Tuesday, July 26, 2016

My Happy Grading Stamp

Hi, my name is Olivia, and I am a red-pen-aholic.  Give me an error-ridden essay and a red pen, and I will make that paper bleed.  My desk looks like the Boston Massacre, and so does every event program, church bulletin, or other piece of print that dares to come my way.  Unfortunately, my inky addiction can hurt those closest to me, including my innocent, well-meaning students.  I know that students need affirmation and positive feedback, but when time is limited, it’s easy to get caught in the pen’s crimson grasp and forget to leave words of encouragement.  This year I ordered a happy yellow stamp to pump up the positive in my feedback.  It says, “You Just Made My Day! –Mrs. Gold,” and while I know this is only a start, I know that I will look for any excuse to stamp my message because it is so bright and cheery!  

 Here’s to hoping my hyper-sensitivity to good work will help me write more meaningful feedback, as well.  What are some fun ways you have found to leave positive feedback?   

Monday, July 25, 2016

Surviving Teacher Orientation

Today marks the beginning of a brand-new school year at a brand-new-to-me school with a brand-new-to-me job.  This year I will teach seventh and eighth grade reading to one hundred and fifty unsuspecting middle schoolers, and I plan to enjoy it thoroughly.  Of all the high school grades, I've always liked teaching freshmen best, and I figure seventh and eighth graders are just extra freshman-y.  Right?

But before the kids show up, we have teacher orientation, which started today.  I knew it might be a long day for those of us not particularly enraptured with blood-borne pathogen statistics and dismemberment insurance policies, so I made this BINGO game pictured below:

Somewhere on Pinterest, I remembered seeing teachers who did this for their school's faculty meetings, and it definitely did keep things interesting.  I gave a copy to my sister-in-law (who also has a brand-new-to-her teaching job) and kept the other copy for myself.  Unfortunately, I failed BINGO miserably because we did not see any new teachers using gel pens and we did hear an educational rap from the mic.  And let me tell you, I didn't think anything could get more awkward than an educational rap about reporting abuse, but then it did when we watched a video of kids hugging each others' knees as they ran in circles, and we were asked to do the same.  Sometimes I wonder what non-teachers do in their meetings.  Like sit?  And talk?  I really cannot even imagine.

How do the rest of you teachers make the time pass during long meetings?