This past week was sewing with my CTE (7th graders). Let's just say I was so nervous about it. I wasn't sure how sewing a locker hanger was going to go over with my students because the vast majority of them had never used a sewing machine before. I was stressed that they wouldn't finish and we would be seriously far behind. I was also worried about their fingers because I have heard horror stories from my mentor teacher of what kids have done in the past.
Well, it all worked out!!! I had to warn one of my classes on the last day for sewing that if they choose to keep talking instead of sewing and were not able to finish the project that they would all have to take partial grades because the project had to be finished today. That seemed to help because the kids started "ssshhhhhhing" their peers and fortunately they did finish. I also have a different period that is so well behaved and finished sewing so early that I allowed them to use the decorative stitches. Those kids LOVED it and it was so rewarding to watch them all just enjoy sewing. A few of them got carried away with the decorative stitches and turned their pockets into patches because they sewed across the top. Tragically, I did not make it through all of my classes with no accidents! :( I didn't think I had to warn the kids to pay attention to their fingers while they were using scissors to cut off a corner of their locker hanger. Apparently I did because not only did he clip his corner but he also clipped his finger. But, we had no sewing machine accidents and I am so grateful for that! :)
One of the Bell Ringers I had my 7th grade write this week was in celebration of National Sewing Month. (Its real, I promise!) Anyway, I had them either write a poem or short story or draw a picture about their experience with sewing. I loved looking at them to grade! I had one kid write a song and some really cute poems. Several of the pictures were classic! One of the pictures had a before and after. The before picture showed the kid really angry with a thought bubble saying "Sewing is for GIRLS!" The after picture showed him calmed down and happy and saying "Sewing is awesome!!" I loved that! I don't know if any of my 7th graders will ever sew again (my mentor teacher sure hopes they do and I have to constantly keep trying to "sell" the 8th grade class) but I was grateful to see that they have enjoyed their *brief* experience with sewing!
I added my second class subject this week, FACS Exploration. So now I am teaching 2 subjects and 5 periods. That is so much grading! (Sidenote: I *love* having a TA!!!!! She is my grade saver and I am so thankful to have her in one of my periods!) Anyway, teaching my FACS class for the first time seemed to go pretty well on one day. The kids all warmed up to me pretty well and accepted that I would be teaching them now. The other period did not go over so great! Those kids were not warned that I would be starting to teach them so that alone was a shock to their systems. Then it just got worse as I explained the concept of a bell ringer to them. My mentor teacher has never done them and she just allows the kids to do whatever as class begins and she is taking roll and etc. I think I am way more strict with the kids than she is but I don't know how to manage a huge class without some strict guidelines. For example the bell ringer. Purpose: have kids in their seat and quiet when the bell rings. I don't know their names and can't take roll with everyone wandering around. This period just kept getting worse because I made them take a pre-test instead of allowing them to continue working on their "Log Cabin" pillow. They all shot darts at me through their eyes and by the time the period ended, I was almost certain that most of them hated me.
The next time I had these kids in class, I started out by celebrating the weekend! I asked what fun weekend plans they were doing and talked with them. That definitely helped to easy the tension. After we talked about their exciting plans, I then read them the bell ringer and they all started working. Yeah! :) Later as I was connecting my computer to the projector, I gave them permission to get up from their assigned seats and go talk with anyone they wanted. Once the computer was connected correctly, they would have to return to their assigned seats. That was probably the best thing I did that entire day even though it only lasted for maybe 2-3 minutes. This class of 8th graders is so friendly and talkative and they hate being in their assigned seats. I doubt this reward/ behavior management would work with all of my classes. And honestly, I don't think I want to try because it just adds a little extra confusion but with this particular period the freedom to talk changed the way they felt about me. After that, they all seemed to like me and were willing to sit quietly and take notes while I taught them about grains and symbols.
I didn't realize that Friday is October!!! Every week, I have to have my lesson plans approved by my mentor teacher and then after they are approved I send them to my BYU supervisor. Well, I showed my mentor teacher the plans for the rest of September and she easily approved them. She always does! She (fortunately) thinks I write beautiful lesson plans. (If she didn't like them, I would have to redo either part or all... ugh!) Yesterday morning as I was working on more lesson plans I totally realized I forgot to have Friday approved because I didn't realize it was a different month. Oops! Where has September gone??? Seriously!!! It really has flown by so quickly but then at the same time, it seems to drag out too. I think I feel both because holy cow September is already gone but on the flip side, I still have to teach Oct, Nov and the beginning of Dec.
My teacher work sample is slowly coming along. I don't really have unlimited time to spend with it because I am constantly writing lesson plans nor do I know how to answers all of the different sections and questions. Between super limited time and a difficult prompt, it takes awhile to get it going. Last night I was joking with some friends (Sidenote: I actually was able to see people my own age and friends at that!!! We watched the RS broadcast together!) to bail out of being an education major. This student teaching stuff and Teacher Work Sample is SO much work. But honestly, it is worth it. Watching some of the kids finally understand or being so proud at what they made or etc makes it all worth it! It is a ton of work but I wouldn't trade the experience even if I could.
Well, that about sums up my week! Casey has been so incredibly busy too!!! Last night he was up until 4 am working on a computer assignment. He took a test earlier this week in the testing center and he said that went pretty well. He also took another test last night on BlackBoard.
Earlier this week (or maybe it was last week??? I really can't remember!) his car was having troubles. I think it was the alternator and maybe something else. He was fortunately able to fix it himself but spent several hours doing so. I am deeply grateful he is so handy! :) But since that time that he fixed it, it began to have more problems. Now, it won't shift out of park. Sometimes it will but most of the time it won't. If anyone reading this happens to have any suggestions please let us know. So, it stays in our driveway because I don't trust that I won't get stuck somewhere with the gear shifter refusing to budge. Hopefully that will get fixed soon....