Friday, January 31, 2014

The Road To Green and the Longest Week Ever

I almost forgot to post this week!  It's going to be hard to get in the habit.  One of my goals for this year is to become a greener teacher.  The biggest chunk materials wasted is paper.  I started by making the notes books to save kids from having to have an entire notebook for my class or scrambling for a scrap piece of paper for an in-class assignment.  It has also helped keep them on top of their note-taking.  I don't know what it is about having those little books, but they are much better at writing all of their notes down in them than when I tell them to take out a piece of paper or get out their spirals. 

Step two in becoming Green was to start making my quizzes online, rather than making 150 copies every other day.  Google Drive and Google Forms seems to be a pretty solid way to make easily accessible multiple choice quizzes. It's a pretty easy way to do short answer, but it can't self-grade if the quiz isn't multiple choice.  I am also learning to use the PRS "clickers" and hope to use those soon.

I fell back on traditional paper and pencil tests for their chapter exam.  Our technology isn't reliable enough to take a full test online yet.  I am still looking for a website that is compatible with the students' phones and tablets that is also mostly cheat-proof.  Has anyone found a trustworthy, easily accessible test makers online? 

For the down side of this week: IT HAS LASTED FOREVER!  I had a week where every day I was wondering if it was Friday yet.  Thursday I almost wore jeans to school because I was so certain it was a Friday. On top of that, the kids have been CRAZY this week.  I don't know what makes students go through these waves of attitudes all at once.  My mom always tells me it's the full moon but I can't even use that as an excuse this week.  One day, they were all little zombies.  They just sat there with glazed over looks and didn't talk... or do anything... at all.  It took a lot of coaxing to get them to just sit up and take notes.  The next day, all of my classes were hyper and out of control.  Kids couldn't stay in their seats, couldn't stop drumming, moving, shouting, bouncing, rocking, throwing things, and GOING GOING GOING!  You might think I teach elementary students by how the day went.  My 14-18 year old students were acting like they were five!  More than one class had to give up playing review games and go back to doing reviews on paper and online alone at their tables.  Yesterday was all attitude. I had students literally throwing things around in their fits of rage.  They would get upset with me for telling them not to talk when I'm talking.  Or when I told them to put their phones away.  What is it that makes them collectively decide to make poor decisions?

I have some really awesome kids.  I have students who go above and beyond what they're asked to do every day they're here.  Today, two boys stayed after class to help rearrange the mobile laptop lab and make sure everything was plugged in and where it belongs. And I work in an awesome school where I don't have to break up fights between every period or struggle all alone through my first year.  I have the best administrators anyone could ever ask for, but man!!! It was a TOUGH week!  Hopefully next week will be smooth sailing.

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