6.30.2011

Happy Long Weekend

I figured I would post really quick tonight as I won't be around over the weekend.  A much needed time away from home will be had.  It will be hot, it will be sunny and it will be relaxing.  I won't be able to work on school work, I won't want to think about school and I won't have access to anything of mine from school!  Won.der.ful.

When we do come back into town, it'll just be for a couple days and then we will be off again for the weekend.  Another time away.  It won't be as relaxing as the river trip, but it will still be nice to get away, see something different and new and hopefully renew my spirit.  I'm kinda in a funk and feeling overwhelmed with things lately, all for the simple fact that my vacation is half over and I still have a ton to do, personally and professionally.  Ugh!  I don't like this feeling. 

But for now, it's time to finish my packing, make some zucchini muffins, get my daughter to bed and crash.  Tomorrow will be a very long day and I want to have energy to make it through.  Happy 4th everyone and enjoy the nice weekend!

6.29.2011

I love Target and the Dollar Spot

I have been reading other blogs and seeing all the fabulous stuff people are getting at Target.  I couldn't stand it any longer, so I went today.  I warned the hubby that I was going...hope he really understood what that meant.  I walked out of there spending just $28, but there was a jar of pasta sauce in there, too! 

I always see the neat stuff everyone buys, but my Target either hasn't had it, won't get it, or had it and it's gone already.  I was nervous to go and look, but pleasantly surprised.  Here's my loot!




My camera is being fickle, so my pics are blurry...as were the other 8 I took.  Hmmm!  Anyway, in the top picture, I got 2 new calendar posters, a weather chart, 2 write on, wipe off math games and 4 puzzles.  In the second pic, I bought a new basket (don't know what for, but I got it!), a new tub for turning in work, animal cards to sort by animal group, people cards for communitites, stamps (mini abc stamps...cute) and stamps for marking work and math puzzles, matching the numnber to the picture.  I also got cards with the animal actions which will help a bunch with our writing. 

I also went to Michael's and picked up some big blank flower cards and some big bug cars that were on clearance.  I think (and this is a biggie) that I will do my room in bugs and flowers.  It may seem girly, but what boy doesn't love bugs?  The blank flowers will be for them to color and design their own flower to hang next to their writing for the week.  I am just starting to work it out in my head, but I feel a little more at ease! 

Happy Wednesday!  Time to organize and put away my loot til next week.  The lady at Target said they will start putting out school stuff next week and have it all out by the 2nd week in July.  I am so excited!  I'm such a nerd!

6.28.2011

New book find

We have a used bookstore in town.  I have been there twice in last week, looking for one or 2 things only to walk away with some new-to-me books and less cash! 

Last week, I went and bought 3 of the 4 books in the Nora Roberts bride quartet (they didn't have book 3).  I went looking for it today and they were all out of all the others.  I was bummed, since I am almost done with book 2 and wanted to start with number 3.  Instead, I bought 2 books by Anita Shreve.  She's a little odd to me, but I like her books once I get into them.  I have read Snow on Light and Wedding in December.  We'll see how these other 2 are.  I went to the local library and browsed through their "Friends of the Library" section and found the 3rd book.  My reading is set through the weekend! 

When I was at the used bookstore,  I went to the kiddie section.  Mind you, this bookstore is a ton of books shoved every which way.  What could be an organized place is just a disaster of books thrown wherever there is room.  The store is too small for the amount of books they have and they only seem to get more books and less room.  Anyway, most of the kids' books they have are for older students or they are so old they aren't exciting.  I found a couple of books for my library, a couplke ABC books for the beginning of the year.  I had decided I did pretty good, until I found a Mo Willems book on the floor.  In perfect condition.  Score!  I can't find them anywhere.  I grabbed it up and left. 

Once I got in the car and was waiting to meet a friend for breakfast, I read through some of the books.  One of them was The Alphabet Tree by Leo Lionni.  I love Leo Lionni.
Oh my word.  This is one of the best books in the world.  Not only does it tell the story of letters clinging to a tree for dear life, it tells of how the bee tells them to stick together in words.  The letters make words and later, a caterpillar tells them they are more powerful when put together in sentences.  Then, at the end, the letters come together to make a sentence about peace (it was written in 1968) and the sentence is going with the caterpillar to talk to the president.  I got a little teary eyed at the end.  A very good book. 

Now, I am going to come up with a cute lesson to go with the book.  I haven't decided how or what I am going to do, but there are lots of ideas in my head.  Or, there would be if I had energy.  A night of not sleeping plus an early morning out does not make for a happy momma!  But, a little nap seems to have helped a bit, so...stay tuned!

Happy Tuesday!

6.27.2011

Random on a Monday

* Not too much going on in my neck of the woods today.  I think my creative energies were taken up yesterday.  That's OK.  Today was for laundry, some housecleaning and finally finishing a book.  I did a little school work, but nothing to brag about...just some tidying up. 

* On Saturday, we had a birthday party for my daughter.  My hubby's friends came with their kids.  His friend just finished up his student teaching this last week.  I asked him if he had started to apply for jobs and he said no.  He said that he still has some work to finish for his last credential class and then he will be done.  He them said that he doesn't know if he wants to teach.  He has spent the last 15+ years going to school to be a teacher and now thinks he won't do it.  He was a stress-ball during student teaching, didn't have the best mentor teachers and doesn't know if he wants all the work that goes into being a teacher.  It makes me sad to think about that, but then maybe that's for the best.  If he doesn't want to do it, there is no point in having someone unhappy in the classroom.  It doesn't make for a good teacher.  But at the same time, there must have been a passion to do it before...where did it go?  Did it get squashed during student teaching?

