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.