12.30.2011

Resolutions...or things I want to get done this next year

Wow! I can't believe that 2011 is almost gone.  It was quite a year, really, but I am not terribly sad to see it go.  There were a lot of good things that happened this year, so I can't complain really.  Hubby passed the bar, my daughter started Kindergarten and I finished all my classes forever.  Or until I decide to learn something new!  ;)

Come January, I am always excited for the new year.  I always set lofty expectations for myself that I rarely accomplish.  And then the following December (like now) I tell myself that this is the year I will do it.  I am trying to set some loftier goals, but let's face it...that's not me!  I always say I will lose weight.  Thanks to Weight Watchers, I am on that freaking long ass journey.  Who knew it would take me forever?  I always say I will be more organized.  What I should say is I will buy less crap and not have it in my house or classroom.  Ha!  If I don't buy it, I am printing it off from other fabulous bloggers and adding to my collection of files that I may or may not use in the future!  But, at least I am trying!  :)

This year, I have thought of a couple goals more school related.  I feel like in the last couple years I have slacked off as a teacher.  It's not from laziness, but from the fact that things have been so scripted and we have been told what to teach when, so a lot of the fun has been lost.  I am slowly trying to bring back some things I used to do that my students have liked, plus trying new things.  Sometimes I feel like I really suck at getting my kids excited about learning, but I am also comparing it to the classes that have more fun than learning, yet the kids "magically" are at grade level (but not really!).  I have come to understand that I have a job to do (teach my kids), but that I need to bring some of the joy back to learning.  I think I can do that with a little hard work and thinking a bit outside the box.  Thanks to wonderful bloggers who share their creative abilities with us, I am able to provide my kids with some "fun" while they are still learning. 

Another goal I have is to be more creative.  After taking 3 art classes this summer, I feel I am a little better prepared to teach my kids art.  It's been hard finding the time to fit it in, but we are slowly getting it done.  I am planning to doing some more formal art lessons when we return and get them thinking more artsy...or as artsy as we can be!  I know there are times when I am too rigid and by the book and making sure I follow my plans to a T, but I am going to try to go with the flow a bit more and see what happens.  My husband would die laughing at this thought, but hey, it's the thought at this point that may make something happen! 

Along those lines, I am going to try to be more creative and make more things I use in my class.  I have tons of teacher resource books, but some of them aren't the greatest or they are boring.  I'd rather make what my kids need.  I love everything that Kristin has and I am loving everything that Heather has, too.  I feel I am becoming a bit more creative by using their things.  I don't have the creativeness in me like they do, nor do I have (or make) the time to sit at the computer.  I don't buy clip art to use, nor do I want to.  I am trying to get more, but I buy a couple, use them and then see all the cuter things everyone else has.  But, I am going to try to see what I can do this year and make for me and my kids. 

Sitting here tonight with another week of vacation ahead of me (go ahead, make nasty faces at me!!!!), I am thinking about all the things I want to do in my classroom that I can't get into yet.  I never have liked the set up, so I think I may stay late one day and move it all around.  Yep, craziness talking, but move things to make it better.  Or at least get my desk away from the door.  I hate it there and don't use it.  I need it to be more teacher friendly and kid friendly.  It may take me a month to get it done (our school will probably be closed all week, lucky us), but I want it to be done by February so I can feel more at ease with my room.  I also need to organize things better.  Since I had to move in in a hurry, things are shoved here and there and there isn't a lot of rhyme or reason as to where things are.  That project may take me the rest of the year, but I can manage. 

Well, my pizza is ready.  Time to make a salad, sit down to eat dinner and start watching one of the 4 movies we got this weekend!  Happy almost New Year to you all! 

12.27.2011

11 in 11...a linky party



Kristin at A Teeny Tiny Teacher is hosting a linky party.  I have never done one before, so what the heck!  I can wait a little longer to get dressed for the day!  It's not even noon...yet!

11. Favorite movie you watched

Well, like the rest of the world, my favorite movie was The Help!  I read the book a year ago, and then counted down the days til it came to theaters.  My hubby took me on a date to see it!  He even thought it was a good movie.  I now have it on DVD and have watched it twice!  Love it!


10. Favorite TV series

I am too much of a couch potato to pick just one!  I really need to do more with my life I guess, but after working all day, it's nice to come home and relax at night and stare blankly at the TV!  But, to pick just one, I would have to say that's not possible.  I will give you my top 3!



