Friday, August 24, 2012

Freebie Friday

I'm so super new to making things on TpT, and without having a specific classroom and grade to work with, I haven't had as much inspiration to create new things.  One of the things I'd like to do the next time I go home (my grandma's house is always home) is grab my binder from student teaching and try to recreate the things I made while I was doing that.

But it is Teacher Week and it is Freebie Friday, so I'd like to share with you my normally free item from my store, as well as one item I'll make free for a 24-hour-ish window.

The Boggle Bakery Cupcake Letters

Boggle Bakery - Cupcake Letters (Uppercase)
I know that whatever age my students are, I want to feature a Boggle board in my classroom.  For kindergarten, it may be a simple 4X4 board without the less common letters like X or Q.  While I won't go completely overboard with the cupcakes in my classroom theme, this felt like a nice way to include them in one small area.

Because these letters are used for Boggle, I don't have a separate Q.  It's combined with a U just like the real game.  

Cupcake Clip Chart
Classroom Management - Cupcake Clip Chart
While I have mixed feelings on the Clip Chart (see my post about classroom management), I have seen them in action to know that they do work for many classrooms.  I thought this was another place where cupcakes could be included without taking over the entire room like curtains or a wall border would do.  I have also seen a chart similar to this used on young students as a tool for them to evaluate the quality of their work. (We did our best work, we would rate ourselves at sprinkles.  If we did good work but maybe not our best effort, we'd rate frosting, etc...)

As the newest product in my tiny little TpT store, I'm offering the Cupcake Clip Chart for free from now (around 4pm) until tomorrow around the same time.  PLEASE don't forget to leave feedback for any item you decide to get! 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Therapeutic Thursday

 


I wish I was one of those people for whom "down time" still meant getting something accomplished.  You know who I'm talking about, the people who say "Doing dishes relaxes me."  Even crafters have a product to show at the end of their "me time".  Work out during your free time?  You've probably got a great body to show for it.  For me, the only thing I accomplish when I want to wind down is taking things off of store shelves and putting them in my home.  Shopping is my cardio, and my happy place.  It doesn't matter if it's clothes and shoes, dishes and wall art, or even office supplies - I like the thrill of hunting through the clearance section and finding the best deals, or finding something that is unique and will garner a lot of attention.  My go-to place is Target, but I also love discount stores like TJ Maxx and Ross.

The other place I spend most of my money feeds another habit - Barnes & Noble.  I've mentioned this before, but I am always in the middle of a book.  Sometimes I'm re-reading an old favorite (Harry Potter, stuff by Jen Lancaster or Mary Kay Andrews) and sometimes I'm in this place of waiting for one my "my" authors to come out with their newest and I have to try out new people.  That's how I ended up reading every. single. book. written by both Kristin Hannah and Elin Hilderbrand.  I didn't like all of them, but both ladies have at least one book that has joined my permanent collection.  I love the library where I live because they're great about ordering new books and getting them on the shelves really quickly.  Currently, I'm re-reading the books of the Cousins' War series by Philippa Gregory (she of The Other Boleyn Girl fame).  The fourth just came out, so I bought books 1 and 2 (already owned 3) and am starting at the beginning.

My last favorite activity?  Sleeping.  I am a world-class sleeper.  I have sleep apnea, so the sleep I get is not always top quality, but I can sleep for hours and hours if you'd let me.  I'm talking like, sleep in until 11 AND take a nap AND go back to sleep at 11.  Weekends, I am probably asleep more hours than I'm awake.

You may notice there's a big one missing that a lot of other people will say - TV.  TV is not always relaxing for me.  I get emotionally invested in the characters, and I'm not watching TV so much as I'm checking in on people's lives.  These people just happen to be Spencer Hastings or Sheldon Cooper.  The only kind of reality TV shows I like are the ones involving houses (HGTV) or where people get makeovers (What Not to Wear, How Do I Look).  I enjoy TV, I do, but if I've had a hard day and I need to unwind, the TV is not the first place I'll go.  

