Sunday, 6 September 2015

To Theme or not to Theme? Is that the Questions?

The first day of school is in two days and I am really excited to start a new year.   I have been into my room for the last 2 weeks and can not wait until my students can see what it looks like.  This summer I have read many different blogs and postings about if you should have a "classroom theme".  It made me think weather I should change the way I present my room.  As I thought about it more, I could not bring myself to take about the opportunity for my students to come into a highly simulating environment away.  Each year I decorate my room based on a different theme and the students look forward to seeing what it is going to be for the following year.  As a middle school educator, I think any time you can get a bunch of teenagers excited about something  as simple as drawings on a board, it is an amazing thing. Throughout the year I take in suggestions from students about the theme and use the one which is talked about the most.  I have had themes such as Muppets, Disney films, Mad scientist and this year the themes is:                                 

 The theme in the room allows the students to add to or take down as they see fit for their learning.  The room becomes theirs and they change it through out the year.  I teach 7 classes of grade 7 science and I find many of my quite students want to stay behind after class to talk to me about a connection they have made with something in the room.  Sometimes students I even catch students quoting something they have read or seen in the room.  The room changes through out the year but the theme gives us all a starting point to grow from.

 So as the summer draws to an end I look forward to presenting my NEW Superhero classroom to the 250 new students that I will welcome to the school this year.  My wish is that the positive messages throughout my room makes them smile, empowers them, challenges them or takes them to whatever adventure they choose to take.  So, maybe the classroom theme and decorations are not for everyone but they work for my students! 

Here's to a SUPER year!

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Down the Drain...

It has been a tragic day!

Yesterday I thought I should go to the restroom before class started (which I never do).

As I stood up I heard a PLUNK.  

I knew exactly what happened -- My phone was now sitting at the bottom of the toilet and I needed to fish it out.
I reached into the toilet to now have my hand and phone lodged into the small whole at the bottom of the toilet.  Needless to say I was not saying nice words and I am sure the staff member who came into the washroom at the time was wondering what was going on in my stall.

Eventually I was able to free myself from the toilet and luckily the Life Skills teacher was the first person I saw when I came out of the washroom.  She kindly found me some rice which I managed to get my phone into.

My phone now lies in a bed of rice as I patiently wait to see if it works.  

I use my phone for many things and it was not until today that I realized how important it was too me.  I feel lost without it and as I heard other people phones chime or ring today I felt myself looking for my own.

My students all had fun with this today.  Several looked and wondered why I had a bowl of rice on my desk.  Others gave me suggestions on how to fix it but the best was watching their faces when I told them where it fell  and the adventure I went through to get it.    Many smiled and laughed while others looked at me to get the okay to laugh.

Despite the jokes I really hope to find my phone in the morning in good working condition.

If there is one lesson to be learned from this: 

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Mockery is the Sincerest form of Flattery!

I have stated several times about how much I love my job, it is the students who make teaching the best job on Earth and when I find my students pretending to be me it makes me smile.

Today I was running a few minutes late as I was talking to a fellow colleague about an important situation.  It was during this time that my current grade 8 class had a "substitute teacher' (aka student who wanted to be Mrs Bumstead).  Apparently he was very funny because as I arrived to the classroom the students were all rolling on the floor in laughter.

Boy times have changed I do not remember ever trying to imitate my teachers as I was often so scared of what they would think.  I love that my students are comfortable with me that we can joke around.   The students told me that I arrived too late to class because I missed the best part.  I responded  by saying: "Why did you not take out an i-pad to record the performance"  
Another student responds "I would have but the sign out process for iPads takes too long and I would have missed it anyway."   How can you not love that?

At Christmas time our school puts together a dance competition where each class creates a dance with a specific theme.  It was during that time that a very funny skit was created with what Mr and Mrs Bumstead did on their honeymoon.  I think I laughed so much that I was crying.  Believe it or not I love it when students can make fun.   Just recently I had a student also perform a skit about the particle theory where she pretended to be me with pencils in her hair and teaching other important concepts.

I was flattered this week when a colleague came to me to say that during a class discussion, students were asked what their dream teacher would be.  A student told her that she already had one... it was Mrs Bumstead.  This past week it has been a rough one losing my grandmother and recovering from a nasty cold.  I was feeling tired and under the weather but my students were there to bring that smile back.
Thanks for making me laugh guys-- you are all really great kids!

Thursday, 6 March 2014

My Students Will Say the Darndest Things!

Everyday is a new day! When you teach grade 7 & 8 you need to live your life in this manner.  There are some days that I need to ask myself a few questions:  Am I speaking  a different language?;  are we on another planet?; or is it a full moon today?  I ask these questions because I often do not understand the responses that I get from my students.  Somedays I cannot get over the funny things they say without them thinking about it.

Student: I was away yesterday.  Did I miss anything?
Me: No we did not do anything because you were away so we decided not to work.

Student:  What time do we return from the trip today?
Me:  around 2:45
Student:  Do I need to bring my lunch?
Me: If you plan on eating today that would be a good idea

Student:  I forgot to take my cough medicine today.  Do you have some because I still have a little cough?
Me:  No, sorry forgot my extra stash of cough medicine at home today too.

I love my students and often they appreciate my sarcastic answers.  In middle school most of these questions are a regular occurrences. I think that is why I love teaching these young adults who are also very funny kids!

I would like to thank my students for these funny yet interesting conversations!

Friday, 20 September 2013

Someone took my pencil!

We are now 3 weeks into school and I think that we have a problem at the school.

We have pencil thieves!