9. Favorite restaurant

We just discovered Jason's Deli.  It's about 25 minutes away, but well worth it!  It's kid friendly, relatively healthy and not too pricey.  Plus, they have their food on a WW website, so I know how many points it is and I can judge if it's really worth it.  And free ice cream?  Hello!

8. Favorite new thing you tried

I hate to admit it, but I don't try many new things.  I would have to say Weight Watchers, though.  I finally hit the point where I needed to do something and was ready to do it.  It's a slow process, but we are getting there!
 
7. Favorite gift you received

I don't have a favorite gift I received, but I did buy myself an iPad 2.  My grandma had passed away and left the grandkids some money, so I bought it for myself.  I was going to buy one anyway when I finished my classes, so I just bought it sooner! 
6. Favorite thing you pinned

There are lots of things I pinned, but no favorite, really.  I just like to look for ideas on things I may never do and then laugh really hard at the humor part!
 
5. Favorite blog post

I don't have a favorite post.  My Walmart post got pretty heated!  
 
4. Favorite accomplishment

I finally decided this was the year to finish my classes to move all the way over on the pay scale.  I already had 2 master's degree's, but going to school out of state messed my units up a bit.  I needed 15 units to be done forever, so I did all 15 in 4 months!  It was a lot of razy work, but it's done!
 
3. Favorite picture

I don't know if I have a picture that is my favorite.  My daughter's school picture is my fave right now, but I don't have it for all to see!  Sorry!  Some things are better left secret!
 
2. Favorite memory

This is easy!  My hubby passed the bar in May!  We were so nervous the day the results would be posted (6pm on a Friday night!).  He tried to keep himself busy and even went to the neighbors house to keep occupied.  It seems like so long ago now that he passed!  We were jumping up and down, screaming, the whole shebang!  Then his swearing in was pretty memorable, too!  Nothing like being in a historic courthouse and not being in trouble with the law!
 
1. Goal for 2012

I have several goals for 2012.  I will just list a couple!
a. Be more spontaneous at work.  Sometimes we get off on a tangent and we are having such a good discussion, but then we always end up doing what was planned.  Plans can be changed and there will always be another day to do the work!
b. Go back to the days of fun.  We have become so rigid in teaching that the fun is gone.  The kids need the fun.  I am going to try to give that to my kids a little more, but still teach them what they need to know!
c. Give myself some more me time.  I hate that it sounds so selfish, but I don't take time for me.  I go to work, come home take care of my family and dinner and plan, but there is little time for me to enjoy being by myself.  I need to do that more and take care of myself! 
 
There is a nutshell of my 11 for 11!  Enjoy!

12.26.2011

The day after

Well, it's the day after Christmas. I am tired, full and happy. I had a great Christmas with my family. I always build it up in my head to something big and grand and end up disappointed. But not this year. It was very nice and was what I was hoping for. Actually, it was a little better than what I was expecting, so that was extra nice!

Our day started with our family Christmas. My daughter spent an hour opening gifts. She did get a lot, but she took her time opening each gift, looking at it, analyzing it, thanking us for it and then moving on to the next gift. Her big gift was a camera. I had high hopes for the Hello Kitty camera that we got her, but it is cheaply made and the flash isn't working. We may have to take it back and get her a real camera. She loves taking pictures, so this way she can have her own camera. One day, when she is older, I want to get her a real camera. I don't know much about takingictures, other than I push the button and we have 5,000 pictures on memory sticks!

We had Christmas at our house this year. My parents and my in laws and my brother and sister in law came over. We had an Italian Christmas with penne, sausage and meatballs and lasagna. I made a veggie lasagna. I think it was really good. We had enough food for the military! Between the appetizers, dinner and dessert, we ate more than we should have. But it was worth it.

This week is back to reality. I have to get in gear in terms of losing weight. I have been a bad tracker with my food and have eaten whatever I want, not worrying about the consequences, like gaining weight. I have been pretty bummed aboutit this week, but that hasn't stopped me from shoving food down my pie hole. So tonight, I will break out the exercise equipment once again. I have 2 weeks before going back to work, so it's time to once again get serious and drop more wight. I was down 14 pounds, which isn't a lot, but it's better than having those 14 pounds still hanging around. I have a lot to go, so it's time toget serious. We are going to Florida in June, so I have a goal to look better for then. We'll see how it goes!

