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Catching Up

One could easily say that I’ve been a bad blogger, although not posting since Wednesday isn’t that horrible considering the fact that I’ve known of bloggers who’ve taken a year or more off.

Still, I feel guilty.

Writing is my outlet and a vital form of reflection, both of which I desperately need.

However, my week got extremely busy, and by the time the weekend rolled around, I found myself exhausted…to the point where I did not get out of my pajamas for two days.

On Thursday, I attended Day 4 of Kagan training.

If you don’t know what Kagan is, visit the company’s site.

For teachers, Dr. Kagan’s research forms part of the foundation for our teaching pedagogy.  His teaching structures are based upon  studies of how the brain learns.

I, along with 150 of my fellow teaching compatriots, attended three days of training this past summer.  I’d attended two days last fall, but it was better the second time around.

My school district has paid for the complete, five-day training package.  Teachers who attended days 1-3 were observed and coached by our Kagan training specialist, who came into our rooms last week and watched us use a structure with our students.  It was a lot of fun, let me tell you!

Thursday’s training provided us with exposure to more learning structures.  We had a lot of fun interacting with each other, and I made new friends.  This is one big reason why I love teaching in the public school system.  I have a lot of other teachers to learn from.

I went to lunch with my friends, and we returned to training.

Training lasted from 8:00-3:15.

From there, I headed to ANOTHER training…Fred Jones’s classroom management.  It’s a twelve-week training program that all new teachers in my district must take.

There’s a bit of incentive…a $195 check that we’ve been told we’ll receive at the conclusion.

I’m planning on buying bling…totally impractical, but I don’t care.


So I sat, from 3:30-5:00, in a second training.

Can you say FRIED BRAIN?


Especially when I found out that I had to complete a homework assignment for the class.

I went home and cried because I’m so overwhelmed right now…grades were due, I had prepped for a sub, and I’m getting ready to start another Reading Endorsement class.

This too shall pass, though.

After training, I ran home for one hour, visited my fur babies, fed them, and let them potty before heading back to my school for a Thursday night football game.

We played a school that is located less than a mile down the road…cross-town rivalry.

We lost after a very good fight.

I was so proud of my football boys and the band, which played marvelously during halftime.

I went home exhausted, but I still had Friday.


My notes from the sub were pretty good…except for my third class.  That’s my chatty class, and it was evident from my sub’s notes, that they had chatted more than usual and had not followed the rules and procedures that have been a part of our routine since the first day of school.

So, we had a “discussion.”

I emailed a parent or two.

And then we had a fabulous class period.

We have been studying Author’s Purpose, and my students are working in pairs to create a new soda/energy drink/tea.  One partner will create an advertisement, and the other student will create a bottle label.  Both assignments have certain requirements, as laid out on a checklist and discussed in detail.

The kids are getting into the assignment and seem to love its autonomy.

I’m a gal who must have control, so watching kids flit about the room from the computer, where they are doing research and creating logos, to tables to spread out their work and delve into deep collaborative discussions is a new thing for me.

Yet, I see the fun they are having and hear the good discussions and brainstorming that’s happening, and all I can say is that these are good things.

Even teachers can learn, eh?

The thing about these kinds of projects is that you leave school tired after facilitating them.  It’s noisy in the class, and there are tons of questions to answer.

Still, it’s like exercising.  Being tired means that you were working hard.

The other thing I did with my classes this week and focused a lot on toward the end of the week, was getting my students familiar with an educational site called Edmodo.

Edmodo is a lot like Facebook but is much safer and has a lot more controls.

Thanks to another teacher-blogger, who I’m inspired by with every post she writes (go visit Melanie, please, and be impressed too), I’m determined to use this site a lot more.  Parents can also log in, after given a code that ties their parent accounts to their children’s, and see what we’re doing in class.

One of my students came to class on Friday and said, “Mrs. AuburnChick, you were up late posting on Edmodo.”

Why yes, yes I was.  That’s the story of my life, I’m afraid.  I’m constantly thinking about my students…trying to figure out how to do things better, not succeeding a whole lot, but still trying.  One of these years, I’ll put it all together.

By Friday afternoon, I was done like a pig on a spit.

My good friend, Barb, was done too, and she called me, while I was still at school Friday afternoon (long after the students had left) and asked if I wanted to meet her for a pedicure.

Can you say YES???

Then, I went home and zombied out and hardly moved…

I stayed on the couch until early Sunday, when I threw on some clothes and makeup and ran to a local restaurant to pick up two spaghetti plates…a fundraiser for my school’s band, which is raising money to travel to the Orange Bowl.

I arrived back home, ate, and then napped…for the second time this weekend.

So now it’s 6:30pm, I’m getting my second wind, and I’m working to fine-tune my lesson plans.

The latter part of the week will depend much on the progress we make with our projects.

Thus, lesson plans are things that constantly evolve based on students’ needs as well as formative assessment, which dictates whether to proceed with the next unit or spend a bit more time on the current one to assist with greater mastery.

I don’t know about you, but I love my weekends and the chance I have to catch up…on rest…on blogging…on whatever I choose.

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