Today was one of those RED LETTER days that seem so rare. I was not at school yesterday so I anticipated the worst, coming back from having a sub. Fortunately, I had Jack, one of my favorites as subs go. He is a retired science teacher who gets along well with middle schoolers. He has a sense of humor, is just strict enough the keep them from destroying the classroom, but lenient enough to tolerate most of my untolerables.
D.R. was back from his latest suspension, which meant he would most likely have a good day, glad to be back in his element. The work I left was fairly easy - read a social studies section together and complete the easy/boring worksheet that accompanies the book & complete a worksheet packet in math class on histograms, which we had spent Monday learning about together. I knew my kids knew how to do the work, but the practice wouldn't hurt them, and was something sub-proof.
When I walked in this morning, looking across my classroom, WOW... things weren't too bad. Laptops unplugged here and there, a couple of pencils on the floor, but the chairs were picked up, there was NOT garbage and junk everywhere as had been the past couple of times I was gone. I was relieved! The baskets were full of completed assignments even!
Social studies class started - they KNEW their European bodies of water they are to be tested on Friday. Then, they got to work on their powerpoint projects they are working on. EVEN DR! It took some help from me, granted, but he worked, and was even excited about some of the research he is doing on Romania, wanting to include some of the things he found about Dracula in his presentation. At the end of the hour, I patted him on the back and told him how very much I appreciated his hard work and encouraged him to "Let's make it 2 more hours!" to which he grinned and laughed.
AND HE DID!!! Math class, he worked! I was soooo impressed.
We did a "hands-on lab" from the textbook, which while not hands-on in my book, was pretty cool. A table gave us the statistics of how many tornadoes each state averages per year. We took those stats, as a group, and made a line plot, using the state abbreviations instead of X's. Then, we worked to divide these into logical intervals and then, students colored US maps to show the trends in tornadoes. Not a difficult assignment, but one that took some thinking. They enjoyed the coloring part, and joked about doing social studies in math class. EVEN D.R.!!
During homeroom, D.R. listened while I read! Then, he read silently. Even during seminar time, he busied himself on something.
The rest of the day was uneventful, though the kids were LOUD. There is a huge snowstorm predicted, and predicatably, the dropping barometic pressure means middle schoolers are rambunctious. However, they were all working and on task so other than the noise level driving me bonckers, it really didn't matter.
I left school tired, but feeling like WOW, we accomplished A LOT, ALL DAY!
One sad note... K.C.... the little girl from earlier with the embarassingly sexually explicit note.... is suspended again.. she had cigarettes at school AGAIN, this time selling them. I wish I could somehow get her to come around. Since I had a cruel heart to heart talk with her, she has done remarkably well academically in my classes. She has become my star student in both social studies and math class. But her frequent suspensions make it difficult for her to keep up when she is there. I don't know what to do....