7.24.2012

Mini Unit Freebie

Every year, I start my author studies from Day 1.  We start with reading Leo the Late Bloomer and then we progress into reading other stories by Robert Kraus and the little mouse.  I just love them.  We used the book Whose Mouse Are You?  in my reading classes in college.  Since then, it has become one of my favorite books.  I have it memorized and for some reason, it freaks people out that I have it memorized!

During our second week of school, we will be reading the mouse books that I have and if there are any others I can get at the library.  I think the mouse is so cute and adorable.  We will talk about real mice and story mice, labeling the parts of a mouse (that's a new push from the textbook company) and graphing, among other things.  We may draw a mouse ourselves or draw the cat and color the cat from the story!  I will know more when I see my kids and see what they can do!

I have made a mini unit to go with the stories.  There are 14 pages of fun for you and your kids.  It can all be printed off and used right away.  You can get it for FREE!  All I ask is that you leave me a comment and a little thanks for my work!  Click on the little mouse to get your copy today!


My Teacher Story

My teacher story isn't that exciting, but it's my story nonetheless.  I knew in second grade that I was going to be a teacher.  In first grade, I said I was going to be TV wire repairperson, but that's just because I liked the picture of the girl hanging from the pole with wires!  But, from second grade on, whenever anyone asked, I was going to be a teacher.  And I went forward with that thought from that moment on.

In elementary school (where I actually taught for 6 years until they closed it in 2008), I would help in the library and help my teachers in class when I was done with work.  In high school, I was a TA for 2 years, though I never wanted to teach high school.  I just liked doing things the teachers did.  I held out and didn't take typing, much to my mom's dismay and TA'd instead.  During my senior year, during the apply for college time, I had many people try to dissuade me from applying where I did, telling me I should go to a junior college, telling me I shouldn't be a teacher.  Were these people nuts?  Looking back, I wasn't the top notch student, but I wasn't a dummy, either.  I got OK grades when I tried, but I didn't love high school.  It was something I had to do to get from point A to point B.  And, I wasn't going to USC or a fancy school like that, so I didn't need to be the top of the class.  In fact, my counselor thought I must be one step up from a rock because she placed me in college prep English as opposed to Advanced, Honors or even AP English.  I was in an English class with students who had been failed by the education system.  The QB of our football team couldn't read!  The one time (yes, I said one!) we had to read from the textbook, the QB couldn't get through one sentence.  It was sad how far he had made it in school without being successful.  But, he was the QB, so what were they gonna do about it?  BTW, our football team sucked, so it didn't matter!  Anyway, the English "teacher" told me that I was "stupid" for going into teaching and why would I pick a job like that? Mind you, that person is still teaching!

In my mind, the only choice I had for college was a 4 year college for education.  I applied to 2 schools - Northern Arizona University and Cal State San Bernardino.  CSUSB was my back up school just in case.  NAU was my number 1 and only choice.  So, right after high school, I went to NAU and started my journey to teaching.  And, because NAU is/was one of the better colleges for education, I was in the right place!





I started my "advanced" education in 94 and graduated with my BS in Elementary Education in 98!  During my student teaching time in AZ, I began applying feverishly for teaching jobs in So Cal.  I was a California native and wasn't planning on staying in AZ.  And besides, the pay was way better at home than in AZ.  I applied to way too many districts, hoping someone would want me.  I interviewed at NAU for Las Vegas, just for practice.  I graduated at the beginning of May (May 9, 1998 to be exact) and came home and interviewed in my district where I grew up and signed my contract 4 days later on May 13, 2 weeks before I turned 22!  

When I interviewed with the principal at the school at the time (whom I never worked for), the only questions he asked me was if I wanted a job.  Um, yes please!  He didn't know the grade level, but told me 1, 2, or 3 with a possibility of Kinder.  Oh good gravy!  I wanted 3rd since that's what I student taught, but would have been happy with 2nd.  Please, no Kinder or 1st!  Well, I got 1st grade and told myself I could change later.  Ha!  15 years later, I am still in first grade and I love it!  I know it, I love teaching the little guys how to read and I love just being able to teach them something new and learning new things to teach them as well.  

In my time teaching, I have gone from being single to married, from being the 2 of us to the 3 of us, I have taught at 3 schools, have had about 350 kids come in and out of my room, have had 8 administrators, we are going on our 4th superintendent in the district.  I have seen class size go from 20 to more than that, have seen curriculum change more than I'd like it to and have felt the rising pressure of testing.  But, through it all, I have never thought of doing anything else.  I was destined to teach, as my mom says, and couldn't see myself doing anything else.  


