Category Archives: Ramblings

Consistency, consistency, consistency…

If realtors were selling weblogs, I think those would be the three most important things to remember about blogs: Consistency, consistency, consistency.

Revenge of the Right Brain from WIRED Magazine.

"Revenge of the Right Brain" from WIRED Magazine.

As it is, my blog is probably feeling a bit like the housing market right now.  It’s a little neglected, not seeing much action… but I only have myself to blame.  If you don’t write, no one’s going to read.  That being said, I’m going to pledge to myself one more time to keep this blog up-to-date and to post weekly, if not several times each week.

Coming up on my fourth year of teaching, there are going to be plenty of new challenges this year, but I’m also feeling more prepared than ever for the start of the school year.  This will be the first time I’ve taught the same grade/subject/materials for two consecutive years, so I’m already looking forward to taking what I did with the students last year and improving on it for this year.  I’ve already spent some time adapting lessons that failed miserably into some great projects or activities that would keep me engaged — and since I’m pretty picky about what I sit through, that’s saying something.

I’m also throwing myself into the presentation arena — hopefully — as I’m preparing a proposal for a breakout session I’d like to present at the next Illinois Computing Educators conference.  I’ve always learned so much from the conference in the last three years I’ve been attending — especially this last year’s workshop with Chris Lehmann — and I feel like it’s time to give back and present something that might inspire a new teacher coming to the ICE conference to try something different in their classroom.

My dashboard countdown widget says there are 23 more days left until the official start of the school year.  I’ve already hit that summer wall where “I don’t want to go back” has turned into one of my father’s favorite phrases: “Turn me loose, I’ll never be the same!” I’m there. I’m ready.  Bring on the students and let’s crack open those books, fire up those laptops, and watch those “brain wheels” turn.

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Feeling prepared… sorta

Twenty-one days from the start of school and I think I’m feeling ready this time. I should explain that when I was hired last year, it was one week before the start of the school year. That might not sound like a bad thing, but I spent my entire summer (in-between submitting applications) believing I would be teaching at the high school level. I planned for 9th-10th grade novels and discussions and whatnot.

Then I was hired to teach 8th grade Language Arts and Social Studies. That threw a whole new wrench into the works. I had never taught Social Studies and being a first year teacher, I’d never done Language Arts on my own either. So this time around I feel a little bit better about my situation. I’m only doing Language Arts this year, which simplifies things despite the fact that I will sorely miss teaching the Twentieth Century history. I actually have my units semi-planned, as opposed to the week-at-a-time planning of last year.

I also spent my first year taking advantage of a good deal of the extra training they provide for our teachers, and I think that’s elevated me fairly quickly to a person others come to for help. I’m already the default tech-guy for our portion of the building when the normal tech person is gone. It’s been nice to have that extra degree of responsibility, even so early in my career, because I think it distracts me from just how terrified I might otherwise be.

Eventually I’ll get around to adding some lessons/units to this blog and (hopefully) get some constructive criticism on them from all you lovely fellow teachers out there.

The school year looms…

Once again the start of the school year is upon us. This year I’ve decided to try keeping a blog for myself, not just for the classroom work. I’ve visited so many other teachers’ blogs that have helped me when I’m out of ideas or just need a little boost in the encouragement/creativity department. That being said, there are a few things here and there that I’m sure I can offer to someone else, should they come wandering onto my page.

So as the year approaches, I may throw out some ideas on this blog. Comments, suggestions, etc. are ALWAYS welcome. After all, I am only in my second year of teaching, so I still need all the help I can get.