Tuesday, January 31, 2012

We're almost halfway there!

Can't believe tomorrow is Wednesday! I also can't believe that tomorrow is February 1st! It's 2-1-1-2 tomorrow. That was lost on my students and even The Oldest when I said it to her. I had to roll my eyes and explain. It's the same backward and forward. (I know there is a name for that but darn if I can remember what it is.)

My Monday started out with the snottiest of all snotty kids (not in my class) giving me a big ole 'tude in front of his moms (yes I put the s there on purpose). Did they do anything? Nope. His teacher and the secretary both dropped their jaws. And the secretary (who was translating) said "this is why Mrs. Sunny wrote you up, because you don't get to disrespect any adult". If that had been my child, I would have marched them to a private corner and taught them a lesson. Wow.

I was SUPER disappointed to pull up my MAP data and discover that every single one of my high readers went backwards on that test. I was pissed off! We had a big talk about it at the end of the day yesterday. I said "you mean to tell me you started out as one of the smartest kids in the class and you got DUMBER being in here with me?!" I know they were just being lazy when they took that test. They got cocky and thought they no longer had to try. And it bit them in the butt. I pointed out that conferences are NEXT WEEK. And *I* am soooo not explaining to their parents why their scores went down, THEY ARE. 

I wrote a note home to one of my families because their child, whom I just adore, has been on a downhill slide the last few weeks being lazy, turning in sloppy work and just not working to his potential. He told me today that his dad was mad at him about it and he got grounded. I told him that I was sorry he got grounded but he can't afford to get lazy, not as smart as he is.

Despite that disappointment, my basic ELL kiddo went up 30 points! He made 2.5 years worth of growth in half a school year! Yay! When I told him, I thought he face was going to crack from that big ole smile! So awesome. Another one of my low kids already exceeded her yearly growth goal. So that was really awesome. It also solidified to me that the high kids were just being lazy -- because if I can get a child who can barely speak English and a child who likely has a learning disability to make those kind of gains, I'm obviously doing something right!

I have cranked up our work with DDI the last week or so. Tomorrow I have to be out at a training I didn't even know about until last week (!!) and I left two quick shots for the kids to do without me. One is with a Scholastic News article and one is with our social studies text. There is a quick shot template so you can make your own and I LOVE making them to match our stories and/or the strategies we're working on. For example, we've started our informational report unit. The topic is transportation. So far we've really talked about the features of non-fiction text that helps us make sense of the text (headings, captions, etc). When I was planning for my sub tomorrow, I saw one of our Scholastic News articles was about George Washington and had a timeline, captions, headings and more. So I whipped up a quick shot and will have them work on that with the sub. Fun for them because they love the magazines but also fun for me because they can practice what we're already doing anyway!

I got to work early yesterday and completely rearranged my room. The only thing in the same position is my desk. Everything else I moved. I will have to take some pictures Thursday. I like it now. I liked it before but after awhile I just need a change. I get bored easily and most years about halfway through I make a big rearrangement like this. I'm happy with it.

I'm off to read and then head to bed to be rested for my super exciting full-day math training tomorrow. Ugh!


Tag, you're it!

Sorry, I kind of disappeared there! Whilst I was MIA, I was tagged twice. How can you be tagged if you're invisible? Hmm. A thought to ponder for another time. Anywho, here goes....

Here are the rules:
1. You must post the rules.
2. Post 12 fun facts about yourself on the blog post.
3. Answer the questions the tagger set for you in their post, and then create 12 new questions for the people you tagged.
4. Tag 12 people and link them on your post.
5. Let them know you've tagged them!

My 12 Fun Facts

1. I was the very first granddaughter born on the maternal side. My real name can be a boy or girl's name and my grandpa asked my mom why the hell she gave his first granddaughter a boy's name lol

2. I inherited the "girl dress" that has been passed down in the family since I was the first granddaughter. My oldest wore it home from the hospital too. That little dress is almost 60 years old.

3. I pretend I hate the show Victorious but I always watch it with The Littles when it's on.

4. The ring tone on my BlackBerry is actually "Freak the Freak Out". (Yes, I am 12.)

5. I think everything tastes better through a straw. I have left the house for the sole purpose of buying a fountain beverage.

6. I stopped going to the store in pajamas after the first time I caught a glimpse of one of my former students there. He didn't see me that day, thank goodness. I probably would have scarred him for life.

7. I have watched less than 5 hours of TV total in the last month.

8. I secretly want to rule the world some day.

9. I love learning. Every time something new happens to me, my first instinct is to get a book about it and figure out as much as I can about it. I wish my students had the same passion for learning!

10. There are a lot of single gender sets of kids in our family -- we have all girls and a lot of our cousins either have all girls or all boys. Only a few have children of both genders.

11. At least once per school year, I will completely and utterly rearrange my classroom. I get bored easily.

12. Having a planner makes me feel like a real adult. When you carry around a folio planner like mine, you just look important.

Questions from Kim:
1. What is your favorite Starbucks beverage (in case I'm in your neighborhood and I'm bringing you a treat!)?
Would you believe I have never been to a Starbucks? I am not a coffee person.
2. Book, Nook, Kindle, iPad, book on CD, other? What is your favorite way to enjoy a new book?
I have a Kindle and an iPad but also love the feel of an actual book in my hands. I love to read and will read and reread the same books over and over. Having an ereader has enabled me to bring tons of books with me wherever I go so I'd have to say that the Kindle is probably my favorite just because of its ability to let me take a whole library around in my purse!

3. If you weren't a teacher, what career would be your second choice?
I don't know. I went to business school right out of high school but I hated it. (I was trying to be "practical" since I had The Oldest so young.) I have wanted to be a teacher since I was 8 and I can't imagine doing anything else.

4. What is the first subject you plan for when you start your lesson plans for the upcoming day?
I plan a week at a time usually. I most often start with math because it's what I teach first thing in the morning. Before I leave school each day I set out what I need for the following day and then I plan backwards -- I look at my schedule and prepare from the last thing I am going to teach to the first thing so that all of my materials are in a pile in order, waiting for my students and I to get started. I plan that way for a sub too. I start with the last task and go back.

5. If you have traveled, what is your favorite country to visit? If you haven't had the opportunity (or if you have!) what country would you most like to visit?
I have only been to Canada as a "foreign" country (although it doesn't feel foreign to me!). I would love to visit Ireland some day.

6. Have you been a principal? Would you ever want to be?
No and no. My old principal used to always say to me that I would be a great principal. Hell no....I wouldn't tolerate disrespect whatsoever and would suspend kids left and right!

7. What dessert would you choose in a fancy restaurant?
It would depend on the restaurant but most likely something with chocolate!

8. What's the most adventurous/daring/exciting thing you have ever done (that you can blog about!)?
Hmmm....I don't know. I am pretty boring!

