Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Back-To-School Dream

July 1st, 2014
I had my first back-to-school dream last night and it was a doozy! 
Enjoy.

I was in a brightly painted basement, but it was wet. Brown goo was oozing from under the carpet and out of the piano. The piano kept sliding because the floor was slanted. 

I arrived to my room early and old Christmas decorations were all over random odd tables that were covered with a melted chocolate bar and a sticky huge lollipop. I asked no one, "Why are all these tables in here?"

One teacher was there asking me for one green pipe cleaner and I assured her they were in her room. She was sure I had them. Another teacher tried to help me by putting the Christmas decorations in a too small cupboard that was filled with neatly folded, used tissue paper. I said, "Why do we even need this stuff?"

I had to go to the bathroom, went up the back stairs and the first bathroom was bing used. I ran to the second bathroom and a teacher was slowly coming out and kept talking to me about how she was never late. I smiled and gently shoved her out the door so I could tinkle.

I made my way down the front stairs and found a slide that led into my room which was full of 74 students. I rode the slide which went under two boats and landed on my bum in front of all these kids. But, they thought I was cool.

I tried to get my music going but the wrong song kept playing and my projector only showed a tiny left-hand corner of the screen, but the kids liked that song so I kept playing it. I tried to explain that they should clap on the quarter notes but most of my students were new and they didn't know what I was talking about.

There were kids sitting on the top of chairs facing the back of the room and one boy had his shirt buttoned wrong, which totally distracted me so I moved him to the front of the class.

As I moved him I noticed I had a string coming off my shirt and I started to pull it and off course the entire things started unraveling and wrapped all around my arms. Then I looked in the mirror and noticed I didn't have lipstick on and I was wearing a peach shirt. I look horrible in peach and wondered why I wore that shirt.

I asked the kids to arrange the chairs better and they put the rows super close to the piano which of course was moving and still oozing. I told them, well that looks nice but I would never do it that way so...let's change it. I'll turn around and say "Go!" and you guys change it up.

They did and it was completely awkward. I was overwhelmed and ...there was much more to this dream but it is already completely ridiculous.

True story.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Lovin' the Moment, written by Kristin Lukow, Sandra Bonk and Sara Woodman

A couple of years ago, I wrote a few thoughts on my FB page about loving the moment and being thankful. My friend Sandy said it sounded like a song. Another friend, Sarah, concurred and wrote a few more lines. Sandy had an idea for a melody, I finished it out and recorded it. Sandy's nephew has created this sweet video to go with it. I am blessed, grateful and humbled. And yes, it is me singing the song, both the melody and harmony.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

20 Ways to Keep Your Students' Attention | Minds in Bloom

I LOVE these ideas!!!  
  1. Desk Switch: Students have ten seconds (count down from ten) to find another desk to sit in that is in a different part of the room than his or her normal desk. Students stay in that desk for the rest of the lesson. Why? Two reasons, first switching desks gets them up and moving. Second, sitting in a different place in the classroom will give them a different perspective and wake up their brains a bit.

  2. Position Switch: Have students turn their chairs around and sit straddling the chair with their hands resting on the back (girls in dresses can sit side-saddle). While good sitting is important, a few minutes of sitting differently can keep kids alert. Another idea is to let kids sit on their desks with their feet on their chairs (which they will love!)

  3. Wander as you teach. If you don't need to be glued to the board, then wander throughout the classroom. Most kids will track you, which will keep them alert, and if you see someone having trouble focusing, you can stand right next to him or her for a quick perk-up. 

  4. Give each child a small ball of play dough to fidget with if you are doing a lecture-type lesson. 

  5. Throw students a foam ball when calling on them to answer a question. 

  6. Randomly and frequently ask students to repeat what you just said.

  7. Choose a fun word, such as "Shazam!" or "Bazinga!" Every time you say the word, students must use both hands to hit the tops of their desks two times and then clap two times. Say the word several times throughout the lesson. It will wake everyone up!

  8. If you have experience in theater, improv, or just like to have a little fun, teach a small portion of the lesson with an accent or imitating someone famous. 

  9. With younger students, teach with a puppet or give a voice to a stuffed animal.

  10. Throw in a joke every now and then.

  11. Use student volunteers. Any time you can call a few kids up to the front to be part of a demonstration, do it. It can be as simple as having them hold up signs (rather than displaying the same information on the document camera) or writing an answer on the board. Better yet just call on students to help rather than asking for volunteers. 

  12. If a lot of kids look sleepy, stop talking and write a simple command on the board such as: "Put both hands on your head." The silence should alert day dreamers that something is going on. Follow up with two more written commands. Make the last one something with sound just in case a few kids haven't caught on, such as, "Clap three times." Continue with your lesson. 

  13. Wear bright colored clothing. If you want to keep their attention, you should be the most interesting thing in the room. 

  14. Have students explain something they just learned in partners. 

  15. Require a response from everyone, rather than calling on one student by using individual white boards, or having students signal yes or no with sign-language. 

  16. Teach outside. This of course, could have the opposite effect with students being even more distracted, but on a beautiful day it could be a nice break for everyone to sit under a tree a tree with a clip board rather inside at a desk. 

  17. Animate those PowerPoints! If you don't have time or know how to do it yourself, you could probably find a helpful upper-grade student who could add some animation to a PowerPoint that already has the content. 

  18. Require students to take notes. Every so often, have them do a quick, related sketch in the margins. For example, if you are learning about Abraham Lincoln, give them 30 seconds to draw log cabin in the corner of the paper. 

  19. Throw in a higher level thinking question that is related to the lesson (but not part of your objective) and have a quick discussion. For example, if you are learning proper ways to use a comma, ask the students which punctuation mark they think is the most important and why. Questions like these are also fun to put at the bottom of a worksheet and have students answer on the back. 

  20. Let students know at the start of the lesson that they will need to write down three things they learned as their "ticket out the door."

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Juniata 6th Promotion 2014

The first of my 6th grade classes. Only two songs for this school as they have a program on the last day also. My 6th graders choose one of their songs each year. This class chose Compass by Lady Antebellum.

Wallace Kindergarten Program 2014

Monday, May 5, 2014

It's Not Hard I Tell You So

We try this at the end of each year in the upper grades, 4th - 6th.
It's fun, loosens us up and puts a smile on our faces.