* I have giant piles of stuff sitting in my office and outside my office that I need to look through for school.  I have my TE's for the first 6 weeks ready to look at, but I haven't even unpacked them from the box they are in.  I have the math components in the same box, ready to be looked at, yet they are there, collecting dust in the corner.  I keep thinking I have all the time in the world, but 6 weeks from today is my teacher work day.  In 6 weeks and 2 days, I will have completed the first day of school.  YIKES!  Time is flying!

* Speaking of time flying by...today starts the 5th week of vacation.  I have been out of school for a month now and don't have all the great, wonderful things to show for it.  But, I have relaxed and spent lots of time with my daughter.  That's the important thing!

* July will be my busy month for going away...yippee!  This coming weekend, we will be sitting river-side with my parents at the river we have gone to since my dad was a kid.  It's hot, it's dry, but it's my river.  Can't wait to spend the weekend there, watching fireworks and NOT being at home.  Relaxation here I come!  Also, we will be going away the following weekend to go to a "real" county fair.  Or I hope it's real anyway.  Around us, we have the San Diego county fair, the LA county fair and the OC county fair.  They are basically big shopping venues with crap you don't need to buy!  And, they go for like a month.  The one we are going to is in the middle of a big agricultural area and the fair is 4 days long.  Hubby hopes to see a real fair like I remember going to with my grandparents.  So far, in July, we will be gone 7 of the first 10 days.  Woo-hoo!

* I am having a hard time deciding on my classroom decor this year.  I thought I was going to go with owls, but then I changed my mind.  Then, I thought of going with a rain foresty/jungle type theme, but now I am thinking of bees.  Ahhhh!  I had better decide soon so I can get things going!

* Well, enough randomness for today!  Tomorrow is another day full of who knows what!  Happy Monday!

6.26.2011

One more activity and it's bed!

For some reason, I have been on a roll tonight with getting things made.  I feel accomplished, thought still in my pj's!  Yep, it's been one of those days.  Must be the stress of my baby turning 5! 

Here is something I made to start my journey into math centers/games.  I don't know how I will do it, but I am going to take baby steps and work my way up.  Our math program is very whole group centered, so...it will be a challenge. 

We use enVision math and are going on our 4th year with it.  We don't go in order, but whatever.  Our first math unit we do is topic 1, numbers to 12.  Here's a little something I made tonight to go with it.  Since we start school Aug. 10, when we are just an inch away from the face of the blaring hot sun, I thought this was a cute way to go.  I have seen others with the similar idea and made my own.  Tomorrow I will try to add on a sheet for assessing purposes, but for now, it's time for some zzzz's.  Enjoy!

What do you want to learn graphing lesson

I am on a roll today.  Or this evening is more like it!  It's after 6pm and I am still in jammies!  We have had a very lazy day.  It was a very necessary laziness, coupled with a headache and sinus pain.  It seems like it's always something, huh?

But, I have had a productive eveing on the computer.  Two activities in one day - WOW!  Here is one I made so I could use the cute little clip art I have had on my computer for months.  Now I think I want to do my room in bees...whatcha think?  Anyway, here is my graphing lesson on what the kids want to learn this year.  Enjoy!

Beginning of the year graphing activity

I have been thinking of getting some things done for school, but haven't had the motivation.  I have been enjoying my time off a bit too much!  But today, I finally did one thing that I will use on either the first or 2nd day of school - How we get to school. 

Here is a short, simple graphing activity to use with the kids to start off the year of graphing questions and answers.  It should be easy enough for the beginning of the year with a little thinking to be used with some of the questions.  It's free to download, just please leave a comment.  Thanks!

How we get to school graphing unit

6.25.2011

Not just another day

I noticed a few minutes ago that today is Eric Carle's birthday.  But, even more exciting than that, it's my not-so-baby girl's birthday, too!  I am now the proud mommy of a 5 year old!  How did that happen?  Where did the time go? 

5 years ago today, I was blessed with the most wonderful daughter in the world.  While she isn't perfect (and who is?), she is perfect to us.  She is so smart, her little quirky personality gets bigger and brighter every day.  She has come such a very long way in her 5 years and I couldn't be happier!  She is the light of our lives and makes us laugh, wonder, scream, cry and sit in amazement with the things she does.  I can't imagine my life without her and don't know how we went so long without her.

I am so glad that I am a mom.  Happy birthday to my baby girl! 

6.22.2011

A little rant...tell me if I'm crazy!

I took my daughter to the dentist today for her check up.  I've taken her every 6 months for her check up since she was 2...until now.  She was supposed to have gone in February, but I was a slacker and didn't want to put up with the fight of going to the dentist.  I don't know why, but she is scared to death to go to the dentist and will completely freak out.  Today was no exception. 

A little backstory...I started taking her to "My Kids' Dentist" when she was 2.  The first time, we saw Dentist #1.  He was able to look at her teeth with her crying, but did no more.  6 months later, took her back and saw Dentist #2.  I really liked him and he was calm and gentle and wasn't going to push anything.  Perfect.  6 months later, took her back and saw Dentist #3.  Dentist #2 had moved to San Francisco.  I was beginning to see the pattern of their dentists.  Anyway, Dentist #3 was a female and she was damned and determined to clean my daughter's teeth.  I was holding her down with the doctor's armpit in my face so they could clean.  Before you tell me I should have made them stop, it all happened so fast and I was in shock.  It's a big regret of mine. 

I stopped taking her there since they had so many different dentists.  When I was at my dentist, I asked them if they knew a good kid dentist.  They gave me the name of the one I am going now with her.  I walked down to the office, met with the dentist, expressed my fears and concerns and the past visits.  I made an appt. and took my daughter.  Tears, refusing to open her mouth for them to look...you get the picture.  They gave her a new toothbrush kit with toothpaste and floss and a sticker and we left.  Went back 6 months later...same thing.  This time, the dentist told me they would have to sedate her to check her teeth.  Um, no I don't think so.  In October, hubby had to take her in since she hit her front teeth on the ground and knocked them a bit loose.  They managed to get x-rays of the front teeth and she was fine. 

