Well, that didn't happen. Let me tell you why:
Thursday, December 31, 2015
Well, that didn't happen. Let me tell you why:
Posted by Raye at 9:20 AM
Saturday, December 19, 2015
Posted by Raye at 5:10 PM
Friday, December 11, 2015
Friday, December 4, 2015
Friday, November 27, 2015
I'm back with another video which discusses the progress of my hack as well as how I am utilizing the calendar area to help me maintain my sanity on those oh-so-insanely-busy weeks!
Disclaimer: I actually made this video on Wednesday and had planned to post it on Wednesday but it took 10 hours for the video to upload. Ugh. (Also sorry for the shakiness...my tripod is at school.)
Posted by Raye at 9:00 AM
Tuesday, November 24, 2015
Stupid full moon. My students were WIRED this week. I am so uber thankful we do not have school tomorrow! I'm not sure we would have made it! They have just been IN-SANE.
My student teacher has two weeks left. It will be super weird without her there, but I am really anxious to get my class back. I think that is a normal feeling to have. We put so much time and energy into our teaching that sharing the kids long-term in this way can be a challenge. Next week she is only teaching one subject (reading) and then everything is back to me.
I can't even tell you how very glad I am to have a few days to decompress. Seriously. I'm not even teaching the whole day and I'm just plumb worn out. I love my kids and my school but these friends come with a lot (and I mean A. LOT.) of baggage. It's that extra stuff that just makes it so hard sometimes.
Hopefully once the crazy/busy month of December ends and we have some time over the holidays, I will be more consistent with blogging again. It's weird because I feel like I've had much LESS to blog about since I haven't been teaching everything like usual. We've done lots of cool stuff but I haven't taken pictures or anything so I don't post them. Oh well.
I will try to be better about it because it's more fun to see pictures! :)
My girls do have school tomorrow (they are not impressed) and I have a chiro appointment early. Otherwise I plan to get my nails done, get my oil changed finally and then spend the rest of the day at home working. I actually have most of my lesson plans (except reading) planned out until winter break. I just need to review my plans and make sure I didn't overlook anything. I also have a little paperwork I need to do on kiddos who will be up for evaluation. It also won't hurt to get a bit ahead on grad school.
Then Thursday-Sunday are family time. Technically we have assignments due for grad school but we have an extension. I won't take the extension, I am going to do the best I can to get everything done tomorrow so I can just take a mental break and be with my family.
Posted by Raye at 6:50 PM
Wednesday, November 18, 2015
Then I made each friend a library card. They are just index cards a label on them that we then laminated. (Side note: I may have laminated more stuff in 3rd grade this year than I have in my entire career combined!) I wrote the kiddo's Lexile from the fall MAP test and then the color code they are in for our classroom library (which was labeled by colors well before we ever started using Lexile). This is one of my higher leveled kiddos. I picked his to show just because I knew it would be neat and organized :)
The kids keep that laminated card inside the 30 in 3rd folders which they keep in their book box. (This allows me to check them any time I want since I don't have to dig into their desk for them.) Inside are the pages from the product that Marianna shared with me so generously.
This first page is a tracking sheet to help the students make sure they are reading a wide variety of books. The kids were so excited to see they got to pick 8 books of whatever genre they liked! :) I ask them to fill this part out when they FINISH a book.
This is the other tracking page. Each time my friends change books they are to write the name of the book and the author. As they finish it, they put the date (this friend put 10-15 each time because he thought I wanted the month and year *wink*) and then they rate whether or not they liked the book. This helps me to know what kinds of books to recommend in the classroom library or our school library if the student is having a hard time finding a book at any given time.
In keeping with my uber fancy tracking (hello recycled file folders), we are using this pocket chart to track our progress. I only check the folders every couple of weeks. The students know that I might ask them about their books at any time so they should actually be reading and finishing the stories. It is only once the book has a "finished" date that they move up on our chart. We have several friends who have already hit the 5 or 10 mark.
Posted by Raye at 7:45 PM
Tuesday, November 10, 2015
Sometimes, every once in a while, a special student comes into your life and makes you realize that God has a purpose for every single person crossing your path.
I saw a post on Facebook over the weekend that said every single person you have ever interacted with would be different without you. Think about that for a moment. It's pretty heavy.
The guy I smiled at this morning at the grocery store before work was affected by me. I may have been the only person today to smile at him (I hope I wasn't). If I had not been there in that moment, there may have been no one there to smile a hello to a fellow shopper. That's deep stuff to think about.
