2:30 am: After tossing and turning all night, thinking about my plans for the week, I finally fall asleep.
6:30am: Wake up a little late, throw on a comfy sweater and jeans, and make a cup of peppermint mocha coffee. Spend a couple of minutes doing Beth Moore's Esther study and trying to give up all my lesson plans, concerns, and decisions to the Lord.
7:25am: Arrive at school. Make a cute morning work flipchart on the Promethean board that involved a math problem about Buddy, a squirrel. The kids love it. Buddy will be making a reappearance later on in the week.
8:45am: Remind kids that they've been here for about an hour and there's NO reason why morning work shouldn't be done. Sigh.
9:00am: Start a Reader's Workshop lesson about summarizing. Honestly, it's one of my least favorite things to do, much less teach. Ick. But it's necessary. And this is a reteaching lesson, and I still feel like I'm pulling teeth to get a good response out of them. I thought I had planned an engaging lesson but I realize as only three kids are even trying that I didn't. Make a mental note to figure out a better way to teach it. Probably, it should start with me being interested in it.
9:20am: Pull a small group to work on main idea. On my teacher observation notes, I write, "This lesson BOMBED. Totally boring." Part of the lesson involved writing down important words from a paragraph. I groan when one kid misspells a word he is copying.
10am: Read Beatrice's Goat, a true story about the blessings of Heifer International. I have them write down any reactions they have comparing their own lives to the life of the Ugandan girl, Beatrice, who receives a goat that eventually pays for her to go to school. We run out of time, and I'm frustrated because I love lessons like this.
10:25am: Drop my class off at art and head upstairs to solidify plans for math. I spend about 45 minutes planning a lesson I'm really excited about, involving technology and a hands on activity. Realize after all that planning that I've planned for the wrong objective. We'll start that one in a couple of days.
11:15am: Pick up my class from Art and split them up for Spanish classes. The class lists have changed and I've forgotten to tell them until this very second. I hastily try to organize them while it seems like they're asking me a million questions. Get it figured out and head back to the classroom to figure out math.
Decide to try out a CGI math (click for info) approach, which we learned at Meredith. I write out three challenging word problems and have my students work together to figure out the answers and explain their thinking.
Write out a model of a friendly letter and decide to write it to my friend, Christie, about my Thanksgiving meal. It's so cheesy I almost think I should send it to her.
12:00pm Recess and lunch. Thankful for the chocolate basket on the secretary's desk.
1:15pm Take a deep breath and begin math. I spend the next hour walking around the classroom listening to students teaching each other concepts I haven't explicitly taught. I push them to explain their thinking when I know they've just written down an answer their friend told them. The "brightest" kids in the room are frustrated because they know the answer but can't explain it. A couple of kids keep trying to explain to me that there is no answer, it's impossible to find, but I just smile and say, "Oh really?" It's so tempting to give them a hint, but when they finally figure it out they feel so accomplished. When math time ends, one girl says to me, "I never knew math could be this fun." I could have cried, right then and there.
2:15pm. Present my friendly letter to the class as a model. Ask them to think of people they can write to. Accept all responses, even requests to write to imaginary friends and pets. "JUST WRITE" I tell them. Most of them do.
They know that I love to bake, so I give them an analogy. "If I wanted to make a pie, and just sat in my kitchen staring at the oven, would the pie ever be made? So if you need to write a letter, staring into space probably won't get you very far." I get a laugh out of some of them. One kid writes a letter to himself about his day. It works for me.
4:00pm. I'm home and start working on a beef stew for dinner. I've spent the past hour enjoying another peppermint mocha and writing. This is going to be a good week.