Training Day Tribute

Oh, district training day, how do I love thee?
Let me count the ways.
  1. A break from my students.
  2. Being dismissed over an hour early.
  3. Eating out for lunch and then SHOE SHOPPING.
  4. Talking to grown-ups.
  5. Not hearing kids call/whine my name. Incessantly. All day.
  6. Being dismissed over an hour early.
  7. Free goodies.
  8. Hearing about good ideas.
  9. Eating out for lunch and then SHOE SHOPPING.

Too bad this was the last one for quite some time!

Hello Pomelo!

Today marked the beginning of a brand new thematic unit (designed by yours truly) on health and nutrition. Much of it is centered around the food pyramid and all of that good vocabulary--I was a little alarmed two weeks ago when our speech therapist said my kids didn't know the word "meat".
Anyways, as part of the unit, I had the kids design the cover to a "Taste Book". There are about ten lined pages inside. Each day, we're going to taste some exotic and/or uncommon food and write some sentences about it (its name, what food group it belongs to, what it looks like, and what it tastes like). Today's new taste sensation was a pomelo, which is kind of like a yellow, sweet grapefruit. Everyone really enjoyed it... And I'm patting myself on the back for something fun to show off at our Open House in May! Now, I just need to think of other uncommon food items to bring in daily for the next two weeks. Suggestions anyone?

Later in the day, we were using our sentence patterns to tell each other what our favorite food in each food group was. I went first: "My favorite grain is cereal". A few other kids went next, then one student said "My favorite grain is DONUTS!"

Yeah. Me too, kid, me too.

I'm Back

So... I'm back. My flights were mercifully uneventful. It's nice to be back home with the hubby, though much less exciting than painting the town red with the sister! I am definitely looking forward to laying low this weekend. I need to muster all the energy I can to tackle work on Monday!

Surviving the Falls

We're back from Niagara Falls! It was quite the trip. We stayed at the Marriott Hotel--very fancy and otherwise unaffordable in the high season. Good thing it was bitterly cold; we got an excellent deal. Let me recount our time in pictures.

This was the view from our hotel room:
We ventured outside toward the freezing mist along slippery sidewalks. Good thing I brought long underwear!

Even still, we were freezing. Can you tell?
Later that evening, we ate at the hotel's Terrapin Grille, a four star restaurant that served excellent prime rib and salmon (it was so helpful to have that 75$ off coupon!)
The next day, we ate at the most lavish breakfast buffet I've ever been to...complete with an omelette bar! We also got 45 minute facials (no pictures of that... we were too busy enjoying ourselves!). Then we ventured out into the--slightly less bitter--cold to see the town.
We met the man of our dreams:
We played the nickel slots (Canadian nickels are wierd!):
And when it started raining, we ducked into a glow-in-the-dark mini-golf place and played 18 holes. It was a close game, but I ended up winning in the end.
Did I mention the yummy chocolate shake?

All in all, it was great time with the sis in Niagara!


I'm here!

Amazingly, there were no delays or cancellations because of the weather AND my luggage arrived on time. Whaddayaknow? Everything was pretty uneventful, save for the annoying, boozed-up threesome sitting in front of me, flirting with each other and the flight attendant--then subsequently fighting with each other and with the flight attendant. I slept for four hours between the two so I'm not quite sure what happened to cause the change in mood...

As it turns out, I've discovered several things already:
  1. It's boring traveling alone. There's no one to carry all my stuff, to sleep on, or to laugh with at other outrageous passengers.
  2. It's cold in Syracuse. There's white stuff falling from the sky.
  3. I forgot how static-y my hair gets in true winter weather.
  4. NorthFace makes the warmest jackets. Hands down.
  5. Contrary to popular belief, cardboard boxes can make both lovely and useful nightstands. I credit Rebekah with her frugality and ingenuity!
  6. I can eat all the ice cream I want here and no one can hold me in check! Except, technically, my conscience, but I've killed her long ago.
  7. I like cable.
  8. Lack of boys = nicer smelling apartment. (Burn.)

Tomorrow, I'll miss Max.

One More Day!

