Monday, November 16, 2009

My 3-Day adventure

I know this is a teaching blog, for the most part, but for today it's all about my latest it is!
Day 1

The 3:30 alarm came way too soon! Just when I thought I was ready, I wasn't. Tiffany showed up on time and of course my shoes weren't on, my bags weren't in the car and I ran out of time to eat the breakfast I had planned on. But, we made it out the door and only forgot 2 things (sunglasses and chapstick). Arriving at the Conway house to Kerry decorating the car set the tone for the rest of the weekend. We received our crowns, waited for Melinda (who we learned is usually a little late) and we were off.

At about 6:30 we arrived at opening ceremonies and experienced our very first porta-potties. These would be heaven over the next 72 hours! After potty breaks, check-in and our first group photo it was time for opening ceremonies to begin.

Opening ceremonies were emotional. There were cheers and tears, ups and downs, warm-ups an finally walking. The warm ups were tricky. Being squished with 1800 women and being asked to do knee raises and squats is not so easy. But we made the best of it as we would for the rest of the weekend. Were definitely ready to get going!  Being with experienced 3-Day walkers on our team, they knew to get us to the front and center of the holding area.  This meant we were some of the first to get started.  We left the area walking through the cheers of 1800 men and women as well as countless spectators.  They scanned our badges and we were off!

Days 1-3

There is so much to talk about the remainder of the 3 days.  So I'm going to sum it up with this list...

10 Things I Learned on the 3-Day

1.  Porta Potties are heaven sent
2.  Blisters can be dealt with
3.  Horn honking after mile 12 is annoying
4.  Women can do the impossible
5.  A high five can get you at least one more mile
6.  there is 1 weekend a year when all thing "boobie" is ok (even if your 7!)
7.  there are more names for boobies then you might think
8.  Fanny packs are Gods gifts to walkers.  They can hold everything, 
and I mean everything you need to survive!
9.  Stickers are fun and motivating.  We will stand in the long line for a smiley face!
10.  When you think you can't, you can! When you know you can, you will!

 There you have it.  My 3-Day experience rolled into a list of 10.  Of course there are many more like how powerful twizzlers are, how the cheesiest song soon becomes your favorite, how flip flops never felt so good, how a piece of cardboard can make the most comfortable of seats!

The closing ceremonies were pretty fantastic.  My entire family surprised me by showing up (mom, dad, mother in law, husband, aunt, uncle, 5 cousins, 1 best friend and my inspiration for walking, Denise).  It was a beautiful experience. 
I will definitely do it again and I encourage any of you to do it also! 

Monday, October 26, 2009

Back in Action

I'm back! I know that I've been gone for a while, but with good reason...a fever :(

I was out of commission for about 8 days, 5 of which were school days. I never, ever thought I would have to miss an entire week of school. But I did, and the kids survived. I had 2 amazing substitutes that were able to fill in the blanks on those lesson plans. There are no words to describe how fantastic my fellow teachers were. They printed my lesson plans, came up with activities, kept care of my pets and even rearranged their schedules to make mine work.

It's no fun to be out for a week, but I realized that the world won't come to an end if I can't be there, it make get off kilter, but it won't end! Not only did I miss a week because I was sick, the following week was Fall Break. Many said "you're so lucky to have 2 weeks off" but in all honesty, I would have done anything to be at school instead of sick! Seriously!

When I got back, I was exhausted. It wasn't so easy to come back, get organized and get back in the swing of things. Not to mention, it was the week of report cards, conference set up, benchmark grading among other things. Which brings me to my next cards!

WOW! I thought they were hard to do for big kids, boy was I wrong. What really threw me off, was that the report card was exactly the same, word for word, standard for standard. Most of the report card could work for any grade, but the reading and writing section should be worded a little bit differently. Perhaps it's just cause I'm new to the little ones, but it was a challenge. After about 6 hours all together, report cards were done (thanks mom for copying and stuffing them for me!)

Next up are conferences, which I quite enjoy. I love to meet the parents and it really gives me a great idea about why their kids are the way they are. It will be a busy week for sure, collaboration day, conferences, half days, field trip, picture re-takes, and of course Halloween!

