3.31.2011

Spring break thinking - common core standards

I had high hopes of posting every day of spring break, but then yesterday came and went and I didn't have anything to share! Plus, I spent over 2 hours sitting in front of the computer doing homework for my art class. I should be doing it now, but it can wait a bit longer. Almost done with the journaling part, then it's on to the art part, which I need time and quiet to do! As I sat pulling weeds today for what felt like an eternity in the wonderful 93 degree sun, I was thinking about the end of this year and then beginning of next year. I did a lot of thinking...and got a lot of weeds pulled!

Anyway, I got an e-mail on my school account from our math program saying that they go along with the Common Core Standards. I didn't know that was a concern for us, as I have heard nothing about the CCS as they are referred to. So, I decided to look a bit deeper into it. I went to the website for the CCS and saw that California has in fact "adopted" them, but that's about as far as the state has made it. I went to the state website and they said they are working on them and figuring out how to incorporate them with the standards we already have. I bet they will sprung on us one day next year with little warning. Or they will wait til we are out of the budget craphole when they can buy new curriculum and throw it all at us then. WHo knows!

I looked at the standards. I had a little panic attack. Then I thought that it was crap. Pure and utter crap. And here's my little opinion on why. Right now in CA, we have our state standards. Some aren't the greatest and most complex standards, but they work. We have many standards that are the same through the year to make sure that mastery is achieved rather than just glossed over. But in looking at these new standards, I feel we will be shoving information down their children's throats rather than teaching them something substantial. I was looking at the writing standard and that it was really gave me a panicky moment. The CCS want the students to cover all types of writing in first grade. It's hard enough to get some of them to write one type of writing and do it OK, rather than 6 types.

Before I freak out and move to Canada, I will wait and see what happens here. I was remembering my comparative ed class from my master's a few years ago. We looked at the educational systems of other countries. What a shock! America thinks that they are they greatest thing, but when it comes to education, we kinda suck at it. I think as teachers we do the best we can with what we got, but it could be so much better if we were better supported and the children had a good, solid chance at learning the standards, rather than jumping from thing to thing to make sure everything is covered before testing happens. And I think that is sad. The one phrase I remember the instructor using about other countries (I can distinctly remember Japan being mentioned) was "depth, not breadth". In other countries, the students will learn one thing and will learn it forwards and backwards, inside out and upside down. They will know it in their sleep. When they have mastered everything there is to know on the topic, they move on. Why can't we do that? I guess as teachers we do that, but we do it on our own using our own materials and sometime's without following the pacing guide and doing it when we are supposed to be doing it. As an example, our math program (which is CCS approved) has 8 lessons on teaching money. But they assume the kids come into 1st grade knowing the names of the coins and the values of coins. Some of these kids don't have any money to know what it is!!!!! With our program, children are supposed to know how to count coins (pennies through half dollars and combinations of those coins) after 2 weeks. Um, we spent 2 days on pennies alone. I think we spent 4 weeks on money - identifying coins, sorting coins, writing about coins, doing problem solving, counting coins, etc. And we are still going to review EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. til the end of the year.

As it is now, there are things that take some students forever to learn. And that's taking our time on things, making sure it's what they need at their pace and at their level. With the new CCS, I don't know how we are going to be able to do that without throwing information at the kids when they aren't ready. I understand the reasoning behind the standards - everyone doing the same thing across the board - but I just wonder if they will really "work". We can't even have all the teachers in my grade level follow the pacing guides for math; how is it going to work throughout the country? I guess I won't lose too much sleep over the standards until they are in place in my state and are being put to use! Until then, I will follow the CA standards and do what I do!

3.29.2011

Spring Break - Day 2

Today my hubby had surgery. It wasn't a major deal, but surgery nonetheless. He is doing really well, awake, eating like a hungry man and watching all he can on TV. It's as if he didn't have surgery and is just enjoying a lazy day at home. Then there is me. I am exhausted! I was up at 4:30 to take him to the surgery center. Then, I came home to get dressed, make lunch for my daughter and got her off to school, then I had to go to the surgery center (after sitting in traffic for 20 minutes thanks to a fatality about 20 miles down the freeway) and sit and wait there. I got him home, we watched some TV, then he fell asleep and I left to get his meds and do some quick shopping. Came home, made lunch and I crashed! Now I am off to get my daughter from school and then come home and continue something. What? Not sure, but something. I guess this will be my one really lazy day for spring break. Tomorrow is another day and we are finally supposed to be having some spring temps, at least til Saturday. We'll see after that!

3.28.2011

Spring Break - Day 1

It's 8am on Monday morning and I am so glad to not be at work. I will be going in a bit to do a couple things, but it's because I want to be there, not because I have to be there. A lot of teachers were going in today. Actually, a lot were going in for the next 3 days to get some work done sans kids. The school is closed on Thursday and Friday as those are district furlough days. Yesterday I spent cleaning my house. I still have a couple rooms to really clean, but I can do those today or tomorrow. I have laundry that needs to be tackled, too, but again, it can wait. As for today, I think I am going to take my Goodwill donations in, shop a little and maybe hit up the used bookstore for books I don't need but want to read when I have time. I know the new Danielle Steel comes out next week, so I am scrambling to finish the other book I have been reading for a month. Yeah, no time to read sucks. Oh, and I have homework to do for class and turn it in by next Sunday. Good times ahead this week! But for now, I am going to be lazy, play online some more and then get up to start my day. Happy Monday all!

