It's Finally the End

Firday was the end of the first trimester. We've completed one-tird of the school year. And it has gone fast. Terrifyingly fast, too! First trimester is the one I feel that if the kids can "Get it", then we are going to be fine this year. Second trimester is hit and miss since there are so many days out of school. And third trimester is playing catch up to get them ready for second grade.

With being out the majority of this last week, I went back on Thursday with a renewed sense of panic. But I am trying to not let it bother me. I am trying, really hard I might add, to let things go. To learn that I can get them done eventually and also to know that I can only do so much in the time I have. I have to learn, after many years of not doing it this way, that I need to take time for me and my family rather than busting my butt for school. It's hard, but I am going to try really hard to do it. I feel uber selfish if I take time out for me when I have a billion other things to do. I have a new book I want to read, but I feel bad sitting and reading when I could be folding laundry, or playing with my daughter. But, I need more me time. Let's see if I can do it!

I finished up my testing last week with my kids. I am not impressed by their lack of learning. There are some who have so much potential, but simply don't try. Half my class is below grade level still, so I feel like I have failed, but then I have to realize how hard I have worked with them and that they have made progress and I feel better. Some kids are going to have a coming-to-Jesus momoent tomorrow when they realize that they aren't making it. I try to remember they are only 6, but it's their time to learn to be responsible, since no one else really is for them.

I feel I got a lot accomplished this last trimester. I tried some new things with my kids and did some new units which were a lot of fun. I still need to revamp them for next year, but I have a whole year to work on them. I also discovered that I suck at teaching math to this group of kids. I need to revamp what I am doing and change things. I am glad I can see that and know what I need to do rather than just send them on and hope for the best!

Tomorrow starts new. I will give myself a fresh start tomorrow with my kids and give them the this-is-a-new-trimester speech and see what happens. I still hav eto do report cards and set up conferences and talk with a parent who wants me to change what I do since it's too easy for her daughter, but I will take it as it comes. We have 12 days of school over the next 3 weeks, thanks to a holiday, a furlough day and teacher work day. It will make for a nice 4 day weekend, though. I am already looking forward to it and planning what I am going to do (fall cleaning and organizing!). Plus, I have a week at Thanksgiving off. November is nice for not having to work a lot and getting some fun things done. Here's to a great second trimester!


Um, the plans I worked hard on are not merely a suggestion, but they are what I want done!

I went to school today to drop off more sub plans. I think tomorrow will be my last day home for a long time. I got some new drugs, which will hopefully be the right ones this time! My regular doctor is a genius compared to the idiot I saw on Sunday! Anyway, I have never been one to let a little strep throat keep from doing my job. At least when I am cleared to go back to work.

When I got to school, the sub I had was still there. She was sorting through the papers and using every single paper clip I have. I don't know if it was necessary or not. When I went to get the work for tomorrow, I realized it was gone. She did tomorrow's work today since "it looked more fun". Um, there's a reason why I have it done by days. She said she didn't understand why the kids didn't have any idea what the answers were. She did the work for tomorrow that goes along with the anthology instead of today's work, which would have made way more sense. I was very irritated, but I need to learn to let things go. I don't do that well at all, which is 50% of the reason why I am sick. I don't handle my stress well, bottle it up and then get run down. It's a vicious cycle, repeated every few months or so. Oh, and to top it off, I am lucky enough to have her tomorrow. The sub I was originally going to have was moved to another site...stolen really so she could be there all week long. So now I am left with an idiot sub who can't read the plans. Luckily tomorrow is minimum day, with an assembly, so it will be pretty hard to mess that up. But, if anyone can do it, I'm sure it's her!

It just frustrates me that the subs can't be bothered to think a bit harder to make sure they are doing what they are supposed to do. But, maybe that's why I have a contract each year and they don't. Who knows. But it's scary that they are with my kids while I am sick and I am putting their education this week in the hands of an idiot. I sometimes think a monkey would make a better sub!



