non-teachingScience in the City: non-teaching
Showing posts with label non-teaching. Show all posts
Showing posts with label non-teaching. Show all posts

Jun 16, 2013

Non-Teaching Related Freebie - Celebrate The End of the School Year!

This is not a traditional freebie, because it is not directly classroom related, however, as the school year is coming to an end (for some of you it has already ended), many of us are focused on goals for the summer, or plans that may or may not involve our classrooms.  One of my goals is to focus more on physical fitness and stress relief.  For me, that means that I want to do more yoga.

I found an amazing site, called that has MANY yoga videos at many levels, focusing on different body areas, for free.

I made myself a calendar (a 30 day plan), that I would like to share with you, in case any of your summer goals are the same.  There are two versions in the file, a calendar (July) and a plan that just covers 30 days. Each week it includes 2 rest days, a 40-60 minute routine, two 20-30 minute routines, and 2 shorter routines.  There is a mixture of stretching and strength.

Anyone want to join me and see if we can stick with it?
Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

Mar 26, 2013

What do you do to keep yourself comfortable and happy at school?

I haven't been very happy at my current school this year. Because of that (and I'm hoping to transfer) I haven't wanted to settle in and I haven't wanted to buy things related to school or to keep at school. I relented this week, made a trip to the dollar store, and myself and my kids have been much happier. It makes my day go more smoothly, and at makes me happier.

Here are a few items that I bought:

The tootsie rolls are for the kids for prizes (I do a lot of free prizes, discussed in another post) but sometimes it's good to have something material and small to hand out for prizes. And I'm sure I'll eat a few :).

The soap is for myself and my students. Being a science room, there is a sink but no soap or paper towels.

Band-aids are for my students. I don't know if its the same where you are but kids get a hangnail, paper cut, or some other minor injury and they are very upset, disruptive and want to Go to the nurse. Rather than write them a pass, and have them miss half of class, I can often hand them a bandaid and have them sit down and stay in class.

Some of the others are for me. I'm finding it to make a huge difference that I'm comfortable. I can put my hair up mid-day, rather than waiting until the end of the day when I get home, and the same with lotion.

To add to that list -- pencils. But I don't get those at the dollar store. Watch your staples stores in August. They usually have a two or three day sale when packs of pencils are a penny each. There is a limit of two, but with a teacher ID, the limit is raised to 30?? That is another situation where, although I want kids to have pencils and return borrowed pencils sometimes its better to just give them something to write with and keep class moving!

(If my policies seem harsh, remember I teach middle and high school).

What do you keep in your desk or classroom to keep yourself and your kids comfortable and keep class moving smoothly.

To me, it was a good use of a few dollars!

Jan 21, 2013

Getting the Most Bang for your Pin

I apologize for the blogging break.  I have not been feeling well, and have been really overwhelmed and sick and tired, so blogging had to take a backseat.  I'm still not feeling 100%, but slowly improving and with the day off, I'm trying to do a little bit of blogging while I take it easy on the couch.

One of my best finds, which surfing the internet is this site.

Do you use Pinterest, either to promote products or to share ideas and save pictures that you like?   If so, you may be curious which boards are getting the most traffic, which items you have already pinned to which boards, and if they are getting re-pinned or not.

I have been trying to come up with a way to keep track of my pins, and make sure I am handling them the best way that I can.  I couldn't come up with something that seemed workable.  I did a bunch of google searching.

You have to set up an account, and then wait a day or 2 for it to collect data.  After that, there is a gold mine of information.

It will show you things like:

  • All the items to have pinned to each board, along with the date.
  • The number of followers for each board you belong to.
  • The number of repins that each pin has gotten.
  • You can even export your data to CSV if you really want to analyze
Here are a few screenshots to give you an idea.  Wow!  This has potential, I think! 

Hope this is some help to you.  They are in the process of changing the interface, so I have seen a few slightly different things when I login, but there is a ton of information in there!  

Dec 20, 2012

Top 4 Excellent Middle School Christmas Gifts From Students

Middle School kids are such an interesting mix of child and growing up.....and the ways that they try to express themselves are very touching and entertaining.  Where I work there is a very high poverty rate and I don't usually get (or expect) much in the way of Christmas gifts or end of the year gifts from students like suburban teachers get.  Here is my list this year.  I'll let you guess what my favorite is:

  • a traditional Christmas card from a student who has been homeschooled until this year.
  • A box of candy that had two 'layers' or 2 wrapped sections.  One was given to me, and one to another teacher.
  • A thank you note that said "thank you for calling my mom. I was mad at you but that was just what I needed to get back on track and turn things around.  I'm doing so much better now"  I actually teared up a little!  
  • A candy cane

Dec 4, 2012

How Do You Celebrate Holidays in Your Classroom?