9. If you slept in "late" one morning, what time would it be?
Honestly? 11 or 11:30 on the days that The Husband just lets me sleep.
10. Do you still read magazines? What's your favorite?
Not that often but I do enjoy Self. I have been telling myself I'll renew my subscription but I haven't yet. I wish it was available for my Kindle.
11. Do you prefer sunrises or sunsets?
Sunsets. I am so not a morning person! :)
12. What brings you JOY?
Feeling like I made a difference!
Questions from Miss Squirrels (aka Staci):

1. When was the last time you talked to your high school sweetheart?
High school :)

2. What is the most important quality in your lovey- dovey?
He has to love children.

3. Do you believe in love at first sight? Has it ever happened to you?
Yes and yes. I met The Husband at a party on June 10, 2000 and we've literally been together ever since. I never felt a connection like that before in my life.

4. Where is the most romantic place you have gone for a date?
When we were still dating The Husband took me to the river and we sat on the banks in the moonlight and just watched the water. It was sweet and romantic just because it was simple.

5. Does your sweetie support you in the blogging world? (The Mr thinks it's silly).
I don't think The Husband really even knows I do it.
6. If you could plan a getaway with your honey, where would you go?
Somewhere with a warm beach!

7. What is one word that best describes you both as a couple?

8. How long have you been with your honey-bunny?
Eleven and a half years.

9. What is the best present you have ever received for Valentine's Day?
A night alone with The Husband when we had two under two in the house!

10. What is best present you have given to someone for Valentine's Day?
A box of "coupons" for things (backrub, etc) with all of the coupons shaped like hearts in different colors. I included one that said "the keys to my heart" because each color heart had a different theme.

11. Where was your first date?
First date ever or first date with The Husband?? First date ever was a movie with a bunch of friends. First real date with The Husband was to dinner and a movie.

12. Why don't you show ME some love and add me to your Blog Roll!?!?!?!? <3 Smooches!!
Done ;)

My Questions for those I Tag:
1. Who is your hero?
2. Why?
3. What is the last thing you ate?
4. When you were a kid, what was your favorite cartoon?
5. What is your favorite fragrance?
6. Are you a righty or a lefty?
7. What was your favorite subject in school?
8. Is that your favorite subject to teach?
9. What would you change in your school/district you could change just ONE thing?
10. What is your favorite book?
11. What color pen is the one you use most?
12. How many siblings do you have?

**I know this is cheating but most of the bloggers I actually read have already been tagged so, I am not going to tag anyone but you can feel free to steal my questions if you want!


Saturday, January 28, 2012

Survival Saturday

Not really....but "Super Saturday" just wasn't going to work and I wanted an S word so Survival it is.

I slept 12 hours last night...well, more like 10.5 because I got up super early with Baby Puppy and then went back to bed. Apparently, I was tired. I have never, ever been a morning person and still relish in my sleeping in super late every now and then. Usually I don't stay in bed as long as I did today...but it just means I'll skip my nap because I already technically had it. 

I'm bound and determined to make today a WORK day. Which stinks because it's 3:15 and I don't have much to show for it. (Happens when you stay in bed as late as I did.) I have been sort of productive -- I went to the pharmacy. Which means I also showered and got dressed so I wouldn't scare the locals with my "yes it is noon and I literally got out of bed 45 minutes ago" look. I really only went out because I discovered last night that I had one teeny tiny little pill left in my bottle and that is a problem. Because if I don't take those pills, I don't sleep. My legs dance all over the bed instead and then The Husband doesn't sleep either. And he's a big ole cranky-pants without me keeping him up. So sleep is kind of essential. Not to mention that if I don't get enough sleep over several days, I am not a nice person to be around. So. I had to go out and fill that prescription. Or it would be rather unpleasant in Sunnyville. I would have to change my name to "Grumpy" and that just doesn't have the same ring to it.

Why do I care so much about today being the Work Day? Because finally, at the END of January, I am going to implement my goal to take a day off every week. I already told The Oldest that she has to kick my butt if I so much as pick up my cell phone or iPad because they of course have internet, if I even make a step toward the computer or any other device that would allow me to do any kind of productive thing. I can have my Kindle and the TV and the kids. That's it. Nothing else. I honestly don't plan to leave the house. Or get out of pajamas. I am going to be lazy and relax. I need it if I am going to stay sane.

I have been keeping up with NB pretty well. I'm writing a bit here and there about my journey in a separate blog. I'd just rather not have this entire blog begin to be only about that. So I separated it. I'm feeling pretty good about where I am in the process. And thankful I am not doing EC-Gen because it gives me hives just reading the directions for that one. Yikes! I'm happy that I picked the Literacy certificate because a) it is my passion and b) it allows me to grow in ONE aspect of my teaching instead of trying to be fabulously amazing at them all. 

I have a big ole pile of crap I have to do today if I want to be able to take tomorrow off for myself. Which means I have to get going on it since time is slipping away. Since I slept late though I will probably be up until 11 or so working. As long as all of the stuff is done before midnight I will not be cheating on my goal of not working tomorrow. 


Thursday, January 26, 2012

I ♥ DDI!

Color me the biggest nerd on the planet....but I got my box from DDI today and a huge grin split across my face despite my uber tired and cranky state of being. Considering I ordered the stuff on Monday and I haven't even had a chance to send my check, I was super excited to open that box. I have all of this stuff at school but I wanted my own set. Firstly for planning at home and secondly in the event I ever leave my district I have a set of my own.

I'm probably more excited because I've really been ramping up our use of the DDI strategies the last two weeks to prepare for the winter MAP. We took the reading part 1 yesterday and they squeezed us in for Part 2 today. I'm SUPER excited to see their scores tomorrow. From the preliminary peeks I took, most of my kids made growth (I'm upset that two of my top readers went down from what I saw and I had a private talk with both of them that since they've kind of spaced out on me lately it's probably why they didn't do as well). From the preliminary numbers, my basic ELL went up somewhere between 20-30 points this time around! So awesome. Every time I see their score and go to shut their test down, when the score is definitely higher, I whisper to the child, "Who's the best teacher ever?" and they smile and whisper back, "you are". 

So coming home after that and opening that box just had me giddy. I'm sure my colleagues think I'm a freak because I just LOVE this stuff. I get the data side and if I don't understand it, I strive to make sure I DO understand it. I could see myself getting a doctorate in an area where you focus on the data side of the instructional model -- to make it useful and not stupid and pointless. 

I am exhausted beyond belief but excited as hell to see my kiddos' scores tomorrow. It'll also be very interesting to see my teammates' scores since they haven't really immersed themselves into DDI and I have.


Wednesday, January 25, 2012


Whew! What a week so far. I find it unbelievable that I can be this wiped out, on Wednesday, when I've only worked two days so far this week! What's up with that??

