Posts Tagged ‘tips’
It’s funny how much the stupid little things matter.
For four straight days, work sucked. I was worried, tired and at least a little stressed. Am I just new, or am I genuinely developing a reputation as a bit of a screwup? Maybe I should go back to substitute teaching — I know how to do that. I wasn’t sure I was cut out for this job, or that I enjoyed it.
That was before I found a $5 Jamba Juice gift card in my box. All wounds healed, by a stupid little gift card. How laughably easily I’m motivated will be something I’ll think about later, while I gulp down my power-sized Razzmatazz and its equally complimentary femme boost.
Immunity boost, I mean. Immunity boost.
I’ve decided that my room isn’t big enough for a bed.
At about 8 feet by 10 feet, I can just barely fit my two desks, a couch and some random computer chair, but I can’t comfortably squeeze in a mattress, box spring and bed frame. Therefore, I’ve decided to live without one.
Thanks, Japan, for making this decision possible. I figured that because your largest metropolitan area has an average of almost 5,800 residents crammed in every square kilometer, you know a little something about space management. For readers who need a more allegorical comparison, that’s like cramming the population of the city of Los Angeles into the city limits of San Francisco. Tight fit.
So instead of taking that extra-long twin my parents want out of their house and stashing it somewhere in my room, I pull out a cheap, blue, child-sized futon at night. I sleep on that, in the style of all those really crowded countries across the Pacific.
It’s mighty comfortable, even ignoring that it lays right on the floor and all. I like my mattresses firm. The floor is pretty firm.
I have no reason to switch back in the near future, especially considering the health benefits of a firm mattress for my sort of sleeper.
I’m thinking that this is a pretty smart move, at the very least because not having to worry about a permanent fixture in the middle of my room really opens up my place.
When I think about it, though, this isn’t a decision between mattress and futon. The last guy with this room had no problem with his bed the way it was, and he had a mighty fine bed. No, this was a decision between one mattress and two or three large, wooden bookcases.
Even after recognizing that this is the real reason I’m going without a West-style bed, I’d choose bookcases any day of the week. Nothing makes me feel more at home than multiple full bookshelves. I’d like to get back to that.
Of course, it’s a good thing I’m only sleeping Japanese and not living it. If I were living Japanese, I wouldn’t be able to afford an apartment large enough to fit either my mattress or the behemoth-sized oak shelving coming my way.
In other words, God bless America.
Grinding students through the barest, vital information is Herculean, but there are ways to make cleaning out the stables a hell of a lot more enjoyable. Besides air freshener, natch.
1. Break long lists into chunks.
Having trouble getting them through the presidents? If they first remember that Lincoln is the 16th president, they’ll have cut the amount of memorization they have to do in half. Introduce that method as a “march to the sea” and you’ll teach two historical concepts at once.
Thing is, once you have Lincoln down, Pierce and Buchanan before him come pretty naturally as “the guys who come before Lincoln,” and Johnson, Grant and Hayes as “the guys who come after.”
2. In general, convince them that there are easy items.
The secret, of course, is that Arthur is no easier to remember than Lincoln if you have never before heard of either. This way, they’ll be shamed into remembering at least one of the two.
3. If it’s chronological, work your way backward.
I first learned my presidents by starting with the most recent. Washington, Adams and Jefferson are just as easy to remember as recent presidents like H.W. Bush, Clinton, W. Bush and Obama.
4. Make items memorable.
Sure, this is easier for crazy-man and unthinkably democratic Jackson than it is for, say, Benjamin Harrison, but most presidents have some anecdote everyone “knows” about them. Upon hearing them, who could forget the apocryphal legend about Millard Fillmore buying a bathtub, or the true legend about fat ol’ Taft getting stuck in one?
5. It’s easier if the students have some background.
Before I even tackle the little stuff like who was president during the War of 1812 — Madison — I first get them grounded in the arc of American history. When were all those wars and all those famous dates in American history? Wars are fun to learn about, and are generally memorable. In my book, associating a name to something memorable is easier to do than associating something memorable to a name.
6. For maximum effectiveness, keep coming back to it.
After the first three weeks of the year, my students should have memorized every president and generally when he was in power. But that’s not all. They’ll take the quiz five or six times, and I’ll mix it up a little by having each successive quiz add a new column of information they should fill out on each president.
By the end of the year, they’ll also have learned how many terms each president was elected to, which war he presided over, whether or not he was assassinated, and the exact years he served as president.
As soon as I figure out how to upload them, I’ll go ahead and share the worksheets I’ve made up.