How Do You Celebrate Holidays in Your Classroom?

This time I am asking and thinking about this topic because of something that happened with my own son.  He is in first grade.  I have always taught secondary (middle and high school).  I have mostly taught in an urban district, with a high ELL population.  We live (and he goes to school) in a middle-class suburb.  Those may be both part of the difference....

I got an email from my son's first grade teacher on Friday.  Up until now I have been very happy with her, so I don't think this is part of anything else.  She asked me in her email to please have a talk with him over the weekend.  Apparently they had been doing several Santa-related activities in class and he was 'going around telling the other kids that Santa wasn't real.'  Apparently several of the kids, and therefore the parents, were very upset.  

When my husband and I read the email our first reaction was shocked - not that he had done something to cause trouble but that (1) he was pushing his beliefs on others - that doesn't sound like him and, even more so (2) that he didn't believe in Santa. This is the boy who gets out Christmas books from the library all year long, and LOVES everything Christmas related.  

So...Friday night we talked to him.  We told him about the email we had gotten.  We asked him why he didn't believe in Santa.  He said he just changed his mind and decided that.  We asked him what exactly had happened.  He insisted that he just told his two friends sitting next to him that he didn't believe in Santa, when they were writing about Santa.  I asked him if the teacher had already spoken to him.  She had.  He said he didn't say anything else after that.  We discussed why it might be upsetting to his friends, and that sometimes it is better to not say anything. 

I then emailed the teacher back and relayed that conversation.  I also asked her for some clarification...was he not telling me the whole story?  Or how did this get so big?  And get parents upset?  Her response was friendly, but stated that Santa is such an important thing for kids that age and that most still do believe.  They will be doing many more Santa-related activities, and she wants my son to keep his opinions to himself.  To please let her know if that is a problem.

I don't disagree that there is a lesson there for my son, and a teachable moment.  However, as a teacher, and as a parent, I think there are other lessons there was well, and questions raised in my mind.  

For example: 
  • How much does "Santa" belongs in school? What if he didn't believe in Santa, not just because he decided he wasn't sure he believed, but because we were a different ethnicity or religion? 
  • What is the lesson on being able to express your opinion, and have others disagree with you, if you do it politely? (Obviously not pressuring others, but simply saying you don't agree).
  • What is the lesson for other students on having someone who thinks differently about something you hold as important?
  • As a teacher, how much of our own bias and interests play into our classrooms? 
Because of where I teach, maybe my perspective is different.  I would be very hesitant to do much Santa related, because (1) its much  harder to work into the curriculum for secondary science and (2) I have so many kids who are from different culture and religions.  But Santa is also part of American culture.....

What do you do in your classroom?   I have always done the seasonal activity that I discussed below, although I might try something different this year.  I'd love to hear responses in the comments.  

Nov 24, 2012

What happens when you spend time with your students outside of class?

On a Friday night my school had a movie night.  We played a movie in the gym, and invited staff and student families to come watch the movie.  They sold popcorn, people were supposed to bring blankets and pillows and stuffed animals.

It was a really fun, positive night, and great to see kids out of context and out of class. To just get to relax and interact with them, without any pressure of work to be done, a clock to watch, and so many other distractions.

Our school is K-8.  Most of the students and families who showed up were fairly young. There was only one 'upper school' (7th or 8th) grade student.  He is one of our most hyperactive, behavior problem kind of kids that we have. I had him in class this year and last year.  He is kind of a likable kid, but always saying things that offend other kids, not doing work, bouncing around, goofing around....

At the movie night I saw a completely different person.  He came in with his blanket, quietly got a chair, sat near me and my kids.  He introduced  himself and shyly said hello to them.  He shook hands and talked to my son for a minute.  Then he wrapped up on the blanket and watched the movie silently.  When the movie was done he asked another adult to borrow a phone, called his parents for a ride, and politely told me to have a good weekend, and said bye to my kids.

It gave me a new perspective on him.  And made me think.  Will I treat him differently in class?  What can I do to bring out some of that from him in class?

When have you seen kids in a totally different light outside of class?
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