Wednesday, February 29, 2012

T-Minus 1 day....

Tomorrow is my Friday. Yay! My sub for Friday is one of our intervention teachers so I feel super confident leaving some fun Dr. Seuss activities for the kids to do. If I need a break, I kind of figure my kids do too.

I am SUPER annoyed with my new girl. She cries every day because she "misses her mom" (whom she lives with!). She misses the first 10 minutes of class every day because she's bawling somewhere and someone is comforting her. Maybe I'm a bitch but I don't baby the kids this late in the game. I mean, come on. She never turns in work unless I hound her about it and today she flat out refused to a) engage in the service learning activity we were doing and b) read during SSR. So wrote her an office referral and made it a major since she flat out disobeyed me. The first week or so I gave her some slack because it's hard to move this late in the year....but now? No. You are expected to follow the same rules as everyone else. I don't know what her old school let her get away with but I don't put up with much of anything. Not when their scores determine whether or not I get yelled at. Eff that crap.

Plus one of my boys got sent home yesterday for "fighting" and no one told me. No email, no nothing. I found out because I had a voicemail from mom. She works during the day and isn't free until after 3:30 so I waited until after school to call her back today and she told me. I was floored. I was like "wait....he was sent home?!" This is a kiddo I have busted my butt for all year -- documenting EVERYTHING to get this child resource help because I am convinced he is dyslexic and his confidence is SO low. I feel bad for him. He is also ADHD to the point that if he was not on his meds, you would know. He's NUTS when the meds haven't kicked in. He wears an ADHD patch. By the time school starts, it usually hasn't kicked in yet. Around 8:45ish it kicks in and he's mellowed out. He's a great kid, very fun and I love him to death. Other people do not bother to understand this child who already has SO many issues. And they just sent him home. I have had a child get FIVE majors (ie the highest behavior level you can go) and never be suspended yet this kid is sent home after ONE incident without even a warning?! Oh I was PISSED. So I will be talking to my principal and the secretary who called mom yesterday to pick this kiddo up. It's such bull. How is sending this kid, who I KNOW knows not to do that stuff when the meds are working, home going to fix anything? I'm sure the only reason he could even articulate any of it for his mom was because he got in trouble. Poor guy. He didn't say anything to me today. I am going to pull him aside tomorrow and tell him that if he needs me to, I will come get him in the mornings at breakfast and he can eat in the room with me. I'm always up there anyway! He can eat his breakfast and play on the computer or something. I'll be damned if I'm going to have busted my ass for this kid all year to have this crap start because someone else doesn't want to try to understand this child. I also need to have a chat with one of our interventionists because she is CONSTANTLY on this kid's case and he already has a lack of confidence. Grrr. I am nothing if not the advocate for the underdogs in my life!


I am SO glad tomorrow is March. February pretty much just sucked. I will not be sad to see it go!



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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Non Productivity

Is it terrible that I am hoping we get the ice storm we're supposed to get so we can MAYBE get an ice/snow day tomorrow? *sigh* I just want one darn it!

Today I went to a workshop on math. All of the participants are people from the various schools in my district, all grade ranges K-5. 2nd grade seems very well represented there (about 7 of us!). I sat with a gal I used to work with at Former School and a gal from another building who came late (her sub was having a hard life apparently). Anyway the other gal teaches 5th grade and at one point asked Former Colleague and I if we were getting anything out of the workshop.

I said, yes, I was. Then this other gal points out she was a math major. Well yeah, this stuff probably isn't new to you because you're the math lady!! The rest of us are kind of glad we know 2+2! *wink* At any rate, I did think it was pretty worthwhile. Our task is to modify a lesson in our Everyday Math curriculum and present it to our kiddos and then bring those results back to our next meeting in May. 

As a fabulous parting gift, they gave everyone there a Flip Camera. To keep.

I about died!! Holy fabulous! They did say "these belong to you as long as you are in the district -- if you leave the district it belongs to the district". BAHAHAHA. Whatever. They shall have to pry it from my cold, dead hands! Seriously. (Not that I plan on leaving my district -- the kids need me too much. Wow that doesn't sound conceited at all.)

I think I surprised the facilitator when she heard me say that line about cold dead hands. So not joking. I am SUPER excited about having a flip cam to use in my room whenever I want....and now when Little Miss starts driving me crazy, FLIP on it comes and LOOK PARENTS, this is really what your child does all day long. 

This has to be the best year ever in terms of all of the fabulous freebies I've gotten my [cold, dead] hands on. So awesome. 

Oh and they did cater from that fabulous deli I mentioned. Which pretty much means the entire training could've sucked and I would have been happy. [It didn't suck for the record.]


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Monday, February 27, 2012

My Job is interfering with my life!!

Really. I just want to have a month of snow days to work on NB and read books and watch movies and then I'll be a-okay! 

I have had ZERO snow days all year so far. Not fair. Very jealous of my NB cohorts in other areas who have had a week of snow days or 3 in a row or whatnot. I've had NONE. I'm kind of bitter about it.

Today one of my darlin's brought me a picture this morning that she made...and it says in super big, super bright letters, "I LOVE YOU MRS. SUNNY". I so hung it on the wall above my desk at school. When I feel defeated, I shall look at that and know that at least to someone, I am making a difference. I am doing well by at least a few of my kiddos. I have so much I could say about that right now but I don't want to. I'll save it for another time.

Tomorrow I am at a math training all day. They are totally feeding us. Last time it was from the best deli in town. Dare I hope they do that again? Oh I'd be in HEAVEN. I think I get more out of trainings where they feed me. Hmmm. Could it be that the way to Mrs. Sunny's heart is through her stomach?? (Yes...especially if it involves chocolate.)

