Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Getting Noticed

It's bound to happen. By now you are basically a celebrity amongst children in whatever division/schools you frequent. They all love you and since you live right next door to the school you may eventually bump into one of them.

Sidenote: I suggest not living right next door to a school. You already do? Move. Not an option? Do not let the kids know you live there.

So anywho, one summer I was visiting an aunt in the hospital often and one day I'm walking through the main entrance when I hear a child mention something about her substitute.

"that's my substitute" the girl states.

Assuming I'm the only substitute around I turn around to see what child has recognized me now. Do they want an autograph? Shot, I left my sharpie at home. The girl had beautiful curly red hair. The kind of red hair that you would remember if you had ever subbed or her.

Based on this information I was fairly certain she was not one of my regular students. But cannot place her for the life of me.

"Red hair, red hair, where have I seen that red hair before" I go over in my head...

It's already been hours since I turned around (alright it was probably half a second but it felt like hours). So having no clue who this girl is (or if she was even talking to me). I give my biggest "yes I obviously have such fond memories of subbing for you, how could I possibly forget" and just continue on my way.

Pretty sure I never saw the girl again. She does have the kind of curly red hair that you would remember. Or maybe I see her all the time and she is in a classroom that I frequent. Maybe her red hair is not so memorable after all.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

This Week At School

This week at school I subbed every day  Full days.
This week at school I only subbed in elementary school.
This week at school I subbed in a 1/2/3 split class! 
This week at school I got to sub in the same classroom twice!... too bad they weren't angels.
This week at school I signed a kids crutch (yes, I said crutch... not the cast which will be gross in a few days probably).

Anywho, enjoy some photos from my week at school!

While part of the class went to track we painted pictures of people dancing.
The kids know about Gangnam style.

I liked these.

The kids took half a minute throughout the day to add a message to the Twitter filing cabinet. 
My favourite?
"I heart butter"

We had an assembly at one of the schools where they premiered an anti bullying video.  
The 4 boys were adorable.
They are getting an article in the community newspaper AND got picked up in a limo for lunch.
Basically superstars!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Get The Kids to Help

We've all been there. The teacher has left you a zillion worksheets to do with the class or an art project that requires you handing out 5 items to each child all at once. Well guess what, you don't have 5 hands and cannot divide yourselves 5 ways (or at least I don't think you can - I can't). There is an easy solution to this problem. Get the kids to help. Kids love to get out of their seats and hand things out for you. The bonus of getting the kids to help? You get to sit back with your feet up while they do your job. Just make sure they remember to leave a sheet on Billy's seat (he is in the washroom), give one to themselves, and not to forget the others who are also handing things out.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Class Pets Round Two

Sometimes class pets are not as lively as some kids would like them to be (don't want those children to be over stimulated by puppies and kittens so let's just get them a slug and put it in a fish bowl and watch it slowly move from one end to the other).

Sidenote: I've never once seen a slug as a classroom pet.

Anywho, I was subbing for a friend of mine and she had a class pet that happened to be a stick bug. Not the most exciting of class pets, not the best looking, and to be honest, when you aren't expecting it to be sitting there (right next to the teachers desk) a little scary too.

Well the kids come in and the day goes on and eventually it's recess so I decide to get a closer look at this bug of theirs (no I do not let it out of its fish bowl.. I'm not crazy - I just observe it from a safe distance). I noticed it hasn't moved since the beginning of the day but assume stick bugs are lazy and this one is probably the laziest of them all.

The day goes on and it is now afternoon. Stick bug over there to my right still hasn't moved. At this point I'm wondering if it is alive or not.

At one point a student comes up to me and asks why the stick bug hasn't moved all day "it's sleeping" I reply as I quickly send of a text to my friend alerting her that I think her stick bug has gone up to stick bug heaven. The kid decides to squirt the bug with water in an attempt to wake him (and maybe feed him?).

I get a text back before the next child asks me about the stick bug.

"Yes" my friend says "I think the bug died last week, I've been telling them he is just sleeping".

Whelp. If that's the story the teacher is using then that's the story I'm using.

"He's sleeping" I tell them all.

"It's like when a bear hibernates... he just really loves to sleep, he is probably dreaming of all his bug friends, too deep of a sleep to feel that water, to deep of a sleep to hear your chatter, maybe he will be up tomorrow, when your teacher is back"

Ah... handled that one like a pro.

