updates for 04.26.2012
I have a student who somehow managed to be in sixth grade while two years older than everyone else and completely hardened against any sort of behavior consequence. He does the most ridiculous things you can imagine, and nothing we do to him will even get him to blink. He's tough and he's angry, and he's doing his best to convince everyone that there's nothing we can do about it. Today I was sitting with him at lunch, and noticed he wouldn't stop fidgeting with a piece of paper. I helped him cut it into a square, and then started walking through origami steps. I was guiding him through making a paper crane, but I didn't tell him what he was doing, and he was dutifully following without questioning the point. On the last step, he pulled down the outer flaps and realized that they were wings. You should have seen his eyes light up. This big tough kid held the crane to eye level in the palm of his hand and looked at in amazement. In this adorable little-kid voice, without a touch of sarcasm in his word choice, he gasped, "It's a birdy!" We made it a collar and attached it to his desk so that it would protect him without flying away during class. I do not joke.
Just as everyone was giving me props for updating so regularly (self included), I stopped. Something hit and I found a wall, found interest in running again, got busy. Again I'll just give tidbits. My heart about exploded when, one morning during silent reading, I dismissed Brax's group to use their cubbies and Brax was deeply concentrating on his copy of Holes (chapter 9). So engrossed, in fact, that instead of his old-school whining crawl to the cubbies, intentionally forgetting supplies and making repeated trips to distract others and avoid reading, he brought his book with him to his cubby. I saw him sticking a single-hand into his cubby, blindly rummaging for the right things with his eyes glued to the page. He brought his supplies to his seat, looked up to check, and kept reading. I dismissed another group and as they were at the cubbies I glanced up and muffled a giggle as I saw Brax attempting to sharpen his pencil and read simultaneously. I have a hand-crank sharpener, which is hard enough to make work with two hands and full concentration. Watching him try to read with his book propped between his ribcage and elbow was the highlight of my year. My grad class is finally finished. We wrote a 26-page APA style research paper on the merits of job-embedded professional development. While parts of the class were awesome, and I absolutely loved the TFA cohort, I will not be continuing classes at Arkansas Tech. It's far away, and the majority of the cohort is disbanding to work on other things. Our half-hour long presentation was humorous. Though I teach every day, I almost forgot how much I enjoy presenting things to people. Especially when it's collaborative. My students are working on a research paper in which they propose a solution for the bullying problem that is chronic in schools. While it sounds awesome in theory, most of us are tired and unenthused in class. I've been attacked by delta allergies as of late, so the past two days has been much partner work and silent reading of sources. Suicides and cyber-bullying definitions only go so far, though, and I'm worried I won't be able to facilitate the thinking and solutions I had hoped for. I'm worried my rigor, my push, my critical thinking has dropped as this year inches closer to ending. Our first Institute team conference call was today and for the first time I felt genuinely pumped for institute. I am already in love with my team. I had forgotten that everyone that chooses to work at institute has to be pretty similar to me. Hard working, dedicated 'to the cause', a little intoxicated with the TFA kool-aid. I'm not saying I'm 100% bought in, but I definitely love working in groups of hard working, determined, same-page people. My learning team leader interview was tonight, as well. Let's just say I spent a lot of time in TFA-speak on the phone tonight. The interview was fine-- I know my interviewer fairly well from being in the ELA learning team the past two years. She's our region literacy facilitator... or something... but I love her. She also proposed the idea of being like an MTLD for third-years, which makes my brain spark. The idea of having TFA-accountability in my third year is really, really attractive (also not at all, but mostly IS) because I am, frankly, terrified of turning into a slack monster next year and not getting my kids anywhere. Also, it's is 1am, I am waking up at 5am to plan, and I am tired. Goodnight.
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