October 30, 2009

"I'm pretty sure tasmanian devils just 'do it'"

Here is the eagerly anticipated (by Mrs. J at least!) blog post about the tasmanian devils incident of Thursday...  intrigued?  Just wait for it. :)

So as part of my school's insanity over ISATs, we start preparing our kids in September (bound and determined to make AYP...).  Anyways, my team gave a reading extended response common assessment this week.  The passage that the kids read was about tasmanian devils.  It was a pretty interesting article--did you know tasmanian devils can eat even rotten food?  It turns out they are nature's garbage collectors!  Who knew?  I swear I learn something every day in 5th grade.  Well, my wonderful lit coach Mrs. J and I have been teaching my class about taking notes on a text as you read.  We've practiced highlighting and writing comments and reactions in the margins, even if they are just "WOW!" or "That's sad :("  and my kids have been doing a fabulous job!  They're like little college note takers with their highlighting and comments.

So yesterday after school Mrs. J and I were grading these wonderful tasmanian devil extended responses (I use the term wonderful somewhat loosely--although they have come a LONG way!), and we were having a great time looking at the comments each kid wrote on the article.  Then, Mrs. J came to one with yellow and pink highlighter writing all over it.  I noticed her looking very closely at one part of it, and she pointed a word out, asking me what I thought it said.  There was a question written in the margin of the paragraph describing how when two tasmanian devils first meet, they usually bite each other and fight.  After peering closely at the scrawled highlighter that was partially obscured by text, we realized, "Wait, that DOES NOT say...does that really say?  Can that say...'Then how do they make love???' ?!?!?!?!?!"  Yes, no joke, this fifth grade boy read about that tasmanian devils fight upon first meeting, and became very concerned that they would never be able to "make love."  And if there was any doubt in our imaginations, on the next page, he very largely and clearly wrote, "It says they big each other then how do they get babies?!?"  He was still pondering this question paragraphs later!!!

Let me tell you, nothing spices up an afternoon of extended response grading like a 5th grade boy's concerns about the "love making" habits of tasmanian devils.  Aside from the randomness of this thought even coming to his mind, we just could not get over the hilarity of his word choice!!!!  As Mrs. J said, "I don't think tasmanian devils really make love...I'm pretty sure they just do it."  :D  I almost couldn't recover from my laughing fit and grade the rest.  And I'm not going to lie, I had to stiffle giggles reading other kids' papers later just because I remembered this kid's comments...amazing.

Let me just say, when I have to teach Family Living later this year, it will be INTERESTING...and I hope this student never asks me how tasmanian devils make love!

October 28, 2009

oh 5th grade

Drumroll...I taught science today!  Woohoo!  When I announced that we were FINALLY doing a science experiment, the kids actually cheered.  It made me so happy :)  Anyways, we did a short and sweet lab to practice applying the scientific method by checking how many water drops fit on a penny.  I love science.  It can be crazy at times, but it is so worth it seeing the kids get completely wrapped up in excitement.  And it was even more worth it today when one of my kids exclaimed, "Miss Teacher!  I noticed that this dropper is a little different than that one!  That might make some pennies have more water drops than others!" And me saying, "You're right!! But shhh!!! Let's see if anyone else figures that out too!"  I teach for "my kids are actually thinking, learning, and excited about school" moments like this. 

On the other hand, I had to call the office today because one of my kids flipped out and pelted his stress ball at the wall in a fit, and then another kid dropped an f-bomb at a kid...sooo quite the day all in all!

For the first time, though, when I left school right away for autism therapy, I didn't come back after!!  I actually left with all my things and went home after.  I decided I needed an evening off. :)  Definitely worth it...

Is it bad that I am DREADING the Halloween party Friday??

