12.01.2013

December Currently

I've been on a blogging hiatus.  I haven't had much to blog about.  I am working to figure out common core and how to make it work with what we've got.  It's not that exciting, and I doubt I am doing what the district would truly like me to do, but I see progress with  my kids and that's truly what matters - my kids learning! 
 
I've enjoyed having the last week off.  I was able to get a lot done at home and I feel pretty good about it.  I still have a million things to do, but Christmas vacation is coming up soon enough!  3 weeks off will be wonderful and glorious!  I hope it goes slower than this last week did!  I'd like for it to drag on and on! 
 
This week at school, I am changing up my plans from the past and jumping right in to Gingerbread Men.  We will read different stories each day, map them out, compare the stories, decorate some foam gingers and then on Friday, we will see if we can help the gingerbread man get across the river - by building little boats.  I figure I will pair the kids up, give them some popsicle sticks and glue and foil and let them go to town.  I figure it's a good Friday afternoon activity.  And it might be rainy and cold (for us, remember, 55 is cold!) so it will be perfect to burn off some energy!  Stay tuned for pictures! 
 
Here is my currently for December!  I have my house decorated inside and am waiting for hubby to do the outside!  Until then, I will enjoy the inside where it's cozy and lit up!  
 
 
 
For those interested, everything in my TPT store is 10% off.  And most of it is dirt cheap!  Check it out!  I have a couple of gingerbread things I will be using this week! 
 
Happy Monday eve!  Here's to a great week at school!
 

11.17.2013

Sundays are great when Monday's a work day!

Ahhhhh...a relaxing Sunday, sitting on the couch watching Jimmie Johnson win another NASCAR championship.  What could be better?  Not having kids on Monday!!!!!  Yep, we only have to teach one Monday in November!  Last Monday was a holiday, tomorrow is a teacher work day and next week we are off for Thanksgiving!  November is our barely month for teaching.  I feel like we are barely in school.  I can handle that! 

Tomorrow is our annual teacher work day.  Some teachers use it for conferences, but I like to use it for cleaning my room, planning and prepping for the next month.  I have some piles gathered that need to be put away.  I also have a gazillion things I want to do in my room, but haven't made the time to do it.  I feel like I just fly by the seat of my pants.  Tomorrow will hopefully put a dent in all that!  I did most of my conferences last week.  I stayed after school and did 18 of my 26 conferences, 3 more are this week, 1 said they can't ever come and the rest were given a friendly reminder that I will be at school tomorrow to do conferences on a walk in basis.  I don't always love conference time, but this year it has been an eye opening experience.  I am seeing why the kids are the way they are.  Some are surprising while others aren't that big a surprise.  But, just a few more and I am done! 

I am planning on focusing almost the whole week on Thanksgiving.  I haven't had any time to do it, so we are going all out this week.  Mind you, we don't do a big feat or anything, so it's going to be a lot of learning, comparing and doing some crafty projects.  I hope the kids aren't too crazy (with the full moon, our crazy temperature shifts and vacation coming) and have a little fun while we are busy learning.  I'm sure I'm asking for a lot! 

I'm loving my new schedule of doing math in the morning.  I feel like we are doing more with math, but I'm also not rushing through language arts like I was.  I feel like I have more time to do it all, even if I really don't.  I just hope no one tells me I don't really have more time...that would break my heart!  Plus, our math topic right now is on geometry, so it's a little easier for the kids to understand than the addition or subtraction we have been working on.  We still do it, just not as hard core as the math lessons entail. 

Well, it's time for me to go watch the hockey game and cut out some shapes.  Little shape people are in our future on Tuesday and I want to be able to have one thing prepared for the week.  I'm also hoping to make some time tonight to watch another episode or 2 of Orange is the New Black.  Interesting show.  If you have Netflix, check it out.  It's not for the faint of heart (not violent, just language and adults scenes), but it got me hooked yesterday!  We watched 5 episodes last night...thanks to the grandparents for taking our daughter this weekend! 

Here's to a great, short week before Thanksgiving!  And we already have plans for the weekend!  Go us!  SO spontaneous of us to plan the weekend 10 days before!  We are going to see Garfunkel and Oates in LA.  They are a hilarious comedy duo who have both played in The Big Bang Theory!  Google them...they are funny, but again, not for the faint of heart!  Happy Sunday!   

11.11.2013

Endings lead to new beginnings

That's a pretty deep title!  Really, it just means that we are done with the first trimester and moving on to the second trimester tomorrow.  I don't feel ready, but my report cards are DONE and ready to be printed.  I am done with testing for now and can get back to some actual teaching tomorrow!  I'm excited for that. 

I made the big change last week with our schedule and I think I like it.  It feels weird to do math in the morning, but we have the whole rest of the day for language arts.  By the time we get to the afternoon, the kids are pretty squirrely, but I hope they are still with it enough to do reading groups.  I have spent the last 2 weeks assessing during my group time, so it will be so nice to get back to doing reading groups.  And we were actually able to do some fun little social studies things in the afternoon.  Let's hope that continues! 

So, I'm not digging common core.  Am I alone in this feeling?  My kids came in so low this year and we are working hard, but I feel like I keep being force fed common core stuff that my kids can't do independently.  I had a conversation with our TOSA (who has less teaching experience than I do) about Common Core and how my kids aren't doing well without a lot of direct instruction (because as he puts it, they don't need as much DI as they do working it out for themselves) and he said that it's a shift in philosophy.  Um, my philosophy is to teach kids, not let them flounder.  I think my new approach will be to close my door and teach my kids.  They need to learn!  If they don't have good background knowledge, then how are they going to figure it out for themselves?  Someone please help me here!  Am I way off base?  I know I don't totally understand Common Core and in fact, I signed up for a class to help me figure it out.  Either I'm missing something, or Common Core is missing something! 

Speaking of class, I should probably go and look at it again and try to figure some things out.  I have 8 days left in November to teach.  And we have a lot to do in a short time.  Let's say freak out and panic, shall we?!  Happy Monday all!

11.03.2013

November Currently

It's been awhile since I have actually posted a currently.  I figured now's as good a time as any!  It's been quite awhile since I blogged and changes are coming down the road for my kiddos! 
 
Listening: I love listening to the radio when I work on the computer.  I distracts me from all the other stuff going on in my house.  I did have to wait today to come into the office until after the NASCAR race was over.  I had to watch Jimmie win!
 
Loving: Between all the holidays, I only have to work with kids 13 days this month.  It's a much needed break!  But it's also stressful as there is so much to do between now and the 22nd! 
 
Thinking: My kids are going to FREAK out tomorrow!  I am totally rearranging the schedule tomorrow.  We need more time for things, so everything is being moved around.  November will be my test month to see how it goes.  We will now do math first thing in the morning instead of last thing in the day.  We will do our rotations at the end of the day.  I need more time for my whole group language arts, so that will be done in the middle of the day.  It will take a lot of getting used to by me, as I am a creature of habit and have had the same basic schedule since I have been teaching...and that's been 16 years!  But, I am going to try to embrace this change and see how it goes.  Wish me luck! 
 
Wanting: I want fall to be here!  It was over 80* yesterday!  I want it to be nice and cool.  I'll take 60* and be happy.  We are going up to our new mountain home this weekend, so I hope it's nice and fall feeling.  It's supposed to be in the 50's there and I am looking forward to it! 
 
Needing: Lots of things!  I need to start report cards, but the new changes to the new report cards have not been completed.  And the term ends Friday.  But we can't send them out until after the 18th.  Whatever!  My house is always a mess.  I admit it!  I'd rather spend time with my family than cleaning.  And they aren't a big help, so we opt for time together rather than a squeaky clean house!  And I need to stop stress-eating!  The peanut butter is almost gone and there aren't enough chips in the house right now!  Too bad I didn't like to stress eat on carrots and apples!  Once the next 2 weeks pass, I should be done with all the stress eating! 
 