3.27.2011

Sunday morning thoughts

It was so nice the last couple of mornings to be a bit lazy and lay in bed. I can't wait to that for the rest of this week. Spring break is much needed for my mental sanity this time of year! I brought a lot of stuff home to do, but I don't want to look at it just yet. I may go to school tomorrow to do a few things, but then again, I may not. I need to finish up some homework assignements for my classes (I have been neglecting them til spring break) and I need to clean the disaster that is my home. A 4 year old must be similar to a tornado in the damage they can do! I've been doing a lot of thinking lately about things that bug me. It seems that a lot of things bug me about my work, but it's more the people and their attitudes that get to me. * We had elections last week for our union. The president we had was running again as well as one other person. I don't get too involved in the union. Like, not at all. They are very politcal and try to pit us against each other (high school vs. elementary...not pretty). Well, the president we had in there LOST this time around. Only half the teachers voted, so that made him mad. But then, he sent out a very immature e-mail on Friday stating that we obviously didn't think he did a good job and we weren't happy with what the union has done for us. I thought it was very immature and not humble at all. And he turned down being a delgate to whatever it is they go to each year. I mean, come on, really? Are you that egotistical that you think you ARE the union? Whatever. It makes me glad that there will be someone new in there. * I gave a math test on Thursday on money. I have had a group of kids working with the aide EVERY DAY to help them practice. I knew they were struggling and needed extra help. So when it was time for the test, I had the aide take the kids to the table and she was supposed to lay the coins on the table and let them count them. Well, lo and behold, they all got 100%. She gave them the answers! She counted out the coins for them. WTH?????? It's a test! I could have died. She said they all did so well. I would pass too if someone gave me the answers! So, I gave that group the test again and only 2 passed. The others failed it, which is what I would have expected. It doesn't make me happy that they failed, but it shows what they know more than getting 100% on the test. * So after the test fiasco, I started thinking about the aides we have at school that work in the classroom. I have one aide a day for 2 30 minute blocks of time. She isn't the best (obviously) but it's another body in the room. But I'm beginning to think it's not all it's cracked up to be. Anyway, the aides we have aren't the best. We have one who has a very thick accent and can't work with the kids on reading. She can't pronounce the words correctly and will teach them the words wrong. I still have one who thinks "was" has a short a sound. This aide argues with a teacher about the word library. She says "liberry" and told the teacher she was wrong. Seriously? This is who we have working with our kids! Overall, the aides aren't great. I guess it's hard to expect greatness for 3 hours a day of work, but still. It seems to me that having another body in the room isn't always what it's cracked up to be. And many of the aides have nothing nice to say to about the students and complain about what it is they are supposed to do in the classroom. We can't use them for making copies or doing busy work of that nature, so they have to work with children. It's sad that they don't want to and end up dreading coming to work. How can we change that? * We will have 8 weeks of school left when we go back. I am ready for the year to be over. And I feel sad about it. I have a really good class this year. But the couple of kids I have who don't care has taken its toll on me. I have always had a hard time getting the parents to come in and talk to me, and it's worse than ever before. I have asked one parent multiple times to come in and given her times, then she doesn't show. She won't schedule a time, she tells me to do it, and when I do, no show. Um hello? This is for your daughter!?!?!?!!? The others will come in, talk a good game and then go home and do nothing they have said they were going to do to help. One of my kids' parents has put them in the after school program so they don't have to help them with their homework anymore. In the 3 weeks that the child has been going, I have no homework turned in, the behavior has gotten worse and the child is regressing instead of maintaining. So, it's my turn again to talk to the parent about being a parent rather than sitting on her butt at home til 6. Fun times. I am just done with the BS from parents who don't care, but will blame the teacher and the school. * I have already started planning bits and pieces for next year. I have lots of ideas thanks to the many blogs I read, but I am struggling to find time. It's been a problem for me since I have been at my school. The schedule for intervention throws off the whole day for me and I find it hard to get things done that I need to get done. This year is worse since we have 2 afternoons that are taken away from us (collaboration one day and minimum day the next). I am struggling to get my science and social studies done in a timely manner. The prinicpal has said that is the time we are to do it, so I do it then, but it's become very choppy. Maybe it's just because I have been on the same unit for so long and I am done, but I have 2 more weeks til it's all over. * Well, I am going to stop complaining for now and get on to my spring cleaning. First up in my daughter's room and her playroom. She won't be a happy camper having to help me today, but I try to remind her that I didn't make the mess, so she has to help. Happy Sunday! Hopefully it'll start feeling more like spring for my spring break rather than winter. They say no more rain after today and maybe 90's by Thursday!

3.25.2011

TGI Spring Break

It's Friday. It's now officially spring break. I am so happy I could scream. A few days away from school, time to sleep in, organize my chaotic house and spend some time with my hubby and baby. As for tonight, I am going to sit on the couch, watch a movie that the hubby picked up at Redbox and fall asleep on the couch. Tomorrow we are off to Orange County for the swap meet (they call it the Marketplace) for some fresh fruit and veggies and a quick trip to IKEA. Now, it's to the couch for a rest, or in mommy-speak, a quick nap! Happy Friday all!