Fast-forward to today.  We have been talking up the dentist like a madman.  My daughter was excited to go in and see the dog (they have a dog there to help with nerves) and play the computer games.  She knew they were going to take pictures of her teeth, clean them and make them tickle and then she would be done and would get a new toothbrush and a balloon as well as a special dinner tonight with a toy (Happy Meal) and ice cream.  What girl wouldn't want all that?  Mine, obviously! 

We went to the back...and then the tears started.  She wouldn't let them take x-rays, though we did sit in the chair together.  We then moved to the exam chair, with me sitting there with her and she was on my lap.  It's 100* today and the last thing I wanted was my daughter on my lap, but you do what you gotta do.  She was crying, but she said the hygenist could clean her teeth.  But, the hygenist refused since she was crying.  We went and sat back on the couch and waiting.  Then the poo hit the fan!

The dentist came in (my appt. was @ 1pm, she came in at 1:30 from lunch...WTH?) and told me I had to leave.  Um, NO!  I told my daughter I would be with her the whole time and I would never leave her back there with just them.  There would be no way they could keep her down without having to sit on her.  Then, the dentist got all over me about how I was allowing her to behave this way and I need to help her out and not let my daughter control the situation.  Um, she is scared to death (she kept saying "Mommy, I'm scared") and I am not abandoning her.  I explained to the dentist how we had been talking about it and she told me all that they were going to do to her teeth and all the things she would get if she was a good girl.  Then the dentist told me it wasn't good enough and I needed to calm her down or we would have to come back another day.  I was furious and ready to cry, but I held it together.  The dentist was able to look at her teeth, put on some flouride and then again tell me that she can't help my daughter since she can't clean her teeth.  Well, too bad!  That's your job.  And then she had the nerve to tell me that maybe my hubby should bring her in as maybe he could do a better job of dealing with my daughter.  WTH? 

We left the office with my daughter crying the whole way to the car.  I called hubby to tell him no surprise dinner and all the other list of things she would have gotten.  I was still very upset and then remembered that they forgot to give me the stupid form I need for Kindergarten.  So, back to the office we went.  This time my daughter was calm since we didn't have to see anyone.  They want us back every 3 months for flouride, but I need to find a new dentist.  The one we see now is supposed to be really good with kids, but she seemed to lost it today.  And, I don't want to sedate my daughter. 

I know my daughter has issues with strangers and anxiety when it comes to new situations.  Even though we've been to this dentist before, it's once every 6 months.  It's still a relatively new thing for her.  Any advice?  Should I stay and chaulk it up to a bad day?  Look elsewhere?  Drive tonight?  Please help!  Thanks!

6.21.2011

What do we really need to keep?

I have spent part of my morning cleaning the office.  It doesn't look like it yet, but it's getting there.  As I was looking through all the stuff that I have, I started to wonder "What do I really need to keep?"  I have a hard time throwing some things away, while other things are a no brainer.  Here are my things so far that I have had to decide whether to toss or keep.

1) The things my daughter has done in 3 years of preschool.  I don't want to be the parent that keeps every little thing, but I don't want to be the parent to throw it all away.  So, I compromised with myself and I have kept her really cute art projects that she has done.  Each year is in a box, neatly stored away and labeled.  The regular everyday school work and papers went in the trash.  Brought a little tear to my eyes, but I can't keep it all. 

2) Notebooks.  I am a notebook collector.  I don't know why, but I am.  I need to NOT buy any more notebooks, spiral or otherwise for many years.  I used to buy the small, cute ones, but then wouldn't use them.  Then I started to buy the regular spiral notebooks.  I have a stack of them and need to do something with them.  But then I think I will need them for something else and then not use them.  Why?  I have no idea.  I must have been deprived as a child or something.  And, I can't pass them up when they are only 15 cents in July!

3) Pictures.  I have oodles and oodles of pictures from many years ago.  Most of the pics I have kept are from college.  And they are mostly all from my freshman year when the snow was new and neat and pretty and I felt I needed to take a picture of every day that had snow and what it looked like from my dorm window.  Man, I was a nerd.  I have pictures of my pets from back home and then, for whatever reason, I have pictures of the Grand Canyon.  Every time I went in school, I took pictures.  I'm not in them, I don't know what they are, other than dirt and rocks.  So, they went away.  Pics of people from college I didn't talk to after a year or 2?  Gone.  Vacation pics without me in them and not knowing where they are?  Gone, too. 

I still have a ways to go on the office, but it's getting there.  I ended up, not really knowing or paying attention, bringing home 3, yes 3 boxes of school stuff.  Haven't really touched it, don't know what I was thinking.  Well, I know I was thinking I was going to plan all these wonderful activities and games and such and well, I haven't.  And I don't wanna right now.  So, it will sit and collect dust in the office when there is enough room made to bring it all in. 

It's amazing how much junk we can collect and yet feel the need to keep it all.  Huh.  No wonder my cabinets at school have crap I don't use, either.  Time to really start the decrapifying process and get it into high gear.  It's starting...where will it stop! 

Happy Tuesday!

6.20.2011

And just like that, vacation flies by

Wow!  Another week of vacation.  Today starts week 4 of my summer.  I am loving being home with my daughter and having time to do whatever, but man, it's going WAY. TO. FAST.  I want it to stop and slow down.  Heck, we haven't had "summer" yet, though the weatherman said it's coming this week, for a few days with temps in the 90's, near 100 on Wednesday, I think.  Finally.