Friday is a glorious personal day. I will spend it National Boarding (boooo) BUUUUT 4 p.m. Friday I am SO off duty. No work, no NB, no nothing. Except pizza, pjs and a Harry Potter marathon. It will be fabulous. Fab-U-lous. Mr. Sunny may well have to pry my cold dead carcass off that couch by Sunday night, shove me in the vicinity of the shower and force me to act like a human again. Because I have forgotten what "time off" feels like, I may just have a fit over it. Really.

I am going to write a book. I will call it Tainted. It will be the whole truth and nothing but. And probably knock the socks off a bunch of people who know me in real life. But it will be cathartic and that's kind of the point.

Instead of going to that training tomorrow (which I really, truly DO think will be beneficial)....I kind of wish I could just stay home. Why? Because Pandemonium is out tomorrow. It is the sequel to Delirium (which if I remember correctly the fabulous Amy told me about--TOTAL side rant, I am super pissed for her because she is losing her job even though she is fabulous. I kind of want to kick ass and take names for her. It's just WRONG and unfair. I kind of want to kick ass and take names for several teacher bloggy friends of mine lately). 

Anywho, because I never have time to, you know, relax, think, breathe, enjoy myself, I really just want to dig into this book. Oh well. Patience IS a virtue right? (One I SO do not have.) 

It's on my To Do list for Sunday.

After pajama day.

After Harry Potter.

After a bottle of wine if I'm really lucky and Mr. Sunny can be guilted talked into picking one up.

Alas, I am going to hit the hay now since I DON'T have to get up at 5:30 tomorrow and reread Delirium so I am all set and ready for Pandemonium when I find a day to devote to a book, a blanket and some diet coke!

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Sunday, February 26, 2012

What weekend?

Ever wonder what a weekend without any work would feel like??? I shall find out next weekend...because I just ordered myself the Complete Harry Potter set (movies 1-8). It's not a deluxe version or anything -- very few frills but it has all of the movies and that's all I care about. Friday night we will watch 1-2 and Saturday is marathon day of  3-8 (hopefully!). I don't plan to do anything except sit in my pjs, eat pizza and watch Harry allllll day. I never, ever spend a day on the couch (and rarely ever watch TV anyway) so it will be my reward. I am tired of feeling like all I ever do is work.

And speaking of only working....here's my gross To Do List for today. Ugh.

I shall update this post sometime later today and my goal is for EVERY.SINGLE.THING. on this list to be crossed off!!!



Edited: 8:21 p.m. EST

Well you knew I wasn't going to finish that entire list, right? I mean E3 and E1 today? Right. I am tired beyond belief. It took me way longer than I thought it would to get through the stuff I needed for school. Haven't touched my taxes or read the article for my training on Tuesday. BUT I did at least work on E1 and E3 a bit. I think I am going to hate E3 by the time I send it in. I'm almost tempted to do it over -- that's how much that one is getting on my nerves.

Here's my list (all things considered, not too bad for a day's work):

I am gonna tuck myself into bed and read for PLEASURE. What a concept!
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Saturday, February 25, 2012

The End of My Week.....in Bullets


What a weird week this has been. I would like to never repeat it again. Ever.

  • Wednesday night I lamented that I was going to take Thursday off from anything NB. Well I didn't have much choice. I woke up around 1:30 a.m. Thursday morning with the worst headache of my life. Took a couple ibuprofen and about 45 minutes later, threw them up. Not my idea of a good time at all. I would rather do anything than throw up. I felt better after I did though, it relieved some of the pressure in my head and I was able to sleep fitfully the rest of the night. I went to work anyway because I knew I was not sick. The headache lingered in the background. Got through the day okay but by the time school ended I was ready to die. So I left right away, picked up my kids, went to the store to try to get some migraine meds (not knowing that all Excedrin products have been recalled!) and went home and crawled in bed. It was 5 p.m. I ate jello for dinner hoping it would stay down and only got up once to use the bathroom, eat more jello, take my normal nighttime meds and go back to bed. I never, ever want to feel like that again. 
  • Friday morning it was snowing like crazy and every single district in the COUNTY except mine was closed. There is nothing worse than driving past 4-5 CLOSED districts in a snowstorm on your way to school. I'm not sure why our district did not close. I saw 4 slide offs on the highway on my way to school. That is not safe. *shakes head* Fortunately I only had 4 kids absent so we still had a pretty productive day. I ♥ Fridays because, well, it's Friday but also because I purposely make my Fridays as easy as possible. We have math, spelling test, writing, reading test, lunch, computer lab, book buddies, Fun Friday, recess, SSR, go home. Such an easy day, even though I have recess duty! We got a lot done despite our missing kiddos. 
  • For our Fun Friday, the kiddos got their recycled materials out and started to actually design their "trash projects" (inspired by Magic Trash and the Heidelberg Project). It was so fun to watch how creative they were. AND they were so willing to share their materials between groups. For example one group had a HUGE load of straws and shared some with two other groups who asked if they could use some. It was really awesome. For the next two weeks the kids are going to use their science/social studies time as well as their Fun Friday time to construct their projects. I am super excited about it and they are too. We are donating our projects to a senior citizen center on March 13. I can't wait!
  • My tattoos are healing very nicely. They are in that itchy phase. This is normal of course. I have been keeping Lubriderm on them and that helps. The outer layer of skin is starting to peel off and the skin is smooth underneath. A couple more days and they'll be all healed up. It's amazing to me how fascinated the kids are with them. A couple noticed them on Tuesday (we didn't have school for the kids Monday) and I just moved on. Wednesday during Tier II time, a couple kids said something else and so I quickly said, "They mean peace and harmony and we're not talking about my tattoos right now, we're focusing on reading" and they dropped it. *wink* I think so much of what goes on in our minds is psychosomatic because oddly enough, I feel better about everything going on in my life since I had them done. It's almost like they are a daily visual reminder that I have not been broken yet -- I am not a victim, I am a survivor and I will always be one. They are almost like part of my battle scars. The Husband gets it and doesn't think I am insane, so that's good!
  • I have two million things to do this weekend. The Husband's cousin stopped breathing and was found unresponsive on Thursday and is on life support right now. We're going to the hospital shortly. I have a feeling dear Cousin is already passed and just his shell is left behind. It's so sad because he was only like 51. They're pretty sure he has irreparable brain damage and he has not been responsive to anything they have tried. I can not imagine outliving my child. It's such a sad, depressing situation. After the hospital, I have a huge pile of things I need to work on today. Mostly catching up on grading which won't be too bad. But I also need to work on my writing samples for the unit we're working on. It's so much easier for the kids if they see MY sample so they can use the frame that I am using. I need to clean up my conference log too because it is a mess. And of course somewhere in all of the craziness of this weekend, I need to find some time for National Board. It's scary to me that we're down to the last 5 weeks!

