Happy New Year!

The end of another year is coming quickly. Mine will end later than most of yours, since I am in CA. I got a little teary-eyed this morning watching GMA and thinking that the year was over, but I've got to get excited about the new year. I want it to be the best ever. I know people always say that, but it's true. I want to have a truly great year all around.

I have been thinking about my goals. Yeah, I am one of those that sets goals, but by February, they are long gone. Then I feel bad about myself for not following through, and then it's a big ol nasty cycle of self loathing. I have decided, that I need to go back to being the over achiever I was before I got complacent. I need to go back to trying to do it all and getting it all done. With that thought, I have broken my goals down into different groups. I figure if I put them out there for all to see, it may help me be more focused.

Work Goals:
1. Plan better - I like to wait til Sundays, but then I am tired.
2. Decrapify my classroom on a weekly basis - enough said.
3. Get my creative juices flowing - that's hard for me as I feel I am very uncreative
4. Plan for myself - I have been doing better at this. I used to basically plan for the teacher next to me and it was too much for me to handle. I've kinda made her go on her own, but not totally. She still comes to me with questions about what we are teaching for math and science.
5. Take a class or 3 - I have to add some units, so why not do it and learn something.
6. Say hi to the Ice Queen - I figure someone should be nice to her. I may not get to this one til June! Oh wait, we are out of school then! Oops! (PS...she never did take my gift to her out of her box...)
7. Have more fun with my kids - I feel too pressured by testing to do fun stuff, but my kids need it and it's fun for me as well.

Home Goals:
1. Cook dinner nightly - sounds silly, but we have gotten into the habit of eating out too much. Too much $$$$. I take my lunch to school every day, so this way I can have leftovers.
2. Decrapify my house - I have been working on this one the last 2 days and I feel so good about it. I would love to be a minimlaist, but my hubby would like ot be a hoarder. We have to compromise a bit. I also need to keep it up and keep it clean, but it's hard with a 4 year old and a hubby, but I have to stop making excuses.
3. Spend more time outside working in the yard - It's good for relaxing and it makes me feel better about my home. Oh yeah, but I can't do it when it's rainy, uber muddy or over 100 degrees, so that leaves me like 2 months!

Personal Goals:
1. Relax and enjoy life - I can do this one well, but I need to do it more often
2. Spend more quality time with my daughter - she's growing up too fast
3. Take time for me - it's hard to do when you want quality time, but I ignore me a lot.
4. Lose weight/get healthier - this is on everyone's goal list, but I need to do it. I have not taken time for me and it shows. I am tired of being overweight and need to change. My dr. tells me to lose 10 pounds every time I go see her...I need to make it happen this year...with more than 10 pounds! Plus, it makes me feel better about myself which leads to a happier me!
5. Read - as silly as this sounds, I need to read more. I enjoy reading, but I don't make time to do it. It helps me calm down and relax and it's better than watching tv all time!
6. Be a little self-centered - I have never been one to think abou tmy self or worry about me, but I need to. I need to take some more time for me and take care of myself and worry about me. I worry about others all the time, I need to start worrying about me and taking time for me!

I have a ton of goals and a ton of chances to let myself down, but I'm going to work hard to make sure that doesn't happen! I can do all of these if I really want them and really try. So, with this out for the world to see, here is come 2011, ready or not!

Happy New Year!


Halfway though vacation

So today is the halfway mark in my vacation. Sorry to those of you who have to go back to work next week. This is our one long vacation and I love it. I love being home next week when most of the schools are back in. It's so much easier to take my daughter places and not be swamped with people. But, she goes back to preschool next week and has speech class 2 days next week, so my vacation of sleeping in will be over! Oh well!

I sat down the other day and started looking at my plans for the next month. I have so many ideas going around in my head. I am trying to figure out where to fit them all in and not give anything up. It hasn't worked so well, yet. Maybe later today I can sit down and start planning. Or tomorrow. Or next Thursday. Who knows.

Today will be spend inside cleaning. The good spring cleaning kind of cleaning that needs to be done. The throw-crap-away cleaning one can only do when the hubs is at work. It's pouring rain today, so there isn't much else to do, other than be lazy and sit on the couch, but I need to be productive. We spent last week not being producitve and I don't like it. That will actually be one of my goals for the new year is to spend my time being more productive, rather than being lazy. We'll see how it goes.