Are you one of those annoying (I say that because I'm jealous) people who get stuff done when you relax, or are you satisfied just converting Oxygen into Carbon Dioxide?  Let me know and link up!

 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Where I Teach Wednesday

 


I don't have a classroom of my own yet, so I'm going to wax poetic on my dream classroom.

Room: There would be space enough for the tables (not individual desks) for all the kids, floor space for "meeting, and a nice sized library/reading area/loft.  There would be a lot of natural light from all the windows.  It would have a SmartBoard.  It would have generous storage space and lots of cabinets.  It would also have a ton of bulletin boards.

Furniture - a loft, bookshelves under the windows, with a window seat.  Maybe balance balls instead of chairs - it would be interesting to do action research on something like that.  I'd like a nice wide teacher's desk with lots of drawers.

Technology - I already mentioned the smart board, and at least 4 student computers.  A document camera, and maybe a classroom iPad or Nook.

Classroom theme - I'm planning on using cupcakes in many places, but sticking to a color scheme like brown, pink and blue more than anything else to make a cohesive look.  I might incorporate polka-dots because they remind me of sprinkles, but only in those colors.

Organization is key for me.  Everything needs to have a place, and they need to go back in that place when they're done.  I can't stand a cluttered desk, messy cubbies, and drawers that are so stuffed with junk they barely open.  I'd like it if someone comes into my room and asks to borrow something, and I can respond within 3 seconds whether I have it and where it is.  

My library will be well stocked - but I'll probably do what a lot of teachers do and not put every book I own out at once, but rotate them so things feel fresh.  The books will be leveled, and there will be a book hospital.  There will also be a bulletin board for book reviews.  I have a ton of book buddies - thanks to Kohls and Barnes & Noble, I have a whole cast of stuffed animal book characters.

Now, I know that there is no perfect classroom.  I know what the classrooms at the school I love are, but every building, every room is different, and I will have to make the most of what I have.  Most of all, I want to have a room that makes the kids feel safe and excited to come to school.  I want kids to want to be in my room.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Technology Tuesday


Well this one is a little harder - I don't have a lot of tips, technology-wise, because I'm new to so much of this.  I can't give any help on making your blog look nice because I just use the editor tool in Blogger.  I've only made a few things for Teachers Pay Teachers, and I do them all using MS Paint and Power Point, turning them into PDFs.  I get my free fonts off of Pinterest.   I suppose I could just tell you about some of my favorite scholastic-related websites.

If you don't know about WorldCat, let me introduce you.  WorldCat is an online library catalog that can help you find what library in your area has a particular book.  School district libraries are not included, but city and college libraries are.  Often times, teachers are eligible for a TexShare card that allows you to check out books from many of these libraries.  Talk to your local librarian about the card.

I. LOVE. LOGIC PUZZLES.  I got hooked on them in Eureka (that was our elementary school G/T program), and this website has some great ones.  I think I've done almost all of them, and some of them are easy enough for 4th and 5th graders.

Came across these lit-circle extensions projects while looking up something for a Language Arts class.  I really like a lot of them, especially the "Jackdaw", I think it could be a really neat, abstract group project. 

I was trying to get more into writing on my personal blog, and I turned to these creative writing prompts.  I'm actually pretty proud of the story I wrote from prompt #4.  They're not all winners, but there are some good ones.  I really want my students to try the ones where you have include certain words (like prompt #11).

Monday, August 20, 2012

Off to see the Wizard

Lately I've been thinking a lot about self-esteem.  I've been thinking about getting kids to believe in their value and see the value in others so they treat them with respect and kindness.  You know that thing Aibileen Clark says to Mae Mobeley in The Help - "You is kind, you is smart, you is important."  Each of those traits matches up with a character in The Wizard of Oz - Tin Man, Scarecrow, and Lion.

