Friday, August 23, 2013

Almost Time

This will be kind of a rambling post so bear with me on this one.
     Apparently I'm getting a wee bit stressed out about the start of the school year. Let's just say falling asleep has been a bit of a chore. The one thing I found that helped me relax was repeating the lyrics of Weird Al's Rolling Stones Polka Medly in my head over and over. That helped me after 45 minutes of tossing and turning. Then at 3am I woke up again and couldn't fall asleep. This has been a normal occurence. I think part of problem is when I settle down for sleep my brain decides to go through all the situations where I might get into confrontations with my students and then looks for solutions. It's not a really healthy way to live. In fact, it's kind of stupid. I want to be more positive and empowering than that. I want to be a happier teacher. Last year I felt like a little bit of a gruntz. (low german for grumpy person) I want to try and turn that frown upside down.
          I do feel much better about this year than I did last year. Last year I had a classroom that was ready but not enough of a plan of the day to day teaching. I feel like I'm more prepared for that this year. I know what I'm teaching and the assessments I want to do. I have a better plan and idea of how to be consistent throughout the term with assignments and such.
        I've spent a lot of time reading this summer. I'm on my fourth professional development book. The trick is now to take what I've learned and put it into practice. The three key things I'm working on are writer's workshop, lit circles and seven habits of highly effective people. I've never taught any of these things before so they are all terrifying to me. AAAAH!!! I'm taking a lot of risks.
       I'm also busy getting ready for a Warhammer tournament in Minneapolis in November. I'm really excited because it's been 5 or 6 years since I've played a tournament. I've wanted to go to this one for a few years but it always conflicted with Flatlands Theatre stuff. Now that Tina and I are retired I can attend. I have about 50 models to paint over the next two months. I need to get going. One of the problems is I'm stuck on a big unit that is not a lot of fun to paint. It kind of sucks.
     Anyway, that's kind of my life right now.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Planning for the New Year

I'm working on unit planning for next year. I'm trying to follow Jennifer  Katz's UDL model. I'm not sure if I'm doing it right which is making me frustrated. I want to ask questions and get confirmation that I'm doing this right every step of the way. It's the same feeling I think my students get when I ask them to try something new. I guess I understand why they get so agitated.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Year 1 Reflections

Here are some of the important lessons I've learned this year.
1. I'm too hard on myself or "Hey stupid, try to remember you're a first year teacher."
I had a lot of expectations for myself coming into this year and every time something didn't go the way I wanted it to I beat myself up over it. This led to frustration on my part which probably meant frustration on the part of my students. 
2. I take comments from kids too personally or "Hey stupid, don't take everything so personally."
I took over for a well liked teacher who had been there for 16 years. It was too be assumed that I would be compared to him. I took it personally.
3. How to plan or "Hey stupid, plan better"
I feel excited about next year because I feel like I know what a need to do this summer to be prepared for the fall. I didn't feel that way last year. I'm feeling better about everything.
4. Computer games and internet get in the way of everything I want to accomplish or "Hey stupid, do you realize you're addicted to a mindless pastime that does not benefit you or anyone around you?"
point taken

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Nothing for a While

I haven't done anything for a while so I thought I would post a quick link. Some of you will have seen this on Facebook already. It's a really easy battery you can make with vinegar, washers and pennies.
Here is the link.

Friday, February 15, 2013

100th Day of School

I thought it might be appropriate to post something on my 100th day of teaching. It's been a stressful year so far but I think that is normal for a first year as a teacher. Its a lot of work, but here are the benefits.
I'm in my vehicle for 30 mins a day during the week as opposed to 3 hours.
I spend 0 nights a week away from home as opposed to 1 or 2.
I am getting paid to write lesson plans and study curriculum as opposed to paying to do it.
I am getting real word experience in the education as opposed to theoretical jargon.
I have a job as opposed to worrying about whether I'm going to get one.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Zone of Proximal Development

I struggle with Zone of Proximal Development. When do I need to help a student and when should I let them struggle. I feel like they come to me for answers rather than help. One of the questions I hate the most is, "Mr. Kehler is this right?". I'd like them to take a risk and not necessarily worry about if they got it perfect right then. I keep trying to teach them that we learn by mistakes and I don't want to be holding their hands through all their work. They get frustrated because they think I'm not doing my job and I get frustrated because they I feel like they want me to justify all their answers. So I got back to my question. When is my helping helping and when is it robbing a student of the opportunity to work through a questions and learn from struggling. It's one of the things that causes friction in the classroom. Ugh, Teaching is so hard. And no I didn't think it would be easy!