Friday, February 21, 2014

Five for Friday!

 TGIF!! I'm liking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for this week's Five for Friday! 

1. Massage
The fabulous 1-hour massage that I had on Monday left me feeling giddy when I left but HOLY COW was I sore by about 7 that night. Sore like, in pain. Like...about to cry it hurt soooo much. Alas, hubby put a little BioFreeze on the most sore place and by Tuesday morning I felt like a million dollars.

 2. I Might be a Fish
I learned a lesson after that massage, I can tell you what. I have been drinking water like it's going out of style since Monday afternoon. My MT told me to drink a ton of water after the massage and I did (54 oz in about 5 hours) but I also knew that I hurt as much as I did because I don't drink enough water. I have been doing great with it -- I have had 64-74 oz of water a day since. My skin looks awesome, I FEEL better and honestly...aside from the mug of Diet Coke I allow myself in the morning (out of a coffee cup since it's my caffeine source), I don't even MISS the soda. Yay!

3. Water = Weight Loss
That whole water thing has not only made my skin look fan-freaking-tastic....I lost 3.5 lbs since my doctor appointment on Monday! I know it is because I'm flushing all of the excess junk out of my system and it's awesome!

4. I can't spell!
I use this question board daily with my 4th graders. Today, I must not have been paying real close attention because our question was "was your homework hard"? (They had a different kind of homework than I usually give.) I hadn't even noticed that I wrote homeword! One of my kids pointed it out to me. I mentioned it in class afterward and one of my little guys says, "you weren't being mindful". Touche!
(We've been talking about how being mindful - my OLW for 2014 - means paying attention in the moment to whatever you are supposed to be doing. This little guy clearly latched onto the concept!)

5. Bullies Suck :(
We have had a lot of issues with bullying in our school lately. To the effect that we had to have our principal address it with the entire 3rd floor (4th and 5th graders) last week. Unfortunately we have a staff member in our school that bullies kids sometimes and she bullied ME (um, bad plan, dumplin'). So I filed a complaint. Part of me feels bad about it - but you know what? If I'm going to preach to my 4th graders that they can't be mean to each other, that means the adults in our school can't be mean to each other OR the kids.

The Caffeinated Teacher

Tuesday, February 18, 2014


It's that crazy time of year when I get crazy ideas. I think this is my very first year teaching that I haven't completely rearranged my classroom by this point in the year. Seriously -- from my desk to my small group tables, every year except this one, I have completely rearranged my classroom space. I'm not sure why that is. Boredom? Things not working? 

I don't know. Today we had a day of PD and had a bit of extra time in our classrooms. My neighbor teacher was moving a table and it struck me that I hadn't completely revamped my space. Not that I couldn't...but I guess things are working so well this year that I don't feel the need for that change (which I now just jinxed! *wink*). It's weird.

Perhaps its because I have the letters NBCT behind my name...but I doubt it. I think...FINALLY, I am comfortable with everything I'm doing. Does that mean I don't have room to grow? Of course not...but my classroom setup is the very LEAST of my worries this year. So it just stays. Perhaps I'm just lazier now than I ever was? I don't really know. I kind of like the comfortable excuse.

That said...I am making some changes in my life. Some are big, some are small. Some are just decisions that I should have made a long time ago and didn't follow through upon because I was a chicken or had too many other things going on.

I wish I could tell you one of the changes would be that I was going to be less sarcastic and more nice...but then I'd be a liar and we don't want that, now do we? haha

I am letting go of some things that no longer matter to me. They don't add anything to my teaching or personal life and have become more of a burden than anything else. Once something becomes a burden for me, it needs to go. I am also adding some things (or at least going to try) that provide me with happiness, love and encouragement. I think I have resisted that for a long time but God has tapped me on the shoulder recently and said, "um, seriously?!" (What, my God can be sarcastic like me...right?)

