Rules For Posting To This Blog and Weekly Blog Question

1. Only use your first name (no last names, addresses, IM screen names, etc.)
2. Show respect and consideration of others when posting and commenting. This includes individuals, students, organizations, political parties, colleagues, etc.
3. Check all posts for spelling and grammar errors before posting.
4. Protect the privacy of others. Gain permission from other people before you write about them. Avoid sharing someone else's last name. Use job titles or pseudonyms when writing about experiences with your co-workers or students.
5. Watch your language. Use politically correct and non-offensive language.
6. Make sure you write about things that are factual.
7. Keep your postings education-oriented. Avoid discussing plans for the weekend, etc.

This week I would like you to use your imagination. You have just won the lottery and will leave your teaching post immediately to travel around the world. As you leave your keys you meet your replacement. You are asked to give this new teacher just ONE piece of advice. What would that be, and why? Enjoy your world expedition!

Blog Post - Week 7
This past week in my own teaching I felt a little disconnected which prompts my question to you, "What was the moment (or moments) when I felt most disconnected or disengaged as a teacher - the moment(s) I said to myself, I'm just going through the motions here?"

Fall Semester 2016 Blog Post - Week 6
For the past couple of weeks you have experienced asynchronous online learning (doing modules by yourself). Previously this semester you have experienced synchronous online learning (all together in the Collaborate room). Which do you think is more effective and why do you think that? Which do you like better, and why?

Fall Semester 2016 Blog Post - Week 5
This week we have what we call "open mic." You can write a post about anything related to your teaching that you would like responses from your classmates.

Fall Semester 2016 Blog Post - Week 4
Here is this week's question: "What was the event that most took me surprise this week - and event that shook me up, caught me off guard, gave me a jolt, or made me unexpectedly happy?"

Fall Semester 2016 Blog Post - Week 3
Please write a post about the following question, "In thinking about my past week teaching what is one thing I would do differently, and why?"

Fall Semester 2016 Blog Post - Week 2
Please write a post about the following question, " In thinking about my teaching activities this past week, of what do I feel most proud? Why?"

Fall Semester 2016 Blog Post - Week 1
Describe something you used in your program in the first weeks of school that you learned in the summer NTI program. How did it work? Did it get you off to a stronger start than last year?

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Security Detail

I have been given the responsibility of training students for Security Detail for all home athletic events for the rest of the year. I am very excited about the opportunity this will give my public safety students. The students had to go through an application and interview process before they were picked to be on the student security team. These students will be given a chance to practice some of the skills that we have learned in class.

Hopefully, none of them will do anything illegal in the process of protecting the school and athletic teams!!!!!! On a serious note they will undergo additional training, so I am very confident that I will be proud of their actions as they guard the school!!!

Steven V

Homecoming week(revisited)

It is HOMECOMING here at good ol' FOREST PARK HIGH...the kids have been very well behaved...I am impressed! This weeks theme is Mon.-Premiere day(dress as if attending a major function)..real ritzy! Tues.-Classic day(dress as your favorite movie/tv star before 1990) Wed.-Fantasy/hero day(very creative costumes today!!) Thurs.- Tacky/Comedy day(a.k.a. BUM day) Fri.- SPIRIT DAY!
The kids are very creative with there costumes...I often tease them about the time and effort they put toward things like this, and if they put the same effort in their class work they all would be


Today I forgot my keys. I've been driving my daughter's car to school in the process of having the automotive department do some work on it. Well, I left my keys in it and today I drove my truck. So being unable to get into the tool room and having neglected the messy area behind the shop for some time now, I decided it would be a good time to spruce up a little. We have all of the brooms and shovels we need even if I couldn't get to any tools. Well, we started sweeping and cleaning the back area. To one of my kids surprise there was, growing out of an old pile of dirt, a watermelon that was about the size of a Pop-Warner size football! Don't ask me how it got there but it became good "around the faculty lunch table" conversation. But then comes third block! I made a big mistake when I brought the watermelon to the attention of my third block students! End of watermelon! One kid snatched it off of the vine, took it into the shop, and sawed it in half with a hand saw! The watermelon wouldn't have survived this late in the season anyway but it still made me mad. Well, needless to say it became a catalyst for learning. The same student approached me about fifteen minutes later and asked "sir, why do we have to clean this area up? It's only going to get dirty again"! I told him it was all in his perspective. I told him that from my perspective I could see a big, fat, juicy watermelon that everyone could have enjoyed if a certain someone had let it grow as apposed to his perspective of seeing it as something he could show off with to his peers. And in the same way I could see a nice clean area that we could utilize as opposed to the trash dump he saw. It's all in the perspective. I see a school full of successful kids all with a bright future.....or at least I want to!

Computer Software

I have had a really hard time keeping my students on task when they are online. I have recently heard of a product called Vision which allows the teacher to monitor all computers at the same time from a central hub. The teacher can shut down a student's computer if they are on unapproved school sites (MYSPACE!) or they can assist a student with a project by showing them (discreetly even) how to go about doing something. The company offers a 30 day evaluation of their product. For those of you with computer labs, this would be a great thing. So far, I'm LOVING it, and while the students know that I have the capability to see everything they are doing on the computer now and they can no longer get on myspace, they are enjoying the attention they can get from me without having to let the whole class know that they need it. There is also a chat function on there that I can send messages to the whole class when it's time to log off, and therefore save my voice in my room that does not have the best acoustics.

On another note, today is a half day for the students so we can have some professional learning time. One of our activities is to have a mock lockdown and evaluate a few things. My healthcare 2 students and I "decorated" my room for the lockdown all in the spirit of Halloween and having fun. We are not downplaying the importance of the lockdown whatsoever but want to also make it as realistic as possible, without the realities. We've painted our hands red and run them all over the windows, propped up a few spare body parts in the windows, have a saw with my half mannequin in the window and a few other surprises for them. On top of that, with this trial software I'm using, I'll have a "HELP US" message broadcast on all my computers. Some things, even for teachers, we have to keep interesting!

Have a great day! :)

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Trying To Let Go

I have got to quit worrying so much about if I am doing the right things. I lay in bed at night and can't remember what I did, If I completed a certain task, did I say the wrong thing to a student? All of these thoughts go through my mind. I can't wait to have some years under my belt where I don't worry quite as much. I know I am doing the best that I can but, I sometimes feel it is just not enough. There are definitely not enough hours in the day to complete it all. I just need to chill out!

being prepared

I don't know about you guys ,but I'm finding out the more your students learn about a subject the harder it is to keep their attention and keep them busy for 90 minutes. I'm finding out that what was prepared 6 weeks ago is not prepared anymore.On the bright side I guess it shows that the students are learning, so that's a positive on the teacher. but on the bad side it can catch you unprepared sometimes ,which makes for a frustrating and slow day.

Pleasant surprise

Hi everyone! This past week has been great. Last Thursday, HOSA held it's first event, "Support the Cure" We asked that everyone wear pink, yes even the guys! I was shocked at the participation. It was wonderful!!! everywhere you turned, it was pink !!! I took several photos of my kids, staff, faculty and students throughout the school.
My biggest surprise came through an assignment I gave last Friday. I asked the students to write in paragraph form three things that they have learned since the beginning of school. The main objective of the exercise to assess their writing skills and to see if I met the objectives I set forth for myself. WOW! These students learned a lot more than I thought. What they wrote about were things we learned in either group settings, hands on or by games. In other words, anything that got them up and moving. The writing activity turned out to be a blessing in disguise.
This week we are having spirit week. So far it has been fun. It is also ending our second six weeks and there is plenty of paperwork to complete.
I hope all of you have a great week!


Hello Everyone,

I just wanted to take a moment to brag a little. I did so much complaining about High Schools that work coming for their site visit today and it went well, at least I think so. I still haven't heard how my observation went, but my students were on their best behavior. I did get good news about the High Schools that work team meeting with a group of students and I was one of the teachers the students voted as the teacher that most inspires them. I was really honored. I don't get a prize for it, but it really made me feel good. I guess I am doing something right.

Extended Day

How many of you are "Extended Day"? either you have a certain amount of students you teach or you teach 6 periods a day and you come in earlier and leave a little later each day. Some of us are half extended day meaning we do extra curricular things like sponsor clubs, organize functions, travel with students, etc... but we still have a planning period
I am currently half extended day and although a lot of my co-workers like the "extra pay" i am not money motivated and I rather have the extra time to prepare effectively for my classes. I think teachers new to the profession should consider how it may play into your effectiveness as a teacher...the same goes with taking on a sport or being an advisor/sponsor for a major club. It can be rather overwhelming when you are trying to get a foundation. Veteran teachers run like machines they already know how much they can "bite off"

Monday, October 29, 2007

Saturday Folks!

We are in class this saturday (nov 3) , arent we??? I wrote it down in 2 different places and cant find anything except for the printed schedule that I know got changed.

An interesting article

Hi all,

I thought that this article might interest some of you. Here's the link--


Group exercises

I am currently doing some group activities with my class. They really enjoy breaking the monotony of book work, PowerPoint, lectures, etc. I am noticing some kids respond better to group exercises. I have a few students who are actually producing more work than they did ALL year. It's interesting to see the strategies that work for different students. NTI has made me pay attention to details such as this and also how to implement these different styles.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Another week.