3.23.2011

Cleaning out the clutter

Today was minimum day. I wish I could be more excited about them, but I can't. We get out a little more than an hour early, but we put the time in the rest of the week by staying later. I had planned to come home early today to beat the next storm that is barreling in, but it didn't barrel as fast, so it was still sunny at 3! Instead, I was trying to clean a bit and organize. I like to be super organized, but right now I feel it's absolute chaos. I have piles and piles and piles going on. Not making me happy!

With next week being spring break, I spent part of the time today getting my stuff ready for when we come back. I still have some work to do, but nothing that won't get done by Friday morning. My bookcase of my teacher books is a nightmare. I need to really clean, organize and re-do how I have it set up. I started today. I went through all my teacher resource books and pulled out the books I don't use. I kept asking myself what I thinking when I bought it. Half the books are basically brand new with no markings and I don't think I have opened them up since I got them. The other half are well used books that I have made many a copy of and have them filed from here to eternity. I don't need them collecting dust on the shelf anymore. It's a good feeling to have some room, but here's the question...What do I do with them all? I am too cheap to just give them away or put them on the freebie table since I did spend a pretty penny on them. I have tried craigslit and half.com, but not much luck. For craigslist, there aren't too many teachers buying stuff and there aren't too many new teachers period. So, what to do? I will sit and list them on half tonight, just for fun, but they will probably end up collecting dust sitting here in my home office waiting to be used. Any suggestions?

I have debated about whether or not to go in to school on spring break. It would be nice to use the time to get some things cleaned and organized, but I also want time away. I thought we would have time after school is done for the year, but I guess we are hosting summer school and then superintendent is requiring that all schools turn in all keys. I guess they don't want us to have access to the school over the summer at all. Talk about panic attack. I think I went in twice only this last summer and it was to either drop something off or pick something up, not work. Hmmmmm, decisions, decisions!

Time to work on cleaning the clutter of my house. It's a complete and utter disaster. Thanks to all the rain, I have mud cakes everywhere thanks to the hubby and my 3 dogs. While others are praying for spring showers, I am hoping for summer sun and warmth. I don't care for mud which is all we got right now!

Happy Wednesday!

3.22.2011

I wish...

With today being Tuesday, it was our day to "collaborate". I will use that word loosely, as we don't really collaborate much. It's more of "let me talk about how fabulous I am even though I know not all my kids are doing well and remind you of how bad you are doing" time. It makes for a not fun day. The day is fine, it's just that 45 minutes of crap at the end of the day that we have to deal with.

After the incident a couple of weeks ago with the loud mouth teacher (who fits in the quote perfectly above!), I seriously thought about moving to 2nd grade next year. I am pretty sure there would be an opening, but I might have to do a 1/2 combo, and that is not on my list of fun things to do again. I look at how the others grade levels communicate, and dare I say, collaborate and I am jealous. I want what they have. I want more than what we have as a grade level, but I know we won't get there.

As I was walking through Target this afternoon (has anyone else noticed that the prices now are freaking outrageous????), I was thinking about my school/grade level and came up with a wish list. I'm sure my daughter didn't like me ignoring her, but I was lost in thought looking for decent prices on turkey (it doesn't exist @ Target!). So, here's my list.

I wish...

....we could collaborate as a real team. Really talk about what we are supposed to so we can help our kids the best we can.
...share ideas. Again, my ideas are fine, but I'm sure someone has a better idea, but we won't know since 3 of the 5 team members don't give out any ideas whatsoever. Stingy!
...share frustrations without being judged. Unfortunately, it's part of the territory, but I don't cheat on my tests to inflate my scores, but that doesn't mean I suck as a teacher. I just do things the right way and prove that my class fits the bell curve exactly.
...we could stop rolling our eyes when other people talk. I mean, come on! Are we really back in high school?
...we didn't smash other ideas because they don't fit into your ideal plan on spending the least amount of time with your children.
...we didn't smash other ideas because you think you are the greatest thing in the world and can't spare a minute away from your kids to meet with us and then bad-mouth us to others for not caring.
...we valued each others opinions when shared. I am guilty of this, too, but I am trying harder. I am trying to be more open minded and it's hard, but I am trying.
...my principal saw that others were full of poo and will say what she wants to hear and then do something different.
...it was May 27 and the last day of school. I am done.

I'm sure there is more to add to the list, but my mind is fried. I am ready for a break, even if it's just a week, and ready to relax and work at home and do stuff for me. 42 more days and I will be enjoying my summer break watching the flowers grow, reading some books and having a drink or 2 in the middle of the day!

Exhaustion

4 more days til spring break. I don't know if I can make it. I am utterly exhausted. It happens every time before a vacation I can't function the week before out of tiredness. I think it's the anticipation of the time off, the excitement of not having to get up when it's dark, and getting to be home with the family for a whole week! I can't wait!

This morning I feel much better than yesterday. Yesterday was cold, rainy and crappy. I was cold, tired and crappy. Not a good combo. I didn't want to be at work, didn't like being at work and wasn't in the mood for teaching much. Not a pretty day at all. It was all put in motion by looking at my spelling tests from Friday. My students who I have been working with really hard bombed the test. Like had no clue there were words on the test. And one poor girl just scribbled. Little circles on the paper for words. She can make the letters, but when she doesn't know, it's circles. I need to have an SST on her, but the coordinator is tired of SST's and is waiting til May. That's dandy. I put her on the list in January and am waiting til May. I know deep down something isn't right with this student, but beyond that, I don't know.