Apparently all of the kids went bat-shit crazy over the weekend. Must've been the half day Friday. Holy cow. I guess they were collectively insane (whole school, not just my class) on Monday when I was out and yesterday wasn't much better. I had to have a HUGE talking to with my entire class. It is like they all forgot how to think and that they are at school to learn. So annoying. Add to the fact that we're MAPing and I feel tons of pressure for them to perform well on that test and I was not a happy lady.

Today was better. Not much but some. I have banned one of my kids from recess indefinitely. Every single day by the time I get out to the line to get the kids, I have at least 3 children and/or adults coming to me with something this child has done. I've had it. I even told one of the interventionists that unless they see on the board that I am out on a certain day to send him up to my room when the kids go out at 8, after breakfast. He can do some work in the room or something. Or sit in a corner. (Kidding. Mostly.) That's just the point I'm at with this kid. He is a huge pain in the ass...and it kills me because he is SUPER smart. And before you go thinking he's just bored, he only does this stuff when I'm not around because he knows better than to try it with me. I keep my kids BUSY. And since I've taught 4th/5th most of my career, I definitely have the resources to meet this child's needs. He's just a bully. I have made him cry several times this year. Even in front of his dad. I don't put up with back-sass and attitude at all and took him to task when he back-sassed his dad in front of me. Oh hell no. Dad's jaw nearly dropped in surprise but later he told me he was so glad I said it because he's at his wit's end too. Ugh!

We made it through our first round of MAP and some of my kids made huge gains. It's not official because they have to take the second part of the test but I was super happy to see that some of my low kids made big jumps (30 points!). Although some of my kids went down a little too. That was disappointing to see but I have to remind myself it is only half the test (the phonics part). So if their comprehension has improved, it should allow them all to show some growth. I'm going to be biting my nails over it until I get the results next week.

I am exhausted. I am working on my plans and will finish my grading before I turn in for the night. I want to just crawl in bed and read BUT I know that if I make myself do this work now, I am going to have so much more time at school tomorrow to do what I want/need to do in the morning and then I can head out at 3:30 tomorrow, get my nails done, then head home and enjoy a hot soak in the tub before taking National Board stuff. It'll be worth it to make myself finish ti now.


Monday, January 23, 2012

What is on my mind?

This is my 492nd post (whoa!). I also noticed I am up to 236 followers which is insane to me. People actually read my drivel?! Wow.

At any rate, now I am thinking....will I reach 250 followers first or my 500th post first? Hmmm. 

And just what should I have up my sleeve just in case one, or the other, or dare I say both happen sometime soon?

Oh the little wheels in my head are a spinnin'....


Saturday, January 21, 2012

Happy Weekend (A Rambly Jumbled Post!)

So glad for a SUNSHINEY Saturday today! Last year when I was teaching 5th grade, we did a unit in science on phases of the moon and along with that did some study about cloud cover and whatnot. Even I was shocked to read that our little area of Michigan is one that has mostly cloud cover in the winter. Yeah I know we don't get a ton of sunshine but that was depressing to see it in print! Ever since I rejoice all of my sunny winter days!!!

Yesterday was great. We were taking our Unit 3 benchmark tests this week. Since we only had kids 3 1/2 days, we had to squeeze it in. I decided to give it all on Thursday. It's a 40 question test and while I don't plop it in front of my kids and say "have at it!", they actually prefer to get it done in one day. So we did a little in the morning, a little after lunch and finished it before last recess. I'm excited to see how they did since we kick some behind in terms of what we do in our rooms compared to the others.

Since we got that done Thursday, all we had to do for our half day Friday was our probability quiz in math. Everything else was open for whatever we wanted to do. So we did a ROK review sheet (courtesy of DDI of course!). We did one previously that was a smaller version. This one was a bigger one (3 spaces) and has a spot for the kids to prove to their parents how they know they get the word/phrase. I am going to send it home Tuesday as homework to see if they can remember the words enough to show their parents what the words mean. They LOVE this stuff (and so do I!). I can't believe my colleagues are so blah about doing it. It's what I have learned is the BEST thing about moving grade levels the way I have -- you can't get stagnant! 

[For the record, these are the grades I have taught, in order: 4/5 split, 5th & 2nd in one year (long term then full-time position), 4th, 4th, 5th, 2nd.]

After we did our ROK review sheet and I collected them, we did a Chinese New Year Fun Friday activity. Chinese New Year is on Monday and I have the day off to take Middle Child to an appointment. Figured since we had the time free that we could do an art project on that (and I'm super nice and left them a Chinese New Year packet to do on Monday with the sub since we don't have library due to MAP testing). I couldn't get the craft page to print correctly so we could make the masks and I was super disappointed. We just cut and colored printable masks instead and the kids loved them. I will have to snag a picture of them. We also looked at the Chinese Zodiac and the kids laughed when they saw I was born in the year of the Horse...but the last laugh was mine when we discovered that THEY were born in the year of the MONKEY  haha! (Except for a few of my kiddos who were born late in 2003 and are the year of the Sheep.)

Then they ate their lunches in the room since it was a half day and I let them finish a movie we had started before break for indoor recess. Then I gave them all a high five and sent them home and had the afternoon to do my thing.

I did not finish my report cards (they aren't actually do until Monday) or get my folders done since I bought new ones but since I am having a sub Monday, the parents will understand. It'll all just go home on Tuesday instead. I got some cleaning done, plans ready for the sub, plans ready for ME and copies made for the week. I put in a big book order too. Even though I didn't finish everything I wanted to finish, I feel like I did get a lot done.

Yesterday afternoon while I was working at my desk, my phone rang and it was Mrs. CT calling me. When I picked up, she says "I don't want you to INFER anything from what I am about to say...but I know that I promised you that I'd give you my tree when I retire. I'm trying to clean things out and since I haven't used it in a couple of years, I wanted to know if you'd like my tree now. But I'm not retiring." It was funny. 

I didn't have a spot to put this tree so it is in my bump out right now but I coveted that tree when I saw it last year. She didn't use it but it was in our bump out and I asked her about it. Each month she would hang story starters or writing prompts to the tree in the shape of something that concurred with that month (buses for September, pumpkins for October, etc). They are SUPER cute and I just loved the idea. So she promised that some day when she retired, I could have her tree. I went up to get it and she gave me all of the story starters too. Fun. Since I knew I wasn't going to be there Monday, I just put it in the back room until I find a spot for it but I am excited to find a spot for it in my room. I'm sure I will have to change some of the prompts because I am teaching little kids but what a fun idea! 

