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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

My Truth Monday (on Tuesday).... My dream vacation

Last week's truth was about holiday disasters. And I was afraid to participate. This week, is about where we would go to get away from the stress. And it was hard to type. Maybe I have too many dream vacations. Maybe it is dependent on where I am at emotionally in this very moment.  Maybe....

I realized I didn't even include a romantic scenario at all. Wow. I think I'm getting better. I love men, don't get me wrong. Wait, that is the point, I love men. And that statement sometimes skews my view on life in the real world. So.... not to toot my own horn, but maybe just a little beep, beep, seems my head is on pretty straight this morning.

What would your dream vacation look like? Head over to Sunny Days in Second Grade and read everyone's. And maybe even link up.

As I read back through here, the truly "dream vacation" for me is the middle one. Sneak off with my bestie.  I have a dream/goal/aspiration to take my kids places someday. I want to take them to Disney World and I want to take them on a cruise.  But those sound like work to me, especially the Disney vacation. I love my time with my girls, and I don't mind making those sacrifices, but the truly indulgent vacation would be the scene when I sneak off from kids, job, pets, and just breathe and relax.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

F4F on Saturday, Thanksgiving, a Rant, and more....

Okay, I have not blogged in longer than I care of be accountable for, and now I am going to try to cram 3 or 4 posts into one post. So bear with me.
Head over to Doodlebugs and read about the everyone's week! 

1. Tis the Season to think of others. Here are the causes near and dear to me.
Operation Christmas Child. Pack a shoebox people. Spread the gospel. Just do it because it is the right thing to do. I don't really care why you do it, just do it. It's a good cause and it spreads hope and joy in a little shoebox. Go to Samaritan's Purse to find out about how to pack your box, and drop off locations. Don't delay, your box needs to be at a drop off by Monday, the 25th. CrossRoads Church in Salina is a collection center.... just sayin'.

Salvation Army.  Drop your change in the bell ringer's bucket. Salvation Army saves lives, both literally and figuratively.  I personally know people who relied heavily on Salvation Army in dark times.  It is one of the best organizations to contribute to because most of the money goes to the cause. There are some organizations that make a lot of money off of our donations, so be careful.
Hurricane Sandy survivor

What organizations are near and dear to you? What do you contribute to or aspire to contribute to?
2. Make a conscious choice to be grateful. I love the idea of being "thankful" for something every day. I think it should happen every day of the year. Sometimes I can't even wait until November to start my Thankful posts on Facebook. Some days, I am grateful to come home and put my feet up and enjoy my warm home.  Some days I am grateful that we have clothes to wear. Sound petty? There are some items in my closet that have needed replacing for years. I am grateful for those who help us when we need it. I have a lot to be grateful for.
(I love the way that Susan Boyle sang this, and so I posted it, I didn't have anything to do with the graphics)

3. Visiting the panhandle....
We took a mental health day last week to visit our friends in the OK panhandle. It was good to see the ladies I worked with, the students I taught, the school, my colleagues new baby, and more. We drove out Thursday night so I (we) could visit the schools we were at while they were in session. Interestingly enough, when we can back from lunch (at Sonic.... this is probably it's own post sometime), there was a fire in the block over from Academy C, and also in the block where my friend and fellow teacher lives! What ended up happening was that the Kinders at Academy C got a fire safety lesson. One of the Kindergarten teachers (my replacement), is married to a fire fighter. So she had her honey come to the school and talk to students about his gear, and fire fighting.

I got to help students with some seat work and then they were to read in their phonics readers. One little guy read in the book Stan's Pigs. He described the picture on the cover. He pointed to the farmer and said, "He is going to kill those pigs." What? Wait a minute. I have been gone too long. I forgot that Seaboard is the largest area employer. Okay.... deep breath.... "Does your Dad work at Seaboard?" Big grin, "yes." (Lightbulb goes on for me, Seaboard Farms raises hogs for production). Next question: "Is he (the farmer) taking the pigs to Seaboard?" Big nod. Ah.... gotcha. Not an emotionally disturbed child, just a kid whose family member works at Seaboard.

