9.30.2010

Health Clerk/Panic Attack

I will continue my week of ranting today. Honestly, I have a really good class this year and I love them all. Most of them, really. But there are just little things this week that have pissed me off. And to me, they are serious things that affect the life of a child.

I have a child who has done wonderfully in class so far. He has made growth in all areas and his behavior is great. He is actually my student of the month for the month. But, this last week, he has started to have what I think of as a panic attack. He has been complaining of a stomach ache, he is doubled over, crying hysterically to where I can't understand a word he says. It's frustrating when he is like this, but today I made it work. I had him trying to calm down, and when that didn't work, he just did his work in between huge sobs. He tells me his stomach hurts, I try to get him to go to the bathroom and get water. I even sent him to the health clerk. And this is where I get pissed off!

I don't love our health clerk. How much training do they have to diagnose medical conditions? I think it's a Frist Aid/CPR class. Big deal. I have that! You know the days when I kid days they don't feel well, but there is no fever or anything like that, but they just feel like crap? I think the kid should be sent home to rest. Especially the ones who aren't frequent flyers to the office, if they don't feel well, they aren't gonna learn. But, no. If a kid doesn't have a fever, hasn't barfed in the class or has crap down their leg, they are good to go. They get some crackers and they go back to class. 9 times out of 10, they are out the next day or puke all over the floor 5 minutes later.

Anyway, my student last week was eating an apple and he choked a little bit on it. Scary for a 6 year old. Heck, I panic sometimes, too! Anyway, he was very afraid and had a hard time catching his breath. He was upset. I was at lunch when the aide came and got me. She asked if he was dramatic and I said no. I was working to calm him down to relax. I took him to the health office and she made it worse. She was yelling at him for not relaxing and for crying. He's upset. Give me a break!

On Tuesday, this same boy was complaining that his stomach hurt. He was crying hysterically again, doubled over. I sent him up, he went to the bathroom and came back about 10 minutes later. End of problem. Then today came. At about 11:30, he came into class crying hysterically, holding his stomach. I had him go to the bathroom and he was still that way. I sent him up to the office again. I don't want to keep him in class if he really doesn't feel well. I am pretty good about figuring out the fakers, and this didnt' seem like it. He ate lunch and came back to class after recess. Again, more of the same. I got him calmed down, had him go to the bathroom, wash his face and get water. Halfway thru math, more of the same again. This time I just did the lesson and he worked between sobs. He got it done, so I wasn't too worried.

This afternoon, the class was going to PE when he told me, through his tears, that his chest hurt and he was going to die from a heart attack. OK. Immediately to the office. I'm not dealing with that. But now, this looks like a panic attack to me, not a kid goofing off. We've been trying to call mom, but she was at work and there was no one else around. Mom came after school and told us that there was a snake in their yard the other day and that he thinks it's going to kill him. I guess the dad killed it, but the boy is freaked out by it.

It pisses me off that the health clerk dismisses his feelings. These kids are 6 years old. He doesn't feel good. I don't care why he isn't feeling good. Figure it out! She wants to claim it's because he is crying that he isn't feeling well and in fact, gets mad at him for crying. Yeah, it's inconvenient, but again, he is 6!

The mom was going to take him to the doctor today. I hope they come back with something to tell us. It's a little scary when you hear a 6 year old complaining of their heart hurting. And he is such a good kid. No kid should have to go through that. Maybe we can send the health clerk to a sensitivity training?
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After Monday's temp of 113 and the rest of the week being in the 100's, today was 76 and rainy. We had some monsoonal moisture that came to bless up. We missed some more recess, but we are used to that, now!

I hope all my blog readers on the East Coast are above water and good! Mother Nature is mean sometimes! Happy Friday
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9.29.2010

Parent Conferences

I really despise parent meetings. I don't not like meeting with parents. It's the excuses I hate having to listen to. I hate having to hear why they can't work with their child, why their child isn't doing well and how it isn't their problem. Um, I hate to break it to you, but it is your problem. It became your "problem" 7 years ago when you got knocked up!!!!

Here are my reasons why I hate parent meetings. Add more if you'd like!

1. Parents schedule meetings and then don't show up. No note, no phone call, nothing. Hey, news flash - I got crap to do, too! My time is just as valuable as yours. I won't waste your time, don't waste mine!

2. Parents who want a meeting, but can't make time for it. It's called take time off of work. I have meetings for my daughter and I will take the day off. My child is important and I want the best for her. I can only give her so much when I am at work, so I will take a half day and do what needs to be done! Oh, and if I call you, call me back!

