Tuesday, August 3, 2010

It's official...no single gender for me this year!

Don't let the graphic throw you..I am not exactly going over to the Pink side (you know- going all Mylie Cyrus/Hannah Montana on y'all).  While I love my boys to death, and have enjoyed teaching an all boy class for the last 2 years, I found out yesterday, I will not be teaching all boys this year. There will be boys in my class, but there will also be girls too! Scandalous!!

WT-fill in the blank, you say! Yeah, I was bummed too, for about 1 minute than I saw my roster. Now, in case my principal (or more likely my AP) is reading this blog...I know my roster is going to change between now and next Thursday...but back to my original thought...I am really excited for a number of reasons:
1. I love my team....the 4 other teachers I will be teaching with are awesome (and yes, I know many of them will read this)!
2. The new year always excites me (I love the smell of a freshly opened box of crayons)
3. It will be refreshing to have not one, but 3 sets of students, all traditional classes. I am teaching Reading and Social Studies on a 3 person team (we also have another 2-person team on our grade level that will be teaching inclusion).
4. Boys, as wonderful as they are, tire me out, and I think for my sanity, a little bit of a breather is in order.
5. Most of the kids I will be teaching, I had taught last year, either as part of a team in 3rd grade, in our Math Flex groups or in Bubble Groups right before PASS testing. They are awesome kids and I look forward to teaching them this year.

With that said....I am going to have to change the name of my blog (and my page on Facebook) to reflect this change...gotta get on that right now!!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Pay it Forward with Elmers & Adopt a Classroom

Whether you are a teacher or a parent (or both, like me), you know this time of year strikes fear in your checkbook. Back to school time is expensive, and  even doing the bare-minimum for the first week of school can bust your budget. With the current economic situation, most households in the US will struggle to buy supplies for their kids in preparation to send them back to school.

Having a 4th grader, I am prepared to shell out some big bucks to get him ready to go back to school. I will also teach 16-18 4th graders this year and many of them will show up on the first day with very few supplies to start the year out. I have already begun picking up staff whenever I go to Walmart. The other day I practically filled a my cart with glue sticks, paper, pencils, pen and notebooks. When they put their school supplies out, they always have great deals on stuff (as love as 15 cents on some stuff) so I try and stock up. My wallet is wailing just thinking about buying even more.  But I am not alone! My fellow teachers across this country (many of whom have had their salaries cut) will be doing the same. As teachers, we won't let our students do without, even if their parents will. And in the district when I teach, in the past, we have received $275 to purchase supplies. But this year, due to budget cuts, we will not get that money. That means even more will come out of our own pockets to stock our classrooms.

Mrs. Mimi, one of my favorite bloggers EVER, posted today about this. The Elmer’s Virtual Bag It Forward is charity blog meme, bloggers are able to raise $10 per blog post for Adopt-A-Classroom by writing a blog post and donating a virtual bag of school supplies . Elmer’s will donate $10 per each post written to Adopt-A-Classroom, up to $10,000.

In an effort to spread the love, I'm going to send a virtual bag of school supplies to:
Mommy Mumbo Jumbo  C'Mon Tara..help me spread the word!!!

But you can join in too:

Help Elmer’s Help Adopt-A-Classroom

Helping classrooms in need this back to school season is as easy as 1 – 2 – 3
1. Write a post about this charity blog meme
2. Send a virtual bag of school supplies to another blogger and challenge them to join the #bagitforward movement
3. Link up your post at BagItForward.org
Easy peasy! Elmer’s just donated $10 for your post to Adopt-A-Classroom!

HOW CAN YOU JOIN? It’s easy.

  • Participate in the Elmer’s Virtual Bag It Forward and by giving away a virtual bag of school supplies and creating a blog post with specific rules described below.
  • Elmer’s will donate up to $10,000 to Adopt-A-Classroom.
  • You can give as many virtual bags as you want.
  • The Elmer’s Virtual Bag It Forward will officially begin at 12 AM EST on July 22, 2010 and end at 12 PM EST on August 12, 2010. Blog posts submitted to us before or after that time period will not be counted.
  • The blog post link has to be submitted in the comment section below for your participation to be counted.
  • In addition copy and paste the following text into your blog post:


  • Copy and paste these rules into your blog post.
  • Create a blog post giving a “virtual bag of school supplies” to other bloggers or write about your Back to School shopping trip at Walmart.
  • Link back to the person who gave you a bag of school supplies.
  • Let each person you are giving a virtual bag of school supplies know you have given them a bag.
  • Leave your link in the Elmer’s Virtual Bag It Forward comment section. You can also find the official rules of this virtual #bagitforward program there.

 Elmer’s is donating $10 for each blog participating in the Virtual Bag It Forward Donation to Adopt-A-Classroom (up to total of $10,000 for blog posts written by August 12, 2010).

Please note that only one blog post per blog url will count towards the donation.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Ok, I admit it, I miss them....