And then I have moments like today where it is reinforced to me why I do what I do and why every child, regardless of their ability, has a purpose for being in my room. And I don't mean that their purpose is to learn.
I have said about a billion times that last year was rough. In so many ways. I needed a change and a good year because a rough year can drain you. Do I have a perfect class? Gosh, no! Not by a long shot. They are 8 and 9 years old. They talk too much, they are loud, they forget their manners. It happens.
BUT every interaction makes a difference. It could be good or bad but it is a difference.
My class has struggled to respect my student teacher. Let's face it. I've had years to perfect my tough love approach and not everyone can operate that way. It works for me. I don't expect it to work for everyone. Today the kids went to the lab and some were very disrespectful. My student teacher took away recess and made those kids write a behavior reflection. I am all about that. Help them learn to own their choice.
One boy refused to comply and just went on a tirade about how mean her and I are, crying and stomping his feet. She pointed out, very calmly, that as upset as he feels, enough to be crying, that she has feelings too and he hurts her feelings when he is disrespectful. It was the perfect response.
He just went on and on about how his mom wants him to have mean teachers so he is stuck with us and so on. I knew he was just blowing off frustration, but at one point he said all the kids think I'm super mean. Another student who had lost his recess too (same reason) was watching us and I asked him if he thought I was mean.
He said "no, you are nice". I nearly fell over because I really expected him to say yes. So I asked him why he didn't think I was mean. He thought for a minute and said, "Well you do stuff for us and you get on us because you care about us".
Wow. It doesn't get any more powerful than that! This is a child whom I have had to get on his case daily all year. Sometimes more than once a day. He is very impulsive and doesn't always think before he acts. I get that about him and have just waited for the moment to really make my connection with him (believe it or not it is not something you can magically obtain with every child in the first couple weeks....some kids it can take half a year and some kids, despite your best efforts, you never really find a way to connect with).
My patience thus far has paid off today in spades because as we were leaving at the end of the day, he and I were at the end of the line and he said "Mrs. Wood, I am going to try my best to have a great day tomorrow". ♡
It just takes time sometimes....to make the connection with the hardest students. Sometimes it's a challenge to like these types of kids because they can be so frustrating. But then, you have your breakthrough and it is purely magical. Angels come down and sing and you know, without a doubt that you are where God wants you to be.
Posted by Raye at 9:12 PM
Saturday, November 7, 2015
This weekend I have been in Minneapolis at the Teacher Powered Schools Conference. I flew in yesterday and barely made the bus for the site visit which was the coolest thing ever (aside from the Finnish schools obviously).
Today has been wonderful in terms of the learning I have had. We have had four individual sessions and a couple of full plenary sessions. The food has been amazing and everyone here is so friendly.
For me, it is so refreshing to be in a room full of people who see the vision that I have. I have taken so many notes and learned so much today and last night. I am so incredibly glad that I came here. I have networked and found people who will help me if I have questions and people who don't laugh when I tell them I want to start a teacher led school.
In fact, I have lost count of how many times these last two days I have had people say to me "You're here and that's an awesome first step. You can do this!"
It feels daunting to be the only one in my area really pursuing this idea....but the brainstorming session we had yesterday afternoon helped me to realize that I am absolutely able to give voice to what I want to do and now I have some ideas and plans to help me to make those things a reality.
It also helps that I have a course coming up in January in my doctoral program where I get to design a school. This could very well be the springboard to getting a proposal for my school put together.
I am so energized and excited about all I have learned and all the tools I now have in my toolkit. :)
Posted by Raye at 4:10 PM
Sunday, November 1, 2015
Listening: Today is Middle Child's 14th birthday! (Seriously a birthday the day after Halloween might be the best birthday ever.) Grandpa gave her some birthday money and this year so did we and we went on a shopping adventure so she could pick out what she wanted (teenagers are so fickle!). She got a new PS4 game and that is what I will likely hear until the goes to bed (or her dad kicks her off the TV lol)
Loving: Don't get me wrong....I love my students. I do. What I don't love is my students hopped up on sugar and unable to pay attention (they have a hard enough time keeping on task without sugar!). So when we got our schedule this year and saw that a) Halloween was on Saturday and b) we don't have students until WEDNESDAY this week, I'm quite positive we all cheered just a little :)
Thinking: I am such a procrastinator. Seriously. I never learn. I do things at the last minute all the time. Once I even bought a coolie that said "If it wasn't for the last minute, I'd never get anything done"....uh, truer words were never spoken! Thus, it should not surprise you that I am flying out of town on Friday and I have nothing prepared....nothing. I don't have my hotel and flight info ready to go or any freaking idea what I'm going to wear at the conference I'm attending. I'm quite sure I'll get to it all...Thursday night around 9:30 lol
Wanting: Oh report cards. The bane of my existence. Seriously. My life would be so much easier if we just did letter grades by content area....but nope, each area has about 2 million (maybe a *slight* exaggeration) correlations that I have to input grades for. It takes fiveever and I'm procrastinating on that too (you are shocked, right?)
