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Great Student Quotes

My students are beginning a project where they take on the identify of a historical figure and create a blog for that person (sometime next week there should be a few different versions of Leonardo Da Vinci's Blog floating around). As a warm up Friday, I asked my students which teacher most reminded them of their historical figure and why. Some of these are too funny and thoughtful not to share:

  • _____ is a person who reminds me of John Locke. John Locke was a philosopher and _____ talks and acts like a philosopher. _____ has a deeper meaning to any question. If you say "Oh, I'm going to get food," _____ would start talking about what that would do to your body in 5 years.
  • The BLS staff member who most reminds me of their person we are doing our project on [Marie Antoinette] is probably _____ just because she's young and pretty.
  • _____ reminds me the most of Issac Newton because he got long hair and he is light skinned.
  • _____ reminds me of Napoleon because he's mean and tries to take over everything.
  • _____ reminds me of Napoleon because he's always changing the rules.
  • _____ because he talks a lot and Galileo sounds like a man who loves to talk about what he does like _____.
  • _____ and Mary [Wollstonecraft] because they both like to voice their opinion and want to be treated as equal.
  • _____ reminds me of him. Issac Newton was a rebel always getting in fights with other people like rivals.
  • The BLS staff member that reminds me of Issac Newton is _____ because _____ and Issac both studied science and they're both brilliant.
  • My person is Jean-Jacques Rousseau and the BLS staff member that reminds me of him is _____. _____ has influenced me in the way that I think and that has helped me quite much. Just as my person has influenced many, _____ have influenced me so much more than anyone I've met.
  • I would say _____ reminds me of John Locke because _____ is trying to change the school into the best high school preparing every student for college with the best teachers. John Locke made a change focusing on equality of human rights.

The Things That Make it Worthwhile

For a week that could have been a low point in my teaching career due to the stress of a new schedule, an expanded teaching load, new class sections (same students, new arrangements), teaching in a new room, not to mention getting grades done and having parent-teacher conferences -- my students came through time and time again this week. Some thoughts:

- Monday, ten of my students stayed after school with me to help me move all teacherly belongings down the hall to my new room. They took all the graded work I had from the end of the previous Trimester and filed them according to our new section groupings. Because of them, we didn't miss a beat in the classroom. I honestly have no idea how I would have gotten through the week without them.

- Sections take on a life of their own, often with some less than desirable habits. With the new sections groups, I saw students from sections that had better habits ensuring that the students from sections not always as pleasant or productive did not continue to have a negative impact on the class. Many of my students stood up and took control of their classmates, laying the groundwork for a successful new beginning.

- Though I dread parent-teacher conferences every year, I left them this year refreshed. They filled me with hope. Either I spent 5-10 minutes praising wonderful students, or I had genuine problem-solving conversations with parents and/or students who genuinely wanted to see improvement in their children or selves. So much of my time and energy feels like it is spent on managing problems, that it was wonderfully invigorating to be able to take some time and focus on the positive. Most of my students due much that deserves praise, and it was wonderful to be able to focus on that for awhile.


Finding Time, Finding a Voice

Just finished up my first trimester of teaching in the Bronx Lab School. I'd like to think I've made some progress -- though I'm only really sure that I've made progress recognizing how much progress I have to make to be the teacher I want to be. I know this is the biggest challenge I've ever faced, and I know that in order to serve my students I need to be much, MUCH better than I am now.

Extra time, unfortunately, seems to have disappeared from my life. I wish I took more time to stop, think, reflect, and write; but it doesn't often happen and I can't imagine it will get any better with the start of the second trimester. My day to day technology responsibilities are officially ending as I will be seeing my students one extra day per week in order to gear up for the New York State Global History Regents Exam in June. I'm glad my mind can be in one place more often, but with four extra hours of class per week, I can't imagine time becoming more available.

I feel like I've posted a half dozen times right now about not being sure what role this blog plays in my teaching. I know I want to model for students (and hopefully, eventually, for other staff members), but I have no idea what that looks like. I'm not sure where I find the voice to keep this going on a consistent basis. I'd be curious if anyone has any recommendations for other teachers/administrators who are blogging without a focus on the intersection of technology and pedagogy (which is already done so well by so many others). Inspiration is always helpful. I am thankful for Chris and Doug each time I see a new post in my Google Reader account to remind me how valuable of a tool this can be.

To end on a more optimistic note, a few of my advisies just published their first pieces on their reading blogs. I want to give them a chance to find their voice (and the spell check tool) before sharing their writing with the world, but I am happy to share the link to My Reading Blog , which should hopefully have student comments on it within the week.

Also, this week, I am eager to be starting a mini-project with my history students inspired by BionicTeacher. My students will be putting together a brief page My Space-like page (unfortunately not actually on My Space, which is blocked even from our administrative computers by the NYC DOE, though no similar services are blocked) for a Renaissance, Reformation, or Enlightenment figure. I'll post to these when they're live in a couple weeks.