Several people recently have asked me about how I'm liking 2nd grade. I don't hate it. It is fun and they are silly and cute. But I also do like big kids. In some ways I hope that I am in 2nd again next year because I want to be able to do some things a bit better than I did them this year...although if Mrs. Principal moves me back upstairs, I won't be sad either. I do, for the most part, enjoy teaching my small fries and I have talked with Mrs. A (who was 2nd last year and now is 5th -- we both just kind of switched) and have discovered that my team treated her this way last year too. Never wanted to hear her ideas and whatnot and then are mad when she does fun stuff with her class and didn't "share" with them. It's hard to share when they aren't willing to listen. It's the only thing that has made this year frustrating. But I focus on my kids and know that THEY will achieve because I am pushing them to be the best they can be.

Oh and Mrs. A told me that of all of our students who were announced recently to have won a writing award and will be featured at a local museum, THREE of them were hers last year! So pushing them is not bad. Yes they are little but they aren't babies. They are capable.


Thursday, January 19, 2012

Shopping Spree & *That Kid*

I can't believe's Thursday! I haven't posted since Monday. This has been a crazy busy week. It's all good though. Just a ton going on with the end of the semester.

On Monday I kind of went on a shopping spree from my dining room table. (I'm sure The Hubby just loves when I do that!) A very good friend of mine, whom I edited a few papers for over the last year, finished her last class for her ESL endorsement with an A. She claims it is because I edited her papers. I know it is because SHE wrote the good content and I just helped her clean up the grammar! At any rate, she wanted to thank me so she bought me a new Kindle 4! I have had a Kindle 2 since May '10 that The Husband bought me for my masters graduation. That sucker was like $250 and about three months later they came out with the third generation (which The Oldest has one of). She bought this Kindle on eBay [brand new - never opened original packaging] for a bit cheaper than getting it from Amazon and I am AMAZED how much less it cost than my original one AND how light it is. It literally does fit in your back pocket (I tried just because I had to see if it was true!). 

I am going to regift my Kindle 2 to The Littles so they can play the games I have on it but also since Middle Child has such a hard time with reading, I figured I can get her some books on there that she can have read to her as she practices reading. I just can't get over the size of this tiny thing. Once she told me she was buying it for me, I ordered a case that came with a bonus car charger so I'm looking forward to getting that in the mail soon as well.

In addition to her ordering the Kindle and me buying the case, I ordered some Nicky's Folders. I bought a set in 2008 when I was teaching 2nd grade the first time. I ♥ these folders. They are $1.05 per folder but SO worth it (my original set was 85 cents per folder). You have to buy them in sets of 100 so it's pricey up front....but I got 3 years use out of the first ones I ordered. I just didn't have enough for this year. I decided to try another kind and they fell apart. So back to Nicky's it was. I ordered them Monday afternoon and they arrived already! I got the Nicky's Communicator version. I doubt I will ever use another type of folder ever again. These are that good!

Another thing I remember having from when I taught 2nd before (notice a pattern here??) was a "Completed Together in Class" stamp. So on anything we did together but I still wanted to look over, I could just stamp it so parents would understand that I hadn't graded it. I got it at Really Good Stuff. I went back to their site to get a new one and it was discontinued. Sad. But I found this fun site which has tons of stamps. Not only did I find another stamp that said "Completed Together in Class" but I also got one that said "Read but Not Corrected". I REALLY feel like I need to look over their papers at this age because I want to see if they are understanding. You can glance at it and know if they are getting it (at least at this age level you can) but do I really want to actually grade it all? No. So this will help. Color me shocked when they also arrived today! 

I am super excited because we have a half day tomorrow. The kids did their Unit 3 Benchmark test for Reading Street today so I will grade those tonight so that I don't have to do that tomorrow! It'll allow me to put my new groupings together too. I'm looking forward to 3.5 hours in my room to just work and do my own thing!

I have this student that I secretly refer to as Little Princess. She is a spoiled brat who mom enables big time. She complained earlier this year that she was going to pull Little Princess out because I'm so mean to her. Boo hoo. If expecting her to shut her mouth and do her work is mean, then I guess I am! We finally got her tantrums under control but now she refuses to do any work without me basically threatening her. Today as the students were getting their coats from their lockers, Little Princess was walking by me and says to me "my mommy says I am having a hard year because YOU are my teacher". I nearly laughed in this 8 year old's face. Are you kidding me? You're having  a hard year because you don't do any work and your mother enables you. One thing that you have to know about Sunny is that I don't pull punches -- what you see is what you get and this mom is in for it when this kid goes to 3rd grade and can't hack it. I didn't say anything really to this child except "well sweetie is it really because of me or because you won't do what I ask you to do?" and she says "Oh it's because I don't listen". Yeah. It is. And we wonder why kids are so messed up today. Wow.

I just come home nightly and thank my stars that MY kids realize THEIR actions have consequences. It isn't always someone else's fault. Speaking of which, both last night and today I saw former students that I had last year. They both told me they getting all As except one B and the gal, whom I saw last night said, "I did tell you in June that you taught me everything I know." ♥ 


Monday, January 16, 2012

Happy MLK!

Oh the joys of a Monday off. Love. I think we should start a petition that school should only occur Tuesday-Friday. I would gladly work an extra 90 minutes a day to have a 3 day weekend every week. Oh the glory!

At any rate, this is not really a "day off" (they never are, are they?). Here's my proof:
There are even clothes on the table and fuzzies on the floor from Baby Puppy!

I am bound and determined to get through my stack that I purposely avoided all weekend and saved for today. Of course I would wait and do it all tomorrow but I'd lose my mind and I'd rather not do that to myself. I really want to do report cards today as well so that I can spend my records time cleaning my room, or better yet, working on National Board while being paid to do it! Now that is a great idea! *Mental note*

We'll be off to take Baby Puppy to the vet in a bit for a booster shot. Oh he is going to just love that (or not). Then it's off to the eye doctor for The Oldest, Middle Child and myself. WHY do these places have the worst hours ever? It's taken me forever to get us all an appointment because their hours stink. I work too! Again, this is why we should only work 4 days a week! We'd have a day to do all of the doctor appointments, etc and wouldn't have to miss so much work. Right???

Once we get back from all the doctor stuff, it's game on. I HAVE to finish this stuff today. So I can get to school tomorrow and make copies and whatnot and be all set. Then I can leave right after our collaborative meeting and come home and work on National Board. Or procrastinate. Or whatever.

You did notice that huge diet coke sitting amidst my work piles right? Yeah. I always need a super huge one on marathon grading days! At least the sun is shining.....


Sunday, January 15, 2012

No Sunday Blahs here!

I'm super grateful today that I work where I do. Why? Because we are one of the only districts in my area who has MLK off from school. I always like a 3-day weekend, especially when one of those days is a Monday!

I have been super tired this weekend. I took a nap both Saturday and today which is not like me. Don't get me wrong -- I am all about the naps, but I usually snag one either day, not both. It's bothersome because I went to sleep when I felt tired and I STILL feel tired. Not cool. Not at all.

I hope it's just a bug and not something more serious. If I don't start feeling more energized this week, I am going to try to get into my doctor next Monday. I took the day off to take Middle Child to (yet another) appointment. If need be, I will try to sneak myself into the doctor too.

