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Medium Dawn Felagund of the Fountain

First Day of School / First Day Off from School

The (Cyber) Bag of Weasels

bread and puppet

"About as much fun as a bag of weasels"...when I first saw this Irish adage, it made me think of the life of a writer: sometimes perilous, sometimes painful, certainly interesting. My paper journal has always been called "The Bag of Weasels." This is the Bag of Weasels' online home.

First Day of School / First Day Off from School

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Today was supposed to be the first day of the actual school year. It was staff-only; the darlings are supposed to come back tomorrow. However, schools were closed today and tomorrow due to persistent power outages after Irene. (Baltimore Gas & Electric is now telling some people it may take two weeks to get their power restored. Ouch.) I think Bobby said that 45 Baltimore County schools were without power as of this afternoon; although we are a non-public school, we follow Baltimore County and so were closed as well. Also, as of yesterday, our school didn't have power either.

I didn't mind the day off; I had plenty to do. Planning and creating materials for four grades is quite a job, and I want to get as ahead as possible. I have my first two weeks of lessons planned out but still had some handouts and presentations to finish making, and multimedia to find. So I spent my day creating an intro slideshow for British Literature (I'm not even sure some of my students can find the UK on a map, so discovering and activating prior knowledge and filling in gaps where necessary was essential) and a slideshow about the history of early English. The 12th-grade curriculum is missing, so I'm winging it quite happily in British literature; I'm fairly sure the curriculum does not include the history of English. But it should, imo, so since I get to do my own thing until the curriculum is located, then I'm including it.

The only thing that will suck is that I suspect we're going to lose our staff-only day, which means the first day will be chaotic, making copies and getting ready. To say nothing of the fact that I hoped to have my room decorated, and I need to fiddle with my new projector to figure out how to work it with my laptop. (My laptop's sound card is busted. Does that mean that the projector won't make sound either, if it's showing something from the laptop? I have no idea how these things work.)

Tomorrow, I'm hoping to make more materials and also get started making outlines for the special ed PRAXIS that I'm taking in November. Next year, I hope that I can use these impromptu days off for ... well, an actual day off! But that means working my butt off now to get all of my classes completely planned and ready.

This post was originally posted on Dreamwidth and, using my Felagundish Elf magic, crossposted to LiveJournal. You can comment here or there!
  • I'm sorry, but with all due respect, you do sound like Hermione. I used to do my lesson plans on the city bus, one of the reasons I used to turn down offers of rides.

    I am with you on souping up the required material with background information, graphics, slides, what I could find, presented in an interesting manner. It worked liked magic for me with younger kids; no reason it should not work for you. Plus, it gave me the opportunity to use a little creativity, which in turn engaged me and made me a nicer person to have in the classroom.
    • LMAO! When I first started working with my mentor, I told her that Bobby had nicknamed me Hermione, and she kind of laughed it off, but within about a week of actually working with me, was using it as well.

      Lesson plans don't usually take me a long time (unless I have to do formal ones and track down the state standards to "align with my objectives" [eduspeak!]--that's a real pain in the ass). Creating materials takes most of my time. I could photocopy dittos out of the myriad grammars left in my classroom by the previous English teacher (and from the looks of them, they predated him as well), but I refuse to do that. All the rage in education right now is "multimedia" and teaching to "multiple learning styles and modalities." Besides that my students won't sit still for an old-school lecture while writing on the blackboard. I'm hoping that Monty Python videos and listening to clips of Old English being read aloud might help keep their attention! :D Part of the reason I was given a new projector is because the principal knew I wanted to use multimedia, so I guess I have to make good on that now. ;)

      I'm totally with you, too, that flexing my own creativity is fun and rewarding and improves my attitude (as well as the students', I hope!)
      • Everything that varies from the one teacher droning on without visual aids helps to keep their attention and varying those also. These kids are NOT Hermionie as you well know. Monty Python ought to be fun.

        "multiple learning styles and modalities"

        Oh, wow! The vocabulary for talking about teaching always cracked me up.

        Edited at 2011-08-30 01:56 am (UTC)
        • I taught summer session without any means to use visuals except for those that I drew/wrote on the board--not even an old-school overhead projector! That was misery. Most of my students have the attention span of a flea on amphetamine; listening to me drone on was utterly ineffective, so I ended up putting their notes on handouts, which they also didn't read ... so yeah, I'm all for the visuals! :D

          The vocabulary for talking about teaching always cracked me up.

          "Let's make up a big word for something that is common sense if you have half a clue about how people think"--that's eduspeak! I mean, wot?? People have different talents, like some prefer to write and some prefer to draw and some prefer to speak out loud? Did you know that??
  • Baltimore Gas & Electric is now telling some people it may take two weeks to get their power restored.

    I'm not surprised. It took a month for classes to start at my sister's university after Ivan hit. (And it's one of the reasons why I will always have a gas water heater. Hot showers make things like power outages more bearable.)

    I think history of English should be included, too. (I actually think we covered it a bit in mine-- my teacher brought in a recording of Beowulf in OE and we listened to the first few lines.)

    Good luck with the tech issues!

    I'll respond to your email tomorrow, when I'm actually awake.
    • When I was teaching, I was always about two classes ahead of the students. Not that I didn't know the material, but I wasn't that great at the formal stuff. One good reason why I don't teach any more :-)

      - Erulisse (one L)
      • I like to be ahead simply because one never knows what will happen: something as mundane as feeling really tired one evening to coming home to find that the dog has been violently ill all over the house and we have to eat out because the house smells so bad (which happened when I was student teaching).
        • I do agree, but things were a bit different in college. We had a lot more freedom in our curricula, for one thing. I never had the patience to teach at an undergrad level :-)

          - Erulisse (one L)
          and I got totally burned out on teaching within 10 years.
    • No hurry--BGE has told the school not to expect power till Friday, so in all likelihood, I'll have a few extra days. ;)

      Hot showers make things like power outages more bearable.

      I was totally prepared to kick it old school and heat water over the woodstove or even an open fire in the backyard. But we didn't lose power for more than a second or two.

      (Thankfully, we have water now when the power goes out. I grew up on a well, so no power meant no water--no showers, drinking water, or flush toilets!)

      I think history of English should be included, too.

      I had to have 6 credits of linguistics for my WV certification. But Maryland doesn't require anything like that, so I somehow suspect they downplay the linguistic angle. It makes me think of JRRT's seething over the favortism for lit versus lang!
  • Good luck in the new school year! ;)
  • Two weeks? Wow. I had heard they were doing pretty well at restoring power, but that makes me question my source (she was all, "Great job, BGE!" on FB, which makes me think she got *her* power back).

    (My laptop's sound card is busted. Does that mean that the projector won't make sound either, if it's showing something from the laptop? I have no idea how these things work.)

    If it's truly your sound card that's busted, you won't have any sound output. If it's something related, like busted speakers, you will. You can test this by plugging in headphones. These go directly into the sound card, so if they don't work, it doesn't work.

    You may just need to update your sound card drivers. There are other things you can check too, but let's start there. :)
    • she was all, "Great job, BGE!" on FB, which makes me think she got *her* power back

      Prolly. While I'd thank the individual workers any day, it'd be a cold day in Hades before I'd praise the company!

      I'm not sure what's up with ol' Pengolodh (my old Dell). He hasn't had sound capabilities for many years now. I'll try the headphone thing. When I make a mistake, he boops audibly at me.

      I have no idea how to update sound card drivers either, but there's probably an eHow article for that, eh? ;)
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