October 25, 2009

Book Reviews: Diary of a Wimpy Kid

While I had read bits and pieces of this book aloud to students and kids I tutor, I finally sat down and read Jeff Kinney's Diary of a Wimpy Kid cover to cover this weekend. (Thank you scholastic book order for having a $15 set of books 1-3!)  I have to say, I was not disappointed.  While this book will definitely not rival my all time favorite children's books in my personal book hall of fame, it was funny, clever, and definitely an enjoyable read.  Kinney uses a kind of wit and humor that we can all relate to--the feeling of being a wimpy kid, and all that comes along with it.  Really, the idea of this book is genius.  Who among us can say that we have NEVER felt like the wimpy kid?  Well, I know I have at least!  Narrator (and diary author) Greg is a middle school student without much going for him.  His smirky, sarcastic journal entries are nothing if not believable.

What's more, his character is realistic not only in his "wimpiness," but also in the way he acts.  While I don't usually praise children's lit. that has main characters acting in bullying manners, Greg isn't always very nice to the people in his life (family, his few friends, etc.).  However, I think that quality about him is one of the genius aspects of this book.  Because really, a truly wimpy kid does't WANT to be a wimpy kid, and, like Greg, most would try to get ahead in whatever way possible.  Don't get me wrong, Greg's not malicious or anything.  His diary just offers a perfect platform for him to truly speak his mind with an honesty that not all children's authors can capture. 

Hands down the best quality of this book is that it is an instant hook for reluctant readers.  If there is a child in your life who claims that they're not "into reading," hand them a copy of Wimpy Kid and I promise you they will be hooked.  It can be tough to hook boys into reading at times, and there isn't a boy in my classroom who doesn't love this series.  The honesty, the snarkyness, and the hilarious cartoons offer something that not only can kids relate to, but that is down right entertaining (and just doesn't feel like reading!  in a good way!).  And hey, I loved it too--a 22 year old female NOT reluctant reader.  So really, you can't go wrong. 

If you don't have this series in your classroom, splurge and buy it!

more good & bad

Well, when I wrote Friday that the day sucked, I wasn't being dramatic in the least.  I'm not even going to get into what happened, because I honestly don't want to think about it.  The general picture is this:  we took a field trip, and of course my little behavior problem child was in my group.  While at the museum, his behavior was so inappropriate that I you wouldn't believe some of it.  I spent the entire trip praying for it to just end and praying that he wouldn't just grab something and break it.  It was the most disruptive, defiant behavior pretty much ever.  And on a field trip, of course, there isn't much you can do about it. 

Then, the cherry on top was a student from another class was in my group, and was being bothered by my student.  When I leaned close to him and put my hand lightly on his shoulder to whisper, "Why don't you move away from him if he's bothering you," he snapped, "Get your dirty hand off me."  Yup, it was quite the day.

After school though, I went out for a drink with a veteran teacher on my team and two other young teachers.  My team teacher, Mrs. P, reminded me not to let one child ruin my career.  She reminded me that no matter how horrible he is, I can't quit on the other 23 students who need me.  She also stressed the importance of going home and thinking about those wonderful kids in my class, NOT thinking about the one kid who makes my life hell. 

So, in the interest of taking her advice, I'm going to share a couple happy thoughts.  My school does an evening called Celebrate Reading & Writing, at which each class shares a book of writing they made.  Most classrooms do class books, or all write a poem, or something.  In the interest of time, I assigned the project as homework and asked each student to go home and write SOMETHING.  It could be anything they wanted.  I also really just wanted to see what they would choose to write about on their own.  I received stories, plays, narratives, informational paragraphs, poems, and even a comic.  As I was typing them up last night (again, knowing it would be so much faster for me to just type them), I read one student's mystery story about Miss Teacher and her missing diamond. :D  I love when I'm a character in the kids' writing.  (And what is this about a missing diamond?? I wish!)  I also read a student's acrosstic poem called CLASS, in which the second S was "Stunning Teacher."  These two little moments made me smile. 

I love so many kids in my class, and I love being their teacher.  It's just so hard coming home depressed every day about the kid who is terrorizing everyone, especially me.  I can't help but think how many easier jobs there are out there: waitress, barista, florist, nanny...I bet those people don't come home on a Friday night so bummed out by the day that they just lay around reading.  I'm trying to remember that I teach for the kids in my room who love learning and who work hard every day.  I can't let them down.  But man, I just don't know if I can take this crap anymore from this one student...

