Monday, April 30, 2012

yes, it is monday

and my day just kept reminding me of the fact that yes, it is monday
the to-do list just kept getting longer
and more things kept stopping me from crossing anything off
helping a student [not even one of my own]
who had been "forgotten at school" for over two hours
didn't help either
and of course, I'm the ONLY one on campus so it was all up to me
and not to judge, but seriously
you don't know where your pre-teen daughter is for over two hours after the bell rings?
not awarding any certificates anytime soon
by almost five [school's out at 2:20] I was finally student free and in the parking lot
just to have my car start rumbling, smelling of gas, and the trusty check engine light turn on
so, car's in the shop & we had pizza for dinner
and the best part of my monday was surprisingly getting my name sign tagged at school
here's why:
trust me, much better than I've seen this year
and walking by this little one won't be so bad
before I know it I'll be having the janitor take my sign down for me
and having a ton of kids sign it for me as my momento for this year
just another for the collection

Saturday, April 28, 2012


today we enjoyed our town
took an extremely long walk
and didn't do much else
and it was pretty nice
tomorrow it is off to the city to see meg
but as for tonight I think another stroll is in store
and some celebrating with friends to top things off

Friday, April 27, 2012

apparently I am a rule breaker

when it comes to fire codes in my classroom
I was dreading this morning's fire inspection
this is why:
and yes, this is just one corner of my room
but it is pretty much like this in every corner of my room
I was hoping it would be done before I actually got there
no such luck
you should have seen the eyes on the two firemen as they entered my room 
I know they were doing their job, and they were very nice about it
but I'm only supposed to have 25% of my walls covered with paper
and I think I have about 90%
so needless to say they will be back to "reinspect" my room
and I just hope it is after may 10th, open house
needless to say it was an odd way to start the day
and put me in a funky mood that my kids found to be an enjoyable way
to end the week
happy weekend.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

civil war in four days...sure, why not?

um, have I mentioned that the spring is the ultimate crunch time?
and especially when you are new to a grade
and you don't really know how long to take on things, like way back in september
sure, in hindsight I most likely would have spent a tad less time on the colonies
and more time on the civil war and reconstruction
but all I can say is I've done my best
so for now, it is all about teaching a pretty ridiculously important war in four days
and obviously reading a 34 page chapter was kind of out of the question
so instead, another new way to take notes
and the use of lots of "real" photos should do the trick
the best part of my day was surely when one of my kids asked where I got this lesson
and I just kind of pointed to my head and smiled
and the student responded: 
"pretty impressive Mrs. Lewis, pretty impressive"
um, biggest compliment ever, well, at least for the week
oh, and getting to use color pencils for note taking
at any age, is kind of the best thing ever
sometimes the littlest change can make everything oh so much better
12"x18" paper
colored pencils
pinch of awesomeness

Sunday, April 22, 2012

sunday's "so they said"

well, not all children have a.d.d.
but one thing is true
all teenagers love things for a few days, obsess over them
and then move onto the next thing
this has been the case in my classroom all year long
whether it has been a catch phrase, something they have seen in a movie
or just something said at lunch
you hear their trends pretty clear
some I choose to comment on
and when I do 
the kids seem oh so surprised that I, their teacher
may have some idea as to what they are talking about
and that is exactly what happened this week 
when out of nowhere one minute before the bell rang, two of my kids shouted
image here
"we should hardcore parkour during passing"

and after a few smiles and laughs from those in class
I responded by saying

"well, I think to really hardcore parkour I think you need a video camera to document it.  If not, aren't you just jumping around like fools?"

and of course, because being the ripe old age of 27
my kids looked at me with wide eyes that I knew what they were talking about
and yes, due to my recent acquiring of cable this year
fortunately, I did know about the latest tosh.o trend happening this season
and I must admit, my age + cable = me having a clue what teenagers are talking about
of course another student chimed in

"Don't worry Mrs. Lewis, it says that the show is for mature audiences, and we are mature.  Oh, and Daniel Tosh is pretty hot."

well, enough said
and the best part of teaching middle school is I don't have to get all crazy
about telling them they are too young to be watching whatever it is they are at that moment
thankfully, hardcore parkour died out by the next day
but it did make for a pretty entertaining passing period
and hey, nobody was hurt, so just go with it
that's the key to surviving middle school

Friday, April 20, 2012

an awkward way to compromise

this week was what seemed like my first week back to teaching in a while
between being super sick, spring break, and layoff hearings
my poor kids have had SO many subs lately
this week we loved getting out of the textbook
and back into our typical craziness
so we tackled the Missouri Compromise, the Compromise of 1850, and the Dred Scott Case
the best part was hearing them getting so heated over whether states should become
free or slave states
or what qualifies you as an American citizen
now sure, I had a few students that were very quick to compromise with their group-mates
even if it meant they were getting the short end of the stick
just because they didn't quite care
but, for the most part, it was amazing and fun
and the best part
they had to link pinkies while compromising
and could only let go once they met a compromise
we just referred to it as "awkward compromise time"
and sure it's dorky, but it worked
happy weekend - spring is jumping quickly into summer
in my neck of the woods
time to stock up on sunblock & juice bars

