I am enjoying my break and trying to finish a long to-do list. One of the things that I have been thinking about is how prepared my class is for the reading TAKS test. Since the school district has adopted a new reading textbook, we have followed its program. The problem is that the usual way that we taught reading comprehension has taken a backseat to the stories in the textbook. I know my class is nowhere near my previous classes in their reading comprehension due to this. We have time till the TAKS test but it is going to be a lot of work. The class had a reading passage last week and one of the questions on it asked about how a school was different from a pod. The whole article was talking about whales. One student wrote," We go in a bilding and the sea creaters stay in a group." Another wrote," A school is on land." Yeah, that ain't the answer.
1. I will never, ever plan another field trip again in all of my life.
2. Why do we have school assemblies and have to provide entertainment for them? Why?
3. If you choose not to work out the problems, you choose to repeat this grade again. Grrr...
4. I don't mind answering your questions, but if talking to you is like talking to one of my kids, I am going to start avoiding you. For reals.
5. I hate this time of year. There is too much going on and not enough time. I have parent conferences coming up and one parent returned the appointment sheet. One. Thanks for nothing guys. I am just going to bombard you with this appointment sheet just like I bombarded you with the field trip permission sheet.
6. I want to take more tests for different certifications but they are so expensive. When I was certified, they had EC-4. They changed it back to EC-6. They may not seem like a big difference until you start looking for jobs. I wish they would have left it alone and let me be certified as EC-6.
7. I love the change in weather.
8. Sit down. You don't need a new pencil. You don't need a tissue. You just went to the bathroom. No, I am not sending you to the nurse. Sit down. Stop humming. Sttttoopppppp! And your mom said she was sending you back to the doctor to get your meds adjusted when?
9. Can you share your meds with some of my other friends? Please?
10. And don't get an attitude about people helping you. We are all busy. You are an adult. Ask again for help. Duh.
I am trying to recover from a cold that hasn't fully materialized and hasn't yet gone away yet. Theraflu is my cold drug of choice and I am waiting for the right time tonight to knock myself out.
The class was rowdy today and one student in particular was more out of it than usual. He makes sounds through out the day. "Ow", "Ouch", "Ewwww" are some of his usual utterances. The problem is that his sounds are loud and frequent. I have started having him sit out part of his recess for his frequent outbursts. I have not been told any behavioral issues but the child has them. He can not stay seated not for one minute. He sees any opportunity as an opportunity to talk to me. I can not wait for a parent conference to find out what is going on at home.
I already have some friends who I am worried about this year and we haven't finished the first grading period. I have tried to get in contact with my Spanish speaking parents to inform them of my concerns, but I have not been successful. I will keep trying to get in contact with them.
I have an English speaker who has got me very concerned. She is below grade level in reading and is failing math, reading and language arts. I know her family wants me to start tutoring with her and I am dreding starting it. I am going to do it but I really value my after school time. I hope they are good at picking her up and that I can see some improvement in her skills.
So far, the class is good academically and very chatty. I have to keep on top of them, especially my front row. Ah, my front row. I have my three ADD kids in the front row close to me so I can keep track of them. Anytime I work at my big table in the back of the room, I have them move close to me. The good thing about my three is that they are strong academically. The bad thing about my three is that I am always having to deal with them. Taking things from them, telling them to stop touching one another, getting them to focus on the discussion, etc. I feel like I am constantly reprimanding a bad dog.
Maybe I should find check out the Dog Whisperer so I can get some more techniques on how to get my three under control.
As usual the first week of school was frantically paced, exciting and exhausting. I like my class for the most part and am excited about the new year. I am planning reading this year and am having a hard time trying to figure out how to use the new reading textbook and be sure the kids are learning how to answer reading comprehension questions. I went to bed every night before 9:30 p.m.
I am trying to get to know the two new teachers on the team but one of them is hard to like. She is a brand new teacher who asks a ton of questions. I don't mind someone asking questions but I do mind it when you answer the question and she doesn't listen to your answer. And asks the same question again. And again. I have successfully not rolled my eyes at her but I don't know how much longer I can fight the urge.
I was warned that I have a thief in my class for her previous year's teacher. So far I haven't noticed anything missing but I am always aware of leaving anything tempting around her. But then I was told that she doesn't tend to steal expensive things but cheap knick knacks.
I am about to end this post to laze about for a few more hours and then I will grade the first week's papers. Here's hoping that everyone had a great first week!
