I, Joy Kirr, am a middle school teacher, author, and speaker. My 7th grade ELA (English Language Arts) classes are working to improve their lives through student-directed learning - without marks throughout the year. This is a log of my learning experiences... Want to have me speak with your staff or facilitate a workshop? Here is my PORTFOLIO.

Saturday, January 28, 2023

A Few Memories from the Past Week

A glance into my school week...

Not-so-fun stuff:

Students started taking notes on Tuesday - reading articles (already curated for them), and copying and pasting evidence into a document (already made for them). We spent about 80 minutes total over the four days finding, copying, and pasting evidence. I walked around helping students the entire time. Some finished by Friday. Three (out of 62) have NOTHING copied and pasted. It'll be impossible for them to choose the best evidence to write about on Monday. This will also affect their writing partners.

I heard these words this week (when I wasn't supposed to, I'm sure) spoken by 7th graders: bullshit, pervert, pedophile, damn

Three students of mine in one class like to yell, "Bunti!" and I still don't know what it means, but it doesn't sound like a good thing the way they say it in class.

As soon as one of my classes has any unstructured time (ex: the four-minute passing period), I have to keep an eye on at least five students. I only have unidirectional sight.

More horseplay = "think-about-it" reflection and notes home.

The students think I should us GoGuardian - instead of the responsibility being on them to not go on their games on the Chromebook.

One student was talking about another, and said, "This morning he said the moon landing was fake and they gave the astronauts hallucinogens."

I used a pliers (I keep in my drawer) to get a fishing lure out of the carpeting. At least the student could get the other end off his hoodie tie, and I'm glad I had a pliers.

Was in a very awkward meeting this week. Glad I'm learning to listen better, and I'm glad I wasn't asked to share.

Got another letter from a parent wanting to know the books for our next book club and who chooses them and where they're from and what they're about... This parent can opt out, but doesn't want me to talk to the child about it.

Had a student (I have a good relationship with) ask when we're going to do another read aloud, and I shared that we might not. The book I've used before (short, fast chapters, done in eight days) has been well-received by students but may not be well-received by a parent. I don't know any that are that engaging that I can read in that amount of time.

Lots of talk about the current society's impact on our classrooms.

Spent some moments wondering if I could teach sign language instead of ELA for my last 5.5 years.

Good stuff:

I shared a student-created podcast and they hosted a Q & A session afterwards.

Wrote to parents about what we're doing in ELA this month and got a couple of nice responses. I also wrote good notes home to parents and got a couple of nice responses.

Overheard a student say, "The worst pet would be an elephant."

We were able to try a new platform (to us) for our article of the week.

We were playing "Heardle" in homeroom, and the student at the computer typed in "Chineato Connor" when me and my co-worker recognized the song "Nothing Compares 2 U." (Last week, the student typed in "you too" for the group U2.)

At the end of a rough class Friday, many of my sweet students said, "Thank you" and "Have a good weekend, Mrs. Kirr" on their way out. We made eye contact and smiled at each other.

Laughed a lot with coworkers a couple of times.

I was gifted these drawings of me (smiling, I think):

Good stuff at home:

Bob made homemade chocolate chip cookies.

I went to bed at 7:47pm Friday.

My home is a refuge.

My house is quiet.

I am loved.