Happy Wednesday to all!


Is it wrong to expect kids to go to college?

Yesterday while driving around town, hubs and I were talking about college. Why? No idea. We got on the conversation about schools not preparing students for what they need. I take offense to that as a teacher, but then when I look out of my own little box, I have to agree sometimes. Many kids aren't getting what they need out of school and are falling through the cracks. And, we are expecting too much from some kids who are doing the best they can do.

In my mind, my daughter will go to college after high school and get a great job. Hubs wants her to go to vet school, I just want her to do something that she wants to do. She's 4, it will change often in the coming years! For me, going to college wasn't something that was pushed upon me by my parents. I did OK in high school, but it wasn't fabulous. I didn't care. I wasn't rebelious, I just didn't care about high school. I wasn't popular, wasn't one of the pretty, skinny girls, I was just there. I played soccer and swam on the swim team, but those aren't sports or activities that make you popular. I wasn't outgoing, which was why I was the way I was. But, I knew I wanted to be a teacher. And to do that, I had to go to college, come hell or high water. And I did that. In 4 short years, I graduated college and started teaching.

Anyway, back to my thoughts. In my mind, I am trying to prepare my first graders for the possibility of college. I want them to aspire to going to college and getting the good jobs. I want them to see that there is more out there than what their parents have. I hope for all of them that is the case, but I know it's not the reality. Most of the kids we teach aren't going to go to college. Most will barely make it through high school, if they stay in the country long enough to do it. I guess I have never really thought about it that much, but now that I do, it makes me sad. The kids I have now will grow up and do what? Sure, there are some who will go to school and be succesful, but not all. And for those that don't go to college, what will they do?

Our schools prepare kids for the college track. They work on reading, writing and math for ever, but they do it in the later years with stuff that doesn't make sense in life. I had to read Romeo and Juliet and it didn't change my life. It didn't help me be a better student. It killed some time in class. And don't get me started on math. I am lucky I can teach the 1st grade math! My hubby believes that we should teach kids based on what they want or will be able to do later in life. Since not all kids are college bound, there should be more life skills classes or job training classes. Europe has some of the right ideas, really. Kids go to school for the things they are able to do and want to do rather than to take some arbitrary classes in English when they can't write a sentence.

My friend at work has a son in high school. He is taking 7 classes. He is on the "college track", but he isn't doing well. He is in AVID, which is to help kids get ready for college. They push and push them to do more than they can, and then the grades suffer. But on the flipside, they kids who don't have a chance of going to school are given the easier classes with nothing expected from them except to graduate and work at McDonald's. Why aren't we pushing them to do more? Why aren't we giving them more classes to help them out to be better?

I don't know what the answer is. I feel so hopeful with my kids, but then I think about my first group of first graders who are now turning 19 and I wonder how many are doing anything meaningful with their lives. How many actually graduated high school? How many are in school? I have always hoped that I impress upon my kids the value of education and how important it is that they learn to read and write and do math, just so they can survive. I don't think the kids see anything wrong with having ot translate for their parents at conferences when they are 6 and 7 and they think it's normal. I don't think they kids see that their parents lives could have been better if they knew how to read - in any language. I don't think the kids see what they have been given with learning.

I guess I will always be an optomist with my kids and hope for the best. I can hope that they will take something away from my class and remember how hard I wanted them to work and do their best. I can hope that in the coming grades, they work hard and learn and are successful in their learning. I can hope they stay in this country and continue their education. I can hope they make it to high school and graduate. I can hope they decide to go to college and make something of themselves. And deep down, I hope that this all comes true and that the others are wrong. Sadly, I think I am the one who is wrong, but I won't tell myself that just yet!

I don't know if this makes sense to anyone else, but I hope it does.



Today is the start of my second week of vacation. And there are no big plans. We live real exciting lives, so there isn't much to plan for. I have the requisite laundry to do, the cleaning of the kitchen cabinets and the raking of the leaves, but that's stuff that's always here. Otherwise, life is pretty dull!

I was looking at all the great ideas out there this morning on blogs and started writing down ideas for when we get back to work and then it hit me. Testing! We have our benchmark test in February, 4 weeks after we get back. And on top of that, we have a holidy in there, the 100th day of school, Groundhog's Day and teaching the curriculum at warp speed. I'm trying to find a way to fit everything in that I want to do without missing out on something fun. That will be my goal this vacation is to get everything reconfigured and ready to go for January. I have a couple ideas floating around in my head, I will just have to put them on paper and see if they work.

