Wednesday, November 26, 2008

I am Thankful too

It is a tradition in our school to have Thanksgiving Pep Rally for the Football Game they play the weekend of Thanksgiving. Students who are involved in extra curricular activities like cheerleading, dance, jrotc, band, etc are encouraged to join and participate.

I was not aware that jrotc leader advised the members to attend only one of the two pep rallies because there were so many rotc members in the gym already. If they really want to attend and be a part of the second rally, they need teacher's note to show to their leader that they were given permission to come.

The second pep rally was held on the last period of the day. Three of my students today asked if they can have a note from me. When they realized that I was giving a test, they changed their minds. I think they did because I let them think and decide for themselves. They were told that I can offer them a note to go but they have to set time after school the next Monday to take the test they missed otherwise, they will get a zero.

I was just so impressed that the three of them almost instantly said they'll stay to take the test! There's not even a little argument or grumbling or pouting! I can't believe it.

It must have been the "thanksgiving spirit". Whatever it is, I am proud that I have students who makes better choices. tfr

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

the problem with ..... legs!?

For my mathematically - able readers, here's something to exercise you prefrontal cortex on. The rest of you can use a calculator but I'd like to remind you to press the right button or you'll try to use that excuse for getting it wrong. ;-)

We thought that this problem would be a good brain teaser for students in our 9th grade classes.

Here it is:

There were seven girls on a bus and each girl had seven backpacks. Each backpack contained seven large cats and each large cats had seven smaller cats with them. How many legs are on the bus?

This is the original problem. The answer to this problem was used as a password for an EXCEL answer sheet file HERE.

Our problem has a little twist to it... we wanted to add the driver's legs as well! Also, to distinguish the math nerds from the math-nerds-wanna-be's we added an extension to it. After showing proficiency that students can answer the first part, as shown above, they now have to write an algebraic phrase or a general rule for n number of legs on the bus when n girls are present on the bus, provided the pattern follows, plus the bus driver's leg!

Goodluck, tfr!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

State Visit

I am so thankful that today went well with our visitors. My students made sure that they're on their best behavior. It goes to show that they also want to impress me! Seriously, I thought that some of my "bad apples" will turn into rotten ones but I was wrong. As long as I am clear with what I expect from them, they are willing to meet the challenge ~ or is this only for today? Nevertheless, I am happy! tfr

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Back to School Again

The school week was "disrupted" by the election day. We did not have school yesterday so it made me feel like Monday once again! Well, I just have to deal with it, I guess. I am very happy that it's half the semester already!!! Before we know it, my 9th graders will be marching down the aisle to receive their diplomas! But for now, I'll just have to be contend with going to school and to proctor the 2nd day of midterm exam. tfr

Monday, November 3, 2008

Meeting with a Mom

I was sitting there with 3 other teachers, a guidance counselor, the student, and his mom. I just feel so bad for a parent (single parent to that matter) to go through this agony... His student failing through and through and looks like enjoying it! He does not have a clue he's going to repeat the same courses over again with younger students next year and he will not get promoted.

We've decided to check whether the student is misplaced. And see if we could move him to the "lower level class". It's just a little difficult to see if he's misplaced or if the material is too hard for him since he didn't even have any work to look at!

Looking back, I still see the mom face with tears in her eyes feeling the failure of his son and the frustration of not knowing what to do. I feel badly about that.


Mid Term Exams

I am so happy that all my grades are done! All I need now is to type each one in the school's system for the print out of the students' report card.

By Wednesday, I am sure I am going to be okay with regards to the grade report. To all my students who did their best, asked questions when confused, put forth effort and stayed after school for extra help - I am so proud of you. For my students who slacked and still slacking - my calling for you is to do something for yourself, you are the one losing in this game. You are failing your self... not me (your teacher), not your parents, not your friends, but yourself.

I wish you luck for the remainder of the school semester.

So far, I've been so happy that I stick to my goal - to do work at work and leave all the pressures of work at work! By doing this, I am a happier person at home, although I arrive home a little late at time since I check the papers at school and if I am not done, I still leave it there for the next day. I am happy with what I do, I wish I've done this system years back.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Pay for Grades

I found this article from an education website. It talks about the students' motivator in the 21st century. Students are getting paid for their grades. It is indeed a controversial motivator, even my most unmotivated student, was urge to write down what he thinks. Oh, by the way, after I had the students read the article, I asked them to write down which side they take. Whether they agree on the program of paying students to earn passing grades, or disagree which means not having the program at all. I took pictures of some of the interesting writing they handed in. I will post them later. Pay for grades is controversial but is really happening in one of the districts in Chicago. I would like to know if it really works.

Stay tuned for my students' works. tfr

Thursday, October 30, 2008

An Update. . .

I contacted the mom of the student I confiscated the cellphone from. Apparently, she is not aware that her son's phone is not with him. She sounded tired of dealing with the son's misbehavior at school that she asked me what to do. After I suggested what she needs to do, according to the book, I also set up an appointment with the guidance counselor to meet with his parent and his other teachers. It came to my knowledge that I am not the only teacher this student had problems with.

I am hoping that with 2-day suspension, the student can think what he did and be a "good" student. I know this is too much to ask but I ask it anyway.

Hopefully, the meeting will turn out okay.


