Saturday, September 27, 2014

I'm Making Lemonade

This has been my worst start...ever?

We hired a permanent (or semi-permanent) aide. She has been very helpful. Her keen eye has caught many learning errors kids have. She works very closely with two of my kiddos, and the rest of the alphabet kids. The downside is she is a Type A personality that likes to be in charge. She is capable of running over my teaching partner, my teammate (during Science and Social Studies) and me. I know she means well, but sometimes it is hard to take.

On top of all of all the usual stuff, yesterday arrived with a two hour delay. Yippee!  Two hours of extra sleep, didn't come. I had been up late grading papers. Hubby thought I had overslept, and I needed to get grades entered. I arrived at school to a pancake birthday treat for a student, a tattletale situation that was the last straw, and hungry kids that missed breakfast. (We don't serve on delays as the kitchen has to get lunch ready). I had the behavioral specialist come talk to my kids that hate each other. I know, hate is a powerful word, but when last year's teacher(s) didn't stop their hatred, it continues. My teammate interrupted to say he had to have my kids, (didn't even discuss our adjusted schedule yet), and off they went. The pancakes would have to wait.

A half hour later, when my kids were back just getting settled, here comes the principal for drop in eval number 1. I wanted to tell him to go away.  Ten minutes in and our tech coordinator walks in with a reporter to interview and get pictures of my kids using iPads a grant had bought. The secretary buzzed in (three separate times), and my room was chaotic! Kids were taking AR tests on our novel, finishing a review and finalizing their interactive journals for the book, and taking one of four different levels of spelling tests. I was helping a student catch up (missed 6 days with that horrible virus!). Really! Why come observe on a two hour delay?

I wanted to close my door at lunch and cry. My aide wouldn't leave and I had kids in reading at recess. I had three lovely ladies show up to do a Lunch Bunch on the book Liar, Liar by Gary Paulsen. They had made my day. I still had an IEP, reading buddies, a stack of papers to grade and copying to do during planning.

Dismissal couldn't come soon enough. I whined to my teammate about how hard the day had been, and went back to grab my stuff to go home. A quick check of my email caught me off guard. The principal had already sent notes on the visit! From what I could gather without his interpretation is "He gets it!" My attempt to salvage my crazy morning with my differentiation looked better than it felt to me. That, or my aide had told him she was worried I was packing up never to return. TGIF!

Hope your week was better than mine, and may your lemonade be only as tart as you like!

Monday, September 22, 2014


Today is the last day of summer, although for most of us we consider summer to be over when we head back to school. The last time I felt this submerged in September was when I was on bed rest with my youngest. She turns 19 tomorrow. She is our last one at home, and it is often just the two of us, or her and hubby. They share many interests and a quick sense of humor. Both bring so much joy to my life. That is critical this year.

Last spring, I agreed to go "over contract" to be able to be an inclusion classroom. I have taught inclusion eighteen of my twenty years in fifth grade. I don't know if I can want to teach without my partner.

Our contract reduces the students in an inclusion classroom by two. When I got my class list this summer, I was nervous. I knew my list was stacked. Besides my alphabet kids, many of my students are from broken homes, or are at risk. I will get any new students, although we are all at capacity because I also have a full time aide. Last week, we interviewed for the aide to help ease my burden. With my large, needy group, I am overwhelmed with remaking things I usually use, for differentiation. I have barely had time to grade papers. I am hoping things fall into routine soon.

I have a few pictures to share of some things we have been doing.

We have been reading, lots of reading. When it was hot, our benches and milk crate stools were favorites.

 Sunday, September 21st was International Peace Day. Our school made 500 pinwheels to mark the occasion. They were rained on Saturday night, but the display looked good for a while.

A favorite
-this student had art lessons outside of school.

We stacked Oreo cookies for O.R.E.O. Project by Jen Wagner. She has been hosting this project for more that ten years. I think I only missed the first two. We love to do this activity as it gives us a Math in Real Life activity. We also stack the Oreos with our K-Buddies. It makes for a great intro activity. We stacked an average of 19 cookies. You can see in the last picture, my friend is still stacking. I think she got 25 or 26 cookies. Our best stack was thirty! 

I hope to be back on a more regular blogging schedule soon.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Sunday Scoop on an early Monday morning

I am linking up with The Teaching Trio for their Sunday Scoop. I enjoyed reading other's lists last week, but have been so overwhelmed, that I didn't have the energy to link up.

We are supposed to post lesson plans online for parents and admin to see. I am excited that the district picked up the cost of I do my plans Friday, tweak on Sunday, and post on Sunday night/Monday morning. I love that I can bump plans if I need. I post updated plans throughout the week if there are major changes. I can even add notes about what worked or didn't work to prove reflection for my evaluation. 

I have let my pile of papers grow, as I worked on things for the room this weekend. This led to my growing pile of papers and lamination. I made some progress on both tonight, but still have some of each.

I have an inclusion classroom. Contractually I am to have two less students. That is hard to maintain when new students need support in an inclusion classroom. We are interviewing candidates tomorrow. In the meantime, I have a lovely sub that has fit right into our room. She is self-directed, and has been a godsend. I hope that when the interviews are finished to get the rest of me boards done. 

I am also hoping that once I have the aide in place, some of my bookkeeping tasks will go away and give me more time to get papers graded during the day, leaving time for blogging in the evening. I have a couple of pending posts, just need time to compose them.

Hope your week gets off to a great start.

Monday, September 1, 2014

September 1st

I cannot believe it has been almost a month since I blogged. I have been crazy busy getting my room ready. Kids come tomorrow, and I am not ready! The room is ready, but not me. Cannot get my head refocused on school with such a short summer. Wouldn't you know it, it waits until we are trying to get ready for school for summer heat to finally arrive. We don't have air conditioning. Yikes! 90 today and mid 80's for the next couple of days. I am melting at the thought.

Since it is the first of the month, I am linking up with the one and only one that matters, Currently linky from the fabulous Farley. (I won a set of her new Currently for the Classroom from Farley and have September's waiting for my kiddos.)

I started working on school stuff hours ago, and am taking a break. It is the last Rachael Ray I will see for months.
I have rearranged my room, and will share the reveal soon. I love how it looks. I got lots of compliments at Open House last Wednesday. 
I still need to hang my Bucket Filler buckets and finish the seats for some new crate seats. I also need to get plans on paper. The interim super may be checking. 
I hate the thought of putting on real shoes as we can't wear flip flops. I need some cute and comfy shoes or sandals to get me through the next couple of weeks. I also need to get some skirts or capris since the new super won't allow jeans. Ever! We use to donate to United Way or our Foundation for the right to wear jeans on paydays. The money will go to buy new clothes. Well actually, it went into my classroom many times over.
My three trips I would love to take someday are to Ireland, hubby's grandfather came from there, Alaska and Hawaii. I watch Gold Rush just to see the scenery. Hubby went to Hawaii before we met. I really would love to go back with him. Maybe someday.

Off to finish my projects and plans. Hope your year is off to a great start.

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