You is kind - you have a heart to love and you deserve to be loved.  Your heart wants to love other people, it doesn't want to hurt them.

You is smart - you have a brain.  You have thoughts that are your own, and they are valuable and worthy of being shared.  Other people's points of view are valuable and worthy of being considered.

You is important - if you believe that you are important, than you can find the courage to stand up for yourself and make your voice heard.  Other people are important, and you shouldn't put them down anymore than people should put you down.

Each trait then has an icon that matches it - a heart, a light bulb, and a medal.  You can talk to the whole class about these traits and have them displayed somewhere in the room to refer back to.  When a student shows these traits to others, you can give them a little award shaped like that trait.

Maybe it's a little sappy, a little corny, but it's been stuck in my head ever since I saw someone's blog that had a Wizard of Oz theme and featured those three symbols.  I feel awful that I can't remember whose blog it was, but I have looked at a LOT of people's classrooms lately and it's all jumbled together.  If you think you know what blog I might be talking about, let me know so I can link to them. 

Must-Haves Monday

It's Teacher Week over at Blog Hoppin', and that's a great thing.  Why?  Because ever since I didn't get the job, it's been hard to come up with motivation to write, and this gives me a whole week of prompting from which to work.  Here are my Monday Must-Haves!





Coffee and breakfast - whether it's the almighty Starbucks, McDonald's or just a cup from my one-cup coffee maker, caffeine is key.  Since I am in Texas, there are days when even early in the morning it's just TOO hot for coffee, so I opt for a giant vanilla Dr. Pepper from Sonic instead.  I pair it with something small that's chock full o' protein to start off my day.  I love breakfast foods, but the earlier I wake up, the less I want to eat, so I force myself to have something (usually a microwaved breakfast sandwich) with meat and cheese because sweet stuff is out of the question.  I'll snack at some point in the morning to get me through until lunch, and that's usually my biggest meal of the day.



Calendars - I am terrific at remembering random facts, song lyrics, a piece of information that someone gave me in a seminar 3 years ago.  I stink at anything involving a number, so important dates fall right out of my head.  I keep 3 calendars - a dry-erase, month-at-a-glance calendar on my desk (for seeing the whole month), a purse-sized calendar in some pretty pattern (this year's model is from Barnes & Noble, but I am so in love with the Erin Condren ones), and my Google Calendar to provide me with reminders in my phone and my inbox.  During my methods classes, I would color code my paper calendar by class, Math being blue, Language Arts being purple, etc...  Organization is absolutely essential to my day, and it made those weeks where I had a major project due every day look a little more cheerful.



Books for Pleasure - I need to always have something to read.  There's generally a book in my purse, at least 2 or 3 in my car, probably even one in my "teacher bag".  When I am not in the middle of a book, I feel a little stressed because I have no escape from my day to day life.  Problem is that I am a crazy-fast reader and finish a book in less than a week (when I'm super busy) or even a couple of hours (when I have nothing to do).  I often illustrate this point with the story of how we went to San Antonio for my best friend's birthday the same weekend that the 7th Harry Potter book was released.  We drove to a San Antonio Barnes & Noble to wait in the midnight release line, but the other half of our group ended up finding the book at an HEB (we need those in Dallas, stat) without having to wait in a line.  Despite the trips to the River Walk and Sea World and all other birthday festivities, I managed to finish that book before we checked out of the hotel on Sunday.  This was an extreme case, if it were any book but HP I would have waited until the weekend was over.  I go through books fast and am reluctant to try new authors/series on the recommendation of someone else.


Brother PT-1090
My last Must-Have is a label maker.  I actually don't have one right now, it broke a while ago and I've been too busy/broke to replace it.  I love to file things and put things in boxes with lids and store them out of everyday sight, but I need to know that I can find them quickly.  I could hand write labels, obviously, but I like the uniform look of the label maker.  Plus, you can print a label inside of an alligator!  How cool is that?

What are your must-haves?