Due to my all-day grogginess I did not get nearly as much accomplished as I would have liked for National Board. I will get there and my entries will be fine...but I don't like how I feel like time is slipping away so quickly. It's very frustrating! I have to take Baby Puppy to the vet tomorrow for a shot, then myself, The Oldest and Middle Child have eye doctor appointments. By the time I get them back to school and get myself settled in, it'll probably be 1 o'clock and I have a ton of grading to do and want to get my report cards done. So I have two choices--either not do National Board until after 5 tomorrow or stay up late tonight working on it.

Blech. I know I should work on it more. I really wanted to get Entry 2 done this weekend. I hate to keep putting it off -- I need to get my first draft done so I can revise it, send it off to readers and then revise again based on their feedback. Plus I need to start on my other two entries. (Entry 4 is almost done as well -- just a few finishing touches to do there.) You can read all about my National Board Journey here.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Saturday, January 14, 2012

A Day in my Shoes Linky Party!

Katie over at Adventures of a 6th Grade Teacher is hosting her first linky party!
Here is how it works...
1. Right click and save the button above to put in your post. I
suggest also making the picture a link when you add it so others can
easily find the linky party. 
2. Tell us about a typical day in your classroom. You can share as
little or as much as you would like.
3. Go to Katie's blog and link up.
4. Visit the other links to see what a day is like in their class!

Friday the 13th!

5:28 a.m. - Wake up the phone ringing to tell me that The Oldest has a snow day. I grumble for a minute and then roll over and curl back up. Then Baby Puppy starts whining so I admit defeat and get up.

5:35 a.m. -- Freezing outside in the snow to let the furry kids outside. Come back in to another phone call that The Littles have a snow day and wonder WHY. There isn't that much snow on the ground.

5:45-6:20 a.m. -- Shower, dress, prep for school (no snow day for me!). Head out the door and spend  15 minutes cleaning the super heavy snow off the car.

6:20-7:10 a.m. -- The 25 minute commute takes 50 in the snow but no slide offs or accidents so it was fine. Stopped before the highway for a huge Diet Coke to get me through the day.

7:15-8:15 a.m. -- Entering the classroom after having a sub on a snowy day = scary. But my room was perfect, almost like I had never been gone. Great sub note (yay) and I was able to prep for the day by sharpening pencils, changing the schedule and calendar board, putting out morning work, sorting through papers that needed to be graded and papers that can just go home then zipping downstairs to copy the math tests I thought I had copied before picking up the students.

8:20-8:30 a.m. -- Mass chaos, otherwise known as lockers for all 2nd and 3rd graders. It's quite loud no matter if they all are not talking. Too many bodies in an enclosed space.

8:30-8:45 a.m. -- We enter the room, I praise their behavior for the sub, they begin morning work and I take attendance. I'm shocked that only 3 students are absent since we usually have 10 or more on days when all the other districts are closed but us. Only 3 gone meant I could give my tests after all!

8:45-10:30 a.m. -- Tests, tests, tests. Yes, we had a bunch of tests. In 2nd grade. On Friday the 13th. First math test, then reading test, then spelling test. Sheesh. While the students were testing, I sorted through all of the weekly work and made note of who had missing work (it's a lot of kids sadly). I'm trying to train them -- still -- to put all unfinished work in their red folder, not just in their desks because then it's gone.

10:30-11:00 a.m. -- Make up work. Calling one kiddo at a time to let them know what they were missing. Kids who had everything done got to read or color. They think I am amazing when I let them color as a reward.

11:00-11:40 a.m. -- Lunch break...I hit the bathroom since it's my only break all day, heat up my oatmeal (yes I eat oatmeal for lunch), check my mailbox downstairs and decide I should probably be sociable and join my colleagues for lunch. [Truth be told I have been avoiding them because I am feeling bitter and I am trying to be positive, not bitter.]

11:40-12:40 p.m. -- Pick up the darlings from lunch and head to the computer lab. They go to my website and link to games and other activities. I walk around and pretend to be useful and secretly lament that this is our last computer lab until early February due to testing which closes the lab.

12:45-1:00 p.m. -- Practice lines since they have been horrible with them. One at at time they got up, pushed in their chairs and made a line. We practiced going to our lockers SILENTLY, pretended to put on our outdoor gear and line up like we were going to go outside and walked in a line back to the room. We had to do this two times because once they get out of the room, they chat like nobody's business and since we're supposed to have "silent hallways", it's kind of vital that they figure out that it also means them! :)

1:00-1:40 p.m. -- Reading and background building for our upcoming community service project. We read the book "Magic Trash" which is about Tyree Guyton and the Heidelberg project [It's a great book -- well worth checking out!!] and brainstormed what items we might make from the recyclable materials we're collecting. We will be making art from our recyclables and presenting them to seniors at a senior community across town in March.

1:45-2:05 p.m. -- Recess; Friday is my duty day so we bundled up and headed outside in the fresh snow. It wasn't too cold for as snowy as it was and I had fun watching the kids make snow angels, build snowmen and just run like crazy people in the snow. They all think I am super silly because I remind them to be careful so they don't break their eye or their eyelashes or their toenails and they just giggle like crazy (even the students who aren't mine). I have never enjoyed recess duty more than this year teaching 2nd graders because they will giggle over pretty much anything.

2:05-2:15 p.m. -- Trudging back inside to prepare for going home. We got smart this year and after last recess have the students get everything from their lockers so the hallway is less chaotic when it's time to go home. It takes awhile now because of snowpants and boots.

2:15-3:00 p.m. -- Fun Friday; we made a glyph that I found online and did an MLK activity. The students enjoyed it and it was a nice way to reward them after all of the tests in the morning!

At 3 we begin to clean up the room and put everything away and I send them on their merry way at 3:09. It was by far one of the busiest Friday's I've had in a long time but other than having to practice our lines for a little while, they were really good for it being Friday the 13th and having had a sub the day before!

I usually hate to bring work home but since I have Monday off for MLK I decided I could make an exception, especially because I have to grade all of those darn tests! *wink*


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Naughty, Naughty

I decided this morning on my way to work that I would be having a fabulous day off on Thursday. I will miss my art prep but I don't mind so much. I can practically do my lesson plans in my sleep (they are done just have to be copied from Mrs. E's template to my own) and can print some materials from home to be ready for copying for next week. No biggie.

The Oldest has a college visit tomorrow at my alma mater and I decided I wanted to go with her. The Husband has not been able to find a lot of time to work on The Youngest's new bedroom...so since he has tomorrow off and was planning to take The Oldest to her visit, I will take her instead (since I know that campus like the back of my hand) and he can stay home and work on the bedroom. I am SO ready for the little two to have their own rooms. Oy!

