Friday, November 17, 2006

Thanksgiving rolls in with a 7th grade victory

I really can't believe the words I'm about to write: it's Thanksgiving break. In August I never thought this day would come. I have an entire week off school and it feels great. I get to go home, I get to sleep in, I don't have to fight with 12-year-olds for an entire week. Yes!!!

Although Wednesday was very frustrating, I got all the papers graded and my conferences with the students went very well. The kids were really self-directed and I think it helped a lot of my shaky writers to sit down and talk about their writing with me. I hope to see more improvement with our next prompt. Things are going so much better with my classes because they're very interested in the book they're reading. I've got kids who are jumping ahead and kids who are never really interested who stay engaged throughout the whole class period. My tutorials are going a lot better too. I have kids who bring their breakfasts in to my room and hang out, play English games and do tutorials with me. It's fun to have them around. I've put up a zero list of names of kids who haven't turned in their weekly homework packet. If all the zero's get worked off then the class gets a Friday reward. So far 3rd hour is rocking out and have gotten rid of 7 zero's. They also were the only class to turn in ALL their homework today. I think this zero list may just work out for me.

The day rolled to a final conclusion with our academic pep rally. We spent all week working with the seventh grade to get them ready to win the spirit stick. Their cheer was awesome. Beyond that, they self-policed when people started to boo (they lose points for that). It may seem minor, but self-policing from a "follow the herd" seventh grader is a minor miracle. At the end of it all the seventh grade won the spirit stick by one point. It was a great way to go out.

Now I have an entire week to sleep, hang out, plan and generally regain my life. I'm so excited to have the time off. I'm also in total disbelief that I'm not going back to school tomorrow, but getting on a plane to go to Kansas. I love my kids, but I need the break and I never thought it would come. I'm just a few weeks short of being half way done with my first year of teaching. Weird.

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