   

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Mea Culpa

I didn't go crazy and tell everyone when it happened, but last Friday I had an interview for my school, the school I've been at for the past 3.5 years in some capacity - after-school program/observing/subbing/student teaching.  It wasn't a classroom position, they were looking for someone to be a teacher's Aide for two little first grade boys who need one all day, every day.  One of the boys I know well, from the after school program, the other I don't know at all.  I was excited, because it was a foot in the door - the lady who did it last year got her own classroom this year.

However, nearly a week has come and gone with no word.  The school had staff development today, so that pretty well tells met that they decided on someone else.  I'll be going to back to my after-school job and substituting during the day.  I'll make enough money (though I won't have benefits) and I'll still get to see all my kids, which is what I wanted.

I've never been great at saying goodbye to people.  I've never been great with change, period.  I like to settle down, put in time and effort, and form long-lasting bonds with people.  I think it makes me very dedicated to this school and these kids, but it came at the cost of me getting a job.  The fact is that the thought of working at any other school and saying goodbye to my kids made me sick to my stomach.  I didn't apply elsewhere, I didn't send out a million resumes and email principals because I wanted to work at this school and be with these kids more than I wanted a classroom of my own.  I didn't see how I could go on interviews and act like I wanted to work somewhere else when that wasn't true.  Not to mention, it would have been so hard for me to turn down a job if I had been offered one.

The fact that I don't have a job somewhere else is my fault, because I was cowardly, and I accept that.  I'm going to do whatever it takes to support myself, I can go as far as working 3 jobs (substituting, after-school, my old night job) plus babysitting and house-sitting on the weekends.  I'm going to be alright.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Cupcakes for Sale!




Teachers Pay Teachers is putting on a sale tomorrow and Monday!  You can get all my products for 20% off, and then another 10% off that with the code BTS12 - a savings of 28%!  You can get 5 out of my 6 products for less than $1.00!  Stuff like:

Cupcake Word Wall Letters
Cupcake Word Wall Letters in my TpT store - $1.00
The money for my classroom economy - Cupcake Bucks
Classroom Currency - Cupcake Cash $1.00
and my Cupcake Clip Chart for classroom management



Classroom Management - Cupcake Clip Chart $1.00

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Synergy

So the day that I decide to make a 'Lined Paper' Tee is the day that I see a Linky Party about Teacher Fashion.  I don't believe in coincidence, so call it anything but that. 
1. Tell me your favorite store(s) that you like to get your "teacher's fashion".
I love Old Navy for basics (my favorite khakis come from there), and I browse the Target clearance racks pretty much weekly.  Beyond that, I love Torrid for super cute "Wow" pieces in larger sizes.
2. What are some of your favorite accessories?
I'm not huge on accessorizing, maybe a long necklace and my watch.  I do, however, end up with a lot of things hanging from my lanyard - a funky pen, a ring from the top of a birthday cupcake, a beaded bracelet that can only fit on someone smaller than 4 ft tall.  As far as bags go, I LOVE the cheerful, bright prints on Lily Bloom bags.  My last 3 purses as well as my big "Teacher Bag" have all been by that company.
3. What type of shoes do you teach in? (i.e. heels, flats, wedges, etc.)
I'm all about flats.  I keep thinking I'll be brave enough to try a whole day in wedges, but I have yet to do it.
4. Do you have a "go-to" item in your closet? (i.e. sweater you wear weekly, shoes you wear daily, etc.)
Target has these "Boyfriend V-Neck" tees with the little pockets and "Long & Lean" ribbed tank tops - I own about 7 different colors of each, and when I can't figure out what to wear I make some combination of the two of them.  The tees fit nicely in the morning, but by the end of the day that V dips pretty low, so a tank underneath is necessary for me.
5. Have you ever had a fashion "uh-oh" at school? (i.e. heel broke, button popped off of blouse)
During student teaching, I realized halfway through our Valentine's Day party (at which several parents were present) that my tattoo (a simple shooting star) on the back of my left shoulder was completely visible, thanks to the type of shirt I was wearing and the fact that my hair was up in a ponytail.  If anyone else noticed, they didn't comment.