Needing: Seriously....my nails are looking like crap. I am lazy and go 3-4 weeks between fills and then they look like crap and I complain about it. But aside from being a procrastinator, I am also a cheapskate so I refuse to go sooner than every 3 weeks. But my nails can not look like hell when I fly away on Friday so it's on my to do list for tomorrow after our PD day.
Yummy: My maternal grandmother passed away 5 years ago today. Yes, on Middle Child's birthday. :( The thing is....every holiday we had as kids, I remember them solely because we went up north to grandma's and she always had her super extra special yummy fudge. Forget Mackinac Island Fudge....grandma's fudge was the best. And no one can replicate it. They just can't make it the way she did and I miss that (and her of course) so much.
Monday, October 26, 2015
Posted by Raye at 7:57 PM
Saturday, October 17, 2015
Posted by Raye at 6:16 PM
Tuesday, October 6, 2015
Posted by Raye at 8:47 PM
Monday, October 5, 2015
Last week only five of my students got to have Fun Friday (out of 27) because they were messing around during Daily 4 time and didn't get their work done. Because I use Reading Street, there are a few things I have the kids do during the rotations that need to be done over the four days we do literacy (because Friday is our weekly test that I am absolutely required to give). The worst thing was, the work was not hard or too much work, the kiddos just forgot their stamina building and messed around.
You could have heard a pin drop in my room on Friday afternoon when all of those friends had to sit out of Fun Friday and do their work instead. Let me tell you, they were SILENT today during our Daily 4 time! :) I was so incredibly happy and pleased. We are doing table points right now because some of the kiddos are uber chatty....and they did such a good job that each and every table was able to earn points during this time today :)
Of course they totally lost it when we switched to writing LOL But our ELMO blew up (literally--sounded like someone had popped a huge balloon in class....may have taken a few years off our lives!) and thus we can't use GoNoodle or any of our brain breaks right now. My student teacher and I decided we may have to pull an iCarly and implement some Random Dancing to get the kiddos some extra movement and brain break so they can transition over to writing. We do have some movement between each but it clearly wasn't enough for them after being so focused during Daily 4. This means until ELMO is fixed (and I have no idea when that will be--last year the CPU went out on mine and it was 5 weeks before it came in after it was ordered!), I may have to get creative to let them move around a bit more so they can keep themselves on track.
Posted by Raye at 7:08 PM
Saturday, October 3, 2015
Loving: My class this year is vastly different from last year. VAST-LY. A couple of kiddos who will definitely try my patience but that's to be expected. The rest of them are pretty sweet. They had some trouble getting their work done due to chattiness during the week and had to finish up during Fun Friday...and instead of hating me for it,they were bummed when I said I couldn't come to the movie night we were having at school. Love them.
Thinking: my youngest two definitely need haircuts....they are looking like shaggy dogs haha I need a trim and that may happen sooner rather than later.
Wanting: I'm so ready to dress up in long sleeves and sweaters and go pick some apples. We live right outside of "The Ridge" so named because there are about seven apple orchards! We just have to pick one and go. I'm craving some honey crisp apples and caramel dip. Yummy!
Needing: It's always about the grad work, isn't it? :) Actually this class hasn't been too bad to keep up with so that's good. But next Saturday I am going to Eastern Michigan University for an NBCT meetup and thus I really need to get ahead on this work so that I can enjoy that day without a big paper looming over my head.
What makes me feel Boo-tiful is my MaryKay makeup. About 18 months ago, when I was still selling Thirty-One, a colleague of mine and I had a MaryKay/Thirty-One party at her house after school. I had never used MaryKay before and now I won't use anything else on my face. I love how it makes my skin glow and look so soft and pretty. I don't use a lot of MaryKay eye makeup (I have been using Clinique this past week and I'm in love!) but I won't use any other concealer, cleanser, powder or blusher. It makes me feel feminine and young.
Posted by Raye at 1:12 PM
Thursday, October 1, 2015
Posted by Raye at 8:20 PM
Tuesday, September 29, 2015
Yesterday was our first day actually putting our hard work to the test and having our full rotation schedule and small groups meet.