May you rest in peace gross looking stick bug.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Silent Ball

This can be used during the game time that your already awesome class already earned. The bonus of using this game is that it is silent (and if it is not silent no one plays) so everyone wins!

Set up:

1) Find something that you can let the kids toss around some good options are a spongy dodge ball from the gym, a stress ball, or failing all others a crushed up ball of paper. Some terrible options are that gerbil ball with the gerbil still in it, anything breakable, or anything heavy that could break something.

2) Explain the rules (which are simple). You throw the ball and if the person catches it everyone is still in. If the person does not catch it the game commissioner (the teacher) makes the all important call. Was t a bad throw that the other person could never catch? The thrower is out. Was it a great throw and the catcher was too busy staring off into space to catch it? The catcher is out. PLUS if anyone talks or makes a peep at any point then the talker is out.

3) The kids spread out around the room and you toss one of them the ball to get things started.

4) As the kids get out they sit at their desks (or if it's the end of the day and chairs are up they can just sit on the floor).

And that's basically it.

The game can get a little boring when you are down to only a few kids so usually around the 5 kids left mark I like to throw them some curve balls. Tell them they are all t-rex and have to keep their elbows stuck to the sides of their bodies at all times, tell them they are only allowed to use one arm for catching and throwing, tell them they have to do hand/head stands and catch the ball with their feet, or just find another way to make it slightly more trickier for them.

And obviously, remember to have fun. If one of the kids want to be the games commissioner then you get to show off your mad silent ball skills.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Violin Instructor

Have I ever told you about the time I became the go to sub for violin classes?


Well buckle up because you are in for a great read.

First I should start off by saying I do not play violin. I have no idea how to hold one properly let alone play it.

But I went in regularly for this one teacher who shared a classroom with the violin instructor. Naturally, with my easy going personality and charisma me and the violin instructor became the best of friends (as in we occasionally talked when we weren't teaching).

One day he asks me if I play violin and would I like to sub for him one day?

"Well" I reply "I don't play violin but I do believe I could fake it until I make it"... maybe I didn't say exactly that probably more likely "I don't play violin, but if you don't mind me not being able to play I'm sure I could manage the class and watch them play"

He apparently thought this was good enough and told me he would be booking me soon.

Violin instructors do not lie when they say they will book you. It wasn't long before I found myself signing in at the office as the violin instructors sub.

How did the day go?

Well, with the grade 6's we watched Ice Age (grade 6's are just in music class not violin so we were listening for the different instruments in the movie - kind of lame but it's what I was told they would do).

Then with the grade 7's and 8's we were breaking out the violins and getting down to the nitty gritty (erm.. we were playing them).

I am going to let you in on a little secret. This works probably 9 times out of 10. When you don't know the answer to something or how to do something get them to show you (or get them to look it up for you).

So here is what I did:

"Hey classes, I don't have a hot clue how to play this instrument or even how to hold it but you all do. So how's about we get out this song that you are learning and break into groups to practice it. I'll come around and you can each take turns teaching me how to play some of it"

Works like a charm.

They claimed "Happy Birthday" was the easiest one they had learned (what ever happened to "Hot Cross Buns"?) so that was the one I was taught. Was I good at it? Not a chance. But did I survive my day as a violin instructor? You bet I did. It even led to more days subbing in that very class.

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Dress To Impress...

... The Kids

I've already mentioned this in my Sunday posts but perhaps you are new to this blog, missed that posting, or for whatever reason forgotten this excellent piece of advice. Whatever the reason I'm going to repeat this tip because that is exactly what it is... a tip.

Wear something that sparkles, shines, or is in some sort of way impressive.

I'm assuming this is different for everyone (especially the male substitutes out there) but I'll give some suggestions anyways.

1) Shoes. Whenever I wear colourful shoes (ok, my red ones) the kids are impressed and tell me how much they love my shoes (and therefore they also love me). Win over one kid and you'll win over 5 of their friends.

2) Watches. Guys, this one can work for you (because I'm assuming you don't have any cute red shoes in your closet). Get a cool watch and wear short sleeves so that your students will see it, comment on how cool it is, and therefore think you are cool just for owning some awesome piece of jewelry.

3) Jewelry (everything but watches). If it sparkles and shines the kids will be attracted to it like a fat person to cake. They will want to hold your hand when you walk down the hall just for the chance that the bracelet you are wearing might graze their arm.

