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Showing posts from October, 2006

One of Those Days

Today was one of those days. Not a horrible day, exactly, but one when I kind of wonder what I'm doing here and if the kids will ever get anywhere and if I'll escape this year with any of my sanity still in place. And also, what the HELL is wrong with our country's priorities?

-We don't have enough custodians so we have to send a kid to dump the garbage. And I almost cried when someone said "The janitor sweeps and mops your classroom, right?"

-One of the fourth grade classes (half of my students from last year) STILL doesn't have a teacher. Hey, they almost did me in. Who's going to want to take that job?

-One of my students told me-casually-that his dad had been killed in a gang fight a few years back.

-One of my old students came back to visit and was BRAGGING to a 5th grader that he had straight D's in his classes.

-The school is out of white paper to make copies, so we have to make all our copies on colored paper or white cardstock. And I seem to …

Homeless People Is City Wildlife

Our reading program - Open Court - has different themes for each unit. All the stories in a unit are grouped around the theme, and the kids do their own inquiry and research about the theme. Basically, you live, eat, sleep, and breathe the Open Court theme for 6 or 7 weeks. Third grade is a great grade to teach because the Open Court themes are very versatile and interesting: Friendship, City Wildlife, Imagination (my favorite!!), Money, and Storytelling.

We just finished Friendship and got some fabulous ideas on the "Concept/Question Board." The kids put up ideas or questions about the theme and, being kids, they tend to think far, far outside the box. "Can people be friends with animals?" was one of the more highly explored questions, along with "Can kids be friends with kids in other countries who they've never met or kids here who speak a different language?"

Now we're on City Wildlife. I like City Wildlife, because it builds on the kids&#…

Silly Spelling Lists

The word "shot" was on a spelling list last week - the spelling list was full of words with the short "o" sound (as in "shot"). Apparently, my friends' students - those who use the same spelling lists - thought of it as getting a shot at the doctor. My kids, when asked to write spelling sentences, all wrote things like, "My auntie got shot in front of her house." Or "I was very sad when my dad got shot." I hadn't really thought of it before giving out the spelling words. Next year, I'll change the list.

Also, when it comes time for the long "o" sound - as in "toe" - I need to remember to take the word "hoe" off the list. In East Oakland, no one has seen a hoe. However, everyone has seen (or knows) a ho. If you don't get that, well... just thank God for your innocence being preserved.

Email Wisdom

All the kids have epals - each of them gets one of my friends to email so that the kids can learn how to use email (many safeguards in effect: I get copies of the emails, the kids' last names aren't used, parents have to give permission, etc.)

There are some funny things that go on in kids' emails. One kid emailed his epal to ask if an A was a good grade because he was sad that he didn't get an A+. Several have asked their epals if they eat vegetables. They don't know how to type (or spell, for many of them) so their emails have either no spaces or way too many spaces between words. They don't really get that punctuation is used in typing as well as writing. The following is one of my favorite emails, from "Amy."

I have 1brother and 3sisters.My favorite color is purple,silver and pink.When my baby sister was born i thought it was going to be a dastater.But it turned out good very good."