I would love the chance to get into my classroom next week, but no such luck. The school will be shut down, except for the spiders and other critters that will take over our rooms while we are gone. It will be lovely to go back to my critter friends. I would like to go in, make some changes, do some organizing, but that will have to wait til after school, which means it won't get done since no one wants to be there after 5 each day! I may have to do that a couple times to get everything done that needs to be done. Who knows! Great ideas in my head stay there many times rather than be implemented. Maybe I should make that a new goal of mine this year. We'll see!

We've got bright shining sun, so I may venture out today to rake some leaves, pull some weeds that have started to grow and tend to my roses! I've got 2 days before the next storm to get it all done! Happy Monday!


And then it was done

My daughter learned today that Christmas is over. It's hard to be 4 and come to that realization. She wasn't too happy, but she's getting over it by playing with her mountain of toys, wearing some new jammies and wearing a Santa hat that she just had to have from Walmart this morning! Silly girl, but daddy indulged her wishes!

During my daily bout of insomnia this morning, I was thinking about my kids (among other things). I hope they had a good Christmas. I hope they had Christmas. I know most of them will have had some sort of Christmas, but I hope they all got something more than the puzzle I gave them. I know the local charities were out and about last weekend, so hopefully. And, what I thought before, was that Dollar Tree has so much stuff that parents should be able to spend 5 bucks for their kids for Christmas. I hope so. Especially since I look at my daughter who is slightly spoiled (thanks to the grandparents and aunt and uncle) and look at all that she had and all the more she has now.

Then I was thinking about my kids who talked a lot about Christmas and those who didn't. I bet the ones who didn't talk about it really have had nothing in the past to celebrate. And those that did, have had Christmas celebrations in the past. Makes you wonder. Or I do anyway.

By the time we get back to school, Christmas is a distant memory (we go back Jan. 10). It's too far away to get them to think about it without getting uber excited about it all over again. I think we will spend part of our first day back setting some goals for ourselves as learners for the new year. I am going to start working on something for the kids to do. Believe me, I have my not-so-new goals to keep working on, but I want to start something new with my students and myself. I will post it when I get it done.

Until then, I need to finish putting things away. I think I got my daughter's loot all put up. Let's see how long the house stays clean! Too bad there is still a yard full of mud or else I would send her outside. But that's what happens after 8 inches of rain! Happy Sunday!


Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to everyone in Bloggyville! I hope your day is wonderful! Mine will be, I am sure of it (and will make it wonderful myself!). My daughter just woke up (at 7:30 - a Christmas miracle) and asked to watch a show before she opened her gifts. We don't do "Santa", so there are no new gifts under the tree for her. But she is still excited. And before anyone gets all holier than thou about Santa, I would be more than happy to give her a gift from Santa, but she could care less about him. He scares her more than anything, so it's not a big deal to her, or to me, really. Time to get ready for the day with family and enjoy the day with the Hubs and my daughter!

Merry Christmas!


'Twas the day before Christmas...

and I have my "vacation insomnia" again. I guess when I go to work I work harder than at home and then I don't sleep well at night. I woke up at 3:30 this morning and had a hard time going back to sleep. The dog was barking, I was thinking of my to-do list for today and then I started thinking about planning for Janaury. What's wrong with me? It's almost Christmas and I am laying in bed planning or trying to think of what to do when I go back.

Today's thought? Author Studies. Yep, at 3am, I am thinking about author studies. In years past, I used to do them. I didn't go all out, but I did them. We would read books by the same author, do some fun little activities and then write them a letter (if they are still alive, anyway) telling them which book we liked the best. But, as time got smaller and the push for more standards got larger, author studies went away. I just can't seem to get it all in. And I feel horrible about it. Instead, I have resorted to reading my themed books (think snowmen coming up) as my read alouds and then doing a crafty type project at a center during language arts time. That's it!

So at 3:30, I was laying in bed trying to figure out in my mind when to do author studies. And I came to the conclusion that, right now, I can't. I don't know where to make the time during the day without giving something else up. I would love to do in in the morning before we start our reading lesson, but then that would kick out my themed stories. I would like to do it after recess, but it's focus time and I don't have my own kids. After that is writing, which I can't give up and in fact, need to push when we get back. I would love to do it after lunch, right before math, but I have to start math centers when I get back so I can have some time to work with my kids struggling in math. And then when the afternoon comes around, it's time to teach science and social studies (just one at a time). And then, before I know it, it's time to go home. Really, I need about 2 more hours in the school day, but by 3:15, I am beat and ready to go home.