Well, it's that time of year. I am sick. And not just a little cold sick. I have the flu. The full blown, knock you on your butt flu. Fever and all. Lucky me. I started to feel no-so-great on Saturday night and then yesterday was horrible. I had planned to take today off anyway, so I was prepared for that, but I wasn't prepared for tomorrow. I did my plans and e-mailed them in. Hopefully it all goes well. Well, I have now been out of bed for about 2 hours. I think that's my limit. Time for some more zzz's and rest.



Today I am feeling very stressed. It's near the end of the trimester and I have barely started my assessments. I feel I should be teaching rather than assessing, but I can't have both, I guess! I feel bad that we did a project last week and didn't do groups and if I test next week, I won't do groups again. I don't think I can handle that at all! Agh! It takes quite awhile to assess all the kids on DRA. I have tried it different ways - starting with the lows and working my way up, starting with the highs and working down, or just going in order of how I list my kids. I don't know which is better. I did get one DRA done today, and I started in the middle. I tried with 2 other kids, but their minds weren't into it, so I stopped before I got started! I know it's bad, but it's less frustrating that way!

To add to the stress, I tried to have my kids do their writing prompt. I now know what we will be working on in the morning. They didn't quite get the idea of what they needed to do, no matter how much we talked about it. I guess we will give it another shot tomorrow and then I will take the better of the 2 papers for their grade. I know some teachers proofread the work and have the kids make corrections, but this isn't for that. This is to see what they can and can't do in their writings!

And to add to that, we had collaboration today. That's always stressful. It was a little better since the queen bitch wasn't there today, but we can' make any decisions without her since she will just go whine and cry to the principal that we are picking on her. Yes, this is from a woman who is over 50, but acts like she's 15! Ridiculous if you ask me! So, we have resigned ourselves to the fact that we have to wait and get the nitty gritty done when she is there. Lucky us.

And to add to all that, I am out on Monday for my daughter's IEP and then we are heading off to Legoland for the day. Since I am taking the day off, we might as well has some fun! But, I have to do sub plans and get everything ready for the sub. I have some of the planning done, but I will be finishing it up later on tonight and then getting to work early tomorrow to have it all ready to go for next week. I normally get to work early on Fridays and stay a bit later, but tomorrow is our Fall Festival. And of course, like an idiot, I have signed up for a booth, so I have to have that ready to go as well.

I think I may go, have a drink, scream outside and then get to work! I don't like being stressed. Oh, and the weather isn't helping! We haven't seen the sun since last Thursday, really! It's been rainy and cloudy and cold (to us) since Monday! I got home at 5 and it was 58 degrees. I know for some of you, that is a nice, warm day, but for us, it's cold! We were 100+ last week, so dropping 40+ degrees is a lot. And it's damp, something we aren't used to. I'm sure we will be eating our Thanksgiving meals in shorts while others are shoveling snow! Happy almost TGIF!



I hate to say it, but I am not a big Halloween person. Never have been. I don't like dressing up. I don't care for the scary. Not really into the witches. Don't like going out to beg for candy. Yep, you can feel sorry for my daughter. She doesn't get to experience Halloween like a lot of kids. In fact, her idea of Halloween is going to Legoland on the weekends in October and doing their "Brick or Treat" trail and getting goodies.

A few years ago, like 11, I had students who didn't really do halloween. It wasn't really for religious reasons, but they didn't do it. So, I thought I would do stuff with pumpkins. It has eveolved into "Pumpkin Day". I now do it every year. We do all sorts of activities with pumpkins. We weigh them, measure them, see if they float (they always do!) and count the seeds. We also make a little book using our 5 senses. It's just a fun day to do something different, but also "celebrate" the season. I think this year I may have kids bring in pumpkins - small ones - and maybe we will paint them. I'm still thinking about it. I feel that this way, students aren't doing Halloween and shouldn't be excluded based on religion.

