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Friday, August 30, 2013

Five for Friday, no school style...

Hooray for Friday. I feel like I say the same things over and over every week. And yet I never want to miss out on Five for Friday, my favorite linky party ever! Okay, I am jumping in! Don't forget to head over to Doodlebugs and read everyone's Five and link up.

1. Changes to my blog! My blog name is in transition to: Education in Ms. Horn's World.  This will make it more versatile both for this year when I am working with different levels of students, and in the future when I get back into a classroom. The wonderful Lauren, at Teach*Pray*Love Designs, is going to help me get it all updated! If you want to overhaul your blog, Lauren did a wonderful job on mine and she has continued to help whenever I get in over my head!! So keep watching, the header will look different next week!

2. I am getting addicted to Chopped. The two channels I watch are Food Network and HGTV.  Those are the two I watch all the time. Yesterday on Chopped they had a lunch lady edition. It showed four school lunch ladies who are trying to make a difference in the world of school lunch. (And I have decided that Tennessee knows what they are doing, the school lunches there look amazing!) They told stories of children who only get to eat at school and children who tell the lunch lady that they don't have food when they go home.  There were no dry eyes! I was teary-eyed, but if you know me, that is no surprise. I thought about one of my Kinders from last  year who told me that they didn't have enough food at home because his Dad was in Mexico and his Mom couldn't work as much because then he would be home alone.

3. Reading with children. I love reading and watching students learn to read. I have been working with small groups this week and it is really rewarding. It is also frustrating. Isn't that what makes it rewarding? The frustration? And then the elation. Haha. It is so much more rewarding to see "aha" moments and success at reading or success at working in a group, when it was difficult first. We won't work with groups much this coming week due to benchmark testing. Then groups will change the week after that. I am both excited and a little sad.  I am starting to develop relationship with the kids I have been working with and some of them really need those relationships. I don't want them to move on....

4. Four day week! Whoot! No school today. Today is collaboration day and the plus of being "just an assistant" is that I have the day off (unpaid... boo)! But there's a part of me that wishes I could be with my teaching friends and collaborating and working together and putting together plans with other teachers. Last year was extremely draining with all the time I spent invested in school. I know that I will invest heavily again, and I will love it. But it is refreshing this year not to have the added responsibilities. I have to focus on this part so I don't mourn my lack of classroom too much.

5. One kid gone today on a college visit! Yikes! My redhead is on the bus as I type headed to Lawrence to tour KU today. What?! How can that be? When did she grow up? She has narrowed her interest to three schools: Kansas University, Fort Hays (whoot!), and Pitt State University. Her real interest is Pitt State. She thinks this is where she wants to go to college. We have not been there to visit yet. So it is important to plan one ASAP!

Have a great weekend! I hope to catch up on household chores, gardening, and laziness. And see some family. What a great and exciting prospect. I have the entire day ahead of me!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

School has started

This week I am reading up about all my teacher friends in their classrooms: getting ready, starting school, getting supplies, practicing procedures, planning lessons, preparing morning work, and so on. I have so many emotions going on. I have been looking at all the blogs with morning work, great Kindergarten enhancement activities and center activities. I have been reading about disasters, heart-breakers, and great days and sweet students and exhausted teachers. I feel like I am on the outside looking in. I am obsessed with all things teaching, learning and school. I watched the episode of Chopped today with the school lunch ladies on it, and the judges cried, so I guess I shouldn't be so surprised that I got emotional. lunch ladies telling stories about students who don't have food at home. Not a surprise. And not so far-fetched. Err on the side of caution I say. I had a student tell me at the end of last year that he didn't have any food at home because his Mom had to take extra time off work while his Dad was in Mexico. I really don't know if they didn't have anything, but I got him signed up for the last backpack buddy week.

I also realized that I am getting attached to students already. I see them struggling with reading and my heart aches for them already. This year will be filled with rewards and heartache, I guess that is sort of the same as any year.