3. Parents don't know how to tell time. If the meeting is for 2, and the translator told you to be there at 2, show up at 2! 2:10 isn't gonna cut it! And you know school gets out at 1:57, so be there a bit early. Being late isn't gonna make me any happier! ***This was today's meeting!

4. Parents who want to talk about themselves. Honestly, I really don't give a rat's ass about you. I don't care how hard you work, how you have no money and how there is too much homework. I work hard, have no money and I give the homework. Bitch about it and I will give your child more! I'm here to talk about your child, not you.

5. Parents who make excuses for their child. I don't care that you don't speak English - your child does. I hear them every day. They are pretty good at it and know what they are saying. Oh, and your child has soccer, and dance, and gymnastics and art class and there isn't time for homework? Well, then maybe you should homeschool them! They are here to learn and homework is part of that. And your child is getting a free education. Let them put their brain to good use!

6. Parents who have to bring their whole litter with them. I understand you don't have a babysitter, but control your children. I don't like the classroom being torn apart within 2 minutes of you being there. Tell them to sit down, be quiet and wait til you are done. And for goodness sakes, DO NOT whip out your boob to breastfeed the baby. I don't want to see that. You couldn't have planned that better?

7. Parents who talk on their cell phones during a conference. I am guilty of my phone ringing, but I won't answer it. That's why we have voicemail. Duh!

With all this being said, I will wait tomorrow morning to see if a parent shows up. This will be the 3rd conference I have tried to have with her and she has made excuses. Last week it was cramps and this week was jury duty that she "forgot" about. How do you forget that? And cramps? I didn't know I could get out of work for that!!!! I thought real women just sucked it up and went to work!

Let me know if there are any other goodies to add to the list!

9.28.2010

Seriously?!?!?!?!?!

We have been in school now for a full 7 weeks and it's the time of the year when I wonder what will really happen to my kids by the end of the year. I was feeling pretty good about my kids and their progress, then I did testing on DRA and sight words and that all went to hell in a handbag! Don't get me wrong - I have a ton of kids who are just flying right along, doing absolutely awesome on everything. Then there are the ones that I look at and go, "Seriously?!?!?!?!?"

And there are many reasons why I say that. Some of my favorite are as follows.

- One of my students' birthdays in Dec. 2, 2004. Yep, she is still 5 and will be 5 for 2 more months. She is the most immature student I have ever had. She writes like my 4 year old, her speech is worse than my 4 year old (and my daughter is in speech) and she can't listen for crap. Seriously? You put her in Kinder when she was barely 4 1/2? Oh yeah, mom didn't want to pay for preschool, though she could have put her in for free, but she didn't want to home visit. I think it's just an easier way for the parent to not have to be responsible!

-I send a book folder home each night. In it are the 2 books we have read during reading group time. All the kids have to do is read the books to an adult, have them sign the sheet that is on the front and bring it back the next day. I explained this at back to school night, but not everyone can bother to show up for that. I have about 6 kids who don't read at night/return it on time/have it signed/even know where to begin to look for it. It's not rocket science people! Seriously?!?!?!? It's too hard for you to spend 10 minutes reading with your child?

- I have several kids who are not getting free lunch anymore because the parents didn't bother to fill out and return the lunch form. And then they don't send them with money, so they get "salad bar". The salad bar is a pitiful table of crap. Today they had cinnamon apples, so it wasn't all bad, but I don't eat it! The school made several calls home to the parents telling them the deadline was coming up to get the forms in. But it was too hard for the parents to fill in their income and names, I guess. And these are the first parents to complain that their child isn't getting lunch. Seriously?!?!? Fill out the fricken paper so you can keep living off the government! Is that so hard? Oh, yeah, you would have to read in your native language...I guess that is asking too much!

- Many kids coming in to 1st grade are so immature. I have one who cries every time I ask him a question. Even a simple one! He cried yesterday when I asked him to read me his sentence and then told him he wasn't supposed to write the word "Where", but he had to think of a place that his sentence was happening. Tears. Then during math I asked him what 0+7 was about 10 times, showed him the answer, told him the answer and asked him what it was and he just cried. And again, I will be the one who gets yelled at by the parent for making their kid cry. Seriously?!?!? Tell him to grow up and realize that this is school. He has to learn, not just sit and stare into outer space. Oh yeah, he will be 6 at the end of October!

- Yesterday, the temp was 113 at my school, hotter on the blacktop. Please tell me why parents insist on dressing their kids in jeans, a long sleeve shirt and a t-shirt over it? I wore shorts and a sleeveless shirt! I'm not crazy. I know hot when I hear hot. And then the parents wonder why their child goes home not feeling well. Seriously?!?!?!?! Do you know watch the news? Or wonder what it's gonna be like at 1pm when it's 87 at 9am?