Halloween, for those of you that know me, is my least favorite day of the year! So of course, when I realized that the kids would be dressing up for Halloween on Friday, I took the day off. I have full confidence in my wonderful sub and my room parents. I can't wait to see pictures (it's live and in person that freaks me out!) and hear all about it, but this week, as Halloween quickly approaches, I'm steering clear of all things Halloween.

I promise not to stay away as long this time, I'll be back next week to update you all on this crazy week, see you then!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

DBacks, Zoo's and Bloody Noses

So today was the day...our very first field trip. I've been on a lot of field trips in my years as an educator. Some a success, some definitely not successful, this one was a mix of both.

As soon as the kids got to school they wanted to know "how many minutes?" I can't even remember how many times I answered that question! Around 9 my volunteers showed up. We had my mom (thank you!), a grandma and an intern for my class.

First things first, buddy them up. Not so easy. It's a very fragile balance trying to place responsible kids with semi-responsible kids. Kids that like each other, that can help each other, etc. We finally got into pairs and then to the bus...

Walking through the front office with 20 excited kids was fun. Thank you Lorraine for not having my head. The bus ride was actually really smooth. They are much quieter then teens. When I would look back to check on them, the bus looked empty because their heads don't come up over the seats, too cute!

The actual presentation at the ballpark left a lot to be desired. It's not so easy to keep a very large group of 1-3rd graders satisfied. The thought process was good, but the actual follow through left a lot to be desired. The best part of the presentation was the animals that the Phoenix Zoo brought out.

After the very L-O-N-G hour presentation at the ballpark we hit a park near school for lunch and playtime. I think that it may have been the hottest day we've had since school started, but the kids didn't seem to mind too much. There were 4 long picnic tables, perfect for our four classes and a fabulous play structure.

Christy, Jill, Jenn and I took pictures in our fantastic shirts (Thank you, Christy!) and then took a whole group picture of the 1/2's.

When we got back to school, the kids were able to tell me all about the presentation and exactly what they had learned. So that just went to show me that even though they may seem distracted and squirmy, they get it. Thank goodness!

With only one bloody nose (grandma was on hand though!) and no kids lost, I'm calling our first field trip a success!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Presidents, Pictures, Teeth and Eggs

We watched the speech today. My class and my neighbors class watched it this morning. We were supposed to watch it yesterday with the rest of the world, but due to our schedule and the fact that the White House didn't post the link right away, we couldn't. The first thing that the kids did, was clap! How cute is that? They were really restless during the whole thing. Jill and I were thinking that maybe they were too young to sit and listen, but turns out they weren't. When we asked them what President Obama had told them to do, they were able to tell us! YEAH! They really aren't hard of hearing. When we asked them to set goals, "A" told me that his goal was to sweep today! Straight from the mouths of babes :)

So last year, picture day was like pulling teeth. Trying to get the 5th/6th graders to stand still wasn't the problem, getting them to smile and not be "too cool" was! This year, I almost peed my pants from laughing so hard! Our picture time was set for 10:39, but I knew it would take longer then that to get them all the way to the cafe. So at 10:25 we started to get lined up (by height).

I had skipped on recess (more on that later) and illustrated our pages for our book. Harmless, right? WRONG! "J" proceeded to be covered in marker as we noticed just before his individual picture. So my intern, Meghan, took him to the restroom for him to clean up. After a few minutes he walked out of the restroom, soaking wet with bits of wet toilet paper stuck to his hands and face. So she had to take him to the copy room, get paper towels, help clean him up and TRY to dry his hair. Can you say retake?

Meanwhile, we are standing (very patiently) for our turn and watching Mrs. M's K/1 class trying to get their group photo taken. Every time the photographer said "say ice cream" one little boy would jump up and down, with a huge smile on his face and scream it! The photographer would say, "lets try it again and this time just say the word but stand still. Ready, say, candy." The entire class would say "CANDY" with the one little guy jumping up and down. After 10, very hysterical takes, it was our turn.

On our way into the cafe for pictures I asked the kids to show me their best smiles. "L" showed me his smile which was just a grin with no teeth showing. Danielle then asked him "L, where's your teeth?" To which he turned around and pointed to his teeth! When it was his turn to take his picture, we I told the photographer "don't ask him where his teeth are."