I still have 2 weeks left of vacation. I am very happy to have the extended break. My daughter goes back next Tuesday, so I have one more week with her. I want to be able to do things with her, but at the same time, I want to be able to stay home and enjoy the time at home without going out all over and spending money we don't have. Plus, it's going to be in the 70's all week long, so it will be nice to work outside, get my planters ready for winter (if it comes) and clean it up from the Enid of summer and fall. We'll see what we get done. Hopefully a trip to the Safari Park and the movies will cap our vacation!

I should go and try to put away all the stuff we bought today. Yeah, I am one of those who goes out the day after Christmas to get stuff for next year. I actually bought some little gifts for my kids next year and for my daughters class next year. 50% off and ahead of time...SOLD! We also got wrapping paper, boxes and assorted crap that we may or may not need. I still need to get more plastic tubs to store my christmas stuff in and get a tub or tubs for my daughters tree and ornaments. But that will be later this week when I take Christmas down. I may do it sooner than later...I feel like i need to start the new year clean and organized, so we will see. Happy Monday and a great continued vacation!

12.23.2011

1 down, 2 to go

Wow! I can't believe that my first week of vacation is over. And I am sad isn't tons of stuff to show for it. My house is cleaner than its been in weeks, my shopping and wrapping is done and there is now some baking to do. But, it has been nice to not be at work. I love mymkids, but this is a much needed break that I am happy to have every year.

Here is a brief recap of my first week of vacation:
Monday - cleaned my "art room". It is actually what should be the dining ro om, but I have no dining table or fancy china or any use for it, so I use it for my arts and crafts and school stuff. It was all piled high. Now it's a cleaner mess!

Tuesday- I took our neighbor to the airport and then my daughter and I went to breakfast, did some shopping and then came home and had lunch. I then proceeded to sleep on the couch on and off for the next 3 hours. I guess I needed it, but boy was I lazy!

Wednesday- kitchen cleaning day. Now, I could have just cleaned the counters and floors and been done, but no, I had to deep clean the whole thing. I even cleaned the inside of the cabinets, just for fun. I have to admit though, I took my time and had fun using my new shark mop. I thought it would be OK, but it's great! No more cleaning the floor on my hands and knees!

Thursday- my daughter and I went and did a little more shopping. We then met my hubby for lunch and then we came home and wrapped the last few gifts. We went out last night to see a friend of my hubby get sworn in as a lawyer, then we went to the Mission Inn to check out their Christmas light display. Many, many people had the same idea as we did. Crazy! We then went to dinner at our favorite deli (Jason's Deli...we have one in CA, I'm glad it's just 20 miles away!!!!). And then came home and got out of the wind. I am done with the wind in CA...too many days of Santa Ana winds and my hands are paying the price.

Friday- finished the cleaning and laundry. May get around to baking later with my daughter or we'll do it tomorrow. I want to get some cookies made and some cupcakes for Christmas day, along with getting the veggies ready for my veggie lasagna. We are doing Christmas with my Grannies tomorrow, since she has decided she isn't leaving her home anymore. So we will go ambush her there! And then I have to get ready for Sunday, as we are having it at ourmhouse! A bit scary since the last time was 5 years ago when my dauhter was 6 months old! But I am excited for it and glad that my daughter can be at home for the big day!

I am signing off til Monday at least. I wish you all a Merry Christmas and hope that everyone has a great time with family and friends and has a very relaxing break away from school.

12.19.2011

I can get used to this

Day 1 of no school was a good day.  I didn't do anything too exciting, so don't be jealous.  In fact, I cleaned and did laundry.  Not the most exciting thing, but it feels good to get things cleaned and organized that have been left to sit and collect dust.  And glitter.  And paper scraps.  But, it is getting cleaned and organized now.  That's a very good thing about vacation! 

I also played secretary girl for the hubby.  He was gone almost all day with appts, so I got to answer the phone and all that fun stuff.  It cut into the time of cleaning, but it helped him, so that was good.  Tomorrow I get to take our neighbor to the airport, so I think I will do a little shopping after dropping her off.  I will have my daughter with me, so we can have some time together.  Too bad we have to leave at 7:30.  So much for sleeping in! 