I don't know about you, but I set some very lofty goals for myself this summer.  And...they are still simply that - goals.  I haven't done 10% of what I wanted to do.  And I think I am OK with that.  I have spent more time with my daughter,  more time with my hubby and more time just being me.  I have done some school work, but not like I had planned.  I have a ton of homework to do, but no motivation (and I wanted to be done by next week - ha!).   I have deep cleaning to do, but who wants to do that?  Not me! 

So today, in an effort to get some things accomplished while still having some good times, I have made my weekly to do list.  I've decided my weeks are only 4 days long now, Mon - Thurs as Fridays are busy and then the weekends are mine...all mine!  Here's the week:

Monday - clean and organize master bedroom and bathroom - closets, drawers, etc.  (an all day project really, but hubby will be gone, so it will be nice!); get 3 homework assignments done, inlcuding 2 projects (it's an art class); read 3 chapters in my "for fun" book.

Tuesday - clean and organize my part of the office - it's another all day chore, but I will have about 3 hours to myself while by girl is at school; pick her up and run errands (I have to get all the stuff for her b'day party this weekend!); get 4 assignments done, including 2 arts; read 3 chapters (or more).'

Wednesday - finish the office; take daughter to the dentist and then come home and have a stiff drink afterwards and nap; do 4 more assignments; veg for the day as the trip to the dentist will kick my butt!  Sit, veg and read for the day (and it's supposed to be 100* that day, so no point in being out in the heat in the afternoon, right?).  I'm sure there will be some homework getting done, too, but...

Thursday - clean the house for party on Saturday; do homework; read and have some good fun!

Friday - Legoland with my baby girl to celebrate her b'day while hubby is at a class all day long.  The joys of working, huh?  Now he gets to feel what it has been like for me when I am at work, missing out on all the fun! 

Saturday - My not-so-baby-anymore girl's birthday.  Yep, on Saturday I will have a 5 year old.  I am amazed at how quickly the time has gone and how much she has learned in 5 short years! 

Here's to a great week!  I hope to get a lot more done than is on my list, but you never know.  I could be sucked into many games of Candyland or Trouble or sit on the couch and listen to my girl read for an hour.  Plus there are little art projects and writing to be done, all while enjoying the summer vacation!  Happy Monday and have a great week!

6.17.2011

I don't know why they have summer school

For the last couple years, thanks to budget cuts, summer school has become ONLY for special ed students and only those who are in SDC.  I have always felt that summer school or interesession was a waste of time and nothing more than glorified babysitting.  I have never taught summer school, but I hear stories and it makes me cringe. 

Last night, I happened to answer the phone.  It was my MIl who is an aide for summer school.  She does it every year.  And not because she likes it, but because she is higher up on the seniority list and will be darned if someone with lower seniority gets to do summer school.  Anyway, this is the first year they have had K-12 summer school at one site.  And, it happens to be my site.  Lovely...NOT!  They throw the kids into random classrooms and hope for the best out of those four hours they are there. 

My MIL was saying that the kids in her class are 2nd - 7th grade and are all moderate to severe special ed.  But the teacher, who is a middle school teacher in the regular school year, is only credentialed to teacher mild to moderate and doesn't know what to do with the kids.  She said it's a free for all, and the aides are taking advantage of what's in the room - stuff that doesn't belong to them and belongs to the regular classroom teacher who was kind enough to let her room be used.  That bugs me and makes me worry about what's happening in my room!  Yikes! 

My MIL (who loves to blow things out of proportion and make up her own stories) was telling me that the kids are just let loose to do what they want, as long as they don't hurt anyone too badly.  Really?  Are we helping these kids or just giving them a place to be for 4 hours a day for the next 3 weeks?  It seems like babysitting rather than teaching.  She said most of the kids are not communicative, so there is a lot of screaming, yelling, hitting and biting going on.  I'm glad I am not there and know for sure I could never be a special ed teacher.  They have all earned a special spot in heaven - and they can have it! 

Again, I have always questioned why we have summer school, but now I wonder if summer school is really a good and necessary thing for the children.  It may sound mean, or uncaring, but that's not what I am trying to say.  If the kids are there for 4 hours, go out to recess for over 30 minutes, plus are taken to the bathroom every 30 minutes and then have 30 minutes for lunch, what is the point of being there?  Socialization?  Keeping them in a routine?   Hoping they get something from the 4 weeks they are there?  I don't know.  It just doesn't make sense to me and it seems like the kids are just thrown into the classes randomly and the teacher is supposed to work with what they got, regardless of their credential.

I guess there are only 4 weeks of summer school, but I am now even more worried than before about my room.  I know it's supposed to be a Kinder SDC.  I hope the teacher has more control over the class than the kids that my MIL is working with.  If not, I am worried about all my belongings that aren't locked up and wonder what it will look like come August 1.  I may have to go in on June 15 to see what chaos is in there! 

Well, I can't worry too much.  Nothing I can do about it now!  Time for some cleaning and then I am going to sit down and read today.  Haven't made myself time in the past, so today is the day!   Happy Friday all!

6.16.2011

And they let them loose like monkeys at the zoo!

Today I took my daughter to Legoland.  For me, it's about an hour trip when there is very little traffic.  Today was OK, but man, I can tell it's summer vacation by all the out of state license plates.  It's a little more stressful for me to take my daughter there in the summer because the lines are longer, there are more people there and it isn't as enjoyable as it is in say, January when it's cold and rainy and everyone else is stuck in the snow!  ;)

There are still a few schools that are still in and a couple of them were at Legoland for a field trip.  Oh. My. Word.  I would never take my students to Legoland on a field trip, and I wish others felt the same way.  Let some 10 - 13 year olds loose at Legoland and they are CRAZY!  And they were unsupervised for the most part.  Why would any theme park allow a school to let the kids run unsupervised?  It's asking for trouble and the kids were super annoying.  Yelling, screaming in line, cutting through to get to their friends.  It was a madhouse.  Too busy for me!  And then, you have kids running from atraction to attraction, running between people who are walking.  I was waiting for someone to get hurt with all the hooligans running around.  It really takes the fun out of it for all that are there when there are kids running loose.  Just like little monkeys!