I am also taking a HUGE step...or planning to anyway...we'll see how things pan make a huge change in my career, my students' education and education in general. I can't be the person who sits and complains that they wish they could make a change--I have to go out and do it. We'll see how long and hard I have to work to catch a ride on that suspicion is that it won't take as long as I'm thinking but only time will tell.

I feel like I'm being pulled away from certain things and pushed toward others. That whole "one door opens and another closes" thing. 

I'm not sure what that really means for so much of my life. I know I am making changes both professionally and personally...but what it means for all parameters of life remains to be seen.

The Caffeinated Teacher

Monday, February 17, 2014

Presidents Day = Relaxation Day

Happy Presidents' Day! I hope you are enjoying the day off from school. We actually got today off free and clear which I don't think has ever happened in my 8 years with  my district. Crazy. My kids ended up with the day off too so while I thought I was going to get a Mommy Day....I didn't. (That has happened like 3 times this year! Weird!) 

Today was really meant to be a day of relaxation -- it is a day off, right? Alas I had a doctor's appointment at 8 a.m. (made for that early because I thought my kids had school -- seriously did I not get their school calendar this year?! -- and that I'd be up anyway getting them on the bus). After the doctor, I came home and made cinnamon rolls. Yum! Evil but yummy! Then I wasted time until just before 11 when I headed out to my one hour relaxation massage. I got a Groupon last week for an hour massage of choice for only $36 (down from $60 normally). Um, Happy Valentine's Day to me! Like I was going to let that go! 

It was FABULOUS. I haven't had a full body massage in about 15 years -- it was well before I even met my husband. My massage therapist was incredible. I've had some aches and pains in my back for awhile and was hopeful the massage would help. My MT said she thinks I had a rib out of place and that's why I had a sore spot under my shoulder blade. She had a heck of a time loosening up my left side but once she got it to let go a bit, the rib slid back into place. Oh my goodness. RELIEF! 

You better bet your eye that I bought a package for 5 more massages! It was a lot to pay up front but it will be worth it. I will see her again on February 27. It'll be perfect because a) conferences will have been had and I will probably be overtired from that and b) we have a field trip that day which will probably make me want to jump off a cliff :D This will be the perfect way to end that day!

Apparently I struck some chords with my last post. Just a speculation...based upon evidence. Check this out:
Look at the number of comments (3) compared to the views (1028). Interesting. Especially considering the five posts before that had a maximum of 81 page views. Apparently...not only did I strike a chord but the truth hurts because no one disagreed. Very interesting.

I am off to take my baby kitty to the vet and get her first set of shots and hopefully figure out how old she is (we got her from a friend who found her under their house in the super cold weather at the end of January).
The Caffeinated Teacher

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Happy Sunday + A rambly post

Has it really been an entire week since I posted? Wow. Time FLIES. 

I have been really exhausted this past week. I think this winter's excess snow and lack of sunshine is getting to me. A few years ago, I had really low Vitamin D levels and I suspect that I probably do again. I have started taking my supplements again and hope that in a week or so I won't feel like sludge all the time. People tell me all the time they don't know how I do everything I do and honestly...neither do I haha! :) I like being busy, that's all. I'm not very good at being idle. Its often really hard for me to relax. But then I get run down, often get a cold thrown in and...yeah.

My sister-in-law is home from New Mexico. We were supposed to head to my father-in-law's to see her today but I was SO exhausted I felt like I was going to throw up. :( So I missed out on that to stay home and sleep instead. Hopefully she understands. Not that it really matters if she doesn't. I'd rather stay home and get myself back to 100% than go infect other people.

Fortunately I don't think I have a cold or the flu (knock wood). I think it is plain ole exhaustion and Vitamin D deficiency. I have a doctor appointment on Feb 17 during our mid-winter break so maybe if I mention it to my doc, they will do another blood test to see. 

It's been a super busy week at school. Had a kid proclaim to another student he was going to get me fired. Hahahaha! Whatever. First of all sweetpea, you don't have that kind of authority, second of all, I haven't done anything wrong! I feel sad for so many of these kids whose parents handle their problems for them that they really think if they "tell on me" for whatever reason I will get in trouble or fired. It's not how it works dumplin'.