Yummy pin: I LOVE this recipe!  I actually have it in the oven as I type.  These are my new go-to potatoes!  So yummy!  And so easy to make.  My whole family loves them! 
 
http://www.cinnamonspiceandeverythingnice.com/roasted-mustard-potatoes/
 


 

Dinner's about ready and my lesson plans are done!  It's a good Sunday night.  But there is still a million and a half things to do before tomorrow morning.  Happy November!

10.20.2013

Fall Finally?

Nah, it's not fall here.  Or at least not like fall in other parts of the country.  It was still almost 90* today!  But it's sunny, so I can't complain!  A couple weeks ago we had some rain one day and some cooler temps for a few days.  It was wonderful!  I will really enjoy it when it does get cooler and we can wear pants and not sweat to death outside!  :) 

I am going to introduce my kids to some new centers this week.  We have been doing my version of Daily 5, but I don't like it all that well.  Read to someone is my nemesis.  So I am going to fix it a little and make it work better for me.  That means I need to be more creative, but I need to be.  I have been in a rut for a bit, so this will be a good way to get me out of it.  And my kids need practice with some other things, so we will throw in some math, too.  I know it's not math time, but some of us need all the extra help we can get! 

I have made a couple little fun center games for the kids this week.  We have 3 days this week of centers/rotations.  I am out on Thursday for a meeting, and they will have plenty to do with the substitute to keep them occupied!  If you'd like to grab the centers I have made, click on the cute pictures from mycutegraphics.com to get your free copy.  All I ask is for a little comment love please!


 
I've decided that if I post anything here for use in the classroom, most of the time it will be a freebie.  I'm tired of reading blogs that are just a big ad for their TPT store and then the item I like it too expensive for my taste.  I guess that makes me cheap, and I am OK with that (so is my hubby).  It seems that teachers who are posting on TPT are making things more $$$ and are reaping the benefits, but not from me.  There are a few things I have bought that have been worth it, but if it's something I really want/need, I am going to try and make it on my own.  It's not as cute as theirs or as creative, but I get the same result.  I want to be able to help even just one person who may be frazzled or pressed for time.  If I can do that, then I'm good!  I will still be putting things on TPT, but those are few and far between. 
 
I have had a busy weekend and I am really tired, thanks to waking up before 3am for no apparent reason!  I think it's time for an early bedtime tonight and ready for a busy week!  
 

10.15.2013

I logged in tonight to post something, but then I forgot what it was!  That's how things are going lately!  There are a gazillion things to do, yet nothing seems to get done.  I did manage to get the trash out for tomorrow and I have dinner in the works!  Go me! 

We had a staff meeting today and our staff meetings are now about 15 minutes of staff meeting stuff and the rest of the time we are supposed to spend doing vertical collaboration.  Last month, the first grade team met with Kinder.  I was gone, so I don't know how it went.  There was only one teacher from our team there, so it couldn't have been super productive.  Today we had to meet with 2nd grade.  Our second grade team is very head strong and they feel that everything they do is great and wonderful.  They had very little positive to say about the kids they have this year from us, and in fact they are trying to find a way to move some kids back into 1st grade.  Sorry, we are over our limit on kids as it is!  But, it is disheartening to hear them talk about the kids the way they do.  For the last 6 years, the kids, as a whole, have never met the lofty expectations the teachers have for them.  If they are at grade level, they should have been higher.  If they are below grade level, they should have been retained.  I'm sorry, but retention isn't the answer for all kids and sometimes, maybe even a lot of times, it doesn't work.  It's just frustrating to listen to them complain about all the kids, especially the ones who are the really good kids who work hard and are capable of learning as long as they are taught! 

And this is the conclusion that I have come to.  While I am not the best teacher, I try to be the best I can be.  I have changed things up over the last couple years and have learned some new things to help me help my kids.  I try not to be the paper pusher, and I'm getting better about that.  I do my reading groups, though they are not as effective as I'd like, but I do my groups and try to do them 4 days a week.  I try to pull kids out when they need extra help, but I haven't been able to find the time this year.  I try to make learning fun and bring out the manipulatives and try not to bore them to death with some of the things we do.  But then I see what others do (or don't do) and I wonder why I work so hard.  I try not to kill a forest a week with worksheets, but for some, they think that is the key to learning.  A 20 page homework packet doesn't make the kid smarter, but you wouldn't know that by the praise the other teachers get for doing such a good job getting the kids to grade level or "proficient" based on some test that is now out.  We were talking today and I thought maybe we were just jealous that the others get the praise, but it's not that.  I am more upset that they get praise for not going above and beyond, while we are doing a million things to try and get the kids to learn. 

But then I have to ask myself - would I be happy if I did my job half-assed?  Nope!  I have to give 100% everyday and do what I can to help my kids learn.  Once they leave me, they are no longer my responsibility.  I can care for them, and talk to them and hope the best for them, but they are not on my roster and are no longer under my direct instruction.  I can hope others see what I see, but if they don't, I can only do what I need to do to make sure my kids are learning in my class and that I am giving them the best I can.  It's a good reminder as we get towards the end of the trimester and are beginning to get stressed with the amount of work/testing/teaching we have to do before report cards and we are satisfied with the progress some of the kids are making.  I need to make sure I go in everyday and try just a bit harder to do a little better than I did the day before.  I too get complacent and want to do things the easier way.  Sometimes easy is good, but other times, it pays to do things a little bit harder and then reap the rewards later! 

With all this in mind, I need to go and get ready for tomorrow.  The dishes are waiting for me, the clothes are piled high on the couch waiting to be folded and my daughter is in the middle of a Junie B book!  Here's to a great end to the week!   

10.13.2013

Is this thing on?

It's been a while since I have posted.  And that's been on purpose!  I just haven't been in the mood.  Life gets in the way and things that are more important than blogging take priority.  There have been many times in the day I think "This would be great to blog about!"  But then I get home, and there isn't time or desire!  But I'm trying to be back!  At least more than I have been. 

We've been busy at school working on everything under the sun it feels like.  As a whole, we are all moving along, however slow it may be.  My group is a group that needs to go a little slower in their learning, so I am learning with them this year to go a bit slower.  We are taking the scenic route in learning, so hopefully things will stick and they will remember and be successful in their learning!  We seem to be doing better in math than reading, but boy do I have a group of readers who have really taken off in the last 3 weeks.  Some are zooming right along!  Makes me happy to see them doing so well and getting it!  I really only have a couple who aren't making progress, but they are the ones who keep me up at night. 

In our grade level, we have "that group" of kids this year.  They are the ones that will be talked about for years to come.  They are a difficult group overall.  They are on the lower end of learning, which has been a shock.  A lot of them struggle with behavior (or at least how we'd like them to behave) which impacts the others in the class who do know how to behave.  I have 6 kids who are ALWAYS good.  6 out of 26 isn't very many.  It's been hard.  But it's getting better.  We have a lot of parents who don't work with their kids and tell us it's our job to teach them.  I do what I can, but that's where we need the parent help.  We do what we can in the 5 hours they are with us. 

I have sat down at the computer many times to create something fun for my kids, but nothing has come out yet.  It's been an interesting year.  We are working with common core, but I don't feel like I know the standards well enough yet to know if my kids are getting it.  Has anyone else felt the same way?  What have you done to change that feeling?  We don't have report cards ready yet for the new standards, so we truly don't know what they are being "graded" on.  I hear rumors of rubrics and checklists, but in our grade level, we have nothing yet.  I have a meeting next week where we are supposed to plan all that, but that doesn't do us any good for now.  We don't know to what extent our kids are expected to know the standards and how they are being assessed or graded on them.  So we are doing what we can and hoping for the best.  This year seems to be a lot of hope for now! 

And as we are spending the year hoping we do the best, it's time for me to plan those awesome lessons I will do this week!  I hope you all have a great week! 

