Category: February Vacation

Day One Hundred Eight

Mr. F came in with donuts today, which was absolutely awesome because I hadn’t eaten breakfast (I ran out of granola bars and didn’t realize it, thought I had one more). He, Mrs. T, and I had an impromptu morning meeting as we ate, and at one point The Principal dropped by and complimented us on our teamwork.

Go us.

It was Friday before break and it was snowing, so a bunch of my ninth graders were absent, which… is what it is. I know a lot of parents excused their kids because they’re used to thinking that nothing gets done on days before vacations. But in high school? 

It was a B day in the schedule, so my students did the same thing my other students did yesterday: took a quiz and learned about the fight against ISIS. I thought it went quite well overall; students could work at their own pace, and it was chill and quiet since they were all watching videos with headphones in for part of the block, and reading for the rest of it. A couple of the boys did decide to start making Google Translate say insulting things in Arabic, but I put a stop to that quickly by offering to teach them a handful of polite things, then redirecting them.

The quiz grades were a bit low, so we’ll be revisiting study skills in the not so distant future. I’ll figure out how I want to do that later. For now? It’s vacation! 

And, no, it’s not just a long weekend for President’s Day; I have an entire week off. February break is unique to New England, and done entirely for the benefit of the ski industry, but I’m not complaining about it! 

Day One Hundred Six

Let me tell you about my friend Jonathan. I know the world is better for having him in it; he’s just one of those people. He’s so unconditionally good.

He’s also one of the few people I’ll admit is way smarter than I am. 

And, since he works for the AG down in Massachusetts, he was my guest speaker in APUSGOV this morning. It was amazing, but it almost didn’t happen. The flu is hitting hard, and it got Mr. W, who has everything I need (projector, camera, fancy admin passwords) to use Skype in our school. So I stole his tech and got him on the phone to tell me how to work it.

But then Skype wouldn’t work.

And, I mean, it’s ten minutes into class at that point, so I was a bit panicky. Sooooo I said “screw it” (not out loud), hung up with Mr. W, logged on Facebook (which I’m not supposed to do at work), and did a FB video call.

Forgiveness and permission, you guys…

And, yeah, it was amazing. I already told you Jonathan’s smart. He’s also thoughtful, and humble, and open, and he spoke to my students like he was speaking to his peers. A lot of them want to study law, and do the sort of things he does professionally, so it was such an important conversation for them to have. 

A couple of my ninth graders came in during that block to ask me questions- they’re in study hall- and I could see them listening in, being curious about what was going on. Maybe they’ll want to take the class as seniors. I certainly hope so!

My World classes went pretty well, too, though my Block 4 students struggled with the final part of the lesson (sharing what they’d learned with the rest of their group). They started out strong, but ended up falling off topic or having side conversations. And I get it; it’s Friday before a vacation (it’s a New England thing), almost lunch time, etc, etc… But I did issue a gentle reprimand and ask them to do better next time. Then I ended class by refocusing on the point: key issues in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.

I spent my prep time grading up a storm- got it all done!- and walked out with Mr. S and Mr. F as soon as it was time.

And now I’m on vacation! Woohoo!