This week we are talking about spiders. Again, it's sorta related to Halloween without being Halloween. We are learning all about where spiders live, what they do, etc. The kids are having fun and think it's about Halloween! Who I am to tell them it's not?!?!?!

Next Friday, we may watch "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" if we have time. If not, we will continue with our fun activiites. We may do a couple Halloween stories, make some fun art projects or color a page or 2, but nothing like some others with the witches and monsters, etc. Our kids aren't allowed to wear costumes to school, so that takes care of that fiasco on Friday!

How involved do you get with Halloween? Do you go all out? Is it subdued? I am interested to know what others do!



I was going to do a different post tonight, but it says that images can't be uploaded right now, so I will do something else!

We just gave our trimester benchmark test today and yesterday. We have them 4 times a year, per the district. One is Language Arts, one is Math. I always dread them, just because I have to take time away from teaching and it shows how well I have done teaching the kids. I am very competitive, so I always want to be #1 at my site. My former principal (Mr. DB as I will refer to him now...I hope y'all know what DB stands for!) would show us how each teacher did and then bitch about the ones who were low. Mine were always the highest til he did that. Then 2 of the others started to cheat, so it's not accurate. I don't think the new principal will do that to us, but who knows. I still like for my kids to be scoring high, just so I know that they know what it is we have spent the last trimester doing!

I gave my LA test yesterday and was pleasantly surprised. My kids overall did very well. I had some who missed a couple simply because they weren't paying attention. I had some who missed a lot because the simply don't know shit no matter how much I work with them. One of my don't-know'shit kids managed to score 100%. And she only knows 15 of the first 150 sight words. So, I knew she had to have cheated, but I don't know who she cheated from since she was right in front of me. I must have been lame yesterday! I gave her the test again today. Same test, one on one. She scored a 36%. More like it. And she told me she didn't cheat and when I asked her who she cheated off of, she said she didn't her name. The girl was convinced she didn't cheat, but I am not so sure. Maybe I am being to hard on her, but she doesn't spell her name right half the time. I'm stumped!

I gave the math test and it wasn't as high as the language arts. I didn't expect it to be, either. I feel I do better and LA than math, but I have tried to do better. I have to get my act in gear with the math. But, our math program sucks when it comes to addition and subtraction. They teach them in a weird way that is more abstract, rather than concrete. And you need concrete for addition and subtraction. Or at least I think so anyway! I hate when the kids have to magically know the parts of 8 to find the missing number on the work. So, I have been teaching them how to subtract to find the answer. Seems so simple, but they aren't tested that way. I think it's dumb, but I have to teach it according to the district and their assessments. Last year, there was a team of teachers (I was tehre) who sat down and decided what would be tested when. We said no subtraction til second trimester since we wouldn't have covered it and we out it on the pacing guide. Well, guess what? There were 4 subtraction problems on the test. The ass in charge doesn't read very well. I think it's a disadvantage to the kids and what they know. But, I'm not in charge. If I was, things would be run differently. But, I'm not, nor will I ever be.

Along with this, we are reaching the end of the trimester. We have to have report cards done sometime in the future. The dates keep changing. We were told they go home Nov. 5, but now another ass at the district said Nov. 19th. That's a big difference! But, all my report cards have to be done by Nov. 2. Figure that one out for me! I am trying to test on sight words and DRA's, which have to be done for report cards. I'm trying to do that without taking away from my reading groups. It ain't happening! I barely get anything done. I see a movie day in my future! At least once they are done, I will have some time off from assessing like this. I think January is the next time for assessments for progress reports. Or it may be December before we go on vacation. Who knows!

I just think our kids are assessed too much. I'm not an idiot! I know how my kids are doing without an assessment. Do I know it all? No, but even when I assess the heck out of them, I still don't know it all. Especially if they cheat! I guess I should get onto bubbling in my answer sheets. I don't let the kids do it since I want their answers to show what they did. That will be my fun for the evening, along listening to the rain! I think we're working on 2 inches for the day! That's like the whole total for spring normally! Wow! Crazy So Cal weather!