Homecoming festivities are over and the last minute health fair turned out fairly well. Tomorrow begins another week. I am hoping for the best but expecting anything to occur, especially in the 3rd period. I have asked the video instructor to have a student video during my 3rd period on Tuesday ( 10/30/07 ). This is the class , anything can be expected. Have a "GOOD WEEK".

Can I get an IEP?

There have been a lot of positives lately even though I feel insecure about it. I seems difficult to know when to say you have done enough. How many work hours is considered enough? I guess if you have a conscience it says the job is never completed or good enough. Before I always knew when I was finished because the car would be fixed. I guess this is another learning curve that says I am out of my comfort zone. I need an IEP!!!
Just Babbling,

Homecoming Week

Well, this week went fairly well. Lots of things going on. I won the future career day as a Motocross racer dressed in full gear. The teacher look alike day went well with over 40 Mr. Cloer is running around the building. Now its time to get back to the grindstone with the folks from the GA dept of education coming for observations as well as my county BOE and other teams. Seems like a tedious time to make it through with all the talks and threats about standards being recited by students and such. Ill follow up more about it after they come.

Also, they made us watch a video of a Cobb county math teacher tying the standards into the lesson. I'm wondering why they deleted the part where she threatened the children with their lives before filming. I don't know why they even bother to show this crap when it is skewed as badly as it is. They are coming to model this to our school. The class they have chosen is AP honors English with 12 students. I want to see them in a 9th grade math class with 28 students or any of my classes for that matter before they get my respect. Anyone can make a 12 student honors class go smooth as pie. Sorry for the venting, I obviously just don't get it sometimes.

Saturday, October 27, 2007


Well, I am glad to be finished with 3 more blocks where I was required to have students working on another computer project instead of finishing their work for my class! I had to spend one class block, for each of my blocks, in the computer lab looking at college information. Is it not interesting that due to the fact that CATE classes are not "real" school, students always have pull out time during our sessions!?!

I do see the overall value for the kids to learn to retrieve information about college programs in GA on their own is another way for me to enhance my Work Keys skill for accessing information.

Luckily the kids enjoy working on the computers! I was appalled however, when they found a web video of a student actually punching a female teacher in the jaw while other students in that class stood around and cheered. The teacher in the video clip did nothing but cry...It saddened me that they thought this was FUNNY! The students said, "YOU would fight back! Wouldn't you?" Unfortunately, Administration does tie teachers' hands in so many ways!

What could you do?

Friday, October 26, 2007

Can test be too easy?

can you make test so easy that everyone bombs kids don’t get issued books so they [books] have to stay in the classroom..i feel this is hardship on them so I give them a chapter handout of my powerpoint..then I review with them the day before the test (basically telling them every question on the test), then as a group I gave them 90 minutes to take the online practice test for a grade then study as a group..come test day about 90% bombed the you think there is a point where they don’t think they have to prepare because I have "spoon fed" them the material? Should I make them work a little more on their own? My 3rd period class only had 4 kids that made an 80 or higher

Whats up with K Deck?

sounds like we need the army at K deck....if i was a full time student thats probably where i would get assigned to park

Another sad day.....

Well, I seem to be full of doom and gloom. This morning one of our cheerleaders had a serious wreck on her way to school. She lost control of her car and hit a tree. Had to be cut out of the car.

The whole school was again quiet and sad. But she is going to be OK. No broken bones or serious injuries. But everyone was very afraid that she would die too. It was a sigh of relief when they said she was going to be OK.

I'm off to Murphy, NC, for my daughter's wedding. I am so tired I can hardly see straight. But I am going to enjoy the wedding tomorrow if it kills me! Ha! Ha!

Love to all of you!


Part of the day will be spent in a Faculty meeting. Another portion will be spent at a curriculum mapping workshop. We are having to enter our lesson plans onto a data base so all the teachers in the county can access them. Just another something for us to do. I don't mind sharing ideas but all the extra work is too much. I'm finding that I need to change strategies periodically in order to keep order. I'm going to have to implement a mandatory cleaning rule for my shop. If you don't help clean then you loose your 20 participation points for the day. The majority of my kids hate cleaning up. Sometimes I don't mind because it's exciting to see them so involved in their work that they don't want to stop until the bell rings. But other times a particular portion of the project may require a lot of tools as well as requiring that a bigger mess be made in order to accomplish what needs to be done. Sometimes they just don't want to clean. But as I'm finding out, every time I analyze a problem thoroughly and come up with a real good solution it just makes things a whole lot easier in turn making this job that much more fun! Thanks NTI!

Homecoming Week

We are having homecoming this week. Of course our football team has not won a game the entire year and may not win one at all this year!!!!! I hear our basketball team is much better - I hope so!!!

I have never had so much fun!!!! My department has participated in dress the entire week. Personally, on Monday I dressed so tacky that even my kids said I was the tackiest teacher they had ever seen. Tuesday was sports day - and of course I was head to toe with Thrashers clothing. Wednesday was decade day and boy did I ever date myself. I dressed as Fonzie did. The kids had no idea who Fonzie was - they thought I looked like Michael Jackson. Of course tomorrow (Friday) is spirit day and I will dressed in complete purple and gold!!!

I love my teaching and I love the students. The only thing I have issues with is the administrative details and all the extra duties they throw at us without warning!!!

Steven Vinsant

Thursday, October 25, 2007


Well, I'm going from the death of a student and being somber all week to my daughter's wedding on Saturday. It's a second marriage for her and she is so excited. I've felt like a dog all week because while she was so happy and so excited I have been down and feeling like crying. I feel guilty because I haven't had the energy to share in her excitement this week.

But I am going to put on my happiest face and be jolly on Saturday. They are getting married in Murphy, NC. They have a little place up there that they love and one day will be their retirement home. She says it is beautiful up there right now. So I am going and I will enjoy the scenery and the wedding. I am happy for my daughter and I want her to be happy.

Sometimes, I feel like I get consumed with school. To the point that I neglect my own family. I've got to stop doing that. I WILL stop doing that.....
so what went on in the parking deck today..i got an email that GBI was investigating and that no students or faculty was involved...

I had a good day on Wednesday :)

This week my 4th period student and I did a lesson on MRSA--the student's taught the class. I give them an article from the internet, divided the student into groups of four, assigned a section of the article to read and present to the class by the end of class. The students were allowed to use paper and color markers for their presentation and they had 30 minutes to complete their presentation. Next, the student presented their section and showed their artwork. Before the end of class, they cleaned the room and we did exit questions, discuss their quiz for the next class and was ready to leave on time when the bell rang. I did my walk about during class and commented on their work. Their presentations were nice and i was proud of their behavior.

Ready for the next break

I just came off of fall break and I am so ready for the next one. I am really going to think twice next year about extended day. Six classes and no planning is really taking its toll on me.

This has been a short week, but I have found myself looking at the calendar and counting down to the next break. Then we get a short notice that we have middle schoolers coming for a tour as well as the committee with high schools that work. We didn't make AYP, so now we are on the list and everyone has suggestions of what needs to be done. They are more of a disruption than anything. Okay, that's my vent for this week.

Ready for a break

I have been reading the blogs about fall break and I am so jealous. We haven't had a break since labor day and won't until Thanksgiving. They took our fall break away but we get a week off at Thanksgiving. I think I would rather have a few days off in October than a week at Thanksgiving. Again, I have had so much to do this week. Jessie came out on Wednesday and everything went well. My students were ok, they were basically themselves during the observation. I did my video taping of my class last Friday but I haven't had a chance to watch it yet. I am feeling the pressure of maternity leave coming up. I had a US yesterday and the baby already weighs around 6 lbs. She may be here before we know it. I really can't wait.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Crazy Week!

This has been one of the craziest, weirdest weeks for me so far. Monday I suffered a migraine again all day (day 8 in a row) and finally got into the doctor. I think I'll be fine now thanks to some good meds!

Tuesday, one of my best students, out of the blue, started screaming and yelling at another student clear across the room. Thankfully, she knew herself well enough to leave before she became physically violent. This student has a horrible homelife and her outburst wasn't entirely surprising to me, yet it has me very bothered. After she left, I called the office to let them know she was somewhere between me and them and to watch for her. She went to call her grandma (guardian) to come get her. I continued on with class as normal and we used that to talk about "job place etiquette" a little. As soon as class was over, I went to the office (had my next door neighbor watch my class) and talked to the principal who requested I talk to grandma. We had a chat, along with the student, and things seemed fine as they left. I came back to my classroom and was chatting with my neighbor about the situation because this student is also my student aide and the neighbor teacher is the instructor for that class. She became concerned when I told her that the student had gone home because earlier this week the student had written her a letter seeking help to get out of the home. We both went to the counselor after school, but she was not there. The student was absent from school today, so naturally, I became a little alarmed. I found the counselor today and told her what happened yesterday and she, too, was very concerned. She tried to call the student's home after that and everytime she has called, the line has been busy. I doubt I'll get much sleep tonight wondering what is going on.

Today the students started their presentations for the collaborative project. I've been very impressed so far. Even those who are struggling are doing an excellent job and this assignment has really boosted grades.

