Sometimes, I Eat Cake For Lunch

…and other advice you probably never asked for

Tag: school

I DID IT

Oh my God, I actually just taught (almost) a whole year of 7th grade! I’m using exclamation points here but it hasn’t exactly set in yet. I don’t think it will actually set in for a while, though my first thought when I woke up this morning was how sad I was (this was literally the exact opposite emotion I thought I would be having, as I was almost crying tears of joy on the drive to school yesterday). These kids were rough sometimes, but clearly I enjoyed teaching them more than I thought I did :/

School was a half-day so I went out to lunch with some friends from work, and it was sentimental because the 7th grade ELA and Science teachers are taking elementary school positions next year. I was very close with both of them so I’ll miss them a lot next year. Then for dinner, Stephen and I went to Alcove (my favorite restaurant) because I had been picturing it in my head for weeks as the place I wanted to go to celebrate finishing the year. Crab cake sandwich and beer, mmmm.

A bunch of the kids had written me thank you cards, which made me very sentimental. I don’t have a picture of them with me, but I plan on putting them up on the wall near my desk next year to remind me that even with rough times, I can have really good relationships with students, and also that they may like me more than they let on. I also took a class picture of each class right before I dismissed them, which was a wise decision. I’m glad that my last real memory of these cohorts is their quiet, smiling faces! 😉 

I also have to say thank you to all of my readers for keeping up with my progress this year and all of your encouraging words ❤

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Game Time!

Today in class, students spent time playing the board games that they had all spent so long creating and preparing (and sharing positive feedback!). I have a million pictures of smiling, laughing children, but I feel weird about posting them here, so I’ll have to settle for posting pictures of their creations instead. It surprised me how much they enjoyed playing each others’ games — but that meant that they had created projects that were actually usable, and it feels great to know that I both helped them with that AND that they did 99% of this work on their own. Image

“Medieval Mayhem”

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“Conquering Machhu Picchu”. This one is actually my favorite out of all of them because literally everything is there for a reason and everything is historically accurate. You play as the Spanish (the “Start” box is ship, which is what you arrive to the New World on). It’s Chutes & Ladders, and every time you land on a horse (yay!) you move up because it helps you up the mountains. Every time you land on an Inca, you slide down because they are in the way. The winner is the player who gets to Macchu Picchu first! So good.Image

This group even considered the small details, including that each player would play as a different Spaniard.ImageImage

One of the groups created “Historical Uno” which was a big hit.ImageImageImageImage

 This group incorporated the Renaissance into their love for soccer.Image

 I liked this one a lot because it was 3D but it completely folded down when you closed the board.

Last Week

I can’t believe we are finally in our last week. Back in September, the date June 20th seemed like an eternity away. And yet, June 20th is Friday! In between finalizing grades, cleaning up art supplies from their final projects, and trying to organize and clean out my classroom, it’s been very hectic. But I feel like I blinked and Monday and Tuesday of this week were somehow over. So strange 🙂

4 Weeks to Go

It’s been an eventful week!

On Wednesday, I broke out in hives (pictures happily supplied upon request) due to a surprise allergic reaction to some antibiotics. I had to be at school for a meeting in the morning, and while I did my best to avoid students (IT WAS ALL OVER ME) running into them was unavoidable (“Miss, what’s wrong with your face?”). Missing school on Wednesday shifted my whoooole week, because I missed a day in the middle of BOTH my heavily planned and very meticulously scheduled Capstone project, as well as missing a key day right before I was about to have my formal evaluation. This led to a lot of lesson plan re-writing and scrambling, but I think I’m almost recovered. 

I’m still deep into my Induction work (it’s the mandatory 2-year program I complete in order to keep my Credential), and I fell pretty far behind on everything so now I’m scrambling to submit that work.

It’s not all bad though, it’s just a lot. Speaking of, I think a color-change for this blog is in order. I want this blog to reflect how much I LIKE teaching, and right now I think the dreary black and white isn’t exactly cutting it. I’ve been pouring over the internet lately collecting ideas for next year, while trying very hard to implement changes NOW (because, as my Induction coach very wisely told me, next year will be too late to make those changes). These changes range from classroom management techniques to lesson designs to changes in my classroom set-up. I have a TON of ideas I can’t wait to put them in place when I have some room in my brain to think.

This weekend was VERY PRODUCTIVE and very fun. First of all, I ran a bunch. Stephen and I ran in West Hollywood on Saturday morning and it was beautiful, though I didn’t make it the full 22 minutes. Today I decided to push myself and ran even though it was much warmer than usual for me, but I made it the full 22 minutes with no problem at all! No heavy breathing, no pain, etc. This is an especially big triumph because I’ve been having trouble getting over the 22-minute hurdle for weeks now. 

