11.30.2014

Anyone there?

I wonder if anyone still reads this little blog.  It's been almost 6 months since I posted and tried to start a new blog.  It's just not the same.  I want to blog.  I want to share ideas.  I want to get back to feeling like I can do it; like someone might get a little something from something I might say.  I don't know...no flashy blog, no flashy products (though my old ones are still in my store), just me and my thoughts.  Hmmm...anyone out there?  My curiosity is piqued! 

5.18.2014

Looking Back and Looking Forward

Now that Open House has come and gone, I want to start thinking about next year.  I have a list inside a cabinet of some of the things I would like to get accomplished before school ends, all in anticipation of next year.  I feel the need to think ahead rather than focus on the last 13 days.  These last 13 days are going to be so busy and chaotic and crazy, but hopefully they will fly right by. 


This year has been a bit of a disappointment for me.  I had such high hopes for the year, but as my last post mentioned, it wasn't a great year in many aspects both personally and professionally.  I have/had a tough group of kiddos both academically and behaviorally.  Most of my kids were pretty good, but the ones who weren't gave us all a run for our money.  (I had parents at Open House who were NOT in my class come in to tell me what one of my students has done to their children at recess.  If I had a nickel for every time someone mentioned what this child has done, I could have retired on Friday a millionaire!  That's how bad it's been with the behavior of this child - and he's never been suspended and rarely gets punished from someone other than myself.) 


Anyway, I had the best intentions to implement Daily 5 into my schedule this year.  We practiced the groups and rotations for weeks before beginning.  Things seemed to be going well until I decided to really try working with groups during this time.  And then I became the referee.  I had students fighting with each other, students yelling and screaming and students who refused to do what I had asked them to do.  It was ugly.  It was nothing I wanted to be a part of.  I felt like a failure.  Actually, I still do.  I have felt this way all year.  16 years of teaching and I don't think I have really felt this way since my 4th year of teaching when I ended up changing schools.  This class has beat me up.  But, I am going to be stronger from it next year and try again.  I am going to take things even slower and really build a classroom community that I've always had in the past, I just didn't have to work so hard to get it.  I am going to really make sure the kids know what is expected from them every minute of the day and not let them get away with anything, even if it means I spend all my recess and lunch time being the disciplinarian.  I am going to make sure my kids know I am in charge and there will be consequences.  I'm going to do my best to not be sick this year and miss almost a month of school!  But that was out of my control, but that's when things really went out of control.


My students this year do not like writing.  It's the bane of our existence.  They don't like it.  They don't care about it.  They don't do their best.  I've done more this year than in the past and they just. don't. care.  I have 3 kids who LOVE to write.  22 look at my like I have 3 heads and speak Greek.  It's awesomely horrible.  But next year we will change it.  We will take our time with it again.  We will go slow and have some fun with it.  I am going to bring back interactive writing more and let that do for a bit so kids can get used to writing before being made to write on their own all the time.  I need to get parents more involved with their child's writing and get them to support me with their homework and making sure their child does what I am asking them to do rather than having them feel that whatever their child does is worthy of a Pulitzer. 


I have not embraced the Common Core like I should have.  We were not given any direction with it from the district, other than to go forth and do Common Core.  Staff development meetings were useless, as the presenters don't understand Common Core any more than we do and tell us how to do things 2-4 grade levels above our grades.  It was bad.  Really bad.  I became complacent and did what I have always done in the past and didn't push myself or my kids out of our comfort zones.  I try a little more now that the year is almost over, but it's not enough for me to say I did Common Core.  I need to step outside my comfort zone and try new things.  I know for reading I rely to heavily on the textbook, but it's what I know and what I am comfortable with.  My goal is to step away from it a bit next year and try new things to help get my kids really thinking about things rather than just doing things.  I need to integrate my science and social studies more into my language arts, which is again outside of my comfort zone, but if I can make myself feel more at ease with it, then I think it would be awesome and we could have a lot of fun.  Time and planning is what I need to make it happen. 