By the way, laying down the law at the beginning of the year pays dividends, but it's just not that much fun. I hate this part. I want them to know from the get-go that I mean business and that they need to be ready to learn when they arrive, I just hate the implementation and teaching students that yes, I mean business. But when I do get those boundaries established, I know it will be worth it! Had to talk to a teacher about disruptive behavior from this student, and he so cute, so endearing. I had to hug him after school today.

Seems to me that everything has both and up side and down side. Downside to my current job: I miss having my own classroom.  Up-side: I am not giving up family/personal/home time to write lesson plans.

I am changing the name of my blog. I am changing it to read: Education in Ms. Horn's world.  That way it will be valid this year and still be valid when I get my own classroom next year.

It was a good week. Next week: benchmark testing.

"Today was good. Today was fun. Tomorrow is another one." ~ the late great Dr. Seuss

Friday, August 23, 2013

Five for Friday, August 23rd

Here are my five random things from this week. I am linking up with Doodlebugs for Five for Friday. Hop over and read all about our weeks and then link up!

1. Here I am ready to work with reading groups! This is my area! It's sort of organized but to some extent I will know what I need to do to get organized after we start more groups.
Yep, that is me! 

This is my area.

Those are my two cuties in those magnetic picture frames.
2. The reading specialist that I am work with/under. She is really amazing! 

3. This week we started working with students to review skills from last year. Here my station is ready to work with first grade students! 

4. It feels SO good to be getting back into the routines of school. I have been extremely exhausted. I loved seeing this on facebook tonight. I laughed. 

5. Last Friday night I went out. On a date. If you know me, you know that is a big deal. This week.... no more dates. Ever!  Okay, ever, might be an exaggeration. If you want the down and dirty, read it here. LOL. There is really no "down and dirty." But if you have followed my story about this, you can read more on my personal blog

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Five for Friday!

Five for Friday on Saturday, again, still, always.  Okay, not quite always. But often. I am hooking up with Doodlebugs for Five for Friday, a linky about five random things from my week. I hope you will join! Here we go!

1. Run for your Momma! I participated in the race at Marion County Lake last weekend. I didn't run much, but I went, even though I didn't have a walking partner this year.

The starting line was on the dam, this is the view of the lake from the starting line.

I wonder how cool it would be to cross the street/road and go down the steps
to your own personal dock every morning?

2. Back to school! My kiddos on the first full day of school. First through 5th started with a half-day of school on Wednesday, and all students went back on Thursday, August 15. 
a fourth grader and a senior! 
3. Back to school! I have a space that is mine although I don't have my own classroom this year. I love, love, love being back at Lincoln!

4. On Thursday, I had the privilege of helping out in Kindergarten. My heart is there. Loved helping with those precious little ones on their first day of Kindergarten. Got to test a few of them on Friday also. It will be easy to become attached to them! I learned some new songs to add to my list when I was down there visiting and got some wonderful first day ideas! God bless those Kindergarten teachers! 

5. Friday night has been declared home made pizza night. So I made two! One was covered in meat, the other in veggies! Yum! 

Friday, August 9, 2013

A tale of student teaching...

It was the best of times... I had an incredible experience with a veteran teacher who I called the kid-whisperer. She always knew how to get students' attention and earn their respect.  She never treated me with anything but respect.  I went in to student teaching thinking it would sort of like a classroom aide job and that I would done at 4 every day! Ha! Once I made peace with the amount of commitment and covered it with getting my daughter into after-school care, things went really well. My cooperating teacher introduced me to WBT and five classroom rules. I had a wonderful experience and mimicked her as much as I possibly could.  I know not everyone has this experience. I went in with the idea that I was a guest in her class and tried to keep continuity with her classroom management and ideas. I know some student teacher's are so eager to get in there that they almost disregard their cooperating teacher so they are implement all those great ideas we got in college. I was lucky there too because my cooperating teacher used great tools and strategies for teaching her class and it was easy to step into her shoes. 