"G" had a rough time with this glasses today. Every picture that they took, he had a reflection from his glasses. We (photographer, myself and volunteers) tried relentlessly to get him to move his chin..."move your down" and he bent his knees and moved his whole body. "Tilt your head and look at me" and he stretched his eyes to keep them looking forward. After trying everything we could think of, we took of the glasses. We'll see what happens!

Finally, after 45 minutes, we made it back to our room. It was finally time for recess. "I" told me, "Mommy says I can't play because this is a new dress." I was pretty sure that the dress rule was for before pictures and I told her "as long as your not rolling in the sand I think you'll be OK!" Off she went!

We survived picture day!

We had lots of firsts today..."A" lost not 1, but 2 teeth today! He was very nervous about them falling out, and on the way to lunch he asked me how he was going to chew, but he was excited!

My parakeet, that I've had for 7 years, laid an egg today! My kiddo's had been asking me why Juliet looked so fat and I just kept telling them that she was fat and ate too much. Well today, she laid an egg. At least I think it was that one. Honestly, I can't tell the 2 apart, but during Workshop today, 2 little girls started screaming at me, "an egg, an egg, Juliet laid an egg!" I told them to get back to work and didn't think anything of it. But after they insisted that I come and look I was very surprised to see that they actually did lay an egg! I don't know if it will hatch, but the kids are excited to say the least. I'll keep you posted!

So that's what's happening in my world. In fact that is just one day! I love my kids, they make life interesting and certainly entertaining.

Until next time...

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Nose Pickers, Tattle Tales and SMARTBoards

Nose Pickers
I knew that teaching little ones would mean more germs, more gooey noses, more coughs and sneezes; I knew it was coming, but I still wasn't prepared for this...
Student 1: "I can touch my brain!"
Student 2: "no way"
Student 1: sticks his finger up his nose, pulls it out with "goo" on it, and says "see, this is my brain"
Student 2: "Cool!!"
Gotta love the little ones!!

Tattle Tales
He said, she said, I said stop the tattle tales! Wow, I forgot how badly they like to get each other in trouble. From the minor to the major and everywhere in between, I'm more of a referee then a teacher. I've started asking them "are you tattling?" and that seems to stop them until the next incident occurs. It's taken me by surprise how much attitude some of these 6-8 year olds have. It's like they've never been told they can't do something before! That has been the biggest challenge so far, wish me luck.

It's in! It's finally installed and working! I love it, it has been so much fun playing with it the past few days. The kids have loved it too. I've taught just about every lesson using the SB. It's completely interactive and if you don't know what I'm talking about, you should look it up online and explore it. It's keeping the kids attention for longer too which is very nice and they all get to be involved in the lessons.

Life in GLEAM 1 is fun (they keep me laughing), tiring (bed at 7:30?!), loving (constant hugs!), dirty (can you touch your brain?) but most of all great!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Coming Together

It's all beginning to come together. After 2 weeks of trials and tribulations, I'm figuring it out and getting it done. What I thought would be hard is turning out to be not so difficult.

I've said, since I found out that I was switching grades, that my goal is to create, independent learners, active listeners and students that are willing to TRY! This is my goal because of my experience in 5/6. Nothing is more frustrating then to have a group of 12 and 13 year olds that can't think for themselves. If I can help stop that now, I will!

The kids true personalities are shining now. The honeymoon is over for sure! But, the behavior problems, don't really seem like problems compared to the 5th and 6th graders. Talking, talking and more talking, is the biggest issue right now. I'm working on coming up with a plan, but the kids have so much to say and I'm torn between letting them speak and making them wait. But, when I'm teaching a lesson or reading out loud, it can be VERY distracting.

Planning for a day with the little ones isn't as hard as I anticipated. In fact, I hesitate to say that it's easier. They are excited to do just about anything, which makes planning fun and less stressful. The hard part is the upfront work. I can't just "wing it" anymore.

Little by little, it's coming together. My fellow 1/2 friends are fantastic resources and it's nice to have friends like that to work with. The parents in my class are great, and very helpful. Most importantly, the students love me, all 21 of them!

