Thank you Spring Break:)
Posted by newbie-tchr at 1:25 pm in 1

This past week was Spring Break, and I could not think of two better sounding words in the English language. A week off was awesome, and was just long enough that I was excited to come back, versus the dread you sometimes feel after a short three day weekend.

Besides mooning over spring break, I did want to share an activity that I did right before the break, reviewing some history figures that my great state has determined children need to know about.My dilemna during my “postWWII culture” unit was that the state required my students to know about Ray kroc, the original franchiser of McDonalds, and not topics that I thought were more valuable, like say – Watergate, Iranian Hostage Crisis, Women’s Liberation Movement, etc.

My solution was to shove Mr. Kroc and some other less than stellar historical characters picked by the State standards to exist in a homework assignment/game, so that I could spend more time on topics I thought were more important. I’m attaching two different versions of the assignment, differentiated for different levels, and the review game we used on the due date. (I gave the kids 4 or 5 days to do this)The review game is a history-fied version of my all-time favorite board game – Taboo. Simply divide the class into boys v. girls, and have them play “taboo” projecting the names on to a white board that only the groups can see. Flipping back and forth between boys and girls, give each team 30 seconds to get their representative (who is turned so they can’t see the projector) to say the name. The catch is that in each level, it gets harder, with an increase in words they can’t say – just like the real taboo! My template is incredibly simple, but the idea can be recreated to span any unit in history. It gets a bit loud – but the kids definitely loved it!

My Supplies:

1. ¬†The “harder” version I used for the Gifted and Talented classes…this one requires access to a computer at home, so I gave enough time for the assignment so they could work at school if

2. The “easier” version I gave to my gen-ed kids, less challenging BUT it focuses on the more difficult information…academic-guess-who.doc

3. The PowerPoint game we played during class on the day it was due…VERY simple outline, but easily edited!taboo.ppt

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Behavior Management Refresher
Posted by newbie-tchr at 1:05 pm in 1

Every week, the Principal sends out an article to the staff about some method or finding in education to keep us up to date, which I think is a really nice way to 1) remind me to look at new ideas and 2) give me something to do while the kids are taking exams. The other week he sent us one that encouraged teachers to simply talk more with students, in the hopes of developing a more open relationship.

The article was good, and with some extra time to kill (I know, a rarity) I figured I’d give it a try. WELL, I will definitely say I have a more “open” relationship with some of my students…but I’m wondering if these kind of strategies were developed with 7th graders in mind.

Things I now know about my students…some hilariously bad, some very cute and good:

1. A few enjoy lighting things on fire in mall parking lots…oh joy

2. A girl who seems to be failing all her classes may be doing so because she hangs out in parking lots checking out “skater boys” all weekend

3. One child is a tennis pro who just got featured in the local newspaper. (he ended up bringing the article in and it’s now hanging up in the classroom!)

4. One student runs a babysitting business…major flashbacks to reading babysitters club books on that one

5. Another kid literally plays 20 hours of video games a weekend. 20 HOURS!

6. A few now watch the History Channel because they think it’s more interesting…this warmed my little nerd heart.

7. I was apparently the only middle schooler not allowed to watch rated R movies…because it seems like ALL of them do it now, and quite frequently.

Although it does take time, all in all, I’d say the experiment was a success. The best part about it was that after I asked once, the kids have continued to talk more openly to me, and I can definitely notice a greater sense of community. Excluding a new fear of parking my car in mall parking lots where they hang out – success.

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Projector Questions
Posted by newbie-tchr at 9:47 pm in 1

In my classroom I’ve got two options for displaying things for kids…old school overhead projector OR a digital projector from the computer. The issue? For reasons¬†unbeknownst to me, my computer projector is ever so precariously balanced on…crates.

And while I love writing on things with markers, the old school projector just isn’t cutting it for me. The question is: does anyone know of a way to place the computer projector in a safer, more effective manner that makes the images large and out of the way of my students? I’ve asked the techies if it would be possible to hang it from the ceiling, and apparently that’s a no-go. I know it’s a long shot, but if anyone has creative ideas for projector “placeage” I’d be eternally grateful!

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