Saturday, January 28, 2012

Making Lemonade

We were supposed to take our students on a field trip to the Boston Museum of Science yesterday.  We were going specifically to see the traveling exhibit of Pompeii artifacts since we study ancient Rome and volcanoes in our social studies and science classes.  We were also going to view an IMAX movie about Greek archaeology, again since we also study ancient Greece.  But alas!  Late Thursday afternoon the superintendent asked us to cancel our trip because of an impending ice storm.  The storm arrived on schedule . . . . BUT . . . warmed up a whole lot faster than anticipated, and we didn't even have a delayed start!

So that meant quite a bit of scrambling.  When our trip was canceled we were certain that we'd have at least the delayed start, so we planned a short day.  My teaching partner wanted to show the kids Apollo 13 since they were finishing their study of space exploration so we decided that a shortened day would be a perfect time to that, plus give the kids a "fun" day since we were all disappointed about the trip.  He called me at 6 am Friday to let me know that he hadn't been able to locate a copy of the movie - his wife had lent their copy to a teacher at her school!  So 7:15 am found us both combing the school media collection for a curriculum related video.  Then, because we had a whole day rather than the abbreviated day (2 hour delay) -- we had 2 more hours to fill than we'd planned.  So I pulled out some "emergency" activities for social studies and he did the same for science.

The lemonade part of the day was due to my husband.  (He runs the bus company that supplies the school transportation).  He felt guilty that he'd told the superintendent the roads were clear enough for his drivers but knew that we were scrambling.  (The roads were barely adequate in my opinion!)  He arrived at my classroom door armed with coffee for my partner and me, and enough donut holes for all our students!  What a guy!

Overall, we were pretty stressed, but most of the day was fine.  I did have one incident with a student who called me a jerk because I asked her to move her seat.  She is a very troubled adolescent, and we are working hard on respect.  Fortunately she decided to rethink her response!  Unfortunately she found herself in trouble with another teacher because when she left my room (with a pass) to use the bathroom, she decided to fling soap foam all over the hallway.  On the big plus side:  I had done some midyear testing with my students - the Scholastic Reading Inventory.  When I gave the test at the beginning of the school year 12% of my students scored below basic.  At mid year, only 6% of them are below basic, and the percentage of student who are proficient or advanced has gone up 10% . So despite the poor performance of a number of students on day-to-day assignments in reading, they are progressing and learning something!  I can't tell you how happy that made me feel!  I know if you are or were a teacher, you understand the feeling, especially in this day and age of high-stakes testing.

We ended the day going out to dinner with friends which made for an extremely pleasant end to the day.

P.S.  I am fully recovered from my spill down the stairs earlier in the week!

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