7.23.2012

Some things never change

I did it.  I went to school today.  And I didn't like it.  It was icky.  My A/C wasn't working.  I know, what a shock!  If you have read any posts from the last year or so, you know that A/C and I don't do well.  It has never worked like it's supposed to.  No one else seems to have any issues with it, except me.  They are supposed to come look at it tomorrow, but I don't know if I will be there.  I don't want to go and sweat.  I have better things to do with my time...like sit at home in the A/C and watch TV!  :)

I had big plans.  I was going to go and put up all my new border (so cute btw!).  I was going to finish my bulletin boards and be good to go.  But, no!  I did one board and I was a hot sweaty mess.  And I wasn't too happy about it.  So, I packed up and left.  I did get my trash emptied, cause heaven forbid the trash is emptied in the summer.  I took a couple things back to the library that I had been storing in my room that I didn't need or want.  So I did get something done.  I took a bunch of stuff to school, took the things out of the bags and then left them on the table!  I have 3 weeks...why should I panic?  Oh, right...I already am panicking!

It was interesting being at school today.  There were 3 other people there, though I only saw one.  It's one of my grade level people.  She said she's been there almost every day this summer.  Don't get me wrong, I love my job, but I love vacation, too!  This is my down time to prepare for the school year.  I need to be on for 175 days (5 kid furloughs to go with the other 4...we are lucky, aren't we?  Next year may be 15!) and need this time to be mommy and veg for a bit!  This teacher is redoing her room in "Dr. Seuss", but it's all stuff she is making.  She's taken the truffula trees to the extreme.  I can't spend too much time in her room as I makes me feel anxious.  There is A LOT going on in there and it's overwhelming.  I like to have stuff up too, but I also need to keep it to a reasonable level of cover-the-wallness.  Yeah, I made it up.  I have never seen her room when there wasn't a million things up on the wall.  It looks better now than before since she has taken a  lot of the paper down, but she did copy me and decide to put up black butcher paper for the boards.  Either way, it's still a bit too much for me!

I need to get my rear in gear and get some work done.  I started making a mini unit to go with the mouse stories by Robert Kraus.  We will be working with those the first 2 weeks, so I wanted to expand it a bit and really start with some of the nitty gritty skills from the get go.  Once it's done, I will post it for you all FOR FREE!  Or I think so, anyway!  I think I will work on it for a bit and then head to bed.  I am tired and ready for some sleep.  Tomorrow might be a busy day of doing nothing!  I have to get ready for that!  ;)

Happy Monday!  And for those counting like me, I have 20 days left til D-Day!  Yikes!

7.20.2012

3 and counting

I have 3 weeks til school starts.  That is, when the students walk in the door and the parents expect me to teach their children.  And I'm not ready.  We have been on vacation for 8 wonderful weeks.  I have been to school for 3 of those days.  Glorious!  But I am starting to feel the need to go in and see what mess I left myself.  Actually, it's not really a mess, but I did buy some stuff at Lakeshore, so I need to go and put it up - which means take down all the stuff I already put up.  But it'll be OK, cause the stuff I bought is way cute!

I brought quite a bit home to look at this summer.  I looked at some things and have ignored others.  I guess the time has come to look at all of it or take it back to school.  I did get some things made for math, so I am not worried about that at all.  I have ideas for reading in my head (I had the great idea to do Daily 5, but I never made it past Chapter 1...I lost motivation and got too preoccupied as to how I would make it work with my schedule.  Someone had emailed me and it made me nervous that I was going to have to give up too much of the time I feel I need to devote to my whole group learning.  Yeah, I'm a chicken!), but I haven't done too much with them.  I should work on that.  Maybe tonight, since I did take a 2 hour nap today after not sleeping well last night and I am wide awake now!  :)

In these last 3 weeks of freedom, I still have a lot I want to do.  I want to take my daughter to an art museum, but we don't seem to have any out here in the IE.  Our zoo passes expired, and I just haven't renewed them yet.  Legoland is a tourist paradise right now, and not the place I want to be with thousands of sweaty people.  We did go to San Diego the other day (a 74 miles trip one way), but she had to have an audiogram done.  We realized she had never had a hearing test (even at school) and when she went for a check up, she didn't pass with her left ear.  So a trip to SD confirmed some mild hearing loss (yeah, no Mother of the Year award here...I have already beaten myself up over this enough that I am OK with it.  Yeah, NOT!) and now I have to try to get her into the ENT before school starts.  Fun times!  But, she is reading at a 3rd grade level (she's going into 1st) and her speech is way better than it was before, so I am not too worried about her hearing, just want to make sure she is A-OK!