Considering I had just settled my first group in and we had a fire drill (!!) AND my projector actually blew up (so loud I thought someone had popped a balloon in class!), it went pretty well. The projector breaking means it'll be a little harder for me to do part of the mini lessons (as I rely on technology for some of them) but the kids rolled with it. Yay for them and for solid procedures.
I only had to remind one student during rotations of the stamina building we had done. The other friends did an awesome job. :) I did discover, however, that there is just no way we can take the time during group to do the first part of the notebook. It just takes up too much valuable time. So I am going to find 10 minutes somewhere on Friday for us to do them all at the same time like we did before. That way it's done and kiddos and I can get right to work when we are at the table together.
I'm very pleased that I stuck with this routine because it went well better than I could have hoped for on our first day of rotations. (Especially refreshing since it's a full moon and my kids WEREN'T insane. Hopefully I did not just jinx myself!)
With a couple tweaks to my plan, this is going to work out very well, I think.
Posted by Raye at 5:39 AM
Friday, September 25, 2015
Posted by Raye at 9:21 PM
Wednesday, September 23, 2015
Oh my gosh....if my class would stop socializing so much, I'd love that. Then again, I wouldn't have so many fun stories about them if they weren't so social! :)
My student teacher has been out the past two days for PD at her university and then her big teacher test today. She has been reading aloud a book to the kids and I wanted to save that for her so I read two picture books while she has been out.
Today we read "Houdini was...." which was written by a 2nd grade class after their class hamster Houdini died. The kids loved the pictures and we spent a little time talking about the difference between a hamster and a guinea pig.
I told the kids, who were sitting at my feet at our carpet, that I thought guinea pigs were gross and smelled like butts. That was a bad idea because they roared with laughter for at least five minutes and I thought one of the girls was going to choke she was laughing so hard. So I said, what haven't you ever heard a teacher say butts? And they died laughing again.
Later we were talking about what to do go fire or code red drills. Each class, of course, has a different evacuation spot. When we have the code red drills, we lock the door and huddle by the counter. We were discussing how important it is to be super quiet. I asked them what they should do if someone farts (because really that happens invariably when we have those drills and the kids just giggle--we don't want you to giggle during a drill!). Of course the second I said "farts", they all died again.
Goodness. You can't say farts OR butts in 3rd grade because you'll have a class of corpses because the children all died laughing because the teacher said those words!
Oh they amuse me so.
Posted by Raye at 6:04 PM
Friday, September 18, 2015
Posted by Raye at 8:41 PM
Sunday, September 13, 2015
Posted by Raye at 11:00 AM
Saturday, September 12, 2015
I am seriously so, so happy I made the switch to 3rd grade! It's only been a few days but I am loving this year so far. Considering that things were so rough last year due to minimal collaboration, I so needed a good group and a good partner.
I have a couple of students who were challenging last year. However, I have set my classroom up very positively and I think that is making a huge difference. I don't focus on the little off task behaviors (and there are few fortunately), but instead really praise the kids who are listening and following along. It's been so great so far.
One of my little guys did so awesome yesterday that he clipped up so many times I had to wear his clip because there was no where else for it to go :) He also got a positive office referral and I found out it was the first one of the year for any students :) :)
Plus, I have a partner teacher now. She was in middle school and actually used to teach at my school when it first opened. It's been a few years since she had elementary and she admitted she's a little out of practice with teaching all subjects but that's fine! She's willing to collaborate which was music to my ears. We stayed late yesterday (on a FRIDAY!) and I helped her get some things in order. It was so worth it! We get along well and it should be a match made in Heaven :)
The big bummer is I didn't take a single picture all week! Ack! Usually I just use my phone but I'm going to try to remember to bring my actual camera and get some shots this week.
I'm really glad Mr. Principal asked me to switch to 3rd because it's perfect. They want me to be happy with them and they aren't all snotty yet ;) Yesterday several kiddos were sad when I told them I wouldn't see them the next day because it was Saturday. Is that a teacher's dream come true or what?
Posted by Raye at 1:41 PM
Wednesday, September 9, 2015
Posted by Raye at 8:23 PM
Tuesday, September 8, 2015
Whew! My feet hurt :)
We made it through the first day of school. I had 25 hot bodies. My temporary partner, who had 27 on her roster as of last Thursday ended up with 30 actual bodies! Yikes! I have at least one whom I know will be coming tomorrow, not sure on the other three. One just enrolled so I'm not sure why he was a no show.
