Behind the desk

Since I’ve spent so much time alluding to my adventures at school lately, I thought you might enjoy a little peek into my classroom:

This is the view from my desk at school. I don’t actually see this view very often, because I’m usually up talking to the kids, passing out candy in exchange for participation, etc., etc., etc. Note my bouquet of ink pens disguised as sunflowers (which was a hit with a lot of the kids; one boy was particularly curious, as he wanted to make something similar for his mother), my students’ handiwork on the bulletin board above the whiteboard in the back (they designed quilt blocks to represent their heritage), and the giant magnetic poetry kit on the whiteboard in the background (a promising new tool I’ve been working up this week).

Here’s a closer view of the poetry kit. I’m going to use it for the poetry unit, obviously, but its primary purpose is to showcase vocabulary words. I’m also using it with a little literacy project I’m doing, and I expect it to come in handy when I teach parts of speech, prefixes and suffixes, and Greek and Latin roots. One unexpected side effect: Its kinesthetic nature seems to invite the kids to come and play with words. My boys particularly seem to enjoy it; I frequently see them rearranging the cards to make funny sentences while I’m taking attendance. If anyone is interested in doing something similar, the kit is very simple: I write words on index cards with a Sharpie and use magnetic tape (available in 26-foot rolls from Hobby Lobby) to stick them to the whiteboards.

The kids are helping me create valances to dress up our windows. The valances will be covered with literary terms. We are using crayons to put the words on the cloth. When we’re done, I’ll lay paper towels over the fabric and press it with a hot iron to lift out the wax, leaving the color behind. 

We had a little fun in class today with a game in which the kids earned the right to play a little Nerf basketball by answering trivia questions about the material we’ve been studying. 

Of course, it’s not all fun and games in my class — we do a lot of reading, a lot of writing, and a little vocabulary and grammar — but I try to break it up with lighter activities from time to time so the kids don’t get too bored.

As Zaphod told a rookie the other day: “Teaching all day is the most exhausting work there is.” 

Exhausting, indeed. And exasperating. But it’s also entertaining, exhilarating, and most of all, rewarding beyond my wildest imagination. Even at the end of a long, tiring day when the kids were noisy and goofy and hard to handle, I can say, in all honesty: I love my job.


P.S.: Go check out the latest Urban Tulsa Weekly cover story, which tosses a little free publicity to three of my blogs.

Little project

My kids are terrible about forgetting to bring pens and pencils to class. They’re also terrible about forgetting to return the pens and pencils that they’ve borrowed.

Somebody in our main office solved this problem by taping silk flowers to the ends of pens and keeping them in a vase. I liked the idea so much that I stole it and adapted it to fit my own tastes:

I think it turned out pretty cute. From a distance, it will just look like I put some silk flowers on my desk, but it’s really a handy way of keeping track of my pens — and a good excuse for adding a couple of bees to my classroom decor. 🙂

On a totally unrelated note, I found a fuzzy spider hiding under a flowerpot on the deck Saturday morning. I’ll try to put the photo behind the jump for the benefit of any arachnophobic readers. My apologies if this doesn’t work….

Continue reading Little project