Friday, March 24, 2017

Missing

Whew! It's the end of the quarter and everything has been turned in!  One 7th grader came down to the wire, but he finished everything on his massive list of late assignments (for me at least) before 4:00 (my goal to leave school today). He had two science worksheets, two weeks of spelling workbook (five pages each week), a geography project, and this week's spelling book.  Honestly, I had no clue how he was going to get it all done in time. But he surprised me!  After school he said his geography project to me, and then, the little helper that he is, he offered to "fluff" Joe's tank and feed him for me.  Aww!

Unfortunately, there are still outstanding assignments from two of the 7th graders. They were out sick today and didn't have their spelling books at school for us to correct.  So I can get everyone's grades done except those two.  It definitely made the classroom quieter!  Another 7th grader and his 6th grade brother left on vacation (they got their work turned in before they left), so my classroom was even more empty-feeling!

It did make it easier for my kiddos to focus.  We got a ton of reading done this morning.  Our read-aloud book is getting to the exciting part, so they convinced me to read extra today.  I had brought the next two books in the Amulet series for the students reading them (I'd had them stashed at home so I could read them first!). Grr, the 7th one has a major cliff-hanger and the 8th book isn't due out for another year!!! We've been spoiled, getting to read the first seven without having to wait.  I can't wait for my two students reading the series to read these last two.  In my opinion, they're the best in the series so far!  And I'm positive they will both freak out after reading the endings.

No school on Monday so we teachers can get our report cards finished.  My plans for the weekend are to go to Fulda, swinging by Truman of course.  We actually have a date scheduled: bowling!  Then correcting papers and lesson planning the rest of the weekend, although that shouldn't be too much since I already have a lot corrected and next week is a short week.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Student Teacher

My student teacher met with me after school today. I happened to be walking past the door right when she entered the building, so our first meeting was a bit awkward.  First, I took her to the classroom and let her take her coat off. Then I gave her a tour of the school.  She said she's never observed/taught classes in a christian school before (only once in an inner city school), so she's looking forward to being here.  After meeting all the teachers, we settled in to discuss class schedules and curriculum and which lessons she wants to teach.

I think we've come up with a good plan! She loves history, so she'll be teaching most of the MN history lessons in April.  She gets good topics like the Great Depression, WWII, and the Cold War.  She'll also be teaching the 7/8th graders about the body systems.  Sigh, I'm kind of sad about that... I LOVE teaching about the body systems.  Oh sure I'll get to teach a few of them: the Excretory/Urinary System, Immune/Lymphatic System, Integumentary System, and... the Reproductive System, dun dun dun!  I guess the Digestive System is the one I'm most bummed about not teaching.  Maybe I can teach extra stuff about it during the Excretory System lesson.  I just have to remind myself, "You're here to help her prepare to be a teacher. How's she supposed to get better if she doesn't teach anything?!"

The past two days my kiddos have been fascinated with the microscopes. I've had them sitting on the lab table for about a week or two and yesterday finally had some slides set up for the 7/8th graders to check out.  One of the 8th grade boys wanted to keep looking at things, so I gave him a quick tutorial on dos and don'ts of microscope use and let him have free range.  There are actually quite a few prepared slides for them to look at... lots of plant parts.  When the 5/6th graders saw what the big kids got to do, they wanted a turn.  So I taught them too!  Most of the 5th graders spent read-aloud time looking through the scopes!  They'll have even more fun next week when my favorite biology professor at BLC comes to do a spider lab with us.  If it's a nice day, we'll hunt for spiders in the woods for an hour or so.  If it rains, he'll show a ton of spider pictures and bring spectroscopes so they can look at live spiders magnified (Shoot, now I can't remember if that's the correct name for the microscope I'm thinking of... it's the kind that lets you look at living things 3D magnified. I remember it starts with an "s"!).

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Book Orders

Book orders came in today, of course after all the students went home.  Only one girl ordered anything, but she's been asking when it will come in.  She got a robot making kit (something involving solar power?).

I, on the other hand, ordered quite a few, most of which I haven't read yet... can we just pause time so I can read them all???  I thought I'd have a lot of time between school and Lenten services tonight so I could maybe catch up on the graphic novel book series my kiddos are obsessed with.  Nope, I found enough teacher things to do that I didn't have time for fun stuff.  On the other hand, I did get everything ready for the student teacher's visit tomorrow after school.  I have a pile of books/class pictures/schedules for her so she'll be prepared for her clinical in April!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Bell Foam

Finally, the bell foam is ordered.  It took forever to get a hold of the lady in charge of ordering!  I tried calling a bunch of times, but after always getting the answering machine, I clicked around on their website some more and found an email address.  Just as I was typing the email, she called me back.  So new foam will soon be on its way to us! Yay!

When it gets here, it will have all the air sucked out of it (so it's not such a big package and is cheaper to ship!) and will have to 're-inflate.' I'm super pumped!  It ships in 3-4 business days, so we could even get it next week!  Our book orders are already on track to arrive tomorrow, and I expect our hand bell folders/gloves to arrive any day now.  Lots of little packages for Miss H!

