Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Stay Young at Heart!

So something that I have found to be a MARVELOUS way to connect to my students (especially girls) is to embrace pop culture. A lot of teachers graduate from college and decide that they are above the latest tween trend. 

Tween Trends though are SUCH a great thing to share with kids! Our school has advisory clubs and this year I did a "One Direction" advisory. May I just blanket statement there is NOTHING that makes you feel younger and more in touch to your pre-pubescent self than watching a room full of girls fan-girl (squeal and cry) while watching this video: 

Before you judge... REMEMBER N*Sync??!??! Backstreet?!??! 

Students appreciate when you find a way to love what they love!

I make it a point at the beginning of the year to find out what TV Shows my kids watch and I watch what I can stomach of them. A lot of the shows they watch aren't terrible. A lot of students who struggle with behavior in school are very relational. Building a positive relationship with those kids based on something outside of school can help them feel engaged in your class. I even found several boys who watch "The Bachelor/Bachelorette" (several with their mothers) and their opinions are HILARIOUS. Kid's like to have something they can share with you. I had a kid who never said A WORD in my class before. One day while he was staying after school we got to talking and he mentioned he watched Dance Moms (with his mom) and Modern Family. For the rest of the year we talked about how evil "Cathy" from Dance Moms was and did the "Casablanca" bit from Modern family.

Quite honestly I feel like its a way to enjoy my job thoroughly! I LOVE working with kids and I like  being reminded of why I think they are so fun. 

Another way I connect with my kids is to get them into some of my favorite teen books. We talk about what we like and what we dislike about them. A lot of times I bring up a part that had me flipping out when I read the book and they likewise have an "OMG" moment. I talk excitedly about it to them:

This series is AMAZING. I highly recommend reading Young Adult Fiction and EMBRACING IT. This series by Jenny Han is one that I love and I have yet to have a female student who hasn't INHALED them. It's pretty easy to see what to flip out about once you read them! Don't write off Teen Lit. It is not all Twilight. Sarah Dessen is another AMAZING author to share with girls! 

This next year I'm SO PUMPED to talk to my kids about "Catching Fire". All the different aspects of the cast. What do we think they will take out/leave in??? I teach History and LOVE using Hunger Games as a literary reference in class and the kids are ALWAYS excited to draw connections. 

I will leave you with this: Learn to enjoy your students youth! IT KEEPS YOU YOUNG! Smile with them! Laugh with them! ENJOY WHAT THEY ENJOY! No one likes people putting down what they love/enjoy!

***** WARNING*****
You are entering the Tweenside of my 25 year old brain

Now enjoy these little videos  about "Niley" 
(Nick Jonas and Miley Cyrus-- Call me crazy but I still hope these crazy kids work it out!!)

Before the Storm-- Written by Niley :-)

Wedding Bells written by Nick about Miley's engagement... 

(I'm SOOOO thirteen... maybe even twelve)


Saturday, May 25, 2013

We Don't Even Have to Try...

It's ALWAYS A GOOD TIME! I created this video last summer because I was SO excited for school to start I could hardly stand it! It was such a hit I ended up making one for each of the teacher's on my team as well as a joint US History one! I will definitely use this idea again. It gave the kids something cool to do/watch at the beginning of school! 

I made it this on iMovie. I am in LOVE with my Mac for the pure fact that I can create AMAZING videos like this! I have also made promotional videos for my Mock UN Club, the School Fundraiser, Staff Chili Cook-Off, and a video comparing Star Wars to the American Revolution (if anybody has George Lucas' number I'd love to get his permission to post it on YouTube as well!).

Making Weird Cool... One Quirk at a Time!

So just a little bit about me! I teach 8th Grade US History in Cypress, Texas which is a suburb outside of Houston. I am finishing up my second year of teaching and it has been a whirlwind! I have a website that I will link periodically. I use it as a form of communication to my students. I find it helps them when they lose assignments and puts a lot of the responsibility on them to be proactive about their learning! 

So this post is just a tour of my classroom!

This is Hanging at the entrance to my classroom! It is some sort of
insulation wrapped in wrapping paper from Hobby Lobby!
This wall is AMAZING! 
About a third of the Classrooms at my school have this type of dividing wall. IT IS AMAZING. It is a magnetic wall with individualized white boards.  I decided early on I wanted to be purposeful with how I used my boards. This is from my first year of teaching so it is a little different this year based on what worked and what didn't work.

1) The first board is an ISN Table of Contents. This year I used a Bulletin Board at the front of the room with a laminated enlarged Notebook Paper. However This year I used it for Unit Vocabulary. I post the Vocabulary Words students are supposed to know for our unit. 

At the front of every classroom we have wall mounted SmartBoards.
Again this is from my first year of teaching.. it looks different this year.  
This is the Enlarged Notebook Paper I mentioned.
This is on the bulletin board to the left of the SmartBoard.
2) The second board is for ISN Unit Pages. This year I changed it from just being a vague "Unit Page" to "Unit Page Timeline". In it I post the timeline for whatever Unit we are studying.

3) The third page I post the Date and Objective for my students. It is an expectation at my school and its a nice reminder for me. I will generally post other reminders on there as well

4) The fourth board is my "Weekly Snapshot". It is a Weekly Overview of everything we are doing that week. I will post Homework and due dates as well as upcoming Quizzes or Tests. It is a good reminder for me when I am standing at the front of the class to tell my kids what the week holds.

5) The Fifth board is a blank board I use for announcements or use History Bulletin Board paraphernalia.

6) The final board is the "Missing Work" Board. It is divided up into six sections. One for each class. When I finish grading something I will generally have a stack of post its nearby and I look at the holes in my gradebook. I then write the student's name and the missing assignment on the post it and post it to the board. It is a visual reminder for myself and the student of the work they need to make up.

Below is a section of some of my favorite books. I had a blog where I reviewed some of my favorites. The wall behind the book case is glass. It now has a translucent decal on it that blurs the other side better. The hallway has small flex spaces that work WONDERFULLY for small group testing and make up work.

Classroom Library that is AMAZING to use during STAAR Test to give books to kids! 
 My desk has changed significantly from my first year of teaching. Here it is small and filled with what I THOUGHT I needed. It has now changed significantly. I now have a desk attached to the side of my desk to form it into an "L" shape. The set of drawers in the first picture are for each class period of papers I have finished grading and are prepared to pass back to students.
This was my desk my first year of teaching.
This year I took this picture after falling asleep at my desk amidst grading papers. Though it DOESN'T LOOK beautiful... I love this setup. 

The set of Blue Drawers are some of my personal supplies including a drawer dedicated to official school documents. 

The set of drawers next to that are the drawers of papers graded I mentioned in the pic above. 

The pink crate is a file of all of the extra copies of papers I have. 

Against the wall are drawers with numbers on them that the students know to turn papers in to. They are trained to pull out their class period drawer. Having it so close to my desk is MARVELOUS because I can check it automatically to access the papers. 

In front of the drawers is our pick up station. The students know when they come in to AUTOMATICALLY check and see if there is ANYTHING for them to pick up. This is at the back of the classroom so it ensures kids walk ALL the way into the classroom. They are now so well trained that when I accidentally leave out papers from the day before the kids try to pick them up a second time. 

I'll take better pics of all of these when I get a chance. ESPECIALLY the pink crate...because I love it. 
This is my desk during my second year of teaching. 

That's all for now! Follow me on Twitter or on Instagram @aggiepuckett or visit my US History YouTube Channel!