I am hopeful that next year will be better.  I know I will have some challenges in my room, but they will be different than this year.  I am hoping for a kind, loving class rather than the rude, mean-spirited class I have now.  I hope for students who really want to give 100% and try no matter what rather than students who give me 50% and are OK with it.  I hope for parents who want to support their child's learning as best they can rather than parents who are too busy to answer the phone or return an e-mail.  I have students whose parents I have not met at all this year and there are 13 days left - they couldn't make time to come to Back to School night, conferences or Open House.  I just want parents who want their child to learn and be successful and at least know who their child's teacher is.  I know I am asking a lot for next  year, but it's what I would like.  Please notice I didn't mention that I want my students at grade level - I don't mind getting low students.  I just want students to try hard and work to improve themselves.  I know that's something we need to instill in them and I try to do that every year.  But this year, there were few who took the challenge to work hard and improve as best they could. 


As I finish out this year, I am hoping to enjoy the last 13 days with my kids.  I have had some great kids who have done well and are excited about learning.  I have grown to like my class as the year has gone on, but sadly, I do not love my class like I have in years past.  It makes me sad to feel this way, but it's the truth.  It's not all sunshine and rainbows over here this year and that's a fact.  I can ask many teachers at my school how they feel about their classes and I think a lot would feel like I do.  Maybe it's the students, maybe it's administration, maybe it's us or a combination of all of it.  But I am hopeful that next year will be better all around and a complete opposite to this year! 

5.11.2014

What a Year!

I have been absent from the blogging world for a couple months.  It's just been that kind of year.  I don't have any exciting reason for being gone.  I just didn't have anything to say.  It's been a crappy year.  And it's almost over.  All I can do is count down the days til it's done.  And I'm not just counting down school days, I'm counting down the days until year 37 gets the heck out of here!  I'm praying that 38 is a much better year. 


I should have known it was going to be a crap year when I burst into tears before my 37th birthday.  We were camping and having my birthday celebration dinner and I just started bawling.  I didn't want to be 37.  That seemed so old and so ugh.  It started off well enough.  We went to Alaska on the fabulous cruise.  Great time and great memories.  We were able to travel as a family and do things we never imagined.  Then my daughter and I got to spend some time in AZ, just the 2 of us.  Again, great time with my love.  Then things started to go downhill.  Gallbladder attack just 4 days after I got home from AZ sent me to the ER.  No fun.  Then I had my gallbladder removed a week later.  School started about 3 weeks after that and things were good.  Then I got sick with pancreatitis and then the year totally went to crap.  Out of school for 3 weeks threw everything for a loop.  My students were sent into a frenzy as was I.  I don't think we ever fully recovered this year.  Behavior went from bad to worse.  Parents didn't (and don't) care what their child did nor do they help them at home.  Then the great stomach flu of 2013 hit with a vengeance.  Training in January where we had to be out of the class sent my students further into chaos, with which they never recovered again.  Countdown to spring break left me with taking an emergency day off to help my hubby deal with his family crisis, which turned into my mother in law passing away unexpectedly.  That has lead to trying to deal with my daughter who doesn't know how to feel about it all or knowing how to express herself; dealing with hubby who doesn't know how to deal with it too well and his crazy work schedule and trying to help my father in law with his new found life as a widower.  Throw in my dad and grandmother being in and out of the hospital for various things, my sister moving back to the states and then moving out of the state and its been a year. 


I have 2 weeks left to live with being 37 and I can't wait for it to be over!  We have 18 days of school left.  2 of those days I am not in class.  We have Open House this week, then I have an all day leadership meeting on Friday.  My daughter has a field trip at the end of the month.  Then it'll be 4 short days of school after that before I can say goodbye to this group.  There are a solid group of kids I will miss terribly and that I wish I could have done more for.  Then there is a group that I will be glad to see move on.  They have not made my job easy this year, nor have they made learning fun for themselves or others in class.  Poor administration choices have resulted in a school-wide discipline crisis, which will only get worse instead of better.  I'm sure there is some greater reason to this year being the way it is, but I don't understand it.  It's been a year that I do not want to repeat.  It's been stressful, depressing, upsetting and frustrating.  I don't know if I can see the good through the bad right now, but I know it's there.  I will see it one day.  Until then, I will countdown the year and prepare to move on.  I have a great June and July coming up with lots of fun things planned with my family.  It will be a nice break before moving on to the next year.  Until then, 18 more days...

3.16.2014

Blogging Blues

I seem to have a case of the blogging blues.  I have ideas I want to share.  I have thoughts in my head that need to come out.  But nothing.  Nothing seems good enough to blog about.  Hell, I don't know if anyone even checks out my blog anymore.  It's not that exciting.  I'm not that creative, though I wish I was.  I'm happy with what I do for me, and that's good enough for me. 