It was just one of those days. Not the one where everything goes wrong, but the one with all of the insurmountable stress ... Between trying to set up IEP meeting dates, getting the right paperwork home, planning for a brand new unit on Monday (the Monday we get back from break, that is), finding and/or making the right materials, choosing, copying, and collating the homework packets, getting observed for an hour this morning, and listening to the constant whining and crying of a certain student (who knew paper cuts could be so debilitating?), I really just wanted to scream and run for the hills.

I am very thankful for this next week off. Though the stress won't end until the fat lady sings (on June 22nd in my district), at least I can pause and recuperate for a while--and visit with my sister in New York! Now, if only the snowy weather in the east will hold off until all my planes land, I will be eternally grateful...

Valentine's Day a la Budget

Here are some fool-proof steps for a very fun, cheap-o Valentine's Day.
  1. Make home-made valentine's cards for each student.
  2. Have a parent bring in the entertainment (in my case, a giant pizza-shaped chocolate chip cookie with bags of icing that the kids can use to decorate the surface)
  3. Recycle all boxes of chocolate that the kids give you into a thoughtful gift for your husband (for an added touch, just cross out the "s" in "Mrs."--saving you from making another label, and from wasting precious time)
  4. Skip the fancy restaurant and opt for a walk and a trip to Baja Fresh--all on mom and dad's gift card, of course!
  5. Top it off with a bowl of ice cream in front of the TV. (Not that we don't do that every night, but add an extra scoop of the good stuff because of the holiday!)
Et voila! What would have made today extra, extra great would have been to skip the two staff meetings, but that was out of the question...

Say What?

One of my students took the cake in terms of inadvertently charming comments today. In every instance, he got it just wrong enough to make me smile...

9:40 AM
I'm teaching my students that "kn" makes the "n" sound because the "k" is silent. I have several examples and several pictures, one of which is a knot. I said "When you tie your shoes, you make a knot". Suddenly I hear said student proclaim in a loud voice, pointing to his feet: "like my SNICKERS!!"

1:30 PM
My students had just come back from the third grade general ed. class next door... we had paired them up with a buddy and they got to ask each other questions (along the lines of "What's your favorite--?"). Then we all went outside and played with a giant parachute. When we got back to class, said student told everyone in the class how happy he was that he had a new "boyfriend". You can imagine my frantic correction that followed!

2:20 PM
I had my students run two laps around the track this afternoon. They were quite exhausted coming around the final bend and into their second lap... I kept shouting: "One more lap!" as they ran by. As he passed by me, said student (panting quite heavily from all the running), replied "But my heart (pant, pant...), it's BROKEN!"

(My) Kids say the darndest things...

A New Look

Yes, don't worry folks, it's still me. I needed a change of scenery--so I changed it!

I am actually looking forward to going to school tomorrow. Each day that goes by this week brings me closer and closer to my trip to New York this Saturday to see my sister. Yea! I just really hope that the days don't crawl by... But there are a lot of events going on to keep me on my toes, so it should be fine. In the same week, there's the 100th day of school celebration, the Valentine's day party, an assembly, and an all-day district science training. I'm looking forward to the science training--I like the break from my normal routine, plus the assistant superintendent of the district is taking me out to lunch that day. Ha! I guess that's what happens when your parents have friends in high places. I don't even think I'll rush back to the training after lunch, because if I'm a little late, I can say "Oh, am I late? I was out to lunch with the assistant superintendent and we lost track of time!" Yes, I would get a kick out of that.

Sick and Tired

Well, my body finally quit on me. I managed to hold out until my IEP meeting late this afternoon... then I called the sub system, threw some plans together and bolted for home. I'll spare you the details, but I sound like a deep-throated, coughing pre-pubescent teenager with an achy body. The symptoms were bad enough to justify missing the afternoon staff meeting.
So tomorrow my goal is to recover so I can be there for the kids and Fun Day Friday.