Have a great rest of your week! By the way, I love the fall colors on here! I'm ready for some snow though (Sorry folks, I'm a Northerner!

WOW! another break...

Like Mortissa I am coming off a nice fall break...HOORAY FOR CLAYTON COUNTY B.O.E......These breaks really energize me and I often find myself recharged..I really don't see how teachers get burned out of the teaching profession. I have had many jobs in the past that really burn you out mentally, physically, and sometimes emotionally. I often tell my friends that work in 'corporate America' that I LOVE my job and what I do...they say that the pay isn't high enough and I tell them I know "they are Happy with the salary they make...but at WHAT COST??" I love being a little league coach, I love traveling, I love not sitting in 5-6pm traffic jams,etc.....and most off all this is BY FAR the most fulfilling job one can ever have!

Coming together!

We started a new project in the shop on Monday, and it's really coming together for all of the groups. I split the class up into groups, and everyone is doing an awesome job! The kids have really shown what they are capable of. They're getting more proficient with the tools and faster! I may be off on my timing for this project. I didn't think they would get done this fast. I mentioned the Goon Squad last week? Well these guys are doing great even if 3 of them failed to show up for detention! I'm excited for them and angry all at the same time!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Does half of a cuss word count?

I had an interesting situation today. All was well as my 26 students were cleaning the shop. Suddenly a familiar scent came upon me that smelled like natural gas. The students began to argue that the smell was the cleaning fluid. Looking towards where the smell was coming from was a gas heater. I then realized that since it was a cool day the heater had started. The only problem was there was not a flame. The smell became stronger so I told the students to exit the building. Students were still looking on and offering advice like should we open more bay doors. I emphatically insisted they leave and not bother with the doors since they might provide a spark to finish us off. The students still insisted upon staying and defying my orders. I thought for a moment that they might have become brain damaged from the smell, but since I was much older and still had my senses I figured they were still adolescents. Suddenly I said the half cuss word that started with that special letter. I shouted "get the ## out of the building." I really did stop in the middle of the word. I am pretty sure they knew what I meant since they left the building. Tomorrow is another day!!

Photos for the Blog?

Does anyone have any photos that they would like posted on the blog? I'd like to update our blogsite with them. Please don't send photos of your students, but you could send me a photo of something the students have designed or built in your class?

What do you think about the Halloween colors?


NE1 or NI1 School?

I find out the reason all of the folks from the state, central office, and other schools are doing excessive observations at my school is because we didn't make AYP as a county. It appears as if this is going to get a little rough. My superiors have been thoroughly impressed with my knowledge of my standards and such (I've really done my homework on this) and most of it is due to my training at NTI. I really screwed up today when someone asked "why is our administration trying to implement all these new strategies", I replied, "I think they graduated from NTI this summer, and now they know how things work" to my department head. That wasn't the smartest thing to say, but that's what rolled right off my tongue. Any of you seasoned teachers out there been through this battlefield yet? Any input is appreciated.

Another student died this week

Hi All,
We lost another student this week. This is the second student to die in less than 3 weeks. Our school has been in mourning... Students and teachers very upset....

He died in his driveway Sunday. He was driving, grandfather in the SUV with him. Grandfather got out first. Then the student. The student didn't have it in park. It started rolling down the driveway. He tried to stop it but it ran over him. Killed him, right there in the driveway. He was a junior, played baseball. I feel so sorry for that grandfather. I know this was devastating for him. I feel so sorry for the whole family. Mom and Dad were in Florida. Student was staying with grandparents. Imagine getting that horrible phone call from the grandparents..... So sad....

The students had a candle light vigil in the school parking lot last night. Another vigil before school this morning. It was so sad to see them all standing there. They have not had time to get over the last death yet.

Viewing was tonight. Funeral is tomorrow afternoon at the church about a block from the school. Most of the students are planning to go.

It's been a sad two days. And I'm sure tomorrow will be somber. We've had the crisis intervention team at school yesterday and today. And probably for the rest of the week. I felt like going to the counseling office and talking to them myself today. It was very, very sad.


Enjoying Fall Break

Okay you guys, while you all have been hard at work, I have been enjoying my fall break. I even got a chance to go out of town. Now I must return to work tomorrow to all of my darling children. At least it's a short week. I hope all is well with everyone. I miss seeing you guys, but I am enjoying the Saturdays with my son. Talk to you guys soon.

CEFGA visit

Hey Gang,
I had a visit from a CEFGA rep yesterday (Construction Education Foundation of Georgia). My program hasn't been through industry certification yet. CEFGA is the outfit that oversees the process for the construction related programs throughout most of the state. I've been to 1 CEFGA workshop. The instructors are great, they run a top-notch program and they mean well. But.....I have a problem with the so-called "state mandates". They have a cookie-cutter approach as to how a construction shop should be set up. The second level course, Intro to Building, covers all 4 trade areas, Carpentry, Plumbing, Electrical and Masonry. The state expects you to teach all 4 areas simultaneously! With the mentality of the majority of the kids I have I think it would be a mad house, if it isn't already! Coming from the industry after 25 years I have my doubts as to the real validity of the certificates that the students receive as a result of completing certain units that are covered in each trade area. In all the years that I was involved in the industry a certificate didn't mean anything. Performance spoke volumes to an employer. The first level construction course, as directed by the state, is almost entirely held in the classroom. Very little time is spent in the shop, were the kids most want to be, were they become more proficient with the different tools. I should think that working and strengthening their ability to perform should take precedent over just learning about the different tools. With all of this said I'm having a problem with the whole structure of this accreditation thing. There is $15,000 dollars of grant money available to finance the process. The catch is that you pretty much have to spend it the way they tell you. Please give me some real positive input on this subject if you can because if this is nothing more than the state programing the robot that they think I am, then I'm going to have real problems with it.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Survival Mode or Student Centered Mode

Hey everyone!! After reading the blogs for this past week, I had to ask myself the following question: Am I in a survival mode or a student centered mode as Victoria blogged about? I truly enjoy my students, BUT I feel that I am just trying to survive my first year of teaching and make it through NTI. Realizing that made me a little depressed. I want to do so much with my students. Some of them are just hands on learners while others enjoy lecture. They are all so different and each of them have a lot to offer. (even my little knuckleheads !) Each day is a new day and it goes by so fast. We are coming to the end of the second six weeks. Where has the time gone? I would love to say that I'm 100% student centered, but for this season I'm trying to survive and make a positive impression on the students I teach.
Last week was business as usual. Grades had to be entered by Thursday. It was interesting to me , some of the students ( failing ) came asking me what their grades were. When they knew they had failed basically every test, quiz, missed assignments, projects and I could go on and on . They acted really "shocked" when I asked them what did they think they made. They felt like they should have passed the class for just showing up and socializing. Our homecoming activities starts this week , so I can imagine the kids will be celebrating and preparing for the "pep rally ".
The homecoming game is Saturday ( 10/27/07 ) and the dean of our academy scheduled a " Unity In The Community Festival " on the same day. He has requested that some of the health science students assist with the festival. I am wondering how many will show up , since this is the day of homecoming. I hope everyone has a " GOOD WEEK ".

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Homecoming week

We have homecoming week next week. Its always kind of fun because each day has a different theme to dress up for. I get to wear all camo tomorrow and my riding gear Tuesday for future career day....because there is only one thing I would love to do more than teaching and that is to race motocross for a living. However, now I can do that all summer long next year so I have my cake and I'm eating it to! Also, what is funniest of all, Thursday is "teacher look alike day". There are already 9 students that have dyed their hair blond in the middle to be like me, I'm loving it! That is, at least till 9 pissed off moms call asking why they're sons had their hair dyed blond instead of using the 10 dollars they gave them to get a haircut.

I don't want to go!!!

When does this teaching thing get easier?

Traffic congestion.

Recently I was reminded that even the wealthy First World countries, the supply of human, physical and financial is great, while the demands for these resources are unlimited. Such is the issue of traffic congestion in many areas in Georgia, where traffic demand is far greater than the capacity of existing roadways. One factor that contributed to this congestion is the time structure of the demand for using the roadways.

We should remember that the usage of our roads has increased since 1996 with an increase of car ownership and the lack of a good public transportation system. These congestions cause an increase in fuel costs, stressed and frustrated motorists encourage road -rage, and consequently reduce health.

What we should call for is a bus lane instead of a HOV lane. more Park and Ride. Then and only then, will Georgia be on the road to overcome these congestions.

Student In Trouble

I have a student in my class that came up to me this week and told me that she is pregnant. She confided in me that her mother said that she was going to make her have an abortion. She was so upset. Then the next day she said that her mother was going to press charges against her boyfriend and have him arrested for rape. The boy is 18 and the girl is 17. O.K. law enforcement people, can he be charged for this crime if she willingly had sex with him? She says the boy wants to go to college and wants to take care of her and the baby. Her mom has also kicked her out of the house. She is now staying with a friend. She has come me and some of the other teachers for advice. It is so hard with out stepping over the line to give her advice. Another teacher and I took her to the counselors office to help her with some of her issues. I feel so helpless. I know she shouldn't have done this but, I feel so sorry for her because she has no support from her mother. She said that her mother had become pregnant with her when she was 15 by an older man and her parents didn't press charges. She said that is why she doesn't understand why her mother is doing this to her. I told her that she has a lot to think about and a lot of decisions that she is going to have to make. It is going to be hard but, she will make it through this. It is so hard to know what to say. I hope her mother will come around and help her through this. You would think that her mother would be more understanding since she went thought this herself. I guess she is just very angry and does not know how to deal with it.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Key Train Rocks!

