2.26.2013

I need an answer, please!

So, I'm getting ready to go to another CCSS meeting today, but I was thinking about our math meeting last week. We have the standards all over the place and with our testing, they are in every single trimester. But I started wondering...in the perfect world, are the CCSS standards to be covered throughout the year, or by area? For example, our Geometry standards are spread across all 3 trimesters - first they have to know the attributes, then at 3rd, they have to know how to divide the shapes and identify the solids, etc. To me, it seems like we ate stretching a unit too far over the year. But I know now, I feel like I haven't done addition and subtraction justice and we are running out of school year. I know the next 3 weeks are dedicated to money (I can't wait til CCSS where we don't have to stress about money!), and I can do some addition and subtraction, but not like I want. Grrrr! Anyway, those of you that are doing CCSS already, please help a girl out. How do you cover the math standards to where it makes sense for you and your kiddos.

Thanks!

2.24.2013

Well, I was on a good roll, posting 2 days in a row, then life happened. And it bums me out and makes me frustrated. I just gotta keep going, and take small baby steps.

On Thursday night, I had a 5 hour webinar to be a trained Girl Scout leader. My daughter is in Girl Scouts and our troop is kind of a nightmare. We don't have good organization and the best plans are often put to the side. I planned to just be a co-leader, but now my mind is racing...could I do my own troop? Do I want to? I do, but I don't want to deal with the money! That's a nightmare to me! I don't like dealing with money. I like to spend it, but that's it. Don't ask me to pay the bills and keep it all organized...that's hubby's job! :). We'll see how this all goes!

While I was doing my training, sitting on my computer for 5 hours, I had planned to get some work done, but I couldn't as I was trying to pay attention and learn something. But, I was sitting in the office thinking it smelled like a hamster cage. Hubby said the dog ( who is old and fat, but we love him!) peed on the carpet. I figured that was the case, since he is a stay inside dog who doesn't go outside if he isn't forced. But on Friday and Saturday, it was still wet no matter how much we tried to sop it up. So yesterday, we got the crazy idea to rip up the carpet and put down wood floors. Well, little did we know it wasn't the dog, but a water leak. Now we get to find out where. So, our whole office is scattered around the house, computers unhooked and complete chaos. Now we wait for the plumber to come and find the leak, wait to hear the damage and them wait to see how much work they will have to do - replace the subfloor, the drywall, my desk that broke and all the crap I had to throw away that was wet. It was a dirty mess. Yuck! Put me in a funk yesterday. I have no way to print now, no way to get things done for school that I need my computer for. Not good at all. But, I will survive and the kids will learn regardless of the fact that my computer is in a pile!

Well, the plumber is here, I have a huge hole in my wall and still don't know where the leak is. We do know its still leaking, as there is more water on my floor that used to have carpet. Ugh! This is the part of owning a home I hate. Luckily we have insurance!

Luckily for me, today is the opening race of NASCAR and at this moment, my driver is #2! Yah, there are still over 100 laps left, but better than being out! :). Go Jimmie!

Time for me to do something - lesson plans, cleaning or feeling sorry for our house! Happy Sunday!

2.20.2013

Two in a Row!

Wow! Two posts in two days...did hell freeze over? It's quite possible it did, as its really cold, but nope. I have a few moments to type tonight!

I copied all my notes from my CCSS meeting yesterday. Everyone seemed to like all the notes but they are just as overwhelmed as I am. My principal sent a nice note to some of the biggies at the district thanking me for taking such good notes and being ready and willing to jump into something new with an open mind. Made me feel good.

