A Lazy Saturday

Today was a great day despite the sweltering heat.  It’s days like today when I wish I had a swimming pool or air conditioning.  I think I spent most of the day sweating!

I finally got around to getting my ten-frames put together for a math lesson.  In order to get it done, I had to go to work to run them off.  I brought my paper cutter home to get them cut apart.  I brought home a box of gallon ziploc bags to place the sets of ten-frames.  I convinced two of my daughters to come with me so they could at least sit in my air-conditioned classroom while I prepped everything.  They were so hot that they didn’t mind taking a ride to my school just to sit in the air conditioning!  I have yet to staple my art sketch books, but there is always tomorrow.  I am hoping it won’t be too hot.  I want to go for a short run, so I will have to get up early before the heat sets in.

Tomorrow I am going to take some time to read my book club book.  We are reading The Language of Flowers, by Vanessa Diffenbaugh.  Here is a summary of what the book is about.

The Victorian language of flowers was used to convey romantic expressions: honeysuckle for devotion, asters for patience, and red roses for love. But for Victoria Jones, it’s been more useful in communicating mistrust and solitude. After a childhood spent in the foster-care system, she is unable to get close to anybody, and her only connection to the world is through flowers and their meanings. Now eighteen and emancipated from the system with nowhere to go, Victoria realizes she has a gift for helping others through the flowers she chooses for them. But an unexpected encounter with a mysterious stranger has her questioning what’s been missing in her life. And when she’s forced to confront a painful secret from her past, she must decide whether it’s worth risking everything for a second chance at happiness.

I am only on Chapter 3, but so far I am enjoying the book.  I have many more books on my night stand waiting for me to read.  Many are teacher resources.  I just ordered and received Donalyn Miller’s The Book Whisperer and I need to read Mind-Up which is a curriculum that encourages children to self-regulate their behavior and helps with concentration.  It is promoted by the Hawn Foundation.  My coworker told me about it, so I thought I would check it out.  I am still not sure how it all works.

Even though it is a three-day weekend, I am still thinking about work.  I guess as a teacher you never can get away from that.  I am still going to try and enjoy what is left of this weekend.

Welcome 3-Day Weekend!

My goal was to leave work by 5:00 today.  I almost made it.  I left at 5:15.  I know.  What person in their right mind stays at work that late when it is a 3-day weekend??

School normally gets out on Friday at 12:55.  It is a minimum day.  My school time banks, so we stay a little later Monday through Thursday so we can have a minimum day.  I had every intention of getting out of my classroom so I could enjoy the weekend, but then I remembered I volunteered to be on the interview team.  We are hiring a new impact teacher because our other impact teacher got a permanent teaching job at another school.  There were several candidates, so that took some time.  I did not get back to my room until 3:00.

I swear.  I could find 100 things to do in my classroom that would keep me there all night!  Once I get one project done, I see something else that needs to be completed.  I finally get to a point where I just have to stop.  Most times I bring work home, like cutting or stapling.  When my daughters were younger they loved to help me with these tasks.  However, now they are busy with their own activities and homework that they don’t wish to help me anymore.  I brought home some paper that I need to staple into sketch books for art.  I also brought home some templates to make ten frames for math.  I am still trying to figure out the best way to create these for my students.  If anyone has any suggestions on creating and/or using ten frames, I would love to hear them.

For now, I just opened an ice cold beer to enjoy.  My husband is cooking something up on the grill. We have been having hot and humid weather where I live.  The beer is nice and refreshing.  The barbecue is making my tummy rumble.  I will get to my sketch book and ten frames projects later, maybe tomorrow.  Right now I have decided to enjoy blogging, beer, and barbecue.  Hope everyone has a wonderful Labor Day weekend!

I Survived. . .

Back To School Night!  I thought it went well.  Parents were very attentive.  I only had 45 minutes to get through my presentation.  Boy, 45 minutes goes by really fast.  I am going to have to streamline my presentation for next year.

I was able to share my expectations for their children while they are in my class.  At the end of the presentation, I stayed longer to talk to parents who had more questions.  I was disappointed to find out that no one had signed up to be my room parent.  I had a lot of volunteers for helping in the classroom or on field trips.  But, no room parent.  My room parent genrally plans the classroom celebrations (Halloween, Winter Holiday. Valentine’s Day, End of the Year).  The plans don’t have to be elaborate.  Simple is always better in my book.  Now, I don’t know what will happen if a parent doesn’t step up.

After BTSN, I went out with a few of my colleagues for a little libation and conversation.  It was good to debrief after a stressful evening.  But, now I am exhausted.  I am wishing it was Friday today.  I am looking forward to my 3-Day weekend.

