Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Signing off for 2013-2014 School Year

So, as I write this, I am a finalist AGAIN (for the 13th time) for an administrative position I would love to have. The number 13 has to be lucky for someone right ? I'll know more next week.

Is it unlucky to presume I may not be (only) a teacher in September ?, (because I will ALWAYS be a teacher at heart. ) Perhaps it is bad luck, and I do comprehend the "everything happens for a reason argument." But certainly the decision is out of my hands at this point.

So back to the classroom. It is June. It is hot, and rushed, and chopped up with a million distracting activities. But it is so fun!

My fifth grade students each got a random country to find some basic info on. Straightforward, pretty boring activity to start with, but then I asked them to "Show and Tell" something cool about the country they picked. So we have some cool and interesting presentations. I learn even more when each student goes home to work on an "interactive assignment" with the notes they took from their classmates presentations. The United Arab Emirates project was fascinating with all the facts about the man made island and the incredible Burj Khalifa. Of course the encyclopedia websites will list Indonesia's major export as copper, and construction equipment. But, a graph of how many sneakers are made there compared to other countries is a lot more appealing to a ten year old... why... labor costs... etc. good stuff. And the student that bought the Baguettes from France (technically Panera Bread) and had a cool powerpoint with photos from top of Eiffel Tower, found himself pretty well respected that day.

And for my sixth grade classes it is the annual Middle Ages Festival. Partners get a chunk of content, become the experts, teach to the class, assign and check in homework (Some of the best homework participation comes when you have to show your peers your work!) The lessons include skits, power points, games and simulations... since they have witnessed those strategies all year long.

They need to devise a "carnival game" that communicates content. We have all sorts of fun games based on knights, lords, vassals, clergy, serfs,  an Italian Renaissance art contest, there are large motor games like kick ball (Popes vs. Kings) , an obstacle course trying to get through the challenges of the Spanish Inquisition and the Black Plague. In short they are excited to be making flyers, painting banners, and getting all their supplies ready for a (hopefully sunny) afternoon next week.

The best part is the formative quiz I gave to both grades.  Grade 5 :Tell me three interesting facts about the countries we learned about, make a comparison statement between two countries, if you could live in one place besides USA tell where and why... Grade 6 :Tell me about a person in the middle ages, a place in the middle ages and a concept or idea from the middle ages, Make a comparison between modern times and Middle Ages. If you could live then or now, tell where and why. The richness and variety of their answers was very gratifying .

Do my students know the Core SS content they should ?... yes. Do they enjoy the topic of learning  about different people and places over time ? Most do, and that makes me very proud and happy to be a teacher.

But I still really really hope to start blogging as an administrator very soon and sharing great things not just from MY CLASSROOM , but from a whole school !

Happy Summer... I'll be updating soon and using my new married name Holly Foley for my new blog  whenever that new opportunity for a new position comes along, hopefully sooner than later :)