Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Eid Holiday = Happy Teacher Days

Here in the Middle East they have the Eid holiday instead of fall break (probably since we just started in September and it is a Muslim based culture).  Eid is pronounced eed.  There are two Eid holidays in a year and this one was the shorter of the two.  We received Thursday and Sunday off (remember my school week is Sunday through Thursday). 

Pulling up to school on Wednesday last week I noticed how few cars there were.  I checked my watch - we weren't extremely early or late.  My fellow co-workers and I clocked in and then hung out in the hallway and chatted.  Soon enough the bell for school rang and still there were only maybe 5 students in the corridors.  We slowly wandered to our classrooms.  Mine was completely devoid of students so I headed down the hall to my friend's room to discover the same thing in her room.  After about 30 minutes of chatting about teaching plans and what we could be working on, I headed back to my room to finally get those bulletin boards up.

Do you know how frustrating as a primary teacher it has been to have maybe 10 minutes total to clean up after the students, use the restroom, and then catch the bus home each day?  Talk about no prep time!  Over a month into school and I am still staring at blank walls.  On the upside I have finally, FINALLY, FINALLY got my ABC's up.  I cannot tell you how much that was bothering me.  The lack of supplies will be a whole other post...

So with no students I managed to get the ABC's posted and filed some work in the student's portfolios before we were told we were heading home early.  Part of me rejoiced and part of me was seriously dismayed as I looked around my blank, sad walls and finally had the time to do something about it.  But this is the Middle East and no one stays out in the middle of nowhere in the desert at a deserted school so when one goes, we all go.  I guess we are sort of like the 3 Musketeers.  Only the 44 Musketeers instead.

Eid Holiday = Happy Teacher Days because when we returned from break this week I only had 12 students (combined from my 2 classes!).  School was closed early for the students so I was given some more time to work on my room.  I managed to get one bulletin board trimmed out (had to hand roll tape cigars to put it up and it took forever)...

Eid Holiday = Happy Teacher Days because today was not only my birthday but the second day back from Eid.  Between the two classes there were 25 children so class was combined and I had until 10 am free to work in my room and then only needed to teach two 45-minute classes because they had a special the third 45-minute period.  Bliss!  Although the children were a bit roudy today.  But still!  I then managed to finish trimming out all the bulletin boards today (didn't get the pictures yet).  Now I just need to label and start getting my word wall set up.  If I'm lucky I'll have it looking like a used classroom by December.  Oh gosh,  I hope not!  It's sad seeing how little is in my room compared to the States.  I miss being surrounded by all that glorious teacher stuff!  Customs will be finding my returning suitcases strange I'm sure once I hit the old Dollar Tree and raid my teacher supplies in storage...

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

First Year Bliss Linky Party

Ah, my first linky party.  I am linking up with The 3am Teacher to commemorate her first year of blogging by sharing my favorite first year memory.  Don't forget to grab her button and share your own story before time runs out!

I, too, have barely been blogging a year (my has it been that long?) and I am still learning.  Still.  Learning.  Slooowlly...like my students.  Perhaps it's because I spend too long perusing other people's blogs and neglecting my own???

Wait a minute, this was supposed to be about my favorite memory.  Right.  I think my favorite blog memory from this past year would have to be when I hit the "publish" button for the first time.  Since I was little I have always wanted to be a writer and there is something to be said about being able to type in your blog address and see your own words fill the screen.  Especially when you view your blog counter and see that your page actually encountered some traffic.  I have loved learning about blogs and am excited to pursue my blogging even more this year to document my year of teaching in the Middle East.

A special thank you to those who have chosen to join me on this journey and a best wishes for Michelle for another year of blogging bliss!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Interactive Math Notebooks

I am still hard at work on my image-based classroom behavior program.  Hopefully it will be done by the end of this week because I am tired of having to work without concrete ideas in hand.  Tonight instead of working on my visual aids I got sucked into the world of blogging and discovered a real treat - interactive math notebooks with...wait for it.....


I am so excited to try this but it is of course another insanely time intensive process.  I already have such a laundry list of TPT things I need to work on plus my lessons for next week.  But still...I think my students would love this and my math is missing some serious structure.  I, like Janaye, love the well thoughout organization of these notebooks.  Her recent posts are from her fourth grade teaching days but she has since moved to first.  I'm hoping her ideas evolve into a notebook for her current kiddos.  Right now my students have such little English skills that I'm worried some parts of this are too much for them.  I think I will let the idea mill around in my brain a bit before I try to see if I will truly tackle this for my class.

  • Fun to use
  • Completely engaging
  • Handy year-long plus reference (especially if I loop next year)
  • Better than the insufficient math program I've been given as a resource
  • Easy to differentiate to my class since I'm behind the creation
  • Super time consuming to set up
  • Some concepts of student set-up (folding/cutting) difficult with language barrier
  • Lack of supplies (i.e. colored paper, glue)
  • Notebooks in UAE are super tiny so would have to modify things to fit OR purchase 50 notebooks when I visit the USA for Christmas break
  • 50 notebooks are expensive to pack in luggage with rest of teaching resources bringing back
  • Did I mention time consuming???
In the meantime, check out Janaye's blog if you don't know her already at Tales of Frogs and Cupcakes by clicking here.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Out of Control Voices...Voice Chart Freebie

My two classes seem to consist of two extreme groups of children.  Those who say nothing and those who talk/shout/scream loudly.  It was driving me absolutely crazy so I set out to conquer the issue with my favorite tool - google.

An hour or so of reading blog posts and classroom management websites and I decided to give the old voice level chart a try.  Now the voice level chart is not new to me, I have just never felt the need to start using it in my classroom.   Until now that is.  Dealing with 50 students who don't understand you is hard enough but getting them to understand the concept of no screaming in the classroom is a different concept entirely.  I have been trying to be way more visual in my classroom management approach.  So I found some charts I liked and in true me fashion, recreated the wheel and made my own.

It has been hanging in my classroom a few days now and has made a dramatic difference.  I refer to it very frequently and for the start of each group we go back over what the different levels mean.  Having it so visual gives the girls a clear understanding of my expectations.  Now it's not to say you can hear pins dropping in my room but at least I'm no longer dinging my bell like a madwomen and shouting over the noise to gain attention.  Something I'm ashamed to admitting in public that has been my MO to date.  Trust me when I say it has NOT made me a happy teacher.

Grab your own copy of the voice level poster I created.  I have a small poster size and a two-page size (which is the one I use).  I taped it to my whiteboard in the front of the room and use a small magnet to signal which number voice we are to be using.


What works for you to quiet a crazy, out of control classroom?

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...