This week has taught me some of the politics of the school that will end up serving both the community and students graduating from Baldwin High School (BHS) in the most effective fashion possible. This all relates back to what I mentioned briefly in a previous not: BHS is a Key Train school. I feel fortunate to have the opportunity be a part of this project!

BHS has been selected to be a Key Train school for our community, which are Milledgeville and the surrounding Lake Counties. By becoming a Key Train School, BHS has worked with the local, primary employers to determine what skills are most needed in workers employed by these businesses. Businesses include Flint Electric, Oconee Regional Hospital, and other large employers. Three (3) Work Keys areas have been identified, and these are: Reading for Information, Locating Information, and Mathematics. We have a computer program that will allow kids to take a pretest and this pretest will place them at their current level of competence, and through testing which will be tracked throughout their high school careers, the test scores will show how the education at BHS has helped to progress their abilities in the “key” areas.

I am excited to see how advanced the computer program is. The kids take a pretest and from this they will take harder testing, using numerous computer-generated questions, to objectively verify how their skills are advancing! From the data generated, we can detect at an early stage, where lay the individual child’s weaknesses and focus additional or remedial education. What I think is so awesome is how individual needs can be addressed, how objective it is with complete automation and how we are developing the skills our community needs the most!

To begin, the actually had instructors go in the Key Train Labs and take the test; in this way we could experience what our students would be experiencing. I am pumped up on this because I completed pre-testing for all 3 of my blocks! We only progress from here…so if anyone has questions about Key Train coming to their school, now I have learned!

Need e-mail help

Seriously, I had two boys square off at one another yesterday. I was able to intervene and separate them with a little police "lingo" that I'll refrain from saying here for the sake of graceful eyes. I realized that I may have to go into the "Cop" mode to protect other kids in these situations. The way I see it, 25% of my student load is either High Risk Intervention kids, "Almost Fry Cook" Kids, or the very precious Special Education Kids. So I have to be on my toes...very little can set these guys off.
Anyway, yesterday, I made my first big e-mail "boo-boo". I sent an invitation to the entire school to my Lab on November 5 which will be the "Pedestrian Under the Influence" drill. My guys will wear "Drunk Buster" goggles and negotiate through an obstacle course with the mighty Dr. Burns watching, (with two #2 pencils! )Anyway, the e-mail said..." All are invited to observe the Public Safety 4th period "Pedestrian Under the Influence" drill on November 5 in the yard. This is a very funny drill to watch but it also teaches the kids they shouldn't drink. THAT'S WHAT I MEANT TO SAY...WHAT WAS SENT WAS... "All are invited to observe the Public Safety 4th period "Pedestrian Under the Influence" drill November 5 in the yard. This is a very funny drill to watch but it also teaches the kids they should drink! (I left out the "n't" in shouldn't. Luckily Every administrator in my command found it at the same time and helped me spell it correctly. Every one had a big laugh. I throw the "rookie card" which I'm almost out of.

Friday, October 19, 2007

One of them weeks

Seems like everything that could happen this week did. PSAT took kids from 1st and 2nd, breakfast for some of the kids took them from first on a different you teach or find time to "babysit" so the ones gone don't get behind and have to reteach the material..glad this week is over


After reading Gary's blog I questioned as to whether or not I did the right thing yesterday. I guess I came to the end of my rope with 2 students in my third block. They make up one half of the so-called "Goon Squad" as they have labeled themselves. Four very bright and capable young men. I believe their biggest problem is drug related. They come to class showing the mannerisms of the typical "Doper". I had several talks with them but to no avail. They continued to horse around in the shop, a real safety issue. I wrote out referrals and escorted them to the discipline office recommending that they be taken out of my class. There is a question in my mind that maybe there was something else I could have done.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Compassion for the students

I have read through many of the blogs and I am amazed at how much everyone has attached emotionally to their students. The tone of the discussions have gone from aggravation to compassion and understanding. What a wonderful profession. Bless all of you!!!

Are you a Student-Centered Teacher?

Good Afternoon,
I want to share with you some valuable information I read this week on becoming a Master Teacher. Have you ever asked yourself if you exemplify the qualities of being a "Student-Centered Teacher" and if so what are they? The author states that there are six sure signs of being one.

1. Search for student gifts, talents and potential. Do you frequently look for and see more in students than they see in themselves or than their parents see in them? When we constantly look for talents, gifts and hidden potential in our students, we are being a student-centered teacher.

2. When students don't learn, do you make it a professional practice to find out why and change the situation? We should seek to overcome the barriers against learning and be commited to see that all students find success in learning.

3. Do you employ and adjust teaching strategies in response to what a student needs rather than how you like to teach? Modifying, customizing, and personalizing your lesson plans are vital in being a student-centered teacher.

4. Always look for opportunities to teach. An observation, an insight, a newly discovered interest, or even a current event can be the stimulus for the student-centered teacher.

5. Does your greatest joy come in the succes of your students? When this aspect of student-centeredness is at the core of our work, students know it. They see us among their greatest advocates, fans, and resources.

6. Are you surprised or disappointed when you hear collegues place limits on what they are willing to do to ensure that students learn? Our first concern should be how students will be affected and how we can enhance learning opportunities for them, not whether it is convenient or easy for us.

Remember the strength of our impact is determined by our focus on and commitment to students. When students understand that we know them, believe in them, are committed to them and see our success intertwined with their success, there is almost no limit to what can be accomplished together.


Never Give Up!

Maternity Leave

This week has been very busy again as usual. I don't know how much longer I will have with my students before I go on maternity leave. My family and I went to Dawsonville last weekend to shop at the outlets and eat out for my husband's birthday. It had been a crazy day. We started out getting our flu shots, going to the grocery store, then I had a baby shower at my church. After all that we headed out for Dawsonville, which is about 1 1/2 hours from home. When we started back home about 10:30 that night, coming across the mountain, I started having contractions about every 5-10 minutes. I had preterm labor with my daughter so I knew what to do. I went home and drank a ton of water and put my feet up. The contractions went away and I haven't had any since. I will be 35 weeks this Saturday. I will see the doctor on Monday. I will keep you all posted. I hope I make it to the Thanksgiving break which starts November 16th. I have started my long-term lesson plans. It is hard to plan for a sub who knows nothing about healthcare. I am trying to do things like effective communication, and human growth and development. She is a certified teacher but her area is middle school math. I am considering putting some medical math into my lesson plans as well. If anyone has any good lesson plans for a long term sub please send them to me. I teach all three levels so I can use anything. Jamie

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Making Cooperative Learning Work, Chapter Four

I think when someone does a good job, they should be told about it. I just wanted to thank Mr. S and Ms. P for being my partners in the Rubrics. That was the name of our presentation group. I think very highly of Mr. S and Ms. P that I had to tell the rest of the class about their dedication to excellence. We presented our presentation this past Monday and Dr. B and the class thought we did a good job. It was interesting to me because Ms. P, in my opinion, was the backbone of the group. She presented the beginning and end parts of the presentation and also assembled the power point slides. It's obvious she spent quality time perfecting the slide show. She kept Mr. S and myself informed about what she was doing by calling us and sending us emails. The slides back ground immediately caught Dr. B attention. Mr. S also did an out standing job with his part of the presentation. He related selected parts of Chapter Four to experiences he have with his students in his automotive program. The pictures he took was worth a thousand words. He also shared with the class his experience with group work while working with an automotive shop. Both of them gave 100% effort and I enjoyed working with them.

I highly recommend you all read Chapter Four. It gives information on topics such as individual examinations, collaborative testing, group-graded projects, and special situations. It really makes a teacher think about what is fair when assigning grades and what is not. After reading this chapter, I am going to assign more individual tasks so students can get grades that reflect their work and not their peers.

Making Cooperative Learning Work is going to be in my book collection for a long time. I learned lots of vauable information from this book and I'm glad Dr. Burns chose to do this project.


Hectic Week

I went to Jekyll this weekend with HOSA for the Fall Leadership Conference. We had a great time. The kids were well behaved and did not give me any problems. Monday I had to stay home because my daughter was sick. When I came back to school, my students jokingly accused me of skipping school. They were excited about the trip and they were very appreciative. Tuesday my kids started their first day of job shadowing. Again they were so excited. They intern at various sites: Nursing home, animal hospital, dentist office, OBGYN office, pediatrician's office, and the fire station. Between setting up internships, HOSA, teaching, and NTI I am exhausted. I hope to get some rest this coming weekend.