October 23, 2009

this. day. sucked.

i cannot even relive it right now...more tomorrow.

October 21, 2009

Trail of Tears (or, how I actually taught some social studies and attempted to make it meaningful)

Okay, I admit it.  I don't like social studies very much.  It's just not my thing.  Our text books suck, there's not enough time, it's not a tested area, blah blah blah.  I could go on forever.  My team has been teaching Native Americans in social studies, and I just can't see how learning all kinds of little things about different tribes is going to prepare them for the real world.  Especially since some of them can barely read.

Anyways, I finally made it a point to teach SOME social studies last week and this week (because I actually need to put a grade on the report cards!!), and decided that, since the curriculum is less than satisfactory, I'm going to teach about things that I think matter.  So, I decided to teach about the Trail of Tears.  I wish we could do a whole unit on it, but with the intense guidelines I have for teaching reading, there is just not enough time in the day.  A couple class periods would have to be enough.  Today, I sat my kids down on the rug and had them think about the area in which they live.  They, we talked about how it is different today from hundreds of years ago.  We discussed what the land was like, and of course, who lived here.

Then, I "remembered" a notice that "had been in my mailbox" at lunch.  I unrolled a scroll and read the students the District Relocation Act that stated that our district had the right to remove any class from its classroom to make space for "more important" students.  The kids were outraged--to my shock, many of them believed it!  We discussed fervently all the reasons why we should resist the proclamation, and some of the reasons why we should just do what it said.  After a few minutes of discussion, the time came when it was time for us to "relocate."  The kids were angry that they weren't allowed to bring their backpacks, books, or supplies.  We walked out to the sidewalk and sat down.  "This is our new classroom,"  I said.  Angry, frustrated cries filled the air.  The students couldn't believe that our principal would allow this.  Why were WE the class to be kicked out, and not the other fifth grades?  How could other students be more important than us?  What will we do if it rains tomorrow?  What will happen to all of our stuff????

When I brought the students back to the classroom, I told them it was all a simulation.  I still am shocked that they thought it was real!  5th graders constantly surprise me.  So often, I think they'll be too old for something, but really they're still just kids.  They love sitting on the carpet, listening to me read picture books, art projects, and the firecracker cheer.  They believe me when I say we are being removed from our classroom and will be having class outside. (I guess my proclamation looked official!)  But then again, I hear them discussing things that they are WAY too young for.  So you never can tell...

In any case, they definitely got it today.  When I read aloud "Samuel's Memory," a story of a child on the Trail of Tears, they sat in awe, and I could feel how distressed they were.  (Then of course, they say something like, "He got served!" at the end, and I have to give them a talk about respect for the seriousness of this...but you can't win 'em all!)  This activity reminded me the importance of social studies, but more importantly, the importance of relevent social studies.  My students aren't going to leave the classroom thinking about the shelter the Hopi tribe built.  But I know today they left thinking about the unfairness of the Trail of Tears.

In fact, as we were discussing Andrew Jackson and the Indian Removal Act, one of my students raised his hand.  (I apologize, but this quote is just paraphrased--trust me, though, this was the general idea) "Miss Teacher, I don't mean this in a bad way, but, well, was Andrew Jackson white?  Because, I mean, sometimes people think they're better than people of other races."  (This student, by the way, is Hispanic, like many of my students.  My school is very diverse, with many different ethnicities represented).  This was one of those moments when I WISHED I knew the exact right thing to say.  Lightbulbs were going off around an imaginary sign in my brain that read "TEACHABLE MOMENT!!!!"  But...this wasn't one of the questions I'd anticipated.  The best I could do was, "Yes, he was.  And you're right.  Our country has a terrible history of discriminating against people of other races" (we had, afterall, been talking about Civil Rights that morning).  I went on to remind him that it wasn't just one group of people discriminating against the Cherokee, it was the majority of the country.  And I'm not sure if I answered his question correctly.  They don't teach that kind of thing in ed studies.  But...well, it reminded me that this kind of question and this kind of historical event are the ones that really matter to my kids.  They live that question.

