Saturday, March 17, 2007


Well, it’s been a while. Increasing your class size by 50% makes for a very buys year, it turns out. Go figure. Anyhoo, I’m back for a few. Spring Break is around the corner and I couldn’t be more pleased. After Break it is a 9-week push until summer. Wow!!

I’ll write more about my year at another time. Right now, I need a little help with a student situation. One of my young students is about twice the size of all the others. He is gentle, caring, always involved in class discussions and terribly enthusiastic. On one field trip to a park he said, “Ms. Teacher, we are so luck to be out on this beautiful day. Thanks for taking us here.” What a dream. The problem is, he allows himself to be a total pushover.

Big Fella was told by another kid to run laps around the yard, so guess what he did? He ran. He will not say anything to his friends to put them in their place. He just goes home and cries about it. Mom wants to help him develop the tools he needs to standup for himself. I have suggested things like being honest about his feelings and telling is friends things like, “that makes me feel bad”, “if you are my friend, why would you say that to me?” or “I would never try to make you feel bad, like that”. These have not been implemented.

My question to all of you in cyberspace: How do you get a pushover to standup for himself? Keep in mind he is one of the youngest, as well as largest, in my class. He is teased about his physical appearance, including the fact that he suffers from plumbers butt almost all the time. We’ve tried belts and gentle reminders to no avail. His shape simply does not support pants well a this stage.

Please don’t hesitate to leave a comment. I’ve been wracking my brain and searching the Internet for a week or better now. I’m at a loss. Any input would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks all!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Have you ever...?

Found on But Wait! There's More. . .

Wanna play? It's simple. Copy, paste and if you've done it, bold it.

01. Bought everyone in the bar a drink
02. Swam with wild dolphins
03. Climbed a mountain
04. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive
05. Been inside the Great Pyramid
06. Held a tarantula
07. Taken a candlelit bath with someone
08. Said I love you and meant it
09. Hugged a tree
10. Bungee jumped
11. Visited Paris
12. Watched a lightning storm at sea
13. Stayed up all night long and saw the sun rise
14. Seen the Northern Lights
15. Gone to a huge sports game
16. Walked the stairs to the top of the leaning Tower of Pisa
17. Grown and eaten your own vegetables
18. Touched an iceberg
19. Slept under the stars
20. Changed a baby's diaper
21. Taken a trip in a hot air balloon
22. Watched a meteor shower
23. Gotten drunk on champagne
24. Given more than you can afford to charity
25. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope
26. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment
27. Had a food fight
28. Bet on a winning horse
29. Asked out a stranger
30. Had a snowball fight
31. Screamed as loudly as you possibly can
32. Held a lamb
33. Seen a total eclipse
34. Ridden a roller coaster
35. Hit a home run
36. Danced like a fool and not cared who was looking
37. Adopted an accent for an entire day
38. Actually felt happy about your life, even for just a moment
39. Had two hard drives for your computer
40. Visited all 50 states
41. Taken care of someone who was drunk
42. Had amazing friends
43. Danced with a stranger in a foreign country
44. Watched wild whales
45. Stolen a sign
46. Backpacked in Europe
47. Taken a road-trip
48. Gone rock climbing
49. Midnight walk on the beach
50. Gone sky diving
51. Visited Ireland
52. Been heartbroken longer than you were actually in love
53. In a restaurant, sat at a stranger's table and had a meal with them
54. Visited Japan
55. Milked a cow
56. Alphabetized your CDs
57. Pretended to be a superhero
58. Sung karaoke
59. Lounged around in bed all day
60. Played touch football
61. Gone scuba diving
62. Kissed in the rain
63. Played in the mud
64. Played in the rain
65. Gone to a drive-in theater
66. Visited the Great Wall of China
67. Started a business
68. Fallen in love and not had your heart broken
69. Toured ancient sites
70. Taken a martial arts class
71. Played D&D for more than 6 hours straight
72. Gotten married
73. Been in a movie
74. Crashed a party
75. Gotten divorced
76. Gone without food for 5 days
77. Made cookies from scratch
78. Won first prize in a costume contest
79. Ridden a gondola in Venice
80. Gotten a tattoo
81. Rafted the Snake River
82. Been on television news programs as an expert
83. Got flowers for no reason
84. Performed on stage
85. Been to Las Vegas
86. Recorded music
87. Eaten shark
88. Kissed on the first date
89. Gone to Thailand
90. Bought a house
91. Been in a combat zone
92. Buried one/both of your parents
93. Been on a cruise ship
94. Spoken more than one language fluently
95. Performed in Rocky Horror
96. Raised children
97. Followed your favorite band/singer on tour
99. Taken an exotic bicycle tour in a foreign country
100. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over
101. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge
102. Sang loudly in the car, and didn't stop when you knew someone was looking
103. Had plastic surgery
104. Survived an accident that you shouldn't have survived
105. Wrote articles for a large publication
106. Lost over 100 pounds
107. Held someone while they were having a flashback
108. Piloted an airplane
109. Touched a stingray
110. Broken someone's heart
111. Helped an animal give birth
112. Won money on a T.V. game show
113. Broken a bone
114. Gone on an African photo safari
115. Had a facial part pierced other than your ears
116. Fired a rifle, shotgun, or pistol
117. Eaten mushrooms that were gathered in the wild
118. Ridden a horse
119. Had major surgery
120. Had a snake as a pet
121. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon
122. Slept for more than 30 hours over the course of 48 hours
123. Visited more foreign countries than U.S. states
124. Visited all 7 continents
125. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days
126. Eaten kangaroo meat
127. Eaten sushi
128. Had your picture in the newspaper
129. Changed someone's mind about something you care deeply about
130. Gone back to school
131. Parasailed
132. Touched a cockroach
133. Eaten fried green tomatoes
134. Read The Iliad - and the Odyssey
135. Selected one important author who you missed in school, and read
136. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
137. Skipped all your school reunions
138. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language
139. Been elected to public office
140. Written your own computer language
141. Thought to yourself that you're living your dream
142. Had to put someone you love into hospice care
143. Built your own PC from parts
144. Sold your own artwork to someone who didn't know you
145. Had a booth at a street fair
146. Dyed your hair
147. Been a DJ
148. Shaved your head
149. Caused a car accident
150. Saved someone's life