- Why are parents OK with their child not being successful? Why is it OK to some that their child fails all their tests and it's not a big deal? Why is it OK for them not to do their work and the parents are OK with that? And we wonder why kids in society are so complacent and think that it's OK for them to be lazy bums. Seriously? Why has that been allowed?

And, with all students who don't take responsibility for their actions, parents who don't give a rats ass and administrators who are clueless, it's the teachers who get shit on by the administration for not doing their job. Seriously?!?!?! I work my butt off during the day and come home trying to figure out how to motivate the unmotivated and mature the immature and I am exhausted at the end of the night. Seriously?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?

9.27.2010

Word Wall

I have a word wall up in my room. I have had one for a good 10 years, probably more. It has changed over time from the beginning til now, but I always had some sort of word wall.

I love my word wall I have used for the last few years. It is bright and cheerful, plus super useful. I haven't had it up for long, as we have been waiting for the fire marshall to come and they haven't blessed us with their presence. And they have new guidelines which are not kind to a classroom setting.

Anyway, I love my word wall. I read somewhere once to make the words different colors. So, I did. And I love how it works. Within each letter, the words are on different colored paper. So, if a kid asks me how to spell a word that is on the word wall, I ask them what it starts with, then I tell them to go find the "______" card under that letter. They have to find the word by looking at the beginning letter and then finding in on the color. Eventually, they will learn how to spell it. And eventually may be the end of the year, but they learn how to spell it.

My kids are just starting to use it for writing and some run over there all the time. One year I had kids who were up and down all day with writing, but they had some of the best writing from first graders I have seen. I'm not the greatest at putting the words up in a timely manner, so I need to get better at it. And if the fire marshall tells me I have to take it down, I may just cry!

9.26.2010

My New Favorite Show

I watch TV. More than I should. But it's our only real thing we spend money on, beside my 4 year old! I was so happy that this last week was the premiere week for all the shows. I have my shows that I will always watch til they cancel them (Grey's Anatomy and all it's drama, Law & Order SVU and it's Christopher Meloni - yum!, Big Bang Theory and it's hilarity!)and then I have the new shows that I will give a chance to til they suck. On Monday, I watched Mike and Molly on CBS. Oh my goodness! I love this show. Mike is a cop and Molly is a 4th grade teacher. It's totally not reality (the way she talkes to the class), but I laughed the entire time. I am making sure my DVR is set to record it every Monday night. No football for me.


On a side note, tonight is the premiere of "Sister Wives" on TLC. I will definately have it DVRing. Yes, I make up my own words, too! I am fascinated by polygamy, simply from the mind set of how can someone be comfortable with having their hubby have more than one wife at a time? I don't like the fact that my hubby has ex-girlfriends! There is no way he could ever have another wife! I love the show Big Love on HBO and can't wait for it to return in January. And, I watched the Lifetime movie "The 19th Wife" last week. Very interesting. To me, it's kinda like an accident scence, you don't want to see it, but you can't look away!

Weeks in Review 6 and 7

Week 6:
For our author study, we read some of the bear books by Frank Asch. I like it because they are pretty easy and quick to read and the kids don't get bored with them yet. I tried to do a directed drawing with my kids, but their drawing abilities suck. That's the easiest way to put it. They just plain suck. They have no concept of art. And I blame it on the kinder standards being so high now. The teachers teach reading and math and leave out the art part. So, I threw the drawings away. They looked nothing like a bear. I was sad.

In math, we were starting a unit on addition. With our math, they teach the students to find the different number combinations for 6, 7, 8, and 9. The kids got it when we did it together and used manipulatives, so I thought of a neat project for them. I gave each table a number (6-9) and they were to put shape pieces on the different sides of the paper to show the number. Again, a big time FAIL! I had 8 kids who could do it. I was not having a good day that day! Glad it was done when Friday afternoon came around!

In social studies, we were talking about communities. We "built" a community with cereal boxes and paper houses. It turned out OK, but not as fabulous as it was in my head. But, that goes back to their lack of artistic abilites.



Week 7:
This last week was weird. I was out for a day and a half. One half day was for a waste-of-time-meeting at the DO, while the other day I was out with my daughter who was sick. Plus, we had a bus evacuation drill, a PTA fundraiser assembly. a lockdown drill. It was a barrel of fun this week. I didn't cover my reading very well this week, but I had a lot of 100%'s on my spelling test, which gave me hope. My tests are a bit more than just "write the word" so the kids have to really know what their words! Oh yeah, I had to assess all kids on their DRA levels and sight words since we had to send out progress reports on Friday. Most of the kids are moving at a good pace, but there are those who are snails! And it drives me crazy!

