STEM Fair, Part 2

I am caught up on grading the STEM Fair assignments that have been turned in to this point. Not that this is a good thing, even though it could be looked at as one. I have more than half of my students who are missing ALL that they should have handed in for this assignment. Right now it’s not a lot of points, but if they keep this up….the consequences will just add up until it gets to be too overwhelming for them to make up.

I really wish that we could skip STEM Fair all together. The kids don’t like it, it causes major headaches for me as a teacher, and it strains relationships between parents, teachers, and students until it is over. If there were some way to allow or get the students to complete it over the summer so they could turn in their assignment during the first week of school, THAT would be so great. Of course there would have to be supervision involved and the staff would need to be paid, but it would be neat.

Grades for progress reports are due in by Tuesday. I will start them tomorrow evening so that I’ll have them done by Monday night. This Sunday football doesn’t matter to me much since my team isn’t playing. (The Cleveland Browns for those of you who are curious. I was born not far from there and my maternal grandparents lived so close to the stadium we could hear the crowd noise with the windows open.) But I digress. I should be able to get everything in pretty easy starting tomorrow evening.

I am checking in assignments that are due to me tomorrow, and allowing my students to hand in work that is over-due so that they don’t fall too far behind and hurt their grade too much. I know it sounds like I’m a softy, but I have found out that when I do this I am covered if a parent complains. I’ve been doing this long enough to know that I need to keep my rear covered in all things STEM Fair.

Well all, it’s late and I’m getting sleepy. Take care and be safe.



Endings and New Beginnings

Tonight, a chapter that has been going on for five years has ended. I was part of a cohort of teachers that were given a great opportunity to hone our craft and make ourselves better teachers, and I RAN with it. Since Science was not my first calling in Education, I figured that I would take advantage of every professional development that I could that the district made available for us. The core group of teachers that I met and grew with have become great friends and confidants to me. They are my sounding boards and what not to things science related.

The great and wonderful group of women who helped to guide me on this journey, Tanisha Johnson, Linda Armwood, Lorrie Armfield, Shona Sandlin, and Dr. Felicia Martin Latief, have been invaluable to me over these last 5 years. They have been my support system, cheering section, sounding boards, mentors, sisters, moms, and the ones that have pushed me the farthest. I would like to thank them for all that they have done to help me become the teacher that I am. You are all beautiful women who know your craft!

The new beginnings are because I will be starting back to school next week Wednesday. I am enrolled at Western Governor’s University to study Curriculum and Instruction! I am excited at nervous at the same time. The nerves are because I keep thinking “Are you CRAZY to go back to school at 46?” But then I think of my mother who just graduated with a degree in accounting and she’s 20 years older than me. So this should be nothing, right?????

I can’t WAIT to see what God has in store for me. Watch out world, here I come!

Love and peace all.


Getting Nervous Ramblings

Yes, me, getting nervous.

I’m about to embark on my SECOND Master’s degree. This time in Curriculum and Instruction. It will help me in the long run for what my plans are down the road. After I finish this one, I will then go for my Admin 1 Certification. This is all so that I can become a coach/mentor/etc. within the county that I teach for and formally assist other teachers in the way that I have been doing unofficially over the past 5-7 years.

I am also thinking about money in all of this; how much it will cost for me to go back to school, along with the boost to my pay that will happen once both degrees are done in about 3-4 years.

By the time this is all said and done I will be 50, give or take a few months. That number seems so surreal sometimes. I NEVER thought I would get there, but now that it’s almost here I keep thinking “How did I get here?”

There have been so many ups and downs in my life; sometimes it seems that I go down, then even out, only to go down further. But I know that it is all part of God’s plan He has for me. Even if I can’t begin to see what it is He has in store. There are just days I wish I knew what it was all about.

Forgive me if I seem all over the place this evening. The nerves, along with being tired but unable to sleep at this late hour don’t help. But I guess that is why God invented COFFEE!!!!! I have some pre-made in my refridgerator waiting for me in the morning. So maybe it won’t be so bad.

Thank you all for listening. Take care, and God bless.


Ramblings of my mind

We had a professional development day yesterday that wasn’t a wasted day! Hip hip hooray!!! If this is how things are going to be most of the time for PD days, I’m okay with it.

All I need to do now is to type up my SLOs and then upload them into our database to wait for approval. Then to watch the videos on Health Services stuff, i.e. blood borne pathogens, bullying, homelessness, etc., etc., etc.

My mind is all over the place right now, due to the fact that I am still waking up….so I will sign off until later today.

Take care everyone. 🙂


How did I get here?

There have been many times throughout my life that I have asked myself this question. Today was one of them.