Was up at the school yesterday for a meeting and summer school is going on. As I walked by the cafeteria about noon time, I spotted them...three of my little friends from last year. I was immediately sad for them that they were spending the last 2 weeks of their summer break at school (um..then I remembered WHERE I WAS!).
Thier little faces lit up as I came over to their table (they still haven't figured out that they are 4th graders now and at some point it is way uncool to act excited to see your former teacher)...hugs ensued and we spend a few minutes chatting about their summer so far, and I asked them if they were excited for school to start and to be 4th graders. They were  (that will probably change!)
It was good to see them and it has me excited for school to start. I really do miss them!! There--I admitted it!!!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Anyone remember this book???

I remember reading this book in elementary school and it is one of my favorites! I cam across it in the audio book section of the library today as I was looking for an audio book of How to Eat Friend Worms for my son..he is reading the book and I thought it might be fun to mix things up a bit an alternate reading and listening to the book...with the temperatures outside in the high 90s, I am looking for indoor activities for him aside from video games and the TV.

So back to Mrs. Piggle Wiggle....I looked for the book in the library but could not find it. So I grabbed the audio version. I could barely wait to check out and get to the car and pop it in the CD player....I even took the long way home to listen to a bit more. I am a bit nervous about introducing to my son....he is not always eager to take my recommendations when it comes to books. But I loved this book so much that I just want him to enjoy it as much as I do....they are filled with stories of her magical cures for making boys and girls behave...so much fun!!

I remember reading all the books in this series multiple times...hopefully he will get hooked on them like me. They are written a little below his current reading level, but I think it is okay for him to go ahead and read them if he enjoys them. 

I think I may even buy a set for my classroom for my struggling readers....or an audio book for the listening center. I "heart" Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle!!!

Friday, July 23, 2010

I Never......be careful what you say you'l never do..it will come back to bite you!

I was inspired by Lydia & Kate from Rants From Mommyland and Amy from Pregnant Chicken, awesome Mommy Bloggers who posted lists of things that they swore they would never do before they became parents. Well, mine is about things I swore (or at least thought) I would never do as a teacher...stay with me for the connection...because being a teacher is a lot like being a Mom, you just have more kids (unless your last name is Dugger) but you do get to send them home at night and on the weekends and you don't have to pay for their braces/ wedding/bail bond.......

Here's my list....and feel free to add one if you are a teacher....would love to read all your comment awesomeness!!!

I’ll never be the kind of teacher that….plays favorites….

Let’s face it, you are not going to love every one of your little friends…..some of them, have the innate ability to work your last nerve, while others are just so cute you want to take them home forever. I have my favorites every year, and while I try to hide it, they know…they all know….

I’ll never be the kind of teacher that….uses worksheets….
There are days (more than we want to admit) where is my little friends were in my home instead of at school they would so be sitting in front of the TV watching Phineas and Ferb with an open box of Lucky Charms in front of them. Sometimes you just gotta pull out the old busy work so you can save your sanity.

I’ll never be the kind of teacher that….pretends to listen to a student like what he/she is saying is the most exciting/interesting/important thing in the world….
I have to admit, I am a great actress…I can pretend to listen to one of my little friends, and all the while I am planning my escape/what I am having for dinner/weekend….c’mon, how interesting is it to hear every sordid detail of how their uncle’s cousin’s friend’s dog ran away and joined the circus?

I’ll never be the kind of teacher that….gives a student an unearned grade….
While there have been many times I would have liked to have given a student a lower grade than they earned, especially when it is glaringly obvious that Mom/Dad/Grandma/Older sibling did their project….I have yet to do that. What I have done however, is boosted the grade of one of my little friends who tried real hard on that quiz/paper/project, but did not quite meet the expectation…I believe in rewarding effort, and while I have plenty of kids who don’t give a rat’s behind about school, or give it the slightest it of effort….I have plenty who try so hard…and let’s face it, their 9…there is plenty of time for others to crush their spirit later in life.

I’ll never be the kind of teacher that….bored my students to death with stories of what life was like when I was their age….
Admit it, kids today have it way easier than we did….they never had to walk to school 5 miles, up hill..both ways…lol! Seriously they have X-Box, the internet and cell phones…how hard can life be? I do tend to bring up the past a bit, especially when they start thinking they have it so rough!! Deal with it friends!!

I’ll never be the kind of teacher that…raises their voice (i.e. yells)…
I’ve done it more times than I care to remember ..not proud of it, but I have admitted it, so that’s the first step!!

I’ll never be the kind of teacher that…..lies to parents about how wonderful their child is…..
Everyone (including me) likes to hear how wonderful/smart/beautiful their child is, whether it is true or not…but sometimes when you are sitting there across from a parent and you really want to tell them that their child reminds them of the spawn of Satan (okay, that was a little harsh)…you gotta take one for the team and tell them A BIG FAT LIE!!!!