The worst of times! My cooperating teacher reminded me that this student is the exception and some people teach for 25 years and never have the experiences we had that year. The biggest thing I saw there was that the teacher and principal took the time to build a relationship with this student and he listened to them. I made sure to follow their lead and not back down from my position (ever) and to notice him and compliment and praise him when he did his work and to develop a conversation with him when things were calm. By the end of the semester I had the same authority with him that the teacher and principal had and he would not have challenged me and left my classroom. 

Advice! I think I said it all! Do as much as you can while you have that safety net (like make the phone calls and plan the field trip). Foster continuity in the classroom.  Observe your cooperating teacher's style and remember that the less change the students encounter, the better for YOU. Make friends with everyone in the building. What they say about befriending the custodian and the secretary is really so important! You will see evidence of that even in student teaching! Not everyone has the perfect teacher when they student teach (I was very fortunate), so if you don't have the great mentor, pray for them, it will help YOUR sanity. Take to heart what you DO want to use and what you DON'T.

Classroom management is your key to success at all times in your teaching experiences. Find a management experience that works for you and tweak it as often as you have to! A managed classroom has time for learning and you all can have fun doing it!

I hope this will help "The Polished Teacher"! Best of luck to you girl! 

Five for Friday! August 9, 2013

Five for Friday! Five random things from my week!

1. My teaching friends are back to work today. :( I am feeling sort of left out. And I have that "two worlds" thing going on too. My friends in the panhandle are reaping the benefits of a great principal this year and everything is much more organized, including classroom location! If I were there this year, I would actually have a Kindergarten classroom, with a bathroom in the classroom, and the size that a Kindergarten should be, next to the other Kinder classroom! Whoot! But alas, I moved back to Kansas and while most of me doesn't regret this decision, sometimes I am overwhelmed with sadness at leaving my teaching community and my culturally diverse classroom. So I have a little jealousy going on for my panhandle classroom (that isn't mine anymore) and then I realize that my friends in THIS district are also working in their classrooms and I wish I were there! So amid all my excitement for the great things I think God is doing for and with us this year, I also have a huge green envy monster lurking in my heart.
2. New job dressing. For my new job I wanted to make sure I looked my best, so I put a HUGE goose egg on my forehead right above my right eye. One of my friends assures that yes, eventually, the swelling will go down and when it does, I will most likely have a black eye. I will try to post a picture, but last night when I tried to take pics you couldn't see the mammoth size of the goose egg.

3. One of my favorite things about end of summer birthdays is that new school clothes can double as a birthday gift. (That's not cheating, is it?). We celebrated my sister and my daughter's birthdays since our original plans were postponed when my niece was in the hospital. My daughter is looking super cute here blowing out her candles in her new back-to-school clothes! (Who can believe that my little Punky is nine?!)

nine candles crammed into one slice of cake....

my sister's birthday is two days before the Punkin's, so we celebrate them together.
(why yes, yes I did make that shirt for her for her birthday)
4. Time with the Fam.... out at the farm. Fun. :) My cousin was here from Forks, Washington.  Yes, Twilight fans, this is true. She is the superintendent out there. And I don't get to see her much.  But I actually did get to see her this weekend! We had a big shindig at "the pond." Fishing, 4-wheeling, s'mores, conversation.

5. Rain, rain go away!!! I don't see the flooding this week that I did last week, but we are under a flash flood warning. Many of my friends that live in the county or surrounding communities are flooded in. I went to take pictures of the water and there was not so much as last week. But I did find some mud and now my daughter and I have matching knees! She has a perpetual injury on her right knee that keeps getting re-injured every time it starts to heal! Now my right knee matches hers. This rain is actual the slow, gentle type that I love, but I am in serious need of some sunshine to cheer me. 
My partner in search of rain/flood pics.