So I'm glad that I made time for social studies today.  I am interested to see where we go tomorrow...

(PS- during this same lesson, I had a student tell me that Native Americans are extinct.  Then, when I corrected him, actually tried to fight me on it.  This wasn't a conversation I ever anticipated having...
"-Oh, that's why Native Americans are extinct.
-Actually, there are many still living in the United States.  You're right, many did die, but we still have...(gets cut off)
-No, they're extinct!
-No, actually...
-Are too!"
You can't make this stuff up.)

October 19, 2009

It's my hope that by the end of the year I will be able to wake up before 6am without hitting snooze a hundred times first, setting three separate alarms, and still being incredibly tired when I do drag myself out of bed. 

So.  Tired.

October 17, 2009

Could this be progress?

Since my posts for the past weeks have all been related to a certain troubled (and troubling...) student, I'd like to share one positive moment from yesterday.  I have let this student and his mother know that he is allowed to bring gum to school (in a desperate attempt to calm his sensory-seeking body and focus his mind).  Yesterday, he showed me in the morning the pack of stride gum he had brought.  He asked if I liked it, and I told him that I usually chew orbit gum and hadn't really tried stride very much.  He offered me a piece!  I asked if I could wait until lunch time and he said "sure."  Then, at lunch, he came over to my desk and handed me a piece of gum.  A big smile materialized on my face.  It was the highlight of my day

I know it may seem small, but this is the child who made it his personal mission the past few days to derail my entire lesson, distract his whole class, and make me insanely angry.  He knows exactly how to make me angry, and has no restraint in doing so.  Then yesterday, he gave me a piece of gum.  While I know this act does not mean our difficult relationship is over and his behavior will be angelic from now on, I appreciated so much this reminder that this child is not evil.  He does not hate me.  He is capable of being civil and kind.  I needed so much this reminder that he is just a little boy and we really do have a relationship.  The problems with his behavior are so much deeper than me or my classroom, and sometimes when he's acting out of control, he really is feeling out of control.  How scary it must be for him to, some days, feel like he can't control his body or his words or his emotions.  How frustrating it must be for him to melt down and then go the rest of the day knowing that he made a mistake and not be able to turn himself around.  How sad it must be to think somedays that I hate him.  I don't hate him.  I hate this behavior.

When he gave me a piece of gum, it was the reminder I needed that this child is really just that: a child.  He needs me and looks up to me.  He offered me a piece of gum.  He didn't offer any to the other students, but to me, the teacher who he has terrorized all week.  And even though I really hate cinnamon gum, I accepted it and pretended it was the best gum I had ever tasted.  And it kind of was.

Gum is not the magic fix to all that's going on with this student, unfortunately.  But I know we will get through this.

October 15, 2009

More Fun...

I brought home a whole bin of papers to grade tonight...but I only got as far as writing tomorrow's newsletter--at this point, I see even that as an accomplishment!  It was another touch and go day in the fifth grade zoo with regard to my "difficult" child.  We had another rotton morning, but the afternoon went well.  I am trying SO HARD to choose my battles, but honestly, I don't know which ones to choose sometimes!  My goal for myself for tomorrow is to find ways to distract him before he has the opportunity to spiral out of control.  And of course, to choose my battles better.  *sigh*  They really did not teach my enough in college.  Why isn't there a class in how to get these situations under control?  (And yes, I've tried every trick anyone has ever told me or that I've ever read about)  Also, why isn't there a class in how to make yourself come to work, composed and calm, and face the next day?

Well, things really aren't that bad.  It's just frustrating.  I want to help this kid so bad, and I hate the fact that I can't figure out something that works.   But we are taking baby steps...baby steps. 

On the bright side, I FINALLY made time for social studies today.  Miracle!!!