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Busy, Busy Me

Reports , reports and more reports. So, it turns out when your class size increases by 50% you end up with 50% more reports to write. Ya, that’s not so fun. But it’s done! Praise whatever holy entity you believe in, my reports are done!!

Now, perhaps I can finish my application essay for Grad school. I wrote half of it two weekends ago, when I filled out the application, and have been on reports ever since. We are also starting our Maps unit at school and I love maps!! So, that is taking a lot of my time now too. I got a fantastic new book from Scholastic called Our World by Millie Miller. I am going to use it to create a fabulous group project about the continents. I’m so happy to have finally found a good book for my students about geography. It can be tough hunting for the younger folk sometimes.

Thank you to everyone who encouraged me to try for this grad school thing again. Your support means a lot. Especially on days when I come home completely wiped out.

From October 1st to Winter Break, (that's right no Christmas Vacation here in Cali), always passes in the blink of an eye for me. Is it the same for you? It seems like school just started and yet my relationship with the kids is much different than it was in September.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Graduate School Again?

So. . . I’m applying to grad school again. I received an MA in Education in 2002 and I guess I’m ready for more. I’ve been writing for an independent school publication and making lots of changes to curriculum over the last few years. A few weeks ago the idea of going back to school crossed my mind and didn’t seem quite as absurd as it had in the past. If I have all of this drive to improve myself, why not focus it a little and get another degree?

This time, I’m planning on getting an MA in psychology. My undergrad degree is in psychology, so I have a nice background on which to build. I also have a big personal interest in this area. Knowing why one of my students behaves the way he/she does would help me find an appropriate way to redirect his/her focus. This degree would also qualify me for a School Psychologist position and allow me to perform preliminary educational and emotional testing in order to determine the best course of action for various learning/behavioral issues. A school psychologist easily makes double what I do as a classroom teacher. This position would also allow me more flexibility with my hours when we decide to start a family.

That said, I’m not sure I want to leave the classroom. The degree could also help me be a really kick-ass elementary school teacher. Either way I feel like I win. I’m young enough that giving up some time after work and on the weekend for the next two years is not so daunting. We don’t have kids yet, so I need not feel guilty if I become slightly obsessed. I’ve been teaching the same grade for 6 years and even have the option of taking on a co-teacher next year. With all of these things in my favor, it’s hard to find a reason not to go.

Then there is the $ situation. Ya, it is going to be an expensive in devour. Unfortunately, I’m not willing to shop around for less expensive schools. My Education MA program was phenomenal and I plan on returning to the same school for the Psychology program. They teach me in a way I find very conducive to long-term retention and application. In my opinion, there is no reason to mess with something that works. I qualify for a few small scholarships and I’m pretty sure loans won’t be a big deal. I’ll just add it to the monthly payment I make to Sallie Mae now. I’m willing to pay off a house and an education until I’m old and grey.