I got to see Kelly's new baby!! My colleague/friend/co-worker left Guymon the same weekend I did to move to Florida with her new husband. Their little bundle of joy arrived in September and we planned our visit so we could meet the baby! The precious baby is in the arms of the other Second grade teacher who was Kelly's teaching partner before she left!

I got some time with my children and grubbed up on getting a little time with my girl who is going off to college in the fall. I love any time that we can spend together that she is not working, sleeping, doing homework or hanging out with friends!

I didn't take any pictures with my friend who was my teaching partner, Mrs. Lewis. I love her! She and her husband showed us some amazing hospitality.  I hope to return the favor one day.  I was grateful to see the only friendly teacher in the 3rd grade hallway, Ms. Bandy Barton.  I got to see Mrs. Harris from the library, Mrs. Pierce from the computer lab, Mrs. Watson my principal (love her), and many more people I didn't realize I missed so much! Okay, that was a very personal and probably could have been it's own post, but like I said, I am cramming several posts into this one.

4. Unconditional love. The dog went to the spa, er, I mean the vet, while we were gone and we missed his little wienie self! Our cat patrolled the house and has been super affectionate since our return. I love them both.  And they love me in a sick and obsessive way in which I spend more time being irritated with their undying affection than I do taking the time to enjoy them. But they can change my perspective and outlook with their looks, licks and motor-mouths.
It's impossible to get a good picture of Sam with his eyes open, he
closes them because of the flash.... every time! 

5. Reading! Were you wondering if there was going to be anything teachery (yeah, I am pretty sure that "teachery" IS a word) in here at all? Well, here are the pictures my first graders drew and the sentences they wrote.  We read The Bus Ride this week.  Then they drew their own character getting on the bus and wrote a sentence to go with it. It was awesome to see the connections and their enthusiasm.
1. A zebra got on the bus. 2. A guinea pig got on the bus.
3. A dog got on the bus. 4. A dog got on the bus.

The "real" victory is in regard to fluency.  My intervention kiddos are growing my leaps and bounds and the progress monitoring is showing real progress! Did I really give the reading specialist a high-five. Yes, yes I did. And I'll do it again.  I am primary to the bone and I am not ashamed.

This is actually from LAST week before our trek to Oklahoma, but my Third graders had to research foods from other countries relating to our story The Duke's Banquet.  We learned about foods, countries, banquets, feasts, and more! We also learned about research, "textbook jargon", and how to use our own words! They learned about presenting information and persuasion. Aw.... and here I was thinking our project was not that successful! But look at all we learned! The teacher probably learned more than the students! I learned what worked, what didn't, and some things I can change next time! And did I mention a connection to real life? They were supposed to bring a recipe from home that they might have at a feast or banquet.  I made one of the recipes.... Special Deviled Eggs.  See.... eating IS educational!
Presenting her tri-fold brochure that promotes her
country of Russia and tells about foods from Russia.

Presenting about Japan and the foods that are native
to Japan.

Presenting about the country of Niger and it's foods.

That was fifteen things wrapped up into five. But you can't say I didn't warn you.
Now for a smallish rant.
I am super offended by the new Audi commercial and it's portrayal of people putting their car keys in the donation buckets, that imply that they are donating their less-than-cool cars to Salvation Army. What?! But wait?! I would take any $40,000 car (or more expensive). I would happily trade it in for cash and donate that to homeless and hungry people! But seriously?! I think it trivializes the condition of many in our nation in these economic times and I think it is in poor taste. I think it is made by rich people working for a rich car company thumbing their noses at the average American and especially those who need the services that Salvation Army provides. Okay, that is all. Bad Form. Okay... now that's all. Till next time. And then I just might rant some more.

Monday, November 11, 2013

My Truth Monday.... Celebrity Crush.

Sunny Days in Second Grade is hosting the My Truth Monday again this week. This week is about our Celebrity Crush. Hmmm.... I have had a hard time narrowing it down because I only have 100 celebrity crushes. Or maybe a few more. Hee hee.

Well, Girard Butler doesn't have to have a lot of plot to his shows really. Eye-candy. 

And Eric Dane, or McSteamy....
And then there are these guys. That is all I have to say about this. I feel guilty for even indulging in this linky.