9.25.2013

Reality check

This is my first full week back to school and it's been quite the reality check for my kids.  They had 3 weeks where they had substitutes, so having me there to lay down the law has caught some of the them off guard.  On Monday, I had many kids move their clips.  Most of it was for talking, but for some kids, they just seemed to talk non-stop.  Tuesday was a bit better with the talking, but I had kids move their clips for punching and cussing.  Yep, cussing in first grade.  And the big one, too.  The kid said it's OK that he said it because he's a man.  Seriously, can't make this stuff up!  Today was a lot better, with just a few kids moving their clips for talking and luckily no hitting or cussing! 

My kids are settling back in to the routines we had started to establish before I got sick.  Things seem to be flowing a bit better AND they seem to be learning a lot more than when I left.  Their reading has been OK, but their math?  Oh holy Moses!  Their math test was a nightmare!  I even had to re-do part of it to give them a fighting chance on getting a decent grade.  We'll see how they did!  The subs didn't teach the lessons that way I would, nor did the kids seem to grasp the concepts in the lessons.  And the whole topic was done by a sub.  YIKES!  But I keep reminding myself there is still a lot of time left in the year and they will be fine!  In fact, I am actually starting to believe it!  They will be fine!  :)

Tomorrow is our 3rd annual Johnny Appleseed Day!  We will do rotations with our classes and they will get to do a total of 3 different activities.  2 years ago there were 4 classes that participated, last year we had 5 and this year we are down to 3.  It'll still be fun and I will only have to do the same lesson 3 times instead of 5!  I like having the other classes come in and see how they are - it makes me appreciate my own group that much more!  Mine aren't perfect, but they are pretty good! 

We've been plucking away at Daily 5.  I must be doing something wrong.  My room isn't quiet.  It doesn't even begin to resemble quiet.  It's too noisy.  I need to fix it.  I think my groups are too big, but I need big groups to get it all in every day.  We have 26 kids now, which is way more than I've ever had.  26 might as well be 50!  We have the most kids in the primary grades.  Upper grade has more, but they always have.  We were spoiled with 20 for years and then it has crept up to 26.  And I remember when I thought 20 was a lot!  What I wouldn't give for only 20 kids, even just for a day! 

It's time to head off again for our weekly night of drums.  Time for me to grade those pesky math tests while my daughter pounds away on her drums!  Happy Wednesday! 

9.22.2013

Finally!

I will finally be back in the game, full time this week and I can't wait!  It's been a long 3 weeks since I have been with my kids all day long.  They need me and I need them!  It'll be so nice to be back full time, tho that afternoon nap time will definitely be missed!  ;)

This week, we will continue working on reading and writing.  My kids have done pretty well in reading and seem to be able to do everything they have worked on in my absence.  I will finally be able to work on reading groups this week and actually pull kids to work with!  I hadn't started groups before I left and last week was not the time to start with me leaving in the middle of group time.  So tomorrow will be the day!  I need to re-shuffle my groups and get them in some sort of order.  Guess I should take my school bag out of the car!  I did lesson plans last week, so the bag wasn't a total necessity, but it does like to go for car rides!  :)  We also need to work on writing.  My absence is sure felt there.  But I keep reminding myself that it'll be OK and my kids will survive. 

In math, we will begin working on subtraction.  In actuality, we will be doing addition and subtraction.  Unfortunately, they didn't do so well on their math test that covered addition.  I didn't teach a single lesson from it.  And the subs didn't do so well, either.  But again, that's OK.  We will work on it and we will all be fine.  At least I am planning on it!  We are going to break out the manipulatives and "play" during math time.  I think it'll actually be a lot of fun and I hope they easily make the connection between adding and subtracting. 

We are going to also be doing a whole lot of apple fun this week.  I haven't quite planned that out, as math has taken the front seat right now.  But on Thursday, we are having our annual Johnny Appleseed day in our grade level.  There are only 3 classes participating (out of 4), but the kids will get to rotate between the 3 classes and do some different things.  It's a lot of fun and hard work for the teachers, but the kids enjoy it and have a good time!  Once we are done with rotations, we will do some fun apple math in class working on graphing and patterning.  It'll be a crazy day, but a fun day! 

Happy first day of fall!  It's actually a bit chilly here for us Southern Californians today.  I just went outside and it's breezy with a chill.  I may need a sweatshirt tonight!  But have no fear...tomorrow's supposed to be in the 90's again, so we won't be cool for long!  For us, fall doesn't really come til November, October if we are lucky.  But I'll take it any way I can get it!  Have a great week! 

9.16.2013

Happy

I was so happy to be able to go to school today!  My students were so excited to see me and I was excited to see them.  It's been a long 2 weeks!  I don't think the kids knew I was coming back today...they all looked at me with surprise in their eyes.  I loved it!  

It was a good day back, even if it is only for half the day.  It was nice to get the routines re-established and see what they have been working on.  I was pleasantly surprised with their reading.  We have a long way to go, but they've made some good progress during my absence.  

With the way our schedule is, I wasn't able to get to writing with my kids.  They are working on writing with the sub, along with math.  It'll be interesting to see how they do on their test on Friday since this whole unit is being taught by substitutes.  I will test them in Friday morning before I leave for the day.  

Tomorrow will be another fun day.  I forgot that its Constitution day.  I need to figure out a quick lesson to do with my kids that'll cover the topic without taking a huge amount of time out of the day.  I'd like to watch the Snoopy video, but I don't know if there's enough minutes in my day!  We'll see what I get done tomorrow!  

Well, it's time to read with my daughter.  She said enough computer time for now!  I hope you had a great Monday...I sure did!  

9.15.2013

Excited!

I am so excited to be going back to work tomorrow!  It's been a long 2 weeks not being at work and I miss it terribly.  I miss seeing my kids.  I miss teaching them something new each day.  I miss just being me.  I am so happy to go and see their smiling faces in the morning!

I sat down last night and did all my lesson plans for my afternoon/half day sub.  It was really easy to write them, and they are basically the same each day.  There are a few things different each day, but it's basically the same routine.  I'll be there for Language Arts and the sub will do math and social studies at the end of the day.  I'm anxious to see where my kids are and what they know.  I figure it will take them some time to get used to me again, and that's OK.  We will just take it slow and easy to get used to each other again. 

I am looking forward to a great week back to work and a great week with my kids!  It'll be so nice to start getting back to normal!  :)

9.13.2013

Back in the saddle...

It's official!  I am able to go back to work on Monday!  I will be working half days this next week before going back to full time status, but I get to go back to work!  I am so excited to be able to see my kids and start getting back to some reality. 

I went to my classroom for a bit this afternoon.  Since I wasn't able to leave sub plans for the last 2 weeks, the teacher was left to fend for herself with the limited notes I gave her.  My friend tried to help her and show her what to do, but those plans weren't followed very well.  The sub enjoyed having her own class and did what she wanted.  So now I am left to pick up the pieces and start all over again come Monday.  And I am trying to understand what that means.  It's going to be hard, the kids are going to have some issues and I am going to have some issues, but we will make it through. 

The sad thing is we are behind.  We are behind the other classes in their learning now.  We are behind in math and reading and writing.  I don't know what they did in science really.  So I think we will just start on Monday like it's a new first day.  I'm going to call it the First Day of School 2.0.  Couldn't hurt, right?  We will start off slow to begin with, get used to each other again and then do what we can within the time we have during the day that I am there.  They will have a (different) sub for the second half of the day, but I will be in control of the sub plans then.  I get to have a say as to what happens.  I get to control the flow of the day again! 

If nothing else, this has made me open my eyes a bit to being prepared better.  Normally when I am gone, my plans are written out to the point a monkey could follow them.  But with being sick and not as prepared as I should have been, I left my kids in a bad place.  I need to really seriously think about doing an emergency sub tub, but one that can last for a week or more.  I do not plan to miss that much more school, but you never know.  I didn't plan to get sick the last 2 weeks, but things like that happen I guess.  At least it happened to me. 

It's hard to believe that September is half over.  I haven't been to work at all.  All my fun and amazing activities that we were to have done...won't happen.  All the neat projects and science experiments will have to wait for next year.  And I don't like that feeling.  But we need to move on, not try and go back to do things.  And that makes me sad,  which is an emotion I have felt quite a lot lately.  A lot of sadness and self-pity going on in my world.  That should go away come Monday when I am back to work and back where I belong! 