I’ll never be the kind of teacher that….gives up control (or lack of it) in her classroom and calls in the big guns (i.e. the Principal or AP)…
Despite the fact that they tell you in Grad School that your classroom will be all lollipops and roses as long as you have a great Classroom management plan…thinks do go awry…and fast. No matter how great your plan is, there is going to be that one kid who was genetically engineered to push your buttons…SO..you have to call in the big guns. You hate to do it but for your own sanity and the other kids in your class..you gotta make THE CALL…,and get the little bugger out of your room. Of course he sits in the principals office and draws pictures of the ways he plans to torture you as soon as he is paroled, and returns to your classroom. But at least you and the rest of your little friends have a few minutes of peace.

I’ll never be the kind of teacher that…tries to fool your students by bluffing when you don’t know the answer….
All the teacher books (you know the ones written by people who have never actually taught) say it is okay to admit when you don’t know the answer to a question one of your students asks. But I am here to tell you …NEVER…admit you don’t know something in front of your students. WHY? Because,…while they will forget their homework, their pencil, their name, the classroom/school rules and occasionally the answer to the question they just asked you and you answered (for the 100th time)…they will NEVER forget that you admitted not knowing something. It is emotional capital to them and they will use it every chance they get. Oh, and they will be certain to tell their parents that you don’t know ANYTHING!!

So what have you sworn you would NEVER do as a teacher, but have ended up doing..do tell!!!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Almost Back-to-School time...looking ahead.

Wow, summer is ending soon and it is time to face reality that school will be starting soon. I have to report back to work in 18 days but will be going in this coming Monday to begin unpacking and organizing my classroom. Part of me is excited at the newness of the new school year...new students, new gradebook, new supplies, new curriculum (although I have taught it all before), new opportunities to build relationships...but I have REALLY enjoyed this time off. It has been the first summer since I began teaching 4 years ago, that I have not taught summer school. I have had the summer to do with as I wish, which meant sleeping late, reading lots of books, time at the pool. All that will end soon, but I plan to enjoy every last minute of it.....

I wonder if my students are thinking the same thing. I know that many of my students don't have a lot of structure at home, and have way too much responsibility put on them for such a young age (caring for siblings, cooking their own meals, cleaning up after themselves, no supervision, staying up late or all night, watching tv/playing video games as much as they want). I honestly think they crave the structure that school provides. And at our school, they are guaranteed two meals a day...which I sometimes wonder if they get at home over the summer.
Someone once told me, the positive attention they get at school may be the only positive in their lives. While that is sad, it also made me happy that I can give that to my students. Honestly, I think I could do a better job of building them up, and that is something I plan on working on this year. In the past I have gotten caught up in the negative behaviors, and honestly, taking them too personally. Will try using the 5:1 ratio of positives to negative...I'll let you know how that goes.
Another worry I have, especially for my boys, is this is the year (grade level) that they significantly drop off in their reading..and if they are already struggling with reading, tat they will give up. I have found some cool books for read a-louds and novel units. Hopefully I can instill in my struggling readers, that reading opens doors and takes you places you may never be able to go, except through a book.
Regardless of the fact that my summer is almost over, I really am looking forward to the new school year. One last goal...I am going to blog a lot more, and I would love to start a blog with my class(es)...I think it is a great way to get them writing, and take ownership in what is happening at school.

Monday, July 12, 2010

I "Heart" Books!!

UPDATE: My 1st summer OFF from teaching is going FABULOUS!! Really enjoying having some down-time. So what have I been doing, you ask? Well....I have been reading... A LOT!! I absolutely love books...even when I was in the corporate world, many,many moons ago, and would go to a conference..I would buy books!! Love them!

So even though I am technically on vacation for the summer, and I am spending A LOT of time reading...I am also going to classes about reading and BOOKS!! This morning I went to a summer session on the SC Book Award nominees.....why, because I had a sneaky feeling they would be giving away..you guessed it.....BOOKS!! And they did...I snagged a copy of this book- The Golly-Whopper Games by Jody Feldman..which was described to me as a cross between "Charlie and The Chocolate Factory" (love Roald Dahl) and "The Hunger Games" by Suzanne Collins. I can't wait to read it!! Gonna start it as soon as I finish this post!! The other book I picked up, I actually got for my son...it is called by G. Brian Caras. It is a cute picture book about, you guessed it, Zeus, you know of Greek mythology fame. My son has been fascinated with Zeus, and Greek mythology since reading the Percy Jackson series....but I will snag it to use in my classroom at some point this year.

Because of my love of books, I have been toying with the idea of getting my Masters in Library Science and becoming a Media Specialist (Librarian!!). What cooler job could there be (aside form teaching all boys, of course).....?? I will be investigating some Masters programs in the coming weeks...

Also...asked today how I could become involved with the SC Book Awards as a committee member. Just finished typing my application to email off...hope they pick me. What better way to meld my love of reading and teaching then getting first crack at tons of great books... to help find nominees for next years awards!

Well, I better end this here and post it...The Golly-Whopper Games" is calling my name...and YES, I will post a review when I am finished!!!