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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Color me Sleepy!

I can't believe it is only Wednesday night. This week is DRAGGING! And we've been super busy so it's weird that the week is taking forever. I so wish tomorrow was Friday!

Monday was super boring and mostly pointless PD at school (only pointless for me because I don't wait around for someone to teach me stuff -- I play around and figure it out myself so I already knew how to do all of the stuff we were doing). Then fingerprinting and home.

Yesterday I stayed at school super late because The Littles had conferences (and The Youngest is *that child* who is soooo smart but doesn't apply herself in reading and thus did not pass the MEAP and is showing herself to be below grade level on the MAP -- the kid can read 146 words per minute and comprehend it yet her MAP shows she's at a early 2nd grade level...so she's pretty much grounded forever). I figured since they had conferences and I didn't want to drive all the way home first that I would just stay and get some work done. And boy did I. I got all of my plans for next week written, including both of my sub notes (training Tuesday, Fabulous Personal Day #2 on Friday) and a bunch of random little stuff done. Then went to the conferences and didn't get home until almost 8 p.m. Thus there wasn't a whole lot of productivity happening after that!

Today kind of flew once we got into the swing of things at school but the afternoon/evening has dragged a bit for me. My "team" (so using that term lightly right now), always plan without me because they have specials at the same time. But we usually meet after school to make sure we're all on the same page....well both left at 3:30 and never told me they were leaving. Um, thanks? Not that I really care because I did my own plans anyway but how freaking rude! Fortunately Mrs. Literacy Coach, who is helping my class with our Transportation Unit, is awesome and we sat and did some planning with our unit for next week. She was not impressed that they just up and left me.

We were chatting a teeny bit about next year and I told her I kind of want to stay in 2nd grade because I do like it and I looooved not having to deal with MEAP this year...but I also don't think it is where my strengths necessarily are either. There are pros and cons to staying 2nd or going back up. I was chatting with Mrs. Literacy about it because now that I feel like I have a firm grasp on Reading Street, I really want to do Daily 5 next year...Daily 5 Literacy AND Daily 5 Math (which I have read a lot about lately and many people use it with Everyday Math which is our curriculum so that would be super awesome if I could pull that off). Plus I won't be bogged down with National Board so it will be feasible. Mrs. Literacy told me to absolutely do Daily 5 and just not use those words with Mrs. Principal because she'll say that I can't...and then Mrs. Literacy said "because she has no idea what Daily 5 is". So glad I am not the only one who realizes that sometimes Mrs. P just doesn't know what she's talking about! 

Anywho, so tonight despite being tired, restless and wanting nothing more than to crawl into bed at 8 p.m. like a big ole tired loser, I did work a teeny bit on National Board. Actually this morning since I was mostly caught up, I typed up my Entry 1 template for NB before school and emailed it to myself. So that's all done and now I just have to type in my answers. The template makes it so much easier. Tonight I came up to finall put the finishing touches on E2! You may remember my short checklist from Sunday, well here it is:


Notice those fabulous check marks?? Right now in my big ole National Board box, E2 and E4 are nestled nice and neat into their respective envelopes. Yay! Of course I have not done my final inventory sheets and blah blah but that will be saved for the last part of March. I am crossing my fingers to get my next two drafts done sooon....but I'm tired and kind of draggin behind. I need to take a day or so off just to not do anything and then hit it full tilt. I know that's why I'm procrastinating. I'm tired. No matter how much I sleep, I am tired. (My depression is part of that too.) I need to go get another acupuncture because that sure did help.

I am off to snuggle in my warm bed and wish that it would snow 8" overnight so I could have a snowday. :)

Night all! Happy Hump Day!

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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

You know you are tired when....

you accidentally send someone you don't know a picture you were trying to send to yourself.

Yes, I did do this. I think that it may well be time for me to go to bed!! I often take random pics from my classroom with my BlackBerry since I have it with me at school all the time. I also usually email them to myself so I can post them or whatever....well that's all fine and great except that I used my grad school username and my work @ address....and thus some stranger is going to get this email and wonder who this weirdo is who is sending them a picture of their to do list.

Wow, Sunny, wow (as the kids would say).