We were studying short e this week, so I read a bunch of books about the Little Red Hen and other hen stories. We compared the 2 Little Red Hen's and talked about how they were fiction stories and what that meant. Then we made a hen on Friday (I have a really cute hen with a 3-D wing!) and wrote about it.




On Friday, we did a "Johnny Appleseed" day. We read about him, did a sequence page and made a stand-up Johnny. Then in the afternoon, we tasted apples, graphed our favorite apple and then made apple prints. I hate the smell of tempera paint, so I really hope my room doesn't smell tomorrow morning! My apple prints didn't turn out too good, since I forgot a real knife at home and had to use a plastic knife. But, the kids had fun and that's all that matters!




For math, we continued on addition. They haven't even gotten to adding real numbers yet, but it's all the pre-addition stuff. I again had a lot of 100's on the test, so I am hoping this week when we actually do addition, they can handle it!

Weather and a full moon

We have had some crazy weather here. And when I say crazy, I don't mean tons of rain, or wind or storms. I just mean the good old fashion southern CA weather we all know and loathe here.

Last week, we started Monday at about 90 or so, on Tuesday we were 80, on Wednesday we were 70, on Thursday we were 85 and on Friday it was 100. As the weather changes, so do the kids. They act out a little more, get a bit crazier with each change. And, to make matters worse, this weekend and beginning of next week will be insane! It was 107 here yesterday, today will be between 108 - 110, Monday will be about 115, Tuesday will be about 108 and then we are supposed to be back in the 90's which means 99. And, this means no recess for at leastlunch and afternoon recess, possibly even morning recess. UGH! Then they say we may have some "monsoonal moisture" towards the end of the week. That means we can get clouds, freaky winds, thunder and lightning (which is something we rarely get) and the possibility of rain. Chances are, if we get a storm, we will get wind and lightning which will start fires and move them along, but no rain. Oh, the joys of living in So Cal in the "fall".

And, to top off the week, there was a full moon, which makes the kids even crazier. I don't know why, but it does. My kids were still pretty good this week, but there was a buzz all over school. Kids just couldn't shut up to save their lives. It was weird. So now, we will have another crazy week. Yippee!

9.22.2010

Minimum Days

We have minimum days once a week. That was the decision made by the geniuses at the district office. No one wanted them, but we didn't have a choice. It was sneaked into the contract ratification when we voted to take the furlough days and save jobs. They were sneaky little you-know-whats! In their thinking, this would be the time for us to have meetings, have meetings and possibly have meetings. But, in our contract, it says that minimum days are our time, since we are already putting in the minutes the other days.

I don't really like minimum days, except for the fact that I am home before 4:00. The kids leave at 2, which gives me time to work in my room on whatever needs to be done. Today is was grading papers and working on progress reports. I got a lot done and still left at 3:15 to pick up my daughter from preschool. I was home before 3:45. Just enough time to relax before we head off to soccer!

Since minimum days are on Wednesdays, it cuts the week in half. I have Monday and Tuesday afternoons to get my science or social studies in, but no time on Wednesdays. On Thursdays, the grade level goes to Peaceful Playgrounds while we "collaborate". That's just a fancy word for sitting around talking about nothing important. We need to collaborate, but we still have the 2 teachers who won't talk to each other! Then we have Friday, which the principal would like to see us to "Preferred Activity Time". Somedays it's a welcome time, but I have too much I need to get done. We work instead of play. Good times!

I wish we had the time on minimum days with the kids and make the days just a few minutes shorter. It would make it easier for all involved, especially me! But, I have a year to do the minimum days til we see what lovely curveball the district throws at us next year!

9.21.2010

Planning at 3am

Last night, my daughter got sick at 1:30am. Not what I like being woken up to in the middle of the night, but I am the mommy, so that's my job. Once we (I woke up the hubs to make him help me!) got her all cleaned up and settled into our bed, I was ready to go back to sleep, but my mind started thinking about plans. I don't have plans written out for "emergency" situations, as I get up, even when I am sick, and make plans. I have everything laid out for the day at work, so it's just a matter of getting it written out so a monkey can teach the class.