While my calendar says it's spring, outside is a different story. We had over 2 inches of rain since Sunday. For some it may not seem like a lot, but in So Cal, it's sometimes what we get in a whole year. And it's not done. It's supposed to rain til Friday, on and off. Makes for a fun day if being cooped up in a classroom. But, I guess we shouldn't complain. Summer will be here before we know it and it will be hot, hot, hot!

Happy Tuesday...wishing it was Friday!

3.20.2011

Back to reality again

Well, my weekend of fun is over. I am sitting down contemplating doing lesson plans. I haven't made it very far, though! We got home, I threw in a load of laundry, jumped in a nice, not hotel shower and then proceeded to fall asleep. When I woke up, it was after 4. Laundry isn't any further, but I did get something accomplished.

This is the last week of school until our one short week of spring break. I am ready for it. I am really tired, ready for a rest. I will still have to get up to take my daughter to school a couple days out of the week, but I may taker her out for fun, too. Who knows. I'm just going to play it by ear and see what happens.

I took some pics of St. Patty's day stuff, but I'm not worrying about posting them. There wasn't anything fabulous, so I will just file them under the stuff we did.

Well, time to do something else before I crash for the night. Here's to a nice, quick week before break!

Johnny Appleseed for Houghton Mifflin

I just threw this together for tomorrow. I am in recovery mode from Vegas...a little tired and ready for bed. Top that off with horribly windy weather that has been threatening to rain all day and won't...not good for the sinuses! Now on to planning for the week!

Johnny Appleseed here

3.17.2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Wow! Where has the week gone? I have been so frantic about these sub days and going out of town that there hasn't been time to sit and veg on the computer. I had taken pics of 2 of our projects for St. Patty's Day, but then left the camera at school, right where it belongs. Today will be low key for us. We will do our lucky charms graph and then eat the cereal while finishing the other math pages to go with it. The kids will love it and so will I...a few minutes of fun and relaxation while they work!

It has been a week. I still am leaving myself at a distance from the teacher who I am still a bit pissed at. She's just so loud and annoying and I am done with her. 3 years is long enough. I even contemplated moving to 2nd grade since there will be an opening, but I love 1st too much. And I don't like change, so...looks like I will be there in 1st for a bit longer! I ate in my room on Monday and Tuesday - that sucked. I hate eating in my dirty room, but it's the only place to go to escape her. Yesterday we had "training" and I use that word loosely. It was a mess. What originally started out as a whole day training turned into a half day training for me and the loud one, and was a whole day training for the teacher who has already been through the training and for another teacher. I got to walk into the training mid way with no clue as to what was going on. I wasn't happy (and I did go in with a bad attitude!) but I watched what the teacher did and listened and tried to be a good student. The teachniques she was showing us are things we already do, but it just seemed like it was on a bigger, grander scale. DO we have time for that? No, but those who are trained know how to fit it in, rather than those of us who haven't been allowed to go (to the 6 day training) and get to see something for about 2 hours (mine was less than 2 hours). I'll read through the information (eventually when I am bored) and go from there.

Well, time to get ready to go to work. Today's my Friday and then I am off to Vegas tonight for a wedding. Looking forward to some R&R and not being home.

Have a great day!

Happy St. Patrick

3.14.2011

Just another manic Monday

I am channeling my inner Bangles there for today! Sometimes I really miss the 80s! Anyway, today was a crazy Monday. I have morning playground duty, which just throws the whole day off. But, I only have 4 duty weeks left out of 10 weeks of school, so I can live with that! I also realized about 5 minutes before lunch was over that I forogt to copy math homework. Then I forgot to copy homework for my kids on modified work, so that was another trip to the office. Holy cow...I used the copy machine like mad today, with all the things I forgot to do. But, I am caught up. For today.

I am starting to get into panic mode about my life at school and home. I have a sub on Wednesday and Friday and haven't even thought about sub plans. I was going to work on them tomorrow during our cancelled collaboration time, but I have a parent conference that will more than likely go south very quickly (please pray for us...this "parent" can go crazy very quickly!). There goes lesson planning. And I have tutoring at lunch and a million other things to do. Oh, and I have collaboration on Wednesday after school, so there goes my planning time and any other time I have to work in my room. And on Thursday I have to be prepared to leave the state by 3:45! AAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH! But I hope to relax a bit while gone!

As for my house, it looks like a tornado hit it. That's what happens when you spend all day outside on the weekends working rather than cleaning the inside. I think when I get my raise next year I am going to hire someone to clean for me. I hate it, don't do a fabulous job and really don't care. Maybe someone else will care for me!

Well, to continue my manic night, I am going to start folding the 18 loads of laundry, finish the rest and maybe get some homework done. I have 3 weeks to get it all done, turned in and signed up for 2 more classes. YIKES!!!!

Calgon, take me away!

3.13.2011

Houghton Mifflin unit - Butterfly

I changed my mind this week and decided to continue with my regular program rather than supplement for a week and extend the other unit. With St. Patrick's Day this week, 2 days out of class and such, it was much easier to just keep going with the flow.

