1.27.2013

What we did last week and a Freebie!

This last week ended much better than I had expected.  My kids have been a bit crazy the last 2 weeks and we haven't been able to get as much accomplished as I had hoped.  We ended the week well and got a lot done on Friday.  In fact, it was like Christmas in my room.  We did project after project, it felt like the week before vacation!  But it was fun and my room looks much better now! 

Our poem for the week was about a snowman.  To end it, we made snowmen on Friday morning.  I gave the kids 3 squares - a 6 inch, a 5 inch and a 4 inch.  They had to make the magic circle with it and then put their snowman together.  I think they turned out cute (the ones who got to make them, anyway...some kids think they don't have to do homework, so they don't get to have fun anymore!). 



 
 
In Focus group, we were working with A Snowy Day, by Ezra Jack Keats.  We only had 3 days this week, so we had some fun!  We made the little snowglobes.  Some kids got into it, while others did all they could to be done with it!  They are cute, either way!



 
In math, we were practicing addition facts.  I had the kids make these little penguins with the fish.  I remember getting it last year, but I don't remember where I found it.  It's not mine, but it's cute!  :)
 


Finally, to end learning about penguins, we did these cute little tear art penguins.  I think they turned out good.  There is one buzzard in there, bless his heart!  Overall, not too bad! 




 
This coming week will be crazy! We have the 100th day of school on Friday along with Groundhog's Day. I love both of these days...I just wish they weren't on the same day. We will try to do stuff all week for both days, but it will be a fight to get it all in. I have all my Groundhog books out ready to go!  Plus, I have made a couple of little centers for my kids to do this week - an ABC Order center and a sentence scramble.  You can find them at my TeachersPayTeachers sight for free! 
 
Well, it's time to get my laminating on, get dinner made and get ready for the week!  It's gonna be chilly for us tomorrow (like 55, I know) so I gotta prepare for the chilly day!  But, here's to a great week with a lot of fun for me and my kids!  Happy Sunday! 



1.21.2013

Pics from the week

The title is really a tease, as there are only a couple of pictures from the week.  What I had intended to be a fun-filled week of activities turned into a not-so-fun filled week without a lot of activities.  Between students not returning their homework or progress reports, there were a lot of kids who didn't complete the activities.  And then, because Mother Nature is bi-polar, we went from being below freezing on Monday and Tuesday and just cold in the afternoons to being in the 70's and 80's by Thursday and Friday.  I think they rewired our rooms wrong, so we don't have the AC that turns on, so our rooms are stuffy.  By Friday afternoon, my kids were fried and so was I! 

We managed 2 whole projects - and one was with my RTI group, so they went home! 

For our Focus time, we were reading "My Snowman", from my packet I put together last week.  You can check it out here if you would like.  It was interesting to see who could read it and who couldn't.  It is a higher reading level, but I am supposed to have the "highs" for focus time.  On Friday, we decorated our snowmen.  It's amazing how little imagination some kids have or how hard of a time they have cutting.  I think we have made the standards too rigorous at times and students are missing out on basic skills like cutting and using their imagination.  Anyway, here are a couple of the snowmen they made last week!
 
 
In Language Arts this week, we were reading the story Me on the Map.  One of our sight words was house.  I had seen this project on Pinterest and then went to the teacher's website.  I loved looking at the art, but was shocked to see that she is in Greece.  The page was totally Greek!  Awesome ideas over there though!  MIne don't look as cute, but again, my kids had a hard time cutting the pieces and they have no concept of size.  Baby steps!  
 
 
I'm loving the fact that we have today off from school.  It was needed after last week.  I'm waiting now for hubby to come home and we are off to Carlsbad!  A little yummy pizza for lunch/dinner, some shopping and a possible stop along the beach to see the waves which are supposed to be big, which means they will be nothing or huge!  But, it's 70*+ in the middle of January, I have my flip flops on and life is good. 
 
I am hoping for a much more productive week this week and an all-over feeling of accomplishment.  It will be tougher with one less day, but we shall see how it goes!  Happy holiday Monday!

1.17.2013

Is it Friday yet?

