Sunday, October 17, 2010

Live From Pleasant Hill...It's McTeach

The Classroom 2.0 Live Featured Teacher? Me??? Alright, who messed up? Was no one else available? Did somebody lose a bet?

Ok, in all honesty, I was tremendously honored to be last week's Featured Teacher on the Classroom 2.0 Live show! Honored and incredibly nervous! I know I've grown, however, because in the past my anxiety would have gotten the better of me and I would have found some excuse to not participate. That never even entered my mind last week! That is growth, my friends!

I definitely owe a great big
to Peggy George and Kim Caise for helping me prep for and then get through the session. You ladies made it so much easier than I was afraid it would be! I can't thank you enough for the honor and your patience.

If you are interested in listening to the show, click here for the full recording. You can find the links shared during the show here.

So, let me ask one question: If I can be found in iTunes, does that mean I'm eligible for the Grammy's next year?!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

My Class Poll

Fall Blogging Challenge #2

Sometimes writing a blog post can be as simple as asking a question and getting everyone to give a simple answer.

Today was a long day. Very. Long. Day. It started with a migraine and ended with...wait a hasn't ended yet.  ~sigh~

After lunch it dawned on me that I hadn't yet polled my class for my second post in the Fall Blogging Challenge. Problem was I hadn't even come up with the question I was going to ask them. So, that's what I asked them.

What do y'all think I should ask you?

[FYI...if you are going to give a group of seventh graders free rein to come up with any kind of list, even a list of questions, you'd better brush up on your shorthand because they won't slow up until you cry "Uncle!"]

Here are their questions, in no particular order:

1. How are you a social butterfly?

Inside joke: Several weeks ago I was discussing the question "Why is it important to talk about books?" with my students. Patty's response: "To come out of your cocoon and become a social butterfly through books."  Yes, it's become a "thing."

2. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

Inside joke: Audi is obsessed with the point where the equator and prime meridian meet. She has decided that she would like to live there and so she asks everyone this question so that she can share her answer when they're done.

2a. Other "If...?" questions:
  • If you could live in any time period, what would it be?
  • If you could invent anything, what would it be?
  • If you won a million dollars, what would you do first?
  • If you could get rid of anything, what would you get rid of?

3. What would you do for a Klondike bar?

No inside joke there. They love talking about food!

4. Ask us something food related.

See what I mean.

5. What would you do for a leaf hat?

Ok, this one could take some explaining. We read a story last week that involved a chariot race, so I showed them the chariot race scene from Ben Hur. After Judah wins the race, he is presented with a crown of leaves. This led Audi to say, "That's it?!?! He did all that...for a leaf hat??!!!"

6. There were some thought-provoking questions:
  • What is your definition of a hero?
  • What do you want to do before you die?
  • What do you want to be when you grow up? (I'm still working on the answer to that one!)
  • Would you rather be an elephant or a llama? (ok, not exactly thought-provoking except that it brings to mind another question: Where in the world do they come up with these things?!)

7. PC or Mac?

I love this kid!

8. The "like" questions:
  • Do you like to color?
  • Do you like to doodle?
  • Do you like stickers?
  • Do you think flying tigers are awesome? (Ok, not necessarily a "like" question, but where else would you put it???)

9. What's your favorite word?

We've had a discussion in seventh grade about words that we just love. Words that are fun to say, for the most part. "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" is always a favorite. (I love the fact that spellcheck is okay with that word!)

10. If the days of the week were people, what would they look like?

Two seconds after Claire asked this question, Anthony responded:

Monday would be ugly.

So, what do I do with all of these questions? Well, I ask my PLN, of course! I've created a Google Form with some of the questions that my students came up with. Would you please answer some or all of our questions? I'll have my students fill out the same form and then we'll compare their answers with all of yours.

We can't wait to hear your ideas!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

My Life As A Reader

Because I don't seem to have enough to do these days, I decided to participate in the Fall Blogging Challenge started by Melanie Holtsman. Those who are participating in the challenge must write one post a week based on the writing prompts Melanie has provided us. I liked the idea so much that I'm also having my students participate in a Blogging Challenge of our own. You can follow us here:

Seventh Grade Randomness

This week we are tasked with answering the question "What is your life as a reader like?"

Do you read for work, pleasure, instructions or emails? What is your favorite author and/or genre? What is your favorite reading spot? What did you like to read when you were the age of your students?

I love to read. Always have. But it is not something that is easy for me. I have learning issues that cause me to be a very slow reader. Painfully slow at times. And my reading comprehension has never been what I would like it to be. I can't always remember key parts in a novel, so please don't ask me. However, I don't let that keep me from something I so enjoy doing.

I read constantly: for work, for learning, for personal enjoyment. I read blogs, I read magazines (yes, the kind that are printed on paper), I read books. I'll even read the cereal box in the morning while I'm standing in the kitchen. I don't even think about it, really. If there are words in front of me, I'm reading them! Several years ago I had to have surgery to repair a detached retina. The doctor explained that after the procedure I would need to keep my head in an awkward position for five days. Ok, not fun, but I'll do it because I don't want to go blind. "Oh, and you can't read anything for the next two weeks." I'm sorry...what?!

Yes, those were the longest two weeks of my life!

Since I became a teacher I find that I do very little reading during the school year. I just don't have enough time in my days to get my job done, much less lay around and get lost in a great book. Over the summer I read The Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller and decided to incorporate her ideas into my literature curriculum with my seventh graders. Can I be honest with you? I think a large part of the reason I did this was because I'm supposed to read at the same time as my students. Their silent reading time is my silent reading time! How awesome is that! So I will at least have fifteen minutes per day of time for me. Thank you, Donalyn!!

There have been times in my life as a reader when it was very easy to answer the question "Who is your favorite author?" Favorite authors have included Dean Koontz, Stephen King, Jodi Picoult, Anita Shreve, and, of course, J.K. Rowling. But lately, I've read a wider variety of authors, most likely because I'm trying to read a lot of the books that my students like. I'm currently reading The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt, and I'm loving it. The main character is a seventh grade boy trying to figure out his seventh grade teacher...I think I can relate to that.

My favorite time of year for reading is almost here! On a cold, rainy day I love nothing better than lying on the couch covered with a blanket and with a fire going in the fireplace. And if the cat is feeling snuggly...even better!