I don't know if my kids like these packets, but some are always so excited to do them. I will keep doing them til the end of the year and then over the summer I plan to start doing them for all the other unit at the beginning of the year.

Please let me know if you use it, what you think, etc. I want feedback please! :)

Butterfly unit download here

Random thoughts on a Sunday

* So it is just me or does losing an hour of sleep make you feel like a slug, too? I woke up today at 7:30, which was really like 6:30. But I was awake from 1:30 til about 4 (factor in the time change and all) and had my daughter in bed with me since she had a bad dream. Talk about a bed hog! I think I need to NOT watch the news today at all and just live in my own little reality. It's not as scary as the real reality.

* All I can think of now is an earthquake happening. For those of you who have never experienced one, they are scary as all hell! Especially when they are big. They are loud, everything moves and you don't know when they will stop. Not my idea of fun at all. Luckily, ours are normally short bursts of movement. I think I would die of a heart attack if we had a 5 minute earthquake. Completely unfathomable for me. Scary S*%T!

* After posting last night about the crazy teachers I work with, I feel a bit better. It still makes me mad that she would say that stuff to me, but I have to think of the source. I am the youngest in my grade level by at least 10 years. I think there is some jealousy there with her. No one wants to listen to me when I am much younger than they are, cause what could I possibly know? Of the 5 people on the team, I have taught longer than 2 of them, and they are much older than I am. But, I have dealth with the age thing for all my years of teaching and am used to it. It just sucks that people think they are better simply because they are older.

* After weeding my flower bed for 6 hours yesterday, I feel like I have been hit by a bus! My muscles are super sore. I am not the epitomy of health and strength, so working outside does me in. I am going back out today to work (and get more sun on my arms...didn't know I was sunburned til I went to bed last night!) and finish up with what I wanted to get done this weekend. Tonight I will bless my body with a lovely muscle relaxor and a good night sleep (please!!!!)

* I still have 2 weeks til spring break. And it can't get here quick enough. But it seems strange that we will only have 8 weeks left of school when we get back. Scary! Oh, and I am jealous of those who have already had or will be having their open house soon. Our is the week before school ends. CRAZY!!! I have to have my room looking fabulous 6 days before we go on summer vacation. But, it's how it's been for the last few years, so we are used to it. Just trying to save enough stuff to have out for the parents to see.

* In my mind, I know how I am going to change my room. My plan is to go the week after school is out, take it all down, move EVERYTHING around and start fresh. I hope I can get it done in a week so I can enjoy my summer vacation without having to be at work too much. Mind you, I will be bringing stuff home to do, so it's not a totally work-free summer!

* I spent the last hour doing homework for one of my classes I signed up for. If I have time tonight, I will start on the art project portion of the class. I have 21 projects that I have to do. Time to get my art challenged self working!

* Happy Sunday! Here's to a great week!

3.12.2011

Oh weekend, how I love thee!

I have enjoyed the first half of my weekend very much. I was outside ALL DAY long. Well, at least til I was exhausted from pulling weeds and went and sat in the spa for some soak time. Dinner and watching the news has made my evening complete. Now, I am getting ready for bed, since I will lose an hour of sleep that I could so desperately use! But, no!

This was a weird week. I hate missing school, but needed it thanks to a migraine. But, I am all better, I had a fabulous sub (who will be there for me on Friday!), and made it through the week in a good mood. My kids were pretty good, though by Friday, spring fever had them all in a tizzy. It was the warmest it has been in a month, and they were all wired. It has cooled down today (down to about 65 as the high, I miss the 80's already) and will be cooler all week, thanks to the "marine layer" AKA fog. I don't live by the coast (thank goodness for that...I don't like waking up to a tsunami warning!) but we still get the coastal influence. Fog makes my hair frizzy, makes it all damp and it's gray icky skies. Not my friend. But, what can you do? It's better than it being 100 degrees now in March, which we've had before.

To top off the weird week, we had collaboration yesterday and it was just weird. One teacher took a half day sub, didn't tell anyone she was leaving, but said she won't be back til Tuesday. On Wednesday we are supposed to watch someone teach some strategies that I know nothing about, but we only have a half day sub to watch these all day strategies, in the room of the teacher who left without leaving us any info on times. I can't make lesson plans when I don't know when I will be gone. We made our own schedule, but then one of the other teachers told us she isn't going to be there on Wednesday so she can go to the dr. and thought that was the perfect day to go since we were doing this. Talk about collaboration. Oh wait, you don't all collaborate like that? You actually talk to each other? Hmmm, what a concept.