I stayed at school until 6:20 today getting ready. I had plans and such done but copying, sorting and cleaning had to be done and I refuse to leave a huge mess for me to come back to (because sadly subs often leave a big enough mess without it adding to any clutter/mess I leave).

After the Oldest's college visit, I will do a bunch of grading and other miscellaneous junk for school and then FINALLY do some work on National Board. I am going to cross everything for the big ole wicked snow storm I keep hearing about and a you-know-what day for Friday. Now that would be wicked awesome. 5 day weekend? Oh yeah!

Of course, our weather people hype it up like crazy and say we're going to have Snowmaggedon and we usually get 43 snowflakes instead (although last year we did have Snowmaggedon and 3 snow days in a row which had never, ever happened in my district before in it's history). But a girl can dream, right?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


Today I talked to a former student teacher from our school who also had Mrs. CT as co-op...and once we got started, wow. Her and I should never do lunch because I'm sure we would gripe the entire time. So glad it isn't just me. She is also livid that the same teachers got college students as last semester. She also said she complained about Mrs. CT to the college because she WOULD.NOT. give up control so that this student teacher could really be on her own.

One of my colleagues told me this morning she has had a TA or student teacher every single semester for 7 years. How is that fair? Honestly. I guess I don't suck up enough (or if we're being really honest -- kiss ass enough) to get help. Whatever. 

I went to the mall after school, a place I normally avoid like the plague, to pick up the family pics we had taken just before Christmas. My receipt says "pick up January 10th between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.". I got there at 4:15. Is 4:15 after 6 p.m.? No, it isn't. And the portrait studio was closed. Oh I was L-I-V-I-D. Called the manager and left a nasty message because it is seriously inconvenient for me to go there (30 minutes from work and 45 from home). They better either throw in a freebie or ship that stuff to my house for free. Ooooh she better hope I've had some chocolate before I talk to her. Fortunately I was at a mall so I went to Old Navy and bought myself some cute shirts and a couple of pairs of pants on clearance so I can look relatively professional at work. *wink* 

At any rate, I am joining the linky party at Oh Boy Fourth Grade...really because I just covet the fabulous pencil sharpener that is being given away to two lucky participants. I may just freaking buy one because a) I never win anything and b) it would not be a bad deal to have two of these suckers.


Monday, January 9, 2012

And Monday it is....

Totally figures that I left a huge pile of stuff at work Friday because I was an emotional mess...and I got there super early today to get things ready for the day. And the copy machine was being a pain. It would run 1-3 sheets and then misfeed. Over and over. Gah!

Finally we had to admit defeat and give it up. I was able to make due without copies by printing class sets of the worksheets. I hate to do that but I only use what we actually NEED and thus, my copies are kind of essential. Our principal said our copy machine is on it's last legs but the district won't spring for a new one so whatever. I was even able to be slick and finish the essential grading I left behind AND get folders done and sent home today. Woo hoo!

After school we had a flex meeting and Mrs. Principal said "oh by the way, each grade level has $1000, go spend it". Um, come again???

2nd grade decided that we wanted those privacy shields that you use for testing and to look into ordering these fun center organizers to help us with our literacy stations. They are very cool and come with a pocket chart, storage bins and organizers. It would certainly make organizing my stations a bit easier and the organizer is portable which is just fun. I will have to pull it up again and post a picture.

Additionally I got an email back from the local elementary school's principal and he said he would be more than happy to provide some insight if we were looking to move Middle Child. It does sound to me like this school would be able to provide more things in terms of supporting her...but I am not going to make a decision off the cuff. I have way too much going on right now to make any decision rashly. We will see what happens in the next few weeks.


Sunday, January 8, 2012

Oh Sunday....

Anyone else feel like the weekend flew by?! Geesh!

Just when you need some time off...time seems to speed up! I feel kind of bad when I read my blog list and see all the fun, cool stuff others are doing. Not gonna happen on this blog anytime soon unfortunately. It's just not my reality right now.

I am looking forward to this week actually. We have some testing which will allow me a tad bit of downtime and then we have a 3 day weekend for MLK. I'll be busy as ever on MLK but at least I don't have to go to work so I'll have the afternoon to work entirely on National Board.

I need to quickly write up my lesson plans tonight so that I'm ready for tomorrow. I know what we're doing all week, I just have to write it out so they're "official". I don't feel the least bit guilty about leaving my work at work. It was a very draining day Friday and I'm sure I wouldn't have gotten much done anyway. No one will suffer because a few things weren't finished. We'll all be a-okay.

One reason I love blogging so much is because it has brought me in touch with so many fabulous people. I have to express my sincere gratitude to everyone who has commented over the last couple of days. It helps me to know that I am not alone, I'm not being irrational and I'm doing what I know is right for my child. I sent a long, heartfelt email to her school and said that when push comes to shove, I don't want to move Middle Child and I meant it. She does not need a small classroom -- she is fine with mainstreaming. They just need to give her some slack on a medical issue that she can not control. One of my colleagues, who teaches children with ASD, told me to stop by her room tomorrow and she would help me brainstorm a plan of action if need be. I am so grateful for the people in my life who support me and my child.

I have read so much about Asperger's since I got the diagnosis confirmed. One of the biggest things I've read that has validated so much for me is that this child is my gift. A few years ago, when I was still teaching at Former School, one of my ASD colleagues was actually the one who got me on the idea that Middle Child was more than likely on the spectrum. I have always thought that there is a reason that Middle Child was given to me. I will advocate for her, no matter what. She deserves nothing less than that. I don't want to change her at all. She is perfect the way she is, quirkiness and all! I love her sense of humor, the way she still calls me "mommy" even though she's 10, how she insists on holding my hand when we go to the store. She is a beautiful person and I won't let anyone interfere with her having the same thing everyone else has.

Again, thank you to everyone who comments and provides some support. You have no idea how much it means to me to be truly understood as both a mom and a teacher. I would never treat my special needs students poorly because I wouldn't want someone to do that to MY child. I know I am 100% a better teacher because I was a mother first. 


Saturday, January 7, 2012


What an emotionally draining weekend so far. Yesterday took it all out of me I think. I still don't know what to do. I did talk to my principal and she said that she wouldn't have an issue with my kids being at my school except that my first responsibility would be to my class and to remember that (like I don't know already). It isn't like my child would be hanging out in my room all day. At any rate, the more I thought on it last night anyway, I wouldn't want her there. Not because I don't want her with me, but because my district is in turmoil right now and I do not want my kids to be part of that, even for a short while. They would be missing out academically because of the mandates that my district has in place and I can't hurt their education like that. I would feel even more terrible later.

