Hey Girl Teacher (#3)

While under recent assessment/report card stress, I did a little Google search to see if there were any new “Hey girl teacher” memes for motivation or entertainment.  Here are a few that I liked.  :)


Things I’ve Learned: Paper Cranes & Curriculum Night

paper crane

The main point: paper cranes are much harder for 3rd grades to make than I expected.

Factors adding to the difficulty for the students:
-their teacher not knowing how
-lack of printed directions
-no example
-incorrect size of paper

The extended story:

In grad school, one of my professors shared the genius idea of having students make a “surprise gift” for their parents for curriculum (back-to-school) night. The students write an invitation to curriculum night, in which they tell their parents that there’s a surprise waiting for them at school!  It helps get the students get excited about it, and they (hopefully) pass the excitement home to their parents.  I wanted to do that this year, but wasn’t sure what to have the kids make.  Then one day Isaw a paper crane on a student’s desk.  I thought “Oh!  That would be a great curriculum night gift!”  However, I don’t know how to make paper cranes.  I asked the student, “Do you think you’d be able to teach the class how to make those?”  He said yes, though with hesitation.  Great!  Let’s go for it!

The next day, I gave the student the floor.  First step: take the rectangle paper and fold it to make it into a square and trim off the excess.  About 5 students (out of 27) could do this without help.  This should’ve been a warning to me to stop and give up, but did I?  No!  We plowed through that whole project- step by tedious, slow step.  It took way longer than I expected.

The end result was as desired though: the students were excited, and proud too!  I will not make paper cranes during the 2nd week of school without additional adult help ever again, but I will continue the “make your parents a gift for curriculum night” idea.  And I’m open to (simpler) ideas for that purpose!  Leave a comment below if you have one.  :)

“It’s For The Children”

I’ve jokingly developed a new catchphrase recently: “It’s for the children” or “I did it for the children.”  It makes anything I do instantly sound ten times better.  Examples:

Without: “I had to spend my whole weekend grading!” (sounds whiny)
With: “I spent my whole weekend grading… because I want to give my students feedback on their progress… I did it for the children.” (Awwww!  So sacrificial!)

Without: “I’m getting a massage because my back hurts.” (sounds indulgent)
With: “Man, bending over the students’ desks while helping them really takes a toll on my back.  I think I’ll get a massage so I can continue to help them at their desks… it’s for the children.”  (Awww!  Always thinking of them!)

Without: “I can’t do any more work tonight!!!  I need a break!!!!”  (sounds like I’m going crazy… which I probably am)
With: “I’ll be a much happier and well-adjusted person and be in a better frame of mind to teach tomorrow if I do nothing but stare at a television tonight.  I want to be the best that I can be when I teach… it’s for the children.”  (Awww! So dedicated!)

This would work well for parents too, I think.  Are you a parent or teacher?  What do you do “for the children”?  I think I’m going to go take a relax now… it’s for the children.

Things I’ve Learned

-When you pour hot popcorn into a plastic cup, it melts the cup.  (Thankfully, I learned that after only 5 cups and had plenty of extra cups and popcorn.)

-Plastic cups do make a good container with an appropriate serving size for students. Just WAIT and let the popcorn cool before pouring it in.

-Making popcorn first thing in the morning will garner lots of comments from colleagues (“Wow, it’s early for popcorn!”).  Yes, it is, but I don’t get a break before I need the popcorn at 11:30.  So, eau-de-popcorn will fill the halls this morning.

-Teachers like “marble jar parties” just as much as students.

Grading Writing

Of all the things that teaching requires (Side-note to anyone who thinks teachers “only” teach: I will happily compile you a list that proves otherwise)the thing one of the things that seems to take me the most time is grading writing.  I seriously don’t know how high school English teachers do it!  I can only handle about 3 students’ papers at a time before I get antsy, and these are but lowly 3rd grade informational reports.

Confession: as I write this, I am procrastinating on grading/editing rough drafts of research reports.  So really, this post is just a break.  As I have been grading/editing, I’ve composed a few responses to students in my mind that I decided to share here, since I won’t be sharing them with the students themselves.

Dear student,

-How is it that all 20 times that you mentioned your expert topic, you spelled it wrong? (ie: spelling “rabbit” as “rabit” 20 times when writing a research-based report on rabbits)

-The way you misspelled “elementary” (as “Elamentery”) was so adorable I almost didn’t correct it.

-This is more than I ever thought I would know about Minecraft/Legos/Lego Marvel Super Heros: The Video Game/etc.  Thank you…. I guess.

-As a younger sister myself, I appreciate the mention of your younger sister’s birthday in your “About The Author” section.

-A sentence, a list of 20 animals, and another sentence does not count as a chapter.

-Ligers are a real thing?  Really?  News to me. I thought Napoleon Dynamite made them up.

-Your self portrait in the “About The Author”…. are you sure that’s what you look like?  I’m pretty sure I remember you having a nose.

-I sincerely hope you save this report and pull it out in 15 years and read it again.  And when you do, I hope it makes you smile at your cute young ways, the way it has made me smile.

Your teacher


Bonus:  The nose-less self-portrait I referenced:No nose

Hey Girl Teacher (#2)

Because some days, you just need a little motivation/inspiration/sympathy from Ryan Gosling.

(For Hey Girl post #1, circa September 2012, click here)

Old Lady

Today, regarding Rainbow Loom bracelets, I said, “Those things are all the rage with the kids right now!”
Then I thought…. did I really just say that?? “All the rage”? “The kids”? When did I become an out-of-touch-sounding old lady?!
Time to go rub some liniment on my sore back.
P.S. If you’re unfamiliar with Rainbow Loom jewelry… Google it.  I was going to post a picture, but the search result choices were overwhelming to this tired soul.

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