Back To School Night

Tonight was Back To School Night for my youngest daughter who is in middle school.  I get to take the teacher hat off and be a mom on this evening.  I was amazed by the energy and enthusiasm of my child’s teachers.  Every single one of them talked about how they wanted their students to succeed.  I feel like my daughter is very lucky to have such wonderful teachers for her first year in middle school.

My own Back To School Night is tomorrow night.  I hope to bring that same energy and enthusiasm to the parents of my classroom.  This is going to be an exciting year of learning, and I hope I can show that to parents.  I want to encourage my parents to let their child take more responsibility for their learning, and I want them to know that their children are capable of doing things independently.  I realize that it is hard to let go and trust that your child will figure things out.  But, they do.  I want my parents to understand that I have high expectations, and I believe all my students can reach them.

Tomorrow will be my twenty-sixth Back To School Night.  I can’t believe it.  You would think that after twenty-five years Back To School Night would be easy.  The truth is I still get nervous.  My heart beats fast.  My palms get clammy.  I break into a sweat.  I have to do a lot of self-talk before the event.  I know what I am doing, and I know what I am talking about.  Nevertheless, I will be happy when tomorrow night is finally over!

What I Know About Reading

Today I asked my students to write about what they knew about reading. I got this idea when I read Aimee Buckner’s book Notebook Connections: Strategies for the Reader’s Notebook.

At first I was skeptical as to what 2nd graders could come up with.  I was impressed by some of the ideas that were shared.  One student said she knew that reading helped her learn.  Another student said that when she read she learned new facts.  Still another student said if she could read, she knew she could write.  BINGO!  I am so glad someone in the class made that reading-writing connection.

While the students were writing their thoughts, I took a moment to respond to the prompt in my own journal.  I won’t write everything I said here.  I did write down that as a child, I was not a huge reading fan.  In fact, I would always choose to play outside over reading a book.  However, as an adult, I have come to realize how much I depend on reading in my everyday life.  Not a day goes by when I don’t read something.  My list included reading street signs, student work, teacher resources, emails, blogs, recipes, newspapers, and magazines.  I cannot imagine my life without reading.  Now I love to read.

Of course I shared my thoughts with my students.  I have a feeling there might be one or two students who feel now the way I felt back then about reading.  I hope I am able to ignite that love of reading before they leave my classroom.  If not, I hope I have planted the seeds that will bloom later on in their lives.

Marvelous Monday

Today was a pretty good day for a Monday.  I woke up with every intention to go for a swim before work.  However, the weather did not cooperate.  Right when I was about to leave for the pool, it started raining.  I probably could have gone swimming anyway, but the thought of swimming in the rain was not appealing to me.

School went well.  My students worked really hard.  I was excited about my writing lesson.  It felt like everything in the universe aligned.  My students had fun, and I had fun, too.  I took my students out for P.E. today for the first time.  It was very hot and humid here today, so the grass was fairly dry from the early morning rain.  I tried to incorporate some CrossFit strategies and had a Workout of the Day (W.O.D.).  Students had to do 2 rounds of the W.O.D.  The W.O.D. was to run one lap around the field.  Twenty revolutions with the hula hoop.  Ten “inchworms” to a plank and back up.  I timed the students and then they recorded their time in a little journal.  I am going to have to come up with some different workouts.

When I got home from work, my daughter offered to cook dinner.  Now, that is a treat!  Yes, today was a pretty good day for a Monday.

Photo Challenge: Patterns

This week’s SDAWP photo challenge was on patterns.  I don’t know why I had a hard time with this challenge.  Perhaps it was due to starting school this week.  I was so focused on what I had to do in my classroom, that I did not have a chance to really “see” my environment to look for patterns.  I felt like I didn’t have a chance to slow down at all this week.  It is hard to use your peripheral vision when you have blinders on.  Getting ready for my students took all my focus.  I did mangae to take some photos.  Here are some of my favorites.

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The first picture is of a section of carpet I saw in a hotel lobby.  The second one is of the wine cork basket in my kitchen.  The last photo is the backrest of the chaise lounge in my backyard.  I liked how these patterns repeated itself in a predictable pattern.  I, especially, liked the cork basket with its criss-cross pattern and curved design.

Later in the week, I found my eyes drawn to patterns that were not predictable.  The next photo is a wall of paneling at my district office.  The last photo is a barrier wall at a local restaurant near my home.

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I really had to look hard for patterns this week.  It’s strange because I am always telling my students patterns are everywhere.  Maybe they are so prevalent that I have become desensitized to it?  I am not sure.  And, as I said earlier, my mind was preoccupied with back to school things.  Next week the challenge will be on repetition.  I hope to do a better job focusing on this.  For now, here is a collage of favorite patterns I found.

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