4) I'm not a guy so I have no idea if this could work but I'll throw it out there and one of you can test it and get back to me but... ties. Get some cool ones. By cool ones I do not mean lame ones. There is a fine line (I am sure). The skinny ties are in right now but those are boring. No child is going to be impressed with a skinny tie unless you are teaching fashion 101. Push the envelope on the tie but don't push it as far as the "teacher sweater" (think an ugly sweater party). Then build up a stash of 10 or so of these awesome ties so that you can rotate them and the kiddos will just think you are continuously awesome.

A few things that I've been complimented on by my students.
The white shoes are from Walmart and everyone seems to have them... the kids love that I have them because they also do

Sunday, May 05, 2013

High School

If you click on the "About Me" tab at the top you will see my profile picture. I must admit it was taken a couple of years ago now but is still accurate to how I look. I look young. This is one of the reasons why I do not normally substitute in a high school (if I blend in with middle school students on occasion you better believe I blend in with the high school students).

There is another reason why I do not normally sub in a high school though. High school students are just slightly more scary. They know more. They (might) care more. And because of this I believe the teachers need to know more and be really good at the subject they teach.

Having said all of this, do not get me wrong, I can substitute teach in a high school and survive! Here is a story on my survival in high school.

First, let me set the scene. I get a phone call from subfinder (it's an automatic phone call and the phone call is for a high school and not just a high school but a high school in the ghetto so I just hang up on subfinder so that I don't have to give an excuse as to why I'm not taking the job). Anyways, subfinder calls again, and again, and again. ALL for the same school and teacher. At this point I'm assuming the classes this teacher must teach are just terrible because no one wants to accept the job! But I eventually go online to look up the actual job only to find out that I've been requested for the job!

Sidenote: I NEVER turn down something I have been requested for

So it's with sweaty palms that my mouse hovers over the accept button and with what little confidence I have I click it. Yes, I Christine, will substitute in a high school in the ghetto. Here's hoping not only I survive but my car does as well (luckily I was given a parking stall number so the later isn't a huge concern).

Day before the scheduled high school day approaches and I get a call from subfinder saying it's been cancelled. Thank the Lord I think and with the saddest face I can muster (to fake being sad about having another day off) I accept that I've gotten the message.

But wait, that's not all. The job has merely been altered to only a half day morning.

"A half day, well I can survive a half day in high school" I proudly announce and carefully lay out my clothes for my next morning teaching high school math and science.

Well I arrive at the school in a timely manner only to see someone has parked in the parking stall I was given. What a terrible start to my morning. I find a spot on the street lock on my club and lock the doors. Then confidence I walk up to the school.

I sign in and talk with the secretaries about how, yes, I am a substitute teacher and am qualified to teach. Which gets us on the topic of the teacher I am subbing for and how I thought it was strange that he requested me even though I have no clue who he is. The give me a description of him but I assure them that he can be 8 feet tall and I still wouldn't know him.

I eventually find my way to my classroom read through the sub plan (math and a movie- I LOVE showing movies when I sub)!

The classes are small. I'm assuming some students may see that it's a substitute teacher and decide to skip class (they are in high school I suppose it's allowed).

Last class in the morning was a science video. One of the students set it up for me (let's face it they likely know more about technology than I do).

I had an EA for some of the time.

I survived my first (and only) day subbing in a high school in the ghetto.

AND not a single student hit on me.... that one's a head scratcher.

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Mystery Mess

Kids can leave the classroom a mess at the end of the day (especially if you get into some art projects with them).

Kids can also have a horrible time of cleaning up the mess they make before the final bell goes.

A way to help with the tidying of the messy classroom is to play a little "game" I like to call "Mystery Mess"

Here is how it works:

Bring something to give away to the students (stickers, pencils, erasers, little notebooks - just go to the local Dollar Store and see what you can get)

Some prizes I've acquired over the years...

At the end of the day explain to the students that you have picked out a mess that needs cleaning but you are not going to tell the students which mess it is (it could be a chair that needs to be picked up, a crayon off the floor, or a sweeping job - it doesn't matter).

Continue telling the students that whoever cleans up the mystery mess is going to get a prize.

They will (hopefully) all start cleaning because they want that prize.

Watch the mess that you picked (if the room is really messy you can even pick 2) to make sure you see who ends up tidying it up.

Once the room is clean tell them what the messes were and who you saw cleaning them (and give them their prizes)

Now the room is tidy and you can leave pretty well with the kids at the sound of the bell because you don't have to do the cleaning yourself!*


*only you wouldn't dare leave at the bell because I already taught you not to do this in "Don't Leave Too Early"
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