I moved my school bag 3 times today.  Once to move the table, once to vaccum the floor and once to put it back where it was to begin with.  I don't even want to look in it til after Jan. 2.  I figure I will enjoy the break now and then get serious about working once the holidays are over.  If I am bored in the next week (hahahahaha) I will look at stuff, but, I don't see that happening.  I have books to read, presents to wrap and sitting on my butt to do!  That all takes precedence over school work!  :) 

Time to get back to something...I think since it's after 7:30, sitting on my butt reading or watching TV or having my daughter read to me will be the thing to do tonight.  I am tired from cleaning today, but at least it's the good tired of I-got-something-done.  Happy Monday!

12.16.2011

Hello vacation!

Vacation is here! I am so tired and so glad that vacation is here. Time to rest, relax and enjoy being with my family! Happy Friday!

12.15.2011

'Twas the day before vacation...

...and the kids were going nutty! Luckily mine have been pretty good, so it's OK. I think we are all ready for a nice break before we get into the meat and bones of our curriculum. We have a lot to do when we get back to get ready for second grade, but before that, we will have some fun.



This week, we have been doing more craftivities than real learning, but we are working on fine motor skills and following directions. Here is a look at what we have done this year for Christmas! Enjoy the walk through the classroom!




Our Christmas trees they did at home! I got the pattern from Kristin at A Teeny Tiny Teacher.  My kids loved doing them at home.  I hope the parents did, too.  I love how they are all different.






Our Christmas light names.  I saw this on Pinterest and had to do it.  2 others in my grade level copied my idea.  Of course one teacher made it seem like it was her own original idea. 



GIngerbread people...after our week of Gingerbread stories. 



Poinsettias...we talked a little about Christmas in Mexico and made these last week.  It's kind of ironic that over half my kids are from Mexico (or their parents are...the kids were all born here) and they had never seen a poinsettia before. 

 Oops...all our gingerbread people!
 We wrote about one gift we wanted for Christmas and then we put it on a "gift" and wrapped it. 

 Our wreaths...they were not loving this project at all.  They whined and complained the whole time.  :(

 My new favorite project...I saw this at Teacher Bits and Bobs.  I did it with my intervention group (I have the highs!) and they loved it.  So easy to make!  And I am so mad at myself for never thinking of the magic oval or magic circle!  What a fabulous way to do it.  Check out their blog for more details!  I will make sure I do this one every year! 


 I saw this somewhere last year and it's my new favorite tree.  It's made of 10 hearts, turned upside down.  Cut out, glue together and decorate.  This was the best looking one.  The rest didn't look like a tree at all.  Kinda pathetic, really!
Tomorrow will be the last day.  We have our assembly in the morning for Student of the Month and then we will be making the giant nutcracker.  We did it last year and when I told the kids about it, they have been so excited!  I got all the pieces cut for it this year (last year I did it as I went along!) so we will start it in the morning and finish by lunch.  After lunch will be a movie and cookies and then they will leave at 1:55!  I can't wait!  I have some work to do after school, but I figure I can still be home by 3:30 and start my vacation! 

Happy almost Friday!

12.13.2011

So few days, yet so much time

OK, there really isn't that much time, but sometimes the day just seems to drag on.  Today was one of those days.  My kids weren't feeling it with the wreath project, which led to a lot of whining and complaining and mess on the floor.  Not good.  I thought they would love the project over a math test.  I guess I was wrong.  I was working on their ornaments during the afternoon which took forever!  We made the applesauce and cinnamon ornaments today.  They were a huge mess.  I forgot my bowl and spoon at home (along with the keys to my classroom!) so I had to use a small bowl and plastic spoon.  Talk about a mess.  But I got them done (and have a sore throat now from all the cinnamon) and they look cute.  My classroom...not so much.  It's a giant mess right now.  I hope the custodian at least vacuum's up a little of the glitter I knocked onto the floor by accident, but then incorporated into my ornaments.  Ugh...Today felt like a Monday!

Tomorrow we will be finishing up a million and one things and starting just one new project.  If we get it all done, it will be a miracle.  Oh and I still have DRA's to finish and progress reports to do.  Yikes!  And to top it off, I have 2 SST's on Thursday in the morning when I have been doing my DRA testing, so that kills that time.  Guess I need to have the kids read at mach 4 tomorrow! 

I have a gazillion things to do between now and Thursday night, so this will be short and sweet.  I guess I should work out really quick, get some of my projects started and then see what comes next.  I love the idea of vacation coming soon, but there is so much to do this week.  I can make it...!

12.11.2011

Freebie for a Sunday

I don't know about you, but I can hardly wait til Friday at 1:56.  That's when the bell will ring for the last time in 2011 and my kids will be on their way to a 3 week vacation!  Don't get me wrong, I love my class this year, but this teacher is on major burnout and running on fumes.  I am tired, fighting a cold and ready to spend some time at home with my family. 