The new program requires roughly the same time commitment as the previous one I attended, so there is also some comfort in knowing what to expect.

I’m excited.
I’m nervous
I’m going to be very busy!

Saturday, October 14, 2006


My evenings, like most teachers’, are pretty routine. I come home, change, check email, make/order/eat dinner, watch TV, read a few blogs, do whatever work I need to, veg-out/think, get ready for bed and go to sleep. My veg-out time is particularly key to an evening well spent. This consists of me turning my desk chair around, it swivels, putting my feet up on the plush pink armchair and just thinking. Most nights this is accompanied by music. Once in a while, it’s nice to have silence though.

This is when I process my day and prepare myself for the next. Sometimes I even dream about the future. I can spend anywhere from 40 to 90 minutes lost in thought gazing at my Ikea paper lamp. While reviewing the day’s events, I’m able to see things I may not have noticed in the moment. I feel that certain kids can be over looked due to my larger class size. When I look back on the day, with individual kids in mind, it helps me remember their specific accomplishments. It can also remind me that I didn’t notice very much about a particular student and should really give them some attention the following day.

These are often my most creative moments, when I think of my best lesson plans and time saving ideas. Organization is one of the keys to my classroom success. I feel capable of handling most unexpected changes during the day because I always have something I can whip out and fill time with. Not just something, but an educationally valuable experience for the students. (Earlier this week I couldn’t get the VCR to work after getting my class excited about the first video of the year. I built it up by letting them know how very few videos they will be seeing in my class this year. We worked on a fire safety mad-lib I had waiting in my basket.) Finding ways to streamline my classroom is a continuous process that changes as my students’ needs do. This quiet-time has also given birth to some of my favorite cooperative project ideas.

While I’m veging-out this way, my diligent husband is typing away on his keyboard not three feet away. Sometimes I wonder: does he think it is odd that I stare off into space like this every evening? I never see him doing this. He used to offer me websites to look at or magazine articles to read, but after hearing nothing but a polite, “no thank you” he gave up. Now he just checks to make sure I’m awake. It’s true; I’ve been known to fall asleep in my chair from time to time. He has come to accept my “process”.

Am I alone in my quiet time ritual? I have never really thought about it as odd before, but maybe it is. How much time do you spend just thinking? Do you do it while watching TV, listening to music or doing something productive like knitting or exercising? What do you think about or does it vary?

Just wondering.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Halloween Costumes??

Didn’t we just celebrate Halloween? Wasn’t it just yesterday I worked so hard to come up with a very cool idea that was fun and yet still educational? Why is it here again so soon? Well, this year I need a little help. Does anyone have any costume ideas for a group of 4 elementary school teachers? Please leave me a note if you do. We’ve been the 4 seasons, a painter and his works of art and even a number sentence. Please save me from weeks of stressing over this.

Feel free to leave any other cool teacher costume ideas too. I can’t be the only one out there looking for something new.

Welcome to October!

Loved it!

Dinner with the former student was a raging success! It was wonderful to see him again and reaffirm how very cool he is. My husband and I got along famously with his parents and really hope we can see them all again. I’ve actually started an email relationship with the student. He makes me laugh and I think it is good for him to know someone outside of his family really believes in him.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

More All About Me

I just corrected the Beginning of the Year English Test that I give for evaluation purposes. This is the first year I have had to bring them home, but I was never going to have time to grade all of them at work. I have a feeling this may be a trend. Oh well.

In an effort to make lemonade out of my lemons, here are a few gems from their All About Me writing piece. Students were required to write 6 sentences about themselves. I’ve stayed true to the creative spelling.

1. My mom put me in violine becase she wants me to be in a orcastra.
2. I love to play on my bed with my brother when we are suppued to be sleeping.
3. I am one of those boy’s how dose’nt like there sister all thoe I get mad at her. I like animals even thoe I don’t know the name’s of them.
4. and ofcors I like horseback riding to. And I like my birthday
5. I like surfbording. Bot Nether me or my mom coode stand up.
6. I like to slepe.
7. I lick woter fawlis. I lick to do staf.
8. My favorite boringing thing to do is wach t.v. (Yay!!)
9. I hate cleaning my room.
10. I don’t like to lose playdates.

I definitely feel like I know a little bit more about each of them.