I sent an inquiry to our home district, explaining the situation and asking what kind of accommodations they could provide her. I really don't want to move them at all but I will if I feel like her current school isn't doing what they need to do. I do not think I have asked for anything unreasonable in terms of accommodations. There is no reason why they can't provide what she needs, how she needs it. I think I may well just have to go above her social worker's head on this one. I talked to a few friends of mine and one pointed out that since the school knows she also has Irritable Bowel Syndrome (a manifestation of her anxiety ala Asperger's) that it is 100% against the law for them to deny her participation on that trip. My other friend, who is a special education teacher, told me that I need an advocate and she would come home to Michigan (she's in DC) and do it if needed. I really feel like the problem is, Middle Child's school does not understand what Asperger's really is. I may have to get our therapist involved so they know that they can't willfully break the law and exclude Middle Child because they THINK there might be a problem. It's disability harrassment and they could get in soooo much trouble.

Not really how I wanted to spend half of my weekend -- worrying about this situation. Middle Child was very vocal that she likes her school EXCEPT when they bother her about this stuff. I am just going to cross my fingers and pray for the best resolution to this whole mess.

I haven't even been able to spend any time working on National Board today because I was so upset about this whole situation that I couldn't even drag myself out of bed until nearly 10 this morning. AND The Husband is clueless in regards to this. He has no idea what is really happening here and thus it falls on my shoulders, as if I have no other pressing matters and have all the time in the world to shoulder this alone. :(


Friday, January 6, 2012

Oh, I'm gonna regret this....

Today was rough for me emotionally. My students were fine but I have seriously got to learn to not check my personal email from work. I always do though because I get emails from my girls' school and whatnot. Well today I got an email that has had my blood boiling the rest of the day. I am SO angry and upset.

Middle Child was just confirmed as having Asperger's Syndrome over winter break. I have known in my heart for years (since 1st grade) that ASD is what is going on with my child. It has taken me a long road to finally get to the point that I don't feel like it is MY FAULT that she is who she is. WHY does my child have to have ASD *and* dyslexia?? I have had varying emotions about all of this over the last year or so (since I put Middle Child in therapy at her school's insistence -- they pushed and pushed me).

So I took her and then we did neuropsych testing and on and on. This child manifests her anxiety in her bowels. She always has. If she has any anxiety, something changes or is off, she has an accident. Nothing horribly bad but it has happened often enough lately that it is becoming a big issue. I feel like her school (a charter school with a great reputation that has always served us well until now) just doesn't freaking get it. I don't think they understand what Asperger's really means for Middle Child or how to address it.

I get this email reminding me that the 4th graders have swim class starting next week and they don't want Middle Child to go because of her recent "incidents". I was immediately livid. You can't just exclude her because you THINK she will have an accident at the pool. Yes, I get it regarding the sanitary aspect. I GET IT. I know, it's a huge health hazard, it's gross, etc. But as a mother, I can not sit back and let my child be alienated even more than she already is because you *think* she might have a problem.

I had a super long talk with her social worker after school. I admitted to him that while I have always loved having Middle Child there, I am honestly starting to question whether or not their school can serve her needs anymore. To the effect that I was school until nearly 6 p.m. tonight talking to a colleague of mine about transferring my girls to OUR school and putting Middle Child in this teacher's class. When I explained to her some of the things that this school has done to Middle Child, in their attempts to "help", she was appalled. APPALLED.

It wouldn't be hard to get a transfer into the district (we take pretty much everyone) and I think it would solve a lot of issues for Middle Child because I would be right there if she had any problems.

As such I was there so long ranting and venting about this that I left a huge pile of papers that I didn't finish grading on my desk as well as my folders undone and I have ZERO lesson plans or copies done for next week...and I left it all at work. I came home with nothing. I just don't care. I know I am going to regret it Monday morning for for now, it is the last thing on my mind. I am more worried about my child than my job. I want to do what's best for her and that is being there for her. I do not want to have to quit my job to be there for her. I also do not know if I really want her in my district because of some of the stupid policies they have. I just don't know...I can think about how much easier it would be to have her there (and I wouldn't move her and not move The Youngest so they'd both be there). They could eat breakfast at school, lunch at school, hang out in my classroom after school until I was done doing what I needed to do, they could get their homework done, etc. I wouldn't have to pay daycare anymore because they'd be with me all day. In the event that we had snow days, we'd all stay home instead of like in the past when they've sometimes had days off and I haven't.

If Middle Child was uncomfortable being outside at recess (she's a big time loner which I've always heard is a big Aspie trait), she could come hang out in my classroom instead or go to the library or whatever. But then I worry about what their school offers that mine does not -- a full year art/music program (and Middle Child LOVES art and we will lose art at half semester), the people she's been in school with for 5 years and the stability that comes with it, a more challenging curriculum that pushes her, science and social studies (can't say she would get them because we have so many other things we are required to do that they get pushed to the wayside).

I just don't know. I am so torn. I want to do what is best for my child. I also don't want to make things worse for her. I don't know what my next step needs to be. I feel like Mrs. 4th Grade GETS IT (turns out she's had many ASD kiddos over the years) and would take very good care of my child and keep her safe and advocate for her. I just don't know that I really want to uproot my kids mid-year and then move them AGAIN for middle school. This is why nothing came home with me and nothing is done -- this is all I have been able to focus on all afternoon to the point that I find myself fighting back tears.

Being a mom is hard.


Thursday, January 5, 2012

Paying it Forward

Today after school I was talking to a parent about an incident that happened with her child yesterday. Her child got written up and the paper came back signed but with a big explanation on it that had nothing to do with the issue at hand. Since I kind of know this child's game, I wrote a letter to mom intending to send it home with the student today in his homework folder. Unfortunately because the end of the day was relatively crazy, I did not remember to get it from my desk before the kids left. When I realized it was there, I decided I better call mom to get to the bottom of this.

There is a reason why I forgot to put that note in there. This phone call was meant to happen. The child lied to mom about the incident and since our behavior reports have very little by way of real explanation, she only knew what Junior told her. When we talked, the truth was revealed and mom was not pleased because Junior is, once again, telling stories to try to stay out of trouble. This poor parent is doing the best she can and trying hard and it's a struggle. She's been very honest with me about that this year.

If you have read this blog for any length of time, you know that I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. EVERYTHING. I'm in 2nd grade for a reason. So far this year, I can say I have changed the lives of at least 2 kids and am about to do so for my 3rd. [For one I got mom to wake up and smell the bacon after calling CPS on her for neglecting her son and for the other I finally got dad to get his child some testing and kiddo will be going on meds. It's a HUGE victory and I feel so good being able to advocate for these kids and when needed help the parents get the help they need.] With this particular child, we've been struggling with some behavior and things and I followed protocol and referred him to our counselor. Well it is through an agency and they want to charge mom a co-pay to have her child see a therapist.

Mom had sent me a note about it in December and I hadn't had a chance to ask her about it so I took the opportunity to do that tonight. She was very honest with me and said it was going to come down to paying the co-pay or feeding her kids. AND the lady at the agency, when handed this mom's insurance card, says to Mom, "Oh I've never actually BILLED insurance before, I usually bill DHS." So basically this family is going to be denied service because mom has a job and supports her family?? OH HELL NO. Not on my time.