Reading Groups

I do reading groups almost every day. I didn't do them last week when we were working on a project, but I did have a group of kids with me during the writing time. Reading groups is something I have always done. I was trained to do groups, was told to do groups, so I do groups. I am not the group guru by any means, and probably would make people cringe when I do my groups, but it works for me!

At this point in the year, I have 5 reading groups. Too many for my liking and too many for my time frame. With all we have to do, I have about 45 minutes on a good day to do groups. I try my darndest to get all my groups in each day, but it never fails that there is a group or 2 who I don't get to. I feel horrible, but that's the way it goes!

I try to start each group by reviewing the sight words we are working on. The kids are tested on the first 200 Fry words, so we work on those all year. For some, they are already done with those, so we will move on to the 300s and 400s. For others, we are still on the first 50! Then we review the phonics skills (when needed). Then we read from our phonics library book that goes with the series. After that, if the group is high enough, we read from the Rigby books. I love these books so much! I love the stories, I love how easy they are, I just love them! We read them in class, do some comprehension and then they take them home! I do "book folders" each night with the stories we read in class. The kids take them home and read them to their parents and bring them back the next day. Some are better than others at it, but we are getting there! I have lost very few books since I have done this, so I feel it's worthwhile for the kids!

My groups are no more than 10 minutes, so it isn't the nice, long groups I see some do, but it works for me. Is it great? No, but at least I am working with my kids. I can't say that for all the first grade teachers and I know the other grades aren't working in small group! Scary thought, really!

My kids do their seatwork and then do various activities when they are done. They aren't exciting, but again, it gets the job done!

I have started doing writing groups this year. I try to do one group a day, as we only have 30 minutes a day for writing. If there's time, I will work with 2 groups, but normally I get one in. Most kids are doing well on their own, so it's a good time for me to work with the ones who need it. Mind you, I'm not working with the lowest of the lows, but the ones above that! The ones who can move on with some help and not require all my attention. I hate it, but we gotta get "more bang for our buck." That's what my former principal said anyway!

This week will be a "normal" week for reading groups again. Of course, we have our benchmark testing this week, so writing time is out on Monday and Tuesday. Something always loses out with "testing, testing, testing!" Lucky us! I am so glad I am not a kid right now...too much testing!


Week in Review: Week 10

I can't believe we have already been in school for 10 weeks. It's really 9 1/2 since we started on a Wednesday, but I count it since we were there the whole week! I really like my class and they are learning very quickly. There are those who aren't and who drive me nuts, but overall, they are doing very well. I try to plan more fun activities for them, since they are learning well and I think they deserve to have a little fun now and then!

This week, I did an extension on the story from the anthology. We read the story "Seasons" in the anthology last week and we have been talking about weather in science. So, I thought we would spend the week working on a little book about the seasons. We took one season a day, beginning with fall. We brainstormed prhases about fall and wrote them on the board. Then the students go to draw a picture of a tree in fall, and themselves and we made leaves from torn paper.

Then the students wrote about fall, most on their own. I had a group with me every day and we wrote together. Their stories aren't as good, since it was limited to what they thought of and what they could write. Each day ended up being the same for them!

On Tuesday, we did winter. We brainstormed ideas again and then they drew their picture. This time I gave them blue paper to draw, so the white would show better. I punched out white dots for the snow. This is the closest most of my kids will ever get to the snow here in So Cal!

Wednesday was spring. We kept the tree in all the pictures. Again, we used the tear art for the leaves in the spring.

Thursday was summer. We know summer very well. In fact, through Thursday, we were having summer like temps! It was 101 on Wednesday and 85 on Friday and 70 yesterday! We drew our summer pics with the tree all covered in green leaves.