Made it...Thursday?

The girls wanted to paint T-shirts, and I happened to have a spare white one lying around.  It was going to be crinkle-spray-painted like the Italian flag, for the opening ceremony of the Olympics, but time got away from me and it's been sitting unused for 2 weeks.  Today, I turned it into this:


I'm pretty excited to wear it.  I might need a cardi over it, because I forgot to put anything between the layers of fabric and some blue paint soaked through to the other side.  A rookie mistake - I've been using fabric paint since I was 6 years old, but it happens to the best of us.

Has teaching influenced any of your fashion choices?

Monday, August 6, 2012

Classroom Economy

Two posts in one day?  Why Wendy, it's almost as if you have too much time on your hands.  Oh wait, you do.

I don't know how to relax without a book in my hand.  I can sit in one position, reading a book, for well over a few hours.  I can watch TV, but I have to be doing other stuff as well.  Barring leaving the house to go shopping or watch a movie, I don't know how to have nothing to do.  I can't remember relaxing before, and my internship year left me with no time to relax anyway.  During winter break, there were several times when I would leaf through a magazine or watch TV and suddenly panic, thinking there was something I was supposed to be doing.  Then I remembered that classes were over, and I had already turned everything in, but it was still not a pleasant feeling.  That's why I started this blog before having a job and classroom of my own to write about - the feeling that I needed to do something to prepare.

In my last post, I mentioned my classroom economy.  Here's a better idea of what I plan to do.

There will be jobs that students perform in my class.  I may not have enough jobs for all students, but there will be jobs, such as door holder, electrician (makes sure the lights are turned off), banker (changing 1s into 5s, handing out money when I can't), and my personal favorite: the hydration specialist.  I am never without a water bottle, it is like my security blanket.  I have a student who is in charge of making sure the water bottle goes with me when I switch classes (kids at our school switch from 3rd grade on up) and make sure that it is always full.

Cute story interjection:  I had a semi-long-term substitute job in a 3rd grade classroom.  I asked the students to apply for certain jobs, I had them listed and the "job description" on the projector.  I thought it was a  neat exercise in persuasive writing.  Two girls applied for hydration specialist, and one gave me these two reasons:  She had an "eagle-eye" and could spot my bottle when it was empty, and she knew where the coldest water fountain was.  Needless to say, she got the job.

Back to the economy, the students who do these jobs will get paid for them.  Students can also earn money for correct behavior (like if I call everyone to the carpet but only 3 students are paying attention and come quietly and right away), and for doing odd jobs here and there.  On Fridays, they get the chance to show me how much money they have. They must count it, have a friend count it, and then write the amount both in number and word form.  They can spend their money on either the treasure box or every $10 buys a coupon.  The coupons vary from grade to grade.  I'm not going to let Kindergarteners bring their iPods to school and listen to music while working at their desk or reading,  and I probably won't have a ton of 5th graders opting to bring a stuffed animal to school.  No-shoes day, lunch with the teacher or a positive note/email home, those can work for everyone.

Another job I will have will be the economist.  I got this idea from a fabulous lady named Beth Newingham.    As students are picking prizes, the economists track what they buy.  They come to me with what is the most popular and the least popular, for boys and girls.  We work together with this information to decide things.  Maybe I should buy more clip-on earrings, they seem to be a big seller.  Maybe I should take out the "gum chewing" coupons, no one seems interested in those.  Perhaps some items in the treasure box should be put on "clearance".  I'm not sure how often I will change jobs, but I do want every student to get to be the economist at some point.

I'd also love if there was a time when my students could each make a few of a product and sell it in the classroom store, teaching them about entrepreneurship, how to price things, supply and demand, etc, but that might not fit into our year.  Either way, I'm excited about putting the classroom economy to work.  How do your students earn rewards?  

