Tuesday, March 29, 2005

On an Even Keel...

Things are falling into place fairly well for me and teaching. I'm sure I have many challenges in my future, but for now, I think things are falling into place.

I would, however, love to get more than six hours of sleep each night. I have discovered that I have a hard time falling asleep because I keep thinking about the different issues that came up during the day... so I have taken to using the sleep pillow Lane and Angie gave me for (my birthday? Christmas? Geez...) even though there is obviously no sun out. It actually really helps out! So not only does my mind stop whirring, but I feel a lot more at peace and prepared to fall asleep. I had to work tonight, so I wasn't able to get much work done, obviously. This means I'll probably be up for another hour, especially since I don't have plans for Journalism yet...

I would also love to spend one night not planning for the next day. I guess that's where planning ahead comes into place.

Today I stayed after school with one of my kids with an IEP. He's a really nice guy, but he's pretty slow. He couldn't finish the quiz in class, and he didn't understand a lot of the assignments (I shortened the requirements for him). I wonder if I should just make a test for him and make a version of the assignment for him right off the bat, or if I should just wait until he asks for it. Today we went over some serious overhead notes, and I know he couldn't keep up, and I wanted to give him the copies I had made of the overheads specifically for him, but I didn't want to be so blatant about it. I think the kids can tell that he's on an IEP. There's another in the class that it isn't so obvious with, so what I did after the overheads were done is I asked the class, "OK, we're going to the next overhead--who needs a copy of this to finish writing?" That's when I gave the student with an IEP his copies, gave the other student with an IEP the option of asking, and I was able to also get some to my ELL student. I had a few more of the "regular" (what a silly word) students ask for them too, so it worked out.

I think for Journalism, I'll start going over some test-able items. I found a great website: Media Writing Tips. So, in the random time that I write this blog (a few sentences here and there while I gather information and print), I have made handouts on Understanding News Values, Inverted Pyramid Story Format, and examples of newspaper Mission Statements. So if I go over those first two in class, I'll have a lot of important and new information for them, and maybe I could even do some work on journalism vocabulary (there are a lot of words being thrown around that don't make a lot of sense to the newbie--byline, lead-in, etc.). That would cover a decent amount of time and such... So, I'll have them do a journal, go over housekeeping stuff which will include important upcoming dates as well as information that might be on the unit test, go over news values (how to figure out if something is newsworthy or not), go over the inverted pyramid (see, now they have more information going into this Wednesday's press conference), do the press conference (on ethics, most likely), and finish that up with showing them examples of mission statements and have them meet in their groups to brainstorm a mission statement for their newsmagazine. I think it's important that they find a purpose and narrow the focus.

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