This school year has been quite craptastic.  Getting sick in September really through a monkey wrench into almost everything.  It took a long time for me and my class to get back into the groove together.  And those of us that are in that groove are doing so well.  Some of my kids have totally kicked some serious butt this year.  I am so proud of how far they have come.  But the ones who aren't in that groove with me are killing me slowly.  Their behavior isn't great.  And my principal isn't doing anything about it.  Our school right now is in major chaos with so many discipline issues.  The kids and the parents run the school now and we as teachers are left to deal with things as best we can.  It's sad to see the kids who want to learn have so much of their learning time disrupted by 2 or 3 students.  Some days it's like 5 or 6.  And it's so frustrating. 


But there are 53 days left (or less...we haven't been doing calendar, so I don't know exactly tonight!) and that's all the time I have to get my kids ready for 2nd grade, which is another fiasco in itself.  Our 2nd grade team is even more negative than I am!  A couple teachers don't have one good thing to say about their class this year.  And we thought the kids were pretty good!  Yes, there were some who had issues, but show me a perfect class with zero discipline issues and 100% of the kids at or above grade level.  Please show me, I'd like to know that one exists.  I've never had perfect classes, but I have had classes where the kids worked as hard as they could and tried their best.  There is always one or 2 kids who push buttons.  I've had better behaved classes, but I've never had the perfect class.  Well, some of my classes were perfect in my eyes, but you  know what I mean.  I've never had the perfect, 100% well behaved and 100% at grade level class. 


Anyway, it's been a year.  It took me a long time to bond to my class after I got sick, but we did it.  I finally got to the point where I really like most of my class.  I enjoy working with all of them, but the ones who are naughty are really really naughty and should have been suspended at some point already this year, but our principal doesn't believe that's the answer.  Instead, she talks to them and thinks that will change it all and then wonders why they are in her office every. single. day.  Hmmm...As much as I have finally started enjoying this year, I am ready for it to be over.  I'm ready for a break, ready for a new class, though we are told that if we think this group is bad, then just wait!  Lucky us! 


But, I have 53 days left with this group and I am determined to make the most of it.  We will start tomorrow with a fun-filled day of St. Patrick's Day activities and fun!  We will end the week with going on Spring Break!  Amen!  A much needed break to get me through the end of the year!  With that, it's time to head to bed and get the week started!  Happy Monday eve!

2.02.2014

February Currently

It's time again to link up with the February happenings!



Listening: If you haven't heard of Imagine Dragons, check them out on Pandora or YouTube.  I really like their music.  Some compare them to The Killers.  Eh, not really.  Just good music!

Loving: I for one am glad that Phil saw his shadow.  We are getting a taste of winter here this weekend in CA.  We NEED so much rain, it's not even funny.  There are lakes that are dried up!  Dried up, people!  As in no more water.  We need a flood, really!  

Thinking: I need to go for a walk.  Just get outside, get my frustrations out and then come in and watch the game.  I don't care about it, or the commercials really, but I don't want to be the only one not watching!  

Wanting: I would love to eat all the cookies in my garage instead of have my daughter sell them to others.  But I WILL be good!  

Needing: Our 100th day is tomorrow and I have a few things to prep.  Plus I have to do plans for the week.  All during the game!  

2 Truths: I was the first in my family to go to college and graduate.  Yay me!  My sister has since completed her BSN and my hubby has his BA and JD.  I teach where I grew up.  I taught in my old elementary school until they closed it down.  A Fib: I have a younger brother and a younger sister.  No only child here!  But, my daughter is an only child - I can see the advantages!  ;)  

Happy February All!

1.28.2014

How did that happen?

I've been thinking of this topic a lot lately.  I'm hoping it's just an issue we have at my school and even at others schools in my district, but when did parents get so much control?  When were parents allowed to dictate every move that a principal or a teacher makes?  And why has my principal allowed it to happen?


I have some students who still do not know or care about how to follow the rules.  They are defiant, rude and just plain mean.  And they are 6!  I know this comes from the home, but they have no remorse and are not shocked or surprised when they are in trouble.  They laugh, they make jokes about it and they back talk.  It's hard to get through a day without having to talk to at least one student during the course of each particular lesson.  I feel so sad for my kids who truly want to learn and who behave well.  I feel so frustrated at the parents who allow their children to behave this way with zero consequences at home and I am mad at the administrators who allow the children to continue to behave that way without any consequences at school. 


