Sunday, January 30, 2011

AR Verbs - a Breakthrough

I'm finding that I'm better at knowing Spanish than explaining it.  I don't have a lot of talents in this world - and for some reason, this has given me a lot of patience with teaching - FOR the MOST part.

I'm finding that I assume too much when it comes to Spanish.

For some reason, I feel rushed with the students.  I feel like they lost  a lot of time when their teacher was ill and must make up for it.  I'm not sure why I feel I'm in a race.

We are on Chapter three.  Granted, my students lost four weeks of learning.  Also, we've lost time just adjusting to each other.  I think the kids were really wondering if I was going to stick around for the rest of the year.  It took the first test for the kids to get that I knew Spanish and wasn't afraid to teach it.

As I was saying, we are on Chapter three. The book introduces 18 AR verbs; verbs that have an AR suffix.  For example - trabajar, escuchar, hablar, y comprar.  I've been having the kids conjugate over and over again explaining to them that it's just like taking piano - that the more they practice, the better their Spanish will be.

The only thing is, I'm not sure that they understood that all these verbs have the same suffix.  Did I just think they should magically know?

It was Wednesday, second hour - the assignment was activity 8 on  page 103.  The students had to take a paragraph and conjugate the verbs according to the subject of the sentences.  Oh my - you should have heard the pure agony.

They thought they had to look up each verb from scratch instead of just memorizing the AR stems.

They're brains shut down.  They wouldn't stop and listen.  They were done for the day.  They were having a language acquisition shut down.

I thought long and hard about where their confusion was and was ready for them on Thursday.

"I need you to be quiet.  This is difficult.  I'm sorry I didn't remember this is hard.  Please listen."

And as I explained that all the stems were exactly the same for all the subjects, I could hear sighs of relief.  I saw light bulbs forming above their heads.

And phew......  we had our breakthrough.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A Lesson a Day

At the end of the day as I fall to sleep after my evening prayers, I try to think of what lesson I learned for the day.  Mostly every night, I think "I will not think mean thoughts about people.  I will not be judgmental."

I'm finding the lesson hard.  My inner language is so hard to fight.  My patience wears thin.  My brain has not convinced my mouth to lighten up.

All those people I'm judging in my brain - may just  have faced the hardest day of their life.  Whatever struggle that person is facing - I do not need to know the struggle - I just need to assume that the person I'm annoyed with might be having one of those days, one of those weeks,  one of those months, or  one of those decades.

And instead of  being annoyed with them for being short or rude with me, I just need to move on and send them kindness and compassion..

Slowly, I find myself become less judgmental and more kind...  It's just such a slow process..

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Gettin to Know You

I am in a unique position because I teach at four different schools.  Through interactive television, I broadcast to area schools throughout the region.  For the most part it works pretty well - but there are a few glitches I'm working on.

1.  My eyes are terrible.  The pixels on the screen make it difficult for me to see the kids, and I'm not confident that I know whom is whom.

2.  The audio is troublesome for me and the students.  I need to be sure to write more notes - and in print - my handwriting isn't easy to read over the tv screen - so this is not an easy task for me.

3.  Because I don't know  whom is whom - there isn't a real student/teacher relationship with the kids - and that's really hard for me.  I really like getting to know the kids; it's really important to learning for students to believe that their teachers care about them and even know their names.

I decided I needed to meet these kids.

Before Christmas vacation, I went to one of my schools where I have 8 students in Spanish 1.  I brought Allison with me because she didn't want to stay home with Natalie - (Al is a momma's girl, too) I brought donuts and their supervisor brought me some coffee...  :)  I was a little late, so they decided to ask permission from their next period's teachers to stay and visit with me.  In that short time, I think I really got to know those kids.  They entertained me a bunch that day as they told me about where they were getting their senior pictures taken - and showed me the Christmas presents they had for each other.  One thing I like about this group is that  they always let me talk and tell them stories - and they do a real good job and at least pretending to listen. ha!