We also had our planning meeting for literacy night. We are scheduled to do it next Thursday night, as long as we have more people who sign up. A whole 4 people came to our meeting. :(. It makes me sad that teachers will complain that their kids can't read/won't read/hate reading, yet the teachers can't be bothered to come out and do something for literacy night. Last year we had 7 teachers participate. 7 teachers who bothered to take the time out of life to get kids into reading. And we wonder why the kids aren't excited about reading. I think it's sad, but I don't know how to get more teachers involved. I even heard a teacher say that they already did their 2 nights, so they don't have to do literacy night. I always sign up for literacy night and in fact am now the chairperson for the committee! I should have tried harder, but I don't know what more I could do to get people excited about reading for one night a year. So, we will do what we can with what we got and hope for the best. And then we can listen to the parents complain that the school down the road does a big, fabulous reading night where there are like 500 people that show up and all the teachers are there. Some day, maybe, when the others decide it's important.

Happy Thursday!

2.19.2013

Renewed Motivation

I've been in a funk lately.  About everything, honestly.  I just haven't been feeling it lately.  I need to get out of my funk and move on.  I feel like I've been in a lot of little funks lately and can never fully get out before I get in another one.  It's just been that kind of year.  I don't know why, but I do know I don't like it.  I see all the other blogs and everyone seems to upbeat and cheerful and everything is roses and sunshine in their lives.  And then there is me.  I try to remember that we all go through these and people put up good fronts and others are just freaking rays of sunshine all the time.  Then I feel a little better.  But I'm trying hard to get out my funks.  They seem to be plenty.  :(

Anyway, I went to a meeting today at our district for Common Core for Math.  As first grade teachers, we will be responsible for teaching CCSS in Language Arts and Math next year.  Our kinder teams are supposed to be working on it now.  I say supposed to because they were talking today that some teachers haven't quite embraced the whole CCSS thing yet.  We are jumping in next year whether we are ready or not.  We met today, one teacher per site, to re-do our benchmark standards for each semester and then to work on the actual benchmark test.  The pacing guide will be coming later, because we work ass backwards in everything we do!

It was quite interesting to hear what others had to say about their kids.  My kids are not high by any stretch of the imagination, but they are hard workers and they "get it" eventually.  It may take some time, but they can learn it.  But, knowing that the new CCSS standards are nationwide (or almost nationwide), we can' go by what the lowest child knows.  Some teachers could not get off the "my kids don't come in knowing that" and "I don't want to test that then...how about in the summer" thing.  We never get perfect classes where all the kids come in perfect and know everything they are supposed to know, but that's why it's our job to teach them!  Yeah, we have to back track and cover some kinder skills, but we do it and we move on.  Some people can't move on.  Or they think it's too hard and they don't want to set high expectations for their kids.  We have sites that range from the lowest of the lows to the highest of the highs.  We have to make it work for all kids.  And with the new standards, I think they can.  But we need to figure them out. 

In the past, we have had what feels like a million standards to cover.  We have time and money and counting and patterns and shapes and greater than and less than and.....you get the idea.  Quite a bit is going away with the new standards, but people are still hung up on the "but when do we do this".  It's going to take time to move on from that.  And, the crappy thing is, our testing program we use still has the old standards and does not have any of the new CCSS in the test bank.  So we have to use old icky questions for the new learning.  Sounds perfect, huh?

On Sunday night, I spent a lot of time on Pinterest looking at stuff for math for common core.  With the exception of all the stuff on TpT that I can't afford to buy, I found some really good ideas that I hope to use or tweak for my use next year.  I am hoping to stay motivated all the ret of the year to work on what we need to do for next year along with still teaching the "old standards" for the remainder of the year.  In August, we will go "live" with Common Core whether we are ready or not.  And I know I am not ready.  Which is just one more thing that can get my in a funk if I'm not careful!  But, I am excited about doing something new and being able to make and create new things.  The facilitator today said that this is a time to do away with all the old and bring in the new.  I liked that.  A good idea for all of us to go with...throw out the old stuff we've been doing forever because we don't have to plan it anymore and bring in some new things to try and experiment with.  I think that will be my goal for the rest of the year.  Try one new thing a week/unit and toss out something I have done many times! 

Next week I will be back at the district office for the Language Arts meeting.  I wonder what fun and exciting ideas that will bring!?  Happy Tuesday!