. Regurgitated Alpha Bits: October 2013

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Rookie Mistake

Each of our students has a gmail account and google drive account through the school. That means we can create and share documents totally online and paperlessly. It's pretty cool!

We just got these accounts though, so teachers and kids alike are are learning as we go.

Today, my most intensive readers and I were working on creating a new document, giving it a name, saving it and then sharing it with me so I can grade it.

A time-consuming process for all the kids at this point, but glacially slow with these kids.

And, as is usually the case with me, I was running behind. We were right in the middle of naming our documents "Last name, first initial, Super Sentences" when I saw my next class lining up outside. I had to get things moving.

So I decided they should shorten "Super Sentences" to "SS" in their titles.

I asked Arturo Granado, the student who was modeling my instructions using his iPad under my document camera, to type in our shortened title, thus producing in all its giant, well-lit glory across the front of my room:

Granado A SS


Thank goodness these kids rarely look at my examples and were already furiously typing their titles.

So I quietly positioned myself in front of the offending title and encouraged them to type quickly.

And the following shared documents began populating my folder:

Smith ASS - from Adam Smith
Gonzalez ASS - from Andy Gonzalez
Jones A SS - from Amy Jones (at least she remembered the space between her initial and SS...)

Tomorrow, we are going to learn how to delete a document.

Before next week when we will show our parents Google Drive.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013


I'm pretty quick on my feet.

Verbally, that is. (Physically, a legless tortoise could catch me.)

But verbally, I'm pretty spry. It's not often I'm thrown by what someone says to me.

But when a parent asked me for a wine opener at a school picnic, it left me a little speechless.

He was kidding, but he didn't tell me that part until after he went on and on about how much more fun these things would be with a little vino in our systems. How kids are so much more fun when you have a buzz. How, grown up to grown up, we can agree that wine makes everything child-related more tolerable.

But he was kidding!


Saturday, October 26, 2013

I've Been Waiting for This

It finally happened.

And I'm ticked.

Our grade has pretty good state test scores. We feel (probably like every teacher does) that our scores could be better and that the kids deserve that, so we're always looking for new ways to meet their needs.

Like everyone else out there, we do lots of small groups, lots of pre-teaching, lots of reteaching, tutoring before school and during lunch and LOTS of small victories cheerleading in an attempt to make a small dent in the long list of needs our little kiddos have. We are so proud of them when they get to see some success throughout the year, and excited for them when they can show some growth on that doggone state test.

Because of the hard work the kids put in, some of them score proficient in reading and/or math for the first time in their school careers. We are so proud of them!

Well, another teacher at our school suggested lately that the only way some of our 4th graders could score proficient in reading or math was through cheating.


That assertion completely disregards all the extra work and time those kids put in to accomplish such scores. It implies that they CAN'T do it. It implies we teachers cheated too.

We didn't cheat. We all, teachers and students alike, worked very hard, as I know all of you do too.

Maybe that teacher should take a lesson from the kids. Hard work has its rewards.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Feeeeed Me

We have a little cherub, who we'll call Bobby Lee, and he really enjoys food. 

Reeeeeally enjoys food. 

It's about all he wants to discuss. 

It's the only thing he wants as a reward in class. 

It's what he wants in his hands during recess. 

It's the only topic he'll use a complete sentence for when talking. 

And there is no shortage of it in his home. This is not a case where a kid is not being fed. 

Oh yes, he's being fed. His mother has made that clear. 

Well, we recently gave each of our students their own email addresses and had them practice sending emails to their teachers. They read as follows:

Susie Smilth - I LOVE fourth grade!!!!!

Billy Jones - This is the greatest year ever!!!!!

Timmy Williams - You're the best teachers ever!!!!!

Linda Thomas - I can't believe how awesome this is!!!!!

Bobby Lee - I'm hungry. 

And then today, my teaching partner was discussing with Bobby about how he should be behaving in his RSP class, because he has been making some pretty poor choices. They reviewed and reviewed three positive behaviors we would like him to display. 

And when he was asked to recite those three behaviors, he said:

Keep my hands to myself. 
Participate politely. 

Good try, kid. 

Monday, October 7, 2013

Book 'Em

Today I was teaching a lesson about, when answering questions about a piece of text, how to refer to that text in your answers. 

For example, a question might say, "Name one living thing found in the desert ecosystem."

Instead of making answers up, I would like students to refer to the information found in the provided text.

We practiced using sentence frames such as:

"On page ___, the author states _____."


"On page ___, paragraph ___, the text says ___________."  

After much group practice, I gave them a question directly from their science text to work on with a partner. 

But first, I checked if anyone had any questions. 

And question number one was:

Can we use our books?