And to top it off, the other teacher who I am losing my patience with told me that the sub she is getting isn't going to be happy coming into my room to sub because "she doesn't like me" since I don't talk to her. Mind you, this sub doesn't eat in the lounge or talk to anyone, but this teacher felt it necessary to single me out (it's not the first time she has done this, either) and tell me that she doesn't like me and is afraid of me and thinks I will yell at her. Um, that's like the pot calling the kettle black, here. Anyway, I am seeing a pattern with this teacher - any time there is something that I have a chance of doing instead of her, she makes some comment to the team about me that is negative. She threw me under the bus earlier this year with the principal for something she had nothing to do with. She also told me something our former principal supposedly said, but now I think she just made it up so I wouldn't do something I had wanted to do. But, it still hurt. I don't go to work to make friends, but I try to be friendly to everyone, be polite, nice and help in any way that I can. This particular teacher is uber loud and obnoxious, will have a story to go with everything, and had done it all more than you have and better, no matter what it is (she tried to compare my birth horror story with something in her life - there is nothing!). For 3 years, we have put up with lunches where she just won't shut up. I told my husband that I may have to eat lunch in my room for a bit, it bothered me so much. There is no separating myself from her without me leaving the lounge. I have to leave to get away from her. She is always there and feels the need to sit where we sit, no matter what. Any advice how to change that without me having to sacrifice my lunch? I'd rather not have to eat in my dusty, spidery classroom, but I think it may come down to that. I told my hubby I would like to go out to lunch, but we have nothing by us and I would have to eat in the car driving back if I did leave. Not my idea of a relaxing lunch. But, if I do eat in my room, I guess I could work at that time. Hey, there's my prep time, huh?

Sitting for hours today pulling weeds was very theraputic. My back is killing me now, but all that weed pulling got out some frustrations. Some only, but I am feeling a bit better than this morning and last night. I was in a funk. I don't like someone singling me out for something that isn't necessarily true, especially when I see it happening more and more with this one teacher. Well, I only have to put up with her a few days this week. Maybe after spring break (in another 2 weeks) I will feel better after some time away.

Happy weekend!

3.10.2011

So tired...but accomplished

This week has been a long week. And I took a day off thanks to a little thing called a migraine. But, I feel better now, have gotten a lot done and have had some fun in the process.

We are still studying money. I think we will be doing money from now til the end of the year. Many of the kids are getting it, but we haven't ventured into the world of quarters yet, or anything bigger for that matter. We did 2 of our lessons from our math series on Monday and Tuesday and then rest has been supplemental.

Yesterday, my kids thought I was a rock star. I gave them a sheet with 42 coins - 14 pennies, nickels and dimes (7 heads and 7 tails of each) and had them sort them by pennies, nickels and dimes. They were in heaven. They thought it was the coolest thing ever. I felt very happy that they loved it and I thought of it in the morning as a quickie math lesson. Love!

Today, I gave them the same coin sheet, but gave them money amounts to make. They had to use their coins, cut them out and glue them on to show how to make the amounts and then on the back they had to show me different ways of making 10, 15 and 20 cents. Again, they were in heaven. I had a group, the aide had a group and then the others were working on their own. Too bad no one from the DO came in today...it would have been perfect!

Tomorrow I will make them do something similar before we jump into quarters next week. If you don't have any, I highly recommend going to the teacher store and buying money stamps. I have always borrowed in the past, but this year I bought my own. Perfect! I may get brave and let my higher kids use them next week for a center. Or maybe not. They are too perfect for little, dirty hands!

I haven't had my camera with me in weeks. I just haven't dragged it to school enough. Maybe tomorrow, if I feel like it. I think we are drawing birds tomorrow (for fun) and just having a kick back day. They have worked hard this week and we all need a little fun once in a while.

Next week I am off for a training for half of one day and then I am taking Friday off for Vegas. I am not thrilled to be going to Vegas (with a 4 year old mind you!), but it's a break from real life and all the weeds that await me in the flower bed! But, at least we have had some taste of spring this week before we get a week of foggy crappy weather. I am ready for flip flops and capris, not pants and sweaters!

Happy almost TGIF!

3.09.2011

I must be really behind the times!

Lately I feel like I must be a really old person in a younger person's body. I feel very out of the loop, but I may not be alone!

* I was asking around at school today and NO ONE has heard of the Daily 5. Even my principal thought I was losing it! So, I am going to have to look into it more and see what it's all about. More information will be greatly appreciated. I want to know how you use it through the day and fit it all in! Please help!!!!

* Pandora - Um, hello? Where have I been? I treied it today at school since my radio gets zero reception in my room, my computer won't allow me to listen to my fave station, thanks to all the firewalls and stuff. So, I turned it on today and am very happy with what I have heard so far. Now we just saw the price for a year, and I don't like that, so I will listen to my 40 hours a month sparingly!

* Someone said that 30 is the new 20's. I barely felt in my 20's when I was in my 20's. I see 35 apporaching quickly and it sucks. Time to reinvent myself over the rest of the year. I need to be 30 something, not approaching 40! Scary thought! I still picture myself being in my 20's! Wow...that must be what kids do to you!

* I've gotta get my butt in gear and start my work for my classes. I signed up for them, printed stuff off and that's as far as I got. I need to order another book and then I can go gangbusters on my classes and get them done by the time April is here. I can do it...then I need to do 3 more by September. And then it's $$$$$. Not that I am greedy, but with the cost of gas, I could use a few extra bucks in my pocket. For those of you not in CA, I paid #3.85 a gallon today and it cost me over $50 to fill my car. And it's not a gas hog!

Happy Wednesday!

3.08.2011

What is Daily 5?

I must be completely out of the loop, but what in the world is Daily 5? Am I missing something here? I don't know anyone (in person) that does the Daily 5 or has even heard of it. Please enlighten me! I'm looking for something new for next year to change things up and get out of my rut, but I have to have something that will fit with the crazy psycho schedule that we have!