As for the next 2 days, I will stay at home with my family, take it easy and rest and be ready to go kick butt on Monday!  Here's to a great weekend! 

9.09.2013

I've Got Nothing

Being home unplanned isn't any fun.  I don't care for it.  Mind you, I love my weekends when I am home and can do what I want.  But being made to be at home is for the birds. 

I was released from the hospital on Saturday afternoon.  I was/am still in quite a bit of pain, but nothing that little pills can't take care of (and they put me to sleep!).  I was told to come home and rest and relax.  I can't lift anything above 10 pounds.  I can't climb stairs.  I can't walk too far.  I can't eat fatty food (no one should, but we all do, right?).  I have to eat little meals all day long (I can't do that...I can't eat that much).  I can't drink soda.  There isn't anything on TV.  Yeah, I should read a book.  Maybe that'll be on my list for tomorrow. 

But I'm getting better, slowly but surely.  This pancreatitis thing is no laughing matter.  It hurts worse than anything I could think of.  I guess when your pancreas is mad, your whole torso area gets mad, too.  Sometimes it was so mad that the pain meds (the wonderful ones they give you in your IV!) didn't really work.  That's horrible pain.  But I'm not at that level any more.  My pain is tolerable.  I can go the day without maxing out on pain meds, but they are still my friend.  I can put sentences together that are mostly coherent, though there are still times I don't know what I'm thinking.  But I'm getting better. 

And I feel so guilty for leaving my kids.  I just hope they are getting what they need.  I'm trying to let it go, but it's hard.  They are my babies, even it we've only been there for 13 days together.  Is it wrong that I'm afraid they won't remember me?  That I'll be a stranger when I go back?  I don't know when I go back.  My doctor will let me know on Thursday.  It may still be a while.  And that makes me sad.  I'm aiming to go back at least part time for a bit to build up to a full day.  Hubby says I should just take the time off, but he doesn't get it.  I'm not a stay at home person.  I need to work.  I like to work.  I love being with my kids, even when they are driving me crazy!  I teach...it's what I do. 

But for now, healing is what I do.  Recovering is what I do.  I don't like it.  I don't do it well.  But it's something I must do so I can go back and teach.  I just wish I could be patient and appreciate the fact that I have the time, I'm not losing any money, my kids are being taken care of and I'm doing what I need to do for me.  I'm going to try really hard.  Otherwise, I may just go crazy. 

9.06.2013

Curveballs

This seems to be the story of my life. One step forward, 10 steps back.  I am writing this at 4:53 am from my hospital bed.  Yep, as in not at home or work,  I have pancreatitis - a very angry pancreas that more than likely was caused by a loose gallstone that was left floating around after my gallbladder was taken out.  I've been in pain since Sunday night with what I thought were back spasms.  Even the ER doc said the same.  He wasn't very forthcoming with info.  By Monday night I was sick and in a lot of pain.  My dear hubby brought me to the ER before midnight and were were finally seen at 3:30.  Nothing like 3+ hours of being in pain.  After several tests, it was confirmed I have pancreatitis - one of the most painful things to have.  But I'm getting better each day, though there's no telling when ill,be back at work.  

And that's really hard for me.  I wasn't prepared for Monday, much less the next 2 weeks.  But my kids are doing well and hanging in there.  Makes me feel like a failure as a teacher.  But when you're sick, you're sick.  Not much I have control of right now.  All I can do is sit here feeling sorry for myself and try to take it minute by minute.  There's so much I want to do with my kids, I don't now if I'll get to do them. 

But for now, my job is to get well so I can get back to work as soon as physically possible.  Good, healing thoughts would be greatly appreciated, too!  Thanks!  

Kristen

8.26.2013

New Old Math

Does that even make sense?  Well, for me it kind of does.  You see, we got a "new" math program this year.  Only, it's very similar to our "old" math program from last year.  You see, we use enVision by Scott Foresman-Addison Wesley.  We've used it going on 6 years now.  But this year, they got into the CCSS action.  And they changed things! 

Before, we had 20 topics that we were supposed to cover during the year.  With the new standards, we have 16.  Many of the lessons are the same as before, they are just in different spots.  And there are new lessons to help support, too.  We haven't started using it yet, because not all the parts have been delivered yet.  They are still at the publisher being "packaged".  Good thing we aren't teaching math! 

Anyway, with the new version of the math out, I had to start almost all over with my math journals.  And they have been some hot sellers this week!  I have updated the "old" Topic 3 journal questions to correlate with the "new" Topic 1 math lessons.  We start right out with addition.  Good-bye number review with the old program.  Luckily I created my own to use with my class.  We will start learning all about addition right after Labor Day.  For now, we will work on our numbers and build a stronger number sense base before starting addition. 

You can find the newest edition to the math journal family in my store.  I will be slowly working on updating all of them as the year goes on.  But for now, I started with the first one.  And, my district does things out of order (makes life more interesting, ya know?).  I will try to update in order as I go along.  Check out my store for the latest and greatestJust click here for Topic 1

Let me know if your math changed and how you are making a go of it.  Ours should be interesting, once all the pieces arrive!  Happy Monday!

8.25.2013

First Full Week Back

Looks like I only blog once a week!  I guess that's better than nothing!  Getting back into the routine has kicked my butt.  I am so tired.  I'm very tired today and I don't know why, really.  I should be well rested, but I was awake at 5am.  My body really needs to learn the difference between a weekday and a weekend day.  Things would go so much smoother that way! 

We've been in school for 8 hot days.  Each day has been over 100*.  Luckily the hottest has been 106*.  But either way, it's still hot.  And it will be icky the next couple days.  We might get some rain today thru Tuesday they say.  Awesome.  We need the rain, but not 100*!  My kids have been pretty good about the heat.  They come in all hot and sweaty and then complain later that they are cold.  At least the A/C is working well!  I'd rather be cold than hot in there! 

I got a new student on Tuesday who is soooo low.  And a behavior problem.  And I can't seem to get ahold of mom to save my life.  Lucky me.  As with every class I have had, the majority of the kids are below grade level.  I think it's sad that they are moved to the next grade level without being proficient.  I know we do that with the kids going to 2nd, but the ones who are really low, we retain or get tested for Special Ed.  Nothing was noted on the cards about the kids being super low or anything.  It's just frustrating that we have so much to cover as it is in first grade, but then we have to work harder to catch the kids up and get them ready for learning.  2 of my students were above grade level in reading.  4 were at a DRA 4 (they are supposed to be a 4 @ the end of Kinder and magically come in to 1st at a DRA 6) and the others were a 3 or lower.  The majority are a DRA 3, but I have 3 kids who couldn't pass a DRA 2.  And that's just following a pattern.  They are supposed to know 40/50 sight words.  My 3 lowest know anywhere from 2 words (a & I) to 8 words.  I am still finishing testing this week.  I just know I have my work cut out for me.  And it's frustrating because I want to really jump into learning the new CCSS myself and how best to teach my kids with them, but we are still doing abc's. 

Anyway, I will work with my kids as best I can and make sure they get what they need.  We will get 20 minutes of extra afternoon intervention, which is new to us.  We are going to do a 2 week bootcamp for the kids who need letters and sounds.  We will re-evaluate the kids then and then send a different group after that.  Fingers crossed that they can get it and start to catch up. 

Last week was a review week still.  I had planned another week of review, but the majority of the kids are ready to move on to the beginning reading stuff.  I mean very beginning, but more than just letter sounds.  We need to get into blending and segmenting and reading.  So we will start tomorrow with our first theme!  I'm excited to get into teaching and getting stuff done!  In the meantime, here's a look at some things we did this last week to review.

We are working on reviewing our numbers to 30.  This is from my packet to review the numbers.  It can be found in my TPT store!  The kids are really starting to understand their numbers and see the patterns with numbers.  We are learning tally marks, ten frames and even and odd.  We are doing 2 numbers a day.  We are still waiting for our curriculum to be sent to us.  We will be using the updated CCSS version for enVision Math.  Too bad they didn't have  their act together and have it all ready to ship before school started.  Anyway....
 