I was thinking back to the beginning of the year when I did do some of my author studies, but then I was missing out on other things. It's all a game of give and take, I guess. I'll give the kids more "fun" stories and timely stories and take my author study books off the shelf for a while. It's OK, really, I still have fun reading to them, no matter what it is! Maybe next year, if there's time!

On that note, time for me to get my to-do list started for the day. I think the first thing on there should be to get excited about Christmas. Sad to say, but I don't get excited about Christmas anymore. I thought it would change with my daughter, but family dynamics have ruined it, so...I will put on my happy face for her today and tomorrow and make it the best for her and then muddle my way through the day! One year it will change and it will all go back to being great!

Merry Christmas to all out there!


Vacation Thinking

Here we are, on vacation from school, from the kids, from the day to day routines we have. When I should be cleaning, or building the gingerbread house with my daughter, I am blogging and looking for ideas for January. My mind never stops. And I need it to, but right now I am excited. There are so many wonderful ideas out there that I can't wait to do them with my kids. I am excited to go back (when it's time and not a moment sooner!) and do them with the kids.

And then I realize that I am not be the most fabulous teacher. Everyone has these great ideas and I don't think I have them. I want to have them, but I can't seem to get the creative juices flowing. And then it bums me out. And then I mope around the house. Like yesterday. But that's what 7 days of rain will do. BTW...today is partly cloudy, but NO rain!

I am off to clean some more and get my 4 year old to clean her room. That should take me just all day! Oh well! At least it's not raining! Happy Thursday!


Good thing we are on vacation

I'm sure you all know that sunny So Cal is getting pummeled by rain. Well last night, we were blessed with the wind. And not some little wind either, but big 'ol howling wind. The kind that shakes the windows that are supposed to be in well and makes sleeping a bit harder. At least for me. Hubs was there snoring away. Like always!

It started raining here on Thursday. It rained in the morning, then stopped. It rained Friday. All day. Saturday it rained. Light, but all day. Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, all day. I am tired of rain. But today, it's gonna rain all day. And they say this is the worst storm out of the 5. This is highly unusual for us. I like the rain, but not 7 days of it. I don't like to see my yard flooded, though we will have a bumper crop of plums this next year. Our forcast for today is rain, wind, possible hail, possible thunderstorms, possible funnel clouds and possible tornadoes. Um, hello Mother Nature? This is Southern California! Tornadoes? A few years ago there was one that touched down about 10 miles from my house. Lovely. I don't know how anyone does it. I am exhausted and it's only 7:30am. We are in for a long weather day!

The upside to the rain is that we are stuck inside. I wrapped all my gifts yesterday and then had some me time. Honestly, I had "me" time from about 3:30 til midnight. I sat on the couch and read and read some more. I got my book finished, so I can take it back to the library and start a new one. Let's see...what will it be? I highly recommend reading The Help. Long book, but very good!

It's getting a bit lighter out. Time to go check out the damage! Happy Wednesday!


Does your classroom get cleaned?

Woke up this morning to yet another rainy day. I don't mind the rain, but I don't like being out in it. And like every good girl, I still have shopping to do for Christmas, plus some other errands to run. Like to school to unplug my printer and pencil sharpener. We have the Green Team that goes around making sure people comply with electricity regulations, and I don't want to be the one who gets a nasty note about it. Yep. It could happen. Mind you, the custodian is on the team, but he can't be bothered to clean my room!

Speaking of a clean room, my question to you all today is, how aften does your classroom get cleaned? And when it's cleaned, what do they do? When I first started teaching, my floors would be vacuumed every day or every other day and trash done daily. Now, my trash is dumped daily, but I can go a week without being vacummed. I was vacuumed a week ago Friday, and when I left on Friday afternoon for vacation, I was hoping I would be vacuumed before I got back (highly unlikely since the custodias are also on 3 week vacations. How nice.). Anyway, my whiteboard doesn't get cleaned, but maybe 2 times a year. My desks are cleaned by my kids and Clorox wipes and the cobwebs have been haging around for quite some time (like since last school year). The principal doesn't really know the schedule of the custodian and thinks that everything is good. I don't want to nag and complain, but I don't think I should have to teach in a dirty classroom, either. I make my kids pick up the trash, but after a week of no vacuuming, there is little stuff all over. It's kind of gross, really. Let me know your cleaning tales. I want to compare and see if we are all in the same boat, or if we just get the raw end of the deal at my school!