Reading to my students

Our 4th period is way too long. We have 2000 (or more) students at our school and they had to come up with something to feed everybody. They divide 4th period into four 30-minute time slots for lunches. Two of the time slots are for class, one segment is lunch time, and the remaining 30 minutes are for Voluntary Tutoring time or Study Hall time in their 4th period classroom. For my 4th period class it breaks down like this:

A Lunch = Students eat lunch (It's my lunch time too)
B Lunch = Tutoring/Study Hall
C&D Lunch = 4th Period Class Time

I really wish I could have had class time first and then lunch and study hall. But these are the cards I was given this year. So I am trying to make lemonade out of lemons.

Pretty much, that tutoring and study hall time has been non-productive time for my students. You could count on one hand how many students were actually studying or doing anything productive.

I love reading. One day, I really want to be a reading teacher. But that's another story.... Anyway, I decided I would read to my 4th period class during study hall time. I knew I would have to present it to them so they thought it was their idea or it would never happen. So, I asked them if there were any good books out there that they would like to read out loud during study hall. I told them that we would read any book they liked, and we could take turns reading it out loud, and I didn't mind taking a turn first. At first they moaned and groaned and said NO, they NEVER want to read out loud, and how BORING could that be, and they HATED to read books. So, I said well, I've got a lot of good books at home. How about if I bring some in and you can take a look at them and see if there is anything you think we might all enjoy. We can try it and if you don't like it, well, we can stop reading.

So, I picked out several books. One by Diana Gabaldon. Another by Janet Evanovich. One by Toni Morrison. And I brought in the book that is the compilation of the diaries that all the kids in the Freedom Writers movie wrote. I showed them all to 4th period and told them a little about the story lines from each of the books. At first they were still hesitant. Ms. Dial, we are not in elementary school! We don't want our teacher to read to us! Again, I told them that we could take turns reading if they liked, and that I would be happy to start. So, they decided they would like to read the Freedom Writers diaries. They liked it because it is not censored, the students wrote whatever they wanted to write in their diaries. I told them that I would read the book exactly as it was written, bad words and all, except I refused to say the "F" word or use the Lord's name in vain, so I would just say "F" or "GD" for those words, but all other words I would read. I asked if anyone would be offended by hearing all these "bad words." They laughed so hard they were rolling in the aisles, Ms. D, we hear a whole lot worse than that right here in the hallways.

So, I started reading to them. They made sure that I knew this was "just to see if we like it." If they didn't like it then I would stop reading. The first day I read to them for about 10 minutes. The next day, they came in the door wanting to know if I still had that book here and could we keep reading. It has been a week now, and everyday we have been reading the entire study hall time. They like for me to read to them. I bring a chair and sit down in the middle of the room. They sit all around me in their desks so each one can hear every word.

I am thrilled! They even want to hurry up and get done with our classwork so any leftover time we can keep reading. Word has spread, and I am now reading during "leftover time" to my 5th and 6th period classes too.

I hope I am not going to teacher-hell for reading this book and all the bad words too. But the students love it because it is real. These were real students with big issues and they poured their hearts out in their diaries. Some of them make you cry. Some make you laugh. But they are all real.

Somehow, I feel like I am helping my students with their reading skills. Even though I am the one doing the reading, they are still learning. It teaches them that books are good, that books are enjoyable. And, who knows, they just might decide to read a book just because...

I guess I should have cleared the selection of books with my principal first, but now I will just have to beg forgiveness if there is an issue. So far, so good. I sure hope I am not on my way to teacher-hell!

If you are still reading this blog, THANK YOU for sticking with it!

Treat em' like their your own!

Sometimes it's hard to discipline a kid who is just a major pain and then be able to still like him/her at the end of the day or the next morning. I've caught myself leaning away from kids who are excessive in this area and maybe paying less attention to them when all the while they need their fair share. I've decided that I will try to treat them the same way that I would treat my own kids, (you know a little 2 by 4 upside the head or a good boot in the seat of the pants every once in a all know I'm joking right!) But really, I love my kids and would gladly give my life for either of them and maybe I should feel the same way about these here? We have to always realize that discipline administered in the right way simply says " I love you"!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Thanks from a student

At our school we have student of the month every month. I really think about this and give it to the student that I believe deserves it. Not because this student has the highest grade, but because I feel like he tries all around. Last week we picked our students for last month,we're running a little behind[ha,ha] so I thought about it and picked a student that I didn't have for 10 days at the first of the year because his home school had him in ISS. We talked about the reason he was in ISS and I explained to him my opinion about what he had done,and we talked about life and the decisions we make. I told him that change starts with the man in the mirror,if you don't like what's happening in your life you have the power to change it. In my class he has shown consistant improvement. I didn't tell him that I had chosen him for student of the month, so when the lady came to take him to have his picture made I just called him to the front of the class and told him to go with her. He looked at me as if he had done something wrong, I assured him that he wasn't in trouble and they left to take his picture. When he came back to class we were in the lab, he walked over to me and all he said was Thank You. That's the first time in two years that a student has thanked me for choosing them, most just come back to class and act as if nothing has happened. Today report cards went home, this student brought his report card to me to show me at the 4 weeks progress report he had a 48 in a class and now he has a 71. He is passing all of his classes. Some kids haven't really met the man in the mirror, but sometimes a little encouragement and explanations can make them see that this reflection can be the start of a whole new life. I'm proud of him and he's proud of himself.These little bright spots make up for several dim spots in the world of teaching.

Another Day in Paradise!!!

Well we've started another very exciting week. Friday was actually a teacher work day we only had one meeting and the rest of the day was ours and as if it just couldn't get any better our principal let us go home at 1:30. Alright back to my topic, since I've been a teacher I've realized that a day can only be as bad as you make it, or in other words you get out of the day what you put into the day. If you wake up in the morning in a bad mood 97 percent of the time you will have a bad day if you wake up in a good mood- you have a good day. Every morning we as teachers are required to watch our hallway to make sure all the students behave and that they are cleared out of the halls after the bell rings, and I imagine most of you teachers know what happens when teachers stand around in a group together? They start talking about something negative or how they have it so bad and there is nothing physically wrong with none of them or their families, so when they ask me how my day is- I always say "it's just another day in paradise" I know we all go through hard times, but lets face it. Things could be much worse than this if you don't believe me just go and visit a nursing home you will see that we really have it great. So just think positive and keep your head up, and what other job can you go to that after the end result you look back and see your passions being shared in the lives and hearts of so many other people. One more thing before I close this blog down, I don't have a big budget so I came up with a auto detailing class for my second period which is 95% special needs and in that class I found a student who no one thought could do anything. He is turned out to be an excellent auto detailer and now he has the hope of getting to have a normal job for the first time in his life. Hope- is there anything better or more satisfying than that? He told me yesterday that for the first time in his life he feels he is not just plain dumb and that there is something for him. I think I held my head seven inches higher that day because I felt the passion teaching brings. I hope all is going well.-- Riley

Advisory Committees

Does anyone have a sample letter that they use to invite people to be on an advisory committee? I'm really clueless here and this is something I have been supposed to have been doing. I can't find anyone in my school who is supportive and will take some time to explain this process to me, let alone how I go about finding people willing to sit on the committee itself. Any help out there would be greatly appreciated! :)

Today has been a better day overall. I'm definitely ready for the weekend though!

Monday, October 15, 2007


I have stressed the importance of teamwork and unity in my class all year. The students have responded. They encourage each other and work together. I was pleased with their progress until the other day when one of the students got in a fight on the bus and two others jumped in saying "We're Construction class B#####"!" I'm not sure whether I've created a sense of unity and pride in our class or a street gang.

Most of us (vocational ed. teachers) get students who are not functioning well in a traditional school environment. That's just a fact of life for most of us and I sometimes I have to be reminded that I cannot expect for students to make a complete turn around in nine weeks after a lifetime of negative behaviors, frustration and failure in a traditional school environment.

I'm disappointed with these boys but I just don't see taking away extracurricular activities (I can do that at my school) for an extended period over this incident. They were suspended and I feel that is enough. Also, the students involved have not been disciplinary problems in class. I do not want to "beat them down". I do want them to do an assignment about how they could have avoided this incident. This is my gut feeling about how to handle this situation but I would appreciate some input.

Is it Friday yet !

WOW! Went to my first HOSA conference. It was great. received a lot of new ideas, received very little sleep and we drove back after closing ceremony.(Got back home little after 0200) Can't wait until competition in March. Today was hectic. I had a conference first thing. Initially I could not figure out as to why we had a conference. The student in question had an A in my class and was doing well in another. Well when the other teachers arrived, I learned that she was failing her other classes. The student they described was not the same one in my class. I have to admit I was surprised. I really enjoy the student and have not had any trouble. Hopefully the student will continue to do well. I also needed to finish grading papers and had class tonight. I have to say, I'm Pooped out!!! BUT I'm still loving it in the classroom. Every day is a new learning experience. With all of this, I'm ready for Friday!

Living for the Weekend

Hey everyone,

The week has started out good, no major complaints. That's because I am out of here this weekend. I am taking a much needed mini vacation. Please don't be jealous! (lol)

My entire day has focused on the T.I. situation. I decided to print the affidavit and give the students an assignment based on that. Can you believe I had great feedback from the students? We were able to talk about a celebrity and still get a criminal justice related assignment completed without much complaint, I must add.