And lastly, I have to thank a Veteran for the privilege of posting this even if I do feel like I need to wash my mind now. I am aware of the great privilege I have living in America today and choosing my career and the pleasures I indulge in, and where I live and who I love. Our country is changing, but I still have a lot of freedoms and I am grateful, and I appreciate all the sacrifice of those who secure those freedoms for me.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

A couple causes near and dear to me

Some important things as we approach the holidays. These are not education driven, but more about the heart, which is an important part of being a teacher as we teach youngsters to become responsible citizens.

I know that the holidays are rough on all of us, empty your pocket for this or that, blah, blah, blah. But from Thanksgiving to Christmas there will be Salvation Army pots in many places.  Please, give them a dollar. Or a nickel. Or the change out the ashtray. But give something.  Salvation army changes lives. And your donation will be put to good use. 96% of all donations go to the cause, unlike some charities. So consider giving to the bell ringer and put some change in the pot. I try to keep a dollar in my console to give on my way and I try to make sure I have a dollar to give on my way out. Why? Because my life is changed today. Salvation army didn't save my life, Jesus Christ and Alcoholics Anonymous saved my life. But I know many people in my situation who have their lives changed by the Salvation and some of those people literally give the credit to the Salvation Army for their life today.  So remember, your gift does make a difference. Go to website and see how the Salvation Army helps those in the community.

You have all seen the Operation Christmas Child promotions and boxes. Pick one up, take it home and fill it up.  They have to be turned in pretty soon.  Operation Christmas Child changes lives for children. Children in war-torn countries and orphanages all over the world who might not get any gifts at all or have any earthly possessions will receive a shoebox sized box full of gifts.  If you are like me, you have a plethora of school supplies stashed away somewhere. I have pencils, erasers, crayons, markers and notebooks stashed in the closet from the beginning of the school year. I often pack party-favors too, because I can buy one package and put favors in several boxes.  I try not to buy THE cheapest thing I can find especially if it looks like it will break right away, but the truth is that I don't have much money and so I buy what I can afford and I pack a box for a child in need. If you go to the website you can gain information about what to put in a box, how to pack it, labels to print for boy or girl, and more.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Second grade guided reading and a dead computer.

Today I am posting from my Kindle fire 8.9.  So the photos I wanted to publish today I will not be able to post. Boo. My laptop has been worked very hard in the time I've had it. It was four, and survived my three years in school, and my first year of teaching and the discovery of blogging and the teaching community in the blog world that brings me to new ideas, new colleagues, new ideas about what to teach and how to teach it. (Rumor has it that there is someone here in town that might be able to fix it.... whoo-hoo).

I was going to post photos of my second grade guided reading group working on the projects we made this week about clouds. First the students read the book All About Clouds, then they chose what sort of project they might do to showcase their cloud information. Two students made informational posters, two made story books using the story kit app on iPods and two students worked together on a diorama! It was really good for them and they worked with difficult vocabulary (cumulonimbus for instance). The really need some direction in the art of research, but they are second graders. One of my second graders put a wives tale about clouds, told to her by her father, in her presentation as fact. So we still have work to do! But it was very creative. Points for style! I was impressed with their hard work, attention to details, and their desire to present their work to the class. We also read a book that is simply titled Clouds. This gave them additional infromation to finish up their research. 
Putting the finishing touches on his cloud poster.

Composing stories in the Storykit app on iPods.

Writing facts to add to the diorama (on pajama day! They earned a reward)

Here are some things I am learning about teaching and myself. I really enjoy teaching the upper groups in guided reading. I like the whole package: reading, comprehension, research, presentation of information in fun and creative ways, and writing-- grammar, composition, and sentence structure. These things make teaching exciting and fun, fun, fun!  I am getting the opportunity to do this with 3rd grade now too. Yep, I have a high group in 3rd grade now too. What I am finding is what my mentors told me all along.... I might really enjoy teaching intermediate grades! I really might love it!! I also know that I am a great Kindergarten teacher. I think first grade would suit me to a tee. Uh huh.... I am discovering that every grade has something to offer and I might enjoy them all! Good to know.... that I am not grade specific!! I am looking to the future with anticipation and excitement. I am hoping and praying "the right job" is out there. I already know that I not good at interviewing.  I am going to do my best to prepare.  I am going to ask some people to give me a mock interview. Hopefully that might help. I am also planning to print out some things about my teaching. My mind goes blank and I cannot remember things I do in my classroom every day! So I plan to take some things, like rubrics, assessments, and so on. I might even type out responses.  I hope that I will not fail miserably because I have to sell myself in the interview in order to prove to a district that I am a fabulous teacher. This is definitely a weakness for me. 

