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Blue Slushie Puke

I experienced another first in teaching yesterday. A 6th grade student, C, told me he was having the best day ever. He spent all his money (and then some he found on the floor) on blue slushies at lunch. He consumed not one, not two, but five! He poured each slushie into his camel back and consumed every drop within 20 minutes.

Over the course of a half an hour his sugar high faded into an intense stomach ache, which then transformed into blue slushie puke all over my classroom. So yeah, that happened.

Local JeffCo School Board is looking into censoring AP U.S. History via a committee who would focus on promoting “citizenship, patriotism, essentials and benefits of the free enterprise system, respect for authority and respect for individual rights.”

The memo goes on to say that “materials should not encourage or condone civil disorder, social strife or disregard of the law. Instructional materials should present positive aspects of the United States and its heritage.”

Seriously? That version of AP U.S. history would be so disjointed, white-washed, and fundamentally flawed it would take a week to teach. A parting question: how does one teach the American Revolution and respect for authority while avoiding civil disorder, social strife, or disregard of the law?

Historical Narratives + High Schoolers = Hilarity

I assigned my sophomores homework last week. Their task was to write a historical narrative about life in the English colonies. Here are two of my favorite (i.e. ridiculous) excerpts:

"… It was rather easy finding a man considering there are a hella lot of men in the New World."

"After dinner, we crawled into our uncomfortable bed with thin sheets and huddled together to try and stay warm. What we didn’t know was that this lifestyle would be the end of us. About a month later, we all contracted smallpox and dropped dead not much later. THE END"


Me when students tell me they don’t like the subjects I teach.


Me when students tell me they don’t like the subjects I teach.


Pamphlet = “pamp-let”Sean = “seen”Nauseous = “nor-see-us”


Pamphlet = “pamp-let”
Sean = “seen”
Nauseous = “nor-see-us”

(Source: sarahseeandersen)


TeachThought is doing a reflective teaching blog challenge for the month of September. I thought of my edupeeps here on tumblr and encourage you to jump in anytime and participate as much or as little as you like. If you, tag your post #reflectiveteaching

I also encourage those of you who are not classroom teachers to also participate, and to morph the questions as needed to join in. I know I sometimes have a hard time engaging in these kinds of things now that I’m out of the classroom, which causes me to feel a bit disconnected from my previous identity and the communities I once thrived on, but I’m getting better at breaking the rules to make things less exclusionary when I need to ;)

I think I might try to answer the ones that speak to me, and will do a mix of micro-blog, blog, and vlog posts depending on my mood and which will serve my purpose at the time.

Day 1
Write your goals for the school year. Be as specific or abstract as you’d like to be!

Day 2
Write about one piece of technology that you would like to try this year, and why. You might also write about what you’re hoping to see out of this edtech integration.

Day 3
Discuss one “observation” area that you would like to improve on for your teacher evaluation.

Day 4
Respond: What do you love the most about teaching?

Day 5
Post a picture of your classroom, and describe what you see–and what you don’t see that you’d like to.

Day 6
Explain: What does a good mentor “do”?

Day 7
Who was or is your most inspirational colleague, and why?

Day 8
What’s in your desk drawer, and what can you infer from those contents?

Day 9
Write about one of your biggest accomplishments in your teaching that no one knows about (or may not care).

Day 10
Share five random facts about yourself.
Share four things from your bucket list.
Share three things that you hope for this year, as a “person” or an educator.
Share two things that have made you laugh or cry as an educator.
Share one thing you wish more people knew about you.

Day 11
What is your favorite part of the school day and why?

Day 12
How do you envision your teaching changing over the next five years?

Day 13
Name the top edtech tools that you use on a consistent basis in the classroom, and rank them in terms of their perceived (by you) effectiveness.

Day 14
What is feedback for learning, and how well do you give it to students?

Day 15
Name three strengths you have as an educator.

Day 16
If you could have one superpower to use in the classroom, what would it be and how would it help?

Day 17
What do you think is the most challenging issue in education today?

Day 18
Create a metaphor/simile/analogy that describes your teaching philosophy. For example, a “teacher is a ________…”

Day 19
Name three powerful students can reflect on their learning, then discuss closely the one you use most often.