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

slavery mandalas

some weeks can get kind of tricky with scheduling
and for whatever reason you end up with two days where you are just kind of
"in between"
and what better thing to do than art
and so that's exactly what we did
and hey, since I had to make my very own mandala for my masters class
why not have my students join in the fun?
they created their mandalas on slavery
before working on their finals they did brainstorm their eight symbols to represent
different aspects of life, culture, and experiences
having the center of the mandala being the most significant symbol
we also found folding the final draft paper into fours 
helped the students create a circular design
they also included a key on the back of the mandala
 to explain each symbol
overall, this art project knocked my socks off
can't wait to hang them up in the room

Sunday, April 15, 2012

wedding night out

last night the mr. and I enjoyed a night out
at our friend's wedding
and when a couple just happened to meet at the very same place 
[the grocery store where we all worked]
well, that just makes it a little extra special
not a bad way to spend a Saturday night
no "so they said" this week
unfortunately, kind of, I spent almost the whole week out of the classroom
for layoff hearings
the bad part, besides having a sub in my room again
of course would be the whole being laid off again
but the nice part included mornings that start at 9 instead of 7
and lunches that go at least an hour and a half, instead of 30 minutes
so tomorrow it is back to work for real tomorrow
and now it is time to enjoy these final weeks with these kids

Saturday, April 14, 2012

welcoming spring

yes it is true
it has been spring for a while now
but last sunday my family
[sans the husband & sister]
soaked up the sun
and officially welcomed spring to our little corner of the world
we enjoyed cake pops that I had the opportunity to make with my cousin the day before
an easter egg hunt where the age of the participants ranged from 16-27
that's how we do in our family
you should have seen the four of us trying to find the last two eggs in our grandma's yard
sure there was $20 in the egg
but all the same, it was pretty entertaining
I got to open my easter basket that had some surprises I'll be sharing here soon
and let's just say I was pretty sugared out by 5p.m.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

sunday's "so they said"

I must admit
some weeks I just can't remember anything that my kids have said
and I know there is always something that completely cracks me up

and this "so they said" in fact came back to me while watching an Ellen episode this week
probably a good month or so after the actual classroom quote occurred

needless to say
teaching middle school has gotten my brain to go to the less than innocent place 
and that is exactly what happened a few weeks back when I found a note 
left behind after class
I open it to find in big writing
"Your pen is so awesome, I love everything about it."

The only problem was, when they wrote this little note to their friend
their spacing was not quite where it needed to be
so instead, this is what I saw
"Your penis is so awesome, I love everything about it."

Needless to say, I freaked just a tad.
Even pulled a few of the kids aside the next day to try to figure out who exactly wrote it
only to realize I was about to put my foot in my mouth
when one of my kids kindly pointed out
as we looked at the pretty glitter pen note
"Mrs. Lewis, I think so and so wrote it, and why do you care so much who wrote it, she is just talking about her friend's pen."
Yes, I could have died
right there on the spot

and due to the nature of this post
I sure hope I don't get any weird google searches
oh well, I'll risk it
because I think I should
and I can always just blame Ellen

Friday, April 6, 2012

art for the classroom, probably not mine, maybe yours

this past weekend I finished out my fourth masters class
even though my masters is in art integration
this was our first real "art" class
I enjoyed it
got a few new ideas
but unfortunately, being an 8th grade history teacher this year
I'm not seeing these lessons jumping into my plans real soon
especially with the standardized test crunch time being upon me
however, they are worth sharing
many were lessons I had done in the past, but with a new twist
which I always love

lesson #1 paper weaving
done this in the past
but mostly for holidays
and just with color construction paper
loved getting to paint first and then come back later and do the paper weaving
we painted with everything
vegetables, sponges, cut cardboard, pasta, just about anything
I had done "vegetable" painting before
I'm thinking it must have somehow connected in with our language arts story of the week
but then you get these funky paintings
with little directions, and what do you do with them
well, take one of those papers, fold in half
cut long slits in the paper
then take a second work of art and chop it into half-inch strips
and start weaving away
love the final product

lesson #2 found object painting
this lesson again is great for elementary teachers
really any age level depending on how you want to spin the focus
my art above was created with everything from chopsticks to marshmallows
and the black & white piece - potatoes and my chopstick wrapper
obviously elements of art, design, and color mixing could be the focus
or it could be a lesson on re-cycling objects around the house 
previously thought of us "trash"
and the best part of this art project
if the students don't create a piece they love "as is"
turn it into paper weaving as seen above and all is well again in the world

and even though these lessons won't be finding their way into my room this next week
another art project will
and I will be sharing those just as soon as I can

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

stay-cation [spring break]

well after numerous hours on the internet
with no luck
we decided for a little vacation at home
I'm starting to realize how jaded and ridiculously spoiled I am
to feel like there is just no place I want to see within a couple hour drive of my home
san francisco
eh, been there, done that, oh, and it might rain
lake tahoe
I only like the snow there when I'm snuggled in a cabin
which wasn't going to be happening for a single night away
so we stayed home
enjoyed a day of our favorite antique spots
with unfortunately no treasures finding their way home with us
but it still was a great little date day for us
and we topped the evening out with some happy hour
where we ordered enough for at least four people
but hey, now we have enough for the husband's midnight snack
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