I'm sure you all are feeling the same! I just got back home from my nephew's wedding in Tallahassee. I really wanted to go to the HOSA FLC in Jekyll this year but family is more important!
It's Monday morning and I was excited to come in and see what my students had done with the assignment I left for them on Friday. Much to my dismay, the sub didn't pass along that it was HOMEWORK and for a GRADE and nevermind that they had a QUIZ today she was to remind them of...I made them take the quiz anyway after giving them 15 minutes to study. I had told them everyday last week about it. As far as homework, I told them to have it by tomorrow. This just puts me an extra day behind now as to what I was originally planning to do for this week.
Jessie is coming Thursday and I feel TOTALLY unprepared for her visit. Hopefully I can get it together by then. I was hoping she could watch student presentations over their group collaboration projects but that plan was blown out of the water last week when half the teachers decided to rip half the school out for about 4 different field trips (unannounced of course!). So, I guess Jessie will get to watch them work on their groups projects.
To make matters worse, a student caught two other students on Myspace during class the other day. She came to me and told me and I wrote them up after going back into the computer to verify it. Our media specialist found out about it and wanted a list of websites they were on. I printed her out a 30 page (gasp!) list of all the potential websites they could have been on that day to go around our firewall. Then she asked me to block them all...if only I had an extra 48 hours in a day.
I really, really, really hate to be negative all the time. I am trying to find something positive to say. The weather is beautiful and I'd rather be on the golf course. There. Have a great Monday! :)


I have a great relationship with the teachers I work with, however I often get a little frustrated when they don't step up to the plate and address some of the school infractions in plain view. I feel that when everyone(Admin.,Teachers,Staff, etc) are on the same page than we can accomplish more. Often times I see student walking down the hall with IPODS,Phones,etc and they pass 6 teachers and I have to be the one to ask them to put it away. Don't get me wrong...I know what battles to fight and how to handle situations but our jobs can be a lot more effective if ALL chip in and enforce some things. Teacher presence doesn't hold any weight and it is pitiful because I can think about when I was in High School and if certain teachers came your way you immediately found somewhere else to it appears that the students DARE teachers to say anything to's ridiculous!. We as teachers need to show them that we RUN THE SCHOOL...not them!
I know that if 7-10 teachers are on the watch then you are not likely to break the rules....
But as we know some teachers need a little guidance as well(*stay tuned for future BLOG about that subject)

Mid Terms

Whew! Glad that over with. I went from having to turn in a copy of my mid term test to my department head last year into turning it in to 4 different parties this year. Seriously, is there any valid excuse for this? Can they not just share? I always thought it would be easier having 3 on the ball administrators but when they don't all think alike, its really tough because they all come to you with 3 different things to do at once. The test are nothing more than a tiny portion of what I have to sometimes deal with. Also, I went from having 3 observations and 3 snapshots last year to now having 2 observations, 6 snapshots, the board of education doing random walk throughs, and the department of education is coming to check for knowledge (not simply posting) of standards. But they say "Oh, dont worry, this is not a GOTCHA". The politics never seem to amaze me. I guess this is where I simply play the game and flatter them with bullshit. After all, this is indeed what they seem to want. If they really cared about quality education, they would stop taking away instructional time for thier satisfaction of mind or whatever it is they are after.

Fall Break

Man, this fall break just isn't long enough! I have several of last years graduated students that have the same interest as I do (Racing, ATV's, IE) and I meet up with them from time to time at the dragstrip or motocross track and hang out for the day. Is this wrong or unethical to do such a thing? I know Ive heard of this "cant be your friend" stuff, but is there any exception to this?

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Mid Term

Well , our mid-term exams will be administered on tomorrow. On Tuesday , we will have observers in the classrooms from the downtown office. I understand their observations will determine whether we will become a small school or continue working towards small learning communities. I had my first observation by the department's academy leader on this past Thursday. I have not received any feedback as of yet but I am looking forward to seeing the comments. I saw Esther and Tracey in Jekyll. We returned after 4:00 p.m. I guess I will unpack and prepare for tomorrow. Take care.

Not enough time in a day

One step forward, and several steps backward,
Man! I thought I was getting ahead in school work. I got all of my assignment graded now I need to enter them in the computer. I have a parent conference 3:45 it goes until 5:00. The softball team needs a bus driver to take them to Lost Mtn to play in a tournament. The team lost. The time is 7:30 when I get back to school. Well do I stay and enter grades, or do I go home. What ever happen to when you put in a days work, you get a days pay! are there any more 8 to 5 jobs out there.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Video Tape of Class

Well, I had a student video tape our class Thursday. Overall, I guess it was a good class. I know Jessie and Dr. B said to get past the part about how we look and how we sound, but.... I have never liked the way my voice sounds on tape anyway but this tape really shows the Alabama Redneck accent that I have! I'm beginning to wonder how the kids can stand to hear me! And I already know that I am too fat, but the tape shows not only how fat I am but how short I am to boot! Like a roly-poly bug. You know the bugs I'm talking about? They have a million legs and when you touch them or pick them up they roll up into a ball. Maybe they are just Alabama bugs. Ha! Ha! Oh well, I am going to get past all that and get my assignment done.

Overall, I think it was a good class. I used my new Promethean Board to play some games that came on a DVD with our textbooks. I had to explain to the kids how to use the pen like a mouse on the board. They caught on in just a few minutes and were off and running. They liked the big size of the board and the sound. They had fun and they were learning at the same time. They liked being taped. I had told them the day before that we would tape our class. They all were excited about that, calling themselves movie stars. Ha! Ha! They want to see the tape, so I guess I will show it to them later.

Of all things, right in the middle of class, 3 students from my 5th period class come in and one of the girls walks right up to me to ask a question. I just answered her and kept right on with the class. Jessie and Dr. B said they wanted to see real life things so I guess this is a real life interruption! It was definitely unexpected! Ha! Ha!

Oh, and I noticed that one of my students had her cell phone clipped to her belt! I had not seen that! I would have had to take it away from her, take the phone to the office, and write it all up. But I did not see it at all until I looked at the tape!

Against my better judgment, I let my husband watch the video with me. To my surprise, he had lots of nice things to say. He was even trying to help the students answer the questions and he was all into which team had the most points. He told me he thought I was a good teacher. That boosted my ego! And I appreciated his kind words!


At-risk students

Here are twelve words that I learned at a multicultural seminar this past week that will be helpful to our students when taking test.
1. Trace 2. Analyze 3. Infer 4. Evaluate 5. Formulate 6. Describe 7. Support 8. Explain
9. Summarize 10. Compare 11. Contrast. 12. Predict. The ones commonly used are 6, 8, 10, 11.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Book'em Danno

At the first of the week I posted about the kid dipping in my class.Then when I sent him to see the A.P. he lied and told him that he wasn't. The A.P. suggested that we talk to him together,so we did yesterday.After about ten minutes of him denying that he was dipping and saying that he was tired of being accused by everyone,We got a confession,Some of the responses to my first post helped .I told him it bothered me more that he had lied to us about it than him actually dipping.
The A.P.said we needed to start tag teaming these things.It worked out great.My A.P. and I are trying to decide on some type of work detail instead of ISS .Because most kids like ISS. Thanks for all your responses.

Unemployed or unemployable

The significant number of young men that are unemployed because of the lack of needed skills in the work place is growing. Unless they ditch the falls pride that is getting them nowhere and assume their responsibilities for themselves and their family the better it will be.

Many of them do not stand a chance because they are either unskilled or illiterate. This as a glaring manifestation of the problems that has been raised and discussed in various forums across the U.S.A over the past five years or so.

Skill centers and schools like ours are available but are not being utilised sufficiently by our students, school counselors and politicians. What needs to be addressed is the lack of will and motivation by our young men and women to take advantage of these existing opportunities.
Even as these teenagers and young adults grow older they do not advance to higher education and the percentage who return to school to acquire what they should have obtain in high school is very low.

Whatever the cause or causes, the implications for the stability of our society are frighting. The large amount of unemployed and unempolyable young men and women make them easy recuits for gangs drugs and other crimes.

Happy Friday!

I hope all of you had a GREAT week and will enjoy the wonderful weather we are expecting. I had a very tiresome week and am looking forward to a 3 day weekend. I want to thank you all for the comments on my post concerning Online Masters Programs. I am in the beginning stages of my research and really find it hard to believe the cost of these programs. If anyone hears of a GREAT online masters program offered through a Georgia college, please let me know.

Thanks to Jessie for the valuable information and pros and cons of the program I mentioned in my last blog. I do believe that as a result of sharing our ideas and experiences via this message board that we are becoming more educated than ever and able to make better future career plans.

On another note, I want to thank Kim and Vincent for the advice on Bloom's Taxonomy questions. It was very conducive to my understanding the meaning of Higher Level questions.
Thanks and enjoy your weekend!
Never Give Up!

Question about Special Ed/SST Students

I understand that legally I must follow their IEP, SST modifications, etc. But what are we really teaching these students. Have they just given up and them and declared that they no longer can learn how to effectively ready, write and comprehend?

I have been modifying the best I can, but some of these students still are failing? Looking for advice on how to "correctly" modify their grades.

Steven V

Through the teeth!