We reviewed our color words.  The kids had to make a rainbow and then label the color words.  Then they had to draw a picture of themselves.  One thing I noticed with this year's class is they can' draw a picture of themselves really.  These 2 were the best I could find.  Guess we need to work on that.  We did do a directed draw of Chrysanthemum and they turned out really well.  Pictures coming soon! 



We did a semi-free response math activity on Friday.  I can the students 2 dice.  They had to roll the dice, count the dots and that's how many fish they were given.  Then they had to fill in the paper with the correct answers.  They had to write the number, the number word, figure out if it was even or odd and then draw the number in tally marks. 

We read some books this week by Kevin Henkes.  We filled in the chart with the characters feelings in the beginning and how they changed at the end.  Some of the kids really have a good understanding of why things happen.  Hopefully they will catch on really quick with reading itself! 
 
Our new schedule is not in my brain yet.  I'm always running behind and feel my morning is very choppy.  There too much I'm trying to get done and it doesn't flow yet.  Hopefully it'll start making more sense soon.  Now that we will get into the "real" teaching, I'm hoping it starts to feel more comfortable to me.  We'll keep our fingers crossed for that! 
 
Well, I have a bazillion things to do for tomorrow.  I have spent my weekend so far having fun with my daughter.  Time to get serious about work!  Here's to another great week at school!   

8.18.2013

Beginning of the Year Recap

I survived our first week of school!  It was only 3 days, but it was 3 tiring days!  Throw in Back to School Night, a girl scout meeting and cleaning and you have one tired girl here!  But, it's Sunday and I am getting ready to tackle the week ahead!  I think I'm ready...or will be once I get lesson plans done. 

Our schedule has changed this year dramatically.  We start an hour earlier than we did last year.  We now start at 8am!  I have to wake up before the sun has come up!  It's awful!  But I made it this week with getting up early and it wasn't as bad as I expected.  But I was ready for bed by 9pm every night!  The good news with starting so early is we get out early.  We get out at 1:45.  1:45!  I can still work at school afterwards and be out of there by 3:00!  It's crazy!  But boy does the day go by fast.  We went from 3 recesses a day to 2.  It makes for a longer time in class, but we get a lot done.  Or we will once we get our routine established and things start running smoothly.  They aren't there, but they will get there soon...I hope!

I don't feel like we got a lot accomplished last week, but it was a start.  I forget how slow the kids work at the beginning of the year.  We did the little project below and it took almost 2 hours by the time it was all said and done.  Some of the kids were having trouble with cutting.  It was sad, really, but I wanted to see what they could do.  This project came from Cara's blog, so it's not mine, and I couldn't for the life of me find the link to the actual page. 
We read No David and David Goes to School.  Then we talked about how to be good students/kids in general and at school.  The kids had to write how they will be good students and follow the rules.  Again, this took 2 hours!  And 3 kids didn't finish.  Lord help me! 
 
We also started talking about names.  We graphed how many letters were in our names.  We will be working more with names this week and learning about vowels and consonants.  I'm anxious to see how that goes.  Here is our graph with our names.  I was surprised the kids didn't have a good idea about graphs.  I know what to work on now! 
 
This week will be spent reviewing letters, sounds, the kinder sight words and color words.  I think the kids have a good idea of their letters and sounds, so we will see how they do with their color words and sight words.  I'm hoping it's easy and fun and they know them already!  Fingers crossed!
 
We are going to also venture into learning how to do centers.  I have a couple of new centers made for the kids to work on this week.  I haven't posted them yet, but I may get around to it later today.  Maybe.  The day is going by too fast for me.  I don't think the little nap helped get work done, either! 
I'll let you know when they are up and ready for you! 
 
I'll leave you with a look at my crazy schedule.  It's very different from last year and I haven't gotten my mind wrapped around it yet.  Once we get into our normal routine (switching for focus time), my day will go much smoother.  Until then, it'll still be a bit choppy.  And I just have to remember that it's only the first full week of school! 

Here's to another great week of school!  If you are starting, good luck!  If you are already in, have a great week!  And if you are still on vacation, enjoy it! 



8.14.2013

One day down...

I survived the first day back!  And oh my word!  I am exhausted!  I was ready for a nap at 2:30!  And Mother Nature decided today would be the perfect day for summer to arrive - it was 105 at dismissal time.  Awesome!  Sweaty, hot, tired teachers and crazy kids on super hot blacktop!  YES!  Perfect end to the day.  

All my kids showed up today.  One was dropped before school started today.  24 little firsties showed up at my line.  Some were scared, some were in tears, some were happy and some were uninterested in anything going on!  Meeting the parents, figuring out where the kids go and the chaos of the morning all make the start a bit crazy.  But we survived and got the parents out pretty quick to start the day.  

Our start time is an hour earlier than in the past and we are out over an hour earlier.  The school day is now shorter and man, it flew by today!  We hardly got anything done I had planned.  I always overplan, but I didn't get 1/4 of the stuff done.  Some of the kids are soooooooo slow!  Gotta work with them to get a little faster!  

And a little quieter!  The kids are quite chatty, but I blame their kinder teachers, really.  All the "chatty" kids come from two teachers who I feel let the kids get away with too much.  So when they come up to first grade, it's a shock for them and their parents.  They have to learn my style and end up moving their clips a lot before they come around to my way of thinking!  It's a process, but we eventually all seem to get where we need to be.  

Tomorrow is back to school night.  Time to get the parents on board with me and get them excited to help their child.  With that in mind, I've got stuff to do for tomorrow before I crash!  Here's to a great day tomorrow!  

8.13.2013

Goodbye Summer, Hello Classroom

It's official!  Summer is now over.  We have been back at work for 2 days.  The kids come in the morning.  Ready or not, it's GO time! 

I'm not feeling ready, but I will have to be in less than 12 hours.  I will start the year with 25 kids on my list (as of 30 minutes ago, anyway), which is the most I have had.  Ever!  I'm a little nervous about meeting the needs of so many.  But I will try my best. 

I am doing something different tomorrow for the first time in a very long time.  And I'm excited about it.  I'm trying to embrace the change to the CCSS and try new things.  Do away with the old and bring in the new.  Some things I will still do, but I am really going to try and do new things.  We'll see how it goes. 

Our start time is an hour earlier.  I could cry!  I can't take my daughter to school any more.  And I have to wake up before the sun even comes up.  That is just wrong!  On the bright side, we are out at 1:45.  That's so early!  I can stay at work til 3 and still be home before the sun goes down in January!  I can get used to this!

Here is my room in all it's glory.  It's pretty similar to last year with a couple changes.  Enjoy!
View from the door to the back.  My room is a portable, so it's long and narrow. 

View to the side.  Don't mind the mess on the table.  It's gone for now.  It's been relocated to behind my desk! 

My teacher board.  Boring right now.

Pillars of Character.  I got these from Oriental Trading.  We will really concentrate on these this year. 

My owl ten frames I made.  Too cute!  I'm hoping to get my kids to really understand numbers well! 

My little phonics skills cheat sheets.  I re-typed them onto the bright paper. 

My new banner.  It says "Welcome to First Grade"

Calendar/Poem/Read Aloud/Math Wall area

My neat posters from Target Dollar Spot! 

View from the back to the front.  I hope it's ready!
 
 
Tomorrow will be here before I know it!  I need to go get a couple things done for tomorrow and then it's off to bed!  5 AM will be very early!  Here's to a great school year and a great bunch of kids!  

8.08.2013

Countdown begins...

...NOW!  There is less than one week until school starts!  6 days from today I will be done with the first day of school.  It's hard to believe that vacation time is over.  It feels like we just went on vacation.  But it's been 2 months.  I guess play time is over!  