October 14, 2009

you win some, you lose some

Just a quick update on my little "friend" at school...today, my brand new behavior plan helped us have an outstanding morning in terms of behavior.  Really, it was amazing.  However, things quickly unraveled the last hour of the day.  I won't go into details right now, but it was NOT pretty. One of my wise 5th grade team members advised me to try and think about the positive students at night instead of the ones who make me want to call in sick tomorrow.  So I will just share a few bried smile moments of the day:

One of my "angel students" typed up a survey that he brought in to ask each student if they had any food allergies and their favorite candy, so that he can personalize his Halloween treats by our individual preferences.  It was multiple choice complete with an "other: __________" option.  Did I mention typed?  Unreal.

While filling out this survey, under the allergies section, one of my girls raised her hand.  "How do you spell amoxicilian?"  "Sweetheart, I don't think you need to write that..."

At autism therapy this afternoon, my little sweety and I were talking about our days. I told him I'd had a rough one because one of my students was having trouble behaving.  Being well-versed in the art of rough days and behavior management, he asked me more about the student and the events that transpired today.  After awhile, I asked him to give me a hug to make me feel better. :)  Of course he obliged and said, "Oh Amy, you had a bad day but let's let him have another chance tomorrow."  My thoughts exactly. 
^This is why I work a 9 hour day Wednesday's, race out of school and straight to his house for therapy, then go BACK to school to do work until 8pm.  Moments like this are so worth it.

So, as my wise little friend advised, we will start fresh tomorrow.  I better be well rested for the next adventure in the fifth grade jungle!  Who knows what tomorrow will bring!

October 13, 2009

another rough one

I had another ROUGH day today...here's praying that my new behavior plan we're trying tomorrow helps...seriously, because I will never make it through the year if this continues.

October 10, 2009

I admit, that was a little dramatic...

Okay, I'm calm now. I know that that last post was a little dramatic, but that's how caught up in the whole thing I was feeling. My goal for myself and this child for next week:
stay calm. don't let him get to me. remember, he doesn't do it because he hates me. he needs my help whether he admits it or not. choose my battles.

Anyways, I am calm now, thanks to drinks and chips & salsa with a friend I don't see often enough last night. Thank goodness it's a long weekend--I need to pause and regroup. It's amazing though how the entire rest of this week was great. I'm feeling so much better about so many things. And then this one thing happens with one student and suddenly I feel like the worst teacher and person in the world.

Welcome to my crazy world of black-and-white thinking! Does that go hand in hand with perfectionism? Most likely. :) Oh well. My goal for the weekend is to take some school breaks. This morning's break is brunch with my girlfriends and I am determined to talk about many other things besides school! Then hitting the books this afternoon with some grading and planning. I'm actually looking forward to some of the planning, though, because I FINALLY came up with an idea for a social studies lesson that I actually like! It's a miracle. I thought this day would never come.

Anyways, if, after reading that last horrible post you thought I might be quitting, don't worry. That's crazy. I was just a little crazy yesterday. I'm much better now. Phew.

Annd...these final words on teaching: I cannot be the perfect teacher, but this does not mean I cannot be a good teacher. Tension with one student does not negate the relationships I have formed with 23 other students.

Off to brunch--spending time with people who are NOT teachers for a change! As much as I LOVE my teacher friends, I might need this :)

October 9, 2009

To the child who made me cry today:

How do you do it? How do you make so angry, so frustrated, so stressed? Our argument today happened ten hours ago, yet somehow I'm sitting here at home on a Friday night, so upset with you that I can't get over it. I don't understand how you are able to make me this angry. And I really don't understand why you do it. Today, I thought, "You are the student who is going to make me quit my job." Yes, that's dramatic, but no child has made me feel so livid and push me so close to the edge as you did today.

When you decide to misbehave, you make me feel that YOU are the one running the class. I hate that feeling. Every strategy for classroom management I've been taught is lost on you. Whatever I say, whatever I do, you have a comeback. You just don't care.

