I used 21classes.com for my students' blogs.

I didn't like it that much. It was nice for each student to have their own blog, but I think that I next year I will have a blog for the whole class, ask questions, and have students posts their responses as comments. I use blogger for my personal blog and for my education blog . I think I will like blogger better than this 21classes. I set up an account at Google so that my students could all have email addresses that are firstname@jethrojones.com and that has been nice. I have had a couple students get on at home, and chat with me during class to make sure they understand the assignment. That has been a very worthwhile experience. Right now, I email the students a question at the beginning of the week, and they post the answer on their blogs. The thing I didn't like about 21classes was that they had ads to support it if you don't pay. The problem is that their ads were like this: "Are you GAY? Take the quiz and find out now!" I am not sure that I would like my students to learn about their sexual orientation while doing an assignment for my class. The site costs $8.95 a month to use without ads, and there aren't really any other benefits. Blogger also has a much better design. The other problem with 21classes.com is that customer service is non-existent. There is no option to go back to the ad-supported site (as I was planning to do over the summer) without deleting the entire thing. That is kind of frustrating. Also, when I have problems, and I need to know why none of my students can post on a particular day, I try to contact someone, and there is no phone number or anything like that, so I have no way to contact them. Any email links to report problems all pop up with my email address in the field. It sounds very sketchy and probably is. I will delete the whole thing as soon as all my students finish their blogs, so I don't have to pay for another month.

Thanks for the optimism, brother but...

My class average for my ninth graders on the CRTs was 48.68/85 (57%) and my seventh graders scored an average of 69/82 (84%). I figure by posting this now, I can get my info out before it shows up in the newspapers, and therefore it will be old news by that time.

The good news is that now that I have been through it, I know how to prepare for it better next year. Even though I will not completely teach to the test, I can still improve my teaching. I will be requiring more writing next year, and I hope that will help my students do better. I will also hopefully give more tests than I have this year. Being in a testing situation often does help them do better on tests. I just didn't have time to write tests. When will I ever have time for anything?

In other news, I signed up for my ARL courses to get my license. I will take four courses this summer and they recommend that I only take two. After this summer, I will only have two more courses to take, and then I will have my required courses completed. I am really excited to get this done. It is difficult trying to do grad school and certification, but I am sure it will pay off in the end.


This week we are doing Language Arts CRT (Criterion Referenced Tests). There are four sections and it takes one section per day and a makeup day on Friday. It is so boring because I have to walk around the room all day and make sure my students are marking their answers in the right place. I know there are some things on the test that I specifically taught my students, and other things that I even thought were hard when I took the test. Hopefully, my students will do well, otherwise, I will have my name in the paper--and not for something good.

Creativity in Punishment

I really like thinking up ways to creatively punish students. This student continued to text on his phone during class, even after I asked him to stop. In reality, he wanted his hair cut anyway, and I suggested that we do this to teach the other students a lesson...but don't tell anyone.

Great Teachers

This morning I emailed a bunch of teachers, that I did an inservice with earlier this year, asking them for help about how to teach Greek and Latin roots to my ninth graders. It was really neat to get five or six responses in just a couple hours. I really appreciate that.