Summer is ending and school is getting back into session quickly. I went up to the school this week and spent just a few hours typing up spelling lists for the upcoming year. This morning I went to a webpage class and thanked God that it was only three hours. I am going to miss my naps, time at the pool and lazy days. I finished supply shopping and picked up some books from Half Price Books. There has been a lot of change at my school and I am real interested in seeing what exactly the climate is going to be.
Why can't we take naps at school? It could be part of the curriculum.
One of my great joys as a kid was Back to School shopping. New clothes and new school supplies. It was awesome opening up a notebook and pulling out a freshly sharpened pencil and writing the first words in it. And as a teacher I tend to get giddy buying new supplies for my classroom. I always have additional supplies for my students especially since many don't have all of the required supplies when they first arrive. I have never understood why some of my students have all of the required notebooks, several reams of construction and manila paper but don't have a pair of scissors to their name. Or any coloring supplies. Or glue. Or more than a pack of pencils. So during the summer, I pick up whatever is one sale and will set up the additional supplies for students to use during the year. Scissors, glue bottles (not those worthless glue sticks) and real wooden pencils are things I like to pick up. I have enough crayons and markers to skip buying them for this year.
Our school supply list ask the students to have several glue sticks and I hate that they are the preferred glue at our school. When did traditional glue bottles get such a bad rap? Yes, they can be messy but parents and previous teacher should have taught kids proper glue ettiquette. Don't use too much, don't eat it, don't put it on your hand and peel it off like dried skin. Bottled glue just works better than glue sticks.
Since the new Target next to me is so close, I am there almost daily. I can't help it, Target rocks. And one of my beloved features is the dollar area they have in the front of the store. It features seasonal items for as low as a dollar. I picked up several garden items this spring for my garden. They have changed out their items to feature school stuff. I have already picked up a gradebook and lesson plan book. Their gradebooks have thinner paper than I would like but I have used them for a couple of years now and they do the job fine. I decided to really plan out my lessons and bought a lesson plan book. If you decided to buy them from their dollar section, be careful. The lesson plan book did not have enough pages for the whole school year. I had to buy a second one to finish the year. They had some really good stamp sets that feature phrases like "no name" on them which can save time if you have frequent no namers in your class.
Have fun supply shopping and hopefully I will catch a great pencil and scissors sale.
Is there anything better to soak up during the summer months then reality tv? Yes, there are scripted shows but there are so few of them that I watch.
My favorite summer reality show is once again back on-Big Brother. Big Brother has several attractive people in a house and basically the last one standing in the winner of half a million dollars. The guests are typically young, dumb and often victims of bad breast enlargement surgeries.
The show is frustrating because CBS has often added twists to this show-people who don't know they are siblings, former lovers, etc. The twists always seem to fall apart and never last the duration of the show.
Well, another twist bit the dust last night. They had a saboteur who was going to harass the other houseguests and basically make their lives miserable. So far the person had locked up their food supply, put mysterious x's on two of the houseguests pictures and put some annoying electronic beepers in the house. No one knew who the jerk was but everyone had multiple suspects in mind. CBS decided to ruin the mystery early and told us the saboteur was a houseguest named Annie. And like all twists on Big Brother it quickly fell apart when she was voted off. A great idea, Big Brother but is there anyway you could do something to have your twists last longer than a couple of weeks? If you are interested in watching the annual summer car wreak that is this show, here is the official website to watch previous episodes http://www.cbs.com/primetime/big_brother/.
I have two staff developments that I need to attend this month. Also, I have to start working on lesson plans for the year. The good thing about the staff developments is that they are in my town and not an hour away. I love not having to wake up at 5:15 in the morning. I love not having to leave my house unless I want to. I love laying out at the pool. Summers off are one of the perks of being a teacher that I just love!
I have a friend who for two days in a row has walked out of the classroom for lunch without his lunchbox. I had a friend today who cried three times. I had a friend who farted in class. I had a friend last week who sneezed and farted at the same time. I had a friend last week who just discovered that holding your tongue while saying "ship" sounds just like the s-word. Really?
Everyone is done and my class is no exception. We had a writing test this week and unfortunately everything that we have talked about over the year has apparently flown out of their heads. I. Am. Happy. That was a complete sentence. That was a complete, detailed sentence. No, class that was a hot mess. How many days until summer?
It is over. The back to back tests are done. Now we wait for the results. We have 5 more weeks of school and they are filled with activities. It feels like we now have time to work on fun things and not just teach to the test. I have am taking a deep breath and hope for the best results.