Classroom Management.

If you head on over to Clutter-Free Classroom, she's done a whole showcase of different clip-charts, a standard in behavior management.  I like clip charts for the ease, the small amount of space they take up, and the fact that you can customize the sayings to your classroom. I've seen "Rock Star" themed clip charts that had sayings like, "Tour Canceled", "Platinum Record", etc...Mine would probably say stuff like, "Cherry on Top!"  "Mixing Dough," or "Broken Eggs."  It could also be shaped like a cupcake, with levels being the cherry, sprinkles, frosting, cake, and wrapper. 

Another system I really like for younger grades, is the daily calender.  This, combined with the color charts, are de rigeur for K and 1st at my school.  Students get a color (blue is the highest, then green, yellow, sometimes orange and then red) based on how their day was.  A Cupcake for the Teacher has SUPER CUTE calendars for this year, with a system I really like for that age group:  Behavior corresponds to a number, so if the student had a not-so-great day because they were constantly talking out of turn, the teacher would write a '1' on that day.  This method helps the teacher, the student, and the parent keep track of what skills their child needs to work on. 

Here's where it gets tricky - you have 20-something five and six year old students students.  At the beginning of the year, when you're still learning their names and their personalities and they're bouncing off the walls because this might be their first time in big school.  At the end of the day, when pack-up time is it's standard chaos, are you going to remember every child's infractions?  That is where the card system comes in.

I saw this in a first grade classroom and immediately liked it.  Maybe you have 4 key behaviors that students need to be careful of:  Talking, Not completing work, Hurting someone else,  Being disrespectful.  These behaviors correlate to numbers on your calendar but also to colored cards/strips of paper.  You have a poster with library pockets labeled with the students names or numbers, and when one of these behaviors occurs, they pull a card and put it in their pocket.  Maybe you're doing a read-aloud and Jessica keeps whispering to her friend.  She gets a warning ("Jessica, please stop talking and let your friend hear the story,") and then must pull a card ("Jessica, you did not stop talking.  Please go pull a talking card.")  At the end of the day, you check the pocket, you put the numbers on the calendar, and you're good to go!

Now, it's not a huge secret that I would love to teach older grades - specifically 4th, because that is the grade my babies (the kids I've had in the after school program, and kids I student taught with) will be in this year.  I think the pocket charts, the calendars, and the clip charts are great for communicating the kind of day that students had to students and parents, but for older grades I'd prefer something that makes them take responsibility for their actions.  I have exactly figured out what that is yet, but I'm working on it.  I do have a positive reinforcement system that translates to a classroom economy, called "Cupcake Cash", and I plan to use it in every grade level, but nothing for consequences at this juncture. 

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Linky Parties

I've only ever done one Linky Party before, the ABCs of Me.  I enjoyed it a lot, learned that there's a few fellow Hanson-loving teachers out there, and I'm getting to stalk look at other people's classroom set-ups.  I've seen more than a few "Currently"s around teh interwebz, and I want to try one of those too, so here goes!

 
Really, I've been thinking about all the work I'll have to do in a short time if I get the job I'm hoping for.  The biggest one is that I need some elves who can help me inventory and level my entire classroom library, currently resting in 7 or 8 tubs of varying sizes at my grandma's house.  Technically, depending on the grade level I teach, I won't need to do all the books at one time - some are too juvenile for 3rd and up, some too advanced for Kinder and 1st.  But it's a project that is easiest done by at least two people - one to call out titles and one to type into the list.  From there, one person finds the levels and the other person marks them in the book.  Then you both go crazy with the colored tape (which you can find in all the GR level colors at Home Depot).  Meanwhile, I've been preparing in small, non-grade-level- and subject-dependent ways, like making an "All About Me" book to print and let my students read, creating my own "Student Contact sheets" that are more specific to my school as far as the ways that students go home at the end of the day.  I've entered a couple of contests on other blogs, and added all the school holidays to my Google calendar.  I feel like I'm on a diving board, and I want so badly to jump, but the pool isn't filled yet.  If anyone has any other ideas for things I could do to prepare beforehand, I would LOVE to hear them.  I just want to feel like I'm doing *something*.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

No news yet...