I laid in bed last night and planned the day. And I did it again. And again. Finally I fell asleep at about 4:30, just to be woken up at 5:30 by the alarm. So I got up, typed up my plans and took them into work at 7. School starts at 9, so there was plenty of time to be there without having to put on makeup. Or shower even. I will get to that later today when I feel like it. Now I just want to curl up on the couch, turn on a mindless TV show and take a nap. Too bad my daughter is full of energy and is rip roaring to go. She was mad she wasn't able to go to preschool today and told us she is all better now. I hope so. I am especially hope that neither the hubs nor I get it! It's not pretty when we are all sick! Ugh!

Here's to a day of relaxing and being lazy. And making it to the stores before 4pm! What a thought!

9.20.2010

District meetings

Today I had a meeting at the DO to help make a pacing guide for Language Arts. It's really a joke, but they needed someone from each site, and no one else volunteered, so I was the idiot that went. We were supposed to be looking at the language arts standards and deciding when they needed to be taught through the year. The benchmark tests at each trimester are on certain standards. Some standards are never tested, as they are too hard to test on a bubble-in test.

Anyway, most people there were too worried about when things appeared in Houghton Mifflin, rather than when they were best to be taught. I think some people dont' teach something until it's in the book. And even then, a lot of things are taught half-assed. People seemed put off by the thought of having to teach things out of context from the book. It pisses me off that they put so much into the text, rather than into thinking.

But we are done for the year, so hopefully it will all be over and I won't have to go to to anymore meetings! I came home with a headache and have papers waiting for me at school. Grrrrr!

9.19.2010

Class Size

I am amazed as I read through blogs the sizes of classes throughout the country. I am amazed at the numbers people think are "too high" to deal with on a daily basis! I have only taught in CA in the same district, so I only know what CA has. In our district, we used to be capped at 20 kids in K-3 and 33 in 4-5. The upper grades were somewhere around 35 or so. Now, with the economy crapped out, we have changed the numbers a bit. In my district, K-3 can go to 24, 4-5 can be at 33 or 34 and the upper grades can be at 38. I have 21 kids, started with 22 and am OK with going to 24. I just wish they were all here now! I know in some districts, they went all the way to 33 in K-3 to save money and cut jobs. We haven't done that. Yet.

I am shocked when I see people have 15 or 16 kids. I would be in heaven. I could get so much done. I wouldn't be cramming in stuff into my day at Mach 4. Or upper grades with 25 kids. I think our teachers would move for that! I read a blog where a teacher had 21 kids and said it was too hard. This is my daily life. And I am asking for more!

I hear a lot of people putting down education in CA, but from the looks of it, we are dealing with a lot more than some other states. And I think a lot of teachers are making it work. True, there are a lot that aren't, but for those who are working their butts off, I think we are doing a pretty good job with 22, 24, 33 kids in our classes!

Intervention

At the school I am at, we do a daily intervention with the kids. Each grade level has a time slot. The kids are all moved around, depending on their levels. For our first grade, we have 3 classes for ELD and the other 4 classes are for the English speakers. They are broken down into the lows, the highs, and 2 grouops of mediums who are the same level. This is done so the 2 teachers who don't get along don't have to share their kids. It's pretty freakin' ridiculous if you ask me, but no one did, so I guess it doesn't matter.

Anway, we switch every day after our first recess. Kids go all over. I take the lows. I have always taken the lows when I have the chance. I love it. But this year I am questioning my abilities. Our lows are so low. Some really should have never come out of Kindergarten. They probably should never have been in Kindergarten last year to begin with, but again, no one asked me. And to top it off, one of the teachers got a new boy last week who is the son of the devil. He is a mean, evil kid. And he is the lowest in the group and the oldest and he gives the meanest looks and kicks like a son of a gun. Yeah, I have been kicked by him. Yay. I enjoyed my time, until he came along. He makes me hate this time. But he may be moving already. I am hoping, praying he moves. I will go help his family pack. And I only have him for 30 minutes! Glad I don't him all day long!

When we do the swtiching, I only have the English speaking kids. It pains me because some of my lowest kids are EL's and they are working on the ELD program, not on reading, which is what they so desperatly need. This is a big reason why I don't like the switching is because the EL's don't get the same help as the EO's and they need it the same, if not more. But, this is CA and we are required by law to teach 30 minutes of ELD to the kids. I wish the parents would realize what their child is missing and try to change the law, but they won't. These are the parents who won't talk for fear of being found out that they are here illegally and sent back to Mexico. These are some of the parents who feel that it's our job to teach their children and that they can't do it because they don't speak the language. Well, I do what I can, but it is your responsibility, too! Luckily, some parents know that, but not enough.

