Thursday, October 16, 2008

Happiness Is...A Whistle and a Stopwatch

Early in my glorious two week fall break, I made a point of stopping by a local teacher store to stock up on supplies. If you've never been to a teacher store, they're those shady places that sell crack to elementary teachers--you know, too-cute-for-words borders for the bulletin boards, art supplies, posters that teach kids everything from how to count money to all about the Ancient Egyptians. There are finger puppets, books that only a teacher could love, resources, papers in every color of the rainbow, stickers, incentive is pure heaven for the teacher who desires a stylin' classroom.

A teacher like, well, Yours Truly.

I found adorable blue gingham borders, Rennaissance fact cards for an upcoming lesson I'm doing, and other wonderful, googly, adorable things for my awesome bulletin boards.

Heaven, I tell ya, heaven!!

While I was there, I found a small display that contained little useful things like whistles, timers, and stopwatches. I bought a whistle for my keychain and a stopwatch.

Money. Well. Spent.

Already, in only four days back, I have put both to good use.

The whistle is perfect for grabbing attention. When you're walking 30 preteens from class to lunch, and trying to keep them in a straight line, a whistle is a godsend. It saves the voice from undue screaming. Who needs to screech, "HEY! STOP! GET BACK IN LINE!!" when a simple blast of the whistle will do the trick?

And the stopwatch...OH! The stopwatch! All I have to do is push the little button and mutter, "well, there goes your lunchtime..." and my kids are as silent as they've ever been. I never knew middle school students could be so quiet! Well, I did, but there is a certain amplification of that quiet when, instead of watching the second hand tick by on the wall clock (and keeping track in your head of how many seconds they've accumulated), you can just hold the stopwatch up and press the little button. The kids here that little beep...and I can hear a pin drop.

In other words, the teaching gig is going well. I love my teenies. So cute! So fun! Only 30 minutes and I get to send them back!! And I find I love my tweenies (tweenagers), too. Two of my classes are pretty danged awesome, and even my two "rough" classes have good days. Some of the most difficult students in the middle school are making an effort to behave better. I gave them vellum paper, markers and some stained glass designs to trace this week and they can't get enough! It helps that the final product is way cooler than coloring on boring old copy paper. helps that I have a stopwatch.

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