I've been to my room a bit this week, but nothing major.  I will be busy on Monday and Tuesday to get everything ready.  I'm changing things up this year and I'm NOT dong what I have done in the past.  Te problem is, I'm not totally sure what I'm doing yet.  I have some ideas, but nothing planned out at all.  Starting to feel a little stress coming on!  Yikes!  

The first days are always a little strange.  Kids coming in and out, kids crying, the schedule just doesn't go according to plan.  That happened last year.  My day didn't go according to plan and it felt weird all day long.  I'm hoping this year I'd different and the day feels smoother.  As of today, I have 23 kids on my list.  That's way less than the 27 they said we'd have.  Our second grade team will have about 27 to start.  Lucky them!  I hope all my kids show up and we can start from day 1 learning and becoming a little classroom family.  

As I mentioned before, I'm changing things up this year.  We are starting Common Core, so that'll be new.  But I'm also wanting to try new things and not just do the same thing year after year.  Some of my beloved activities will not be done this year.  I'm sure I will miss them, but I don't want to be that teacher who only does the same things year after year.  We have some of those and I'm afraid of becoming that teacher!  So, I will step out of my comfort zone and try new things.  Lots of new things, in fact.  And all with the blessing of our principal and superintendent who say to really work on Common Core!  OK!  That's all I need to know!  A little more fun and a lot more learning will be happening this year!  And, on the plus side, my class seems relatively "high" which means they are mostly at grade level.  I hope it's true!  I am really wanting to be able to teach at a higher level and see all the light bulbs click on!  

Tomorrow will be a mommy daughter day before school starts.  I'm not going in tomorrow and figure everything can wait!  Happy early weekend!  

8.06.2013

Do as I say, not as I do

Oh my word!  I have been at "training" the last 2 days.  It was awful.  A complete waste of time.  I am very disappointed in it.  :(  Our district, in their attempts to get us to work together for the good of the kids and common core, had all the elementary grade level leads go to a training on PLC's.  I was all for the meeting and getting some good information.  I was on board and a little excited to go.  I was all ears to get some good insight to help me team work better together. 

I left knowing all about the schools the presenter has been a principal at.  I left knowing about how her staff(s) have all come around to her way of thinking and doing things.  I left knowing that the presenter likes to hear herself talk.  I left feeling frustrated and ready to scream.  My whole team felt that way.  IT WAS AWFUL! 

I don't really have any better insight into PLC's than before.  I did get a better understanding that it should be driven by data.  That's great.  But in first grade, we don't have a lot of concrete data that we can use.  We have a lot of subjective data we can use.  We have a lot of "my kids did really well with this" or "my kids didn't so hot on this", but no real data.  Um, OK.  We can work with it.  I understand that all members are supposed to buy in, and if they don't there should be consequences for them.  Um, OK.  And who will follow through on that?  I understand that we need to be more positive in our approach to everything.  Um, OK.  We can do that.  But the "training" left me feeling so negative.  IT WAS AWFUL! 

About 6 years ago, the district sent many teachers to Boston for the PLC training.  This was when PLC's were first becoming a thing.  Everyone was excited.  It was new and interesting.  But now we kinda know what we are doing and would have liked to know the next step.  I didn't go to Boston, so I didn't get the initial training.  I was really hoping to get a better understanding of the whole thing and how I can make it work with my grade level.  But I didn't.  I heard all about the presenters schools and how they do it.  But I don't know if I can apply her dictator methods to our grade level team.  Hmmm...I've got some thinking to do on this. 

I am very hopeful that our team can work really well together.  There are only 4 of us now.  The one who has caused us so much grief is now at a different grade level.  3 of us are very open and willing to work together, but we have one who is still resistant to change and doesn't want to share kids with anyone or take any kids.  But it's time we move past that.  We have to work for the betterment of the kids, rather than our own feelings.  I don't love sending my kids all over, but it's what's expected of me by my principal.  I do it, but I don't love it.  In fact, we weren't going to switch out our kids (except our EL's for their ELD instruction), but there is some new funding thing going on in my district and our site actually lost money and we lost our "award winning way" of doing Intervention.  Not too smart if you ask me.  But, no one asked me, so....

In 8 days, I will have a class of new kids.  I'm getting more excited to meet them and start the year.  I'm not really ready yet, but I have a week to be prepared for their bright, smiling faces.  I am trying hard to go into the year with a positive outlook and trying to think about things going smoothly.  I am hoping they do.  I can't handle another year like last year.  It was too hard and filled with too much drama.  I'd like a nice drama-free year where I can really experience Common Core and try some new things with my kids! 

8.02.2013

It's August?!?!?!?!?!

Holy Moses!  It's August!  What happened to July?  I have seen that on my blog posts and it is so true!  July seemed to fly right by.  So did June. And now, I am on countdown until the first day of school.  I may need to take a moment to shed a tear. 

Don't get me wrong.  I love my job.  I am just loving vacation a little more right now.  But I can't really complain.  I had a pretty great vacation.  It hasn't been so great now at the end, but we can't always have it all perfect.  When I think back, we spend 11 days in Vancouver and Alaska on our cruise.  Hubby and I had a weekend getaway to see a comedy show.  We spent some time camping and I had a road trip with my daughter.  I've been able to be lazy at home and enjoy some good books.  There are things I wish I would have done and places I would have gone, but I can still do those once school starts (just on the weekends).  All in all, it's been a good vacation.  The surgery and recovery were not what I was expecting, but there are hiccups in life like this all the time.  I'm just trying to roll with the punches! 

I have been in to my classroom this week.  I left it in pretty good shape.  My custodian helped me get my desks where I wanted them and I got rid of a table.  Shocking!  But it didn't fit with what I was doing with my room and it made it too cluttered.  I'd rather the kids be on the floor than standing around at tables (I don't have enough chairs, anyway!)  I have done little things to be ready for school and I can still do more this next week.  I always bring home way more than I get done anyway.  But I should get serious and actually do something that I brought home.  I see all the posts about everyone making cute stuff for their rooms.  I think, "I can do that!  I should do that!  I'll do that!"  And then I sit on the couch, grab my book and then before I know it, it's time to make dinner.  Oops!  Maybe it'll happen!  Maybe.

There are now less than 2 weeks before the kids come.  August 14 is D-Day.  I could have 24 show up.  Or more.  Or less.  Who knows.  Right now I have 24 on my roll, but that can all change.  I have one who was supposed to be placed somewhere else.  My friend has 26 on her list.  I'm glad I didn't get her list...it's going to be an interesting year.  And the others have 21 and 22.  So there isn't any sense of balance there, but who knows what they were thinking.  It'll be an interesting few days coming up!

Until then, I have the weekend to do whatever.  Clean house, work on school stuff, lounge around.  Monday and Tuesday will be devoted to PLC training (I'm not looking forward to that) and then the rest of the week will be spent between my classroom and getting my daughter to and from places.  Then vacation will be in books.  No more lazy days.  No more waking up at 8:30 and getting out of bed at 9.  No more staying up til 11 just because.  It'll be back to teacher time - up at 5 and asleep by 9...or 7:30 those first few weeks!  I guess I should enjoy it while it lasts.  It'll be August 11th before we know it! 

Happy TGIF!

7.27.2013

Resuming Normal Life

Well, I think it's almost time to resume normal life.  At least 70% normal.  I'm still in recovery mode, but I can function almost like a human.  I still have some tenderness, soreness and some muscle pain, but it'll go away soon (I hope).  My friend reminded me yesterday, when I was having a little pity party, that I just had surgery and part of my body that's been there for 37 years was removed.  It might take time to feel normal again.  That made me feel a bit better and I stopped the pity party.  But it started again when I woke in pain from trying to roll onto my stomach at 6 am.  What was my subconscious thinking?  I won't do that again for a couple days, that's for sure. 

Hubby sprung me from the house today.  We picked up our daughter at my parents house and then we headed to Carlsbad for some lunch and just to get out and drive.  We then went to the Outlet center down there and that did me in.  My stomach/muscle/spot they ripped out my gallbladder from is sore and was really starting to bother me.  We came home after that.  I felt better after the long ride home and then have been on the couch since then.  It feels a little better, but is still sore.  I go visit the surgeon again on Monday, so he will give me more of a timetable to recovery.  I'll ask, too, when I can start lifting things so I can take stuff to school.  It'll be nice to get it off my floor!