Last week when I was gone, my students were not great for the sub.  They were pretty bad.  But they do know how to behave when they are supposed to.  I took recess and lunch away from them (they still ate, just not with the general population) and they missed out on a lot of fun.  I even had a parent come in and observe her child.  This week, they are all behaving better.  The naughty ones are still naughty, but not as bad.  Yesterday, tho, we had a fire drill with 10 minutes left in the day.  The students were reminded beforehand of what proper behavior is during a drill.  One of my students decided that didn't pertain to him and held up my entire line so he could talk to the boy behind him.  I was livid!  I spoke with the parent after school (whom I had met with on Friday for 90 minutes) and told her that the behavior was unacceptable and that today he would have to go visit the principal.  I know not much would happen, but I need something here, folks.  I gave the principal a heads up last night, so she was prepared this morning.  Well, guess who was in the office DEMANDING that he child be moved from my class?  The parent who wants to defend her child's actions as OK because there was another child involved in the talking and I didn't punish him.  In my defense, I have to pick my battles with the other child.  This one had been behaving fine til about November.  Then he thought it was cool to be bad. 


Anyway, the parent was DEMANDING that her child be moved to another room.  We only have one classroom available where students can go and it's not a room I would send any student to.  The parent decided that if she didn't get her way, she was going to go to the district office and file a complaint against me.  I've never had that happen and it makes me so sad.  But, the principal stood her ground and told the parent she wouldn't move the child, BUT he isn't supposed to be at our school anyway, so she is more than welcome to take him back to his home school.  And that's where he will begin tomorrow.  I'm sad to see him go because I think he is a good boy who wants to be liked by the bad boys.  He has a very crazy home life (shocker!) and there is no consistent discipline.  I honestly doubt that his dad even knows what's going on.  I don't think it's my place to tell him since I just met him on Friday. 


But when did parents decide that they don't need to parent their children, but then complain when others try to do their job?  I know my child isn't perfect, but she knows that when she is at school, she had better behave.  She knows that when she is in public, she better behave.  She knows the rules of how she is supposed to be in different places.  And if she were to do something wrong at school, she would be punished BEFORE I got the whole story rather than me defending her behavior.  Is this what has led to our children feeling entitled to everything under the sun?  Is this why they need to be rewarded for every little thing they do?  Is this why they are defended for hitting someone because the other person MUST have done something wrong first?  I don't get it.  Where did society go so wrong?  When did society begin to think it's OK to do wrong because they can justify every single thing as being OK?  I don't get.  I just don't get it. 

1.26.2014

From horrible to good

Last week should have been an easy week.  Monday was a holiday, Tuesday and Wednesday I had training and that left Thursday and Friday to teach.  It ended up being a craptastic week!  My kids were so horrible for the sub.  It's embarrassing and disappointing to know that they can't behave when I'm gone.  The upside if there is one, is that they can't behave when I am there.  This is a group that doesn't really care if they are in trouble.  I have one boy who will probably grow up to be a sociopath.  When he gets in trouble, he laughs about it and thinks its funny.  It's heartbreaking, really, but I don't feel like that when he has pushed my buttons all day.  And it's not just him!  I have 4 boys who are constantly doing something naughty, sometimes 2 of them together to be awful.  Like throwing woodchips at each other on the playground.  Or putting soap in each other's faces in the bathroom.  Each day is a new adventure in crazy!


So on Thursday and Friday, because I had so many kids who were bad, I gave up my recess and lunch time to spend with them in the room.  They had to be with me all day.  They do have "time out" on the playground, but it's just a bunch of kids standing the wall, talking and playing with each other.  One of my kids who was in trouble took it upon himself to dismiss the kids from time out because he thought they were all done.  (He also used the f word one time on the playground, but justified it because "he's a man and he can say those words.")  To keep my kids from getting into more trouble and to keep me from losing my mind, they stayed with me.  My BFF came and had lunch with me.  At the end, she said she didn't know how I did it, that my kids were so horrible for me, even with another adult in the room.  I told her I don't know either, as there were tears in my eyes.  Sadly, this group has reduced me to tears many times after school.  I've always been known to have good classroom/behavior management, but not this year.  I haven't figured out what it is that gets them. 