Check this one out,
One of my goof-off"s decides he wants to get serious now that it's at the last end of the first nine weeks and he's failing. So he comes in after school, makes up a quiz and we have a little chat about his grades, future, etc. He comes into class the next day. I tell him "Okay, you can make up the small hands-on project" that he didn't do. I even offered to let him come after class to finish it if he wasn't able to during class. Next thing I know (maybe 15 minutes later) he's finished! He starts pressing me to grade it right then and put it in the gradebook so he can see his new average. I tell him I'll do it after class. After class, upon thorough examination, I find that he had snuck out to the back of the shop, retrieved one of the other student's same project that was thrown out, brought it back in, spruced it up a bit, brings it over and says "here you are Mr. Connors, I'm done". We'll be having a little chat about that one today! Ya'll have a good one!

Thursday, October 11, 2007


I had 2 fights yesterday. 1 in my first block, 1 in my second. The second fight took place next to my desk. As a result of the ruckus my desk, that I had spent some time modifying to support my desk-top computer and printer, was damaged. It can be repaired and I figured it will be done by the 2 students who were fighting. It's so funny how these guys can go 9 weeks cutting up with each other, working together, helping each other, etc. and then out of the blue something over a stupid piece of candy can set off a war! 1 kid has already been kicked out for a week for fighting. The other is severe ADHD and forgot to take his medication as I found out later from the nurse. A formula for disaster! Anyway, today they will be back in here, as per my request, working together on my desk. I figured for them it would be a good learning opportunity.

1 down 3 to go

well the first 9 weeks are over..only 3 more this year...i have less students failing this year than last..and FALL BREAK IS HERE..YIPEEEE

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Skills USA

Hey everyone,

I am still trying to recover from Jekyll Island. I did see Trevor and Dr. B. This is my second year, and I am so glad they adjusted the schedule and made time for the students to get to know each other. My biggest concern at Skills is that they should have something more for the advisers. Maybe like some team building exercises. I don't see much interaction outside of our groups. I am glad there will be a new location next year because there is nothing to do on the island. I am rethinking this CTSO, maybe I will try HOSA. What do you think Healthcare teachers?

Dismayed by a parent

I recently attended an IEP meeting for a student who was dropping out. I did everything I could to get him to stay in school. The student got a job. He told me he needed to work because of the financial needs of his family. His mother quit her job because she did not want to change colostomy bags when she knew that was part of the job. His father has not worked in years. I don't know why. The only concern this mother had was that her son be allowed to participate in graduation in the Spring. I had a conscientious urge to tell her that if she was so hard up for money that her son needed to drop out of school to support the family she might consider pulling her gold teeth and selling them. Thankfully, I was able to maintain some self control.

Skills USA Leadership Conference

Last weekend, I went to my firs Skills USA function. I was impressed by the energy the students involved put forth. Being a sports coach, I saw a true competitive spirit there and I enjoyed it. Unfortunately, I was not very happy with the location, but that will be changing soon I hear. I think Savannah would be a good alternative. I did learn a lot about the organization and how much work goes on behind the scenes. I feel a lot better prepared to sale the group to my students now.

A Small Glitch Becoming a Huge Problem

Well, I blogged yesterday about my collaborative project and how everyone was taking it well. Truth be told, they are LOVING it from what I can see. Now, after all the time I spent checking and rechecking dates and such, I have had to adjust my presentation start date by almost 2 weeks because no one is communicating on the staff here. We had a faculty meeting last night and three teachers stood up and announced field trips within the next couple of weeks that no one knew about before now. *sigh* I'm so tired of unorganized people thinking they can drop stuff on those of us who are trying our hardest TO get organized and then throwing off a plan by over 2 weeks. These teachers know there is a policy to have these things announced well in advance, but administration is letting them get by with it. I'm trying to stay positive and upbeat about it, but this isn't my week! I'm leaving tomorrow night to go to Florida for my nephew's wedding, and I have everything ready for Friday's sub, but I know she isn't going to do what I've asked. I'm exhausted and ready for another week off to recuperate from the two days I've been back from break last week!
Any suggestions on how to handle all the last minute dumpings? (Pardon my phrasing here!) It happened in nursing too, and I'm sure it's just the nature of the beast. Hopefully someone will have some constructive, or at least witty (I need a good laugh!), advice to pass along!

Running out of room!

Hey Gang!,
I'm finally going to receive my first delivery of construction material today! One problem, I'm running out of room! The football coach is storing his riding lawn mower to mow the practice field in my shop. I have a large amount of space being taken up by old equipment. I've had a transfer form filed out on this stuff since NTI this summer and it's still here! I don't have an outside storage building to store this stuff in so it's going to have to come inside. I hope I'm going to have enough room left lab projects. It's time to tap into my administrative resources and see how well they can bat! Ya'll pray for me!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007


I've explained to all of my students the policy about using dip in school. I caught a student using dip Monday, told him to go spit it out. He replied, "My bad", and went to spit it out. I informed the Assistant Principle about it and he wanted to see the kid in his office. So the next day I sent him into see the principle where the student denied dipping in my class although he has been put in ISS twice this year from other classes. The A.P. told me that he would go ahead and put him in ISS or we could talk to the student together. I told him we would wait and talk to him together. This is a first for me. What's the best way to respond to a student that says he didn't do something that you know he did?

Observation and Everything Else

Today, I was observed by my principal. He came in unannounced at the beginning of 2nd block. I think everything went well. We will have a post-observation meeting soon to discuss how it went. The students were really great once they realized we were being observed. The only thing that I would change, if I knew ahead of time is the subject. I was teaching on cultures today. That is probably the one subject that I know the least about and feel the most insecure about. However, I think it went okay.
It seems that when it rains it pours. I am having an advisory board meeting tonight from 6-8. I am already anxious about that. Yesterday, we started clinical rotations at the hospital; you want your students to do well and be on their best behavior. I also had a MD appt. right after-school yesterday. I have company at my house this week (my husband's parents). I keep thinking that my life is going to slow down, but being 33 weeks pregnant I don't think that will happen anytime soon. I guess this is the life of a mom, wife, teacher, student etc....

Collaborative Learning

After laboring and toiling hours on end to make groups, construct the assignment and put all the paperwork together, and think and rethink how this was going to work, I'm launching my huge project for my Intro students today. Their task in their groups is to teach their peers some of the different healthcare careers that are available. They have several options for extra credit (which they are loving). So far, I've met some resistance (I require them to dress up...they don't want to!) but for the most part, they are pretty receptive and seem to be willing to give this a try. Not to mention that this is a "make it or break it" opportunity for the majority of them. I have told those, especially who are struggling, that if they will put forth their absolute best effort on this, it will be impossible for them to fail this class. We'll see how it goes!


Riley's last entry had a real encouraging tone to it and it helped me to refocus on why I'm a teacher. I have to be willing to take all of the baggage that my students bring with them when they come to school and deal with it as part of the overall picture. The gentleman that helped me get this job told me upfront what I was in for. He told me to throw out any expectations and come in with a fully open mind. He works at the alternative school in our district so he was able to give me all of the up-to-date worst case scenarios. So when I came to Carver here in Columbus I had the real heads-up. Some days it seems worse than he told me but I'm dealing with it. We have to be able to adjust our strategies. Y'all keep your chins up as my Dad always says.

Monday, October 8, 2007

same complaint different post

i just love the professional learning days but rather than getting classroom stuff done we have to sit in faculty meetings..we have one kid that has a severe peanut allergy..they put signs up on the door, and took peanut butter sandwiches out of the lunchroom..enough is enough..yet we have to suffer through a faculty meeting with an allergist talking about all the dangers of food allergies.....what is this world coming to? not to mention the rain forest they killed just for allergy handouts.

Keep On-Keeping On

Hey All,
This is the end of the first nine weeks and we are busy working on final grades for the report cards. We had a busy week, with spirit week (which went better than I expected), homecoming, pep rally, parade, signing up for teacher work classes for our professional learning day, voting on Queen and King, and ETC...In many ways, this nine weeks has gone by fast. BUT, in many other ways it has dragged on forever! As I read every one's blog, I realize that this small world- truly is a small world. We all seem to be experiencing a lot of the same situations, students misbehavior, overcrowding, observations, report card, etc..and well honestly-- it takes a world to raise a child. I hope to encourage someone in some way today, keep on - keeping on. This job truly has it's rewards, sometimes we just have to wait on 'em. I'm trusting that the best is yet to come! -Riley

Sunday, October 7, 2007

What do I say?

Well, I don't know what to talk about. I have been doing my grades for next progress report due 10/15/07. I still don't have my computer back it was stolen last year. So I am using my computer and a copy of a borrowed program. I can't get the school to give me a computer to use this year because they are waiting to find my stolen computer. oh well, I have the major part of my grading done, but not my work for class tomorrow. I am still working on that, but I remembered that I did not communicate last week.