At any rate, I think I am so blasted tired because I kicked some major behind today at school. The Littles had conferences and they weren't until 6:30 and thus there was not much point in going all the way home just to go back....so I stayed at school for a bit. Even though it's only Tuesday I got all of my lesson plans for next week done, BOTH of my sub notes done for next week and 90% of the materials I need for next week. Just have to head on down to the copy machine and life will be peachy.

I was super happy to cross off some major stuff from my To Do list (you know, the one I accidentally sent to some random person...):




Tomorrow morning I will make those copies and all of my super big stuff for the week will already be done....and it's only gonna be Wednesday. Yay!!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, February 20, 2012

Color me Jealous!

Denise over at Sunny Days in Second Grade is one lucky lady. Why? Because she got a free sample of a Really Good Stuff product and they are letting her give one away. JEALOUS. I ♥ RGS!! I mean, seriously. And these lil pockets are so adorable.

I am now devising ways to beg my Lit Coach to get them for me....not my grade level, just me. Cuz that's how I roll at this moment. Head over and check out the giveaway!!


Unlike some of my blog buds, I did not have today off. Nor am I on vacation this week. The ONLY thing I miss about Former School is the February break (which was last week). But today was a no kids day so it wasn't too bad. Although pretty much all of the PD today was a waste for me because I already knew how to do all of the data they were "teaching" us and how to set up the class list on Reading Street. But now everyone at school thinks I'm the data guru which is kind of fun. Oh and it wasn't a total loss because I got a verification form signed for National Board so that's a big load off my chest!


One of my colleagues told me that our resource teacher from last year (she got moved to a new school) mentioned at a training they were at recently that she was worried about me because of some things I have said on FB lately. So I sent her a private message and said I am 100% okay -- just sorting through some emotional garbage. Then I posted that if anyone is worried about me, not to be. I don't think I am behaving erratically. I think I am just finally letting loose a bit and there isn't any harm in that.


After school today I went to the police station to get fingerprinted. No, I did not break the law! My provisional license is up this June and I figured I probably shouldn't wait too much longer to get fingerprinted so they can send in my request to upgrade my certificate. So expensive, especially since my fingerprints haven't changed in 6 years! The State of Michigan will no longer allow you to use a previous scan, you have to get a new one. Ripoff. So that was $65 and when my bill from the state comes it'll be another $125-175. *sigh* Being a teacher sure is expensive!!

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Sunday, February 19, 2012

Success!!

Normally I would post this on my NB blog but I'm too excited....


I know, you're thinking "really Sunny? You need to get out more because you're excited over this?!"

Why, yes I am....because when I do all the short things on that list, my E2 is ready for it's envelope!!! I just wrapped up E4 in it's envelope tonight. I need a verification form which I hope to get signed tomorrow and then this checklist for E2 and 1/2 of my portfolio is ready for final packing!! Woo hoo!!

E3 is taking me forever and I still haven't started E1 but the only thing I have going on after school this week is conferences for The Littles on Tuesday so I have lots of time to dig into my final two entries. If a miracle happens, drafts for both of them will be ready by this time next week...then it's smooth sailing!!


And yes I totally violated the "no more than one blog post per day" rule...but it's a stupid rule and no one ever said that Sunny is good at following rules, unless they are her own ha!

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Bummer

My Pre-midlife crisis crisis post disappeared. The title and comments are there but the content vanished. What's up with that?? It happened with my giveaway too. Rude.

Although the more I thought on it, it's probably better that it has gone incognito. Do I really need all of that laundry aired in public? No. It felt good to write it...and for those that did read it and commented, your words mean a lot. They do.


At any rate, once I set my mind to something, that's it. I got tattooed up last night. One of my gal pals couldn't believe I did it so fast. When I make up my mind, I go for it most of the time! (For the record, the right one was done first and didn't hurt at all. The left one is apparently more sensitive because even the tattoo artist commented that he could tell it hurt a little. They are more sore now than having the needle in. But that's normal. I like them.)

Left wrist: "Peace"
Right wrist: "Harmony"













A friend of mine who is from MI but is teaching in TX told me that she would be made to cover these up if she came to school with them. I'm not covering them. They are not vulgar, they are not trashy (although The Husband joked I looked like I just got out of prison lol). If it was something rude or gross, I could see being made to cover them.

My brother, who has 13 tattoos, told me that kids where we grew up aren't allowed to have anything seen as "extreme". Boys are not allowed to have a ponytail and no colors whatsoever in hair for anyone. I think that is wrong. As long as your whole head is not some random color like orange, I don't see what the big deal is. He mentioned this because I told him I was gonna do purple streaks later and he said my boss would probably flip. I really don't care to be honest. That's probably a poor attitude but it's an honest one! Will my kiddos learn less because my hair has some purple in it? No.


Today I am going to be working. I had high hopes of cleaning my house but not gonna happen. My wrists are kind of tender and manual labor is not going to make that any better. I have some things to grade from school today as well. We have a PD day tomorrow so no kids and I'm glad for that. I am so tired. We have like 39 calendar days until Spring Break. Ugh, I hope I make it! :)

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Friday, February 17, 2012

TGIF!

I spent 99.8% of my day in pajamas. The .2 that I wasn't? Driving to the pharmacy, the gas station (for the fountain beverage), the store and to pick up The Littles. Then it was right back into pjs.

Yesterday I told the assistant director at the daycare The Littles go to after school that I was taking today off to work on National Board. She said, "you should work for like an hour and spend the rest sleeping or watching TV." And sadly I did spend a good part of my morning curled up in my bed catching up on sleep. Some day I won't feel like I have been hit by a bus. Some day.


