Monday, April 11, 2005

Study Sessions and More Parental Contact

This afternoon some of the cohort met at Espresso Royale in Dinkytown for a bit of a study session for the final Praxis test. Elisa and Sonja brought study guides, so they just ran through some of the questions and answers. It was impressive how silly some of the questions were. One who had never taken an educational class in their life could do well on some of those questions using the power of deduction and awareness. :) Maybe I'm being too harsh. Some of the questions reflect back on Piaget, Erikson's stages of development, Bloom's taxonomy, Vygotsky, etc.

It's not really the Praxis that is worrying me. Or the IRA meeting on Saturday morning. I wish those were on Monday and the Job Fair was on Saturday. Just switch them. :)

Other good websites to explore for job searches in this area: EdPost, WECAN, Metronet, Admin Minnesota, Minnesota School Links, Career and Professional Services.

I spent some more time calling parents today. I think I like this calling-during-2nd-hour thing. I'm too tired to be too nervous (though I was shaking through some of it), nothing else is going on in the room to distract me, the students won't be home to answer the call, the parents might not be home, so I can leave a message, etc. I decided that I would try to make one positive call for every negative--kind of a revamping of the rule. I called two and left messages that were negative. One student is getting a 12% because he hasn't turned anything in. Another is failing by much less then 30-40% because she hasn't turned anything in, but I know she is capable because Amy has had her before. I also called the parents of two boys who are getting solid A's and have done well in doing the required work--going above and beyond what was expected. I went over and e-mailed the parent of a boy who has been participating much more then he usually does in my class (much more then he did for Amy, that is). I happened to have his e-mail, so it seemed like cheating. E-mail the parents that have e-mail and maybe call the ones who don't? Guess I'll have to get over that whole fear-of-the-phone thing. I think it was Sonja or Adrien who said her cooperating teacher wants her to sit in on the phone conversation for the first parental call, and she hasn't had the chance just yet. Perhaps it would be good to listen to Amy calling a parent to make sure I'm saying the right things.

Well, tonight's goals:

1. Rough plan for Features in Journalism:
- go over what it is, the basic structure
- have a study tell a story about self (why do you think I should write a feature about you?)
- model note-taking on overhead as student tells story
- after story is over, have students ask follow-up questions
- make a pre-writing draft
- start with concept map to see what angle I want to take
- (follow up questions?)
- in this draft, outline paragraphs
- who, what, when, where, why, how
- inverted pyramid
- that night, teacher is to write the first draft of the paper--students will revise tomorrow

I will probably have them start class by working together in groups, going over what they will write in their editorial. I think this activity above might be enough, but if it isn't, the rest of the time, they will have to work in their groups on who (or what) they might feature.

Wednesday we could do something with a creative twist on a feature. I have seen a few ideas on using Susan Orlean's "The Bullfighter Checks her Makeup."

English 10B is watching To Kill a Mockingbird, so I have tomorrow off again. They will also probably watch a video at the end of the week, so this is nice... Jill comes again on Thursday, and she will observe the Journalism class this time. I'm having some pretty big problems getting them to quiet down at the beginning of class, so I'm a little nervous about that. They also gather like sheep at the door at the end of the hour, but it's 5th hour, so I'm not sure if I can solve that. They're also seniors and have declared their senioritis on several occasions.

Other goals tonight:

Finish draft of resume. Finish WECAN application. Finish Rochester application. Fill out LaCrosse application. Find and fill out Winona application.

That's all. :) I also have to run to the library and actually pick up the Orlean book! :) The photocopier was broken today, so let's hope it's up and running tomorrow... what a disaster!

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