You make me forget why I love teaching. You make my classroom feel like a prison and you make me feel like the worst person in the world. I am out of ideas. I don't understand why you behave this way some days, and other days have a huge smile and want to tell me about your favorite books and joke around with me. I don't get it!!! I don't understand. But I am trying so hard. I refuse to tolerate your lack of effort. No, I won't accept the work that you hastily made up answers on just so you can get it over with. This is not your best. Do it again.

And then...then, we get into an argument. Because I refuse to put an F in my gradebook for you when I know you are capable of SO. MUCH. MORE. I am doing everything I know how to help you learn and grow and achieve. But I can only take you so far.

Don't you see? I WANT to help you. I WANT to understand you. But on days like today, when you act like you did and yell and throw your things around, when you kick your chair and stop class with your protesting yell that you did nothing wrong, even though you know what choice you made...days when you leave me so shaking angry that I wonder if I'll be able to pull myself together enough to teach my next lesson...on days like today, I just want to give up and say, "Okay. You win. Congrats."

So here I am, 8:24 Friday night, still crying about how I'm failing you as a teacher. And how I'm allowing you to get to me. And how you are making me fail as the teacher to the other 23 kids in our class. And as much as I know I need to let it go...it's not that easy. Today you made me want to quit my job. I know that that's ridiculous: I'm frustrated, I'm exhausted. I also know that I will never quit on you.

I will never quit on you. Let me say that once more: I will never quit on you. I don't understand why you're so angry.  But you need to understand that I will never quit on you. We will make it through this year.

October 7, 2009

what made my day today

Almost every day, I have a handful of kids stay in at recess to make up hw. Today, after finishing his, one of my students came up to my desk.

"Miss Teacher, do you believe in finders keepers losers weepers?"

"Hmm...no, i don't really think so."
"You don't?"
"No, why?"
"Just asking."
"Well, I think that if you lose something, and someone found it, wouldn't you like them to return it to you?"
"What if you had no idea whose it was?"
"Well, you could put it in the lost and found."
"What if it was something that didn't belong at school?"
"Are you asking me this for a specific reason?"
My student reached into his pocket and pulled out a nintendo ds game he had found.

At first, i didn't know quite what to say. I knew i should choose my words very carefully.
"If that were yours, wouldn't you want it back?"
"Why don't you bring that to the office."
He agreed.
"I'm proud of you, by the way. It can be really hard to do the right thing sometimes. Thank you for letting me know that."
That's what I said out loud, but it didn't do justice to the pride I was feeling about this student. He's not the kid you'd expect to find a game and tell the teacher about it. I could tell he was a little conflicted about the whole thing. But I am SO incredibly proud that he did. It's moments like this that make me feel like i just might be doing my job. Even if i wasn't the one who made him think, "hey, maybe i should return this game," he at least knew that he could come ask me about it. The fact that this student, one who frequently forgets his hw, one who can have an attitude at times, and who doesn't often come to me just for a chat, the fact that he knew he could come ask me what i thought, makes me feel like i've made some impact on him. i teach for moments like this.

October 5, 2009

I just copied Michael Jackson's greatest hits onto my ipod because the kids keep pestering me about it. I'm feeling torn: On the one hand, I feel like I should only play Beatles until they decide they like them (It pains me that they don't!!!). But on the other, Michael Jackson is so superior to all the trash on the radio these days. So I'll take what I can get :)

just another manic monday

Last night I set my alarm for 5am. After staying up a good two hours later than usual scrambling to get some last minute grading done, my lesson plans finished, and writing post-it notes in my leveled readers for my aide to use when he met with a guided reading group (if I don't write out word for word EXACTLY what I want him to say, it's a disaster. This being said, it is sometimes a disaster anyways...), I didn't exactly wake up on time. Let me rephrase that. I woke up at 6:23. I left my house at 6:35. I know, I'm awesome. I didn't exactly shower and putting on makeup really just involved me smearing (literally) on some foundation and brushing on a little mascara, but somehow I got in my car with my coffee and mug of oatmeal to eat on the way. Phew!

