Already in America?

Conversation from last night:

Me – Honey, I feel like I am on autopilot and just coasting through this semester. Is that bad?

My husband – Sweetheart, that is because your mind is already in America.

~ ~ ~ ~

Ever since I got accepted in TFA (Teach for America), I have been working on pre-work and trying to soak in as much information asĀ possibleĀ about my placement region. Unfortunately, that has led to a sort of nonchalantĀ attitude toward teaching the students that I have right now. I feel like I have been on auto-pilot. This is not easy to admit. My students deserve to have a great teacher right now.

I guess I am in my comfort zone (more soĀ than I was last year at this time). I am teaching classes that I have already taught and I have a good idea of projects and activities that work. My goal for the rest of the year is to take the stuff that I am learning and apply it to my classroom right now. I started looking at some online resources from Achievement First and they have some excellent ideas about how to keep students engaged (which is my biggest problem with the different levels I have in each class). Ā I plan to read up on their strategies and start implementing them into my classes. I am also planning to re-read some books from college – The First Days of School and The Cornerstone for Teachers. Both are awesome books about classroom management.

I don’t think that I am doing a terrible job, but I am sticking to what I know works. So I just want to shake things up and have a more engaging class.

What are some ways that you shake up your instruction when it seems to become stagnant?


Hunger Games ~ Training Day

Training Days Resource (Click on the Photo to get it at TpT)

So I fell in love with the novelĀ The Hunger Games long before there was any talk of a movie. I was working in a Library and we got in this new young adult novel. I decided I would read it, and I could not put it down. I waited for each of the subsequent novels to be published. Devouring each as it came out.

When I was student teaching I had my first opportunity to teach the novel. My students fell in love with it and I knew that would be the first of many times that I would teach that novel. My 9th grade English class is now in the midst of reading the novel. Two of them have read it before and so they are making the rest of the class super-excited. Some of them have even asked if we can read the last two books when we finish this one. Yes, students begging to read, how awesome is that?

All of the students are ELL’s and I have toĀ supplementĀ some of the vocabulary. Suzanne Collins uses a great range of vocabulary and I know that is helping my students as they prepare for their examinations (TOEFL and SAT). I would like to thank Tracee Orman for her amazing unit activities for the Hunger Games. Her stuff is truly amazing and has greatly helped me as a teacher.

In the novel there is a section where the contestants go to training to train for the games. I siezed this as an opportunity to implement some hands on learning. I set up several centers around the room and students were required to go to each station to “train” for the hunger games. Here are some pictures from that experience:

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My students had a wonderful time during training. They got a little confused with the camo station and thought it was face paint. However, I know it will be an activity that I repeat with other classes. Hope you have a wonderful day and may the odds be ever in your favor!

Getting Ready for Chinese New Year

Our Door

It is January 20th and in two days we will celebrate our first Chinese New Year. We are not yet in school for spring semester. We do not report back until January 31st. That may sound like a long time, and I think it actually is compared to most schools in the states. We got out of school on December 23rd, which means that we have approximately 39 days out of school.

It also gave me a lot of time to work on things for the upcoming semester. Currently I am preparing a Romeo and Juliet Unit, Light and Sound Show Unit, Zoology Unit, Theatre History Unit, and an Inside the Earth Unit. I am tired just typing it out šŸ™‚ Today I took a break and created a new product for my TpT store. It is an activity pack for The Count of Monte Cristo.

How are we going to celebrate Chinese New Year? My teacher friends and I are getting together and making zip-loc quilts. These are not blankets to cover up with. They are wall displays. I have a picture of one posted on my pintrest board called “classy classroom ideas.” We were told by other friends who live here that it gets a little crazy on New Years Eve hear. Fireworks go off all around, and it sounds like a war zone from noon until two a.m. So following some other peoples advice we are going to hangout inside and watch the fireworks from the safety of the apartment window.

I will let you know more details about how it all went and hopefully have some pictures of our zip-loc quilting bee!

~ Jessi