In fact, I was asked by a parent at open house if I have any kids and my response was "Yes! 21 of them in fact!" I love my job :)

Saturday, August 15, 2009

I Love My Little People!

I made it! One whole week with 1st and 2nd graders. After Monday I wasn't sure I would make it through Tuesday, let alone a full week but I did, and it was great!

Not only have they made me laugh every single day (I had one student tell me he was Michael Jackson's grandson and then show me the moon walk and crotch grab), they have taught me to be patient (it takes lots of patience to hear your name called by 20 students at the same time), to love (spontaneous hugs are the best) and to play (who doesn't like a good game of "Simon Says"). It certainly hasn't been easy, it took until the end of the week for me to take my 5/6 "goggles" off and put my 1/2 "goggles" on, but I'm getting it, little by little.

I have an amazing support system at school. Every teacher has checked in on me, offered me bits of advice, and even a shoulder to cry on. My administration team has been wonderful and patient as I try to maneuver my way into 1/2 territory and the parents have been very kind and understanding.

I may not have it down just yet, but I can say that after a week of ups and downs, I am ready for the challenges ahead. Like my great friend Elizabeth said in the copy room yesterday we "have the road map, now we have to get in the car and drive!" And after some reflection this week, I can honestly say that I love my little people!

Until next time...

Monday, August 10, 2009

What a day!

Well, I survived. I don't know how I survived, but I'm still standing and I'm going back tomorrow!

The day started off great. I was up nice and early, picked up my friend and got to school in enough time to get everything done that I planned to get done. Then the bell rang...

I was not prepared for the rush of parents, kids and questions that came on. There was also a parent volunteer trying to wrangle parents about how their child was getting home. So I survived the first 10 minutes and then realized that my TV wasn't plugged in and we couldn't see announcements. Oh well, no biggie. That was just the beginning, I used the word "decipher" with a room full of 1st/2nd graders! Seriously?? They all looked at me like I had 4 heads. My kids will have a great vocabulary, that's for sure!

With all the stress that I felt, as I look back at the day, there were certainly a lot of positives! They love our classroom pets (2 birds and a turtle). They are super excited about our "Scoop Up A Good Book" reading program (it's amazing what ice cream can make a child do!). Everyone was able to walk quietly in the hall to the restroom, and we got compliments. Our People Hunt game was also a huge success, they loved it! Not to mention, some of my kiddo's from last year, came back to visit me (during their homeroom, but at least they came, LOL!)

So looking back, I can laugh at what went wrong and learn from it, and I know that it will get easier. Also, thank you so much to all of my ANLC family for the support and kind words, as well as a shoulder to lean on.

Day two...bring it on!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Ready or not... they come! Tomorrow is it. It's the day that I've been planning for all summer, meet the teacher day! My room is just about ready. I have all of my fun boards put up, name tags are made, welcome letter is typed, cubbies filled. Now for the fun part. I have to clean...ugh! That is never fun, I have had at least one project going on at each of my 8 tables over the past two weeks, and now I have to figure out what to do with all the "pieces." Stuff them in closets? OK!

I have a busy day ahead of me tomorrow. We have a district wide meeting from 8-12, then about 45 minutes to get my room ready for visitors. At 1pm, we will all be introduced to the families, then head back to our rooms and wait for the parents and students to come and meet me. At 3, we have a staff meeting and then maybe I'll be able to go home and relax for a little while. We'll see! I'm tired just thinking about it...

So I'm headed to bed for was a long day, with another long day ahead of me.

Ready or not...

Saturday, August 1, 2009


Let the countdown begin! One week and counting until the students arrive at my door ready to go. Only 4 days left until teachers are back in action. Thursday will be full of meetings, staff photos and time in our classroom. Friday we will get to meet some of our class face to face. That is honestly my favorite day of the year. The kids come in, nervous, ready to see the room and meet me. I get a chance to connect with parents and students. First impressions are lasting ones and without the pressure of the first day we can all be ourselves. It also gives the kids a chance to see the room and explore before the school year begins.

