Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Reflection Day 5 --- Kill 'em with kindness

Old technology was my foe today! It took half of the period for my students to access their work on the network. For a split second I imagined how quiet my class would be if I just had them copying out of their textbooks! But, things finally were resolved and for fifteen minutes high schoolers worked in peace with a partner creating a newspaper that cited the causes of the American Civil War.

Poor kids I separated them....they had segregated themselves....language learners and native speakers. So, those language learners who could manage were paired with native speakers. I hope everyone learned a lot more than history!

I had a language learner breakthrough...I was catching myself saying small phrases or words in Spanish to give my students directions. I don't know if I was practicing my own Spanish, or if I wanted them to know I knew (somewhat) how to speak their language. However, I realized that these short conversations would help them in the long-run if I spoke to them in English. They are in mainstream classes the rest of the day, so they need to pick these small things up.

My literacy classes created captions for Civil Rights pictures based on what they were reading. I put the slide show together on and then had them work on the captions. I typed them in during class....very quickly, I just found mistakes....this allowed them to read, write, speak and listen... It was a short activity, but I think it was very meaningful. Then, I had them comment on it in their blog. their comments were short, but had a lot more heart than they have previously had.

I am totally frustrated with a student that I have in literacy. This is my second year with him-sort of. He has major attendance issues, so much so that if I am late with attendance an attendance liason is calling 20 minutes into class. The worst part is, he has missed so much school he really doesn't know how to do school. So, he comes in and just sits there. I ask him to go ahead and open a book and he doesn't really realize he's supposed to read it. He just sits there until another student lets him copy. when the para asks if he needs help he says: "no 'cause she'll think I'm copying." It makes me want to scream I'm like "'c'mon M prove to me you're not lazy and you can do it." Praise doesn't work, sarcasm doesn't work. AGHHH I want him to get it and be successful but I don't know how between the attendance liason calling me twice a day to check attendance and this kids swaggering in late I've had it....for a teacher I have a short-fuse and this kid's shenanigans have got me going! What to do??? On a positive note, this year he brings paper to pencil....but he has paper.

I read something somewhere that said, "you can't like every kid, so sometimes you just have to focus on the color of their socks! 'hey those are great socks!'" I guess that I'm gonna have to pull a Dottie on him and like him so much ..... he'll want to work....

**Dottie is my mom. She used to manage the DQ in Commerce City and now she decorates cakes at the King Soopers. People lover her caring disposition so much, they show up at King Soopers just to visit with her! When I meet people they say: "your mom is the dairy queen lady, she's amazing!" Its probably from putting up with alcoholic parents, and my work-aholic dad her whole life.....maybe one day I'll truly learn how to "kill 'em with kindness" as she puts it. But, for now I'm gonna have to pay really close attention to their socks.

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