It'll be an interesting year for sure. If any more kids come we are gonna have some space issues. We will see what tomorrow brings on that front because we have some grades that are pushing 30 and some classes with only 18. That's crazy.
I'm a little scared to look at the pile from today....we did our baseline writing and wow. We have our work cut out for us, that is for sure! Of course it was the first day and they haven't used their thinking in awhile....but it was kinda scary to see where some of them are. The good news is, for the most part, they are sweet and eager to be back in school so that's good. I can definitely work with that :)
Hoping tomorrow doesn't bring a ton of new kids and no space for them all :)
Posted by Raye at 6:13 PM
Monday, September 7, 2015
Okay so it's 3:30 in the afternoon which is hardly "night" but close enough.
How is it already time for the first day of school? This summer was a week longer than we usually have because of Labor Day being so late....and I still wonder where those three months disappeared to.
We didn't do anything fun this weekend at all. Bummer! We have a cabin and a pontoon and we haven't been to or used either since early August. *sigh* I have been so busy with finishing grad classes, meetings, prepping my room and my little vacation to be at the happy place which makes me sad. I honestly have no idea why we have a pontoon since The Husband is lazy on weekends and never wants to take it out. Lame.
So I alternately worked and rested this weekend. We do not have 24/7 access to our schools (which I am vastly grateful for) so I did some final projects at home and should now be all set for tomorrow. I made locker tags, desk tags, word wall words (since my set is for 4th and 5th), finished my brag tag necklaces complete with name tag for each kiddo and laminated, cut out and sorted all of my brag tags. I have 55 different tags and 30 of each one....yes that took up quite a bit of time! But now it's done and I don't have to do anything harder than think about who earned which one each week :) Time consuming and a bit pricey on the front end but I won't have to fill a prize box every month so it's actually way cheaper.
Tomorrow is supposed to rain :( Mother Nature should be nicer on the first day of school! I have a backup recess plan ready....and it won't hurt to teach indoor recess procedures literally from day one, right? I like to do a mixture of actual teaching with my procedures as I think it solidifies things for the students when they get to practice the procedures in context.
It will be very interesting if all 29 of my kiddos show since we have some classes with only 18! As long as they don't expect me to try to work a miracle with more than 30 in my class, I'm good. The issue with having only 2 classes at the grade and starting with high numbers is that it can get over crowded if new families come in. In my experience they don't balance classes out until count day a month into the year and that just throws everything off because you lose and/or gain new students and it's like starting over a month into the year (it has happened to me in some way all 5 years I have been at this school). It's difficult for everyone and I'm crossing my fingers I avoid it this year.
Thankfully this week is slim on my after school obligations....last week was crazy and next week will be also. But after a few days back into a routine, I should be fine with that craziness.
It may take me 2000 trips from my car to my classroom tomorrow as I bring all of my projects in plus Apollo the gecko is coming back to school tomorrow too. I just need 8 extra pairs of hands to make it all in one trip (hopefully not in rain!) :)
Happy First Day for those going back this week (seems like most people are back already).
Posted by Raye at 3:35 PM
Friday, September 4, 2015
Listening: The Littles are watching Phineas & Ferb in the next room
Loving: After lots of moving things around due to a growing class size, I'm quite tickled with how my classroom setup turned out. I didn't take new pictures of it but may do that this week.
Thinking: After spending hours and hours (and hours!) in my classroom setting things up, with help from a student teacher, how can I possibly still have a To-Do list a mile long??
Wanting: Definitely need more hours in my day. Every day this week, except today, I was up by 5, at school by 7 and then either running to appointments after work or staying late and then coming home to do graduate work. I feel like I haven't seen my husband, let alone my kids.
Needing: My teaching partner took an unexpected leave at the last minute and we've had some drama trying to find a fill in. It would be super nice to have a teaching partner to collaborate with this year....but I've flown solo before (*all last year*) and will again if need be.
3 Goals: Boundaries--see "needing". Last year I had two partners who were not collaborative. I did much of their work. This year, I refuse to carry the entire grade. So boundaries it is. Patience--I can't control what happens with the long-term job so I just need to practice my patience and take care of my own class and pray things work out. Finally, Love--my goal is to love every child that comes through my door, regardless of what makes them tick. As an urban teacher, I totally know our kids come to us with a lot of baggage that kids in the 'burbs often can't even fathom....I'm going to love them all, no matter what.
Posted by Raye at 2:19 PM
Thursday, September 3, 2015
Posted by Raye at 9:22 PM
Sunday, August 30, 2015
Posted by Raye at 11:29 AM
Thursday, August 27, 2015
Posted by Raye at 5:05 PM