That's how I feel today. I'm tired. I'm irritated and all around cranky. It was a long day. I'm ready for Friday to be here!

I had a parent call and complain and demand their child be moved because I spend my whole day yelling at her. Um, I have better things to do than that. And, I don't have any reason to yell at her. I don't think she knows what yelling means. We have a teacher who yells a lot...I want her to go there and see what yelling really is. I have to spend a lot of one on one time with this child since she is lower than Kinder. I have to beg and plead with her to try and give me an answer and she won't. I try to help her as much as I can, but it's hard when she won't help me help her. But hey, you think someone else will do better, go for it. Won't break my heart. Well, it will, but it's out of my hands if they go to the principal. :(

Our fancy newly wired heat and AC isn't working right. Today it was 77 in the room and 75 outside. The kids were complaining it was not and all we could do was open the door. I hope they get it fixed soon!

Otherwise, my kids were really good. We spent a lot of time working on telling time to the half hour, which they aren't totally getting. I need to figure out how to get them to get it. A couple kids got it when I gave them a tip, so maybe tomorrow will be even better!

We've got a busy day tomorrow with 2 art projects! Trying to bring in the fun more. The kids owe me their progress reports from before Christmas, so anyone who doesn't return it will miss out. If the kids parents won't be responsible enough to look thru their backpacks, I am making their kids be responsible for showing them their stuff. We'll see how that goes!

Well, hubby is on his way home and we are going out to eat. Too tired to figure out dinner. Happy Thursday!

1.16.2013

So far this week....

The first week back to school is kicking my butt! I am tired, and not feeling super accomplished. I don't like that feeling at all. It's been a strange week back. Looking forward to the weekend and ready to rest. And it's a 3 day weekend, so I can last the next 2 days!

Here is a rundown of the weirdness that has been my week:

* it hasn't been above freezing in the morning since last week. We've had nine days below freezing already. Last year we had 8 all year! Now it's 9 in 16 days. Remember, we live in sunny, So Cal!

* They replaced the wiring in our classrooms for the heat/AC. Mine didn't work. On Monday, my room was 42 when I got there. And it was 31 outside. Nowhere to go to be warm. Yesterday at one point, my room was 37 degrees and we had to go to another room. That's the second time I have had to go teach elsewhere when the heat/AC is broken. Not a productive day.

* My daughter has an abscess tooth. We had to go to the dentist on Monday night. Some antibiotics now and a baby root canal in 2 weeks. Poor baby. I feel awful, but she hasn't had any pain, so that is a blessing.

* A lot of my kids didn't do any reading over vacation, so now we are even more behind than when we left. I had higher expectations for them, but am disappointed. My kids who were good are still good, it some went way backwards. We have 90 days left to get them ready for second grade. I have got to rethink things and get everyone on the right track. 2 of my kids have already been retained, so we can't do that again. I guess testing for special Ed is the next step. And I don't know if they are truly special Ed or just left to be raised by wolves. It's sad that they are so little and are already so far behind. Bt, I know where they need to be and I am going to bust my butt to get them there, one way or another!

Well, dinner needs to be finished before I crash for the night. Happy Wednesday!

1.13.2013

Sunday Blues and a Freebie!

Well, the time has come to go back to work.  I'm excited to go back and see my kids, get back into the routine of teaching and have a little fun with them.  But I'm not quite ready for vacation to end.  And I know I sound snotty saying it, but I have enjoyed my time off.  And to make matters worse, I feel like poo today.  I went to bed with a headache last night and I still have it today.  I have ZERO energy and could easily take a nap and crash, which I might do in a bit!  :) 

For the most part, I am excited to go back to work tomorrow.  I'm anxious to get back into learning and am hoping my kids are ready to work hard.  We have a lot of ground to cover in the next few weeks, along with a lot of fun activities that I would like to do.  Work comes first, but I would still like to give them a little more fun that we have been getting.  We will ease back into school this week with some penguin learning, which will be fun.  I also have a fun art project we will do on Friday morning to tie in our sight word of HOUSE with winter.  I found it on Pinterest, did it with my daughter the other day and can't wait for Friday to do it with my kids.  I hope they like it as much as I do!  I will hopefully post picks next weekend!  :)  My goal is to take more pics of what we do at school now.  I have an idea in my head for Open House, so I need to make sure I am prepared! 