Day 20
How do you curate student work–or help them do it themselves?

Day 21
Do you have other hobbies/interests that you bring into your classroom teaching? Explain.

Day 22
What does your PLN look like, and what does it to for your teaching?

Day 23
Write about one way that you “meaningfully” involve the community in the learning in your classroom. If you don’t yet do so, discuss one way you could get started.

Day 24
Which learning trend captures your attention the most, and why? (Mobile learning, project-based learning, game-based learning, etc.)

Day 25
The ideal collaboration between students–what would it look like?

Day 26
What are your three favorite go-to sites for help/tips/resources in your teaching?

Day 27
What role do weekends and holidays play in your teaching?

Day 28
Respond: Should technology drive curriculum, or vice versa?

Day 29
How have you changed as an educator since you first started?

Day 30
What would you do (as a teacher) if you weren’t afraid?

Heart Attack

I found out late yesterday that a colleague had a heart attack on Friday night. She is OK now but I keep thinking that the stress of teaching may have played a part. Clearly, I’m making a big assumption, but I do wonder. This woman stays at work till 6pm every night at minimum and is incredibly dedicated to her work and students. She works tirelessly, is optimistic without reason, and is incredibly kind.

I just she recovers.

I have no hopes the demands on teachers will lessen.

Guys… I’ve been sick three times in the past three weeks. With Babyjib starting daycare and me going back-to-school my immune system doesn’t stand a chance!

I think the latest cold is courtesy of Babyjib since she coughed in my eye the other night.

Watching a few of these helped give me the energy to do 3 hours of pl*nning.

Tags: education

Seating Charts?

Do you use seating charts in your classroom? Thinking about trying something new…

Anonymous said: Hi! I am starting my first year as a 6th grade teacher on Wednesday! Do you have any advice? :)

A few thoughts…

  • Spend some time building a classroom community (i.e. don’t just jump into curriculum)
  • Create classroom expectations together
  • The transition from elementary to middle school is huge so help your kiddos out whenever possible
  • Establish routines and stick to them, kids do better when they know what to expect
  • Don’t say something you can’t follow through on
  • Read “Teaching with Love and Logic”
  • Find a teacher buddy in the building
  • Beg, borrow, and steal curriculum
  • Contact parents with good news about their kiddo early. I try and contact at least one parent every day.
  • Ask for help!
  • Make friends with the secretaries, lunch ladies, and custodians
  • Don’t gossip. Seriously, teachers are the worst!
  • Have a sense of humor, kids are funny and weird
  • Leave work at a reasonable hour. There is always more to do but your well being is so so important
  • When a kid lashes out at you don’t take it personally, even if they make it personal
  • Have fun!

Best of luck this year!

A Few Reflections on the First Week of School

Forgive me for the bullited list, it’s the only way I’m going to get something down!

  • I don’t think I can commit to coaching the volleyball team this year with Babyjib at home. It’s just too much time away from my family.
  • The new batch of 6th graders seem so so quiet still, most anyway.
  • Am still hopeful this year will be better than the last (new admin).
  • Feeling much more confident about my APUSH class this year.
  • While I’m still lesson pl*nning, revising, rethinking, etc. most nights it doesn’t feel like I’m treading water anymore. I feel like I have more room to breathe. Though, perhaps Babyjib helped me get my priorities straight!
  • I find myself waking up earlier and earlier so I can leave work at a reasonable time.

Goodnight all! Hope your first week or weeks have treated you kindly.



Most people give the homeless change or leftovers, Mark Bustos is cutting their hair

For the past few months, New York City hairstylist Mark Bustos — who normally spends his days working at an upscale salon — has been volunteering on his days off to offer haircuts to homeless people he sees on the street. With a simple phrase, “I want to do something nice for you today,” he has been helping people get a fresh, uplifting makeover.

For people who have been trapped in a cycle of poverty, unemployment and homelessness, the makeover can also serve a useful function: looking presentable for a job.

Inspiring thanks he received from one man | Follow micdotcom

I just began crying. This is beautiful.

(via positivelypersistentteach)

An anonymous 6th grader tooted through 90 minutes of class today. Needless to say, it was a little difficult to keep the remaining 30 students poised.

Tags: education