I needed today. It was a good day at the end of what might be the worst week I've ever had. Behavior was such a struggle this week, but today it just sort-of eased up. My kindergarten class that got a 1 a few days ago, got a 4 today. And they earned it. And the light on their faces when they found out they'd gotten a 4 was so exciting. Their teacher had a smile all day. It was a long time in coming. Of course a few kids were absent, which changed the atmosphere.
The day started out with a pre-conference with the area superintendent who is being trained in a new style of observing classrooms. We're a pilot school for the program, which was developed by the Cambridge Education Consultants. I didn't know I was part of this run until the last minute, so I wasn't at all prepared (I was supposed to have filled out a 3-page description of my lesson) and rather intimidated that it was the area superintendent who just so happened to be the one meeting/observing me. It went okay though, good thing I already knew what I'm doing with my class on Monday (when the observation is) and it was easy to explain what I was doing (plus I filled out the 3-page form during my prep later in the day). I really don't mind being observed. I am used to being in a fish bowl in the media center. My lab is pretty exposed, and my voice carries so anyone in the media center hears what I'm teaching. Plus, I like getting feedback.
I had to miss the first 10 minutes of my first hour (2nd grade) for the pre-conference and they were mad because they had just gotten settled into some choice time with the sub when I came back. Kind of hard to get them back into focus, but we got things done. I'm kind of excited about the research project we're doing using Encyclopedia Brittanica Online and Comic Life. I'll try to post pictures of my mock-up later; we'll be posting our final projects on Voicethread, but I'm having some issues getting it posted.
Actually it went so well I did a similar thing with my first graders. We read a meerkat story, then did some research together and completed a class project. It was small and only took about 20 minutes, but I think will lay a good foundation that research doesn't have to be a stuffy boring essay. I have never been good at writing formally myself, and I am not prepared to teach it to young kids. So we present our research in more visual ways.
3rd & 4th grade went well, too. I had to cut short our Olympic theme, with the realization that we don't have school next Friday (District Staff Development) so I won't see these classes for another 2 weeks and I don't want to drag on any particular theme for that long (and the Olympics will be over then).
And the sun was shining. There is just something really nice about going out to bus duty and have the sun shine on my face at the end of the day. I am one of the last staff members that kids see, as I'm right in front calling the busses.
Although it wasn't a true friday. I have to go to a required (for tenure) classroom management class all day tomorrow. I hate hate hate giving up my Saturday. Especially when it will cost me $225 (yep, I have to pay for a required class). Oh well, this week gave me a lot of fodder for discussion tomorrow.