Migraine

I am home today with a migraine. Not exactlly what I want to take a day off for, but at least I have my sick days and don't have to worry (too much) when I need to take one. I went to bed with a bit of a headache last night and woke up with a whopper. I hate headaches, but migraines are the worst. I got up, made my plans, took them to work and came home and went back to bed. Today I have the house to myself, so it's perfect.

I woke up a bit ago, and thankfully the headache is gone. But, I think I'll still take the time to lay in bed, be lazy (yeah, I'm like that a lot) and catch up on some shows. I am taking this as a sign I needed to rest and relax. I figure I went to work fighting sinus infections that don't go away, so this is a sign to stay home, fight this off and not have another thing zapping my energy.

Hopefully my kids get through their work, are all well behaved and enjoy the one day break from me. Tomorrow I will be back! But, they get a break next week when we have a half day meeting and then I will be gone on Friday for my planned day off. Guess I should put in for that sub, too! Nothing like the last minutes!

Happy Tuesday! Hope yours is pain free! Mine is getting that way!

3.07.2011

Oh Monday, how I am glad you're over!

Today was actually a pretty OK day, really, but I am glad Monday is over. Just 2 more Mondays of work and I will be on spring break. That's 3 more weeks for those who aren't calendar savvy...I've just been counting down for 2 months!

We started the day off with some chilly, rainy weather. Always a fun way to start the day. The kids were all freaked out since it was windy. You can't have rain and wind in So Cal and not freak. It's not natural, really. What threw me into a tizzy though was the fact I left my TE for language arts at home. Luckily I knew what I was doing (sort of). I did what I could remember, which would have been easier had I actually done my lesson plans, rather than just thinking about doing them. Luckily, we aren't checked, and I have a pretty good idea of what I need to do to get my kids ready for 2nd grade.

I was glad when the day was over. We did our directed drawing of a fish, but my kids were out of it today with that. Some of their fish weren't adorable, but they will do. I will have to mount them tomorrow and hang them up. Time for the giraffes to come down! My science unit has dragged on and on and I am ready to move on, but not til spring break is over with.

We had a meeting after school for our Postitive Behavior Support team. Our psychologist wants it all to be positive since that's what will make kids happy. Um, sometimes they need to realize they did wrong and be told NO. I think that's half of the problem is that kids aren't told NO any more. I don't know...maybe I am "old school" and grew up when we didn't always get our way and life wasn't fair. Oh, how I miss the 80's. We were afraid of getting in trouble at school and more afraid of getting in trouble at home. Now, the kids don't care since the parents don't care. Anyway, we are going to revamp our referrals at school. Anyone have a good referral form they use? If so, oculd you e-mail me a copy, please? We need to see something that is good and that works!

Well, Monday is coming to an end. Time to get my jammies on and lay in bed and read while my daughter is in the bath. Busy rest of the week!

Happy Monday!

3.06.2011

I finally broke down...

and paid for the first 2 classes I need to take to move all the way over on the pay scale. I have been putting it off, but I paid for them tonight. I need 14 units to move all the way over, which will be a BIG increase in my pay next year - almost $500 more a month. I can handle that and I need it.

I signed up to take and art class and a planning class. Both are 3 units and both I can do from my home. I will take the other classes later this spring, once these are done. I have another art class I want to take, plus some other classes that aren't that hard, but may teach me a little something in the process. I hate the idea of going to school at night, so this will be good. I ordered the book tonight for the one class, and amazon told me it would be here by the 28th. How nice. I guess I will just wait on that one and plow through the art class. I have 18 art assignments, some journaling and then some critiquing I have to do. The syllabus is 59 pages, so I didn't print it all out yet. A little at a time.

I am hoping to start tomorrow night (after the dentist - grrrrr) and get one thing done. A lot of the projects look simple, but this art challenged gal may need some time to get it right. I am a perfectionist, so I may need all the help I can get.

My weekend is about over. I hear the tea kettle now telling me it's done. I am tired from our trip to the Living Desert yesterday and from the 8 loads of laundry today. Tell me - how do 3 people make so much laundry? I didn't do it last week since I was at a funeral and then sick on Sunday, so it's been there for awhile. At least it's done, we have clean clothes and I can start the week with a full closet.

But, even though I am a perfectionist, I haven't even looked at my lesson plans for this week. I am sure there are empty boxes to be filled in, but I don't care tonight. I am tired, I am still sick, but feeling better and I would rather cuddle on the couch with the hubby and watch some TV. I am already sad that Big Love is almost over forever, but Army Wives will be starting tonight. Yep, I am a HUGE couch potato and love every minute of it.

Here is to a great week, even if it starts out with a triip to the dentist. My week next week will end with a day off and trip to Vegas! I have something to look forward to! And only 3 more weeks til spring break!

Money Problem Solving

My kids are working on counting money. I don't like our math program at all for money, so we are supplementing like crazy. We have done one lesson from the program only, and we are still working on pennies, nickels and dimes. Hopefully this week - quarters! We haven't had time to do any problem solving in a while, so hopefully this week will change for us! Here is what I will use with my kids on their problem solving in their math journals. Hope it's helpful to you!

