Sunday, 3 February 2013

Busy January : An Update et. al.


E.B. White 

E.B. White was right.

If I wait for the perfect time, place and circumstances to write this post, it may never happen.  UWCSEA - East is an intensely busy place.  And the first month of the new year was not spared from it all.  We could consider managing a schedule comprised of back to back blocks, assessments, service responsibilities, e-portfolio homeshares, sports and  activities, an extreme sport at the X Games.  :) Kidding aside, so much has happened in just three weeks, students and teachers alike are treading water to make sure we all survive this crazy current until Chinese New Year.  

Anyway, what I really wanted to do was give a quick update of the many amazing things happening in our English classrooms.   From the stellar class conversations to your bodies of work, I couldn't be a prouder teacher.   

First thing, seems like everyone is on board with the independent reading program.  If you are not carrying a book that you are invested in by this time, logging your reading routine and thinking, writing, talking about what you are reading with your teachers or friends, then you must have been living under a rock the past six months.  Whether you are reading a class novel, part of literature circle, doing reading conferences with your teacher tackling a book of your choice on a weekly basis, going over GoodReads for recommendations, everyone has reading on their minds to a certain degree.  If you are having trouble choosing a book you can sink your teeth in, have a chat with your English teacher today.  And I mean today. 

Truth 
Next, the Table and the conversations taking place during whole class discussions, whether on our new unit in Grade 8 about Truth or the Grade 7 unit on News, have impressed  Mr. Raisdana and I to high heavens.  If you could just eavesdrop on our debriefing sessions between classes, you would know that we are both very proud of the level of thinking, analyzing, sharing and questioning that we have witnessed in our learning spaces.  The learning that's been happening during these class conversations have been priceless and we both hope you are paying close attention.  Because we are.  We hear you and we are watching you grow as you articulate your opinions and insights with more clarity and conviction, clarify your ideas with humility and negotiate meaning with zeal.  It's not always pretty, right?  The Table can be a noisy market place.  But we have come a long way from the first day of school when sometimes all you could hear were cricket sounds or well, our voices.  Thank you for making every single discussion interesting, thought provoking and a learning experience.  If you are finding that you need some help asserting yourself or tempering your energy to help discussions flow more smoothly, see me or Mr. Raisdana today.  We'd be happy to go over some strategies to get you over that hump or at least help you understand it.  

The discussion 

Tool for Reflection 

   
Finally, here are some more happy snaps that make the crazy current worth it for this sleep deprived, workaholic teacher.   Seriously.  

In class written piece


Reading Time 


Small Group Discussions


Getting familiar with Dave Egger's What is the What

Ken Teh during Writers' Fortnight 

The 7s discuss the News 
Here's more...
Having friends who are also your teaching partners 

Hanging out with Holly Thompson on a Friday afternoon 

Eating my favorite breakfast: Greek Yoghurt with muesli and whatever fruit; in this case, strawberries 

Well, tomorrow is another day. And the current continues.  Tell me, what's making the crazy waves easier for you to ride?  Are you stressed out like the rest of us? How are you handling it?  What do you need to handle it better?  Would love to know...





36 comments:

  1. I liked your post and I loved the pictures I think that they related to the topic. I think I am slightly stressed just now and then after some of our projects. Usually to get out of stress I just finish my homework and then there is nothing to stress about. Or sometimes if I get homework on friday I just leave it for the weekend.

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  2. I play soccer. and shout at people :P

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  3. Well, I'm not really stressed because I never think about it. I just deal with whatever comes even if it's huge. If and when I get a little stressed, I just forget about it and do whatever I have to do.

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  4. I am kinda stressed out because of ALL the homework we have to do!!! Also, there is the tabloid and broadsheet assessment and the in-class humanities ESSAY!!! I deal with all this by eating cheese all day long. That usually calmes me down. :D

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  5. My parents and my brother are helping me through pushing me and helping me when I fall, It takes a lot of the weight of my back knowing that if I reach a dead end I will have 3 possible exits

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  6. Things that keep me from losing it are… Being patient. Having patience makes you learn a lot more thank you think. Learn more about the people and how they handle different situations. That helps because you feel safe.
    Loved the blog post and amazing pictures!

