Tuesday, April 05, 2011
One of my students left for Florida. Until next week. Family emergency? Family vacation? I have zero idea! Parents didn't send a note, didn't inquire about school work, didn't contact any teachers, and seem quite unconcerned about his missing a week or so of school, in the last marking period of 8th grade.
The student didn't say anything to me about this. And he thinks I'm always picking on him. What he fails to realize is that he completed ONE project this marking period. That's right - ONE project in nine weeks. And that one project was actually something that everyone else finished the previous marking period. I'm nice, and I let him use that grade for this marking period. But he definitely is not receiving an A from me - and grades are due next week.
The kid will get an incomplete. He will have a few weeks to finish the current project. Plus the rest of the projects that everyone else is doing.
Maybe he'll get a B. Maybe a C. He comes to class, he's a nice kid, he just is easily distracted, socializes, and works at his own pace. Actually, he works quickly, he just wastes a lot of time.
Monday, April 04, 2011
Last year my students participated in the Heinz Ketchup Creativity contest. We chose to skip it this year, but you can see and vote on student art by going to the following link:
Winning students (and their classes) win money, plus the school wins ketchup (which just cracks me up).
So - help out some school, some student - and look at what cute ketchup packets the kids designed!
Friday, April 01, 2011
My first class LOVED the weapons my friend brought - he showed a big sword one needs two hands to use, a modified broad sword (the kind used in medieval times), a rapier similar to what was used during the Renaissance (lighter, one-handed sword), and various short swords, knives, daggers, and things with different names (a kriss, for example).
The kids had a great time - my first class (Advanced art) had a ton of questions, wanted to hold each and every sword, a few kids went into corners of the room to pretend they were fighting (I figured if they were smart enough to move far away from everyone, they could swing it once or twice), and my fave - they took cell phone photos of each other holding the different swords. They were SO into it!!!!! And they all agreed that this was one of the BEST guest speakers they've ever had in their entire lives!
Second class was just bored - they were polite, they sat quietly, but they didn't want to touch anything, they didn't have questions, they were like lumps on the chairs. Boring! Oh well, at least they applauded - and the two boys who thought it was cool helped carry everything back to the car, and I think they probably had questions at that point. (They were kind of cute, when I asked for assistants they ran up and said, ME ME ME!)
Third class was normal - my friend had to go back to work.
Anyway, it was a good morning!!!!
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
I teach 3 classes each day - I'm dept chair, plus I'm chair of the school improvement team, and I was the previous chair of the accreditation committee - so I balance the small number of classes with other important (essential?) school activities.
But the 8th grade students are all at a high school preview and orientation day today - so they're all at the high school.
And apparently only six of my students are NOT 8th graders.
One class was fine, I had a group of four, and they sit together - so they worked on the projects they've been doing, and things were fine.
But my next class had only two students. And they had been the only two yesterday, since the 8th graders went to a pre-orientation assembly (probably where our principals told them the schedule, how to behave, etc.).
Yesterday the two students wanted to watch youtube videos of the tsunami in Japan - and, since my dad is a coastal geologist, I've heard about tsunamis since I was 7 or 8 - so we watched videos, discussed tsunamis and the warning signs and what to do - and it was a pretty good class, given that there were only two students.
Today, I gave each one a mini-canvas from the art conference vendors - they sketched a picture on the canvas - I gave them a container lid as a pallette, squeezed out some acrylic paint, and gave them a very quick lesson on mixing colors (two primaries = secondary, white makes things light, etc.) - and let them play with the paint. They had a wonderful time. Eventually they finished, cleaned the brushes and pallettes, put everything away, and had a few minutes before class was finished.
I hope it made the day a little more special. While it's all well and good to pull the 8th graders for special events such as this, it leaves the 7th graders feeling left out. (Sixth grade is off by themselves, but 7th and 8th have mixed elective classes, although they have separate core academic classes.) So I wanted to do something that made the 7th grade kids feel like they got to do something special, and that the 8th graders missed out.
For all I know, they didn't really care. I possibly read too much into it, or project my own feelings from when I was in jr high.
But it made for a fun day, and I finished putting together some sketch books I had been working on. So it worked out, all round.
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Yesterday I added a matt board "point" to a T-square, thinking it would work as a "sword" for our upcoming condensed version of Romeo and Juliet.
My class came in, and I grabbed the student who is furthest along with his art projects - he's also our school chess champion, and is one of those kids who is into karate movies, fantasy worlds, all of that.
I explained that he and I would need to test my T-square sword - so I gave it to him, grabbed a yardstick, and we proceeded to have a test battle, knocking our "swords" together and advancing and parrying and who knows what else.
I ended up with a T-square along my neck, so I declared that my head was cut off and that round was over. We then both used yardsticks, and agreed that the grip was much better and that the T-square was difficult to hold. We joined a T-square plus a yardstick, with a matt board point, to make our basic sword forms. These are all taped together, and later on we'll cover them with foil.
So - as if the student and me sword fighting hadn't been bizarre enough - the entire class just came in, looked at us, got their work out, and began working on their flags, T shirts, etc. I couldn't believe it - not one comment, not one student asking to join in, nada, nothing, zip, zilch.
I can't decide if they are used to my craziness, or if they were overwhelmed, LOL!
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