Registration at the school just concluded, so now it's a waiting game.  Meanwhile, the kids I watched moved away, and I'm currently not doing anything else and a little bit bored, which translates to more interview questions:

Q: What do you want to do with your life?
A: This is a hard question to answer because it's way to broad.  What do I want to do as an educator, what do I want to do as a (someday) wife and mother, those are easier to answer.  I want to inspire a love of learning and reading in at least one child I come in contact with.  I don't need to be a savior to every child I meet, or be a teacher that gets a book written or a movie made about them, I'm happy to be a teacher that kids look back fondly on and remember well, like I do a lot of my teachers.  I do want to finish every year feeling like my students and I are a family.  I want to get married, have kids, and build a life surrounded by family and friends, with big noisy get-togethers and group vacations.  I'd like to volunteer my time, effort and money in support of reading, education, and homeless pets.


Q: How do you feel if a student does not meet a deadline?
A: That depends on the amount of effort I've seen put forth in other stages of the project or other projects I've assigned.  A student who is generally on-time with assignments can be cut some slack, if they can show me the work that they've done so far and can get it in as close to the deadline as possible.  A student who constantly turns in late, sloppy, half-finished work would need to be put on some sort of improvement plan, and parents should be involved in encouraging the student to up his or her game.  I would try not to take it personally, students don't generally neglect classwork because of a problem with the teacher.  Most important to me would be finding out the reason for the student's behavior - is there something outside of school that is making them unable to do their work?  Are they feeling too challenged and not supported enough?  My main feeling would be that I want to get to the root of the problem and help them to solve it if I can.

Q: It is the first day of class, you are writing something on the board and a paper wad hits you in the back, what would you do?  Later the same day, if all the students drop their pencils, what do you do?
A: On the first day of class, I'd probably be very strict, because you can always be hard and get nicer but you can't go backwards.  We'd talk about how you can get in just as much trouble for intention as you can for an action.  A wad of paper hitting a person is not going to cause much damage, but if the person is a teacher trying to instruct students and the paper came from a student who is trying to be disruptive and disrespectful, then it doesn't matter if it was a wad of paper or something that could hurt someone.  The person responsible would have to write a letter of apology to me and also the class, and parents would be called.  Also, if my students were so organized on the first day that they could orchestrate themselves all dropping their pencils simultaneously, they should use that power to accomplish things instead of making their teacher mad.  They'd miss recess coming up with a list of ways they could work together to do good inside the school and classroom instead of prank-ing their teacher.  I don't approve of missing recess for just anything, but something that big deserves big consequences.

Q:  What was the most frustrating thing that happened to you as a student teacher?
A: There was an instance where I was in classroom by myself while the mentor teacher had a 2 hour lunch (a privilege all the teachers got at some point during the year).  It wouldn't have been a big deal, except that it was Kindergarten and it was a "bilingual" class.  This meant it was me and 17 five-year-olds who only spoke Spanish.  Luckily, it was 2 classes that rotated between a math teacher and a language arts teacher, so I had seen the calendar and morning meeting lesson earlier in the day.  I was able to do the days of the week, the months of the year, and butchered my way through a story book in Spanish until it was time for Specials, and then the teacher got back.  The point was made that for a group of student teachers that did not include ANYONE who was planning on bilingual education, or even ANYONE who spoke Spanish, why was this mentor teacher selected?  The class operated on a schedule where 3 days a week, only Spanish was spoken in the classroom.  How then were the student teachers supposed to teach lessons?  Luckily, during the 2nd semester, this mentor opted not to have a student teachers, so none of us had to worry about it, and I learned I can fly solo even in the most confusing of environments.