We finished up our MAP reading tests this week -- except for one kiddo whose test went berserk and she needs to finish it and my new non-English speaker -- and 20 of my 24 kids who had a valid fall score beat their winter goal :) I'm SO proud of them. I really push the pedal to the medal on them--there is no excuse to not try your best. I feel really sad when they tell me no one ever explained what these numbers mean. (Although my friends that I had in 2nd grade said, "well you told us about it in 2nd grade!") How can you expect them to work toward something that they don't understand? That makes no sense. Anyway, I had one friend go up 32 points in reading! That is like 3 years in a semester! I had this friend in 2nd grade and he was a tough kiddo to deal with -- super low in EVERYTHING. But he has really come into his own and works so hard. I'm so proud of him. :)

I had a Thirty-One meeting after school on Thursday and it was loads of fun! Our directors surprised us all and had the Senior Executive Director for our region come all the way from Chicago (she's my hero, she has over 1,000 girls on her successline!) plus two super fun girls from Home Office in Ohio! Oh my word, it was a total blast. Plus I got to have fun with my Thirty-One sisters. It was really interesting too because Meg told us that people are always saying how "saturated" the market is but its really one percent of one percent of women in the 18-44 age range that are consultants in Michigan. One of the other girls pointed out that statistically there are enough women in West Michigan for every consultant to have 400 girls as customers or consultants! That's crazy! I had a party Friday night and couldn't believe the one gal who had never heard of Thirty-One before so it definitely made what they told us at the meeting feel more accurate.

Best of all, we get an amenity from Thirty-One every time we go to one of these meetings. My first meeting we got a new Pack and Pull Caddy that is now in the spring line. This time, we got an exclusive item that will only be available in April. It's awesome! I shared it at my party on Friday and every single lady said "please call me in April because I have to have that bag!" Very cool.

Next week I have my first vendor show to support the Senior Bash for the Class of 2014. I can't wait! It will be super, super fun and I am going to have a bunch of cash and carry products with me too. My goal there isn't necessarily to sell a bunch (although that would be awesome!) but rather to book parties for April and May. (My March is already full.) I'm super excited because there are supposed to be a ton of vendors so it will be fun. A long day but fun. 

This week we've really been digging into the last of our math unit on decimals. Some of my kids were still really getting hung up on the decimal place if you had a number written only to the tenths and then another written to the hundredths. As I was demonstrating one day, it occurred to me it was like bunk beds--so I turned to my friends and said with all seriousness, "Okay friends, if you were going to sleep in a bunk bed and the legs weren't lined up, what would happen?" They all responded that the beds would crash down. "You're RIGHT!" I exclaimed. So using my two fists, I pretended they were the decimals and put them on top of each other, then moved them over. "If they aren't aligned, no one is getting a good night's sleep, right?" They agreed. So we rewrote the problem with the decimals lined up like they should be and I said, "hmmm, this looks funny to me" (because one was a tenth, the other was a hundredth). I pretended to ponder it for a second and said, "well, I lined up  my bunk beds but something just isn't right" and turned back to my friends, "can anyone help me?" That's all it took. The lightbulbs came on and a chorus of friends said "add your invisible zero!" and it was magic. The heavens shined down upon us and angels sang.  It was really awesome.

No idea where that bunk beds thing came from -- I literally pulled it out of my ear in the moment. It's the best part of my job. I get to be fun and creative and think up whatever works in the moment for my kids. That's why I totally disagree when people say the Common Core has made teaching less fun. Whatever. If you think that, please leave teaching. Now. (That will make people mad and I may lose a follower or two but too bad people--I  mean it, if you REALLY think the Common Core has made teaching less fun, do us all a favor and resign. Because you are wrong and your students don't deserve a teacher who has given up. I can name a dozen teachers off the top of my head who would love to take your place.) I had someone recently tell me that she didn't respect me as a teacher because I wouldn't resign in protest of Common Core. Excuse me? Fortunately I don't base my worth as a teacher on someone who isn't a teacher and couldn't do my job's opinion. 

