Wednesday, December 23, 2009


Deviating slightly from my usual here.  I picked up an awesome Motorola Droid at the beginning of November.  Two friends have switched over, and I wrote this email sharing my fave apps.  Figured I would share it with you as well.

Any visitors who come across this page, share your faves too, please :)


If you want these, you can search in the market OR 
-download Barcode Scanner from the market
- Google the app (include Android market in your search) 
- Scan the barcode for the app with barcode scanner on your phone. It will take you right to the app in the market.  Nifty!

Beautiful widgets!
Dolphin browswer, as a replacement for the stock browser
PANDORA        (iheartradio comes out sometime today, too. Supposedly. I can't find it!)
HiAim for AOL instant messenger
Twidroid for Twitter
Wheres my Droid - so you can find your phone when its on silent and you've lost it in your bed. ;)
Battery widget - so you can see whats up with yo batt
Power control widget - you can quickly dim the screen, turn wifi and gps on and off
Missed Call lets you change the color of the LED..for example, I have green for email, pink for texts, yellow for calendar, on and on
Advanced Task Killer to help with battery life
Pure Calendar widget
Pure Email widget

FourSquare gives you points based on places you go.. kind of confusing to explain, but you can check out I like it, but its not very fun if you don't know too many other people playing.  All my points are from going to Sullivan's.  Hahahaha.
GemBuster.  I started with the free and liked it so much I bought the full

Google Navigation is very cool, a few apps that enhance:
Places Directory lets you search around your area

Meridan is a nice music player
iMusic lets you download music free
Album Art Grabber puts album art with your music
Mixzing - playlist creator

Video: has full episodes from CBS.  Hulu is supposed to be coming in January!
iVideo downloads videos.  I haven't played with this one too much yet

Home replacement:
I use PandaHome to customize my home screens.  I'm not 100% happy with it, but they keep pushing out updates so I'm hoping its a little smoother soon.  I can use PandaHome for themes, adding screens (I have 4 instead of 3) and changing the icons for various apps. It's a little tricky to figure out.  I think a lot of this stuff we'll be able to do anyway with the update to Android 2.1 in January.

Other stuff I like:
Dockrunner puts your phone in multimedia mode
Movies - links with Facebook
Astrid - to do list
Bubble (because it's cool :) )
Color Flashlight
DC Metro Map
FX Camera 
Google Sky Map
E! Online
Key Ring (for frequent shopper cards)
My Coupons
NASA Images (because I'm a nerd)
Google Sky Map (because I am a super nerd)
TV Guide
Steamy Window

Bloo is a Facebook app that I like, but the notifications are super annoying so I stopped using it.  I'm using on the dolphin browser.  myspace's new site looks so cool now I almost - ALMOST - want to start using myspace again, but the only people doing anything over there are 12 so.. never mind.

Hope this is helpful! :)

Hmm.  Wow.  I use a lot of apps! :D 

Enjoy your winter holiday of choice! A nice gift I received...

and merry Christmas, as that is MY winter holiday of choice.

Received an email yesterday, would like to share the closing...


Lastly, I wanted to thank you for making your class so engaging.  Language arts was not a liked subject, since second grade with Mrs. Someonelse!!!  She is reading constantly, for fun too!
Since the beginning of the school year she has come home talking about your class.  On the SSAT exam she took last weekend for private school entrance, she told me about one of the essay questions she had to answer.  It stated that listening is the best way to learn.  But she said that her essay disagreed with that statement saying that its not the only way to learn, saying that in your class and one other class, you discuss/talk about the subject matter, you write about it and do projects that help learning.   I was very impressed. She gets it.  
Last year(5th grade) was a lost year for her, and her grammar and everything suffered, I never even got her research paper back so I don't even know how it was graded.  She did okay but she hated it-even poetry.   This year her engagement and initiative has improved greatly! I don't have to pull teeth to get her to do her work.   So pat yourself on the back!  I hope you also have a good and restful break as well.


Better than any "Best Teacher Ever" mug I could have received.

Also saw quite a few students last week while attending a workshop at the nearby middle school.  They are so tall!  I felt great to see how happy they were to see me!  Big smiles and hugs.

Teaching isn't everything I would have hoped this year, but these little moments will get me through.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

"Your best isn't good enough"

I don't even know what to write.  I'm having one of those years that pushes teachers out of teaching.  Not because of the kids.. because of the adults.

Finding it very difficult to stay positive and smiling. A few teachers have been targeted.  I am one. Was told on Thursday I would be transferred out, yesterday was told I'd be staying.

7 months to go.

Monday, October 26, 2009


Off to Monday Night Football!

I hate everything about this school year. I hate teaching Language Arts. I hate teaching Social Studies. I wish I could just walk away.


Pity party out.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Professional Development...

Went to a conference today.  The first thing teachers ask when they hear you are attending a workshop is "Where is it?"  Then you find out what kind of food you will get.  I heard it was good food.  The rumors were true.  Annnnyway..

Usually, I am physically forced to attend workshops.  I'm not great at doing things like.. sitting still and paying attention.

Those who can, do.. those who can't, teach! :)

This workshop, however, was one I was actually excited about.  It was about gifted children with special learning needs.  The information presented could apply to all groups of children, in my opinion.

Dr. Susan Baum presented, and she was just dynamic.  I told her I wanted to follow her around the world and just listen to her talk.  So, not only did I get a top notch lunch, I got practical advice I would actually use, as well as about 15 cups of coffee!  COFFEE!  (unrelated to my difficulty sitting still, I am certain ;) ).