But, my daughter and I were able to go on the rides we wanted, went to the water park (though it's still a bit chilly for my taste) and then went to the beach after.  We spent some time watching dolphins play in the waves.  It was amazing.  I'm not a big beach fan, don't care to go in the water, but I could sit all day and watch the dolphins.  As long as I had sunscreen anyway...I got burned as it was.  Oh well, hopefully it will turn to a tan!  It was a nice day all in all.  I am ready to go to sleep and save all my work for Monday! 

Happy almost TGIF!

6.15.2011

A little carried away!

In my attempt to keep myself busy til it's cooled off enough to go outside, I have been working on the computer on school stuff.  No homework, today, but I got a lot done! 

I have always been the nerdy one to write everything (almost everything) down in my lesson plan book.  I'd go out every year, buy a cute one, or, once Lakeshore opened, get their free one and fill it in before school got out.  But, in my challenge to myself to be more with the times, I made a lesson plan template to fit my needs.  I don't know if I'm gonna like it (I think it's too small to write in...Oops...live and learn). but I'm gonna try it.  I printed out enough for the whole year, so now I have to make it work, right? 

Here's my lesson plan, for you to check out.  Feel free to borrow it if needed, but I'm sure there are much better plans out there!  Each week is basically the same thing, just different skills.  I didn't take into account the weeks we have a day off, but I can fix it later if I want, or just make do with what I got. 

I've also been working on my yearly plan.  This is what I have done for the last 12 years probably and it keeps me so organized and on track.  I try to put in as much as I can to it so I know things right off the top, but there is always something that comes up and spoils it!  But, if you want an idea on a yearly plan, check it out here and let me know what you think!  It's still a work in progress, so...

I guess I have been sitting long enough.  Time to go do something else...anything else for that matter!  I should be on vacation, not planning!  Oops!

A little planning...

Yesterday and today I have been working on my yearly plan.  I am supposed to be doing homework, but that's not very fun.  So instead, I have been working on school work.  I told myself not until July 1, but I have the time and the desire, so I figured I might as well get some things done! 

This is the first year I am doing it on the computer.  In the past, I have written it out on paper and filled things in with pencil so I can always change it.  This year, I decided I might as well use my technology and do it this way.  So much nicer!  It's still a work in progress, but they always are!  Once I am done, I will post it for you to see. 

One of the things I used to do in the past that I have gotten away from was Author Studies.  I miss doing them.  I miss seeing the excitement my kids had of going to the library and checking out the books that we were reading in class.  So, my goal this next year is to get back into doing them.  I have actually made a spot on my yearly plan for my author studies.  They are spaced pretty much every 2 weeks, but there are a couple that go longer, like Clifford.  But, my plan is still empty, as I lost the list I had made of the books I had for author study and I really don't want to go to school to look at what I have! 

So, my question for you - What authors do you adore reading to your kids?  And, what fun activities do you do with them?  I have Eric Carle down for sure, along with some of my faves, but I need to fill in the gaps and find some new authors!   Let me know who I can add to my list to make it fabulous!  Thanks!

Happy Wednesday!

6.14.2011

Just thinking...

This morning has been glorious!  Ok, maybe not glorious, but very nice.  Hubby is at work, my daughter is at school for another hour and I have been at home, cleaning her room.  It was a disaster, but now it looks like a clean little girls room!  I was amazed when cleaning how many books she had on her bed, next to her bed, and under the bed.  She just loves her books and I love buying books for her to read all the time! 

But then I was thinking about school.  I haven't been doing much of that in the last few days, but then I got to wandering in my mind.  I know for a fact, that most of the kids I have had in past don't have books at home.  And if they do, there aren't many or they aren't at their level.  There have been a few kids who I know have tons of books, but they are exception, not the rule.  And that makes me sad. 

I am not the world's greatest mother by any means, but I always try to make time to read to my daughter.  At night, we read before she goes to bed.  Last night, my daugher chose one of the books that she can read on her own and she read it to me before she went to sleep.  Her choice:
It's a very easy book for her to read, since we have read it 100 times she got it a few months ago.  But she is reading it and loves it.  It has super cute pictures of the little girl and her turtle.  She then told me she was ready for bed, so reading time ended.  She proceeded to play on her "computer" that she got a couple years ago and then finally fell asleep.  Anywa, I have always read to her and she now loves books and will "read" when she can. 

I know a lot of the kids we get don't have that at home.  They don't have books, they don't have people to read to them and they don't get practice reading with anyone, or with very few people.  It makes me sad, and then mad when I think about it.  What can be done?

I send reading home every night with my kids, but I know some of them aren't reading to anyone.  They either fake sign it, the parents sign it just so the kid will stop asking or they don't do it at all for the entire school year and wonder why their child isn't making growth in reading.  I wish I knew how to get more parents to read to their child, or listen to them read.  I love sitting on the couch listening to my daughter read and I am amazed at what she can do (she's almost 5 and can read some of my 1st grade books from guided reading). 

I sometimes wish I could be a fly on the wall in my kids' homes, but then I think I am really glad I'm not.  I think it would be too depressing to see how some live, though it would be an eye opener.  Well, this gives me something else to work on now for the new year...how to get more kids to read at home!  

6.13.2011

Monday mojo is back!

I have been a busy girl today and feel so good about it!  From an outsider, I haven't got a lot done.  But I know I have since it has taken me all day to get it done! 