Money Problem Solving

Houghton Mifflin Unit - The Forest

Here is a mini unit I made to go with our story this week The Forest. I am going to do this story for 2 weeks...kinda. Next week I do a supplemental unit with a couple stories on the rain forest and then we compare and contrast the forest with the rain forest. In the past, I have had the kids make a diorama or poster of a forest or rain forest. Not sure if I am going to do the same this year...not really feeling it with this group. Below is the mini unit that goes with the story in Houghton Mifflin. Enjoy!

The Forest unit

3.04.2011

I don't know what to say

After my post on Wednesday was commented on very nastily, I really don't know what to say. I guess I am a little gunshy right now. I shouldn't be, but I am.

It's been a week. It started off being sick on Monday and taking a trip to the doctor's after school. Not a good way to start that week. But I did get dinner at Panda Express out of it as I was waiting for me meds. I guess that was the bright spot. And then meal that put our walking exercise into the negative. Tuesday and Wednesday were stressful days finishing report cards and having my hubby take the dog to the vet. We thought we were going to have to put him down, but we didn't. That was good news. I was very worried for my chubby dog! Now we pay and arm and a leg for meds for him! Yikes! Yesterday was Thursday - finished report cards, we had Literacy night which was a bust and slept through Gray's Anatomy. It's DVR'd, so it's OK. But I doubt I will make it tonight to watch it.

On Monday, I had lots of big plans for the week to celebrate Dr. Seuss. By Tuesday, I was too tired to think about it to plan. I planned one for today that I thought would be cute, but my kids weren't that interested in making them cute. A couple of them did, but the others thought it was a scribble fest. I find my kids are more willing to make something neat when we do it together rather than them have to do it on their own. So on Monday, I think we'll do a directed drawing fish to go on the wall instead. It will look a little better and I can take down their giraffes!

I brought a ton of work home with me since there wasn't time this week to do it and I didn't want to stay after school to try to get it done. I am very behind, which I feel like I have been all year. I have felt very unorganized and misconjumbled, which is a feeling I don't like. I need some time to get in and clean. Maybe over spring break I can while my hubby is recouperating. We'll see. But for now, I am going to veg on the couch, eat my pizza, watch some TV and head to bed. Tomorrow we are off for the Living Desert in Palm Desert to check out the animals they have there. We were going to take my daughter to see dino bones, but we realized we don't have anything around us and the ones we saw last week scared the heck out of here!

Happy Friday!

3.02.2011

Seriously

I deleted the post I wrote earlier after getting a very mean comment. I guess we are all entitled to our opinions, but some people don't like it when others express their opinions that are negative. This is my blog. These are my thoughts. I don't live in a fairytale land where everything is fine and dandy. I am very happy for those people who do live in Lalaland where things are all peachy keen. I live in reality where life for many kids sucks. I live in reality where many kids won't make it no matter how much time, effort, love and care I give them. And it freakin' sucks. And I only have so much time to give each day without taking away from my daughter.

I was told that I must not love teaching and that hopefully my next career will be better for me. All I have to say is "BITE ME!". I love teaching with all my heart. Am I negative? Yep. But after 13 years of being crapped on by administrators, the state, parents and more, I get defensive. This is my chance to vent my frustrations without taking it out on my students. This is my chance to get rid of some of the stress from the day without my poor husband having to put up with it.

There is nothing more I would want to do in life. I laugh when people say that if they could, they would be a stay at home mom. I wouldn't. I love my daughter dearly, but my calling in life is to be a teacher. I am damn good at my job, but there are times I feel I am lacking. And when I want to vent, I get told that I am not a good teacher. First off, you don't know me. You don't know my school, my kids, or anything about me. To say I am not a good teacher would be like telling you that you are not a good parent, or sister, or teacher. It would hurt even though you don't know me. Second, you are not in my shoes. Yea, you may be a teacher. You may have similar kids. But you are not in my shoes. I would not tell you how to feel about your kids, don't tell me how to feel about mine.

If you don't like what I have to say, don't read my blog. I don't really care. This is more for me. It's my outlet. If you think I am a horrible person, then take me off your blogroll, don't read my blog and for heaven's sake, don't download anything else I make out of the kindness of my heart.

To me, blogland seems to be a bunch of people posting how great and wonderful they are and no one is sharing their true feelings. There are a few blogs out there where the teachers are truly wanting to share their ideas and frustractions. Unfortunately, one of the has already resigned. And I wonder what you all said about her and all her frustrations. Well, Uunderground Teacher, you are missed. I miss your honest accounts of the kids and how things are out in the real world. I wish there were more teachers like that who aren't afraid to share what it's like. But, if we continue to pretend that things are all great and happy all the time, it's no wonder government is OK with cutting our pay, cutting our budgets and letting people go.

I live in the real world and I teach in the real world. And unfortunately, sometimes, it's an ugly, cruel reality that the kids live in. It isn't pretty, it isn't fun and it sucks for all involved. Again, if you don't like what I have to say, then don't read my blog. It won't hurt my feelings. In fact, I may just keep reading your and send little rays of sunshine your way. Or, I'll skip you.

3.01.2011

If You Give a Pig a Pancake - Houghton Mifflin Unit

Here is my mini unit for If You Give a Pig a Pancake. We're working on it this week. I wish I had time to do more, but with Dr. Seuss, report cards and being sick, it's all I can do to function like a normal person sometimes! Enjoy!