I did get some work done today which is good. I have one last section of my E4 to revise and then I can print all of those and that entry is ready for it's envelope! I feel *that* good about it that I'm going to just pack it up. I'm not planning to stay up very long tonight because I'm exhausted. The Crud has been going around school and I am hopeful that is not why I am so wiped. I SO don't have time to be sick right now.

Since we have no kiddos Monday at school, I am not feeling rushed about anything this weekend. And I have zero appointments after school next week. Not even one. That hasn't happened in so long I don't even know. It will be nice to just be able to leave after school.


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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Wiped out Wednesday

Let me preface to say that I am a genius. Pure genius. (Think Wile E. Coyote here.) 

Why? Because I took a personal day for Friday to work on National Board. This does not make me a genius. What makes me a genius is that Monday is a no-kids day at school. And when I scheduled that personal day, I had honestly completely forgotten that the 20th was all day PD.

Color.Me.Freaking.Stoked.

Seriously. I love my little guys. Don't get me wrong there. Yes, they irritate the hell out of me sometimes but I LOVE them. That doesn't mean I don't enjoy a day or four away from them though. It also means I don't have to rush in after a Friday off and try to clean up the aftermath. That will be nice! I was genuinely surprised when I noticed that on my calendar. I can be a royal dumbass sometimes. A genius...but also a dumbass.


Today actually wasn't too bad being the day after Valentine's Day. The kiddos were pretty mellow all things considered. The other 2nd grade classes have been a hot mess lately. Mrs. E has griped to me about her student teacher recently and it kind of upsets me because I was that student teacher once -- and my CT bitched about me to others and told me to my face that I was doing everything okay. It's just wrong. So when she isn't around and I see him struggling, I step in. I hope I don't offend him but damn it, I feel bad for him. I really don't think that she has stepped up and offered him the support he needs (ie told him he HAS to get tough with them). Twice today I got on kids in that line for being disrespectful to him...and I told him yesterday that I was sorry but I won't stand by and listen to some kid be disrespectful to another adult. He seemed grateful actually.

Well today when I picked the kids up at recess, he was out getting his line too and they were not listening to him at all. One of the kids was yelling at one of my kids in line and I kind of got an attitude and said, "do you want to talk to ME like that?!" and he stopped. I think that is this ST's problem. He wants to be buddies and they're walking all over him. Anyway so we went ahead of them and I let Mrs. E know when we got upstairs that he was struggling a bit with a few of her kids. And she says, "I feel like the whole 2nd grade is just going downhill right now."

Okay. Wait. Stop. Right. There.

Don't lump my class in with yours. Ever. Because really? No. They aren't the same kids and we don't teach the same. We never have and I'm sure we never will. My kids were not a hot mess today. A bit chatty, sure, but they are 2nd graders after all. I was actually kind of offended at that. Because I bust my ass every day to make sure that my kids are doing the right thing...and if they do something wrong, we go back and try again. If they are talking, we go back and try again. I don't just keep going and deal with it later. No way, Jose.

I had a big chat with my class today after recess though. I talked to them about how I went up and gave a 5th grade class a STAR ticket (PBiS behavior reward) because no one was walking with them and they WALKED in that hall quiet as could be. That's what everyone should be doing. Not because someone is watching. Not because they *think* they might get rewarded but because it's the right thing to do. Personally I feel like PBiS is a joke...because if there aren't any real consequences in place, the praise doesn't really mean much after awhile. So they sit at a STAR table if they win. Big whoop. After while, they don't care anymore. It loses it's charm when they see little George acting like a jerk all the time and never getting in any trouble. A classroom teacher can only do so much.

Today was our 101st day of school. And I told the kids that from now on, those kids who can't follow the expectations will clip down on our chart and 3 clips down equals an office referral. Every office referral lowers them a level on the school-wide behavior ladder and if they are on a 1 or 2 they can't go on any field trips. Since 2nd grade alone has 4 coming up, I'd think they might want to straighten up their behavior. I wrote two referrals this afternoon to make a point...to two young men who just never, ever mind their own beeswax or shut their mouths. I'm not kidding. They talk more than I do and that's saying something!

I'm super, super glad that a) I have a special first thing tomorrow morning and b) tomorrow is my Friday. God knows I need the extra day to myself.

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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!

Usually I am not all about a hallmark holiday...but today I got a shock!

First one of my sweeties brought me 3 little roses. So sweet. I text The Husband and told him I got roses from another man in my life and to be jealous.



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After lunch, the health aide calls my room and says she has something fabulous for me. I was like "whatever"....so she says she'll bring it upstairs to my room. And walks in with this...

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Well color me shocked! I have always teased The Husband for never sending me flowers at work. The one year I don't say anything and he does this...sneak! :)



Everyone was soooo green with envy! It was kind of fun :)

I got my nails done after school, took Baby Puppy to the bet and had a date with my love on a Tuesday! What a great day!

Monday, February 13, 2012

More DDI Stuff

I know I have mentioned my absolute obsession with DDI recently (if you haven't heard of it, you've either not read my blog or you've been living under a rock....or both *wink*). I'm not sure if I'm mentioned that DDI is actually being prominently featured in my E4 for National Board. 

Last week when I went to the most recent workshop, one of the suggestions was a "We ROK" display....and I had to run with it. I had my intervention group do some work with it today just to try it and tacked it up after school. It's messy but they thought it was awesome and fun. 

I'm featuring my DDI strength/target board, my new We ROK display and our data binders/personal training folders as part of my evidence (the student growth data is just the icing on the cake). I'm super excited.