I get frustrated with the "focus time" as it's called because I have 30 minutes to try to get something into the kids. And one of the teachers who doesn't really want to join in with the grade level puts too much into the focus time and thinks that this is the make or break for her kids. I have them for 30 minutes, you have them for the rest of the day. Um, I can only do so much! But I still feel that responsibility to hopefully get them to learn something. And it;s worse with my own kids who are in there. I feel that they are getting double the help, so why aren't they moving along better?

But I know the answers, really. Lack of parental help, immaturity, and it's the beginning of the year. Some kids still aren't ready for the full day of school. So, I will continue to bust my butt in and out of focus group and hope for the best!

9.18.2010

Time

Or lack of, really. I don't seem to have enough time in the day to get everything done that needs to get done. I have always thought I was pretty good at time mangement, but I guess I was wrong. As I sit here on the computer "wasting time", I have been thinking about all the things I don't have time to do during the day!
At School:
- get all my reading groups done
- get to all my kids on writing
- work one on one with my low kids
- sit and rest and recess
- grade my papers at lunch and eat my lunch without getting heartburn
- spend time with my kids having fun
- getting to do sciene and social studies in the same month
- organizing things at the end of the day
- grading papers before I go home

At Home:
- doing laundry on days other than the weekend
- cleaning the disasters left by hubs and my daughter
- sleeping
- reading for fun
- spending an afternoon playing with my daughter :(
- watching the news - I really hope the world doesn't end - I won't know about it!
- working in my flowerbeds - the weeds are horrible right now!
- spending quality time doing nothing!

I know there are many more things I don't have time for, but this is the big list. I feel horrible when my daughter asks me to do something and I am in the middle of making dinner or cleaning the kitchen. I could stop, but then I get all hyper and it just doesn't make for a happy mommy!

If there were just a few more hours in the day away from work, it would be great. But then I think I would like a few more hours with my kids (most of the time) to get all the stuff in that they need! And, as my daughter gets older, it seems time is going faster! I can't imagine what it will be like when she is 15! The days will fly right by!

But, it's now time for me to go and spend time with my daughter while cleaning her areas of crap!

9.14.2010

Weeks in Review 4 and 5

It has been a crazy few weeks here. I haven't gotten into the swing of things with the new times. Add to that being sick and it makes for long weeks! Here is a brief rundown of the last 2 weeks (not counting this week!)

For our author study, we were reading books by Kevin Henkes. I liked the mouse books the best. I had never read his books before, but I really like them. I liked Chrysanthemum the best, but I think it's because of the story! He also has a book called Jessica that I liked. It's about a little girl who has an imaginary friend. It reminds me of my daughter who has "A baby horse and 2 baby bunnies". Yes, they are imaginary! To culminate our author study, we did a directed drawing of Chrysanthemum. Not the best, but not the worst!





For math, we were working on patterns. It was a very simple unit. I don't know why the publisher spread it out over 5 lessons. My kids got it after 1. Anyway, as the culminating activity, we did a pattern project. It was interesting to see who could do it and who had no clue, even after I did it for them!






A week or so ago, we played with Oobleck. It was a super hot day (about 105), so it dried a lot faster than it should have. It was a big mess, but the kids loved it!



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We have been studying a bit about communities. Nothing too exciting. We were talking baout places in a community. The kids got caught up in naming restaurants. After going thru all the fast food places in the area, one said "Subway". And without missing a beat, healf the class goes "Eat fresh." I laughed for about 5 minutes. The power of marketing. And all to 6 year olds!

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Sickness is going around my room like mad. I have had one out for 3 days, one out for 2 days with a rash-thingy and another one home throwing up. One was a t the dr. for allergies/cold and there has been a lot of coughing and sneezing going on. If Mother Nature would be nice, we might not all be sick. But, it's gone from 110 to 70 to 80 to 95 in about a weeks time. Too many different temps. Bring on 85 for the year and I will be a happy camper!

9.13.2010

I {heart} my kids

I have seen a lot of posts lately about how bad some of the classes are and how classroom management seems to be taking forever. Maybe it's because a lot of schools didn't start til last week. But, I've gotta say, I love my kids. They are all pretty good. I do have a couple that will drive anyone batty, but overall, they are good. They do what I say, work hard and like to have fun. They are way better than my class from last year. I think last years' group of kids will be "that class" every year. They aren't low, but they are naughty kids. My kids this year can walk in a straight line, do work at their desks without talking or hitting or writing on someone's paper. They are nice to each other and are learning to be polite all the time. It's an amazing feeling to have such a good class. I hope they continue like this all year. Now, they aren't high achievers overall, but they make up for it in their spirit! Ahhhh...love! It's a wonderful thing!