Well, the sun has set on another week off.  I will enjoy the routine of being back to work, but with that brings its own challenges - soccer practice, girl scouts, lesson planning - all the fun stuff we don't think about in the summer!  But for now, I will enjoy the last of my summer with my family and just maybe get some things done for school!  Happy Friday!

7.17.2012

P is for Panic!

Yes, panic is the word for the day!  I realized that in 4 weeks, I will have 24 or more little faces staring at me wondering what we are going to do!  Can you say panic?  And worry?  And fret?  I have some things done, but I don't feel like I have much done.  I just need to sit down and get things done and then I will feel better.  Or at least that's the plan!

I sat down this evening and went over my parent handout for back to school night.  Mine is lengthy, and it will stay that way.  I try to put everything in it that parents will need, and then wonder why since over half the parents speak Spanish and have no idea what I am saying.  But, it's there in English for their reading pleasure.  I thought of translating it into Spanish, but I don't know.  I'll think about that one!

I have my yearly plan typed up and ready to go.  I changed it up from last year.  I made it to go along with each trimester (I think we are still on trimesters...they keep talking about changing it, but I don't know what we are doing!) and added in for our special days.  You can see it here for an idea!   My year is more or less planned out, and the language arts and math aren't any different, so it's basically more of the same with very little changing.  We do need to follow the common core - I think - but no one has said anything.  We have a training after school starts to go over it, so that should be fun.  A sub on the third week of school - AWESOME!  Just what everyone wants.  Sub plans for the new kids.  Anyway, I have my year planned out and now just need to get working on the little details like the daily plans.

For my plan book, I think I am going to do it with post it notes.  I saw it on Pinterest and thought that it looked like an easier way to do it.  I played with it before school got out, but I haven't gotten any further than that.  I figured I could have 3 sections a day - ALL of language arts, math and science OR social studies since we can't do both at the same time.  I will start on that soon and see how it works for me.

I have also begun the task of buying what I need for my kiddos.  I went to Walmart and got all my spiral notebooks for my math journals and my nightly writing homework.  I picked up my folders for my poem books, but have now decided I need to do a math folder as well, so I will need to go back to Walmart and get some more folders.  Shh...don't tell hubby!  I am debating about trying to head to Toys R Us for crayons.  They are 25 cents this week.  I have enough crayons, but I worry about running out.  Maybe I will go get half a class worth and go from there.  I am thinking of going to school one day next week to drop some things off and maybe get some work done.  But then I also want to put off the inevitable for another week.  Or 2 or 3.

This week is pretty much booked.  I am taking my daughter to SD tomorrow for a hearing test, so that will kill the day.  It's over an hour away there, which means over an hour home, with traffic probably.  But, we can get her uniforms for school while we are there and take our time being out.  Good times!

Well, it's getting late and I have to be up fairly early so I can hit the treadmill before I have to get ready to trek to San Diego!  And, my weekend has caught up to me - a quick day trip to Santa Barbara (it's like 4 hours away one way) and then a 5K on Sunday afternoon has kicked my butt!  Happy Tuesday night all...or for some I guess it's Happy early Wednesday morning!

7.12.2012

Complete lack of motivation

That sums up my life lately.  I am not motivated to do anything.  Nothing.  Nada.  There has been no desire to do much, except try to stay cool.  It's been 108*, 109* the last couple of days, and it has worn me out.  Today is muggy - we don't get this very often in So Cal, but when we do, it kinda sucks.  Like sucks the life right out of you.  I was outside this morning for a bit and came in feeling like I just stepped out of the shower.  Gross.  I don't know how others handle it.  I can handle 100 degrees, but not humid and icky.  If it would rain, I would be a bit happier, but it's just sprinkled, and even that wasn't enough to do any good.

I have piles.  Piles of things I have printed off that need to be organized.  Piles of math journals I have made that need to be organized.  Piles of stuff to go through and figure out if I am keeping them or tossing them.  And here they sit.  In the office, on my desk, on my floor and on the bookcase.  Sitting and staring at me, telling to do something with them.  I tried the other day, but I moved the piles from one place to another.  And then they sat there til I moved them again back to the office.  I tell you, the closer it gets to the end of summer, the less motivated I am to do anything.  It should be the other way around, right?

The last 2 days, we have been hermits.  We stay inside, and go nowhere.  It's too hot!  My daughter and I have been working on jigsaw puzzles I bought at Dollar Tree.  They are 500 tiny pieces.  We finished the first one in a day, but there were distinct colors and patterns.  We started a new one yesterday, but it was really hard - almost all the same color!  I put that one away and started another one.  That will give us a run for our money!  Another hard puzzle, but I will attempt to finish it by tomorrow.  We'll see how that goes.

