Monday, August 4, 2014

Back to School Goals

Thanks to Mrs. O Knows and Jess at I {heart} recess for this great linky party.

Personal - Over the the last four years, I have very quickly become a work-a-holic because there's always something I could be doing better, a better way to try, something which could be added.  I have friends, family, and supervisors who love me enough to ask me to slow down and not get burned out.  I am going to do that this year.

Organization - It's an on going joke, that students are to not EVER put anything on my desk - even if I ask them to, because the stacks of papers and grading keys always sit on the corner of my desk.  I took some time this school year to clear out some of the shelves behind my desk.  So once a day, I want to be able to see all of my desk.

Planning - I have spend most of the summer planning and working on plans and fixing lessons.  With my personal goal of having more balance, I intend to get my planning done at school this year.

Professional - There have been many new and exciting changes over the past two years at our school.  We are now trying to build a team and have teamwork at school among the faculty and staff, where before it was a whole lot of each to their own.  I want to help be part of that atmosphere.

Students - Again part of my balance plan is to realize not every lesson on every day is going to reach every child the way I hope it will.  I need to lighten up on myself and realize I am doing everything I can, but I can only encourage, not force learning.

Motto: Balance. Balance. Balance.  I think my goals will help me fulfill my motto.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Sunday Social August 3rd

A special thank you to Mrs. O. Knows  and A Complete Waste of Makeup..

1: Gum or mints?
 I choose mints because I don't care for gum, but mints are OK, especially if they are covered in chocolate.

#2: Tea or coffee?
I drank tea by the gallon, as in a gallon or more a day for years and wouldn't go near coffee for anything.  Now I occasionally have a glass of tea, and have exactly one cup of coffee with my breakfast. 

#3: Fruits or veggies?
Veggies!  I love salad and have one every day at school.  I love spinach, broccoli, artichoke, pea pods, mushrooms, (though I don't know if they fit the veggie category).   Fruits - apples, dried cherries, and pineapple are all the fruit I eat.  I just don't care for it.
#4: TV or movies?
TV!  I don't seem to have the time for it I once did.  For a couple of years my husband and I went one with friends once a week to dinner and a movie, our schedules just haven't worked out for nearly a year.  This time of year I can be found with my dogs and football.  Tonight is the Hall of Fame game!  I watch Thursday night, Saturday, Saturday night, Sunday, Sunday night, and Monday night.  I LOVE my football - even if I am doing other things while it's on.  Otherwise, we watch Longmire, Person of Interest, and a few other.
#5: Candles or diffusers? Neither - both give me migraines.  

I hope that you enjoyed my Sunday Social! Now it's your turn to get social. Grab the button, visit A Complete Waste of Makeup, and link up!

Friday, August 1, 2014

August Currently

A very big thank you to Farley for the August Currently.  I LOVE these! 

Listening - My husband has a big project going at work, so he's working from home and his computer keeps dinging!  So I have my K-LOVE online radio going.

Loving - I have a nearly 10 year old golden retriever who loves when I work in the living room, so he's cuddled up to me.   

Thinking & Wanting - I have had an amazing summer reading and writing blogs, biking and even made a quick trip to South Carolina to see my cousin.  It's been a terrific time!  While I was in South Carolina I discovered an amazing used book store to help with my Reading in the Wild work.  It's called 2nd and Charles.  It was amazing I was able to pick up 75 books for $120.  I can't wait to make the trip again next year. 

Needing - Because I had such an amazing summer, and I have been able to do so much for my classroom over the summer, I am exhausted, so I'm taking the next week and half off to rest and relax.  My classroom is nearly complete, and I have lesson plans ready to go.  So I guess it's OK to get that rest.

Returning to school - I return to school, to help with registration on August 7.  Teacher meetings are August 13-15.  We have drop off supplies, Back to School Mass, and Back to School Barbecue on August 16.  Then we start school on August 18 for a half day, and full-time on the 19th.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Finishing up

The majority of this summer I have worked on getting ready for the next school year.  I'm almost there and will have a major post Friday.  I will also have a huge Made It Monday as well.  It's been an amazing summer and I'm excited to get the new school year going. 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Made It Monday

I don't know if this counts or not, since it's not for school -- even though I did make it.  I made homemade sorbet for my husband's co-workers.




Made with fresh fruit, all 40 servings disappeared in 20 minutes.