Last Quiz Installment For the Quarter

I cannot believe it's halfway through the semester already! Most of my students welcome the midterm exams with open arms but others just sit there and wait for nothing. I really hope that they will realize soon that they are the ones making their grades.

Anyway, it is what it is. I tell my students all the time that their grades in my class is a reflection of their performance. They sure are worth more than their grades (if they are failing) but they don't do anything about it. I guess I just have to deal with it. Hopefully they will mature soon!

I am moving on. tfr

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Cracking down on cellphones...

I can't believe how many times in a day we hear that p.a. reminding students that electronics, such as cellphones, ipods, etc etc (except calculators) are not allowed in the hallways and classrooms!

For the past weeks, I've been very "nice" about the issue. Yes, I implement the rule but I did not feel like I have to confiscate their personal possession - it's important to them - actually seems like more important than their grade!

Three days ago, I made it clear to all my students that I am not going to be nice anymore. I told them I am done reminding them to put them away and made that announcement as their last reminder from me. This is the eighth week in the semester and should be pretty much aware of the school's rules and regs. It's not that I have a lot of problems about electronic usage in my class but a few. Pretty much same students are doing the trick! When you tell me to keep it, they do but they will use it again if you're not looking. Or I would take it from them during class and give it back after class. But the handbook states to take the electronic item/s items from them and give it to the administrators for the student's parents to retrieve.

Anyway, I confiscated the 2nd cellphone yesterday. This student made it known since day 1 that he's a pest! He's one of those who just doesn't want to follow the crowd but makes his own. He's defiant and he thinks his cool! So, his cellphone was taken from him. At the end of the class wanted it back. Well, guess what I told him? Have your parents come tomorrow to get it from the principal. That's right! I said that. He was upset, grabbed my timer from my desk. He said that if I have his possession, he can have mine. Refused to listen to what I say and told me that he don't care whatever I say. Just imagine how kids around here get upset, how they use profane language - he was that bad!

I am not even done writing the report for the admin when I heard knocking on my door. Guess who? Yes, the principal. He basically wanted to hear what happened from my view, returned my timer and retrieved the cellphone. I asked him what I should have done. He agreed to what I've done, but told me I can also give it back to the student if I want to! Oh boy, I felt like that student's waiting for him to take his cell back. I thought it would be nice if they can follow their own rules!

In the end, I decided that I let it up to them to decide what happens next. I did my job, so I let them do theirs. Hopefully, the student will not brag about how he won over me. I promise you they will hear something from me.


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Tuesday, Common Task Day

I teach 3 classes of 9th graders this semester. There are a lot of benefits as well as disadvantages teaching these vigorous, young adults.

Students were advised and encouraged to study (do they? really?!) for their first common task for the year. This is a proficiency-based, on-demand task that students (all students) have equal opportunity to take. They have to get a grade of 4 out of 4 for this task to be called "portfolio-worthy" task. Students will then collect all these task to put in their graduation portfolio.

This would mean that I will have a lot of reading and checking to do afterschool today! I just love it. I wish all my students will meet my expectations. Seriously, I wish they studied last night.


Monday, October 27, 2008

Happy Monday!

I look forward to meeting my students today. Their Warm-Up problem is ready and a new lesson waiting. I can't wait to see who and how many will get the right answer. I also have to make sure to reiterate tomorrow's Common Task. Their first for the year!

Well, students, I wish you lots of luck. tfr

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Welcome to my Blog

Mabuhay! I created this blog so I have a place to share my thoughts, fears, aggravations, and my joys of being a teacher. I teach high school students. Sometimes it feels like my husband alone is not enough for me to vent to. Don't get me wrong, he's a very supportive and a very good listener but I just feel that he can enjoy just me without that "teacher baggage".

I promise I won't be too over bearing. I will write all that makes my day at school so people who wonder what's happening in my "teacher bubble" will be informed. I also would like to share my experiences and joy of being a teacher to anyone who may want to become one. Warning: some experiences might scare you off too.

I teach in an inner city school where child abuse and neglect is the highest in the state, birth rate for older teens (18 -19) is the 2nd highest in the state and the birth rate for younger teens (15-17) is the 3rd highest in the state, the graduation rate is only 54% compared to the state's 70%, and the free breakfast program for all students are free!

Please don't get me wrong, I am still safe, I love my job, and I not complaining. I just thought it would be nice if you know a little background so you have some idea about what I'm talking about when you read some of my posts in the future. I know that I have a big responsibility for changing the mindset of our young adults. They need to be taught so we'll have better future.

Whew, I miss my class already! tfr

Thursday, October 2, 2008


Ok, so I signed up for this technology workshop offered by the district last summer. It's about using technology in the classroom. The state wanted to improve the ratio of desktop computer to the number of students so this is one of the ways they thought they could make up for it, I guess. We are at the bottom of the list (again) in the desktop-student ratio. I was one of the teachers who signed up to use 2 weeks of our previous time in the summer.

Today I am lucky to receive these goodies! Two brand new desktops, mimio, and my digital camera is yet to come. I don't think I would be able to receive the digital cam but I can hope for it.Here's the new desktop my students can use!

The mimio is for me to get use to. I need more time to play with that tech. I can't say that I'm confident using that thing just yet.

I have my goodies and I'm happy! tfr