I have 5 days to keep the kids busy.  For my focus group time, which is our intervention time, I have the high group.  Mind you, it's just 3 of the 5 first grade classes that switch for this time (don't ask, it's a long story that still makes me angry) and it's only the English speakers (all the EL's are at ELD at this time), so I have 14 kids for 30 minutes.  9 of them are mine and the other 5 come from the other 2 classes.  I am tired of finding things to do (it's a lot easier for me to work with the lows, but I was burned out from them) that are interesting and exciting and not boring to the kids.  Last week we talked about the moom and they had fun!

This week, we will do some fun with reindeer activities.  I sat down today and made up this mini unit about reindeer.  I took it from the non fiction stand point.  We will read some fiction stories and then compare with the non fiction information we will learn.  I hope you can use it this week or next year, if you'd like!  If you do download, please be kind and comment.  Thanks! 

Have a great week with your kiddos!  Hope it's a great last week!

12.07.2011

Half way through

I am glad today is Wednesday. For us, we have minimum day. The kids leave early and we are able tom do what we want with our time. We can work, go home, whatever. For me, I stay and work. I'd rather have the time to get things ready, though i haven't gotten a lot done in a long time. I guess my motivation and energy aren't there. :(. It will be back come January!

Today was a good day. My kids were very conversational today and we were late getting things done, but it was fun to just talk and listen to their thought processes. I have to say, I love my kids and I have the best class of all. My kids are just great. Of course, there are those who make me bang my head on the wall, but they are still pretty lovable in their own way. I am I. The middle of assessments, so there is a lot of timei am one on one instead of reading with them like I should be. Next week will be all assessing in the morning with them doing busy work and some fun. I hate giving busy work, but sometimes we gotta do what we gotta do.

I came home today with the beginnings of a cold. I think it'll hit hard and fast. I was fine all day til I gotin my car to come home. :(. I took some meds, took a short nap and then hubby woke me up to go to dinner. We went to eat, and then had to run home to wait for our new couches to come! They are finally here after 3 weeks of waiting. And they brought the wrong couch, that they could have brought 3 weeks ago! At least we got the upgraded couch for no money. Hopefully they don't realize their error. But if they do, it comes from their pocket. They delivered it as is, so...Now I just have to wait for my heater to be fixed...2 more days. It's been in the 20's in the morning, so it's pretty frosty in my house. But, I know how to dress in layers and I like sleeping with lots of blankets, anyway!

Thank goodness the week is almost over. Tomorrow night I have to stay at school til 7:30 for art night. I like doing it, just not when I am tired and getting sick. Hopefully we have a good turn out and the kids hae fun. I think I am off to try out how the new couch works for laying down! :) Happy Wednesday!

Luckily Tuesday was better!

Yes, it's true...Tuesday was better, even though I thought it was Wednesday when I woke up yesterday. Reality was a slight bummer. The day was pretty good, and my kid who hasntbdone much in a month or more did all his work. It took a lot of reminding him, moving his seat and reminding him of missing recess, but it got done. So, he got all his recess and his hand stamp. He was in heaven last night playing his video game.

Last night was a crazy night. We are finally getting our new couches today, so we had to take the old one out, clean the floor and then sit and wait. Before that, I had to fold the mountain of laundry that was on the couch and then get all the other crap off the couch. Oh, I had to make dinner, do dishes, get my daughter to bed........you get the idea. School work? Nah, it took a ride home with me and will ride back to school with me today. Maybe today.

It has been miserably cold here for us. Each morning has been well below freezing at my house. The other day it was 24. Today it's a warm 28. And I have morning duty this week. It's a bit warmer at 8:40, but it's still cold. And it's been chilly all week long, though we are supposed to be about 65 today, which is still chilly. I miss the 90 degrees of summer. That's why I live here. I like it being warm. Oh, and did I mention my heater went out at home? Yep. No heat and my house is freezing. I sleep with like 5 blankets (and imsleep well!) but I freeze getting ready, eating breakfast, all the things I do in the morning. Hopefully the heater guy will be here early and the couch guys will be here early and I can enjoy my night in a warm, comfy house!

I guess I should get ready for work. It's Wedensday, which is a short day, but still so much to do. Hopefully I am motivated enough to getnstuff done and not have to bring anything home. Happy Wednesday!