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  7. I really liked the pictures. I do feel stressed sometimes because sometimes we get a lot of homework and sometimes very little. I deal with it by coming home and finishing it off quickly or divide the work evenly over the days and then relax.

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  8. Our school definitely is a pretty busy place for sure, and I think your pictures are edited well. I'm not really stressed right now but when I normally just deal with it by taking a walk or listening to music.

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  9. I am always tired but I try and contain my stress and tell myself not to worry and you will get it done. I do think that some of my teachers do not understand what we are going through and they just pile on the work. That is the case with some teachers but not all (: I think I manage my stress pretty well seeing as I am one of the only people who gets up at 5AM and then swims and goes to class, then after school, I swim again. People say that it is a choice that I make which is why I am so busy but I feel that if I am just at home doing my homework, I am useless. I mean I eat most of my meals in the car because I am so hungry after training and then when I get home, I get just do my homework and go to sleep and being stressed out about everything doesn't get you very far in live. You have to relax and take a deep breath and know that everything is going to be alright.

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  10. I really like the pictures and the meaning behind them. I have never feel stressed because i mange my time well between doing homework and playing. I dont always play a lot but when i get too much homework, thats when i stop and focus. That is how i deal with stress.

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  11. These few weeks have been really crazy for me since there is so much going on and all the teachers are trying to finish as much as they can before the Chinese New Year break. For me the way to overcome this period is to stay organized and work extra hard to finish as much as you can everyday since you don't know what you are going to get the next few days.

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  12. I am quite stressed because of all the assessments, work, activities and events etc. I am trying my best to manage all of these things so that I am not under pressure and I reduce the stress I have as much as possible.

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  13. How I deal with stress. I work hard everyday. I feel like there is to much homework given. Not only do we have homework we have school projects. For example this week I have to re take my math test along with my chinese test. There is also a humanities essay we have to write on thursday and I need to prepare by researching about the topic. The english newspaper is due the next day so I have to really manage my time.

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  14. I always seem to be affected by stress. It doesn't matter way I seem to be. I feel most stress when I am at school. The way I handle stress is by actually doing my homework. When I get all of it out of the way I feel free :).

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  16. Homework usually doesn't stress me out but when we get a lot I do fell stressed. To help myself, I eat and then start working on my work.

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  17. um, i ain't handling stress very well, though what i think helps is finishing everything first, then moving on to the fun stuff. Because what i used to do was be on social media sites and doing homework at the same time, whereas just doing my homework with no distractions is better, because i get immersed into my work, then when i am done, i can have some fun, also it takes less time and that is always better.

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  18. Well Im not really that stressed out cause I just don't bother thinking about all the work,I just break the work up and slowly finish it.I also rely on my friends for they amazing moral support.

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  19. Grade 7 has been a huge change from grade 6. We used to get homework, but no way as much as grade 7. Everything is so much more compact and you have much less days to do the things we do. I think that this is a huge change, and I am pretty stressed.

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  20. I dont what making the crazy waves any easier at the moment I am kind of stressed out with a lot of things like homework. I think one thing that may be making this easier is knowing that there a holiday coming soon. I guess I start to realize I am stressing out and go take a break.

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  21. This week and towards the end of last week I have been feeling much less stressed out, but in the first few weeks after we came back from the holidays? Crazy crazy crazy!!!!!!!!!! Sometimes I feel like there is too much homework, but on the days where I get a lot I just prioritize and get the most important things done first - it is easier from there on. Hopefully we will not get so jam-packed again :)

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  22. There is too much stress in everybody and its mostly on the homework load. I would agree about this and it is crazy, but this is life on being a student. Depending on what the class is, they give too much in our perspective, when really the teachers say that it's not too much. Though, positive point, Chinese New Year is coming up which gives us time to be with our family and friends.

