Monday, August 19, 2013

This Might Be The Year

I came downstairs to my desktop computer Saturday morning to write a blog post, only to find out we had no internet service at our house! Yikes! Imagine a house with a teenager and no internet. Really, that's almost unimaginable! And after two calls, we were told they could get to us on Wednesday. However, something wonderful happened, and the cable guy came today, and did one little thing {and was annoyed at the call center for not telling us to try it} and we're up and running! Yahoo!!

So my blog post was going to start like this -
This might be the year. The one that I've heard other teachers talk about. That kind of year, where everything aligns just right and I can call it a good year. 

First of all, this has never happened - I have 18 kids on my class list. But I'm pretty sure one isn't going to make it. So 17! What!?! I've never started a year with less than 20, usually more like 21 or 22. This makes me do a little happy dance.

Second, I don't know any of these kids. You know what I mean? None of them have a reputation - and that's good news. 

Third, {who else does this?} - I checked DRA scores online - WooHoo, everybody is at least in the double digits. Never happened before. Usually have 2 or 3 or 4 that are down in the singles. Not that I don't love 'em, but it just makes life easier. 

Fourth - first day of school today - yes, it's just half a day and yes, we're all on our best behavior - but it went great. They followed directions, they went along with all my ideas, they were just fun to be with.

So I'm hopeful. I'm hopeful that this is that year that I can call Terrific!

Monday, August 12, 2013

How'd I do?

Way back in May, the end of the school year was fast approaching and summer was beckoning. And I made a Summer Bucket List. That was when 90 days stretched out in front of me, like an endless ocean. And now, this morning, summer is over. I wanted to take a peek back and see how I did. {A little accountability never hurt anybody :) }

1) I wanted to not think or worry about school until July 15. Well, I'm not sure how I did on this. I did lots of thinking about school, but I don't feel like I've done much productive work getting ready. I feel like, as I head back for 3 days of in-service, that I'm not quite as ready as I usually am. I'm ready enough - we'll make it through - but just not like I'd like. 

2) I wanted to particularly think through my math as related to Common Core, especially through the first 9 weeks. Umm, no! But I've got some pretty great ideas for the first 2 weeks. 
     Our 2nd grade team abandoned the math workbooks for this year, so I'm trying to find some engaging, hands on activities. I think I've done good with what I've gotten done.

3) Exercise - Yes! I made myself a little calendar and strived to get 150 minutes a week of exercise in. I made it most weeks. Last week I was saved by a co-worker who wanted to walk at the Relay for Life walkathon on Saturday evening. Happy about this one!

4) Crafts - Yes! My daughter and I bleached t-shirts, did mosaics, painted pottery, did tiles, and some other stuff this brain can't think of right now. Fun, fun, glad we did!

5) Spend time with my girl - Yes! 
          First, I have to tell you - a week ago Sunday, we bought her a laptop. I was jokingly thinking to myself, we should have done this a long time ago. Always before, she would spend some time with us, and then head downstairs to the desktop computer. Now, she has her laptop, and even though her head is buried in it, she'll listen to me, or let me drop a kiss on her forehead, or get her a snack :)
        Anyway, we have watched multiple episodes of West Wing - our summer show, done lots of crafts (see above), done things together around the house - chores {yuck}, refinished the dining room table, etc. 
It's been a GREAT Summer with her! So very happy about this one.

So you might infer from all this that I made my personal goals, while my school/professional goals are a little more iffy. 

How many of you are going back today or this week? My class roster shows 16, but I'm pretty sure it's going to end up being more than that. I'm trying to be excited about in-services, but that's taking a little work. 

Have a good day, whatever you happen to be doing!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Letting Things Go

It has been a long week around here. 
This parched area of the world finally got some rain last Sunday night. The rain helped us realize that one of our window wells filled up with water and that water emptied into our basement. That wasn't terrible - my daughter was downstairs, and consequently, we caught it pretty quickly. 

Two nights later, I had made a trip to the Big City, and it poured at home. We weren't as fortunate. My husband bailed water out of the window well for almost an hour, while my daughter tried to contain the flood in the basement. But we still had a good 2 inches of standing water under the window.

Last night, same thing - but on a smaller scale. {Yeah, I know - 3 nights with rain is just plain unheard of here!}

This has meant a basement that I can hardly walk through because furniture has been scooted here and there. And there are two industrial strength fans running and a humidifier. It is very noisy down here, which gives me a little headache. And all these machines running make it pretty warm in our normally cool basement. And this is where I do all my work for school when I'm at home.

I realized this morning, I have one week left until we start 3 days of in-services and 2 work days. If you saw a post I wrote earlier this summer, I like to have everything ready until at least Labor Day.  This year, I was hoping to go another week because we will be gone two of those weekends. Well, I have gotten 2 weeks of lesson plans done, instead of the 3 I wanted. I have very few of my materials ready. I haven't gone up to work on my room {good news, the janitors didn't move any of the big furniture :)} I'm afraid there might have been leaks at school, and I so don't want to deal with that. I wanted to take some pictures of insects {I'm doing a unit on that to start the school year}, and add some inspirational words to them, but it just isn't happening.  And I really, really, really, want to have a mom/daughter day with my girl before I start back and she heads off to college {two weeks later}. 

All of that has made me realize I need to let go of some things. I need to be happy with the 2 weeks of plans I do have done. I need to concentrate on what I need for that first week of school. I need to have things done in my room that will make me comfortable with starting the year. And I need to have that mom/daughter day! 

So what have I done that puts a smile on my face? Well, I DID get those 2 weeks of plans done. And they are very specific because I want to work hard at really teaching procedures this year. I've noted where I want to make anchor charts and how I want to teach a procedure and how I want to model things. Yeah, me! I did die-cut candles - the kids will decorate one and we'll put them up to show when birthdays are.

{sorta like this, but they are white so the kids can decorate them.} My sister has a Silhouette machine, and she cut out the letters to make a Welcome sign for me - and they look so nice! I bought some things to put in birthday bags - thank you, Target dollar section - stickers and these absolutely crazy erasers that I'm pretty sure they will all love. {still want to pick up some pads of paper and little bitty notebooks}

I was even thinking - and this is just really crazy talk here - I don't have to have everything perfect for that first day! What??? Gasp!!! I just want it to be nice - for our Open House and for that first day. I want it to be a room that children want to come into, and guess what? I think part of that will be the smiling face on this teacher, who is as excited to meet her new students, as they are to meet her! 

What about you? How are your Back To School plans coming? The way you want? Or have you hit some bumps in the road?