Going to the office doesn't do any good.  They talk to the principal, but there are no ramifications for their actions.  They may lose recess, but they still get to sit and talk with their friend who they got in trouble with.  They may have to call home, but most of the time the parents don't answer the phone.  It's loads of fun!  I did send home a pretty harsh letter to the offending kids' parents.  They had to have it signed and returned on Friday.  Of the 6 kids, I've met with 4 of the parents already.  One is supposed to come in tomorrow, though I am not holding my breath, as they have cancelled many appts they have made with me.  The other one I have never met and figure I never will meet them.  It's just not a priority to them.  Which is why their children are in this situation as it is. 


To reward my good kids, they all got a brand new fancy pencil on Thursday.  They also got to do an art project on Friday as well as an ice cream party on Friday afternoon.  One of the naughty's told me it wasn't fair and that I was mean and stupid.  Awesome.  His mom doesn't really care or want to fix his behavior, even though she will cry in our conferences and tell me she can't fix him.  We have 85 days of school left and I am counting down each and every one.  I will be so thankful when this year is over. 


But, I am also hopeful that at least one child who was in trouble last week will be well behaved this week.  I am hopeful that we will get a lot of learning done this week and have a little fun in the process.  We have a lot to cover in the next few months and I am stressing over it.  I need to stop and smell the roses before I go crazy and take my class with me.  After having a meltdown yesterday (think exorcist), I am ready for a great week this week.  All negativity behind me, I'm ready to go and get things done this week with decent behavior.  If not, I will start suspending kids since my principal doesn't really believe in it.  Something's gonna give and it won't be me anymore! 

1.21.2014

Information Overload

We had day one of our 2 day common core training.  My brain is so fried that I can't even begin to comprehend what it is I'm supposed to know.  I just feel like I am doing everything wrong.  As I stated before, I have been teaching so long under the testing regime where we were on a deadline for everything, that I don't know how to handle the idea of a little teaching freedom.  Before, we were supposed to follow the curriculum exactly as I was, do not deviate from the teachers guide, do not do your own things, do not collect $200 if you pass GO!  Now, we are told to use our curriculum as we see fit, do what you want (as long as it meets the standards and multiple standards at once, mind you) and make sure it's noisy to show that the students are actively engaged. 


Honestly, I didn't care for the morning part of the training.  Part of it was I don't care for one of the trainers.  She can not present well and I tune her out.  The other trainer is OK, but still not too lively.  The afternoon trainer was better.  But we spent almost 2 hours on Thinking Maps.  I grew up in the time of graphic organizers.  According to today's information, graphic organizers are bad, thinking maps are good.  It's like trying to teach an old dog who isn't that old but is totally set in their ways new tricks!  Again, my mind is racing. 


After being given the task of creating all 8 thinking maps for myself, I see them being useful in the class, after a long time of working with the kids to create them together.  I will go back on Thursday and try to do a thinking map or 2 with my kids and start introducing them now.  Mind you, we've had trainings before, but there was never a big push to do them.  I guess there is now, as we will have district people coming to look in our rooms to see if we are incorporating them.  That and the technology piece that we don't have yet!  Yippee! 


If nothing else, today was a wake up call that I need to change what I am doing and give myself permission to change things up.  I don't need to be on the same page as the others, as long as I am working on standards that will help my students be successful.  I'm not excited about thinking thematically, as sadly, my brain does not work that way.  It never has.  But I will do what I can to get it there.   

1.20.2014

Last week got me thinking...

Going back to school last week kicked my butt!  I am still tired from the week!  But, I will have a couple more days before I have to be "on" again.  I am going to our district training for Common Core.  And I don't want to go!  The people in the district who do our training aren't the greatest.  3 of the 4 trainers we are having are administrators and haven't been in the classroom in a very long time.  One of them is a 3rd grade teacher and everything she shows is geared to 3rd grade.  I went to a writing training last month and kept hearing "You'll have to go and tweak this to make it work for your grade level."  Argh! 


Last week when we got back into learning, I began to realize just how not with it my kids are.  There are some areas that they are still really low in and it got me thinking.  Over the last few years when the focus has been on the testing, we have been told to basically cram it all in, move on and follow the pacing guide.  Everyone should be on the same story and same math lesson all the time.  So I did that.  And sometimes we were ready and sometimes we weren't.  Sometimes we had good understanding and sometimes we just glossed right over it. 