During our RTI time, I have the higher kids.  I have about 14 kids during this time.  They aren't as high as in years past, but they can hold their own.  They don't need to basics of reading, but they need to comprehension and the other little skills in grammar.  I have been pondering what to do with them when we get back, as they are an interesting group and I need to give them things they can do while also giving them something that is slightly challenging for all without being too hard for others.  (My group is very diverse, where some of the kids are too high for the other groups, but not necessarily high.  Make sense?).  Well, I sat down today in all my yuckiness and put together this little unit we will do this week.  It will cover reading comprehension, nouns/verbs/adjectives, compound words and story sequence with a little project on Friday.  If you'd like to check it out, click on the little snowman below for your copy! 
 
Well, I have some laminating and some organizing to do before tomorrow.  It's now or never and I need to get started so I can be finished and take a nap!  I hear my pillow calling my name!  Happy Sunday!

1.11.2013

Last Day Blues

Well, the day has finally come. It's my last day of vacation (the weekends don't count). And I'm feeling pretty bummed about it. I didn't get all my things accomplished I wanted to, but to be honest, I was pretty lazy. It's my fault, but I lacked the motivation to get a lot done. That'll be one more thing to add to my to do list.

My lesson plans are done, I have a lot planned for the next few fun days coming up (100's day, Chinese New Year, Valentines Day), and I have a strong desire to get a lot of artsy stuff in to give me kids some fun while still learning. I need about 2 more hours in the day to make sure we get it all in! :)

I enjoyed having the week off with everyone else back at work. I was able to pick my daughter up every day and come home and be mommy, even though she is a very independent 6 year old. She came home, did her homework and had her snack before playing. I wish my kids would do that!

But for now, I will enjoy the rest of my last day at home. I have a few things to get to still, but if they don't get done, then they don't get done. I will survive and life will go on. But for the time being, I'm not going to focus on school and just enjoy being at home and being mommy. Happy Friday!

1.09.2013

Unmotivated

The title describes me perfectly today.  I am unmotivated.  I didn't sleep well again last night and woke up early.  Never a good combo.  In fact, I think a nap is in my near future!  I had big plans that haven't amounted to anything.  I did get some laundry folded, but that's it.  Put away?  Nope!

Yesterday I got a lot done for school.  It may not look like it, but it's there.  And in my head.  Then last night I was sitting on Pinterest waiting for my hubby to get done working and I planned out all my activities for 100's day, Chinese New Year and Valentine's Day.  I figure February will be called Fun Friday February, as there is something happening every Friday (well, the 15th is a holiday, but the 14th is V Day, so close enough).  Crazy!  I told me hubby that I have so much fun to do that it will be hard to teach.  I need to make sure we keep the fun, as that is something that has been missing for too many years. 

Today I did manage to go get my hair cut.  I'm waiting to see if my hubby noticed.  My daughter didn't, but she's only 6.  I got about 5 inches trimmed off, which is a lot for me, but otherwise it's no different than before.  I am not a risk taker at all, tho I would like to be!  With that being said, me and my non-risk-taker self is going to go crash on the couch!  Happy Wednesday!  Just a few more days til it's back to reality! 

1.08.2013

Productive day as long as you aren't my laundry!

There is nothing I hate more than laundry.  Hate it with all my might.  I like having clean clothes, but I hate folding it and putting away.  I have watched movies while folding laundry, and that's cool, but having to put it all away and fight with it, UGH! 

I should have done laundry today.  It's calling my name.  Can you hear it?  I can, but I just turn the TV or computer up louder to drown it out!  Instead today, I did school work!  And a lot of it!  I am planned for a good 2 weeks.  I might get a few more things done tomorrow to make it 3 weeks.  Who knows.  I thought I brought more home with me, but it's not here, so I can't get too far ahead in my planning.  I am excited to go back and start learning.  I have a couple new to me art projects I want to do with my kids next week to help make my room look nice again, along with a whole lot of teaching to do.  But, I'm getting ready!  And that's half the battle!