I did get my lesson plan book made.  The weeks are in it, the dates are done and all the things scheduled so far are written in it.  Now I need to put in my lesson plans!  I have so many ideas thanks to Pinterest.  I don't know where to begin!  I am going to spend some time the next week writing out some sketchy plans and then finalizing them as the first day gets closer.  It'll be August 14 before I know it!  And until then, I have a PLC training on the 5th and 6th, a dentist appointment and my daughter's appointments to do before the 12th (teacher work days).  It's going to get crazy now! 

I was laying in bed the other night, not able to sleep, in pain, but thinking about all the stuff I needed to do for school.  It was all I could do to not cry.  I've wanted to do that a lot lately.  Must be the anesthesia!  That stuff does a number on me.  But I figure, I can only do what I can do.  I am thinking that having to have this surgery was my body's way of telling me to rest and relax a bit before things get crazy.  So I will.  I am trying to take things a little at a time, rest when I need to and do what I can. 

So with that, I'm going to go read a book!  Happy Saturday! 

7.23.2013

Made it...now recovery

I was home today by 1:30.  My surgery was pushed up again, so I was home earlier than we thought.  Gilly is out and won't cause me any more issues.  I guess it was more pissed off than we thought, so good thing it's out!  

Now to recover.  I feel like I've been hit by a truck.  Tired and sore.  Hurts to breath, move and lay down.  But, the Vicodin will kick in soon, so I should be able to sleep a bit.  I've got to get up and walk to get all the air out they put in you.  I picture looking like the girl from Willy Wonka.  I doubt I was blue, tho.  

It's done, it's over and now I can focus on resting and getting back to normal.  But now I see why they say it'll take 7-10 days to recover.  Holy cow!  

7.22.2013

Total Panic Mode

Well, the title says it all.  I'm in full blown panic mode.  And I can't seem to do anything to help it get better!  

Tomorrow is my surgery day.  I'm nervous for it.  I won't lie.  Not looking forward to the whole thing.  I've freaked myself out over it (naturally), but am trying to remain cool and calm (on the outside).  I had to go do all my pre-op stuff this morning at the hospital and it took longer than I had hoped.  But it's done.  And by this time tomorrow, I should be close to coming home and going to bed.  I've just got to make it through the next 24 hours and I will be good!  

I stopped by school today to check out my room.  Unfortunately, it hasn't been cleaned at all, so I can't get things set up.  I forgot how clean I had left my room, so that made me feel a little better.  I have moved stuff from one side of the room to the other and I didn't organize my books at all, but that can wait.  Otherwise it's just all the stuff that can't be done until the room is cleaned, the materials arrive and I am feeling better again.  I'm hoping to be able to go in by Aug. 1 and get things organized and set up!  

Wile at work, I got my class list.  I so far have 24 kids, which is the most I've ever had on my list.  It's better than the 27 they are projecting.  My friend has 26 on her list, while the other 2 have 21 and 22.  I don't really want them moving kids around to even it out right now, especially since there are some who were supposed to be me with me (retainees).  One of the teacher who has 21 will, for sure, be fighting to get the classes evened out before day 1.  I see a mountain of crap coming our way!  

But, until I can go back to school, I have to be at the mercy of email and just see what happens.  Here's to an quick and easy recovery so I can get back on with life and forget this little hiccup ever happened!  

7.19.2013

Crunch Time

OK people!  I have 4 days to get it all done!  YIKES!!!!!  My surgery is scheduled for Tuesday AFTERNOON at 1.  Like in nothing to eat all day.  Oh my!  What am I gonna do?  (Well, I know panic and freak out are on the list, but...)

So, I went to the surgeon yesterday and will have Gilly (my sister named my gallbladder) removed.  I should feel so much better after that.  Or at least after the pain of being poked and probed and prodded and cut goes away.  Not gonna lie...not really liking this whole idea of surgery.  But I've done it before, so I will be fine.  I just wish they would have done it on Monday when I was already in the ER and a bit doped up!  Oh well!  At least they got me in fairly quick and I *should* be recovered by the time school starts. 

But then there's that word - SCHOOL!  I'm not ready!  At all.  I've got little things started here and there, but nothing is done.  Set.  Complete.  And now it's time to PANIC!!!!  The other night I laid in bed and couldn't get to sleep.  I was thinking about all the things I needed to do for school and at home and outside.  I won't have time to get them all done.  I've been too busy enjoying summer (is that possible?) to worry about work.  And it's coming back to haunt me!  So I've got to get my butt in gear and see what I can get done. 

So, here's my 4 day plan:

1. Organize my office - I have some things to put up and away.  Need to get that done today. 

2. Print so I can laminate like a fool.  I figure I can lay in bed and cut out laminating.  I just need to get my things completed and printed so I can get the laminating done so I have something to cut. 

3. Organize my reading materials.  Let's face it...I'm going to be in bed/on the couch and you can only watch so much TV.  I started a new book the other night and I bought the new Danielle Steel book the other day.  I'm set there, plus I have a pile of magazines and catalogs to go through!

4. Clean the fridge.  Anyone hate that job as much as I do?  Hubby has so much in there that goes to waste.  I haven't been cooking this week (I can't eat much, so cooking isn't much fun) and all the stuff hubby bought last week is on my no-no list for now.  :(  I open the fridge and my yogurt just stares at me.  :( 

5. Spend some extra cuddle time with my daughter.  She will be going to my parents for a few days, so I won't be able to see her.  :(  She's wanting to go there for like a week.  I'm thinking 3 days should be good! 

Well, I should get started.  Let's see if I get as much done as I am hoping to!  Happy Friday!

7.17.2013

Foward movement stalled

On Sunday, I felt so productive.  I had typed up all 38 of my weekly poems and printed them out for next year, put them in order in my binder and finished that part of my yearly plan.  I had big plans to get some stuff done on Monday, but life decided to throw me a HUGE curveball. 

At about 1:30 am, I woke up in pain.  But not just any pain, pain that was almost worse than childbirth!  Well, labor anyway.  I laid/walked/stood/crouched in any position possible to try to get comfortable and go to sleep to no avail.  Finally at 4:30 I woke my hubby up and told him I didn't feel well.  By 5:00 we were up and getting my daughter up and out of the house to go to the hospital.  By 5:20 we were checked in to the ER at the hospital. 

Unknown to me, my gallbladder decided to revolt against me.  Some lovely pain medication later and I was feeling no pain.  An ultrasound revealed that I had gallstones and they were angry.  We were discharged by 9am and then I came home to crash.  I slept all day on Monday and a good chunk of the day on Tuesday.  I don't handle medication well, so it kicks my butt!  I had big plans and haven't been able to get anything done.  Today I spent the day deep cleaning my bedroom and bathroom, seeing as how that will probably be my home for the next week or so coming up.  Looks like I will get to have surgery before I go back to work.  Just how I wanted to spend my last 3 weeks of vacation.  I will see the surgeon tomorrow and then go from there.  One doctor I called could do it Aug. 9, but I am supposed to be at work Aug. 12.  Um, not gonna work!  And, I'd like to get it done while my parents are still in the country.  The leave on Aug. 8 to go visit my sister in Japan.  I'm counting on them to watch my daughter for a couple days so I can heal and not have to be mommy. 

Looking back, I have been having some smallish attacks, but didn't want to admit anything was wrong.  I wanted to chalk it up to anything else but needing surgery.  But I need to put my big girl panties on and just do it.  Everyone says I will feel better and I definitely don't want another attack.  I wouldn't wish that on my worst enemy.  It was horrible!  Until I get it taken care of, I am on a diet - a BLAND diet.  No cheese, very limited dairy (like cereal only) and nothing fried.  So now, of course, all I want is a grilled cheese and broccoli cheese soup from Panera.  Hubby says that ain't gonna happen until I get my gallbladder taken out! 

