So on Friday, the painter comes and tells me that they'll be painting my room on Monday and Tuesday, and I'll be in a portable. Dandy. The office tells me that it's Portable 18 (a.k.a. P-18). However, another teacher is in there, so I can't move our stuff Friday. We have to wait until Monday.
No problem. I have the kids put on their desks what we'll need for the two days, and after they leave I add the other things that we'll need. On Monday we will grab and go. Right? You see that this will obviously go smoothly?
Today is Monday. I meet Suzanne in the parking lot, who happens to have a key to P-18. It is a key that turns out to not work. I run into the principal. Hers doesn't either. She calls Virgil. His doesn't either. I am to be in a portable that no one can open. In the meantime, it starts raining, so the kids are going inside before the bell rings, but mine were told to be at P-18. Finally they decide that we'll be in P-7. However, this school is a whole lot like a Catholic church I used to go to in Syracuse -- half the congregation shows up during the opening song, not before. So I have 13 out of 24 kids, and I load them down the best I can. We race through the rain to P-7.
I get there and Miss F is there. There are many desks. Many. Most are stacked on each other. There are 3 or 4 chairs. No problem. I spy a rolled up rug. We will sit on the floor (by "we" I mean everyone under the age of 53).
This portable makes my previous rooms look like the Taj Mahal. I took other pics at the end of the day, so you can get the full effect of our 2-day home. There is no clock. However, I have my cell phone and a timer, so I set the timer to go off when each next thing should happen. There is no flag, so I draw one on the board. There is no computer, so I send the attendance with Miss F, who has to go back through the rain anyway. There is also rainy day recess -- so after their lunch, they are stuck in the room with me, far from our rainy day recess stuff. However, I brought an entire box of yellow chalk and we have many dry-erase markers. These will do, and the kids have a great time. There was no actual teacher desk, so I used a table to pile stuff on.
We only managed to grab 3 out of 4 SFA baskets, so there is much sharing of books and Team Talk packets. Not all children have their notebooks to write in, but I brought plenty of paper. I'm used to having fun with my Promethean Board during SFA (and math), and suddenly I have nothing. No problem. It was a loooooooong morning, but we managed.
We brought the small dry erase boards (every one of my students have one -- in the real classroom; I drag those along every time I change classrooms) and so we nearly had enough boards, nearly enough markers, and nearly enough math books. I did remind the kids that children in some countries sit on dirt floors. I am ever so helpful, right? On the plus side, after lunch, because we eat earlier on rainy days for some odd reason, we had time for me to nearly finish reading James and the Giant Peach. We'll finish that tomorrow.
This week is book fair, and we had our scheduled time to go look at it, which broke up part of the afternoon.
I tried to make it as fun or adventurous for the kids as possible, but I'd managed to forget how very lonely it is out in the portables. But I did take lots of pictures, so we can look back on this adventure later on in the year. The other pictures of the whiteboard are for me to remember, because I often do this stuff and forget about it. We are to be writing descriptive paragraphs, so we talked about setting and they had to write a setting for a story. They could come up with the setting but not so much how to write about it, so I did a sentence, and then 2 or 3 more myself.
Yes, today was school picture day. Yes, I survived. It is one of those things that gives me great pride (the surviving part). First, when kids bring in money during the days leading up to picture day, we tend to put them in the big envelope we’re given for safekeeping. However, we don’t ever actually write on that envelope. I was told from the beginning “don’t bother,” so I don’t. Sometimes they want the kids lined up by height, and sometimes in alphabetical order. Today was a height day. So we get there (in no order at all, so I don’t feel frustrated by guessing wrong and wrangling kittens), and I put them by height as instructed. Then one of the helpers says “You’re supposed to write on the envelope so that you know who ordered pictures.” Now, my very first thought is “What do I care who ordered pictures?” But, being polite, I tell her that we were told not to bother.
We do the class picture (for the very first time, every single kid showed up for picture day), and then I’m told to give them the card with their name on it and their money envelope if they have it. Then I try to tell which kid is which in the small version of the class picture, so I can write their name. I didn’t do well, so after we got our individual pictures done, the kids helped me. OK, 3 or 4 helped me while I tried not to sell the others to any nearby adult. In the meantime, although they said the very same things to Ms. Allen, the next person gave her a hard time for passing out the payment envelopes (as she was told to do).
Now, moving backwards in time, on Wednesday, the principal had a meeting with the parents of Kindergarten, fourth, and fifth graders. K has so many kids that they’re hiring a new teacher (and thus splitting up classes). The parents were all ok with everything — 4/5 split, juggling, etc. Then, right before lunch she gets a phone call from the district: We can keep 4/5 the way we are, and hire an additional teacher to teach K. So I’m back to being what I’ve been all along. I’ll admit that I was looking forward to the challenge, but it’s not the end of the world or anything.
After school that day, a teacher I like who used to be there and is now at another school came by. She and another former teacher hate their schools this year. Hate them. They are miserable. So this one is applying for the K position, and when she was here before she did work in K. I’m hoping she gets it! So it’s weird to think that, with all the frustrations and lacks at that school (lacks? Is that a correct word?), there are worse schools.
I got mail this week — my very first royalty check. OK, so it was for $4.95, from WordClay, and it confirmed what I suspected: Glenna has the only paperback copy of the book. I bought it for her for her birthday. I told her she should note that it might be worth a lot of money someday! It’s not that the book is all that awful, just that people won’t buy books that have no reviews. At least that’s what other e-published people tell me. Then again, no reviews are better than awful ones, right?
I was sick last weekend (I still sound horrible, but do feel much better), and got my reading lesson plans done and a math one, but not much else. I have been trying to catch up each night. So yeah, lunch time today isn’t the time to plan the science lesson that’s right after lunch. Then again, if the special ed kids weren’t coming, I probably would’ve done writing instead. We are still on weather. So I gathered data from the internet and we made a chart, recording the high/low temps, cloudy (etc.), and humidity of various cities, including mine, Madison, Perth, Cape Town, London, Yuma, Juneau, and Mexico City. They got to see that although it’s summer in Alaska and winter in Perth, it’s a little warmer in Perth. Only 5% humidity in Yuma (and 114 or something); I pointed out that’s the weather when you hang clothes on the line and they’re done drying already. They totally got that. I didn’t just write the data — I had them guessing stuff too, like which cities would have the highest humidity (the 2 that were raining), and why was the humidity 97% and 94% and not 100%. I’m always pleased when there’s a student who can figure that out.
Eventually we went outside with our anemometers (since we didn’t do that last week) and measured wind speed in various locations, including comparing up high and down low. Finally, if you looked around the sky, there were at least 5 or 6 different types of clouds. It was really cool. So I told them to illustrate those in their science notebooks and we’ll find out tomorrow what kind they are. It was fun, in that they like going outside and moving around (and note it was toasty and we stayed in the shade).
Until next time…