I have put all the pages together and I'm supposed to be wroking this weekend on making them into books and grading the writing. I have to create the rubric first and then grade it. I don't know how I will do the ones that we did together, except note that it was done together - spelling and everything!
To celebrate fall, i had my kids make fall leaves. I traced a leaf pattern onto brown paper. My friend has been doing this project for years and I got it from here. I've done it for quite awhile, but I changed it this year and loved it! My friend will take red, yellow and orange paint and have the kids sponge paint it on the leaf. I've done it too, since that's how she did it. But, this year, I took out some marbles, added some paint to the box and we rolled away. I love how it turned out!

I will hang them up with their other writing about fall. But, since it wasn't as warm as it had been on Friday, they were taking forever to dry! I think I am going to do the same type of project this next week when we do spiders to make a web. I'll see how it goes!



I really hope I spelled the title right! It would be ironic, wouldn't it?

Anyway, most teachers at my site get an aide (paraeducator, whatever) for 30 minutes a day. And, this is during our "focus time", so all but 4 of my kids are gone to other classes. My kids that are with me during that time, along with the other 7 I get from other classes work with me and the aide. If I could, I would do it all on my own.

I have to write out directions as to what I want done - specifically! I can't just tell her. I have to write it down like I am leaving instructions for a sub. Or a monkey. Either way, it's more time out of my day - time I don't always have! If I don't leave instructions and just tell her, she will do whatever she wants. It bugs me since I tell her what to do and get nothing in return! And, even when she does follow directions, she won't give the kids any extra little help. Um, have I mentioned I have the lows? And they aren't always the quickest at figuring things out? I have them for 30 minutes, and by the time she gets in htere, it's like 25 and by the time they start working it's like 20. And I read with both groups each day!

I have tried different ways of getting through to her, but nothing seems to work. I've talked with my grade level, but they all feel the same way. Well, all but one, and the one thinks she is wonderful, so I didn't ask her. And it really bothers me that she is so OK with not doing what I ask. Or making fun of the kids for not getting it. It's not like I don't know they don't get it, but that's why we are here! I just get frustrated in those 30 minutes when I say one thing and get another totally different thing.

On a side note, I have had my own moments of incompetence this week. I decided to do project to go with our anthology story for reading about the seasons. Each day, we make a picture and write about a season. There are ideas on the board and then kids use them to make them into sentences. I have to say, they are doing very well. Much better than I have expected.

But, here is my big teacher fail! I am working with my lowest and lower kids on writing. We are writing all together, writing all the same thing. We talk about how to write the sentence, what words start with, etc. One of my students, who is very low, doesn't work at home, the whole thing, has been driving me bonkers! She is the only one who refuses to write her sentences with a capital letter. I ask her (again and again and again...) and she will tell me capital and then write it small. She did that 5 times today for the same letter. And about 4 times yesterday for the same letter. I finally just gave up and wrote it for her. I feel like all week I have been riding her to do it correctly and she gives me a look like she doesn't care. I totally lost my cool with her today and let it affect my whole day. Same with math today. I had 2 kids who were in lala land and had no idea what we were doing. I ended up losing it again with them, right when another teacher came in. I looked like an idiot...and a bitch. But, I was tired and frustrated and I had had it when I asked one boy a question and he just stared at me without giving me an answer. I hate that! But, not that it's an excuse, but I think PMS is roaring it's ugly head this week. My poor kids! I will have to be nicer tomorrow!
On a completely unrelated note, hubs and I went to look at a charter school for my daughter. I felt like a traitor being there. I felt like I was going to the dark side. Of course my hubby fell in love with the school for our daughter. Now, we have to wait and see what the lottery gods have to say. They only have one kinder class each year and take 25 kids. Siblings and teacher kids have first dibs. I don't think there will be much of a chance. But, she's on the list.

The school based their charter on character education. It sounds nice and more than I could do for my kids at school with the time crunch we have. But, the principal was blaming "traditional" teachers for the problems in the schools. That bugged me! I didn't raise the kids. My own, yes, but not the rest of the world! So, I don't know if I am fit to be a charter parent! Any suggestions?


