Tuesday, August 3, 2010
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
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
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
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
Thursday, July 22, 2010
Monday, July 12, 2010
Monday, June 21, 2010
Monday, May 31, 2010
Saturday, May 22, 2010
Saturday, May 8, 2010
Saturday, May 1, 2010
In accepting this blogging award, I also have to follow the rules and send it on...The Sunshine Award is awarded to bloggers whose positivity and creativity inspire others in the blogging world. course, awards come with rules…
1. Put the logo on your blog and/or within your post.
2. Pass the award on to twelve bloggers.
3. Link to the nominees within your post.
4. Let them know they received this award by commenting on their blog.
5. Share the love and the link to the person from whom you received this award
It's Not All Flowers and Sausages
Ms. Mimi ROCKS! Her blog is according to her tag line is "for teachers who rock." She makes me laugh, and that helps me to laugh at myself. Let's face it, teachers today have a tough job, and her blog is a little slice of heaven when it comes to venting about some of the frustrations we face trying to educate children. She is a little obsessed with picture books, shoes and schools supplies, but heck, we all have out little idiosyncrasies, don't we!
Stories of Life: One Writer-Mom's Odyssey
Kris Meldrum, this blogger, is a dear friend of mine. She likes to credit me for inspiring her to blog, but she has been a writer all her life. Her perspective on things is refreshing--check out her entry on the 40th anniversary of the Kent State shootings here and because I have known her for a while, I can spot her wit, sarcasm and amazing humor from a mile away. She makes me laugh and I enjoy keeping up with her life. We were once neighbors in Virginia, then she left me and moved to Ohio, so in retaliation, I moved to South Carolina...a state she visits every year for vacation, but some how avoids visiting me...just kidding Kris! Check out her blog, your won;t be disappointed!
A Teacher's Life
Another teacher blog I follow...Jen is honest and real! I laugh at her insight on her students, as many of them remind me of mine. She lays bare the issues she is facing in the classroom, which I can truly relate to. And most of all, she shares a love of great books and reading as I do. I get great book and lesson ideas from her.
Just a Bunch of Nothin
I don't remember how I found this blog...but Suzanne the Homeschooling Mom who writes this blog and I have a few things in common: we both scrapbook, we have both lived in Virginia (she still does) and in Alaska (she is returning there soon), are both politically conservative...and since she homeschools her children we are both teachers. She is very funny, an awesome photographer and is frugal. I love reading her posts because one day she is talking about some cool new gadget she wants to get (but is holding off until she a) has enough Swagbucks B) it goes on sale or C) she has a coupon for it, lol! She is the one who turned me onto SwagBucks after posting how she has earned enough to purchase a Wii for her family!
Life with Briana
I started following Lisa's blog a few years ago when my husband and I were planning on adopting a little girl from China. I found this blog right before Lisa and her husband Doug left for China to get their daughter Briana. I followed their trip and have been reading her blog regularly since they brought Briana home. When our family made the difficult decision to discontinue our adoption journey, Lisa was a huge source of comfort to me. She has recently been though some tough personal issues, and I reached out to her in hopes of returning some of the compassion and comfort she had shown me. Her Daughter Briana is adorable, and I love all the great pictures Lisa posts. Lisa is honest about the challenges of parenting a pre-schooler, and of being an adoptive parent.
People say God never gives you more than you can handle...I like to think God gives all the tough stuff most of us can't handle to the truly strong! That is who this family is...truly strong and they are such an inspiration to me and hundreds (maybe thousands) of people who read this blog! They have been through so much--youngest daughter Peyton was diagnosed with Leukemia when she was 2, and last year, Anissa, Peyton's Mom suffered two strokes. Dad has been full-time caregiver of the kids and Anissa since then. Anissa survived, thankfully, but still faces a long road to recovery. Her husband has since taking over Anissa's blog (and is doing a fine job). Even as the family dealt with Peyton's Leukemia and now Anissa's strokes...they have continued to remain positive, while keeping it real. Besides being awesome for what she has survived..Anissa rocks because she has been on Oprah!!!
