Archive for October, 2010

When Tragedy (almost) Strikes…

I walked in to school this morning to learn of a brutal murder of a science teacher at one of the nearby high schools. This is one of the high schools our upper-classmen attended before SMHS opened. We weren’t sure how those students would be affected, so we knew it would be an unpredictable day, but there was no predicting the main event of the day.

During 3rd period, an announcement was made over the intercom to follow the procedures for a Shelter & Place (sealing off and locking doors to protect from chemical contaminants). I whipped out my masking tape, got to work, and then returned to our Jeopardy review game. Only a few minutes later we were given direction to proceed into a Hard Lock Down. I wasn’t confident in the procedures since I am still so new to Clark County, but my kids walked me through the procedure and we secured the classroom. Per the “Safety Binder” instructions, I had my students move into the far corner and stay quiet (they idea is not to give any shooter or other intruder reason to enter the room). My kids were great. They chatted, texted, listen to music, and napped quietly until the lock down was lifted and we moved on with the day. I am thankful for well organized procedures that kept our school safe from an incident that occurred in the neighborhood just off campus.

Since everyone was shaken up, I amended my lessons to be a bit more low key for the rest of the day. In Honors Physics, they had time to study, turn in missing work, and assemble their notebooks before their test tomorrow. I was chatting with a student who was fiddling with the stapler when all of a sudden here eyes got big. We all realized at the same moment that she had stapled herself; luckily it came out easily without any blood, but she was in quite a bit of pain. I am so glad she was able to find humor in the situation and it broke the tension for the rest of the day!

I am thankful that a day that could have gone wrong went incredibly smoothly: students handled their grief maturely, the entire school followed procedures to ensure safety, and what could have been a major injury ended up being benign. It may seem callous of me to be laughing as I write this, but it does seem to have been a rather fantastical day!

Why I Blog

I was talking with a teacher-friend today about why I started this blog and why I’ve stuck with it. It all started as a way to catalog all the great resources I was receiving in graduate school in a way that I could easily search and access them once I was in my own classroom. Once my student teaching began, the blog became the ideal place to process my experience and seek help from veteran teachers. Now that I am teaching, I am utilizing my grad school resources and finding it just as important to process my days in writing.

I blog because it gives me a connection to other teachers, it provides an outlet for my thoughts, and it records my experiences so I can read back through them in the future. If you have found any of my posts useful, I’m glad; if you have given me advice and suggestions, thank you(!!); and if you just read to be entertained by my antics, I hope you enjoy them – I am so thankful for technology that allows all of this to happen in one place!

I sometimes wonder why other teachers blog – feel free to share your thoughts…

Evidence Things Have Changed…10/7

Six month ago, this was the view of my classroom:

View from Clinton School for Writers and Artists, Room 507


And now this is the view from the window outside my classroom:

The Las Vegas Strip and surrounding mountains from Room 1007

I can’t believe all that has changed; I’m so blessed to be where I am now. Stay tuned for a new opportunity I’m taking advantage of – I’m super excited!

Victory Is Mean 10/6

I’ve been using a pretty serious tough-love approach with my freshmen. Today was there first test and one kid could not keep his mouth shut (to his credit, he wasn’t cheating, he is just unable to stay quiet), so I used my tough love to remind him it was inappropriate to be talking during a test. I never expected what came next:

“Dang, Miss. You’re mean.”

Ha, those of you who know me know it’s a stretch for me to even try to be mean. In a twisted way, this was a huge victory today.

I’m celebrating by getting ready for a match rocket lab tomorrow and an early bed time :)

Extra-Curricular Committments 10/4

Wow, week 6 already! I can’t believe how quickly the school year is passing by. Some days (*achem*, today) feel like they drag by, but most are great. I can honestly say I skipped right over the “survival” stage and made it straight to the “disillusionment” phase; I’m working hard every day to keep a positive attitude and not get sucked into the complaining that permeates every faculty room!

Anyways, it’s only Monday, but I’ve been extremely productive already! Today I met with the other member of the Honor Card Committee to draft an application rubric and Honor Card. We’ll be presenting that to the Administration on Wednesday afternoon. The Honor Card is going to be a great incentive for students to perform well in academics and extra-curricular activities; Honor Card recipients will receive certain school-wide privileges to be determined.

Today I also officially signed up for the Magnet School Committee. Our school is considering an application to become a Sports Magnet school where students can study sports management, athletic training, and other sports-related academic areas. I am excited to be a part of this committee since I had an extremely positive magnet school experience as a student!

Short week this week since Friday is a Professional Development Day!!