That's how I felt about this last week.  We officially introduced digraphs this week.  We have gone over them with sight words and stuff, but we were really to focus on them.  After the initial day of instruction, I didn't pay much attention to them because I figured we had it.  We knew them all.  We could hear the difference between /ch/ and /sh/.  We knew that "thumb" starts with /th/.  And then I gave them a picture sort on Thursday.   And I realized we don't know our digraphs.  HOLD THE PHONE!  We have to stop for a bit and review.  Only I won't be there this week to help them review and I can't let a sub start the next story and teach them long a!  It's not going to happen.  So then, using my best teacher judgment, I looked at my own personal pacing guide that I spend weeks on over the summer and update it through the year to make little changes and thought "Screw it!"  I will need to update it again as I decided to NOT go ahead this week and just move on to the next story.  I will give it another week of review.  Actually, it'll be 2 days of review and I will give them their spelling test on Thursday.   We will begin the new skills on Thursday and take next week to cover them as well...and maybe even the week after that.  I want the kids to understand what it is we are doing and not just gloss over it anymore! 


This year, my class is lower than my classes in years past.  They don't get it as easily as other classes have gotten it.  It doesn't click as well.  My kids are moving and making progress, as there are more kids in my "higher" groups than in the "lower" groups, but they aren't at a "higher" level necessarily.  They are "high" for this group of kids.  With the testing pressure off of, I now feel I can take a little more time with things and slow down.  Stop and smell the roses if you will.  We've always been so concerned with finishing the curriculum by the end of the year that we move on when kids aren't ready.  Now, before you go and say I'm a horrible teacher for moving on and leaving kids behind, please know I didn't.  Every year, I have a group of kids who don't get it no matter how slow we go.  I still have kids who are at a beginning kinder level in first grade.  They should be in kinder this year and they will repeat first grade next year (as long as I have my way!).  I work with them in reading groups and give them as much extra help as I can and try to pull them up as quickly as possible, but sadly, they get 0 help at home. 


So today, as I was taking my daily walk (with my new little puppy!!!), I decided to stop pressuring myself to go so fast through the curriculum.  I have decided to stop worrying about where the others are.  They haven't worried about where I am, so why do I worry about where they are?  I have decided that even if we don't finish the basal readers, that's OK.  I can give them the phonics, reading and comprehension skills elsewhere.  I know that's one of the goals of Common Core, but it's hard to move away from my comfort zone and give up what I have done for so long.  It worked before, but it's not working now.  I need to change, as I see this wave of lower/more needy students continuing.  I need to change my ways in order to help them better.  It's going to be hard for me, but I need to be better for them. 


And, maybe along the way, we can take a different path in our learning and do something different for all of us.  Who knows...the possibilities are endless and my mind is racing! 

1.14.2014

Exhaustion

I always forget how tiring it is to go back to work after a break.  I am totally exhausted!  Wiped out!  Ready to hit the hay.  And it's only Tuesday!  It's going to be a long week.  But I'm glad I'm back to work.  I have a ton if stuff to do and a whole lot of teaching and learning that needs to happen in the next 93 days!  

My kids regressed a lot this break.  The students who were making progress, but were barely hanging on for dear life fell behind the most.  Te ones who were at grade level are still there or just a bit behind. Te ones who were really low are still really low.  We've got our work cut out for us, but I'm up to the challenge.  

Today we spent over an hour (luckily they were totally engaged) talking about/reviewing nouns, verbs and adjectives.  We did this instead of reading groups.  Something had to give today and that was it.  The kids have a good grasp on nouns, a decent idea of verbs and they are stumped with adjectives.  Sadly, teaching adjectives and how to use them is not my strong point.  I need to get better at this skill.  Tomorrow we will sort some words and see if we can get them in the correct group!  

In math, we are talking about tens and ones.  Today I gave my kids 10's and 1's blocks.  We've been working with tens and ones throughout the year, but this is the first time they have had the blocks.  I decided to give them a number and they had to show me in their blocks, but keep it a secret from their table mates.  They had a blast and thought it was the best thing ever!  We had to hurry to complete the math paper as we were running out of time.  Oops!  We will continue the game tomorrow since they had such a good time.  