I went out today to pick up some school supplies. It is honestly my favorite time of year to shop! I love seeing the bins full of crayons, markers, erasers, pens, pencils, glue, etc. Along with the backpacks, lunch boxes, notebooks and folders. All the fun things that make going back to school tolerable for kids. I will send home a list of "suggested" materials on Friday, in hopes that everyone will be prepared on day 1. We'll see what happens.

We got our schedule today. I feel better now that I now what my day is going to look like. I will have to sit down with my GLEAM (Grade Level tEAM) this week and confirm, but just knowing how the timing will lay out has helped me prepare, even if it's all in my head.

So here we are, 4 days left of summer vacation. All of next week will be spent in my room, hanging bulletin boards, making name tags and planning first week activities. I'm excited! Are you?

Monday, July 27, 2009

How do I find the time?

What a week! My mom and I spent most of last week in my non-air conditioned classroom preparing for this year. We have cut, velcroed, taped, moved, packed, unpacked, copied and SWEAT! Man is it hot in my room! Even when standing right in front of my standing fan, it's HOT, but it's been worth every drop of sweat.

My room is coming together fabulously (thanks Mom!). Having completely moved rooms from one side of campus to the other, it has been a challenge to get the room ready. As of today, most of the big things, like furniture are where I want them to be, now its time for the small stuff. I have so many ideas for bulletin boards, that I don't even know where to begin! Once I get my class list, I'll have even more to tags, mailboxes, class lists, etc.

Where will I ever find the time? That's the thing, it always gets done. I always manage to get everything done and I don't always know how it happens. I love what I do, and that's why I cut, velcro, tape, move, pack, unpack, copy and sweat.

Til next time...

Monday, July 20, 2009

Call Me Crazy

Most are calling me crazy at this point. We have 3 weeks until school starts back and I can't wait! I am so excited! Not only will this be a new class, but a new room, new grade level, new GLEAM mates, new curriculum, new, new and more new! But I am certainly up for it.

I have been planning in my head since the day I found out I was switching grade levels. Now that opening day is fast approaching I can't believe it is actually happening. My biggest problem is have too many ideas running in my head all at once. Too many magazines and resources. I need to start just taking this one step at a time.

Not only am I trying to plan for the beginning of a new school year. I am getting things organized for our annual staff retreat. I LOVE being in charge, and those of you that know me, know this about me. I thrive off of keeping myself busy and being able to get things done. I always say that I would rather do something myself, so that I know it's being done how I envisioned then let others do it. My mom says that I need to learn to delegate, I'm promising myself to work on that this year! It will be hard though. I like the appreciation.

I'm heading back to my classroom tomorrow, so I'll be back to let you know how that goes! Until then...

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Teaching's Not Cheap

Everyone who is a teacher, was a teacher or knows a teacher, is well aware that teaching is not CHEAP! I should know. Each year I spend well over $500 to get my classroom set up and then even more throughout the year for snacks, projects, books, gifts for the kids, supplies, etc. Although our school gives us a $300 reimbursement, it just barely covers the amount the typical teacher spends.

My husband always comments that his teachers never bought him things, but times have changed. In order for me to teach to the best of my ability, I need certain items for my classroom and that includes resource books, project supplies, etc. Unless you are or have been a teacher, it's impossible to understand!

Parent donations are always greatly appreciated, but sometimes, there are things that just have to be bought. The best thing that parents can donate are basic school supplies: crayons, markers, paper, pencils, expo markers, etc. Snacks are great too! It's never fun to have to answer "sorry, there isn't any snack" when I kiddo says "I'm Hungry."

As expensive it is to be a teacher and as little as we get paid, I wouldn't trade my job for any other. I love what I do, I love the kids, and I even love the crazy days. If you know a teacher, DONATE supplies! You know you want to ;)

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Here Goes Nothing

So this is my first attempt at blogging. I've heard about them, seen them, even read them, but never written one before. I always thought it would be fun, but never really had a reason to write or the time for that matter. Being that I'm starting my 4th year of teaching and my first year as a 1st/2nd grade teacher, I figure now is as good a time as any. Even though it's summer, I am sure there will be plenty to write about it, since I can't seem to stay away from my classroom and planning. So here's to blogging, about teaching and anything else that may come to mind. After all, other then my husband and family, everything I think about seems to have something to do with school.