I was planning my math (for the next 5 weeks!) and updated my problem solving journals.  I read them over and they were OK, but needed some tweaking.  So I did!  We start with telling time when we come back, so I didn't make any journals for that one, seeing as how it's too hard to get them to draw a clock (I tried one year with an "artsy" class and it was a major fail.  With this group?  OMG!).  We will work on my Penguin Math problem solving for the next week while learning to tell time!  Then once we finish that unit, we will jump into Tens and Ones.  It's kind of a boring unit, ut maybe that will give us time to do some other fun things.  Like timed tests for adding and subtracting.  I'm way behind on those, like I haven't even started having my kids do them! 

Anyway, I tweaked my older units that I think I kept to myself!  One is for our math program for our topic on Tens and Ones and the other is for Valentine's Day!  Both are super cheap and can be found at my TpT store!  Click the pics below to get your own copy! 

 
 
 
 
 
Happy Tuesday!  I hope all those who are back to work had a great day!  And, if you are lucky enough to be on vacation, enjoy the rest of vacation!  

1.07.2013

Experiences

Today I was home alone.  All alone with just the dogs, the cats and my thoughts.  It was wonderful!  I could get used to it, as long as there was someone else to do the laundry, cooking and cleaning.  That's what I spend my day doing - YUCK!  And there is still more to do tomorrow.  For now, I will listen to my daughter and hubby put some Lego's together before she heads off to bed and I head off to the couch and watch The Biggest Loser.  Love that show.  And the little boy they have on there this year is adorable!  He looks like one of my kids from last year. 

As I was sitting today taking a break and playing on the computer, I got an email saying someone had donated to my Adoptaclassroom.org thing.  Some guy who lives by my school donated some money to my classroom.  I went to go and buy my stuff, but nothing has sparked my fancy.  Guess I should get going on that.  But it got me thinking about my kids and where they come from compared to my daughter and her life. 

When my daughter was born, my hubby was in law school, so he stayed home during the day with her while I was at work.  She had a parent with her 24/7 for the first 2 years of her life.  And, if we weren't with her, one of our parents were with her, so she was always with family.  But, we did things with her.  We took her places.  We exposed her to new things all the time.  Whether it was a trip to the zoo, the dairy or a road trip up North, we were taking her places and talking to her about what we were doing and seeing.  She was only one when she went to the Redwoods and drove through a tree and tried black licorice.  She's been to Yosemite, rafted down a river, fed a giraffe and watched sea otters play in the ocean.  She's played soccer and basketball, taken an art class and now has a desire to learn to play the drums.  So lessons, here we come.  A lot of the things we have done, didn't cost a lot of money, but provided her the experiences and vocabulary enrichment. 

Many of my kids in my classes over the last 15 years don't have those.  Parents claim it's because they don't have money, and I get that, I really do.  But there is more to experiences than money.  Less than a mile from my school is a dairy.  A real life dairy.  They have a little area in the front that has animals that you can feed (it's a quarter for a bag of food).  My daughter loves walking around, talking to the animals.  She's been doing it since she was 2.  She learned what the animals said, what they look like, etc just by walking around and looking at them.  Half of my kids have never been there.  And I think it's sad. 

A lot of my kids now and in the past do not have the vocabulary to talk about everyday life.  Simple things that I take for granted are unknown to them.  And trying to teach them the little things while teaching the big things is a challenge.  I wish I knew how to tell parents to give their children experiences to help enrich their lives, but the parents are just as limited as their children.  Like everyone, we get stuck in our routines, stay in our comfort zones and don't go out of them.  I am trying to change that in myself and it's hard, but I know how much richer my life and my daughter's life will be if we do things that are new. 

At school, it's hard with the rigors of teaching to give the kids the new experiences.  My goal for myself this year is to try and give my students a new experience every week, if possible to help them learn something new.  And if it goes with the standards, great!  If not, we will chalk it up to learning something new and having fun doing it.  Everything we do will have to be on site and will have to be provided by me, as we have $0 for field trips.  I guess I should start begging for people to come in and volunteer their time, but I'm not good at that.  I can't even get parents to come in and help in the class.  Maybe that should be a new goal, too! 

