Saturday, March 24, 2012

1 Week from Spring Break

Hello all of my blog readers!.................chirp,..........chirp................Nothing? Guess I need to update a little more often.

Anyway, I have one more week until Spring Break. I am ready for a break. Most of the break will be spent around our house and doing a lot of spring cleaning inside the house and out. I'll be doing some school stuff, but I'm going to try and get away from it a little as I gear up for the final 2 months of school. On Friday, I will be having my final observation discussion with my principal. I'm nervous about it. Actually, not nervous. More of an anxiousness for feedback on how I am doing/improving/not improving whatever it is. My personal opinion is that I'm doing okay. It can always be better. I get that. I am always harder on myself for self-grading. I think I just hold myself to a higher standard. I also strive for excellence, but know perfection is impossible, but it's still what we should strive for.

In reading right now we are finishing up the novel Crispin: The Cross of Lead. I have really enjoyed this book as have most of the students. I'm looking forward to the projects that the students will be making to demonstrate their learning. I'm not sure where we'll be heading after break. I'm thinking a lit circle type thing, but I'm not sure yet.

In SS, we are finishing up the Renaissance and European Exploration & Colonization. I have to grade their tests, but I'm thinking they did well on these. We're also starting our country projects that will take 2 months to finish. The students will be responsible for 5 hundred word essays that will be combined into 1 essay in the end over their country. I'm excited about them. Thanks to Kim for all the information and class discussions about these.

In Language, we are finishing up our fractured fairy tales and we will be making them into a book and publishing all of our fairy tales. The kids/parents will have the option to buy a book if they would like.

I've also been doing a lot of leadership type readings with my class. I scour the internet for leadership articles that relate to my kids all the time. It's usually part of their Wake-Up-Work for the week. It's just something that I like to do. For some of the kids they really get it. They understand that I not only want them to be good students, but also be good people when they leave my class. To be successful is hard work. It's getting things done when you don't want to do them. It's going the extra mile for someone just because you care about them. I want kids to think of others first. It's tough to teach in a society of me-ness, but it's worth it.

Best part of the past week was going to the Butler/Pittsburgh game at Hinkle. Dad and I sat in the 3rd row, right behind the Butler bench. Doesn't get any better than that. Actually, there is something that was better, but I'll tell you about that on another day.

Happy Leading,
Mr. Miller

Sunday, March 4, 2012

End of Tri 2

It's been a while since my last post. Between posts I guess you could say that 8th Grade Basketball happened. It took up a lot of my free time, but it was totally worth it. I loved it. Due to the extra time spent in the gym I adjusted my schedule a little. Saturday mornings became my work day at the school. We typically had practice early Saturday and I would just stay and grade and do all my work and copying that needed to be done for the upcoming week. I got behind on my grading early on, but eventually got it all caught up in time for the end of the trimester.

Organization - My organization has been pretty awesome for myself. It's not that I'm not organized (I usually know where everything is), it's just a little sloppy. I've been keeping things in folders and writing all my plans for a unit into the folders as we go through the year. It's been really helpful as I am making notes about what worked and didn't for each lesson for next year. Thanks to my friend, and probably only reader of this, Amy!

S2S - conversations about goals with my principal has been good. I feel I'm on the right track. 

Team - I can't speak enough about the awesome team that I am on. I love coming to school everyday. I say this all the time to people who ask me about how things are going. I literally love them. I hope that I can give as much to them as they have given me this year. 

ISTEP - ISTEP starts this week. I'm nervous. Not because I think my kids don't know the material, but that some of them won't give their best effort and not be extremely serious with the test and just blow it off a little. 

Classroom management - I feel ever since we had 2 four day weeks in a row, that the classroom has been loud at times. I've had to get on them a little more than normal, which I don't like, but I know I can't be a nice guy all the time. Speaking of Classroom Management/Engagement, my teaching partner Ben is changing things up in his class and has instituted a ClassRealm based off of Role Playing Video Games. Check it out here - Follow this Link.

Language Arts - We have LA at the end of the day. I'm not too keen on this as it turns into the loudest time of the day as they are ready to go home and get the day over with. Their attention level usually goes out the window by then. We've talked about changing the schedule for next year a little, but nothing is set in stone yet. 

Reading - We're currently reading the novel Crispin: The Cross of Lead. I'm really liking it. It goes along with social studies and the Middle Ages. I'm a little upset at the effort being put into their packets. I've graded a couple of these this weekend where nothing had been done. I feel like it's my fault because I haven't been checking them during the week and letting them show me how responsible they are. I guess they are showing me that they are not too responsible and I can't really trust them on their own yet. 

Social Studies - we just moved out of the Middle Ages and now into the Renaissance. I really like teaching social studies because it's something that I enjoy learning about as well. 

It's almost spring break which I am totally pumped about. 

I'm out, hoping IU can pull this win off against Purdue.