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  23. I was, overwhelmed with home works and tests, but now we finished all our exams/projects so I am really happy and not stressed at all. The only thing bothers me, is sleepiness because of my roommates snore...

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  24. I think that we are all treading water and we are all in the same ocean, with the same current, Some of us are slowly but surely sinking while others are becoming stronger and are rising above the water. I think that in the past 2 weeks, with all of the tests and other important tasks i have become less vulnerable to stress and working hard. I am getting used to the stress and hopefully will be able to control it in the future.

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  25. It was a bit challenging for me do to all those work and it was a great stress for me. But after everything is all finished, now I feel better, and I think I can handle it better than before.

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  26. Hi Ms Paula,
    First of all, I love your blog post and pictures :) For me, adapting to the school compared to my other one was very interesting. Moving from a small school with merely 100 students to this one with about 30 times more I have had to adapt. In grade 7 I started to get used to the way we were taught here, the homework, lots of tests and returning home from swimming at 7 pm. This year, I have realized I get more homewrok, and more tests chunked together in the same week. I am quite organized and I manage my time well, so for me, it's no problem to get ready for upcoming tests. I am not stressed, except when it comes to tests :) I don't really freak out, just 'go with the flow'. Anyway, I stil love grade 8!!!

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  27. FINALLY holidays are on there way! I am freaking out :( I am really stressed and praying for the holidays to come faster!!! Even food does not help sometimes :( I am grateful for the holidays and will defiantly not take them for granted. I am like a zombie and live off food and other stuff. ARGHHHHHH why cant it THURSDAY 3:01. HOLIDAYS PLEASE COME FASTER KNKK SK CS CL CL LS SFGL CL L FEJLDH VH .

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  28. I feel very stressed out. We have had a lot of homework and so many tests/projects. Right now since it is the last week the stress has gone down but when we are back from the break i feel like we will have more work again.

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  29. I am not that stressed since the huge bulk of our assessments are over. I was stressed during the assessments but, when I look back, I see how much I have accomplished during that time and how much I achieved. I guess you should look back on what you have done to get rid off stress

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  30. 2013 has been crazy. I thought after coming back from the Christmas holidays we would start off slow. I was so wrong from the first day back from break we were already working hard and now I am finally starting to wind down and my stress levels are slowing down. I can't wait for the CNY holidays but I know that when we come I need to be prepared for a lot more work.

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  31. The best way I think to deal with stress is to set short goals, the more stressed you are the closer the goal. Whether it is the end of the week, the end of the day, or the end of the period if you have a goal then you can forget about that humanities project for a few hours while you focus on something else. Warning: beware that this technique can cause you to completely forget about work,tests,or future engagements. When you are not so stressed try to get a broader view on life

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  32. I'm a little bit stressed out because of all the assessment, test and homework, but I think that if I manage my time better then I won't be as stress. Also there is a holiday coming up so I feel fine.

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  33. First of all, I loved the pictures especially the one of strawberries...yum. Well, I am not quite stressed out because I am used to the overload of homework. I only get stressed if there are assessments. I hate them. To relieve my stress, I just think of the joy and happiness after the test or assessment.

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  34. Most of the stress I get is from school work because there is so much and it is hard to try and finish everything properly and still have time for other activities. I try and not do so many activities at a time because sometime it's hard for me to concentrate and in the end I get in trouble for not doing my work. To fix this I evenly space out my work so I can finish it all in time.

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  35. Usually I don't get stressed as all are exams are finished but if I do, I relax to calm myself down and I distract myself from what is stressing me out.

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  36. Things have been pretty rushed lately. Especially since getting used to a new environment is somewhat challenging at times. Nonetheless, somethings can't be helped. This is one of them. To be honest, I'm not really stressed. I just take things as they come because at the end of the day being stressed just gets you worked up.

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