Happy Monday, everyone!


When there are no lesson plans to do...

I get super busy at home. Today, it is rainy and cool in sunny So Cal. Today is day 4 of rain, and there are at least 4 more in sight. We should have a break on Friday, then have more rain after that. But, I won't complain. We need the rain. And, you don't have to shovel the raindrops! Sorry for all of you that will have to contend with the snow, but I say bring on the rain!

I won't really think of school til the week before I go back. We have 3 weeks off, so that means in about 2 1/2 weeks, I can think of school! So to stay busy today, and do what needed to be done before tomorrow. So, I did laundry (so exciting), baked more cookies (I think I've made about 20 dozen + this last week) and made some more plum jelly. It's all for us, as my daughter eats it like it's going out of style. Now, I am going to curl up on the coucg, turn the heater on, watch Eat, Pray, Love and read my book. Good thing to do on a rainy Sunday night!


Christmas Around the World - Parts 4 and 5

On Thursday, we spent some time talking about Mexico. It's interesting that over half my kids have family from Mexico (they are all born here), yet they have no idea what's celebrated there. I guess the families have Americanized Christmas for their children. Without getting too religious on the kids, we talked a bit about Las Posadas and then the legend of the poinsettia. The students then made a poinsettia leaf/flower.

We spend the afternoon talking a bit about reindeer and Rudolph. Some of the kids made a reindeer ornament with popsicle sticks. I didn't get a pic of it, since I was so pissed off when it was done. The kids kept taking the sticks apart, even after they were drying. When they were done, they spent the last part of the day doing punch art - poking out little dots with a thumbtack. I'm happy to report no one was stabbed and it was quiet for a good 30 minutes!

On Friday, we read some more reindeer stories. They made a reindeer by tracing their foot and their hands (foot - face, hand - antlers). Again, no pics, as I was busy preparing work for when we go back! They continued on their punch art when they were done. We did some centers after recess with making a green and red noodle necklace, patterned candy canes, coloring and some more punch art. In the afternoon, we had about an hour before we went home. I gave the kids their presents (I love the Dollar Tree!!!) and then they "watched" Rudolph. Most spent the whole time talking, as kids don't seem to care about watching a movie. We rarely watch videos, but when we do, they don't seem to care anymore. Bummer!

I am now on vacation for 3 weeks! This first week is supposed to rain every day! So, not much can get done outside, but it still beats getting up and going to work everyday! Happy vacation all!


Christmas Around the World - Parts 2 & 3

On Tuesday, we discussed Italy. We talked about La Befana and what the people in Italy eat. Then we made wreaths. It was an all morning project, but they got it done. It was the only project we did that day, as we had some math to do and then it was Peaceful Playground day, so I didn't have them in the afternoon! Oh well!

On Wednesday, we talked about Germany. We read a story about a Nutcracker and then we made a paper nutcracker. OMG...it took forever, but I think they are adorable. I had the paper cut to the size I wanted, but they had to do it all. My art challenged kids are coming along!

Then, we made Christmas trees this afternoon. I had made a punch out of a heart on the die cut machine and traced it. I made 6 per student and then we used them to make the tree. I took the idea from Oriental Trading who had it in a catalog with foam. I love my spin on it!

We embellished them with buttons, sequins and/or foam pieces. I think they were cute and really easy to make.

Tomorrow we will talk a bit about Mexico, make a poinsettia and then do some other crafty things for the day!

Christmas Around the World

I had hoped to post every day, but time just got away from me. I sort of do Christmas Around the World. I have seen some great ideas in Bloggyville this year that I am going to start using next year. Not enough time to do them now, nor do I have the desire now. I have 2 days left and it's all I can do to make it through these last few days!

On Monday, we visited England. I read to the kids about how they celebrate Christmas in England, talked about the gift giver and then traditions that came to America from England (stockings and Christmas cards). We then made our own Christmas card and stockings. I hung the stocings by the "fireplace" and let them take the cards home!