Mommy Needs A Cocktail
Kristen has, hands-down, one of the funniest blogs I have ever read. If you are a Mom you will love her blog! She is so real...as the mother of 3 boys, trying to run an Internet-based business, also named Mommy Needs a Cocktail, she takes life's everyday moments, like finding her child riding on the riding lawn mower --ALONE...or eating day old pizza, she makes you take a step back and find the humor in the challenges of parenting. Along with her sisters, Kristen also blogs for PBS on a blog called Supersisters.
This is another blog, I came across totally by accident. Actually, there are no accidents in blogland, and I think I found this blog from a link on another blog I read. This is another funny Mom who blogs about her life and her kids, and more recently her move back to her hometown. She has a wicked sense of humor, and despite some of the curve balls that have been thrown her way in life, she keeps on going, and tries to find the humor in it all. She has adopted two beautiful children and her husband, who she refers to as the Attorney General. She is as funny as it gets...and reading her blog can get me out the the worst of funks!!
Okay, I could only come up with 8...
Saturday, April 24, 2010
We are in the final stretch of the 2009-2010 school year and testing is right around the corner...we are all feeling the pressure. So the other day, we took a much needed break and played a game. Yep, we put aside the books, and the review materials, and the tests, and we played...and it wasn't even recess time. Do you remember school being as high stress as it is today when you were a kid? I sure don't. It is no wonder these kids act out..they are way over tested and way over stressed. So back to the playing....yes, we needed a little respite so we played "I am going on a camp out...and I am taking an A_____ (insert a word that begins with A here)" My little friends really got into it (and it was a great memory game). I am going to try and do this at least a couple times a week between now and the HSTE (high stakes testing event)...in a few weeks. Gotta let them have a little fun, right?
Well speaking of fun, they are all working so hard to earn super SOAR bucks for the upcoming end of year events. We have 3 big events coming up, each spaced apart by two weeks. I told my little friends if they stayed on a "3" (a true three is NOT turning their card at all) for the whole day, they would get one of these super SOAR bucks which is actually worth 5 SOAR bucks. They need 50 SOAR bucks to attend each event, so in theory, if they stay on a 3 each day, they automatically have the amount they need to attend. Oh, and they cannot have received a referral of any type during the 2 weeks leading up to the event (1/2 sheet, office or bus referral). Sadly, 4 of my friends have already "blown it" for the first event- Spring Fling (carnival) coming up this Friday). But everything "re-sets" the following Monday, so they can work on the 2nd event on May 14th which is a Karaoke Dance Party( again they must have 50 SOAR bucks to attend and no referrals). The final event, May 28th is SOARfest, which includes giant inflatables and ice cream treats. I am hoping they all get the opportunity to attend at least one of these events...and most of my little friends will get to go to all 3!!
On another note, I did get a contract for next year, and will be at my same school. Just not sure what grade level I will be teaching and if it will be single gender. Keeping my fingers crossed about looping with most of these boys to 4th grade...I will keep you posted.
NEXT POST- the Enough is Enough Rally against cuts to the education budget.....
Sunday, March 21, 2010
- "Good Morning Mr. E, Kielbasa Mr. W" (This one needs a little explaining...we greet each other at the start of morning meeting...Good Morning Mr. D, Good Morning Mrs. Barker and shake hands. The boys have changed things up a bit by greeting each other in different languages...Hola, Bon Jour, Ni Hao..they looked a bunch of them up on Google. Anyone want to take a guess at what "Kielbasa Mr. W. should be, Yep, you guessed it..Que Pasa. Obviously my little friend is not a native Spanish speaker!
- One little friend to another- "Do you want to be in an all-boy class next year?" Boy 2: "Nah, I need to be with the ladies"
- "Mrs. Barker, did you know they wrote a book about the movie Diary of a Wimpy Kid?"