I am planning on starting back to college for my 2nd Master’s degree next month, and one of the questions that I keep asking myself is “Are you CRAZY?!?!?!” I teach 4 sections of general science for 6th graders, I am co-team leader for my team, I am co-chair for our Green Team at my school, I am part of my district’s Teacher Evaluation Committee, I am one of two Union Building reps for the teachers in my building, and I have been accepted to an NEA initiative on expanding Teacher Leadership roles in the school.

But then, this small voice in the back of my head whispers ‘you can do it’.

I want to believe it, and for the most part do believe it. But some days I just really stop and think…”What?!?!?!”

My students are pretty calm and sweet right now. I do see some concerns creeping in, but with the experience that I have I know that those will be a worthwhile endeavor. The big thing that I don’t relish is all the paperwork that goes along with making sure my students are getting the education they need and deserve.

This is not always easy to do. Sometimes it’s the parents that fight us as educators about do we know what we’re doing and whatnot. Many times it’s the students who butt heads with us because they don’t understand that an adult can honestly believe in them and their potential. Sometimes, it’s us fighting about what is, should be, and the fairness (or lack thereof) of it all.

All in all, today was an okay day. The students did their work in class, for the most part. No one got hurt. Yeah! My students learned something. And best of all…I got to spend time with a great group of students and teachers today!

Peace all.


STEM Judging practice and school life in general

My students are pretty fantastic, let me begin with that. On a Monday morning, after some of them stayed up to watch the football game last night (and I am almost certain those same students are watching tonight’s game too), they came to Science class ready to learn AND asking questions about their STEM Fair projects. That is so AWESOME!!!! (Yes, I am a geek, hence the sciencegeek moniker!)

Things went well today. No major meltdowns on anyone’s part. We did have an impromtu assembly, but the students did rather well with the presentation….especially since it was about them being able to earn prizes for doing SCHOOL stuff. It’s a pretty neat idea. A web site that has them enter reminders for upcoming assignments, reflect on their day, list questions that they asked, make a to-do list and just keep track of things in general. Now they REALLY have no excuses to say “I didn’t know” or whatever the excuse of the moment is.

I think back to 1979 when I was in 6th grade (long ago in a galaxy far, far away) and what motivated me to keep up with things in school. It was the fact that my father taught across the parking lot at our high school and that my mother would tan my behind if I ever went to school and misrepresented her or disrespected the teachers. Forget the fact that I knew many of them personally, THAT didn’t do me any favors. What did was staying quiet and just doing my work. What we ‘affectionately’ called brown-nosing in those days. But it worked. I only ever had one D in middle school…and it was in 6th grade Science if you can believe that. But the punishment that was given to me made me realize that I did NOT want that to happen again.

Here’s to hoping that the rest of the week goes as smoothly as today did. Peace!


Locker Handout Day, STEM Fair, and the beginning of the year in general

Last week we gave out lockers. I REALLY dispise locker handout day. The students are all excited, but one must understand; our 6th graders have for the most part NEVER done a combination lock before in their lives. They get right and left mixed up when trying to turn the tumbler in the correct direction. And it’s usually about 4 classes in the hallway at once; which is anywhere from 80 – 120 students and their teachers and any other teachers who don’t have a class in the hallway ALL. AT. ONCE.

Now, since they have had a week to practice them, we will see how they do tomorrow morning. It’s also going to be fun realizing that they had the weekend off from practicing how to do a locker combination. I am cautiously optimistic…..hopefully.

STEM Fair….that dreaded time of year when all the students want to make a volcano, but can’t understand that they have to DO some type of experiment with it. The project ideas were due last week. Mrs. B, I want to see which toothpaste whitens best. NO PRODUCT TESTING, we talked about this in class is the comment that they see written in cursive on their paper (cursive is a WHOLE other day). Mrs. B, I want to see what makes your heart beat faster. Okay….what exactly will you be testing and on WHO??? Remember the extra paperwork you’ll need to do for human test subjects….and no younger brothers or sisters. Some of them have needed reminding, but I’ve gotten some interesting projects that I can’t wait to see what happens with them.

This week starts week 4 of school for me already. This means that I will need to put grades in my gradebook nightly. This is something that I put off until the last minute during Quarter 1 because of switching students between different sections of classes to make sure that they are in the correct placement. It won’t take me very long to do it, I just need to do it.

That’s all for now, but one never knows. The life of a middle school teacher is NEVER dull or boring. And God bless our spouses, especially if they are not in education and do not have a personal perspective on things.

Take care, and stay safe.

Mrs. Behnfeldt – Science Geek