I will see tomorrow what the doctor says.  I went to Lakeshore today and bought what I needed for school.  I also ran to Wal-Mart and got a couple other things I thought I would need.  I'm hoping that if I am down and out for a bit, I won't have to bust my butt to play catch up.  I figure a couple days in bed, then I can be up and working in the office on the computer getting some stuff done.  My fear is that they will schedule it too close to going back to school.  I've missed the first day once and it's no fun.  I don't want to miss another first day.  Hubby says he gets to have a say in this, but I'm not so sure!  :) 

Guess I shouldn't worry until I know more tomorrow, but if you knew me, you know that won't happen!  I didn't get the nickname "WorryWart" for nothing!  :)

7.14.2013

What I do in my room: Poetry

I've decided to write some posts about what I do in my classroom.  I'm hoping one person gets an idea from it and it's a great way for me to lay it all out for myself, too! 

One thing I have been doing for at least 12 years is a weekly poem.  It started out small and has evolved over the years.  In college, my professor made us all make a poetry file.  I probably moaned and groaned about it since poetry wasn't my thing.  I remember we had to have all different types of poetry and I didn't know squat about poetry.  I didn't know what the different kinds were and I sure didn't want to analyze a poem.  But, I did my assignment, turned in it, got an A and then packed it away.  I think somewhere I still have it.  Maybe. 

Anyway, during my second or third year teaching, I started to put up some poems to go with whatever it was we were talking about.  In fact, my first poem I put up for my kids was one I wrote.  It was very short and simple, but it was easy for the kids to read and it was in my comfort zone.  I still use that poem now, although the kids laugh at my art work!  I started adding more and more poems to my collection.  I tried to do poems that went with the season rather than content area.  Some will disagree with me, but I like being able to bring in other things to my day that I may not have a lot of time for, but still make the kids feel like we are having fun talking about pumpkins (when in fact we don't spend a lot of time on pumpkins, but they don't know that!). 

A year or 2 later, I had enough poems for the whole year.  I would write them on chart paper and then put them up for the week.  On Fridays, I would copy the page for the kids to illustrate and then they would put them in their poem folders.  As the years have come and gone, I have stopped using some poems, have found new ones and in fact, have written many of the poems we use during the year.  I never imagined writing poems, but I like it and in fact, I get mad when I can't think of something!

Here's how my poems work:
Monday:  I introduce the poem to the kids and read it to them one time through while they listen.  Then we read it together 2 more times.  We discuss what the poem is talking about. 

Tuesday: Read through the poem 2-3 times together.  Then I read it in smaller chunks and have the students find the words that rhyme.  Sometimes we go through and find the rhyming words and then figure out more words that rhyme. 

Wednesday: Read through 2-3 times.  Then we go through word by word and figure out the number of syllables in each word.  This skill starts off slow, but then once they get it, they've got it! 

Thursday: Read 2-3 times.  Then we go through word by word and look at vowels.  It could be as simple as asking them what the vowels are in the words, what the vowel sound is, long/short, etc. 

Friday: Pass out a copy of the poem.  Students read it aloud.  Glue into their poem book and illustrate it. 

By the end of the year, students could have 38 poems in their books.  They can pull them out and read them when they have time.  Normally they don't pull them out til Fridays after they have put their new poem in.  Then they love reading all the poems from earlier in the year.  I think it's a good way for the kids to read and see that reading is more than just in a book.  I incorporate the poetry time in the morning with our opening.  We do it every day right after calendar and before our read aloud time. 

Today, I can cross one thing off my summer to-do list!  I re-typed all my poems so I can save paper next year.  They will printed 2 to a page and then glued into a spiral notebook.  For the last 14 years I have used a 3-prong paper folder to put them in.  But they are a lot of work for the kids (and me) and I wanted something easier.  So, we will see how this goes.  I'm hoping that it will be quick and easy.  I think I will make one with the kids this year.  I have never illustrated the poems before, yet I ask my kids to do it.  Guess I should walk the walk this year! 

Well, it's time for me to go.  I've been on the computer forever today and I's tired of sitting.  Time to do something else!  Happy Sunday! 

7.13.2013

Time to get serious!

And I mean really serious!  This summer is flying by and it will be August here before I know it!  I am starting to stress a little due to the fact that I haven't done much and I have 3 more weeks to get it done before I have meetings and other crap that will occupy my last week of vacation.  :( 

But I can't complain.  I have had a great summer so far.  Started off in Alaska on a cruise.  Then we were home for about 2 weeks and then we were gone again.  We went to the river for 4th of July and then my daughter and I took a mommy-daughter road trip to Arizona.  We got back on Thursday afternoon and spent yesterday starting my spring summer cleaning.  Today I would have liked to do more, but hubby needed to go shopping for a new computer, so off we went to San Diego.  That was an all day event that took more time that I would have liked.  And now it's 8:00 at night and I have no desire to do anything! 

My piles are getting larger with school stuff - ideas, supplies and random things I have been printing off of Pinterest.  Between hubby and I, we hit up Staples about 5 times this week to stock up on glue sticks.  We ended up buying other random stuff, too.  I think I am now the proud owner of 120 pencil cap erasers.  But for a penny a pack, you can't pass them up.  Now I just have to use them this year!  I figure we will be going to Staples on a regular basis from now til the end of August.  I need to go to Walmart and get my spiral notebooks, but they will always have those.  I think they went up to 17 cents this year - the things I use all the time always go up year after year.  Too bad our pay doesn't do the same! 

I think my goal for the next 30 minutes is to work on my year plan.  I have it outlined and mostly done, but I need to add in some other touches and get that into the final phase.  Then I can start planning - or at least get my plan book made and start filling in the weeks and dates.  I made my plan book last year like one I saw on Pinterest
I used the Post-Its last year, but I think this year I will just use the paper and the lines I draw.  I bought a bunch of colored pens to use for the different subjects.  We'll see how it goes.  I will take a pic when I actually do mine and see how I like it.  I need to draw my lines and then decide what goes where.  In the end, I may end up with Post-Its again! 

Well, it's been a long week.  Time to get one thing accomplished before it's lazy time! 

7.03.2013

Where does the time go?

Holy Moses!  It's already July!  I can't believe how fast the summer has flown by.  I told myself I wouldn't start working on school stuff until July 1.  That didn't happen this year.  I have been working on little things here and there, but nothing major.  I just haven't made the time to sit at the computer and work.  It's much nicer sitting on the couch reading or watching TV.  But, crap...I need to get serious!  It'll be August before I know it! 

But, there will be no work for this girl any time soon.  We are leaving tonight to go to the river for the weekend.  It'll be nice and hot, just like it is at home.  But up there, there is a river we can go sit in with all the other people.  We will come home on Sunday (like everyone else) and then my daughter and I are leaving on Monday to go to Arizona for a couple of days.  I promised her I would take her to Bearizona for her birthday.  So we will have a quick little mother-daughter trip.  When we get back, July will be a third of the way over.  NO WAY! 

I've been trying to cram in all the visits that need to be made.  Doctors appointments, dentist appointments.  All scheduled and getting done slowly.  Too bad they don't go along with my schedule.  Sometimes it would be nice to be able to do things on the schedule of medical professionals - you need something from me?  I seem to have an opening in October.  Will that work?  But no, we are not lucky like that.  You need something from me?  Yesterday?  OK, I will have it this afternoon! 

For my weekend of relaxation and sun, I have packed some reading materials.  I have 2 books for enjoyment and 2 books for deeper reading.  I finally found (they weren't lost, but I misplaces them in my house) my Daily 5 book and The Book Whisperer.  I am going to start reading those as well.  I really want to give Daily 5 a go this year, I just need to figure it out.  I even brought along a notebook to take notes and plan some things out.  Now the test will be to see if I even do any of it! 

Well my friends, I am off to finish packing, run to the store and see what else I need for the weekend.  Once hubby gets home from work, we are out of here!  Happy 4th of July!