In other news, 40% of my students got into trouble and had to see the principal today (yes, folks, four of my ten!). Apparently, they thought it would be appropriate to gang up and tackle a fourth grade girl (who they probably liked but couldn't quite express it) to the ground and pull her hair. They really should have been suspended, but our strict administrator was out sick today, so instead all they got was lunch detention from the principal. Don't worry, I made sure they got the riot act from me. Ironically, they were all able to tell the principal that the rule is to "respect other people" and "keep your hands to yourself"--why they chose not to follow it is another story altogether. If my kids keep this up, my classroom is going to look like this !

Back to the Future

The trip to the Centennial Heritage Museum (the 100 year old house/museum for those of you slow on the uptake) was a success. The kids enjoyed themselves, and my stress levels were kept to a minimum. Now, I realize that my parents' house and my in-laws' house are both over one hundred years old, but what was special about this house/museum, is that the original furniture, clothes, and appliances are still there. Though we couldn't sit on the furniture, we did get to use the ancient telephone, play the pump organ, make butter in the kitchen, wash rags on a washboard then put them through the wringer, and try on Victorian style clothes (no, not the originals) for pictures. Our tour guide was very nervous when I told her that my kids are deaf/hard-of-hearing--she kept asking if they all wore hearing aids and I kept reassuring her that the only thing she needed to do was to talk in basic terms, like you would to a five-year-old, and not a third grader. She got the hang of it quickly and made the presentation very understandable, which I am so thankful for.

Unfortunately, the only picture that I can include (with no kids in view) is of a counter in the kitchen. Do you recognize anything? ;) Can you find the: rug beater, potato masher, butter churner, iron, flour sifter, coffee grind, scale, and ice tongs? How did people get by without microwaves? I never would have survived back in the day.... I'm way too much of a wuss!

V is for Victory

Monday went by mercifully quickly. Never mind that my sister and my father-in-law got to stay home from school on account of the weather--I had my victories too.

Victory #1: The district's official review is finally over; months of agony and paperwork came to a close. The "team" spent a total of three minutes in my room, rifled through my orderly box of paperwork, checked my walls for items to check off on their list, and left. One unexpected conversation occurred when the former vice principal here (who I'd never met) informed me that she was in the room when I had my phone interview; she expressed how glad she was to have me here. I thought that was nice of her...

Victory #2: I managed NOT to strangle the one student whose impulsiveness has been driving me up the wall lately.

Victory #3: There were free goodies in the lounge! I'm a sucker for free food...

Victory #4: I don't know how or why, but I'm finally getting excited about our field trip tomorrow. It may have something to do with the pure joy on my kids' faces as they talk about it, or it may have something to do with the fact that I just remembered that it's only a half-day affair and not a whole one. Either way, it feels better to look forward to something instead of dreading it, doesn't it?

Victory #5: My chicken tetrazzini turned out wonderfully (why yes, I do occasionally cook). Bon appetit!

Stayin' Alive

Getting to the end of the school day on Friday was a bit like finally coming up for air. I'd been running around all week trying to stay one step ahead and always falling one step behind. By the time the final bell rang, I was anxious to go home so I could sit and stare at the wall.

And, basically, that's all I've done. Well, technically, I did do some reading (I finished my book "The Memory Keeper's Daughter"--it was both overwritten and sad), and some watching (general TV, as well as the movie "Goal", which I enjoyed).

And now it's almost time to hold my breath and dive into another week. It's a big week for me. Tomorrow is D-day as our school gets reviewed by the district (to prepare us in the case of an actual state audit)--weeks and months spent agonizing over whether our paperwork is perfect will finally come to fruition. A team of questionably qualified people will check to see if my affairs are in order and that I've carefully documented evidence that I am a "good" teacher (which, according to them, would be a teacher who does nothing but paperwork, but what do I know?). I can't wait till it's over!

Tuesday is our first field trip of the year. We're going to the Centennial Heritage Museum (aka: the Kellogg house). I'm a little stressed out about it because 1) I have two parent volunteers coming and I don't know what to expect, and 2) some of my students are quite impulsive and may require leashes. Also, I'm really hoping we get a better tour guide this year: last year, our guide was so inappropriate...

Wednesday is my next IEP meeting, which I am NOT ready for. More paperwork. More stress. Yea!

My goal is to make it alive to Thursday. Can you tell I am just counting down the days until our February week break? I can't wait to see my sister in New York!
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