Push for TAKS. Tired. Annoyed with my class today-loud. Was there a full moon last night? 1) Student created a new animal for an adaptation project. The animal's name-Super Pecker. It is a bird that is as big as a rat. That really is a big pecker. 2) Another student had an accident on the playground-she laughed so hard that she peed in her pants. My friends told the recess teachers that her water had broke. Ugh.
This week we have Good Friday off and I still feel like I need another day off this week. We have been planning for what we are going to do to get our grade ready for TAKS. I am tired and feel like I need another Spring Break. One of my teammates said that Spring Break was an appetizer for summer. That is so true. I got used to napping and staying up late. I did a lot of running around and doing chores but it was so productive. I just want it to be summer. Now. I applied to Summer School and if I get it-great. If not, I have my whole summer to myself. Now if I can just make to tomorrow....I think I can, I think I can....
1. I had about 10 students not put their names on their math homework. I lit into the class because this is second semester. I have told them again and again that I am not the FBI or CSI and therefore I will not investigate whose work is whose. So all of my friends who did not put their name on their work went to study hall. Their assignment was to write the sentence, " I will write my name on all of my work" until their piece of paper was filled. I told them what they were to do and that no other assignments were to be done. They were to only do lines. The study hall teacher pulled me aside and explained that one of my friends has caused a ruckus in the room. All of the students from my class told him that he had not done the assignment correctly. He argued and continued to color another assignment. Then the teacher showed me the work he did. He literally had drawn lines all over the paper. Arghhhhhhh!
2. Immediately afterwards, the study hall teacher pointed out that another of my friends had finished writing lines. I went to see what he had done. He had written an apology letter. I told him I appreciated the sentiment but that is not what he was supposed to do! Arghhhhhhh!
3. Later on, I had pulled several students aside who did not understand the concept of half past, quarter till and quarter after. One student had completely gotten the assignment wrong when she reversed all of the minute hands with the hour hands. Then she argued with me that her mother had told her how to get the answer, even though she was wrong. Another friend (who had drawn the lines on the paper, really?) wrote down on the paper that it was half past thirteen. Show me where there is a thirteen on a clock! Thirteen!! Arghhhhhhh!
After work, I went to a nearby bar and ate fattening foods and drank two beers. I am so over this day, it ain't even funny.
We apparently got a bad case of Spring Break-itis around the school because the kids are unable to follow basic instructions such as stop, turn it into math, write your name on your work, etc. I am finally having to stop what we are doing and talk about appropriate behavior, something I did all of last year (because that class was evil). My kids are now complaining about having to work (Really? Did you think think this was Disney World?) and have been extra talkative. I have even lined them up and done "Direction Tests". They consist of me telling them to sit, stand, turn around and basically do what I ask of them without trying to go to their cubbies or getting pencils or asking if we are going to go outside.
The only positive about this is I know my class is mild in its misbehavior. My teammates' have classes where the students constantly ask questions (because they didn't listen the first time and haven't problem solved at all) and/or have "issues" (immature and babied by parents). We all need a break, students and teachers, asap.
Busy. Tired. Completed reading level assessments. Reading and Math tests, finished. Reading results good. Math results suck. Walked around the room monitoring about a million times. Cold weather. Rainy weather. When is Spring Break again? About to go to bed. I went to bed at nine o'clock yesterday. I feel like I could sleep for days.
It seems after the break my class needed some additional time for their brains to readjust to school. They have been extra chatty and a lot less able to comprehend simple instructions. If I say do the page, do the page, do the page...don't then ask me what page. If the directions say to make a simple paragraph, why did most of my class fail a sequencing worksheet about Washington and Lincoln? This always happens about Christmas Break and it always makes me miss the class I had before we left for break.
It has been awhile since the last post. We came back to school January 4 and had a teacher workday. Staff Development was on the fifth. Finally we school resumed on Wednesday, January 6. Then the crappy winter of 09-10 continued to inflict drama into everyone's lives and school was canceled due to ice. I normally love a good ice day but we had just had a two week break. I celebrated the day off by sleeping. We had school on Friday and I was amazed at how far behind we were due to the ice day. I am already behind and the new semester just started.
This is a place where I can rant about my life as a third grade teacher who continues to try to get her act together years after graduating college.
It is hard to find teaching blogs where the writer is not all rainbows and unicorns. Teaching is hard work and at times the kids are not fun and you don't feel like anything inspiring is happening in the classroom. It isn't that I don't love teaching, I can't imagine not doing it but I can't handle blogs where the writer never writes about the frustrations of teaching...or of the small paychecks that one receives on a monthly basis.