Fall 2011 DDI Strength/Target Board

Winter 2012 DDI Strength/Target Board

We ROK DDI Vocabulary Display
(totally a work in progress)
I wish I could get it so it wasn't as blurry on the cards...but oh well.


I forgot to take pictures of a couple of our personal training folders and that reminded me that I wanted to do a big post about our Data Notebooks. Not gonna happen in the next couple of days that is for sure. The Husband forbid me from working tomorrow night. He's taking me to Olive Garden for Valentine's. Not the most romantic place ever but it's where I wanted to go. Just a few hours away from the house, school work and National Board will be nice.

I soooo covet Friday. My first Personal Day of the year. I can not wait. I need it.

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Sunday, February 12, 2012

Sunday Blahs

I am reminded why I never bothered to do a giveaway before. Very few entries for a blog that has over 200+ readers and neither of my winners emailed within the time frame. *head desk* I shouldn't be sad because really I just saved myself some dough since no one stepped up to claim their prizes....but sheesh, how do people do this all the time? I have WAY better things to do. (Sorry, I know that sounds uber bitchy but for Pete's Sake...ya try to be nice and all.....)


Anywho, today has been more like a Monday than a Sunday. The kidlets and I headed out to pick up Valentine stuff and some more goodies for my prize basket since it has been looking considerably lame lately. We did pretty good. I ♥ Dollar Tree for that kind of thing. The kids are excited about the small gifts and it doesn't cost me an arm and a leg! I got googley eye Valentine's for my class, Valentine pencils for each of them and a couple new ink pads for myself.

For my prize basket I picked out a whole bunch of little stuff: little lined notepads, small mechanical pencils, two pencil bags, bookmarks, some bigger notepads with a pen included, a couple of flip notebooks (can you tell these kids are crazy for notebooks??) and some big erasers. They will be excited I'm sure, especially since we forgot to draw our bingo winners on Friday! It'll make Monday a little more bearable!

We headed over to Office Max next since I am part of the MaxPerks for Teachers and had a rewards coupon. Sadly when I got there I noticed my back tire was flat. Like I have time for that kind of nonsense when I need to be National Boarding! Fortunately The Husband just added Roadside Assistance to our plan since I have never changed a tire in my life (and don't plan to start). I just had to call a number and wait a bit and some nice man came and fixed it. Turns out there was a huge pin stuck in the tire. Lovely. Thank you Roadside Assistance for saving me about $60 today!

I stopped at Bed Bath and Beyond to buy straw lids for my Tervis Tumblers because I am convinced everything tastes better through a straw and it took forever to get through the checkout. I, of course, got into the line that had someone ahead of me with a huge issue. 15 minutes later, I finally checked out and was outta there. Took the youngin's to McDonald's because it was nearly 3 and none of us had eaten lunch. I decided I really don't want to leave my house again today. I'm kind of afraid to with the luck I've had!!!

I need to get going on my National Board work that I wanted to finish up today. Plus The Husband wants me to go grocery shopping with him after he gets home from work. Ugh. 

The only positive thing I realized is that I have Friday as a personal day (to work on my NB) and the 20th is a no-kid day....so that was super smart on my part, even if I didn't realize it when I scheduled that day. It will allow me to get back on track and breathe a bit without panicking. Too much to do, not nearly enough time to do it all in.

I just hope I am still sane by June.

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Saturday, February 11, 2012

Giveaway Winners!!

Good morning Fabulous Friends! Sorry I did not post my winners last night. Truth be told, I was asleep by 8:30 and the giveaway was the last thing on my little mind! Conferences kind of do that to ya. Who ever thought 8 extra hours at school in a week with no day off was fair? Sheesh! *wink*


At any rate, I'm so happy to announce my TWO winners...(in case you missed my reminder, I had so few entries on a blog with over 240 followers I decided to give away two sets of the stamps because I am FABULOUS =)


Congratulations ladies!!! Send me an email at sunnie1978 (at) gmail (dot) com by 10 a.m. tomorrow to claim your prize :)


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Friday, February 10, 2012

Giveaway reminder!!

I don't know where the text of my giveaway post disappeared to -- it was there and now it isn't. Fortunately all of the comments still show up so head on over there and enter to win! The odds are fan-freaking-tastic....and because I can, I am going to give away TWO sets of the stamps since I have 244 followers and only 20 entries thus far.

Post by 8 p.m. EST tonight to enter to win!!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

A Wacky Wednesday

I have had to kind of instill a little bit of "2nd Grade Boot Camp" in my class recently because my kids still just NEVER shut up. Ever. So, I had to kind of put my "mean face" on...they hate that. But sadly it is the only thing that gets through to them. :( It makes me sad because I don't think I should have to threaten children to get them to do the right thing. I don't yell at them all day or anything but I have to be way stricter than I have ever had to be with any class....and I have had some super rough classes. *sigh*

I like my class a lot this year. But they talk too much and they are lazy. There are about 5 who actually TRY on a daily basis. The rest have already learned that someone else will think for them and so they don't try much. It's very frustrating and upsetting. Especially since they are only 7 and 8!!!


Mrs. Principal basically told us all at our staff meeting on Monday that only one teacher in our whole building is following MiBLiSi because her class is PERFECT...and the rest of ours aren't. Now, no offense to the teacher in question, who does, indeed, rock the house. She's on the first floor, 15 steps from everything and has a bathroom in her classroom (as does the entire first floor). So there are not a lot of opportunities for those kids to be in the hallway and get up to no good with no supervision. Mrs. Principal went on and on about how we're not positive enough, there are too many referrals, blah blah. Morale went right down the toilet.