I woke up today, played a bit on the computer then got to work.  First task, dishes.  I did dishes last night, but there were a ton today.  Huh.  Things that boggle the mind.  Then, I got to the big task at hand - my laundry room.  Last week, I deep cleaned it.  I took everything off my back door (there is a door in the laundry room that goes to the back, but we NEVER use it.  It's a pain in the butt, really), washed the door and decided to paint.  That's what today was for - painting the door, moulding and the stupid things in the window to make it look "nice".  I still need to clean the window, but that will be later.  Maybe.  I painted it all with a few good coats of paint and am now working on the curtains for the door window.  No more ugly blinds that were up before.  Seriously, blinds in the laundry room?  If I weren't such a freak and worried about people looking in my window, I would leave it open (mind you, I live on 5 acres and there are no people who are able to look in my window without having to trespass in my yard). 

I also have a ton of zucchini that will be made into 1) dinner 2) zucchini muffins and 3) zucchini cookies.   I got the most delicious recipe from this blog last year.  They are to die for...and a good way to get rid of zucchini.  I know there will be plenty more where this came from, but I have been wanting to make these for a good 2 months.  This is next up on my to do list, along with making something for dinner! 

Tomorrow my hubby has to go to work and my daughter will be at school from 8 til 12.  I can't wait to tackle her room and make it look presentable, if only for 5 minutes after she gets home.  I am looking forward to the peace and quiet tomorrow and hope I can get a lot done. 

Happy Monday!

6.12.2011

Where did my energy go?

Wow!  I don't know about anyone else, but I have had zero energy these last few days.  I could easily sleep the afternoons away and be perfectly content.  As a matter of fact, I did that today!  But in my defense, I had a headache that was threatening to turn into a migraine.  So, I took some meds, hit my bed and slept for a bit!  Headache all gone!  :)

These last few days haven't been as productive as I had planned.  Or had wanted.  Before summer vacation started, I had a "plan" for my days - get up early (like 6:30), exercise for a bit, do some homework, spend good time with my daughter, do some school work, craft, read, etc, all before 6pm at night.  Um, yeah.  NONE of this has happened!  Other things have gotten in the way, like NO MOTIVATION! 

Yeah, I have been pretty lazy.  Thursday we did go to Legoland and then the beach.  Once we got home, we were pretty tired, so the night was spent on the computer, just being lazy!  On Friday, there were errands to run and I think a nap was in the plans, too!  Yesterday (Saturday), I helped my parents at a yard sale (I made $40!).  We were out of the house by 6:45, which doens't make for a happy mommy or a happy daughter!  But we survived.  My hubby had a class in Orange County, so he was up and out early, too!  We spent the late afternoon watching a movie.  I was asleep before 9:30 last night!  And today, we ran some errands and then I came home and crashed with the headache.  Since then, I have managed to clean up and organize my craft table, so now I can start on some of my projects.  Curtains for my laundry room mini-redo and refinishing a table clock are first up on my list. 

Tomorrow is the start of another week.  I have big plans, but we know what happens to those!  I need to get into my daughter's room and clean and organize the chaos!  That may wait til Tuesday when she is at school and I can do it in peace and quiet without the watching eyes of a 4 year old who wants to keep everything she has!  Plus, the hubby will be at work!  Oh, I can't wait for 4 hours of QUIET! 

But, the quiet won't come yet!  My daughter is sitting here next to me and talks constantly!  Time for me to go do dishes and sit with her and start our new summer puzzle time!  Yeah, add that to my to do list!  Happy Sunday!

6.08.2011

Now my summer can officially begin!

I went into school today for last time til August 1.  My room is as ready as it will be for summer school and I hope the people who are in there are kind.  And they leave my stuff alone!  That's the downfall of someone else using your room - they think they can use your things and you won't mind/know/care.  Anway, my room looks presentable, things are where they should be, but it's not great.  That will be August.  I will have to put up bulletin boards, rearrange the room and make it look like I've been in there the whole time!  Hahaha!

Now I can begin my summer vacation.  I think I have 8.5 weeks left now, so time to get cracking.  First up - Legoland tomorrow with my daughter.  I haven't been in awhile, so this will be nice, a mommy/daughter day.  We may even go spend some time at the beach, if it's warm enough.  We are about 70 miles away from the beach, yet we have the lovely marine layer today.  It's 1:30 and 69*.  Sorry for those of you suffering through the heat...come to SoCal...we are unseasonably chilly (yea, I even have a sweater on today and am thinking of curling up in bed, under the covers!). 

I am also going to deep clean my entire house, revamp my laundry room (Lowe's...here I come!), re-do my kitchen and find my art table.  We'll see how soon that all gets done. I'm thinking of July.  I just haven't decided upon which year to get it all done in!  :)

Plus, I need to start working on stuff for school (maybe July 1 is a good day to start) and I need to start and finish my last 2 classes by July 31 just so I am done and safe and ready to get more $!!!  I can handle that! 

Happy Wednesday all!  To celebrate being officially on summer break, I am going to go take a nap.  My daughter is asleep, so I will join her, too!

6.07.2011

I see the light!

Today was another productive day.  My hubby went to school with me and we moved EVERYTHING out of my old classroom and into my new one.  I got some good organizing done as well, but there is still more to go.  At this point in time, my room is useable for summer school, just not my desk.  There are still 4 boxes on my desk of things I need to put away/file/throw away, etc.  Tomorrow.  There is always tomorrow! 

I was able to organize my construction paper a bit, but there is still a stack go through.  I also need to organize the cabinets better, but it was more of a mad dash to get things moved in before summer school started.  I had been told originally that I had all the time I wanted to move my stuff and I could take my time, even into the next school year.  But then, right before school was out, I was told the intervention teacher was moving in there.  So, I knew I had to get my stuff out, but was planning on doing after summer school was over when I could take my time.  And then yesterday, I was told that a high school summer class was going to be in there.  I made sure all my stuff was out today.  I'm sorry, but high school summer school is just babysitting for 5 hours a day for 5 weeks.  Insane!