If anyone has any suggestions on CHEAP, easy things to do, please pass them on.  I need to get my butt in gear and start planning for the next month.  I haven't wanted to accept the fact that school is starting soon.  I should be ready, but I have enjoyed my time at home.  4 more days before it's over and reality sets in!  Until then, I will continue to enjoy my time at home being a mommy and getting ready for January/February!  Happy Monday all!

1.06.2013

Sunday fun and a Freebie!

Happy Sunday!  It is a happy Sunday for me since I still have another week of vacation left to go!  As strange as it is, we don't go back til the 14th!  A whole week off still with no one at home!  I can't wait.  I have big plans to get stuff done.  Let's see how much I really get done during the week! 

Today we went to Legoland for a bit this morning.  It was not crowded at all, and was very nice.  I haven't been there in a long time with it not being crowded.  We spent a couple hours there, went on all the rides we normally go on and then left by 1.  It was pretty chilly (for us, anyway.  It's 49 here and I am freezing today!), but sunny.  Now it's not so sunny and threatening to rain again.  But, I have the heater on and all is right with the world.  After Legoland, we headed to our favorite pizza place in Carlsbad and had a yummy lunch.  I totally blew my points for the day, but it was so worth it!  We then had to run by Fry's Electronics so hubby could look at something and I walked out with the newish Train CD.  Love it!  I'm on my 3rd listening of it right now as I type! 

I have started to think about school a little itty bit.  Like always, there are a million things I want to do, but in reality, there will be very few "fun things" I will be able to do.  It's going to be crunch time when we get back as we have 3 weeks before the next benchmark test.  Gotta get them ready to bubble and bubble (ain't that sad?).  Hopefully we can have a lot of fun and a lot of learning at the same time! 

I have made a quick little unit for use at centers.  There are 3 centers for Language Arts - sentence scrambles, contraction match up and long a/short a sort.  You can find it at my TpT store for only $2!  Super cheap!  I think my kids will dig the little fishing penguins when we go back and have a little fun learning about penguins!  Also, I have my Penguin Problem Solving journal questions there, too!  There are 6 questions for only $1.50!  The first person to leave me a comment will get both the language arts centers and the math problem solving for free!  Just leave me your email in the comments and I will send it to you shortly! 

Well, it's time to go get my daughter ready for school tomorrow.  I'm sad she's going back, but so happy to have some time to myself.  To those of you going back tomorrow, I hope you have a great day! 

1.04.2013

Vacation Thinking

I'm sure the title is an oxymoron.  When we are on vacation, we don't think too much.  About anything!  And that's the way I like it.  I like being able to think about things that I don't normally think about or do things that don't have to be done in a certain amount of time.  Like shopping. 

I still have one more week off for Christmas vacation.  I love having 3 weeks off.  It gives me time to recharge and refresh before going back for the second half of the year.  I know it's going to go by quickly, but knowing there are still 5 months seems so long.  But the good thing with it being a long time is that I need a long time to get my kids ready for next year.  I say it every year, but dang, the kids have such a long way to go to be ready for second grade. 

I was talking to a friend on New Year's Day and she was asking about my class.  She went to school to be a teacher, but isn't hired, and I don't know if she ever really wants to teach.  Anyway, I was telling her that my class is relatively low (they live in Orange County which is a little more affluent than where I live) and that I have my work cut out for me when I get back.  We were talking and I came to the realization that when the school year started, I had 4 kids at grade level.  4!!!!!  I think now I am up to about 11 (which is half my class), but there are still 11 kids below grade level.  And there are 2 who are very far below grade level and I am already talking retention.  Scary sad.  I realized that I still have a lot to do and I need to get into it and really kick some butt in the new year. 