I wish it was about 8:15 so I could go to bed.  But, I still need to help my daughter with a project, do dishes and grade papers before I can head off to dreamland!  Next week will be a little easier since we have Monday off and we will have a week under our belts!  

1.12.2014

Sunday Blues

Well, it's official.  Vacation is now over.  I have my lesson plans done, my stuff is packed up and ready to go and my clothes are in the process of being laid out for the week.  I'm trying to mentally prepare myself for heading back to work.  And it's not quite working.  But, it is time to go back, get back into a routine and get back to doing what I do well - teaching my little firsties. 


I'm still "old school" and I hand write out my lesson plans.  It helps me remember what I am doing during the week.  I basically write them down and then I don't have to look at them again.  I may have to this week as there are some new things I am doing that I haven't quite got engrained into my brain yet.  But I am excited to be trying something new. 


Which goes back to me being "old school".  I am still trying to wrap my head around CCSS.  I have taught the same things and the same way for so long, that I am not comfortable stepping outside my comfort zone.  But I'm trying.  I have been toying with the idea of doing away with spelling tests.  They aren't 100% CCSS friendly, and I don't know if the kids really remember the spelling rules once the test is done.  I keep going back and forth.  Any insight on this?  Same thing with word walls.  I have always had a word wall in my room until this year.  I took it down in favor of an anchor chart wall, but I see my kids' writing suffering.  In years past, my kids would go the wall, find the word they needed and then go back and spell it correctly.  Now, they don't even try to sound it out and I get crap in their writing.  I have taken down the anchor charts (and need to find them a new home) and have things ready for the word wall, but them someone told me not to put it up so I haven't.  I think I need to use my judgment and just put the darn thing back up.  I will feel better and I think my kids will write better.  Any insight here? 


This week we will jump into the world of digraphs.  I really like the story in the anthology (Moving Day).  We will talk about antonyms, sequence of events, compare and contrast, fact v. fiction and more.  On Friday, we will do a directed draw of a hermit crab.  I love this week!  We will also continue working on writing a good personal narrative.  In math, we venture into tens and ones.  I'm hoping we have a good understanding already, but that we can also have a little bit of fun.  Who knows!  And we will cap it off by talking about winter - something we don't have here in So Cal.  It's supposed to be in the upper 70's and lower 80's this week.  But we can pretend that we're in the snow...or at least talk about it anyway! 


Happy Sunday everyone.  Here's to jumping back into the working world and seeing my kids again.  Ready or not, here I come!   

1.05.2014

No Sunday Night Blues for me!

Yep!  I still have another week of vacation to go!  I really enjoy this next week, as my daughter is back in school and hubby is at work.  I get the week to myself to do whatever I want.  I will get to be mommy after school and actually pick my daughter up every day, but I will have 6 glorious hours while she is gone to myself.  I have several goals in mind for the week that I hope to accomplish by Friday afternoon.  While it's a vacation week, I will still be busy! 

* finish deep cleaning my house - it's taking me a long time because I am really deep cleaning
* work in the yard - my yard has been ignored for too long...time to get it looking pretty again
* get lesson plans done for January - at least the biggies filled in!  I haven't decided what I am doing
* get work done for online class I have been ignoring!  It's on CCSS, so I should do it!
* pay my ticket and do online traffic school - I ran a stop sign by my school on a day they were doing a massive sweep.  Lesson learned!
* get a massage - enough said!  This will be my Friday morning I think! 
* work out at least 3 days - starting small!

While nothing on this list is earth shattering, it's the little things I need to do!  Next Sunday I will have the Sunday night blues, but I will also be a bit excited to go back and see my kids.  I'm hoping they have grown and matured a bit and are ready for some serious learning! 

Happy Sunday and good luck for those having to go back to work! 

1.03.2014

OLW: Enjoy

I saw a lot of posts lately with everyone's word for the year.  I thought long and hard about mine before I chose it.  My word this year is ENJOY!  I need the reminder every now and then to enjoy what I have and try not to take things so seriously.  I am bad like that. 

I need to enjoy my family.  I love them to death, but I need to spend time with them and enjoy being with them.  Doing the little things and not worrying about the big things.  My house may be messy, but if I'm having fun with my daughter, then that is worth it! 

