Spring Showers Bring… Mud

It’s been muddy out there and it’s going to get muddier with more rain coming after Easter. I was hoping to do more things outside this spring break, but it looks like we’ll be sticking with indoor activities like going to the local children’s museum and an art museum. I haven’t dragged my kids there because one is sort of hyper. We went there with my art camp last summer and she was pretty good, but we kept it to one hour and we were with a tour guide. She’s almost a year older, so I think it’ll be a fun thing to do. Plus, they have an audio tour, so she can have the job of carrying the device until she gets bored with doing it.

This is a great Youtube video for kids to watch before going on a trip to any museum. I used it with my summer camp kids and it really worked.

I had a bad experience one year where some high schoolers misbehaved at an art museum. They were literally wrestling one another. They were loud. They touched things that weren’t meant to be touched. They pushed on barriers and leaned over rails. It was absurd. Had they ever been to a museum before? No. Had I prepped them on how to behave in a museum? No. So, it was a combination of ignorance and lack of preparation on my part. As their teacher, I failed them. Their parents also failed them by not taking them to any museums which is why I need to be responsible for my own children’s education in that way. From now on I will always show this video–until I find another that I like better.

Anyone have any good tips or recommendations on how to prepare students for a trip to a museum?

Sub Tub

In past years I’ve struggled to develop sub plans. Generally, I just instructed my subs on keeping the current projects going. It worked because I was only teaching high school. It kinda worked. Often there would be messes when I returned–ruined paint brushes and the like. I realized that regular classroom teachers needed to be told to give the students 5 minutes to clean up at the end of the period or they just wouldn’t give them the heads up. Weird, but I guess it’s not usually something they have to worry with.

Since taking on middle school in addition to high school classes I’ve had emergency plans printed and ready to go. This year I got even more prepared. Thank you to “Draw The Line At” blogger Jen for posting her Sub Tub for Art. I haven’t gotten as fancy to include photos–yet. I may do that sooner or later. I think my room is pretty organized and I have labels with pictures on everything. I may just include a hand drawn map with labels for where materials are. I did adopt her idea for a binder/folder that explains everything.

At my school, teachers sub for other teachers most of the time. We rarely call in subs, though we have a few for really busy days or long-term needs. Since my subs know the kids and the building, I don’t have to worry about them needing to know what to do in case of an emergency, but I still included that in my folder. I labeled my folder “Sub Folder: Read This First” and I keep it in the front of my “Sub Tub.”

My tub is just a milk crate that I have hanging folders in. I have them labeled by lesson and organized by class. Each class has at least 4 different sub plans with handouts and instructions in each folder.

This took some time to put together, but it was there for me when I had a stomach flu and was out for 2 days. It was there for me when my kids had the stomach flu a different time from mine and were home for 4 days. It’s there for me when I have a meeting coming up and I can just make the note for the sub to do lesson such and such in the 7th grade section of the Sub Tub and thanks! all instructions are included and read the folder cuz it has important stuff in there.

My favorite part of my sub folder is the “How’d It Go?” page. Even though we leave sub slips for each class and our AP does it for us when it’s an emergency absence, most teachers do not leave any comments on them. No feedback! None. I can tell by the state of my room how it went, but still, they should let me know something. By having the “How’d It Go?” page in there my subs have left me notes about classes and what they got finished and where the work is and who was absent and who was missing their sketchbook and it’s just nice to get a little insight into how the class went. I’m really thankful to the teachers who take the time to do that for me.

I think there are some other policies and procedures that I want to add to my sub folder and I know I will add more lessons. It is a work in progress and will probably always be, just as everything is in my job.