Dust from the Book Fairy

Archive for August 2008

I love Kindergartners sometimes.

ME: What’s your name?

K student: “Freddie the Rainbow.”

Turn to my assistant to see if she heard the same thing I did.  She did.  (She has the best faces!)

ME: Could you tell me that again?

Second try reveals that his last name does rhyme with Rainbow, but is not, in fact, rainbow!

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I’ve been tagged for an interesting original meme by Where’s the Sun? (More numbers! ack! I just finished counting about a bajillion pennies for our Book Fair One for Books change drive!) Really, though, this is the first time Ive ever been tagged for a meme, so I’m excited.

Back To School Meme

Completed in Reference to (Self or Child): Self

1. Number of years teaching or your eldest child has been in school (k through college) ? 6

2. Amount approximately spent on Back to School Items so far including clothes? $100.00

3. Number of Days until school starts in your area (+ or – if it’s started)? 15 days down, 165 to go!

4. Approximate distance school is from your house? 4 miles

5. Amount of time it will take you or your child to get to school from your house by car or bus? 9 minutes

6. The actual or approximate number of students in the class you teach or your oldest child’s class? 27 classes, 500ish students

7. The number of classes in your grade or your oldest child’s grade level? see above (I see all grades!)

8. The price to buy a full student lunch at school? $2.25

9. Number of schools in your district? 21

10. Early dismissal days already built into the calendar? 3

11. Price paid for the most expensive back to school item so far? $20 for some new pants

12. Time school day ends? 2:45 for the kiddos, 3:00 for me

* Just for fun and since this is a numbers meme try to match the number of people you invite to try this meme with your lowest answer to any of the questions minus one whichever you choose. My smallest answer was number was 3 (half-days in question 10), soooo. . . subtract one equals two. Two cool bloggers I like to read. (The Count laugh here ah, ha, ah):

Organized Chaos

And somebody else, soon I hope!

*Back to School by the Numbers Meme created by: Wheresthesun.org

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Found this via the teachers.net chatboard. Wouldn’t this be a cool tool to talk about the presidential candidates with students? The presentation style really lends itself to a discussion of whether or not the president actually has the power to do what the candidates are promising to do.  Which is one of my huge pet peeves–when they promise stuff that anybody who can READ the constitution knows they don’t have the authority to actually accomplish.  (Speaking of election stuff, I’ve pre-ordered these comic books for my library. I couldn’t resist. A COMIC book! About our future President! Neat-ola).

I read The Boy Who Cried Wolf by B.G. Hennessy to one of my classes today, since they’re studying fairy tales and fables in reading this week.  Before reading we talked about how a fable is a story that’s meant to teach a lesson, and I asked them to be thinking about what lesson this story was teaching while they listened.

Afterwards, I had the kids share their answers with a partner before talking as a whole group.  (Good way to get all to participate, and to eavesdrop and see how many in the class get it).  Then, anybody who wanted to could share their answer with the whole class.  My favorites:

“Don’t lie, ’cause nobody will believe you.”

“Don’t scam people, it makes them mad.”

“No pranking.”

Side note–I love this version of the story!  It has captivating illustrations (down to the lazy shepherd boy lying on the grass picking his nose!)  and fun text to read aloud.  Check it out on amazon.

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Here’s the school schedule I’d implement.  I’ve often thought that BOTH the students and teachers would be so much more relaxed and ready to learn/teach in the afternoon, if the kids could get outside for at least half and hour and run around like nuts in the middle of the day.  Better yet if everyone got a break from the work of learning for at least an hour, plus time for lunch.  So I started thinking about how to make that happen.  Here’s my idea, what do you think? (My system uses block schedules starting in middle school, but in Middle, you have Language Arts & Math all year, 2 “specials,” and Sci/SS share a block.

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High/middle schedule

8:30-10:00 First block

10:10-11:40 Second Block

11:40-1:40 Lunch/activity block

11:40-12:10 1st lunch/activity period

12:10-12:40 1st lunch/activity period

12:40-1:10 3rd 1st lunch/activity period

1:10-1:40 4th 1st lunch/activity period **sports teams lunches (no yakking on the field!)

1:40-3:10 Third block

3:20-4:50 Fourth block

  • Students who are not in a club/sport are assigned to three choices of activity periods during the lunch/activity block.

  • Any school assemblies take place during this block.

  • Almost all teachers have the lunch/activity block “off”–1/2 hour lunch & 1 ½ hour planning/meeting time. Staff meetings occur here, but are no more than 45 minutes.

  • Teachers assistants/ community volunteers supervise the activity blocks, or teachers who want to end their day at 3:30 & have a “traditional” schedule, or want to earn extra pay for supervision duties. Or supervision duties could be rotated, like bus duty is now.

  • Sports/band/choir practices are scheduled during the activity period.

  • Coaches could have another block off, to make up for time spent coaching their sport.

  • Club meetings occur during one of the activity periods.

  • Students who could drive could leave during activity period? (Maybe just seniors?)

  • Parents encouraged to schedule Dr. appointments during this time, so as not to interfere with academic time.

Activity periods available:

  • Tutoring *students could be assigned to this block if necessary.

  • Library reading/research

  • Quiet study

  • nap/rest/quiet

  • Educational TV (PBS, TLC, CNN National Geographic—if this is legal)

  • Computer Lab

  • recess” (outdoors or gym)

Elementary schedule

7:45-10:45 Morning Session

10:45-12:45 Lunch/activity block

12:45-3:45 Afternoon Session

Lunch/activity block options:

10:45-11:15 K & 1 lunch 2 & 3 recess 4 & 5 tutoring/lab/library/quiet

11:15-11:45 2 & 3 lunch K & 1 Quiet time 4 & 5 recess

11:45-12:15 4 & 5 lunch K & 1 Recess 2 & 3 tutoring/lab/library

12:15-12:45 4th lunch period if needed/Extra recess/Schoolwide assemblies/Club meetings.