I need to enjoy my work.  I love teaching, but the enjoyment has gone from it.  I have been so focused on student behavior and student growth (both of which are less than great this year) that I have forgotten to have some fun in class and enjoy the time we have together.  I will still have the stinky behaviors and lower students, but I want to enjoy being with them and having more fun than we have been having this year. 

I need to enjoy my home.  I get so stressed out when things are unorganized and the laundry is piled high on the couch.  I am learning to let it go.  I will eventually fold the laundry.  It may take awhile, but hubby doesn't mind.  He says it's easier to find what he's looking for on the couch!  I need to enjoy what I have at home and be thankful for all that we have. 

I need to enjoy life.  The good, the bad and the ugly.  Last September when I got sick, it really put me in a funk.  I was in a funk at home and at school.  It really affected me more than I let on to people.  I was feeling sorry for myself that I got sick.  I was upset that I missed so much work and I used it as an excuse for a bit as to why my kids weren't doing well.  In fact, the parents used it as an excuse for their children, too.  I finally came to the realization that I am here now and they have some learning to do!  I was upset that my daughter was away from me for a week, but I look at it that she was being cared for by her grandparents and she got some extra time with them that she wouldn't have had.  I was upset that I was sick and threw everyone's lives into a tailspin, but I'm alive.  I could have died from my illness, but I didn't.  I don't have any lasting effects from it and if anything, I have become a bit healthier from it.  I've stopped drinking soda and have started drinking more water.  I realized I needed to stop feeling sorry for myself and go back to living life.  As silly as it sounds, I had to make that decision. 

I realize that not everyday will be rainbows and unicorns, but I can make those days happen more by changing my attitude.  It's something I have to do and will do this year. 

So, with my one week left of vacation, I will enjoy the time I have at home to myself, enjoy the time I have to plan and enjoy the time I have to be a stay at home mom while it lasts.  After that, it will be back to enjoying the craziness of life! 

1.02.2014

January Currently

Wow!  It's crazy to think that it's already January 2014!  It seems like it was just January 2013 a little bit ago!  I for one am glad to see 2013 in my review mirror.  It was not my best year by far, and I am ready for a great 2014!  I'm hoping all the crappy stuff that happened and put me in a negative mood is gone and I am going to work really hard to only be positive in 2014. 
 
We are still on vacation until the 13th of January!  I really do enjoy the extra week off.  My daughter goes back to school on Monday, so I have a week without her at home where I can get stuff done.  I think this year I will continue working on decluttering my house, but I will also spend some extra time working on school stuff.  One of my goals (not resolutions anymore, just goals) is to be a better teacher for my kids.  I think I am a good teacher, but I want to be even better.  I may not have everything looking perfect, I may not be up to date on the latest and greatest teaching styles, but I do know how to teach and do it well.  I have been letting myself get overwhelmed with things out of my control and I have not been my greatest teaching self (or self) lately.  But, I am going to change that! 
 
It has been an interesting couple of weeks of school.  I had big plans, but life had bigger plans.  Like many others, we were down and out with the stomach flu.  It was the worst thing in the world!  My parents and sister were sick, but we were hoping to be spared since we didn't see them while they were sick.  Wrong!  I got sick on Christmas night!  Not the best way to end Christmas.  We had gone up to our cabin for the day and made it home 10 minutes before I got sick.  I then spent all day Thursday in bed.  Hubby had court and so my daughter was home with me.  She kept herself occupied AND fed until my hubby came home.  He made her dinner and then he proceeded to get sick that night.  He was physically sick a lot longer than I was, but he bounced back better than I did.  On Friday, I managed to take a shower, run an errand and then I was done for the day!  Back in bed watching TV and trying to rest.  On Saturday we were all better and were finally able to do Christmas with my family.  Then on Sunday, the stomach flu blessed us with its presence once again as my daughter got it.  She got over it the quickest and I think we are all flu free and back to normal.  My house has never been so Clorox'd in the 11 years we have lived here!  But, if it had to happen, this was the time for it to happen.  We were all home and on vacation, so it was OK.  And, we were with the many other people enjoying their Christmas puking! 
 
Finally, here is my Currently for this month.   
 
 
 
 
Happy New Year to everyone who still may be reading my blog.  I have good intentions to blog more this year, if for no other reason that to put my own thoughts down and out of my head!  Enjoy the last of vacation!