July 12, 2014

Something to think about ...

"Education is the most powerful weapon 
which you can use to change the world."
~ Nelson Mandela                 

July 10, 2014

Library Time !

Earlier this year I had the great opportunity to sub as an elementary librarian-- now titled as a Media Specialist.

Media Specialists do not just read books and talk about books, but they must do everything media related.   On my day as a Media Specialist, I taught several classes in the computer lab.
I always feel like a kid in a candy store when I visit a school library.  There are so many good books!  You sometimes even see a bookworm !

May 24, 2014

A Teacher's Prayer

I saw this prayer poem framed and sitting on a shelf behind a middle school teacher's desk the other day.  I would think it is a good reminder throughout the day to keep the teacher's attitude correct.

Dear Father, hear me as I pray, 
for ever child that I teach today.
That each small face may be to me
A cherished photograph of thee. 

With patient sweetness let me guide
Each precious soul with love and pride.
That when I make a record sheet
No space may be left incomplete. 

Then grant me grace, each mind to give
A clear-marked rule by which to live. 
And they, dear Father, I beseech
That I may keep the rules I teach. 

Author Unknown                         

May 1, 2014

Planting Seeds

Don't judge each day by the harvests you reap 
but by the seeds you plant. 
~Robert Louis Stevenson

April 3, 2014

Building Roller Coasters

I spent time subbing in a middle school science class this week and they were working on a STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering, Math] project.  The concept had to do with energy.  The last time I had been in this particular class they learning about potential and kinetic energy.  Now they were putting everything they had learned into practice.

In teams of 3-4 people, they were given a task to design a roller coaster that was safe, worked, and was fun.  They teams were given a budget of virtual money and they had to purchase or rent the supplies needed to build the roller coaster.  For instance, tubing cost $1.25; marbles were 25 cents; and a measuring tape set them back by 50 cents.  If the team decided to use a prop of some kind, like a wall or a box, they were charged a dollar.  However, as the team made refinements to their plan they wrote it down and modifications earned them 50 cents for each one.

Most groups worked extremely well together.  They had already done their beginning planning and were going to build the day I was subbing.  I was amazed at the creativity.  There were loops, and double loops, hills, and jumps on these roller coasters.  Students were engaged as they tried their roller coaster out with the marble and then made any adjustments needed to make it better.


What a fun day watching our future at work !  

January 27, 2014

"We are in a Zoo!"

That is the comment I heard from a couple of  7th graders when I spent the day as their science sub.  The regular teacher had added a snake to her classroom animal collection and the kids had just seen it.  
The newest member, the snake, was out and about in his cage slithering around.  He got a bit shyer ( or perhaps was just tired) when I went over later to take his picture. 
The turtle looked like he was stuck in the log!  I think he may have just been chilly--although he did have a heat lamp nearby.  
The iguana basked under a heat lamp all day on his branch moving nary a muscle as far as I could tell. Must be the life!   

What classroom animals have you seen? 

January 25, 2014

Marshmallow Models

I spent time in a middle school science class this week and they were studying chemistry.  The teacher had set up the class the day with some background knowledge and an experiment.  She burned a magnesium strip to create magnesium oxide.  

On my watch, the students were to do some reading in their text then build a model of the chemical equation with mini-marshmallows and toothpicks.  It was to be a discovery session as they figured out how to represent the equation with the marshmallows.  At first the kids struggled some, but they soon figured out what they could do and the day was a success.  After creating the model they sketched their model in their science notebooks. 

At that point, some of the marshmallows were eaten! 

A Sweet Surprise

I met my cousin for an early dinner at the local bread company Friday afternoon.  The young manager behind the counter greeted us enthusiastically as we approached. I gave him a second glance and realized that I knew him!  That was why we got the enthusiastic greeting.  He is one of my former students.  He came around and gave me a hug and we had some small talk before I ordered my dinner.

It makes me proud to see my students doing well.

Before I left to go home, I stopped back at the counter to pick up a couple of muffins for the weekend and gave my order to the girl behind the counter.  The manager, my former student, happened to walk back to that area and he told the gal-- "She was my 5th grade teacher!"  

Mercy!  I feel old.  But I also feel proud.

Have you had a chance run-in with a former student or former teacher?    

January 21, 2014

Shoe Orphanage

These poor shoes have been left, forgotten, misplaced, or lost during the course of a PE term.  The shoes that nobody wants?

I'm not exactly sure how the shoes find themselves in this spot or how long they have been here. However, when I subbed as a girls physical education coach I did notice how many little things the girls leave behind as they prepare to get ready for their next class.

Have you ever left anything behind in a class? 

January 10, 2014

Snow Day No Way!

When I taught full time in the classroom, as most teachers will agree, snow days are like treats- little vacation days- like an oasis in the desert.  We cherish them. We get silly and act like Oprah's audience during her "Favorite Things" show. 

But now as a substitute teacher, I say "Snow day, no way! "   For me, a snow day now means a day of no work which translates to a day without pay.   So when we have snow days, I lose money.  Money that I cannot make up.

So while I still like the idea of cuddling up on the sofa with a cup of cocoa and a book, watching the snow and cold from inside; I do not-- cannot-- afford them.

We've had two snow days thus far this year. My neighbors to the east have had a whole week of them.
Have you had snow days? 

January 9, 2014

Lesson of the Day

After several days of frigid weather where I have not left home, today I had a sub job scheduled for a half day.  This was a repeat job where I was requested.  It is at a good school and it is a fun class and I was looking forward to subbing  as it would be my first sub job of the new year.

The only anxiety I felt was the forecast of light snow and freezing drizzle--making for slippery roads.  I got up a little early and planned to add minutes to the short commute in case of bad roads.

I gathered my things, went to the garage and got in my car to leave at 7:20 am. I had to be there by 7:50 am and it was maybe 10 minutes away on a good day.

BUT my car would not start.   The battery was dead.  I had left no light on.  The doors were not left open.  It is a newer car.  But the battery had failed me.  What was I to do???  I had to be at the school in less than 30 minutes and I can't get the car to start.

If I were working as a teacher --I would call up a friend or co-worker and ask for a ride.  But there is no co-worker here.  I have no one's number to call for a ride.  My neighbors are nowhere to be seen.  I could call other friends, but they either have to get to their jobs and helping me jump my car would make them late or they live far enough away from me that it would take 15-20 minutes for them to even get to my home.

I called the school and told the principal about my car failure. I apologized for the trouble this would cause.  I then called the sub office and asked them to find a replacement sub for me and gave them the reason so they wouldn't think I was just blowing the job off.

Eventually when I was able to get someone to help, it took 3 jumps to get my car to get going!  I think the combination of the below zero temperatures and the fact that I had not driven it in about a week caused the battery to freeze up or to lose its charge.  I made sure that it got charged up today so I won't find myself in this position again.

Later I emailed both the teacher and the principal to apologize for any inconvenience ( I am sure my replacement sub had to get there after the starting time).  I heard back from both of them. I want to be sure that my relationship with them continues to build in a positive way.

Today's Lesson Learned:  Always start your car every day regardless of your plans to go out or not.

Do you have a Plan B to get to work?