We also made cinnamon applesauce ornaments. Now my room smells wonderful!

My computer is acting up, so I will post more later. Hopefully.


Spelling Tests

I give a spelling test almost weekly in class. It covers the spelling words from the reading series, sight words, a skill we have been working on and sentence writing. I create my own tests following what we have been doing in class. I have the kids write their spelling words, then they have to find the sight word I say out of a group of 3 and then do whatever the skill part is (this week was writing a word that was the opposite and also writing the digraph that began the picture). Then they have to write a sentence using the word I gave them. I feel this is good practice, but others disagree. I'm curious as to what others think. Do you give spelling tests? What is on them? What do they look like? If you don't give them, why? I'd like to see what others in Bloggyville think about spelling. Let me know your thoughts, please!

TGI Almost Vacation!

The week is finally over. The kids are getting so excited about Christmas that they have lost the ability to think like rational little 6 year olds. Yesterday was a pretty good day for a Friday, 2 weeks before the big day!

We did our regular Friday morning routine - illustrate the poem page and then take a spelling test. Normal, everyday Friday stuff. Then I planned to do a directed drawing. I was terrified with this group, since they have been artistically challenged this year. I was pleasantly surprised yesterday with their work. We did drawings of a hermit crab to go with our anthology story of Moving Day by Robert Kalan. I love the story and just adore the little crab in it. Here are some of their works! They aren't finished yet, but will be soon!

We finished the day off with decorating cookies. I wanted to decorate gingerbread cookies since that's what we had been talking about. I had a parent make 1 gingerbread boy cookie per kid and then some round cookies. Another girl brought in some cookies shaped as bells, stars and trees from the store. So we decorated those. I was amazed at the amount of icing parents sent in. I had decided if we got nothing, we wouldn't do it. I am happy we got stuff!

Luckily my room was to be vacuumed last night, so hopefully no critters will make their way to the sugar crumbs that were left. I think the kids had a lot of fun with the cookies, but I won't be doing it again this year. Some classes are doing it next week, but I am glad I did it on Friday. I would have been too tired for the rest of the week.

Now I am off to figure out what I am doing next week. I normally do a cheesy Christmas Around the World, but I am wanting to change it. I think. I guess I have 2 days to figure it out and make plans and make sure I have everything I need. Any quick and easy last minute suggestions and ideas? They would be greatly appreciated!


Oh, what a week!

This week has kicked my butt! After Tuesday's fiasco with the kids and their behavior, the week has been better. We've been getting our work done and getting to have some fun. Wednesdays are minimum days, so our time in the afternoon gets cut short. I get to do math, but we don't have time for science, social studies or whatever it is we are doing. (This week is Gingerbread Men)

Yesterday once the kids were gone, I sat and did absolutely nothing. I was exhausted. I did manage to get some things cleaned and organized, but not enough. I am not ready for next week at all, and it's the week I do my cheesy Christmas Around the World. Luckily I have seen some cute ideas out in bloggyland, so I will be revamping my units for next year. I am so thankful there are creative people out there who share. I have never been super creative and now I am feeling better!

Today was a freaking madhouse at school! I had a kid drop the f-bomb at lunch, then he wanted to argue with me in class. I had another parent tell one of the aides that she doesn't like me since I make her (the mother) work too hard with her child. We had a birthday party for a little boy and then I had a parent conference with my lowest childs' dad. I know why she is low and why it will never change. If the parent is illiterate in their own language and can't add 1 to a number, then there is little help for the child, other than an older brother who is in special ed. Crazy! By the time they left, it was 3:40 and I had to clean the mess that was my room since we are being visisted by the school board tomorrow. Yippee! Luckily we are doing an art project (directed drawing of a hermit crab for our anthology story) so it will be an easy morning!

Tomorrow we also have Santa Shop. I hate this. The people who organize it go to Dollar Tree and buy stuff and turn around and sell it for $2 or more to make a profit so the 5th graders can have a whole bunch of stuff at the end of the year. I don't know about you, but to me, it's a waste of time and money. Yeah, yeah, kids can buy gifts and learn the art of gift giving rather than just gift getting, but only half the class (or less) has money and it's hard to buy for 8 people with $3. Yep. it happens! But, I will take my kids, help them shop and get the heck out of there and go decorate gingerbread cookies!