- Me: "In less than 50 days you all are going to be 4th graders!" Look of horror comes over one of my little friend's face: Him: "You mean they canceled summer vacation?"
- "The reason we are not allowed to bring toys to school is because they don't want us to have any fun at school"(this was after I had taken Bakugan cards away from a student for the 2nd or 3rd time in 2 weeks)
- Me: "Mr. K, what time did you go to sleep (I meant, last night). Mr. K: "Just now I guess, because you just woke me up."
They crack me up...
Friday, March 12, 2010
Monday, March 8, 2010
Thursday, March 4, 2010
Monday, March 1, 2010
Sunday, February 28, 2010
Saturday, February 27, 2010
This article says the firing drew praise from parents (and Sec. of Education Arne Duncan....I am not even going there....YET!). So let's talk about these parents...I am assuming they were the parents of the 50% who graduated (or were on the correct path to). Why isn't anyone blaming the parents? Last time I checked, it was part of a parents responsibilities to see that their child got an education. Why aren't they being held accountable? Granted, we can't fire the parents as much as we'd like to ...(this is good, can I get an AMEN!!!) So they know their kids are failing...are they helping them (assisting with homework, getting them a tutor, etc)?
What about the kids? Surely (yes I am calling you Shirley), they should have just as much responsibility in this as the teachers. I have met some apathetic kids in my day and I teach elementary school...so I can imagine the kind of apathy that exists by the time they are in high school.
What this situation really boils down to is money...and I am not talking about money for teachers, believe me. At stake is $13 million in federal funding to reform failing schools...the Federal Government (again, our "friend" Arne Duncan). To get the $$$$, schools have to choose one of four paths laid out by the Feds (including mass firings). I read today that the teachers were appealing the firing. We'll have to stay tuned and see how this turns out. I hope that they can find a way to keep these teachers and still make the necessary changes to turn the school around academically.
I can't help but take these situations personally because I can't for the life of me realize why some people in this country (and in our government) do not value the job that I, and millions of other teachers do everyday,....for very little money. And yes, I could throw in the cliche that we don't do this job for the money...in reality we do in fact do it for the money we need to live, but more importantly we do if for the kids so they can live out the hopes and dreams we have instilled in them. And if that is wrong, oh well, then FIRE ME!!
Friday, February 26, 2010
Thursday, February 25, 2010
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
This post is not about abandoned workout gear..it is about the grant I want to write.. FOCUS Mrs. B!! Okay, I'm back!
I first heard about using these yoga balls to replace chairs in classrooms a few years ago. I was at a single-gender training class and one of the teachers said she had them for her students and it really helps them focus and pay attention more. REALLY? I was not convinced. All I could imagine was kids falling off of them and hitting their heads on the hard classroom floor (not that a few of them couldn't use a little bop on the head!!) So I googled it and found out that a lot of schools are doing this. And I found out that there had actually been studies that showed that it helps kids because they can bounce, which is something they can't do on a chair. I think you would definitely have to lay down some ground rules (especially with boys) about how to sit on them, etc. But don't I already have to do that with chairs anyway?
So I just started researching costs, and it looks like these are going to run between 18-25 per yoga ball. Since I have 16 students (and it could go as high as 20 next year), I am looking at an investment of about $500. Let me remind you all that teachers don;t make squat, so I will have to write a gran tot get part or all of the money. I have even considered buying a few to start and using them with my little friends who REALLY have a hard time sitting still. Then I would add more to my class as I could afford it.
I am looking into using a site like Donors Choose. However, I just looked at their website and currently there are several current proposals for yoga balls, and none fully funded. I may still go that route but I am also looking at other organizations offering classroom grants. If any of you know of grants out there or organizations who might be able to help out, email me and let me know.
I think this will be a great addition to our classroom and I think it will really help my boys focus a bit more. I'll keep you all posted on what happens....
PS- My Dream Class book did not arrive today..hopefully tomorrow!!