I have also spent some time reading.  I just finished reading Summerland by Elin Hilderbrand.
I like all her books, and have read them all.  She writes about one a year and they come out in summer for the most part.  They have all taken place on Nantucket.  I've never been there, but I want to after reading her books.  I need to start another book, but I don't know which one to read.  I finished reading one by Mary Kay Andrews and enjoyed it, and I have a couple more by her in my cabinet o'books that I could read.  I have 4 more weeks to get all my summer reading done, and I have barely made a dent this year.  I tell ya, completely unmotivated to do anything!

Well, I should try to do something!  Maybe something will get done today.  Maybe!  Happy Thursday!

7.05.2012

Back to School Shopping

I have been counting down to this day for 2 months, ever since I saw the ad at Lakeshore that their Back to School sale started today.  Mind you, I am not ready to go back to school, but getting what I need helps get me ready.  I thought for sure I would the one over-achieving teacher there today - WRONG!  The store was packed!  There were people everywhere.  And unfortunately, some with their not-so-with-it family members who let their children crawl all over the place and get in the way wherever we went.  Frustrating!

But, I did get most of what I wanted.  I love the new owl theme from TREND.
Unfortunately, my store didn't have all the pieces I wanted, but I mixed and matched with the owls from Carson-Delossa, I think.  

They are both bright and cheery, which will make my room so cute and lively.  I will be redoing all my border on my bulletin boards, as I have the new owl border - LOVE!  It will be added work, but it will make me happier that it's up and will tie it all together.

I also went to Walmart.  They are starting to put out their school supplies.  The prices keep going up, up, UP!  Ridiculous!  I complained about it last year here, and I can see we will have the same complaint again!  Target was crazy in their pricing yesterday when I walked by, and Walmart is where I will probably get most of my stuff, just because of the prices.  I use a lot of spiral bound notebooks and they are only 17 cents at Walmart compared to 30 cents or more at Target.  But, when you need 60 or more, that adds up (to over $10!).  I am hoping Staples starts getting some good sales soon, like their glue sticks.  When they are 4/$1, I buy as many as I can , hubby buys as many as he can each and every day.  And I really like their glue sticks, better than Elmer's.  But, I won't be picky...if someone wants to give me glue sticks, I don't care who they are from, as long as they work!

Well, I slept like crap last night (fell asleep around midnight, woke up at 3, asleep again by 4:30, awake at 5:30 and fell asleep watching the news at 6:30, to wake up at 7:10 listening to Josh Elliott on GMA.  There are worse things to wake up to, but I was not ready to be awake.  My daughter slept til 9:30...I'm jealous, but going to go take a nap...or at least lay in bed and pretend to rest!

Happy Thursday!

7.02.2012

July Currently



Yes, I am a lot little behind the times.  I have never been able to figure out how to do the currently, but having nothing but time on my hands (or what I am calling procrastination!), I have figured it out!  Yay me!  Since this is my first, I am probably not following all the rules, sorry!  Since i have already posted today, Happy Monday, again!  






July? Already?

Yesterday hit me like a ton of bricks!  I can't believe it's July.  I go back to work next month.  NEXT MONTH!  That just screams UGH!  5 weeks of vacation have come and gone and there are 5 left.  In that time, I have about 15 weeks worth of stuff to do for me, my home, my classroom and school in general.  I don't know how I will get the time to get it all done!

I actually set my alarm clock this morning!  I work up at 7am, which is way later than during the school year, but for summer, that is early.  I got up, did some laundry while watching GMA, checked facebook and some blogs, ate breakfast and did another load of laundry, all by 9am.  Wow!  I even made my hubby breakfast.  Ain't I nice?  After a shower, I cleaned my daughter's play room.  That was a task.  She is a paper collector, so we had to go through each piece to see what it was.  In the end, we threw it all away and she can start hoarding when 1st grade starts next month.  I have most of the laundry done, the playroom clean, the living room cleaned and some puzzles gone through to make sure they all have pieces.  Then I decided to play on the computer.  There goes my afternoon!  :)

I did get something done, though.  I have now made the next math journal for topic 9 - patterns.  We do our math topics out of order, so we do 1, 8 and 9 and then jump back to topic 3.  Crazy, I know!  Topic 9 is our short unit, so I have made this one free!  You may pick it up here on my TpT site.  Topics 1 and 8 are there for you as well.  Once I go to school and pick up the other topics, I will make the journals for those as well.

As for now, I should go do something.  I need to look through my Pinterest recipes for tomato soup and put all the tomatoes I have to use.  I figure it's a good, easy dinner, plus it should be relatively healthy and it's meatless for Meatless Monday.  Hubby may not care for it, but he did have a huge burrito for lunch, so it'll all wash out for him!

Happy Monday!  Here's to hoping for a productive week!