroom this year (right next door to where I was last year) and it felt great to start fresh (it’s also a nicer room, but probably only in ways that I would notice). 

The other day I arrived at 7AM and it felt so great to be able to spend all of the time I wanted putting my room together, instead of hurriedly making copies and giving myself a pep talk and trying to make myself breathe slower while checking my make-up, which is what happens on normal days as the clock gets closer to striking 7:50. I came the next day too for about 5 hours, and I’m very happy with the results!

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Last year I had paper on my bulletin boards and it ripped pretty easily, so I splurged a got fabric. Fingers crossed that this lasts longer. The timeline is so that I can help students visualize when the civilizations that we are studying existed in relationship to each other. I was inspired to do this particularly by the Western and Eastern Roman Empire, because I was struggling to find a way to communicate that they overlapped for a bit before one fell, while the other continued to exist well past some of the other civilizations and cultures that we will be studying. Proud of this one! IMG_2254IMG_2256 IMG_2257 IMG_2259 IMG_2260 IMG_2264 IMG_2266 IMG_2267 IMG_2269 IMG_2270 IMG_2272 IMG_2274Last year I barely had any time to think about how I wanted my room to look, so I can’t put into words how excited I was to put this together so that it feels me. I already feel so much more at home in my classroom this year than I did last year!