Teach: Tony Danza

This afternoon, while folding laundry, cleaning house and finishing lesson plans, I watched the show "Teach: Tony Danza". Tony Danza is teaching in Philadelphia in an English class. I don't know if it's just one class or what, but the students they are following are in one classroom. My understanding is that he graduated college years ago with the idea of becoming a teacher, but then went into boxing and theater. I grew up watching him on "Who's the Boss?", but that's my only knowledge of him.

The show begins on his first day of school with his 10th graders. He's nervous about the first day of school, understandably. He tells his montor/instructional coach that he's going to give the kids an assignment and not talk, but then all he did was talk. I thought it was funny, but sweet. They show some run ins with administrators. I think one of them was a full on bitch! If she was at my site, Iw ould avoid the office like the plague! Anyway, he of course doesn't have his teaching down, and the kids are giving him a hard time. I would think it would be status quo for any new teacher going into their first year, but I think it would be harder for him since he is a celebrity.

After watching the first 2 shows, I feel sorry for him. I wanted to cry right along with him, which he does a lot. I think he truly wants to be a good teacher and work with the kids. I think it's more than just a show - I think his heart is in the right place, but it's just going to take time. Heck, I doubt any of us went into to our first teaching job thinking we kicked ass! I didn't, and still have times of doubt. I feel bad for him because the administrators aren't giving him an inch. I wonder if they think he is doing this for show, rather than as a real thing.

I will keep watching the show and hope his year gets better. If it is just for a show, then I will be really pissed off! I hope he is doing this to try to do something meaningful with his life rather than make money off A&E. I guess I'll have to keep watching to see what happens!


Week in Review: Week 9

Another week has come and gone. Another week down in the plan book. Another week we will never get back in learning. I feel like I am in a rut right now. I think the weather has something to do with it. We went from 100+ degress the week before to this week being cool and rainy. When I say cool, we were in the 60's during the day and the 50's at night. It's a big change from the 90's-100's and it messes with us. Most people were tired all week and couldn't function. I was one of them. But Friday proved to be the changing day. It was 85 yesterday with bright blue skies. My fave! And this weekend will be even warmer. Hello Fall! You remind me of summer. But, our nights are cooler, so the leaves do start changing color.

Reading was the same stuff. We read the story "Seasons" in our anthology. I decided this year I am going to expand the story and do a project next week. I have a great picture in my head of what I want it to look like, but I have art challeneged kids, so I am worried! Nothing exciting in reading this week, but stay tuned!

We continued our read alounds of Leo Lionni books. After last weeks fiasoc with the tear art mice, I decided to venture back into the world of directed drawing. We used the story The Biggest House in the World and grew the snail form the cover.

We drew our own. They weren't great, but not awful, either.

I made the students write about their favorite Leo Lionni book as well. They aren't too sure how to write about something like that. I need to learn how to teach all the different types of writing. We focus on the personal narrative all year, that other writings get lost! I took a pic. of some of the writings, but it doesn't show up well!

For science, we are still learning about weather. I was brave and took out the water colors. I had the students paint a picture of the type of weather thy like best. Most were ok, but there were a couple that Wowed me!

One shows a rainy day, one shows a sunny day and one shows the wind. The wind is my favorite. The boy who did it has an imagination that won't quit. I thought it was great! They had to write about it, too. Again, not the greatest, but most can tell me why they like a certain day, like "I like sunny days. I play in the pool." That's all I want at this point, but sometimes, even that is too much!

We'll have to wait to see what next week brings!

Waiting for Superman?

I guess I have been out of the loop for a bit, but I hadn't heard of the movie "Waiting for Superman" til I stumbled upon the trailer for it last night. I watched it and began to wonder. Then I read a review of the movie and wondered even more. And then I started to get mad.