Dr. Baum made me think.   We were told we were going to complete a group project.  We were given four options and asked to put them in the order we would want to do them.  Our options were:





Being a word nerd, writing was my number 1. Drawing and Acting were a tie for second, and Building was my third.  Hand me a pencil and keep your Legos.

Then, Dr. Baum switched it up.  We actually had to work in our areas of weakness.  I headed to the block table, where our assignment was to show the relationship among the various classes of the Middle Ages.  Hmmm.  We discussed. We built (punny!) on each others' ideas. We worked out a pretty cool little structure.  I was pleased.

Next, we worked in our areas of strength.  Our little group of writers decided to write a poem.  I was excited. I love writing poems!  I love wacky rhymes and nonsensical words.  This, however, was a disaster (in my opinion).  We ALL thought we knew best.  Our group disagreed on just about everything, and even when it seemed like we agreed we really weren't understanding what the others were saying.  I let myself fade into the background, uninterested in getting involved in the volatile dynamic.  I began to remember why I disliked group work (unless I was slacking and letting others do the work.. AKA high school).

As we discussed later, I shared my thoughts with the group.  I know everyone didn't feel the same as me, but here are my reflections:

In the building group, I felt safe sharing my ideas.  No one felt comfortable with the activity.  We were all unsure.  I think this led to us being more open to LISTENING to each others' ideas.  In the writing group, I was worried about looking or sounding stupid.  I disliked the argumentative tone of the group so much, I actually left the group for a while. I found various reasons I needed to walk around the room.  I felt jealous of another group that I thought was working better then mine.

Soooo.. now I take what I learned into the classroom.  It can be scary to try to do  new things.  I was uncomfortable with the building idea.  After working with the writing group, I understood to a greater extent why my students go into "shut down mode".  I work very hard to foster an atmosphere of acceptance and cooperation in my classroom.  My room is safe.  You won't be laughed at for making a mistake or taking a risk.  I LOVE out of the box thinking. I want to encourage it from my students.  I want to try MORE to take students' out of their comfort zones.  I also need to closely observe groups - I got nothing out of the writing activity.  I was too aggravated. I've been trying this year to incorporate more art into the classroom - I need to think bigger.  Technology!  Music!  Drama!

I need blocks!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Field Trip!

A few shots of the beautiful Museum of the Native American in Washington DC.  Beautiful day, fabulous museum. I'm going back soon without 120 of my closest 5 foot friends.

Hit the ground running

I'm contracted to be at school 45 minutes before the students arrive.  My gift isn't punctuality, so I usually have 25-30 minutes before the students arrive. :)  Thankfully, I DO have the gift of an hour prep time 15 minutes after the students arrive, so anything I need done I do then.(no lines at the copier!)

This morning, I actually arrived BEFORE my contracted time, and just as the principal was walking in.. sweet. Hopefully early points deduct from my late points - or the 3-4 extra hours I put in almost every night.  Anywaaaaay.  I'm attending a conference tomorrow, so I knew in addition to all of the regular school day stuff plus preparing for a sub.  I hate preparing for subs - it's the reason I take next to no days off.  It's easier just to come in. I started getting that together before the kids came in.

I have about four million students in my homeroom, and approximately three million of them are ADHD. They are extremely active. I have to be on top of them for those 15 minutes or everything quickly decends into chaos.

This morning, one student came in with The Funk.  I could see it in his face as soon as he walked in. He is famous for The Funk and The Funk will ruin his day (and any nearby innocents). I tried to get his spirits up. A parent walked in to ask me about an assignment RIGHTNOWTHISMINUTE, and when I turned back around The Funk had crumpled up the papers on the desks around him.  Rrrgh. Naturally, this got the other millions all riled up.  I sweetly asked the father if I could get back to him in about 15 minutes. I stood next to The Funk and hoped that would be enough to get him on task.  He stayed on, until I walked away. He was then back to his antics. I did this about three times before I had enough. I grabbed the assignment that the father wanted to discuss, handed it to him, stood by The Funk, went back over to the father, discussed the assignment to his satisfaction, walked back to The Funk, and started dismissing for Spanish. Kept The Funk back, and tried to fix his mood before his day totally went down the toilet.  When I was confident he could get through Spanish without causing a riot, I left him there.

I needed a cup of coffee.

That was only the first 15 minutes of the school day.  The rest of my day was just as frantic and insane. I had an interesting IEP meeting, an abbreviated lunch, and a rushed afternoon getting ready for my day out tomorrow.

And The Funk got funkier.  He had a terrible day! The poor sub has my prayers tomorrow!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Posting from my phone? I love technology!

Silliness and wasted hours

Any public school teacher can give you at least 15 reasons that standardized testing is a pain in the butt.  Here's one to add to the list.

During my break, I just danced down to the office to grab my attendance.  A sixth grade student that I had for fourth grade was sitting at a table.  Concerned that he may be in trouble (and because I can never mind my own business) I asked him if everything was okay.

He had a doctor appointment that morning.  His class is completing a standardized test and because he was late, he cannot enter the classroom.  This student is a favorite of mine, and I couldn't leave him sitting in the office for two hours.  He's now sitting at my computers working on a math program.

As we walked down the hallway, another late student came in.  Her class is also testing.  Guess where she is spending her time? Wasted morning.

Saturday, October 17, 2009


"You should write a book!"

If I had a dollar for every time I heard that, lunch would be on me. Unsure if my antics are entertaining to those outside of the teacher's lounge lunch set. On a rainy Thursday, almost anything is funny while quickly shoveling reheated Spaghetti O's down the hatch.

This blog is me dipping my toe in the water and seeing if the school librarian is right.