All that has got me thinking about what to do when we go back on the 14th.  There is so much to do and so much to cover that it is overwhelming.  I feel that as a teacher, I haven't pushed my kids like I have in the past, but at the same time, they haven't been ready like the classes before have been.  We have had to go a lot slower on things, which in turn puts us behind where I have been in the past.  I am trying to remember that, but it's hard.  I know where I am supposed to be at this time of year, and I am not there.  It's frustrating, but at the same time I know that if I threw it at my kids, they wouldn't be successful and that's not good for them at all. 

So, as my last week of vacation quickly approaches, I am going to be spending some time trying to plan a meaningful month (I want to plan the next 4 weeks completely) and making sure we get in a lot of reading, writing, math and fun.  We will celebrate the 100th day in February, along with learning about penguins, snowmen, and learning about America and the symbols and presidents.  It's going to be a busy month and I just hope I can get it all in.  I want to change things up, but being that I am not big on change, I am having a hard time with it.  But it is a new goal of mine to slowly change things up so that in August, when the new school year starts, I will be good to go and ready for a whole new thing.  Oh yeah, and I still need to figure out Common Core and get that going, too! 

Thinking of going back to work and working on common core does bring about some worry and stress thanks to the lack of cohesiveness we have in the grade level.  But, I need to accept the fact that nothing will change, we still have one who won't/can't/doesn't join in and that will always be.  As long as she sits there, doesn't talk or make problems, we will be fine.  I can't worry about it anymore and just have to do what I can with my team to help us get where we need to be. 

On that note, it's time for me to get off the computer and play a game with my daughter.  She's itching to play Chutes and Ladders and hopefully beat me!  Happy Friday! 

1.03.2013

And I'm back!!!

Well hello there anyone who may happen to read this!  I was on an extended blogging hiatus for no real reason, other than I was bored with blogging and I didn't have much to share.  I didn't feel excited to blog about what was going on in my school life, so I didn't.  Not sure if anyone noticed, but that's cool. 

It's been one month since I had blogged.  A lot has happened in that time.  We survived the Christmas season at school and no one lost their minds.  I did have a lot of kids out the week before vacation for illnesses - one day I had 6 kids gone.  They were all back by the 20th, of course!  We had to teach until December 20.  The 21st was a furlough day turned teacher work day, but I don't know anyone who went to work that day!  I stayed home, cleaned a bit and picked my daughter up from school.  We enjoyed Christmas at home with our families and then headed up north for a little mini vacation to Monterey.  We were home by Saturday (after driving thru snow and wind in So Cal!) and enjoyed the New Year's Eve at home.  Hubby was busy doing work (he took a week off, but had court every other day this week, poor guy), my daughter was busy playing in her room and I sat on the couch and did a puzzle while watching Ryan Seacrest and the New Year's Eve show.  We know how to party, don't we?  My daughter crashed on the couch by 10:30 and we stayed up til 12:10.  Then it was lights out!  I woke up at 8am, watched the Rose Parade (making sure my nerd status stays good!) and then we had friends over for lunch on New Year's Day.  All in all, it's been a pretty low key month. 

But now it's January.  I have a renewed sense of wanting to get stuff done.  I spent yesterday cleaning out the fridge and the pantry.  Fun times, right?  But they are cleaner than they have been in a long time.  Today I am tackling the office.  It was a big pile of crap.  There are still piles, but I got sidetracked with turning my computer on!  And I got bored.  I was doing good and making progress til I stopped to eat lunch.  It's been downhill since then!  Oh well!  I still have another week!

Yep, another whole week left of vacation.  I am very thankful for 3 weeks off.  I still have a lot I want to do for me, my home and for school.  Next week will be a good time to get stuff done.  My hubby will be at work all week and my daughter goes back to school on Monday.  So I will have 5 days to myself to get stuff done.  I may actually get up early to get the day of peace and quiet started early!  :) 

I tried not to set resolutions this year, but things that I want to do better.  We'll see how they go.  I should have put blogging on the list, but I didn't.  If I don't have the time, then I won't do it.  I need to be off the computer more, so a lot of things may go.  Who knows.  One day at a time is all I can do and there are only so many hours in the day to get things done!  With that being said, I should get going on get back to cleaning the office, or at least moving the piles to a central location! 

Happy New Year!