9.11.2010

Sharing is caring

But not when it comes to germs! Everyone at work has been sick, my students have been sick and my daughter has been sick. It was inevitable that I would get sick. And I did. And it sucks! And it feels like it will never go away. It's "just" a cold, but, damn, I hate it when it impacts my sinuses so much. Sleep is not a pleasant task then, unless some Tylenol PM is thrown in for good measure (good sleep 2 nights in a row!).

I started to get sick Tuesday night. I felt great all day, came home earlier than normal and actually worked outside on my garden area (one of my many) that had been neglected with the heat and the start of school. I got a lot accomplished, felt so good, and then came in to make dinner. By the time the dishes were done, I had a sore throat and I could feel the sinus pressure. Great. By Wednesday morning, I was sick. Came home early (thank you minimum day that we don't have to stay for) and took a nap, went to soccer practice, had dinner and went back to bed. Thursday -felt like complete crap! My principal asked my why I was at work and not at home. It's easier to be at work than have to plan for someone else to be there for me! Came home Thursday and laid on the couch til I went to bed. Felt good on Friday, still sinus pain, but not too bad. Why the nights make it worse, I don't know. Woke up today and feel rested, but still congested. I hope it gets better by Monday! I need my energy back!

I just realized I didn't share my week in review for last week. I will combine the last 2 weeks later. Nothing too exciting. But there are pics for some things! Now I am off to wake up my daughter for soccer so it can be done and over with for the day. Think I'll come home and take it easy the rest of the day, maybe lay in bed all day and watch movies. Sounds good to me. Oh yeah, and do the laundry in between times, too! Happy Saturday!

9.07.2010

Dear Parent

Dear Parent,

Please don't get mad at me when I try to talk to you about your child. I am only trying to help them be the best that they can be. I am terribly sorry that you can not read or write and refuse to help your child at home. And, I am sorry that you feel that your child is not capable of doing the work in first grade, but they are are. I wish you would have a little more faith in your child and praise their accomplishments rather than dwell on what they can't do. They know they are not the same level as the others, but they are working hard at school. They know when they get home that you are not going to make them work and that if they cry and whine, you will give in and tell them that they can't do the work and they will learn that if the cry enough, they don't have to do anything. Fortunately, they are in my class and are learning that life sucks when you don't do your work and crying gets you absolutely nowhere. Please go home and help your child learn their spelling words and maybe, just maybe, you can learn a little something, too! You have a big advantage from most parents in the class - you speak English. Put it to good use and learn along with your children. Pretty soon, they will be higher educated than you, but you will be too busy squashing their hopes and dreams! Instead, try helping them realize what they can do and teach them to reach for the stars!

Thank you,
Your child' teacher!
---------------------------------

This sums up the meeting I had with a parent this afternoon. She feels her child should be in special ed since she can't do the work. The child is super young, should never have been in Kinder last year (her b'day is the cut-off in December) and is very immature. I work with her as much as I can to help her come along, but when she goes home, she's told she can't do it. She's got her parents wrapped around her finger, so they don't make her work. It breaks my heart when parents do that to their children.

On the other hand, some of my kids are kicking ass! They are doing so well on their reading! I love it when I see huge growth at the beginning of the year. It reassures me that what I am doing is working. Now to tackle the others in class who are still stagnant! Always fun!!!

9.06.2010

Holiday

I am so grateful today is a holiday. I need the extra to relax, re-wind, rethink my teaching strategies. It's been a heck of a month at school. And I am tired. I am stressed. I have not gotten used to starting later and getting out so much later! Actually, I have gotten used to starting later, it's the getting out at 3:15 that's killing me! I don't leave til after 4, and even then I don't have things done like I would want them. I haven't been able to get my mind around the fact that I can do it in the morning when I get there. It's very frustrating. And that's how I've felt lately - very frustrated! And it sucks!

I'm feeling frustrated with my class. They are a good group of kids and their behavior is good. But they are low. And they don't listen for crap! My high ones, who should get 100% on things (cause it's really easy) aren't because they don't listen! My low ones aren't getting it since I changed my homework and don't make them write their words 3 times each. Note: that will change this week! They will have to write them nightly! Maybe then they will know how to spell "an". My lows have no help at home, and when I work with them in class, they look at me like I have 3 heads. Frustrating! And remember, I taught D-1 for 3 years with all low kids. I actually like having low kids in my class. I don't mind them at all, unlike some of the teachers I work with. It just frustrates me that I feel like I am letting them down after a month of school. I need a new vision.