I was really floored by that and by the articles she cited that "prove" how horrible the Common Core is. What.Ever. You know what the problem is? Its that our government puts the cart in front of the horse ALL THE TIME. Instead of giving us 2-3 years of FULL implementation they put the testing in place the same time the Core is fully rolled out. Then when kids do poorly people can blame the Core. And honestly if you do, you are an idiot. (I know, I'm being really mean, aren't I?) You have to stop, look at reality and realize this is just like every other big thing to happen to education. It's going to have bumps and bruises. It is going to take awhile for politicians to realize they don't know everything (or anything) about the reality of teaching actual children and make changes.

I don't hate the Common Core. In fact, I embrace it. Yes it steps things up and its about time too! Is it perfect? No. (Is anything?) I love that if I get a child from {insert state's name} now, they will have been exposed to the EXACT SAME STANDARDS as my students instead of being way behind or way ahead of us (yes that has happened to me, many times). I love that they have taken out crap that doesn't matter and have really gotten down to what does. And yes I know some people say that the CC is developmentally inappropriate at the K/1 level -- I can't comment because I haven't taught those grades. I do know, however, that many, many K-1 teachers have looked at those standards, MADE them developmentally appropriate by tweaking here and there and their kids are thriving.
Okay...sorry for the rant but its been on my mind a super long time and I had to say it. Sorry if it offends you but it's my opinion and since no one pays me to write this blog, I can say whatever I want, even if anyone else doesn't like it.

And now, I shall go NOT have the Sunday night blues because (for once), I am all caught up and even have time to hit the gym in the morning before work.

Have a happy week!
The Caffeinated Teacher

Sunday, February 2, 2014

February Currently + Super Bowl

How it is February 2nd?? My gracious. Time is flying away from me. Must be all those snow days :p But a new month means a new currently!

{Head on over and link up with Farley!)

Listening: It *was* nice and peacefully quiet until the dog started snoring. Between my two dogs (who sleep in our room) and The Husband, I have no idea how I get any sleep when they all start sawing logs. :)

Loving: I am totally in love with my new kitty! The Husband hates cats for the most part but Middle Child's therapist recommended we get her a pet that wouldn't die in a short time (her hamsters and other critters haven't lasted long and BOTH fish she got for Christmas died already). So really she's for the girls...but I'm paying the vet bill so she's mostly mine lol 
She looks ferocious, huh? lol

Thinking: I really should get off my behind and go to the gym. I have been bad this week and haven't gone since last Sunday! :( But I'm feeling lazy and just don't want to get dressed. I'm gonna have to make myself a schedule -- I always feel better when I cross stuff off my schedule. 

Wanting: This is selfish but...I have been bummed the past few weeks that both times I was supposed to have a day all to myself, my kids ended up not having school either. :( I love my kids, don't get me wrong, but sometimes a momma just really needs a full day to herself. It doesn't really happen for me, hardly ever, and I was looking forward to it.

Needing: My house isn't a disaster....but my girls tend to leave stuff laying around and its becoming too cluttered for my taste. Alas, I'm not going to clean up after them so the house will stay this way until they come home from my father-in-law's!

2 Truths and a Fib: 1. I really did win 4 tickets to a movie once. It was to see The Chipmunk Adventure. I was 9. 2. Fib. I am not the oldest of 4 kids. I am the youngest of 2 kids. 3. I won a writing contest at school in the 3rd grade. They even had an awards night and I got to be there. My parents are so lame they sent their friend to take me. 

Today is Super Bowl Sunday....not like I care. I am not a sports fan. However, I will be watching a) for the commercials and b) because I decided to do a Super Bowl Squares content. I sold squares for $3 each and during the game will draw numbers and they will win $50 toward Thirty-One. It will be super awesome.

The Caffeinated Teacher