I, by no means, think I am the greatest teacher out there. In fact, I doubt myself more than I should. But, overall, I think I am pretty good. I feel awful when I can't get my low kids to move at all, but I feel really good when the others have that "ah-ha" moment. I try my best to work with the kids, all my kids, and help them get to the next level, whatever it may be for them. I feel I bust my butt and sometimes, it isn't good enough, but it's not for lack of trying.

In watching the trailer for the movie, they are talking about the schools failing the kids. They are in an inner city schools in or outside of DC. They follow students around who are trying to get into a charter school and are waiting for the lottery. The director of the charter school speaks alot, as well as the Chancellor of DC schools (she seems bitchy to me, but I don't know her, so...). All I heard in the promo was "The schools are failing the kids." and "The teachers are failing the kids."

Here's my beef - WHAT ABOUT THE PARENTS? WHAY AREN'T PARENTS TAKING RESPONSIBILITY FOR THEIR CHILD'S EDUCATION??? To me, sitting in a room waiting for your number to be called doesn't mean you are vested in your child's education! Parents need to stand up and fight for their child's education. And they don't. At least not where I am!

I've had some parent conferences and a lot of the parents say the same thing - I can't help my child at home. Really? It's too hard for you? How about finding someone. How about learning English yourself. Our school offers classes twice a week at night. With free babysitting. And food. What more do you need? To me, it's an excuse of pure bullshit why they can't/won't help. And people want to blame the teachers?

We received $200 for supplies this year. For the whole year. For glue, paper, crayons, etc. $200 to supply a classroom. Um, there goes the fun! I'm very frugal anyway with my supplies. But $200? That's less than $10 a kid now. We may get more money after January, but I doubt that will happen now that we have a state budget. California must be the laughing stock of the country when it comes to our governor and all. We went 100 days with no budget. And teachers are the ones NOT doing the job? Utter BS!

Until Superman comes knocking on my door, I will play the part of Wonder Woman, doing what I can for my kids with the resources I have, or lack thereof, until that time. I may not be able to save them all, but I will do my best!


Free Lunch

This is a topic that irritates more teachers than anything. Free Lunch. It irritates me anyway. Over half the kids in my class are on free lunch. And the parents feel like they are entitled to it. They get angry when they have to pay for lunch or pack a lunch for their kids. WTH? Isn't that the job of a parent - to take care of their kids?

At the end of September, the grace period for the free lunch applications from last year expired. Parents were called several times and told to submit a new application for free lunch if they wanted it for this year. And the message said they would have to pay or send in lunch after 9/27. And guess what? Parents didn't bother to do that. And they had to pay. Or their child had to eat salad bar for a few days. And then they come crying to me!

Honestly, I think the lunch program is crap. Yes, there are those parents who need it and really work for it. But then there are those who use it as a crutch. They think that it's the answer to all their welfare loving prayers. This is how a conversation went last week with a parent who didn't bother to turn in an application since she didn't think she had to.

Parent: So, I turned the application in today. When do they get free lunch.

Me: They said it takes about 3 weeks to process. (OK, they told me 2, but I will say 3 to be on the safe side!)

Parent: I turned an application in when daughter #1 was in Kinder. Why did I have to do it again?

Me: You have to di it every year.

Parent: But I didn't last year. The school said I didn't have to do it.

Me: It was a different school, so I don't know why they did that. But here you have to do it yearly.

Parent: So what am I supposed to do in the mean time? I can't pay for lunch every day. I lost my job (she was a pet groomer - self-employed. How do you lose your job?????) and my husband is only getting $1100 a month from disability and we can't pay for lunch every day. (Mind you, she has a top of the line cell phone and her nails are done! I have crappy real nails and a crappy cell phone!). What am I supposed to do, let them starve?

Me: Well, go to Wal-Mart, buy a jar of peanut butter, buy some jelly and some bread and there you go.

Parent: But then I have to make it everyday? That's a lot of work.

Me: Well, it seems like the only choice you have, huh?

BINGO! I think I found the problem! Parents would have to work.