We had read about a restaurant called Sycamore Kitchen on La Brea, and Stephen was intrigued because it had pecan rolls (he likes pecans). We ended up having to wait in line foreeevver, and by that point we were hungry enough to get real food. My pork belly hash was so worth it! I want to recreate it. Stephen got a BLT with added pork belly.

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Later that day we drove down to Anaheim because our friends Jackie and Roy had extra (very nice) Angels’ tickets. I really like baseball, but Jackie and I were both exhausted for various reasons and were ready to leave, so of course the game went past 12 innings. We all went to an English Pub afterwards, and my delicious shepard’s pie made up for the ear-splitting cover band music that was playing. 

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Oh, and let’s not forgot the espresso almond pie I had last night at Republic of Pie with Sarah and Andrea. Image

 

All in all, this was probably the most productive weekend ever in terms of the sheer amount of work I accomplished, AND the sheer amount of food I ate. 4 more weeks of school. Gotta make it count and stay sane! 

Short Week

This week started out rough because classes were only 45 minutes long (instead of 65) and I think students were under the impression that it was not a real week. But this week has ended up being a really good time to figure out how extra accessible I can make a text in a short period of time. Why not do that all the time, and then spend the rest of the class period discussing or debating? 

A Turning Point

My week this past week, I think, signaled a turning point in my classroom behavior and management. My Induction coach Karman came to observe the last ten minutes of my most difficult class on Friday, and she told me what I had felt myself: that there was something different about my presence and authority. 

I’ve been trying new techniques in terms of what I’m doing to signal for attention, and I’ve also been responding differently to student behavior. While not perfect, it has been the biggest “Ah ha” moment of this entire year. There will be difficult days ahead where students choose to ignore usual expectations (as usual), but this is a huge triumph for me. I’m trying to stay positive and consider the students who are with me, ready to participate and learn, and not let the students who (apparently) had pre-decided to encourage their cohort to rate me badly on the student surveys the school did last week. It also helps to consider that if I start the next school year as I have been approaching behavior this week, it is less likely that I will have a cohort next year who is so opposed to me and my class. Good things are on the horizon! 

And now for some recent cooking adventures:

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Stephen and I made lamb (I made the marinade!), red pepper green beans and very cajuny sweet potato fries.

 

 

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Bourbon-glazed (more like a sauce) salmon (MMMM), mashed potatoes and asparagus. 

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Mom made a jello mold!

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The return of my monkey bread cake.

 

 

 

Pleasant Monday

I put together this review activity for the kids that I thought would be lame, but even with very few parameters, I saw a lot of good student thinking going on. This was satisfying for two reasons: 1) The activity I planned was actually higher level than I thought, and 2) Students were able to follow directions without any prompting AND were able to actually complete work in a way that made their thinking visible. I heard a lot of “Oh! This one must be about Vesalius because I remember that he studied dead bodies!”. And then I get to remind myself that the student thinking was visible because *I* set up the lesson in a way that made it happen, high five, me! 🙂 But seriously, high-level thinking aside, I think the fact that they were actually working according to the directions was what was most satisfying.

Also, in one period I caught one student removing his shoe, which he then passed under another student’s chair and across the aisle to another student — who in turn was passing him cash. It was very odd. After I had talked to them about it, I was met with a response of, “But Miss! It was a good deal!”. One shoe. I still don’t know what was up with that.

 

 

Lamb

Stephen and I wanted to make lamb tonight, but we forgot that it was Easter and lamb was actually high in demand. So we ended up at multiple Ralph’s looking for it, but the lamb we made was so worth it. It was definitely simple enough for me to try and make on my own again!

I went to work this morning (Saturday) and spent a relaxing 2 hours printing and organizing my cabinet — this is something that I absolutely NEVERRRR have time to do normally, so while my room looks absolutely the same, I feel a bit better. I also found some art supplies that the previous teacher left which I hadn’t noticed before. School on Monday! Gotta power through ’til the end of the year! 9 weeks, we can do this! Looking forward to seeing what my kids can do!

Long Weekend Feels Too Short

This weekend was extra long, because the kids did not have school on Thursday or Friday (though, we were in intense meetings all day). And today is Cesar Chavez Day, which also means no school, yessss. Our Professional Development day on Friday was particularly good — I showed up armed with the skills and planning tools that my two coaches have been helping me develop, only to find that the other 7th Grade History teachers were crazy impressed and wanted access to all of my stuff. Considering the fact that I always feel inadequate, it felt good to know that I am not necessarily behind when it comes to teaching. 

Good Day

Well, today definitely came together. Also, it was a weird situation where the kids were apparently Not Good in multiple other classes but were (almost) angels in mine. Weeeeeeird.

I’m flying to New Orleans tomorrow morning! For my friendaversary with the girls. It will be a short trip, focused mostly on food. Stephen took me to Hot & Juicy Crawfish tonight to kick off my trip 🙂