6. Bonus! My daughter MADE me start to crochet again. I haven't really crocheted for years! I have a baby blanket I started over 20 years ago that I never finished. But she "needed" me to show her how to make stitches other than a chain. So I started a scarf.  And I finished it. It's very amateur/beginner. I realized about half way through that it is Cowboy colors, so it could be going to my grandson who is a Cowboys fan! ;)
I started this in the late 80's or early 90's.  A little more practice and I'll be ready to finish.

My first crochet project in YEARS! 

Project number 2!

Boo! Summer is over! Hooray, school starts in a few days! I am ready for more structure! And more structure, and more structure! I am actually sick of all the unstructured time.... I need to have more structure and routine and so do my children. Amen? 

Happy Friday everyone! I am so happy to be linking up! And you can too.  Head on over to Doodlebugs and read everyone's posts and link up! Next week, I will have more structure in my life and so much more to post about. Part of the reason I have nothing to post about it is the excess rain. We are in a flash flood warning. So no swimming pictures, no awesome outdoor activities (well, besides the time at the farm between thunderstorms last Saturday), no gardening photos. I could have taken a picture of how tall my grass is already! Sean just mowed on Tuesday and it's about bailing height again! Yikes! I'll be so excited about my teaching adventures next week! 

wet and yet....

this was ALL under water last week.... 

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Five for Friday, on Saturday (what? how did that happen already?)

First of all, Hooray for Five for Friday!! My favorite linky party ever! I can't wait to post my five random things from the week!
It is somewhat normal for my Five for Friday to get posted on Saturday during the school year.  I guess I didn't want to break tradition! Well, I managed to stay pretty busy yesterday, so here are my five today!

1. Moving and rearranging my teacher stuff! Since I won't have my own classroom this year, I have to get all my stuff out of the office closet. I have been trying to get settled back into my house without the use of this closet but it has really slowed me down! I have really big closets in the bedrooms in my house, but I don't have really great storage for linens and towels and such. So I have always used the office closet and put in shelves and other storage for these things, and more (the leaf for the table, etc.). Trying to move in here without use of this space has been really baffling, I just don't know what to do! So... now that I know that I will be doing this tutor position, I am moving stuff around and maybe I'll be able to conquer this. (I feel a little bit like a loser to admit that we've been back in our house for over 6 weeks now, and we are not completely settled).
teaching stuff that is in transit... it's out of the closet and on its way

the office as it is currently, yikes

office closet, almost empty and ready to start filling up again

basement shelves for school supplies.

2. Rain and flooding. *sigh* I have been so happy for all the rain. I keep hoping it will be enough to bring the water table up and end some of the concerns about the future and our water supply (and places like Cheney Reservoir). But I guess that isn't how it works, so if that is really true, then it's time to wish for less rain. Here are a few pics of the park where I usually walk. They were under water earlier this week (and probably again today since it rained again last night).

3. Punky cut off all her hair! I am both sad and excited for her.  Her hair cut is ADORABLE and she is donating her long hair to locks of love. But I will miss her lovely long hair. I won't miss the tears when she doesn't brush it and it gets all tangled.



4. Getting organized. Moving my teaching stuff out of the office is part of this, but I spent time developing menus (7 weeks) and making a grocery list in Microsoft Word. I found out a long time ago that I don't want to plan a meal for every night and buy the groceries for it because I won't actually cook/bake every night of the week (FFY = fend for yourself night; eat leftovers, EZ Mac, etc.). This is a penny-pinching move since we will living on considerable less this year without a salary.  Living on an hourly wage was hard enough when I supplemented with school loans, so I am really concerned about this year. Penny-pinching tip of the day: Walmart will slice, sliver, shred your ham that you buy from the meat section. I bought a *cheap* ham ($4.98 for 2.5 lbs.) and they sliced it for me!

5. School starts August 14. I start on the 13th. I will be a reading tutor at the school I student taught in! I am really excited to reconnect with the teachers and staff, not to mention the kiddos! How are my Kinders doing? They will be second graders this next year! Wow! I can't wait to see them again! And have I ever mentioned that I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE school supplies. I get giddy and light headed when I get in the back to school section!