Today, I think I am just going to do what I can. My floors need to be cleaned, but that can wait til forever. I hate that job. I want to work on my flowers that are near death, thanks to the 110 degree weather. I want to do my lesson plans and make them make sense to me. I want to bake something good and fattening and not healthy, just because I can. I want to enjoy the "last day of summer" while it's in the 80's before we head back to the 100's soon. I never know why they say last day of summer. Honestly, most places don't see fall for awhile anyway! And for those that do, I am jealous, but I am also glad I won't be shoveling snow to get to work in January! Little things! :)

Happy Monday holiday! After this, there is a long span before our next scheduled day off (Veteran's Day). For me, I have a couple days I will need/want to take off, just because I can!

9.04.2010

What a week...

...From you know where! This last week has been pretty sucky! I am glad we have a nice, long weekend to relax, get away from it all and start new next week!

It all started off with our lovely benchmark tests. We give them 4 times a year in reading and math. This fisrt one is on the Kinder standards. I expect a lot of 100's since it's an easy test. You'd be surpriised (or maybe not) to see some of the answers given. And for most, it's cause they didn't bother to listen to what I said! Some of my highest performing kids didn't get 100. And they were pissed. And so was I! But, the tests are done, my kids did better than some of the others, so it was OK. Just threw in a monkey wrench to the week!

Then the week got even better when half my kids didn't finish their work on Tuesday. I guess they had too much work for their small brains who can't work quickly. I don't know, but it really pissed me off! So, I made all the kids who didn't get their work done in class do it during science time. I had made Oobleck and they didn't get to play. I let some of them at the end join in when they were done. I guess I need to rethink the work and what they are to do. I guess really I need to pamper the low ones whose parents don't do shit with them and make sure they can at least write their name on the paper and then show them the menu for McD's and have them start memorizing it now! Yeah, I am pissy about it. I have half my class below grade level and out of that bunch, about 3 really work hard and are making good progress. Parents aren't going to be happy when they start coming in for conferences and find out they have to make goals for their kids! Oh well! Life sucks sometimes people!

Wednesday was the worst day in the world - for a long time anyway! It started off with a lovely morning of me being yelled at by a parent. I mean full on, up one side and down the other screaming at me. For supposedly screaming at her son. For one, I don't scream at my kids. I may talk to them sternly, but I don't scream at them. Two, I don't know where the hell her child got this idea. He was one who didn't get to participate in the science, but I didn't yell at him. But, the mom claimed that he says all I do all day is scream at him (as if I have nothing better to do, like try to teach!) and tell him he can't do it. She said that because he is spanish speaking I need to give him extra help and attention. Um, this is America and he is getting a FREE EDUCATION! He gets as much help as the other 10 EL's in my class which is more than the non spanish speakers get, thank you very much! She said he was scared of me and she wouldn't bring him to school til he was moved out of my class. The principal decided to move him, but not til Friday (I don't know why then!). He came on Thursday, was in class with me all day (and didn't cry or act scared or anything!) and had a great day. They moved him yesterday (and I was the one who had to tell the parent - she was even more pissed with that) and when he went to his new line, he cried and screamed that he wanted to be in his old line. He was trying to run over to us, and was reaching for our line. I felt really bad for him. He was a good boy and I had no trouble with him. I think he took something the wrong way, mom over-reacted and then effed up his school year. The teacher he went to doesn't want him (since he is EL and low) and told me that she was going to work him hard, even if mom didn't like it. This teacher is too hard core for 1st grade, I think, and I think the boy will suffer more. But it's not my problem now, though I feel bad for him, not the mother. She's a bitch!

I'm feeling pretty down about my teaching right now. I've got to find a way to get the kids to realize that we are in school, not play time. I only had 9 kids pass the spelling test with 100% (it's a pretty intense test for 1st grade, but all the words were from the -an family!). I guess I need to change homework back and make them write their words 3 times each - daily. They didn't make me proud! And their math is horrible. I have a long way to go. I guess I have been worried about the higher kids and making sure they are challenged, but there are far less of them than the others. And, the higher kids don't listen for shit and make stupid mistakes. Argh!

But, I am off today for a wild and crazy day of running around Orange and LA Counties. Time for some shopping, visiting my dying Grandma and then visiting some friends for dinner. Oh yeah, it's only supposed to be 110 degrees today at home, which will make it 95 or so in the OC, which is hot for them. They say by Monday it's supposed to cool off again. I hope it does and hope it stays, but I know Cali weather - it will be 100 degrees on halloween! Happy long weekend!