Saturday, November 20, 2010

...3 Weeks Later...

Wow. It's been WAYYYY too long since I last posted, I apologize. Life has been busy and stressful and I apparently haven't been looking hard enough for the funny stories in my room because I've been grumpy at my kids lately. But, for anyone who cares, let me provide you with some updates from Room 21 over the past few weeks... and then I'll end with some humorous 4th grade thinking. :)

So, back at the beginning of the school year, each 4th and 5th grade teacher was asked to nominate/elect two students as SCA (Student Council) representatives. Now, you might think this would be difficult since it's so early in the year and we haven't fully figured out who our "model citizens" are... but not the case in my room. From the get go, I had two kids that were above and beyond very respectful, smart and showed great leadership. The first time I announced that these kids were our SCA Reps, I had to spend about 15 minutes explaining what the SCA is, deter many complaints as to why other students weren't selected and reinforce the idea that any changes my kids want to see should go through my two reps. Once everyone was appeased, we went on with life. About a month after the SCA started meeting, they began campaigning for officer positions. Each rep was encouraged to run and some took it to heart more than others. One of mine decided to run for treasurer, and the other for reporter. Now, I fully support the idea of students electing their officers, but I also think it is an unfair system. One of the students running for President has a father working at a printshop (or so I've been told) and had TONS of professionally printed posters and postcards hanging/handed out all over school. She gave away lots of candy, created an e-mail address just for the campaign and had a lot of parental involvement. Given all of that, I naturally expected her to win, but found it sort of unfair that she was running against students who could only make 2 handmade posters on the cheap construction paper provided by the school... like one of my students. Turns out, though, that all of that work and effort did not make too much of a difference because my student who did hardly any campaigning ended up winning Treasurer, and my other rep was elected as Reporter!!! That's right! Room 21, creating leaders left and right. :) They were voted into office about 2 weeks ago and we had the official Installment ceremony this past Wednesday. All the 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students and teachers attended, along with some parents. The ceremony included a processional by the whole SCA (during which time one girl tripped... try yelling at kids to be respectful while trying to control your own laughter.... not easy), a poetry reading by the Reporter (The whole auditorium was silent for the first 5 minutes of the ceremony as everyone was introduced, but naturally, as soon as they said the name of my kid, the rest of my class went buckwild with cheers and applause. Embarrassing? I think so. But, I guess I can't get too mad at them for having class unity!), a speech by a principal from another elementary school in the district, and the official installment of the officers. It was a cool ceremony and hopefully gave the kids a taste of politics/the election process. So proud of my kiddos, and hope they live up to their position! 
My little reporter reading a poem about determination written by Helen Keller. **Photo used with parental consent.** 
Repeating the oath to officially take her place as reporter. **Photo used with parental consent.** 
On a not so happy note, our school also participated in a modified lock-down last week due to a threat on the school. I can't give details because of confidentiality, but for those of you who did not see it on the news, this is what the DailyPress had to say about it...

The boy's name has not been released to the media. Police spokesman Harold Eley said the boy was arrested at Palmer Elementary School. He said the boy "was transported to Juvenile Intake and charges are pending."

Eley said the school received the email threat on Tuesday night and notified police on Wednesday morning when the email was opened. Investigators traced the email to the student. Eley said no one at the school was in any immediate danger during the investigation.",0,7361341.story

Needless to say, that was probably the most stressful day of my teaching career yet! But, everyone is safe and sound, and that's all we can ask for! 

Back to happy news, we're now well into the second quarter of school and there are only 2 more school days until Thanksgiving Break! I gave out report cards on Wednesday and surprisingly, didn't have anyone overly upset with me (which, is as it should be, since I made sure to stress the fact that "I don't GIVE grades, you EARN them.")! Hopefully we'll see improved work ethic from a few kids and better studying and effort from all of them. With the holidays coming up, I'm sure that's probably wishful thinking, but at least these next 2 months should go really quickly, before the LONNNNG stretch to Spring Break!  

Funny stories from recent weeks:
- A few weeks ago on Wednesday, we were taking our A-OKAY Club (see post from last month) out for a game of kickball and the ground was a little wet from rain the night before. As we were walking out to the field, I overheard 2 boys talking about the weather conditions.... one boy said "Oh man, everything's all wet! We're going to get dirty!" The boy he was talking to goes, "Yeah, that's good! I just wish it was raining, that would be cool. Anytime I play anything in the rain I feel SO TOUGH!" Hahaha. I completely agree with everything about that statement, but just found it so funny that a 9-year-old boy already knows that fact. :)

- My kids had to turn in posters to the Guidance counselor for a "Red Ribbon Week: Say No to Drugs" project. They brought them all into the classroom on the day they were due and I was going to collect them and deliver them to counselor all at once. One of my brightest kids comes in after a few other kids have already turned in their projects huge project in hand. He had done his poster on a piece of large WHITE posterboard, that costs approximately $0.50 at any store. As he's handing it to me, he notices another poster already in the pile, also on white posterboard. All of a sudden, he shouts out... "WOW! She copied me! She used the same poster as me!" Um, let's talk about everything wrong with this statement... a) it's a piece of WHITE POSTERBOARD! b) SHE turned it in first!!! c) WHO CARES or even notices that?!

- On Friday, we were reviewing Bar Graphs using Skittles. Each kid got a handful and had to sort them by color and then graph the data. We did the activity (a lot more complicated than it needed to be since my children are not the best at following directions) and the kids were allowed to eat the candy. One kid spilled her Skittles on the floor (I didn't even flinch because I knew it was just a matter of time... as any elementary school teacher would). All of a sudden, out of nowhere, 3 of my boys jump up out of their seats and run and start scooping them up. I got a look of disgust on my face and said, "Do not eat those, that's DISGUSTING!" They all paused for a minute, looked at me and continued. I said, "Seriously, that's so gross!"
One boy, from over by the sink, said, "No, it's fine. We're washing them off!"
I looked at him bewildered and again said, "This floor is so dirty!"
He just smiled and looked at me in complete innocence and said, "Ms. Wacek, we're black."
Thankfully, no one else heard this or acknowledged this, so I just concealed my laughter and amazement and moved on with my math lesson. Oh, the things that these kids come up with. Haha.