….here’s…………Mrs. LEE!!!!!!!!

        Been watching many youtube videos on TED ED and Crash Course lately. Also noticed quite a few posts about “Dynamic” teaching – well basically being an entertainer/educator. It is a very interesting notion – that people think that teachers that are more entertaining are better than those who are not – granted there are extremes. “Bueller, Bueller.” Then they want teachers to be passionate and academic as well.  Have you been around people that superiorly smart? Generally not necessarily the charismatic types. 

                  So though I do use short video clips to keep my class moving and to emphasize points, I do use my ability to make my eyeballs look like they pop out to — well I don’t know what that is for… I do try to make things interesting – both for the student and well- I don’t want to make myself go to sleep either. But here is one notion – are we setting students up for failure in some ways? Sometimes tasks, learning technical information, listening for information from a non-entertaining person who knows their stuff is paramount. That takes discipline, to filter that information. Also in some ways it creates an atmosphere of entertainment entitlement. “You are boring therefore I am not going to learn from you.”  instead of ” I really need this information, how can I can convert it to something useful in my head?”

          I am not convinced teachers in Japan, or Germany or other countries that are ahead of us in academic learning heed much emphasis on being entertaining. Let me know if I am wrong. 

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Late September Update — Whirled Peace!

    Had a wonderful last week- culminating in installing our pinwheels on the front lawn. It was wonderfully windy – so the our pinwheels whirled quite a bit! My Teen Living class teamed up with Artopians, and the students next door with super students formerly of room #4 (they know who they are :)) and and put peaceful thoughts out into the universe. 

       This week is back to business….. instead of talking exhaustively about careers to Freshmen and Sophomores, I am going to have them create their own businesses then talk about career skills in that context. Though they are at the idea stage and ALL of them in two classes want to bake cupcakes….. I keep thinking that they are thinking they will eat the cupcakes….. so I have to sleep on it and see how I am going let them proceed. I did buy some things in hope to persuade a group or two to pursue other avenues. 

             Nutrition and Foods class we are in phase two of their nutrition and wellness projects. They will input their food intake and see what nutrients they are missing. Which is always entertaining….. We are also working on baking techniques and learning about carbohydrates.  Unfortunately there are many students that did not pass their food safety test – so hopefully I can get them to take it during tiger time. 

       Fashion Design we are starting our tote bags tomorrow, and we are starting our studies into fashion drawing as well. I am kind of afraid I am throwing too many different things at them at once- fashion cycles, what speeds/slows them, brief history of fashion, beginning drawing of croquis, and sewing machine parts, threading, and sewing tools. 


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A “Calling” or a “Profession” or does it really matter?

      Personally my views on education has evolved from when I first started when I was 22 years old. I did think it was my God given mission, I thought it was something I was meant to do – I gave my whole self to the job. (gee I was single, nerdy, working in a small town with not much to do, and misguided.) Now 18 years later I have come to realize that though one needs to have a certain affinity to work with children – teaching has more to do with learned skills, presentation techniques and organization than it does with a vague passion for whatever is concerning you at the moment.  

         Saying that – I don’t think that it matters a whole lot on an individual level how you view education – which ever way you think of it you have to balance it with whatever is going on with your life. If you have less personal demands on your life – you may choose to spend more time and your being into teaching – if you have more – than less time and so forth. It is what you can live with.  Though if you are beginning teacher – know that you need to have a life separate from teaching – you will burn out, and there are other difficulties which I will not get into in this blog) 

       O.K. I DO think it matters how society – parents, students, and unfortunately that I have to say this politicians think of the job. It has quite the ramifications on how teachers are treated. From pay, benefits, to what I think is almost more of an issue support in the form of  professional development, and other services that help students and families. 

      When people ask what I do and I say I am in education you get many comments akin to …”oh you must LOVE your job.” or “you must be______________(fill in the blank )to work with students.”  I have to say I usually quietly nod and go about my business…… Here is my real responses…..

-I do love my career, I feel like I am getting better at it year after year. Depending on the day (worse in February for whatever reason) 95% of the time I am fairly excited to go to work to do my thing.

-I actually feel that I get fairly compensated – salary and benefit wise. I do think new teachers out of college are NOT fairly compensated – seriously there are many instances that they could do better working at jobs not requiring a degree…) *** Disclaimer – I live in Idaho so the cost of living is not out of balance with the pay scale. I do feel that teaching should demand a salary that can afford you at least a modest house, and healthcare for you and your family. Where ever you live….

-Since I made the choice to not make teaching an absolute center of my life – though I spend less time at school – I am a better teacher now. 

-Every profession has good workers and bad workers. Every profession has politics.  

-I don’t feel like I can “save” every child. I have between 130-160 going through each semester. All I can hope to do is get every student the opportunity to hopefully see what their life could be like.  Then teach them some tools to make those opportunities happen.  I try very hard to make extra connections with students who need more support. Then if they don’t get along with me – I try to find another teacher or professional that can have that connection with them and help them. 

-Teachers have good weeks, bad weeks, and in some instances – bad years, and good years. Like everyone we have friends and relatives ill or dying, we have children, we try to balance how to get it all done. We even have times where we feel all of the legislators are out to make it more difficult for us – and it is hard to keep up morale. 

     So basically it is like any other job or career. The only difference perhaps is we don’t have a well defined product necessarily. Or at the very least our product is not based solely on our efforts (students have to ultimately perform tasks and demonstrate what they know themselves.) 

have a great day!

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Home coming and what? Midterms in the 2nd week of September?