Happy weekend to all. I am in the mood for Christmas!! 

Monday, November 4, 2013

My Truth Monday.... becoming a teacher

Time to link up with Sunny Days in Second Grade for My Truth Monday. This week is our truth about becoming a teacher. Hop over and read everyone's! Here is my truth.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

November Currently....

I'm joining Farley at Oh Boy 4th Grade! for November Currently.

Listening... to Jesse on Disney Channel. Not my favorite, but the Punky is down with a cough and sore throat and watching lots of television. 

Loving... the weather! It's crisp and chilly in the morning, pleasant in the afternoon and cool in evening and at night.  The leaves are falling and turning brilliant colors. I have not seen this much color in the fall for a long time. I think this is the result of the wet summer. 

Thinking... about the future. I have been applying for jobs. I love the people I work with and I am learning so much.  I can only hope to work in a community that is as wonderful as the one that I am in right now. 

Wanting... "a lot of stuff." That is what my niece Ani said when I asked her what she wanted for her third birthday. And that is what I want also. I want "stuff" for my home to decorate, to organize, to improve quality of life. I want to paint some walls. I the office to be magically organized, I want to figure out what the next step would be in the basement and I want to get started. 

Needing... well, when I am honest, I need nothing. My needs are provided I have a great home, children I love, friends I privileged to know and fellowship groups in my life. But I feel like I am atrophying in my current position. I need a little Kindergarten movement, fun, learning, laughing, dancing. I need children to mold and change and love and teach. 

Yummy pin... breakfast casserole. I have not tried this. But it looks like a good one to try for Thanksgiving morning or Christmas morning. 

Find this pin here. Or go to the blog here

Remember the rule of three! Comment on the two posts before yours and go back and comment on the one after yours! Spread some love!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Five for Friday.... less school, more family

Time for Five for Friday. Thanks Doodlebugs for hosting my favorite linky party! Head over and read about everyone's week!
Here are five things from my week.

1. This week I had morning supervision. Our room is responsible for supervision for second grade. Second grade students come to our room waiting for the bell to ring to go to class, and we read to them. One of my colleagues has fabulous Halloween stories, and one day I read: The Hallo-Wiener by Dav Pilkey.  I loved it.  Of course, I have a little red dachshund, so I may be biased.

2. Our first graders are learning color words. I am digging through my color worksheets to find appropriate teaching tools and fun color sheets that help them solidify their color word knowledge.

3. One kiddo is in need of senior pictures. My amazing friend helped us put color in her hair so she is ready for senior pictures.  Not every teenage girl finds her look to be appropriate, but I think it is a great expression of her.


4. Here are my children on Halloween.
I grew up celebrating Halloween. Then I decided I didn't want to celebrate "Satan's holiday." Then I looked at how many other holidays have "pagan" origins. So to say I've been a bit wishy-washy with my girls in my views on Halloween and it's celebration would be accurate. I want to model my spiritual beliefs for my children but I think my example is best given when I remember the power of my beliefs. As a teacher, I want children to feel free to come to my house and to feel safe.  I want them to have fun. I think it would be appropriate to say to myself, "lighten up!" That's my goal.

5. This little Punkin was born three years ago.  She's a little miracle and we all love her. My friend Sara and her children suffered devastating loss when their baby Isabella died of sudden infant death syndrome. It was extremely traumatic. And this little miracle came along and brought healing for her family, which I have no "real" claim on, but I claim to be a part of anyway.
For her birthday she wants.... "a lot of stuff!" (in her favorite
colors~ pink, and blue, and purple!)