Yesterday, all the intricate details of my after school plans worked out perfectly!  I had just enough time before my meeting with Thrivent (to see if my retirement accounts are in order) to watch a movie that was due at the library (I couldn't renew it because it was from a different library).  I made it to my meeting on time, then had just enough time to sneak into the library to drop off said-movie before they closed at 8:00 and get to the grocery store before the pharmacy closed, also at eight.  I made it there with two minutes to spare!  After unpacking groceries at home, I swept floors, cleaned a sink, and bagged up garbage (something I'd been neglecting all week...).  Whew! I was on fire!

Tonight I'm headed to Mankato to see the new live-action Beauty and the Beast with a college friend (who saw it on Friday already, but wants to see it again because it's her favorite fairy tale).  We're going out to eat beforehand, and I need to run a few errands (pick up a new light bulb for Joe since his is doing the annoying, flickering thing that means it's about to go dead).

Monday, March 20, 2017

Squeak

...There's squeaking in the walls... I haven't seen any mice and I dearly hope they haven't made it in the room, but I've definitely heard squeaks as I work at my desk.  So far my classroom has been mouse free... I'll have to get our 7th grade 'janitor' to set some traps out in the coatroom.  

Spring is definitely in the air now.  As I walked out to my car this morning, I heard birds chirping and smelled the earth thawing out from the last bit of snow.  Kids have been outside at recess, playing in the sandbox (though not my kids... they're too wimpy and still play in the gym so it's not cold).

The end of the quarter is on Friday, so we're kicking it into high gear to get everything finished up before then.  With Writing Workshop, I don't have many grades for English. Instead, I have students turn in one piece of writing they are most proud of, one that is as perfect as they can possibly get it, or at least a piece of writing that shows they learned the skills we learned in English this quarter.  Together we made a checklist of things I'll grade their one piece of writing on.  This includes: beginning and ending punctuation, possessive nouns, homophones, quotation marks, capitalized proper nouns, etc.  They were so focused today! Some dug out stories they'd written earlier in the year, planning to polish them up.  Others started new stories.  A few decided to write a letter (showing off their letter formatting skills!).  I'm excited to see what they come up with!  I also plan to have them grade their writing, just to see how they think they're doing in English class this quarter.

This morning, a bunch of students asked if they could go get a pencil from their backpacks.  This isn't a new phenomena... for whatever reason, my students like to keep the only pencil they have in their book bags.  It's weird.  What's even weirder is that it was halfway through our rounds before the student asked to get it.  How did she make it through half the morning without a pencil?!  I actually asked her that and she admitted she had a regular pencil in her desk, but the better mechanical pencil was out in the coatroom.  

Lunch today was a bit crazy; our cook never showed up.  She's the secondary cook hired to serve when our head cook has to work at her other job.  I don't know why #2 didn't come today, but we had no plan for lunch without her.  Thankfully, Mr. E was in New Ulm with the 8th graders touring the high school, so he swung by Papa Murphy's pizza and picked up a bunch.  What's even better is that they had a sale going on so each family-sized pizza was only about $6! It was definitely a God thing.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Bonus Word!

The 5th graders had a doozy of a bonus word on their spelling test this week... reticuloendothelial system. None of them got it right, but one of the 6th graders did! (He's going to the spelling bee). It took me a while to figure out how to pronounce it!  Most of the 5th graders were only off by a few letters.  Nothing else terribly exciting happened today, so I won't ramble on for too long.  All the students were feeling their oats and we had a lot of older kids having a 'talk' with Mr. E in the office for being disrespectful/rude to each other and me.

I ordered the book orders and have a whole bunch of exciting books coming, some even I haven't read yet, but they're on my to-read list (or they got added to the list when I saw them in the book order!). Today's order put me into the "Green Apple" Teacher category, which means my kiddos (and I) have bought so many books, I now get extra perks.  Woohoo! More free books! And coupons! And other stuff I don't know about yet! Yay!

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Simple Machines

The 5/6th grade physics book doesn't talk about simple machines.  The general science book does a little, but I think the topic fits in better with our physics curriculum.  So I decided to quick add a simple machine lesson to our agenda for the week.  I found a hands-on lab online that has students build/use each of the simple machines, but I wasn't sure which supplies I'd need to buy.  I did know that I didn't have a wedge, so last night after church, (my farmer came up again, yay!) we went grocery shopping and I found some wooden wedges that should work.  I had forgotten to read over the lab supply list before we left, so I went off memory and hoped I'd have the rest in my classroom!

Surprisingly, it didn't take as much time to gather my supplies as I thought!  I had boards handy for another physics lab we do, a lot of the machines use a stack of books for the fulcrum or the ramp (we have plenty of those!), and I had some screws/screwdrivers in my desk drawer.  All I needed to grab were some spools from home (for the pulley and the wheel/axle).  We didn't have time to get to the actual building part of the lab today... we'll save that for Monday.  But everyone seemed to grasp the concept of simple machines very well.