Once I got home, I decided to tackle my laundry room.  This room is a thorn in my side because it is the messy room in the house and the catch all room for all the other crap.  We have a pantry in there, but it's in an awkward spot.  There are 3 doors, actually, in the room: one from the outside(that we never use), one leading to the bathroom and then the door from the kitchen to the launsry room.  It's door overkill if you ask me.  So there is very little wall space and the space we do have it useless.  I cleaned it from top to bottom (but not under the washer or dryer...I'll wait til I get new ones!) and even scrubbed the floor on my hands and knees.  The only way to get it really clean!  I was thinking of painting the laundry room orange (it's green now), but decided against it.  I will just accent it with other colors, add some pop and go from there.  I did get some crap thrown away, so that makes me feel better.  I always feel a little better when I get things thrown away...especially when my hubby is gone and can't complain! 

I signed up last night for my last 2 classes I need to take.  They are both art classes.  There will be 35+ art projects to do and about 30 journals to write, plus an art critque and visits to art museums.  I need to find places around where I live (I don't live by LA and where I do live, there isn't much "culture" within close vicinity or that is cheap!).  So, my summer will be busy with that, once I get started.  I am hoping tonight to get some work done so I can feel a bit more accomplished and on the road to being done. 

Other than working in my room, I haven't really done any school work.  I have a lot of ideas in my head, but I haven't had the desire or time to sit down and play.  I am hoping to in the next week or so.  Then I can  some stuff done and be really ready for next year. 

Time to get some dinner started, start on my giant mountain o'laundry and watch some TV.  Happy Tuesday!

6.06.2011

Productive Monday

I love it when things come together and the pieces start to fall into place.  That's how my day has gone so far, and it's only 2:30!  Love it!

I went to school today to clean up the massive moving mess that I created last week.  It's not all put away or arganized by any means, but it's starting to look like a classroom!  I got a lot of stuff moved, put away or placed where it needs to go.  I even moved my desks into place, just so I could get a feel for where things will go once August hits.  Summer school starts next week, so I need to have my act together (and my crap put away) before they come in.  I am not thrilled with summer school being there, but what can you do?  Oh, and to add a little more stress, I just foud out that my old room (where I still have all my art supplies) will be used for high schoolers in summer school.  So, tomorrow hubby will be with me to help me move it all over.  I don't want to leave it in there and people think it's a free for all!  That's on tap for tomorrow, but I feel so good knowing I got a lot done today, which makes me do happy!

Once I came home, I got to work on finishing up the work for my independant study class.  It's now done and ready to go in the mail tomorrow!  I have done 3 classes in 3 months!  2 more to go and I get to move over on the salary scale and make a bit more money, which will be good since we are taking another pay cut and our insurance rates are going up.  Again.  They are getting us left and right, but I am a little less stressed knowing there will be a few more pennies in the checking account come October.  I will sign up for my next class tonight and try to get it done within the next 2 weeks.  We'll see how it goes.  I have 2 more art classes to do and then I am done with classes forever!  I don't want a Ph. D, and I will be as far over as I can go by October.  I will be able to concentrate on helping my hubby with his job and helping my daughter with her homework for Kindergarten! 

Well, I should go and get something else done before I crash.  I feel a nap coming on, but my daughter isn't sleepy and wants to play.  Happy Monday!

6.05.2011

Trying to get to summer vacation

I have now completed one week of summer vacation and I feel like I haven't had a break yet!  Here was my week in a nutshell...not very excitingm but it was my week!

- Monday - Memorial Day - Running errands, BBQ in the evening
- Tuesday - go to school, clean cabinets all morning
- Wednesday - move my entire classroom
- Thursday - hubby's swearing in - OK, that was exciting
- Friday - Kinder orientation & subsequent freak out over my daughter going to Kinder and then changing her to a new school before the school year even starts!  Oh, I spent about 3 hours+ on the computer doing homework for a class that I need to get done this week.  Only 15 more hours to go...

Yesterday I spent the day outside working on the weeds. I also got my roses planted that have been sitting there for a month, so that's one more things that't done.  But, between getting a lovely blister on the palm of my hand and trying to break a finger, it was time to call it quits for the day (or the week) and rest.  A dip in the spa, a shower and a nap were what I needed.  I then proceeded to sit on the couch all night, watch 16 and Pregnant on On Demand and then go to bed at like 10pm.  I know, party animal here!  But, allergies are making a mess of my head.  I really need summer to be here in all it's glory to help allergies go away.  But, Mother Nature is a bit bipolar in my area.  We barely hit 80 yesterday, when we should be in the 90's.  And, there were some places near LA that got rain.  Unheard of for June!  But, I know our heat will be here soon enough and then we will be hoping for a cooler month (December is normally coooling off for us!). 

This week, my plans are:
- Monday - go to school and put away all the stuff I moved.
- Tuesday - same as Monday
- Wednesday - I am hoping to be done with moving, but if not, I have to be done by today.  Summer school starts next week in my room, so.....Oh, and I have an IEP for my daughter at that time, too!  Busy day!
- Thursday - find more time to rest and relax
- Friday - Legoland?  We'll see how the weather is and what we are doing. 

Oh, and I also need to plan my daughter's birthday.  She said she just wants to go to Legoland with Mommy and Daddy because we are her friends.  Cute, but a little sad.  All her friends from preschool bailed for the summer, so we don't have a lot of them to invite.  We invited a lot last year and no one came.  I was devestated, she didn't care.  So, we'll start figuring this out and see what happens!