I laugh (so I don't cry!) when the parents who are "poor" and on free lunch drive better cars than I do, have their kids in designer clothes, and have the time to get their hair and nails done at least once a month, if not more. If you can afford it, great. That's not where I will spend my money, but yay for you! But, if you can afford all that, you can afford to pay the $2 a day for your child to eat lunch. Or you can buy the food to pack them a lunch. If you are dirt poor, work your ass off and still need help, I am all for it, but otherwise, stop taking "my" money to pay for your kids lunch and work like the rest of us!


Books I've actually read since school started

I've mentioned before that the start time for my school changed this year. We used to start at 7:55, but now we start at 9. It has messed up my whole life! I don't have time for anything anymore, especially any "me" time. But, I have managed to read through 2 whole books for school! I know, you're jealous, huh?

This is the first book I read. It was OK, but a lot of it wasn't gearded for the little guys. Now, I have to admit, I watched the movie over and over again since it had Matthew Perry in it. But, I thought it was a good made-for-tv-movie. I haven't seen it out this year on TV, so maybe they never put it on. I wanted to read thr books to see what words of wisdom this guy had. After all, he was like teacher of the world there it seemed. A lot of his "rules" were common sense, but things that I think parents should instill in their children. But, sadly, teachers must do it now since the parents fail at their job many times.

The one thing I wonder about, and it seems to happen to many teachers who "make it" and then they make a movie about them eventually, the teachers did something fabulous to get their kids learning, and then a few years later, the teachers quit to go on speaking tours and make more money than they would have with teaching. To me, it doesn't make sense. To me, it seems like you are more interested in hearing yourself talk than working with kids anymore. Just my opinion here!

As I've mentioned in previous posts, my kids this year are artistically challeneged. They have no sense of art skills whatsoever. And, I am not an art teacher by any stretch of the imagination, but I can hold my own with 6 year olds. I honestly believe that with the Kinder standards being so much higher, the kids are more focused on academics rather than having any fun, so art is out of the question. I bought the book to teach me how to do art so I can teach my kids. We did the first lesson on drawing lines - diagonal, horizontal and vertical. And even that was hard for some. I will have to work hard to get their work to look like something other than crap. And, I will have to work hard to fit in it the day with all the other stuff we are supposed to do. Maybe recess will have to go. Nope! I need them to run around and get all the energy out. I will see if any improvement is made from now til the end of the year. I highly doubt it, but I am a very pessimisitc person, so it's OK!

Week in Review: Week 8

This week was nothing exciting. Reading, writing, math and science. I feel like I wprked my kids hard, but we didn't do anything fabulous. This week was just teaching. We finished up our Theme 2 in reading, so now we can start on the "real" reading, where the stories are a bit more exciting and the words are a bit more challenging, rather than just being from a single word family. In math, we started addition, which for some, was a huge FAIL! I have a group of kids who haven't figured out the plus 0's. The easiest one, and they are stumped! I know what I will be working on this week, over and over again. Yay. In Science, we are learning about weather and how it changes. We actually had some weather this week, so it made it a little more exciting. We went from 113 on Monday with pure blistering heat to 85 on Thursday with rain, thunder and lightning. Mother Nature has decided to screw with us this year, so I don't know how long summer will last. We'll probably skip fall and go straight to winter...in January!

For my read alouds this week, we started reading books by Leo Lionni. I love his books. We read Frederick, Alexander and the Wind-Up Mouse, and A Busy Year.

All these books have a little mouse, or more in the story. They are so cute. In the past, we have made the cutest little tear art mice to hang on the wall. So, I thought with my class of artistically challegened kids, this should be easy, right? Well, I learned the answer to that very quickly. I was wrong. Surprise, surprise! They can't draw an oval, then tear it out if their life depended on it. I can't believe they messed up another project!!!! WTH? What am I going to do with this bunch? This is the class where art comes to die! It's unbelievably sad. I don't know if I can even stand to put up a picture. Next week we are going to try to make a bird. Lord, help me!