This week I have heard the following statements many, many times:
1.  My pencil is missing-- Can I borrow one of yours?
2.  My pencil must be in my locker-- Can I borrow one of yours?
3.  My pencil fell in the hallway-- Can I borrow one of yours?
4.  Someone took my pencil-- Can I borrow on of your?

I am confused about what the term "borrow" means.  I hand out many pencils on a loan basis everyday however they are often not returned.  Many student, teachers and even parents ask why I keep pencils in my hair.
I have never had a student steal a pencil from my head. I have never had a student ask to borrow the pencil(s) that I have in my hair.  This way I can go through out the day and not worry about them going missing.   Putting pencils in your hair is far better then a pencil case.  You can loose pencil from a pencil case, the pencils can even fall out and can be stolen easily.

I really think I have something here.  The trend is going to catch on.  Try it and you will see what I mean!

Friday, 16 August 2013

Reality TV Obsession

Now that we are well into our summer break I have had some time to sit back and relax.   I have also had time to indulge in one of my crazy obsessions:  REALTY TV.   I am not sure what it is that drives me to watch these crazy people who are spilling their emotions and demonstrating the most crazy behaviour on national television.  I know that there are many reality TV junkies out there but many are still in the closest and not willing to admit it. I on the other hand am more then willing to admit that I watch as many of these insane shows as possible.   I have some pretty amazing stats when it comes to reality TV.  I have watched every episode in all 26 seasons of Survivor.  I also have to admit that I have raced home from 'Meet the Teacher Night' to make sure that I get home before the 8pm start.

Amazing Race is a crazy obsession-  I have created science projects based on my love for the show.  Luckily my students entertain my keen interests and get right into the projects.  My husband and I have watched every speed bump, road block and detour from  all 22 seasons.  We  reached our own detour when we applied for Amazing Race Canada this year and did not make it.  I have also watched all episodes of Big Brother (American and Canadian), Bachelor and Bachelorette, Biggest Loser, the Voice,  American Chopper, Ice Road Trucker, Pawn Stars, Whodunnit,  the Great Food Truck Race, the Mole, Fear Factor, The Apprentice, Singing Bee, Last Comic Standing and the list keeps going on.  Some may say that I am a little crazy after reading that list but I don't drink coffee, don't smoke and don't drink alcohol-- We all need some kind of hangup RIGHT?

I am not really picky in what I watch but there are a few things that our realty TV needs to have:

1.  Interesting characters that are needing to over come an obstacle
2.  Large prizes and rewards at the end
3.  Drama between competitors
4.  The mystery of guessing what will happen next 
5.  Shock factor that people like that exist in the “real world”.
6. Reality TV gives us something to talk about at work
 7.  Love games shows and Bob Barker-- reality TV is the next best thing
8.  To laugh at others without feeling to bad about it
9. To see what talents (or untalented) that people have that I do not
10.  The tribe has spoken and let's be honest I want to be cool like the contestants.

Monday, 24 June 2013

I am still young?

As the end of the school year draws near, our school has offered many opportunities for the students.  For the last couple of years I have canoed down the Grand River with approximately 60 students.  It amazes me the number of students who say they are experienced at canoeing.  Interesting enough when we get out there many students who forget how to manoeuvre their boat in the water.  It's fun to watch the students try to  figure out how they will steer their boat in a straight line.  I think many have doubled their trip distance based on the zig zag line they choose to take with their canoe.

The students at our school had many opportunities to try new things.  I spent the first day canoeing and on the second day we went to Chicopee for the students' summer multi sport adventures.  It was there that I was reminded that I am not 13  anymore.  In my mind I should be able to still keep up with these young kids so when they went on the low ropes I tried to move from one end to the other.  I successfully made it and felt I fit in with my teenage students just fine.  My group then moved to the most physical and mental challenge of the week - rock climbing.  Looking at it I could not understand why only half the students could manage to reach the top of the wall.  I needed to try the adventure though as I encouraged all students to give everything at least one try.  The group leader announced that it was now Mrs Bumstead's turn and I have to admit that my stomach was in knots.  It became a test of my mental strength as I was determined to be the first teacher to reach the top.  Despite the age difference I made it to the top with great encouragement from my wonderful students.  I walked away with a few bragging rights and had thoughts in my head like I can still keep up with these teenagers.  Later that day I went on to mountain biking and play volleyball.

My end of the year adventure continued on the third day when our school went to Bingemans swim park.  We challenged the students to try everything (all 7 water slides, mini golf and the splash pad).  Once again feeling vibrant and able to do anything, I did it.  I climbed to the top of everyone of those slides and played a full game of golf.  The students loved the fact that they see me out there however I am starting to feel the effects of my teenage life.  I left the swim park with a bloody arm (not sure how?) and when I woke up on Saturday morning I was walking like I was an 80 year old women.
Oh if my students could see me now.

It is now Monday and it was a calm day at school-- thanks goodness!  Tomorrow I am off to play a few frames of bowling and watch a movie.  Wednesday we are off to try as many roller coaster at Wonderland that we can fit in.  Thursday I will be taylor swift as we are doing air bands on stage in front of the whole school.  Friday will be my day to reflect on it all-- that is if I can physically walk.  I guess in my heart I am a 13 year girl but my body is telling me I am a 30 somethings lady.  When people say you are so luck that you are a teacher and get the summers off,  I would say that I will need the first 2 weeks to recuperate my 30 something body that has raced around like a 13 year old teenager.
Once again I love my job but at times I wonder why I do this to my self.  I hope that as I age my students will continue to encourage and support my young mind.