Good news, I have not received a write-up in two weeks! Someone came by on Friday to look at my classroom space and I may get moved, again! I am learning to pick my battles with my students better. My application's class (health science II) are working on a group project--a brochure about hypertension. It was due on Friday, many of the students did not complete it. I received two on time. One copied to my computer and two promises to email me the brochure on Friday (I did not get them). There were five groups of four in that class. Everyone was unhappy with their group members. The team of two girls and two boys broke up because the girls did the brochure without the boys and turned it in. So, I am helping the boys put their brochure together (like the project manager). I will look for one of the Ga Tech tutors to help with the development next week. The guys really wanted to help with the group of girls, but they would not work with them. I believe I have a lot to learn about cooperative learning.

Well, I got to go I have a presentation tomorrow and about 18 hours to go! sperrin

Learning Curve

This week has been another incredible week. I can't get over how fast it goes by!!! before I know it it's friday!!! TGIF !!! I just love Fridays. Our school had it's first pep rally and first home football game. One of my students asked if I could wear his football jersey on Friday as well as at the football game. I did. Call me crazy, but even through the hardships of having to learn so much, call parents, complete paperwork, get little rest, I am still enjoying the students. I have come to realize the kids that could care less are a small fraction compared to those who actually want to do well. They are just walking hormones with drama at times. This whole year is just a huge exhausting learning curve !!


I've been reading the blogs too. Seems like a lot of us have had a tough week. Guess the honeymoon for this school year is officially over. Ha! Ha!

I have been as tired as I've ever been this week. Just worn out. We had spirit week, and while that was a lot of fun, it was also very stressful. The SGA kids had a lock-in last Saturday and worked hard decorating the hallways. When the students got there on Monday, within the first hour they had mutilated some of the decorations, and generally were trying to trash the school. Our principal had to intervene on several occasions. I would say the majority of kids were enjoying themselves and having a good time. But it is those handsful of students who seem to just be trouble-makers and want to spoil things for everyone.

Anyway, I am glad this week is over. To make matters worse, one 16yr old boy who went to our school last year and for a few days this year, was in a terrible wreck. He died Thursday evening at Grady. His girlfriend is in my 2nd period class. His funeral will be Monday at 4:30pm, so I am sure lots of our students will be attending. I didn't know him but lots of the students knew him. Our principal is trying to decide if we need the grief counselors to come to our school since the student was not officially enrolled at our school now. I think we should. We will see what the decision is on Monday.

I have been just wiped out this weekend. I don't think anyone could possibly tell new teachers about how physically, mentally, and emotionally draining teaching is. Teaching is truly the hardest job I have ever had....


Behavior Like CHILDREN?

I could not help but see a common tread in all of the postings I was reading...students are behaving like children, and not like the little, responsible, motivated and self-discipled smaller adults we need them to be. That would be only so that they can realize and appreciate the fine resource provided to them by having "us" as their teachers!

It gets hard, but we must force ourselves to go back to those lessons we learned back in Developmental Psychology...these youngsters may be housed in bodies that are large, and adult-like, but their brains are still immature. The human brain continues to go through profound developmental changes in thinking, reasoning abilities, and sound judgment-making abilities until the age of 21, or 23 in some cases. We are teaching immature children, not adults, and we should remind ourselves of that fact frequently as a method of maintaining personal sanity!

I have a co-worker who phrases it less tactfully, "Essentially, their brains are not what they should be yet, so in essence they are still retarded; not yet fully developed in their mental processes." Think that when they start to get on your last nerve!

Saturday, October 6, 2007

A Crazy Friday

Yesterday,in all 3 of my classes the students were off the chain. The 1st periord had about 6 students who decided to play with a lighter. Another student decided he would just get up and leave class. In the 2nd period at least 18 out of 22 decided they would sing rap songs as if they were at a concert ( outdoors ). After asking them to stop several times, then a group of boys and girls decided they wanted to have a rap singing "battle'. The 3rd period boys decided they would socialize in a group and tell jokes. As you can imagine, I wrote quite a few disciplinary forms and forwarded them to the administrator. Can you imagine these scenarios for 90 minutes each , in one day ? When they end up failing the class because of failure to complete assignments and to pass exams , they wonder why. Out of about 70 plus students , only about 15-20 shows interest in learning . I doubt if the students involved will receive any consequences for their actions , even though the instructional environment was disrupted . After this week and with the students having a day off on Monday, there's no telling what to expect on Tuesday. Is there any hope for this generation of teens ?

Friday, October 5, 2007


Okay you guy's. I've been reading all of these mushy entries and I figured I'd better go ahead and get mine in. Now that I've figured out how this blog thing works, I'm finding that there is a therapeutic quality about it. We didn't have a chance to really get to know each other this summer although I felt closer to everyone after the summer session. But now with this blog thing and everyone sharing all of their deepest feelings I feel like we're a lot closer. (excuse me while I wipe away these few tears, I'll be O.K. in a minute) But anyway, being able to read this stuff makes me realize that I have a real team beside me and people who can relate all around to what I'm going through! I love you guys! (uncontrolled sobbing, no I'm just kidding) But really, I love all you guys, Dr. B, Jessie, Jennifer and all of the rest of the teachers, you guys rock!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

When is enough - "enough"

I have several students in my classes that absolutely have no desire to learn. They will actually turn in their tests completely blank. I have spoken to each one of their parents and their parents all say the same thing - that they will continue talking to their child, but they are having attitude problems with them at home as well.

I have tried motivating these students every way possible, but it seems that I am hitting a brick wall with them. These students are also the ones that I am also having discipline problems with.

I know that a teacher should never give up trying to motivate and influence their students, but when is enough just that - enough!!!! I have other students that want to learn, but are being "Cheated" out of learning because of the distraction these students bring!!!

These students have been given detentions, ISS and their parents have been called. Advise will be greatly appreciated!!!!!

Steven Vinsant

Angel Email

O.K. I am going to try this again. I sent a post but some how it got deleted. Anyway, I had a hard week this week. One day during my planning period, I decided to have a pity party with myself. While I crying in my office, I said to myself I got to get back to work so I started checking my e-mails. I saw that an e-mail had just been sent and it was from a student of mine that had graduated last year. She said that this was her first day of college at Griffin Tech and that she decided to send me an e-mail. She told me about her classes and that the professors don't mess around. She said she was just thinking about me and wanted to say thank you for preparing her for college life. I know that the Lord prompted her to e-mail me because I needed it. It came just at the right time. It was to remind me that I am where I am supposed to be. We as teachers definitely have a purpose and I thank the Lord for the reminders that He has given me. We all just need to hang in there and receive the blessings. I hope you all have a wonderful weekend. Tracy

Angel E-mail


My counselors are killing me...if it's not the "Who's Who of the Behavioral/I hate School/I'll be old enough to drink in 6months crew" than it's "let's put them in Mr. Wright's class"{because he has plenty of room....}
According to my Vocational Supervisor(Asst. Principal) we (CTAE) will lose some type of funding???? not sure what he said earlier in the year???? .......If we have over 28 students in our class. Well, the counselors are not concerned about that and continue to pile them in....I ONLY HAVE 28 BOOKS...can we say "PROBLEM!!!"...sharing is out the window, they are class room books and I used them regularly. Lucky Dr. S (Voc. Sup) supports us(CTAE) and hopefully things can get worked out.....Every child deserves the attention of their teacher...I can't do that with my numbers......

...this is a certified "VENT"..sorry!


So many of my kids are in great need of a mouth washing! I've decided to award detention slips to all who can't hold their tongues. I'm beginning to realize that we may be the only people available to teach these kids some common decency. What thoughts could you share on the subject?

Online Masters Programs

This goes out to all of you who may be considering a Masters Degree in the near future. In my research I came across this and and thought it would be good for my area. Let me know your thoughts esp. Dr. B and Mrs. H since you both have completed your Masters. Is online easier? Have you heard anything good about Argosy? It will cost about $21,000 upon completing? Is this typical of the online degree programs? Would you say it can be done in the Spring or wait until completing NTI spring program? Please advise...

MAEd in Instructional Leadership online program
Program Overview

Argosy University developed the Master of Arts in Education (MAEd) in Instructional Leadership program for educators that want to develop or enhance their classroom skills, become curriculum supervisors, or become educational leaders with instruction as their main focus. The program is designed for working professionals who want to achieve balance among their career, family, and education.
You can develop core practical and academic skills in analysis, learn current trends and advanced techniques in curriculum design, and generally enhance you abilities in and around the classroom. Courses cover the practical, historical, philosophical, psychological, social, technical and theoretical aspects of education.

As a MAEd in Instructional Leadership graduate student, you will gain the professional skills required to compete for titled roles such as:
Assistant Principal
Community College Instructor
Educational Administrator
Elementary School Teacher
High School Teacher
Middle and Secondary School Teacher
Occupational Instructors
Preschool & Kindergarten Teacher
School Administrator
Secondary School Teacher
Special Education Teacher
Technical, Trade or Industrial Instructor

Argosy University is a leader in graduate-level education and supports one of the largest graduate student communities in the nation.

Occupational Outlook
According to the U.S. Department of Labor 2006-07 Occupational Outlook Handbook, "Employment of instructional coordinators is expected to grow much faster than average (increase 27% or more) for all occupations through the year 2014. Over the next decade, instructional coordinators will be instrumental in developing new curricula to meet the demands of a changing society and in training the teacher workforce."
Source: U.S Department of labor – Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook 2006-2007 Edition.