Last week, I met with another school.  I brought cookies.  It really took me a long time to get their names straight.  These kids are a bunch of jokers - - sometimes pretending they have a new exchange student from England - named Donna - or what have you....  I found out the glitches with them...  Of all things, I need to talk louder - turns out they have a difficult time hearing me at times - ha - who knew? - I'm a loud talker and laugher - so surprise surpise there...  I guess I'll have to figure out my microphone with them....

My job isn't easy.

Of course it's not - but as I'm winging my way through it - reviewing my Spanish nightly - I'll have to learn how to perfect this ITV broadcasting as well.

Friday, January 21, 2011

This is one of my first blog posts - from back in 08....  ha!

Jason and I have been married for almost twelve years. I made this video for him for our eleventh anniversery last June. I love making photo shows. This is one of my favorite shows I've made. I love multi-media anything. I love writing poetry. I love reading poetry. I love teaching poetry. Also, I love to write. Recently I heard Eric Bergeson at a conference he said"Don't say you want to become a writer; just say you are a writer!" I love that. I'll have to start calling myself a writer.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Picking Friends

I'm fussy with who I pick as friends.I don't waste time on people who gossip about what others did in their college days, about other's bank accounts, or how much they volunteer for Sunday School.

I know it sounds all snobby, right?  Oooo... I'm so exclusive..  You have to be pretty special to be a member of the Bobbi Friend Club....

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Moving with Mrs. A.

This afternoon, a past student caught me on facebook.

"Hey - you still teachin' in Oklee?"

"uhh?  yeah? why?"

"I"m goin' there."


"Cuz you're there."

"Well... but... what if I'm not next year?"

"Yeah - but I hate this school.  The principle (that's how he spelled it) is mean."

"Yeah - well, principals need to do their job. Are you in trouble a lot?"

"I'm always gettin' suspended for piddly things."

"Why would you get in trouble?"

and then.... he was gone.  He probably snuck on the computer because he was suspended and wasn't supposed to be on the computer and his mom came in right then.

Of course, I'd love to see this kid again.  Even if he was naughty for me too.  I bet he'd do just fine in our school system, too...  Our school system has a knack for kids like him.... 

Sometimes, kids do need a fresh start in a new school system, a chance to start fresh with new teachers, but I just hope that they take the lessons learned from previous teachers.  Sometimes, I remember feeling like hitting my head up against the wall because students just didn't want to go with the flow - and sort of look for trouble.

Hopefully, they don't go and find it in the next school

Monday, January 17, 2011

Sunday School

Every other month, I teach second grade Sunday School at my church. I share my class with another mom in the church.   Every week, I find a lesson out of the packet and make photocopies of some sort of word find or coloring page to do after we read a bible story together.

This week, we read Matthew 6:34 and the lesson of not worrying

 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

 And we talked about things we worry about - and let me tell you - second graders have a lot to worry about- - like money, grandmas, health, food, friends, and even their hair!

When we talked about Jesus telling everybody not to worry - it was kind of sweet to see the kids smile and sort of sigh about that special guy named Jesus.

Each grade has a significant something  for kids to memorize - I know one year the girls had to remember John 3:16 - was it Kindergarten or 1st grade? I'm not sure...  But I do know that third graders learn the books of the bible,  fifth graders learn the Apostle's Creed,  someone must make them learn the Ten Commandments, and sixth grade learns the Twenty-Third Psalm.  

And it was kind of cool - because my second graders need to memorize The Lord's Prayer and know what it means. And somehow - it works out with our lesson of not worrying.

I asked the kids what they thought they should do if they kept worrying even if they knew they shouldn't - you know, just because someone tells you not to worry does that mean you stop worrying?  Not always. Anyways, I don't - I need a distraction to keep my mind off troublesome matters.

So, I told the kids to say this prayer whenever they are worried.

"I do that!  It doesn't work."

"Then say it again and again."

"Mrsakhus does that make us crazy?"  (They same my name so it sounds like there's socks in my name.)