12.05.2011

Sometimes Mondays just suck

Ok, today didn't suck too bad, but it was a Monday. And I am exhausted. I am glad that it's over and tomorrow is a new day. It started off crappy and only went slightly uphill. Luckily the school day ended on a good note with a little fun!

I have a student who is probably ADD. He is very distracted all the time and barely pays attention to anything I say or do. He is too busy flipping his hair around (it's too long forma boy and always in his eyes), too busy rocking around and playing with things on the floor. There hasn't been one day where he has finished work on his own in the time allowed tHis whole year. I've talked to mom, but she wears me out. She behaves like she was a tweaked, but I think she is just very hyper. She makes excuses for her son as to why he doesn't do his work. she says she was the same way, so it's ok for him. She says he doesn't like school, he knows it already (he's one of my lowest) and he's bored. Well, do the work and you can have some fun. Today he missed all recess time and missed social studies since we were having fun and he got to go to the office. I was happy he missed the fun, but I doubt he even cared. sad, really. I feel bad for him, since his house must be chaotic. Mom says that they have no money, so they are all worried about that. It makes me sad that he is so out in left field that he can't and won't concentrate, try or care about his work. He is young, too, which doesn't help, but there are other young ones who are doing ok.

Speaking of young kids, our state is changing the cut off for birthdates for going into kinder. Right now, students have to be 5 by December 2. That's great and all, but we start in August. It's a long time til November or December when they are young. My lowest kids for the most part just turned 6 within the last 6 weeks. They were low in kinder and they are still low. Most are boys, too. Starting next year, the cutoff will be September 2. I wonder if it will make a difference? Anyone have an early cutoff for kinder? Can you see a difference?

Today we started our Christmas around the world. We learned a bit about the Netherlands. The kids loved making the little clog. I am hoping to get their pencils and stickers in them tomorrow morning, but imhave 3 places to be tomorrow before school and one of them isn't my classroom.:(. Maybe after recess!

Just 9 more days...I am counting down the hours! Hope everyone else had a great Monday. I am hoping for a great Tuesday!

12.04.2011

Weekend Update...and a freebie!

Wow!  Where did the weekend go?  I feel like I need another day or 2 off to recover from last week.  It was a good week, but I am tired.  I think the year, the weather and the stress and frustration are catching up to me, and I am not liking it at all.  :(  Kinda bumming today.  But, the bright spot - only 2 more weeks til a nice 3 week vacation!  :)

I am going to start my Christmas Around the World unit.  I bought the unit from Rachelle at What the Teacher Wants and I love it.  I am going to tweak it a bit to make it mine, but I like that a lot of the thinking has been done for me!  It's funny how a lot of the activities are the same as what I have done in the past.  Makes me feel good that I did something right, and glad that there is someone with more time and desire to put it all together.  We are going to talk about the Netherlands, Germany and Mexico this week.  I hope.  That's the plan, anyway.  We'll see how it turns out.  If (and it's a big IF) I remember to take my camera, there will be pics.  No promises, tho! 

My students really enjoyed the Christmas tree problem solving last week.  You can get it from Teachers Pay Teachers for just $1!  What a deal!  I also posted a new unit this week on Gingerbread cookies.  This one has 5 mini lessons for math all using the cute little gingerbread cookies.  Makes me hungry.  You can pick it up at TpT as well.  If you want to see how your kids will like it, here is a freebie page to share with them! 