And before you wave your hand in the air with a snap and say, "Oh, NO she didn't." I assure you that she did. And I can count on one hand, with fingers left over, the number of times she has ever praised ME and I've been there 18 months. Yet she's going to tell us that we have to have 5:1?! People left that meeting in tears...in my mind, an administrator is supposed to pick you up, bring you together and make you feel like a team. Not tear you down and pit you against each other which is basically what she did.

It's been an uber long week anyway since we had conferences Tuesday night and will have them tonight also. Plus a doctor appointment yesterday and then this cloud of her negativity hanging over us. It is SO wrong. Although Mrs. Literacy Coach who is helping me with our research unit told me yesterday that she LOVES how I push my kids to the rigor of the curriculum. She also said she KNOWS that my colleagues don't do that. I wanted to do a fist pump but I thought that might be just a wee bit too self-congratulatory. :)



And don't forget about that giveaway!! Odds are so good right now...only 19 entries at this point! So c'mon over and check it out!

Monday, February 6, 2012

DDI Love

Today, I got to spend my morning with Kathleen, the DDI guru. Now Kathleen is my pseudo BFF. Seriously. She RAWKS it. Even more than I do. I ♥ her. I am only slightly obsessed with all things DDI. Earlier this year, I even said "please just hire me". (And after school today during our staff meeting, Mrs. Principal said "who likes data?" and I honestly said "I do!")

At any rate, it is always fun to go to her workshops because she just GETS IT. What was even better about today was that a bunch of folks commented on my last post asking me more about DDI. So I teased her that she's going to owe me a commission. She again said she was looking to hire some folks to be the Michigan base for her company and I (very boldly -- and probably a little too bluntly) said, "You mean me. Forget all those others, just me." Fortunately she has a sense of humor!!

I am totally NOT a DDI expert but I know it works when you use it. How do I know? Well because last year I had a kiddo jump 42 points on his MAP test after implementing these strategies (typical growth for him would have been about 15 points). This year so far I've had jumps as high as 15, 17, 19, 20 and 24 points and it's only halfway through the year. Plus, it's easy to implement.

I had a couple of comments/questions about DDI since I posted my strength/target board:


The board has to be updated to reflect our new areas but I will try to answer the questions as best as I can. Again, I am NOT an expert, I just know what works for me.

Tara asked: What kind of fillers do you do that you were talking about?
The beauty of DDI is the range of activities available that aren't just "more work". The kids LOVE them. There are cue cards which provide teachers with ideas in each goal area to implement throughout the curriculum (ie. in the narrative genre, you might ask about character). The ROK cards are vocabulary that is common on the MAP test that the students need to be familiar with in order to be successful. Then there are my personal favorites the target tabs and the quick shots. I use the target tabs mostly during guided reading or social studies (since we have texts for both of those). It's basically targeting strategies from all of the goal areas and finding them in text. I usually select a skill/strategy from each goal area (99% of the time when we do them, we do 4 so we get one from each major area). Sometimes we only focus on 1 or 2 skills. The quick shots are short activities that you can stop reading and quickly do (hence the name). I use the ROK cards a lot for fillers. My kiddos have data binders and at the back we have a DDI Personal Training area. All of their DDI work goes there, including their goal and progress sheets (I promise I will do a big post about our data binders and the Personal Training folders soon!). We also have ROK review sheets in there and when we have a bit of extra time we'll do one or two vocab words. 

I can not show all of this stuff at this time because I need to ask Kathleen if it is okay with her for me to put it here. I have to respect her work!

Jodi from the Clutter-Free Classroom asked me if I find the board (pictured above) to be useful after mentioning that she is not allowed to post data boards due to confidentiality. Let me point out that this board does NOT violate confidentiality. Not really. No numbers are posted. The colors represent the goal strands as identified by the MAP test (in K-2 there are 6 areas, but I only use 5 because I don't count writing; in 3-5 there are 4 areas). Every child has a strength area, which is identified by the goal strand where their score was the highest. Every child also has a target area, which is identified by the goal strand where their score was the lowest. Earlier this year Kathleen pointed out that teacher discretion is needed because you really have to ask yourself what you would want to help this child with if you had 10 minutes 1:1 in which to do it. That may or may not match the actual target the test identified. At any rate, since the color codes exactly match the colors of standard sentence strips (bonus!), I simply write each child's name on their two colors and post them under the smile for strength and the target for their target. This board is HUGELY helpful because I am facing it all day and thus I can simply glance up at it and know what kinds of questions to pose to which children based on their target or strength. For example, if you were my student and your target was in Phonics, I might direct a phonics question at you throughout our teaching. It's just something you add into the discussion. It's quite seamless once you do it a bit. I also like it because I teach my students that if Mrs. Sunny is busy and they need some help with anything we're doing with DDI, they can always find someone whose strength matches their target. (ie if my target is phonics, I can look at that board and know that Student X's strength is phonics and I can go to them for help).

That big ole blue bulletin board next to my strength/target board has been empty most of the year because I haven't figured out what to put there. (My student work goes in the hall.) Well one of the handouts today suggested a "We ROK" board for displaying some of our ROK card stuff. BRILLIANT. So that is what is going up on that board starting next week! 

I am such a complete and utter nerd about this stuff. I just love it. Love.It. Plus, it has energized my teaching to see my students' scores so up SO much in only half a year and knowing that I can thank Kathleen and DDI for a lot of that.


P.S. Have you entered my giveaway?? C'mon, it'll be fun. Right now the odds are freaking amazing!