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Now on to aforementioned venting. Okay, so you have taught 20+ years and you decide to retire. WAY TO GO sister....you have earned it. Sell your house, buy a condo at the beach, read that stack of books you been accumulating for the last 10 years. Go on a cruise, take up knitting, get a puppy...but PLEASE don't become a substitute teacher..I BEG YOU!! Back the truck up..right, No she didn't just say that!! Yes, I did.
First of all, the kids are way different than when you started teaching 20+ years ago...and you are no spring chicken, so you know you can't honestly say you can keep up with the youth of today. Everything has changed. We do grades on computers now...the kids don;t write on stone tablets....Promethean what? You are just torturing yourself, the kids and the other teachers who have to A) answer your ridiculous questions B) Hear about how the kids have changed (see above) since you were in the classroom C) Hear how long you taught BEFORE you retired (we get it, you taught George Washington, okay!)
Now before all you retired teachers out there start flaming me, let me just add, it is not all retired teachers turned substitutes that I have a problem with...just a few (and my Grove Peeps probably know who this is aimed at!). There are a few great ones and I try to utilize their services whenever I need a sub...its the other group of you I am talking about.
"Why the anger, Mrs. B?", you ask. Today, one of the other teachers on my grade level was out and called in a sub...well not just any sub, we'll call her the notorious Ms. D (her name rhymes with cure-em). On a good day Ms. D is a train-wreck! And today was no exception. In fact, a field trip day is probably the last day you want to have Ms. D as a sub. We were having a team meeting before the field trip and Ms. D barges in and starts ranting about name tags...c'mon, how hard is it to figure out name tags? Then she walks out of the room. We all just sat there shaking our heads. Fortunately, our principal had the best idea- switch teachers for the field trip. So Ms. D stayed behind with a small group of students and one of our resource teachers came on the field trip with us. But, no, the fun doesn't stop there. When we returned, the infamous Ms. D. decided to be a one-woman welcoming committee in the main hallway as we headed back to our classrooms, all the while firing off random questions that everyone pretended not to hear.
Yes, Ms. D needs to hand in her chalk and erasers and head for the nearest Active Adult community. Her glory days are behind her and that is where we would all like them to stay!!
Monday, February 22, 2010
Sunday, February 21, 2010
if you buy AND read the book of course.
- The single most important trait all great teachers share.
- How to build leverage with your students so they’ll want to behave.
- Exactly (step-by-step) how to transform a difficult student.
- How to create a memory map for your students so they’ll know exactly what to do and how to do it well during every minute of the school day.
- How to eliminate the distractions that cause misbehavior.
- How to build influential relationships with your students.
- Why a certain segment of students (40%) require learning strategies most teachers are unaware of.
- How to give praise that inspires, uplifts, and motivates.
- How to get your students do exactly what you tell them to do.
- How to raise test scores dramatically without teaching to the test.
- The single most effective teaching strategy.
- How to develop mature, independent students.
- How to get students to take responsibility.
- How to lower your stress and get more enjoyment out of teaching.
- How to improve learning, retention, and performance.
- How to build confidence and academic self-esteem.
- How to reduce tattling to almost zero.
- How to strengthen your authority.
- The one thing every teacher should do to get students to love school.
- Why most teachers rely on strategies and techniques that actually increase bad behavior.
- How to dramatically increase parent involvement.
- A simple change that will improve student behavior immediately.
- Why most teachers are undermining their own success.
- How to be a teacher that fellow teachers, parents, and students respect and admire
Wow, that seems like a magic potion or silver bullet of some sort...and there is really only one way to find out if it will work. Yes, I am going to read the book, try what it says to do and see if any of it works. I hope I am not disappointed!! It does say it has a 100% money back guarantee...and don;t you worry...if it don't work..I will be getting my money back!!!
DISCLAIMER- I am not being encouraged, paid, coerced, bribed, threatened or otherwise influenced to promote this book. I am doing it of my own freewill and curiosity.