With having just 10 days left, it's crunch time for my poor kids.  Progress reports go home next week, so testing needs to happen.  I swear we just did report cards yesterday and it's time to assess again.  It's so frustrating.  And to top it off, when we get back, we have about 3 weeks til our next benchmark test and then it will be time to assess for report cards.  Sometimes I just want to teach and not worry about assessing.  I know where they are, I just want to teach and get them higher!  Is that too much to ask for? 
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Speaking of teaching, this has been driving me insane lately.  Our second grade team is a bunch of whiners.  In the 3 years now that I have been there and they have had my kids (and all of 1st grades kids, but mine are in there!), I hear nothing but whining and complaining about where the kids are.  A day doesn't go by when they aren't talking about what the kids can't do.  A week doesn't go by when I don't get asked about one of my kids and why I didn't retain them (um, that's not the answer to everything, ya know?!).  I think all of us in 1st grade work really hard to get our kids to grade level, or as darn close as we can.  I do, anyway.  There are some kids who leave us in May (or June) and are just at grade level and then spend the summer doing nothing.  Well, of course they will regress.  That's where it's the job of the next teacher to work with them and get them moving again.  We have been in school for 16 weeks now, and they are still complaining about where the kids are and how low they are.  Um, here's a solution - work with them more!  Now, before you all jump all over me and say they are doing their best, I will say, OK, maybe they are.  But, humor me for a bit.  Our second graders have an extra hour and a half of intervention for the kids who need it.  That's 90 minutes that the kids are out of the room and in with the intervention teachers.  There are about 95 kids in 2nd grade and about 30 or so go to intervention.  Um, something it wrong.  They send the kids they don't want in the rooms and hope for the best.  That leaves about 18 kids per room after that.  That would be a great time to do small group (but they don't really know what that is, I don't think).  I would give my right arm to have less kids and be able to do small group more than I do, but it isn't happening in 1st grade (we are the forgotten grade who doesn't get a lot of anything - time, resources, etc). 

It makes me sad for the kids to hear the teachers talking crap about them.  It makes me mad when I know the teacher isn't working with the child to give them extra support so they aren't struggling.  It frustrates me when kids in 2nd are being retained into 1st grade now in the year because they are too far behind and they haven't gotten any help in 2nd grade.  And it pisses me off that they are allowed to do it and get away with whatever they want.  I have a very hard time putting my kids into classes at the end of the year.  There are only 4 teachers, so they have to go somewhere.  And only one of them doesn't complain as much as the others.  The other 3 are relentless and have nothing nice to say about any child they have in their class.  My group last year was really good and they were pretty close to grade level, if they weren't there.  But, to listen to the teachers, you'd think we gave them kids who drool all day and are menaces to society.  Anyone else have that where they work?  Please tell me I'm not alone?  I hope I am alone and that all you have great grade levels who truly work with the kids and give them the best they have. 

As for me, I have given myself a new challenge.  I don't have any parent helpers in my class, nor do I have any aide time.  It bothered me before, but now, I have decided to embrace it.  My goal is to make sure my kids do very well without having all the extras that the others have.  One teacher has 4 aides at one point in the day.  4 aides!  I have decided that I am going to push my kids to be better, work harder and take more pride in their work.  While my class is higher overall than the others, it doesn't mean that they are better (in fact, my group this year freaks when they are assessed, so our scores suck!), nor do I let them think they are better - I just make them work harder, which means we might not do as much fun and art and play as the other classes, but what we know and do in class speaks louder than the words from the one who always has to one up all of us. 

Well, this has been a long, rambling post, but I feel a bit better.  I will be so glad when break comes and I can destress for a bit!  Here's to a great, although chilly, windy week ahead.  I miss summer!  Happy Sunday!   

12.01.2011

I don't think we're in Kansas anymore

Holy wind! What a crazy, nutty day! We are in the midst of the worst wind storm in a decade. I think it's about 9 years, but who's counting? Luckily I live where the winds haven't been as bad as some places, but it's still cold, windy and dry. And it makes the kids go berserk. Mine were pretty good today, so I won't complain!

This week has flown by! I am so glad, as I am in need of a long vavction. I love my kids, but I am almost burned out. Burn out is mostly from staff I work with and the crap that we all go through. I am done with one of the teachers and her constant whining about one thing and then her constant one-upping of whatever it is someone says. Anyone else work with someone like that? They have had it happen to them worse, more often, done it better or did it first, no matter what it is. I have this one beat on being married and having a kid, but everything else - ugh. I enjoy the dys when she is gone and we have a quiet lunch. Today was one of those days. Thank you!

I think I have finally come to peace with the fact that my student who is Jehovah's witness just misses out and can color. I m done trying to make it all religion friendly. It's too hard when all the otherclassess are having fun. This week we talked about pine trees and their parts and needs, but then we also talked about how they are Christmas trees. Tomorrow we will do an art project to go with our writing and have. Little fun. We'll also make a cute project I found on line. If I remember to take a picture, you might see it by the weekend! :)

I think tonight will be a total veg night. I am tired, cold and not motivated to do anything. Sorry exercise, you lose tonight. Maybe to tomorrow...or Saturday...or...thank goodness tomorrow is Friday. It's been a good week, but I am ready for the weekend. A little cleaning, a little project and Legoland may be in the weekend plans. I hope sleeping might be in the future, too! Happy Friday eve!