Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Intersession Update

I haven't posted for a while, in part due to my new Perplexcity obsession. But today seems like a good day to write.

Period 1: Slam Poetry

We had a guest presenter come today to run the class - Mark Pinate. He's a great performance poet who also teachers classes. He performed a couple pieces for the kids and then did a workshop with them where they wrote some pretty good "I Am" poems. Tomorrow we'll revise their work, and Thursday he'll come back to help them work on their delivery.

Period 2: Algebra 2 Honors

We continued to practice completing the square. This year I am using the traditional method, as opposed to a new method I read about and tried last year. It was a good idea, but the kids found it very confusing. Then, I showed them how to prove the quadratic formula. They followed it the whole way and were asking questions when appropriate. At the end, I pointed out how much math they really needed to know to be able to understand the proof, and we talked about how far they've come. They spent the rest of the class working in pairs and groups on practice problems, and they were all working really hard. At the end, I overhead one of the students say, "I feel like I really accomplished something today." That may sound like an ordinary statement, but not one that you really hear coming from a student all that often.

Period 3: English 1 Review

We had a great start to the class: I had a fresh new seating chart, now that I know the kids, and they started off on their prompt decoding quietly and with a lot of focus (for 9th graders, anyway). We got through the agree/disagree activity reasonably well (where they had to move to one side of the room or the other depending on if they agreed or not with a statement pertaining to their new essay). Then, we were transitioning into reading the articles for evidence when a couple of girls wouldn't stop talking to each other. I went over to refocus them, but then I realized that they were arguing. They weren't listening to me and started to get a bit nasty, so I tried my severe voice: "Ok, that's enough. Stop." But then they started to really swear and stand up, and I got worried. I started to lead one out of the room to cool off (my hand lightly pushing her back), but as I was doing so, the other girl's friend began shouting taunts, and the girl I was taking out turned around and lunged back in. I had to drag her out by her arm to prevent her from attacking the other girls. I got her to the office, got back to the room with the principal, and had her take the other two girls. I tried to go on with the lesson for a bit, but I guess I had a lot of adrenaline going (man, it's scary to watch kids go into that red zone) and I was shaking a little, so another teacher stepped in to run the class for about 10 minutes while I calmed down and told the admin what had happened.

Now I ask you, what other job has this kind of daily excitement and variety?

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