"Not it just keeps reminding you.."

When I taught my Poetry Out Loud units at school, I always told my kids that it was important to have poetry memorized and that they could take it out at any time to comfort themselves or comfort others - or perhaps they could remember the poem at a time when they were scared... 

So, we wrote the prayer on the whiteboard and removed words and talked about the word being "Bread" not "Breath" And how forgiving was good for our hearts..

And all this talk about prayer - which to me, is really just a whole bunch of positive thoughts, made our time together very cheerful...  a whole bunch hopeful.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Isn't Anyone Else Worried?

I watched this commercial while I was catching up on Season 2 of Glee tonight.  I was all excited... Cute Baby, doing cute things, a great song by Melanie...

And the last five or ten seconds of the commercial I did a  HUH?

There's a reason that  babywalkers are banned in Canada.    I just keep thinking that the baby is going to fall off this deck....  Why are the parents just casually standing there all casual taking pictures sending them to Aunt Susan???

Thursday, January 13, 2011

One of My Heroes

Is Coya Knutson

Because of this lady, I got a college degree!

And to think, she taught at Oklee High School - just like me.

My Drive to Work....

So, You're Giving My Kid a D?

Don't worry.

It's just an equation.  I know my child is bright and they tried hard in your class and for objective reasons, the equation didn't give them an A.

I know my child is a class-A act.  She's brilliant.  Yes,  I know  her test scores show that she only obtained about 67% of the points assigned to the work you've given her, but I'm glad we both agree that is only based on nine weeks of class work and that learning outside the classroom is important too.

So, don't worry.  I know you worry about my child.  I know that you are not out to get her and would love if all students could earn the A they deserve - and yet look, there are As - in music, math, and writing. 

I know that other parents pressure you when they get their child's report card to change the grade more to their liking - and gripe about it to other parents. 

But don't worry - that parent won't be me.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

An Interesting Dealio

One of the hardest things about teaching, is convincing kids that they want to learn the stuff. In our district, Spanish is offered as an elective.  Therefore, they don't have to be there.  For the most part, the kids want to learn Spanish, or they believe it's going to be beneficial to them in their college careers.

Last year, when I taught English to seventh and eighth graders,  They were required to be in my classroom.  If they failed, I got them the next year...  If they were obnoxious, it could be that they would be back the next day.  So there it was - those kids didn't want to be there - I didn't want them to be there.  And then, the rest of the kids surely didn't want to be there.

Teaching an elective, the dynamic changes.  I HAVE THE POWER.  If the kid doesn't like me and is disrespectful, he or she doesn't need to be in my class.  In the same respect, if students find that I'm a control freak, they'll drop out of Spanish, and I won't have a job. So it's an interesting dealio, but for some reason it's working out for me.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Life Long Learners

Every month since I've started at RLCC I've been getting links for teachers to read from our superintendent.  Hooray - Life Long Learning! 

I love when other common professionals read and then discuss what we've read and then decide if it's something we can use in our school!!

Here's one

And another...

And this!

Hooray me!

Back to Class

It's always so hard to go back to class after a long holiday.  Monday morning, I hopped in my car and looked down at the thermometer and saw "-26"  YIKES! It made going back twice as hard.

I'm not quite sure why going back is hard because I LIKE my job.  I love teaching Spanish, and the kids in my classes are getting used to the idea that I'm staying.

"Mrs. Aakhus?  Do you think you'll come back next year?"

All I can say is "I hope so."

I'm loving that my Spanish is improving and that I can watch some movies and understand the movies --  but with Spanish subtitles while watching with the Spanish language turned on.

We watched

in Spanish 2 in Spanish...  Do you know how absolutely cute it is to hear "Rrralphie!" with that trilled R!  oh!  how simply cute.

I love that. 

At this point last year, I never thought I'd tell you "I want to teach Spanish."  And I guess,  that's funny how that works out sometime how life just happens to us while we're making other plans - oh - I know that's cliche' - but it's just how it is.