I will be so happy when tomorrow night rolls around. I get to go out to dinner, watch my daughter in her last (tear) preschool performance and then come home and collapse. I have a week's worth of DVR'd shows to watch and about a days worth of sleep to catch up on. And I have Christmas presents to make, cookies to bake and jelly to make. Presents and cookies are gifts, jelly is for us - I ran out. Oops! Busy weekend.

Oh, and to make those of you in the chilly areas jealous, we should be in the 80's this weekend. It may not feel like Christmas, but it sure feels nice! :)


"I have beer"

I haven't wanted to post anything since my kids have officially lost their minds. I feel like I am dealing with small, wild animals. Friday was horrible, Monday was bearable, and today was freakin' insane! I am glad today is over. All I want to do is climb into bed and go to sleep, but that doesn't happen with a 4 year old in the house!

On Friday, I wanted to do some fun projects. But the slugs are just that - slugs. They have no desire to hurry or finish up projects so we can move on. It doesn't matter what it is, it doesn't get done. I have kids who still have a project on their desk from last week that won't be getting done. Been there, done that. And I have kids who won't get to a project this week since they aren't anywhere near being ready to start it, much less finish it! I need them to feel a sense of urgency, but they don't have it. Any suggestions? And taking away recess doesn't help - and punishes me!

I did do a project (no pics yet) where they had to write a letter to Santa, or Mom or whomever and tell one thing they want for Christmas. They had to tell me what they want it and how they have been this year. We did our "sloppy copies" yesterday and then started working on the neat copies today. Those who finished put it on a piece of paper cut to look like a box and put "ribbon" on it when they were done. As I was looking through them this afternoon, I noticed one boy forgot to finish the last sentence. When he should have written "I have been good", he wrote "I have beer." I think Santa might like that! I know I was wanting something with a little something in it today! I know for him it was an accident, but it made me laugh, which was good. I'll have him fix it tomorrow!

Only 8 more days of school for the year. And then we are off for 3 weeks. I can't wait! I am going to use the time off to relax, clean, organize and re-vamp some of my plans to see how I can better serve my kids and get them to "get it". A new challenge for the new year!


And we still have to go to work tomorrow?

I haven't had a full 5 day work week in about 3 weeks, so this week is killing me. I feel that we have accomplished a lot, but dang, I am worn out. I wish today was Friday so I could be lazy and cuddle on the couch, but, no, I have laundry and dinner and lesson plans and...you know the drill. This whole sun-going-down-early thing is relaly getting to me. Last night we were ready for bed and it was 7:55. Oops!

This week, we have started to introduce some ideas of Christmas/winter, but nothing major. I know some classes have, and that's great, but not for me. We will do plenty of Christmas goodies this month, just not now. We made some trees to go wtih our poem for the week. They aren't "Christmas Trees" but they are trees that will become Crhistmas trees one day!

We have been talking about bears a little this week, too. I have been reading the Bear books by Karma Wilson. I just love them. I think the bear is too cute for words. And I was able to snag some from my daughter to complete the set at school!

I think tomorrow we are going to attempt a directed drawing of the bear. I think it might be easier than some of the others. We'll see. I don't have high hopes for art challenged group I have.

We also made some "stuffed" bears. I had the kids cut out 2 bear shapes and then I hole punched them and they were to "sew" them together. Then we stuffed them with paper. They turned out cute, though some need help with cutting on the lines! I hung them up, just for fun. I'll see if it's still there in the morning!

We also did a teddy graham graph today. We used the chocolate, honey and cinnamom crackers. They had to graph them and then answer questions about which they had the most of and then put the numbers in order from least to greatest and greatest to least. They like this activity the best!

We have a lot of work to do tomorrow for reading and math, so more projects will be posted. And my boards won't be bare anymore!


Out of the mouths of babes

We've talking a bit about bears. It's not as much as I would like to, but it what I have time for between collaboration and minimum day and trying to teach other things. Like reading. Or how to put chapstick on. Yeah, that's a lesson now since we all have chapped lips. Fun times!

Anyway, I gave my kids a dot-to-dot of a bear. It was a very generic bear (like a teddy bear, really). I let them color it when they were done. We talked about what color bears are and aren't. The funniest thing of the day - I had a student make a panda bear. An "EEVEL panda bear". The bear had red eyes and sharp teeth. My student told me to be careful when I checked his paper so I wouldn't be attacked by his panda. Too funny!