      Time has been railroading my blogging efforts. O.K. must admit time and mostly LAZINESS has influenced my lack of inspiration and drive. I will update on the following – class projects, FCCLA, students and uggg…. how I felt….

      The first round of sinus infections and coughing pummeled me last week. Was not sick enough to justify the hours it takes to get ready for a substitute – but it was draining none the less. I will admit that our block days – Tuesday and Wednesday last week were not what you would think of as “high powered techno teaching days” I had tests in 2 classes, went over tests and watched “Food, Inc.” in 2 classes and had my remaining classes make pinwheels for peace. 

          Teen Living – we finished up on a unit of discussing happiness, and had a test over the class rules, cornell notes and an essay about happiness. Recently we are talking about human capital, jobs, careers, and spending a good amount of time on SMART goals. Instead of a test we are creating a goal poster. I spend a lot of times on goals because I think kids don’t know how to break down a big goal into baby steps – and that is what the poster is focused on. In between times we are finishing up the “Paradigms and Principles” chapter in the “7 Habits for HIghly Effective Teens” book. 

       -Nutrition and Foods we finished up a test on basic nutrition vocabulary, cornell notes and classroom rules. We are in the middle of getting ready for a food safety  test. 

          -Fashion design – we got done discussing factors that go into choosing what we wear. Had a test – now we are talking about fashion cycles theories as well as we got started on how to operate sewing machines today. 

      We are starting or re-starting the Family , Career, Community Leaders of America club this year. I have enthusiastic officers and we are going to have our first float in the home coming parade. We have tons of things planned this year – and I think it will be really fun. 

          Unfortunately even though I have the best students, and the best classes this year I have a few girls that are going through extreme rough times. Have one boy in particular choosing to act up (not really in my class yet) but I think I have figured him out… so I will update if he is getting better! 

           Being sick – I have to say I was falling into a lazy swirl of self deprecating, phlegm induced blah teacher moments. Valiantly fighting through it, this week seems to be back on track. I do feel that curriculum is coming full circle, and I am making meaningful headway into my goals for the semester. 

            Technology I used- show me apps – the fashion design students had to use that app to explain the fashion cycle – it worked pretty well. and we are going to use edmodo for quizzes on Friday (which  there will be 30 minute classes due to homecoming)

Problems with ipads this week – the kids have forgotten or have had their internet loggins not working – slows things down considerable. 

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Soaring down another week’s roller ride….

Oh yeah, oh yeah, ummmm yup

      Just finished the first round of study guides for the tests on Friday for Teen Living, and Nutrition and Foods. I also figured out how to post them on edmodo from google docs. Really easy by the way!!!

I have tech attention deficit ….. I am an absolutely enthusiastic about using technology in the classroom, but easily get distracted, sometime discouraged about the realities of the “bugs” in our systems (and my limited knowledge) and ultimately detoured many times over. 

Though right now I feel pretty good – our new district tech guru came and fixed up my smartboard software on my main computer, and told me that safari does not always hooks up easily to our internet. so two things down. several thousands more issues to swath through. but every little bit is a victory. 

had a meeting today regarding our tutorial time we offer the students. In theory it should work wonderful, in reality ….. much more difficult. Part of the problem is the students, and part of the problem – the teachers. so it will be interesting if we can improve on what could be very valuable 

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Crashing into the first Friday

      Yesterday was the first day of school – complete with open house. As I wrote yesterday really it was the best first day EVAAAAAr! The open house was hot and uncomfortable due to the money saving efforts — turning off the air conditioning in the small gym/cafeteria. It was not comfortable – not one bit. 

      Teen Living – we talked about “happiness” I had each student write down what there definition of happiness was. Then compare their answers to their neighbors and add anything. My first hour students did an impressive job! My presentation had a few of the different approaches to happiness people have – like it is a choice, that it is to love and be loved, etc. Pretty much every table had an example of each approach! 5th hour – they did o.k. however they had a better discussion after I spoke. 1rst hour I got a few permission slips back but the second class – over half of the students brought them back. The slips were for the baby think it over program, and another one was to opt out of the lesson on birth control and myths. 

Foods – showed an AVID video on cornell notes, then we took notes on “why we eat what we do” 

Fashion – pretty much the same except the lesson was “why do we wear what we do”

Tomorrow is going to be a Fun Friday – I am going to have team building activities, snacks and talk about Family, Career, community Leaders of America. It is my goal to start a good program this year. I am sure it will go pretty well – usually activities and food- on a Friday at the beginning of the school year – no problem. 

The only thing that is a draw back is it is only the 2nd day and I am WIPED OUT. After I got home I layed on the couch for an hour trying to soothe achey legs, then I took a 2 hour nap. I do feel better but after making dinner and watching t.v. with my husband – I am ready to go to bed and start all over again. 

Day 1: August 14th, 2013

      Gee whizzle sticks – we start so early!!!  I really had a good time today. It was really a standard first day. I was anxious, kids come in and were so quiet that it seems like there was some sort of sound vacuum present. I talk a lot, Rules….blah…. this is what….blah …. They leave, new kids come in, The end of the day shows up. I am tired of my own voice.

     This year I showed a youtube video of John Green addressing students going back to school. He talks really fast and admittedly appeals more to the nerds in the crowd – but his diatribe leads well into explaining how my classes are run. I go over the rules – I have paired down my rules to a variation of the “5 p’s” that you see floating around on the web. I tell them what we are going to be doing this semester, then if we have time a “get to know you” game. I talked too fast for the last 2 classes so I told them about this stupid movies about man eating flying monkeys I watched this summer on sci fi. Good times! All in all it went really well. I look forward to this semester!

Cheerios! – Mrs. Lee