My amazing daughter took an amazing road trip with me.  I wen to South Carolina to visit my cousins.  One of my cousin's works at an amazing used bookstore in Greenville, South Carolina called 2nd and Charles.    If you are working on building a class library like the one suggested in The Book Whisperer or Reading in the Wild this is an amazing place to start.

Back wall of the store in Greenville, SC

I was able to get 74 nice, used books reasonably.

Do you have a classroom library?  If so, how do you build it?

Friday, July 18, 2014

Vacation Blog - Teacher Humor

My daughter and I are taking a long weekend road trip to visit and play with family - and to check out a few used bookstores between here and there to add to my class library -- so does that count as professional development?  Hmmmm . . .

Anyway, I am sure this has been blogged before, and I don't know where it originated but I saw this on Facebook from a friend Lexa Lue and wanted to share again.

The 12 Things You Should Never, Ever Say To Teachers

1. “We’ve all been to elementary school, so aren’t we all kind of experts on it?”
Umm, no. You’ve been sick before, does that make you a doctor?

2. “When I retire, I still want to do something, so I think I might take up teaching.”
Teaching is not a hobby, like gardening or sailing. Teaching will likely make your old job feel like a vacation.

3. “Have you ever thought about making your class more fun?”
No, I do my best to make it as boring as I can.

4. “If you really cared about kids, you wouldn’t worry about the salary.”
I love my students. I love teaching. I also love being able to support my family and feed my kids.

5. “If you managed your time at school, I bet you wouldn’t need to plan lessons and grade on the weekends.”
Okay, I’m a little busy at school. I teach and work with students almost every moment of the day. Spending 20 hours a week outside of school on prep and grading every week is normal for me.

6. “You’ll never be a truly great teacher until you have your own kids.”
Actually, yes I will. The relationship between teacher and student is quite different from that of parent and child.

7. “Why do you make them read so much and write so many essays? Why do you give such hard grades?”
Because it’s my job. Because my students are here to learn. Because they’ll need these skills to survive in the world. How many reasons do you need?

8. “I pay taxes in this district, so technically you work for me.”
Sorry, we’re not your minions. That’s not how it works. Taxes support public goods and services—such as the fire department, police, parks, and yes, public schools—for the community as a whole. And by the way, teachers pay taxes too.

9. “Ohh, you teach kindergarten, that must be fun. Playing and singing all day.”
Yes, my life is just like Disney movie. I sing and the children and the little animals of the forest come running. Actually, in kindergarten, we teach our students the foundational literacy and math skills—as well as the social and emotional skills—that set kids up for success in every grade to follow.

10. “Why are you so strict? They’re just kids.”
We make plenty of time for laughter and fun in my classroom. Rules and routine are not only necessary, they help children to feel safe, secure and valued in the classroom community.

11. “How hard can it be? You have all summer off.”
A longer summer break is one of the benefits of choosing teaching as a career. But keep in mind, it’s not all summer, I spend weeks every July and August on   professional development and curriculum planning. And during the school year, I work 12 hours a day all week long and at least one day every weekend. Add it up and our vacation days are about the same.

12. “Teaching is nice, but don’t you want to be more successful and make more money?”
I teach because I want to make a difference. I teach because what I do every day matters for kids.  That’s what success looks like.

Personal pet peeves - #5, #7, #10 & #11- especially #11!  Which ones drive you the most nuts?

Monday, July 14, 2014

Made it Monday

A special thanks goes out to The Classy Teacher for her great birthday idea - it's taken me a couple of weeks to get them all - 50 done but here they are.

I am still working on several other things and have been going into school two days a week.  I am trying to get all of my "bellwork" copied before school starts, and get two grades worth of spelling in the Spelling City.   I am also re-doing my Pre-Algebra and Social Studies classes.  All of these changes are after I read The Book Whisperer and Reading in the Wild and am going to make major changes to my reading classes as well.  

Not that I am taking on too much or anything because about a week ago I discovered that I will have the two largest classes in the building 22 5th graders for Spelling, English/Writing, Math, Social Studies, and Technology, 19 6th graders for Spelling and English/Writing and then the small, 5 students for Pre-Algebra.  

I am also taking one more trip this summer and going to completely quit working on school stuff by August 1.  We have some schools nearby which have students coming back one week from yesterday.

Because I have been hustling getting ready for the school year, I was able to spend the day helping a friend get ready for her school year to; it was such a blessing to be able to help ease someone else's stress.  What do you do to help other teachers?