I was so angry when Mom told me that. No parent, but especially not one who is clearly involved and cares like this one does, should have to choose between paying a weekly co-pay or feeding their children. And this child is one that clearly something is up with. I'm afraid if we don't figure out what it is NOW while he's young that he will be that child in middle school who ends up in juvie because the crap hits the fan. I can not live with myself KNOWING that is going to happen down the road and know that I didn't do anything to help. So as I was talking to her, the wheels in my head were spinning. I had an epiphany. I told her that I had an idea and I would call around and see what I could do and get back with her by the middle of next week. She thanked me up and down and told me I was fabulous.

So I made a call. I called my therapist and left her a message. She called me back while I was at Middle Child's therapy appointment (how's THAT for irony?) and I filled her in on the situation and my fears. She knows me well enough to know that I would not come to her if I wasn't desperately fearful for this child and figuring out what the hell is going on with him. Thankfully I had the foresight to ask Mom what her insurance carrier is...because Mrs. Therapist accepts it! She said that because she and her colleagues are all in private practice [they simply share a building and resources] that they can do whatever they want whereas the bigger agencies would not allow that. She said they got a new therapist and she's trying to build her client base and Mrs. Therapist is going to ask her if she can take my little guy...and if she can't bill that insurance yet, she said SHE would take him and NOT CHARGE THE COPAY!!

This is why I called her. Her passion is helping people. My passion is educating them. I thanked her profusely and she reiterated that she knew I would not call her for this if I wasn't seriously worried for this child. She is going to talk to her colleagues at their staff meeting to see who may be best suited to work with this little guy but said push come to shove, she would take him herself. I'm sure that none of their therapists will charge that co-pay. I kind of laughed because Mrs. Therapist said that her husband tells her that she is a terrible business woman because she does things like this but she said it makes her a great social worker and she is 100% right! Neither of us went into our jobs to get rich...and since she can still bill the insurance, it isn't like she's really going to be losing out entirely.

I am SO glad I forgot to send that note home so I could make this connection and help this family. Good Karma!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

We're Baaaaaaack!

Wow. What a crazy start to 2012! The kids were all quiet and good first part of yesterday...and after lunch it was like they'd never been in school before. So annoying. We're a PBiS school so we're required to do behavior walk throughs and everything after long breaks. It doesn't appear to make much of a difference for some of these kids -- they can tell you how to do something but they don't actually do it. It's so mind-bogglingly irritating!! :)

We had a "doom and gloom" staff meeting after school. I don't get why they are always so negative. Our kids are not magically going to start achieving because you said my evaluation will be based on their performance on some stupid test. I don't care if you work in the most affluent district ever, you will NEVER have 100% of kids making benchmark...because you've got ELLs, you've got special education students, you have students whose parents don't pay a lick of attention to them and they are up until 3 a.m. How is that my fault? I was talking to one of our coaches this morning and said if the district keeps going on like this, they're going to have to fire us all! That's how unrealisitc they are.

I just try to do the best I can. It's hard to be upbeat and positive when you feel like you are always being brow-beaten. I know it isn't all fun and games in other districts but I don't believe that it's as negative as it is in mine either. I just want some positive news -- tell me what I'm doing well!

And I spent some time putting together highlights of DDI for my team and they just dismissed my efforts. You know..I'm done with that. I will do it for my class and when your kids don't make the growth my kids do, don't you dare ask me "well how did you do that??" because I have tried to tell you and help you and every time...you don't want to do it right now. Whatever. I will document that I gave them the info when I did and if they try to say they didn't know, I will be able to prove that yes they got that info. It makes me mad.

I miss being upstairs. I want to work with Mrs. M super bad. Her and I would have so much fun together. We think along the same lines and it would just be a real team situation. I shared something I found for MAP and who thanked me? The people I worked with LAST YEAR. They realize that I did not have to do that but I did. They get it. I'm not going to go the extra mile for people who aren't willing to follow through on the work that I did for them on my own time.

I have much better things I could do -- like work on National Board!


Monday, January 2, 2012

Fresh Start 2012

I am kind of crying about having to go back to work tomorrow. Don't get me wrong. I really do like my class this year...but I have SO enjoyed this downtime. I haven't had to run around like a chicken with my head cut off. I have done NOTHING for work. Nothing. Not even my Fridge Facts for this week (although I will tonight since I need it in the morning).

I'm tired. I've spent a lot of time the last few days immersing myself 100% in National Board (ie, I've done little else) and it takes a toll after a bit. Speaking of which, to better help myself not be too consumed by National Board, I decided to make a separate place to write about my work for that. You can find it here if you are interested in reading about my journey with that.

I think that just like last year, I am going to have the worst time sleeping tonight. I am going to be so paranoid about not being able to get up in time or forgetting something or whatever that I am going to be up half the night most likely. I have to get the girls and myself all around and ready to go before we go to bed tonight so we're all 100% prepared for tomorrow.

Baby Puppy is going to have a hard life tomorrow because it'll be the first time he's left home all day :( I feel sad about it. It's almost like leaving a newborn for the first time. He'll be fine and so will I, but it will be hard to leave him. We decided to put a baby gate up in the kitchen so he can still move around and play and go potty but can't make a big mess in the rest of the house. Plus Older Dog is still not 100% sure on Baby Puppy so I am not willing to leave them alone unsupervised a whole day yet.

It's so hard to believe it's 2012 and we're heading into the 2nd half of the year already. Crazy! There is so much ahead of me and so much to look forward to. I have to be sure I slow down, take a deep breath and do something fabulous for myself every day and DEFINITELY stick to my 1 day off a week resolution or I will lose my mind come the end of the year!

To everyone else returning tomorrow too, I'll be sniffling along with you when my alarm goes off at 5 a.m. (gah!).


Sunday, January 1, 2012

2012 Resolutions Linky Party

There is a 2012 Resolutions Linky Party happening over at A Teacher's Treasure. Head on over and link up!

Professional Goals for 2012:
1. Complete the full National Board cycle and CERTIFY on my 1st try in Nov/Dec 2012!
2. Get even better at implementing all of the new DDI activities I've been learning about
3. Find a better balance with managing my paperwork. I am pretty organized at school but paperwork seems to creep up on me when I am least expecting it and then I end up with piles of stuff to file. I need to find ONE system that works for ME.

Personal Goals for 2012:
1. FINALLY lose this weight I've been dragging around the last 5-6 years (being a teacher has made me fat -- literally! lol)
2. Take time off for MYSELF every week. One day a week needs to be designated a "No Work Day" (no phone, computer, internet, iPad, etc). Just reading, bubble bathing, and *gasp* acting like a mom!