Anyways, after that FRANTIC start to the day, I assumed that the whole day would be a nightmare. However, it actually went just fine. The kids were only marginally chatty today (with the exception of two who are making me CRAZY with their attitudes...when I tell you to stop talking, just stop. Don't say 'what did i do???' and groan), which for a Monday, is a small miracle.

Some of my favorite things today/recently:
1. Starting element 2 of the Daily 5: We started Work on Writing today, which is going well so far. Just like Read to Self, it is a miracle that the kids can actually sit and work quietly. I LOVE IT. I know that they're going to love being able to choose what to write about, and they love the opportunity to sit all over the room and quietly work. And I love the quiet too. :)

2. One of my girls brought in her "fashion notebook" to share with me in which she has all her clothing designs, divided into sections of dresses, pants, skirts, vests, sweaters, church dresses (i know.), bathing suits, and pajamas. There might have been a few more sections, I can't remember. Each section had a page of drawings of the clothing, and then pictures of the outfits on models. It was AMAZING. She showed me the entire thing page by page and pointed out her favorites. Not only was it adorable, but it was a wonderful reminder that I really have built a relationship with these kids.

3. My student who is incredibly bright but has done little to no quality work this year had a very serious parent-teacher conference. When I shared with her and her parents last week the samples of her "work" (by which I mean lack there of), she was visibly upset and her parents took it very seriously. Today, when she wrote her reading response letter for the week in her journal, she showed it to me when she was finished, and was so proud that she'd written an entire page. This was HUGE for her, and it meant so much just to see that not only had she put forth the effort, but that she actually was proud of herself.

4. I added some new books to some of the kids' book boxes this morning, and some of them were really excited to see my picks for them. That will never get old. I don't care that it's more work for me to choose the books, I love it and they do too. Which I guess I understand--I know I would feel pretty special even now if someone brought me a book and said, "I chose this JUST for YOU." :)

So, once again, it's the little joys that pull me through the manic mondays. Things still really suck from time to time (especially when the copier breaks for the millionth time...seriously, aren't we a Title 1 school? Can't we use some funds for a freakin copier???), but sometimes there are things I just love. I'm reminding myself to focus on the little things. There are rarely perfect days, but there can be perfect moments. They are what are getting me through this.

October 4, 2009

updates on the class fish

I just received a question from one of my (few) readers about the outcome of the class fish crisis, so I thought I should update about that. Thankfully, Ultimate Fighting Champion (UCF for short) is alive and well. Well, he was as of Friday. I always worry about him over the weekend. :) I cleaned out all the gross extra food that had settled at the bottom of his bowl, gave him fresh water, and put him on a diet. By this I mean, he now only receives the CORRECT amount of food each day, instead of the huge dumping of food he was previously receiving. He seems to have made a great recovery. Phew. 1 crisis evaded...:)

October 3, 2009

parent conferences--check!

This past week was one of the longest, most exhausting ones so far this year. I was at school every day for at least 12 hours preparing preparing for conferences in addition to my regular thousand and a half things to do. But, miraculously, I made it through the week and all my conferences (minus one to be made up Monday and two that will happen over the phone next week). Conferences were not too scary. We had both the parents and the student at the conferences, which I loved. I got to discuss my concerns, but it was more of a conversation between all of us. When I showed examples of the poor quality of work I was receiving from some students, the parent got to talk to the student about it right then. I'm hoping that this will result in some changes in certain students next week. *fingers crossed* Most of the parents were completely supportive and even the ones who I had to discuss some issues with were on the same page as me. How refreshing. One parent commented that she hasn't been getting anything sent home that I'd actually graded, but honestly that is her child's fault because he is so freaking disorganized that nothing seems to make it home. I cannot go home with him and place it neatly on the table for mom to see. I'm doing what I can.

Anyways, now that conferences are done, the next big looming event in the future is...REPORT CARDS. They are still over a month away, but I know that they will be here before I know it. So...I guess I need to teach some science and social studies! Slap some points on things, get a grade in the grade book, etc. Yikes.

On that note, it's off to starbucks to grade papers and write lesson plans...
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