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Sunday, February 5, 2012

A Peek into My Teaching Life

Bah! How is it already Sunday night?! How is it that I spent a lot of time decompressing and now am a wee bit scared of the amount of work ahead of me?? Oops!

I was out of my classroom last Wednesday and had the worst sub on the planet. I mean, it was bad. My kids are good little guys, but if you put someone weak in front of them, they're going to act up. They're kids. When I have a strong sub, the kids do a great job and make me proud.

Well my team and I "plan" on Wednesdays after school. (You did notice the quotes there, right?) Basically they always make sure their specials are together and whomever happens to team with them gets the short end of the stick. I don't really care because I can hold my own. They plan during their mutual specials and I just show up after school with a plastic smile, pretend to listen and then do my thing. I have said this many times this year -- I refuse to dumb down curriculum. RE-FUSE. 

So I knew it was pointless to go back to school after my full day meeting to "plan". They just sent the plans to me via email, which they always do anyway. It's February and I am still dumbfounded that they aren't doing any science or social studies. None. Absolutely zero. I have found a way to squeeze it in a bit here and there (30 minutes of each weekly -- it isn't perfect but it's better than nothing and a lot of our academic Friday stuff is centered around those areas even though the kids don't realize it). As I was writing my lesson plans today, I looked at what they sent me and just shake my head. They still aren't using DDI. Every single one of my SSR lessons ends with something with DDI. I also take 5-10 minutes throughout the week to do ROK cards or other activities as fillers. It's fun and the kids love it AND it is academic!

Interestingly, on Tuesday, when our principals were out at a meeting, the reform specialist did a walk-through. I guess Mrs. Principal was PISSED that she did it without her and it was a "pop-in". I actually taught with her when she was still in the classroom in the last long-term job I did before I got hired full-time. She came in and looked around my room and made some notes. She paid particular attention to my DDI board:

Above the chart are cards that show the goal area by color code and each student has a card under the smile for their strength area (highest score) and their target (lowest score).

Note that neither of my 2nd grade colleagues have anything regarding DDI up in their rooms. Even though it has been a district expectation since September 2010. I could not help but smiling to myself in knowing that Mrs. Reform Specialist isn't going to have anything to critique in MY room. I have tried, multiple times, to help my grade level team implement this stuff and they are always too busy or too overwhelmed or blah blah. Well, whatever. If I can have the worst emotional episode of my entire life and still manage to do my job, then they should be able to implement this stuff too!!

I wish I could share some pics of the kiddos from the museum trip on Friday. It was so fun to watch them be so excited and curious!!

Here's the tree that Mrs. CT gave me. Those little hearts have writing prompt starters on them. I think for Fun Friday this week, we are going to make Conversation Hearts and put them on our tree since we really don't have extra time right now to do the prompts. 

Here's a science activity that we did. We've been (very slowly) studying the parts of plants since I can only fit in such a short amount of science each week. We did not have the time or resources to actually grow plants right now, so we made them instead! Each student got two plastic spoons, a yellow napkin for the flower and a green napkin to make leaves. I hung these in the hall. I LOVE how they turned out and how creative the children were in their designs.



All of this coupled with the fact that all but two of my kids really DID make growth on the MAP shows me that I am doing something right! I do miss big 4th and 5th grade kids but I could totally stay in 2nd grade as well. They are fun, they are cute and no stupid MEAP test!!!


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Saturday, February 4, 2012

Redemption!

Due to my uber psychotically emotional week, I have not looked at National Board anything since last Saturday. I had mentioned earlier this week that I pulled up data and all of my high readers had gone backwards. I was so disappointed because we have worked so hard.

Well there must've been another data update because I just pulled up a copy since one of my E4 accomplishments is my work with DDI and the MAP test. As I was figuring growth (or lack thereof!), I was startled to see that, in fact, none of my kids went backwards. Not even one!! I had two flatliners. They didn't go up or down but everyone else made growth! My average growth last school year from fall to spring was 14 points. This year, just from fall to winter, my average growth is just under 10 points! For half a year!!!

Can I just brag about how flippin excited I was to see that my high kids did not, in fact, get dumber being in my class?! :) They will be relieved because we're doing Student-Led Conferences and based on that preliminary data that we had last week, some were quaking in their boots thinking about how they were going to explain to their parents that they went backwards.

I can't WAIT to tell them the good news!

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500th Post & A Giveaway!!!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Finding my way

Sorry if I freaked anyone out with my uber cryptic post on Wednesday. This week has just been very emotional, draining and rough. I unburdened myself from some things I have kept buried inside me for 20+ years. With the guts to finally tell everyone the truth, there comes more emotional baggage and hurt.

I called my therapist, whom I haven't seen since April, and told her I needed to see her. She squeezed me in last night and did a session of Auricular Acupuncture (acupuncture in the ear). It takes about 45 minutes. I was so relaxed by the end of the session that my hands were numb. I spilled the beans to her too, probably because I was so calm.

As it is, it is nothing I am willing to put out there in a forum such as this, but know that I will survive. I will have these emotional meltdowns every now and then. I just have to work through them.

I am taking comfort in knowing that I no longer want to climb out of my own skin or pull out my hair. I will hopefully be back to my super Sunny self soon.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Depression

I am having an episode. I want to rip out my hair. I want to scratch my skin off. I want to cry.

I feel like I'm not good enough. I feel like I am never going to get ahead and be good again. I feel like I am barely treading water and am about to drown.

I did not feel like this yesterday. Or even this morning.


Depression is real and it sucks. And it does not just go away. :(