Looks like it;s for me to get up and moving.  For those of you still in school, I wish you a speedy week.  For those of you on vacation, I wish you a week of relaxation!  Happy Sunday!

6.03.2011

I hope I made the right choice

Wow!  Today has been quite a day, and it isn't even noon in my part of the country!  I have had a busy and eventful day and I am now hoping I have made the right choice for my daughter!  I am hoping to hear from people who have experience in this to know if I am doing something right or if I am just plain crazy.  It could be both!

We had Kinder orientation today at the school she is supposed to go to.  It was an hour of this is what your child needs to be able to do in Kinder and how you can help them at home in the summer.  No problem, I can do that and have been doing that for the last couple years now anyway!  The mix of students was about half and half - half EO's and half EL's.  It's about what I had expected from the school, so it was no big shock. 

The big shock came when my hubby told me that charter school he'd like her to go to called and said they had a spot for her.  I had already written the school off and was content sending her to the school she was supposed to go to.  But then, I didn't get the warm fuzzy feeling from the school today and had almost convinced myself I needed to quit my job and homeschool my daughter forever.  Practical?  No, but it's my daughter. 

I drove to the charter school to see if someone was there, and lo and behold they were.  I talked with them (they were a little perturbed that we didn't return their call and they said they called like 3 days ago) but they put her down as coming for the next school year.  In my heart of hearts, I don't know if I made the right choice, but I am hoping it was.  My hubby was all flustered and crabby earlier, so he told me to just make a choice.  What I really wanted to do was just sit and cry and have someone give me the answers, but I know it doesn't work that way. 

I wonder if the students we teach, if the parents ever worry and wonder if they are making the right choice.  I know my parents never thought twice about sending us to public school - we just went where we were told to go.  I think my education was OK, but nothing fabulous.  Elementary was pretty good, but middle and high school - I think the teachers were so-so.  Some were great, but some just plain sucked. 

I look at my daughter, my one and only child and I want the very best for her.  I wish I had a crystal ball, or a magic-8 ball at that, to make sure I was doing the best thing for her.  Part of it is the feeling that nothing is good enough for her and that I need to protect her and make sure she has the best.  I know if we don't like the charter school, we can always move her to her home school and hope for the best.  I feel a tiny bit better about the charter school than her home school, which surprises me, since I feel like charter schools go against what I believe as a teacher.  They shouldn't but they do. 

Anyone else have any dealings with charter schools?  PLEASE let me know what you think!  I feel like I am in a fog now and can't think straight anymore!  Time to veg on the couch for a bit and do some thinking! 

6.02.2011

Tired

I am so very tired today and I am not even at work!  Today was a very exciting day as my hubby was sworn in to practice law in the great state of California.  It's been 5 1/2 years in the making, but it finally happened!  I am so proud of him and all his hard work.  He went to law school while caring for a newborn, then a baby, then a toddler and into her preschool years.  Not an easy thing to do for anyone, much less a student.  But, he did great and will now start out in his new adventure. 

Today we had the swearing in ceremonies.  We were up and out of the house by 6am, which is early for me anytime of the year, but especially when I am on vacation.  And, I am still worn out from moving yesterday.  But, it was well worth it and such an exciting time for us. 

Tomorrow will be the Kindergarten orientation for my daughter.  I am interested to hear what they have to say about what the kids need to know before they go to school.  From the letter we got when we signed her up, they want them to know all the kinder standards before school starts in August!  Hmmm.  Seems fishy to me, but we'll see.  My hubby told me that we got a call from the charter school we tried to get her in that they have a spot.  That scares me since 16 students have dropped from the class already.  The school's lease is up soon and the land they were going to build on was denied approval by the county.  So, I don't know if I want her to go to a school that may be defunct soon.  We'll see.

Well, it's the late hour of 7:30 here and I think I am off to lala land.  Today has been exhausting and I am ready to call it a day!  Happy Thursday all!

6.01.2011

Moving Day...part 1

Today was moving day whether anyone was ready or not!  I was at school at 9am and both the custodians were there.  As soon as I got there, they were ready to move me.  I was surprised, since I really doubted they would remember I was moving.  But, after some grumbling from one custodian and the energy of 12 small children from the other, the big stuff is moved.  And, my room looks like a cluster*%!# right now.  I am not too happy, but I guess it is my own doing. 

All my furniture from my old room came to my new room.  I got rid of all the furniture in the new room, with the exception of 2 booksshelves, but I may end up getting rid of them.  I have to see where it's all going to go.  And that is my issue.  My other room was bigger (and nicer) than the one I am going into, so there is less space for all my crap.  And, there is an entire wall of cabinets, along with a sink that takes up 1/4 of the room.  In my old room, my desk and shelves were in the corner where now sink is.  And, the electrical panel and stuff takes up wall space that I need, but will have to do without. 

I did get my computer hooked up.  I don't love where it's at, but I think it will have to stay there, unless I have cords running all over the floor.  I know where my calendar/word wall/math wall is going, but that's about it.  I am going to have to do some pretty fancy organizing to make it look "right" to me. 

Oh, and then there's that pesky thing called summer school.  They are using my new room, so I have to have all the crap that's in the middle of my room moved, put away and looking presentable by the end of next week.  Yeah, no stress at all.  I doubt I will have anything ready for next year, but that's OK.  Once I get my room arranged the way I want it, and have things put away where they belong, I will have a little less stress.  I hope. 

I came home after working in my room and decided the smart thing to do would be to work outside.  I sat on my little rock area of my backyard and pulled weeds for a couple hours.  Now I am tired, sore and ready for a nap.  I think reading on the couch will have to do, as I think hubby wants to go shopping tonight for a new shirt for his big swearing in tomorrow!  If so, In-N-Out, here I come! 

Happy Wednesday!