Looking Back…

Looking back, it’s funny how things go. Not like ha! ha! funny, not like ironic funny either, just funny! I’m talking about me- how I’ve changed. Since my 1-year anniversary is fast approaching, I’ve been reading back on my post from a year ago and I can see the change in myself. Even my writing has changed. Thank God it’s for the better.

While reading back on my writings, I see how I was working things out as I wrote. Just like I did yesterday and today. That’s what I love about writing. It lets me express myself, instead of keeping it bottled up. Not only that, I have been documenting and recording certain events in my life.

As I said a long time ago, I love this thing called a blog!

I’m On A Roll…

Ever since that b.s. yesterday with the principal, I have been in a very reflective mood. It made me put my money where my mouth is. I know that there are areas that I need to tighten up in. That b.s. yesterday was just the push I needed.

Now, I am on a roll. I went home yesterday and did a lot of research about how to get these children writing.

Another resource that I have access to, that I love is Socratic Learning. It’s an online tutor for teachers. You can type in any question and get an answer. It can be anything from what strategies to use to help with letter recognition to submitting a paper to see how many run-ons and/or fragments a paper has.

Later, I will share a little technique they shared with me to aid in letter recognition.

So, until next time!

In A Better Place Today…

Today I am in such a better place. After the informal observation with the principal yesterday, I was p.o.’d. However, once I calmed down, I realized that it was a good thing. I did not bring my A-game like I usually do. I have been making all kinds of excuses and coming up with reasons why I have not been able to do my best. But, once you get down to it, that’s all they were were excuses.

I made a vow to myself that I would not be a slacker anymore. I fell off the wagon very quickly, but I am going to get right back up. I am in a better place today. Halleleujah and thank you Jesus.

Still In High School?

I really feel like I am still in high school. Nothing has changed from that time. You still have to be part of the in crowd. You still have to kiss ass.
When I was younger, I thought, “I can’t wait to grow up. I won’t have to deal with all of the b.s. of young-minded people”.
Oh, how wrong I was. Things are no better. In fact, it’s even worse now because the people acting out are alleged adults.

Although the nitpicky little b.s. that the principal wrote down didn’t bother me like it would have had I been less secure with myself, it pissed me off. She made it sound like I was on the phone during instructional time when I am on the phone when I am signing in, and/or going to the teacher’s copy room to make copies. She wrote down that I spend too much time on the phone. This is laughable because I have leftover minutes all the time.

Things like this quite literally makes me want to slap the perpetrator. I really mean that. I am not happy with my current placement. I wish that I could go back and not take the job. Even though I have learned so much, this job has been a constant source of stress. I know that things definitely would have been better if I would have had support. Any support at all. I would have loved to have had any type of training.
But, oh well. I guess you can’t have everything. Something would be nice, but no sense in wishing. I need to make things happen for myself.

A J.D. moment…

If you watch Scrubs, then you know what I’m talking about. J.D., a character on the show always has these moments where he spaces out. It’s usually at an inappropriate time. Something like earlier… like when I was talking to the principal after my informal observation. I totally had a J.D moment. I spaced out when she started firing off a bunch of questions that she didn’t particularly want answered. I totally spaced out.

Since she talked through my break I started eating my snack. Secondly, I looked at my toes and thought how much they needed to be repolished. Next, I considered returning Traci’s call. While she was talking. Because I forgot she was talking.

She told me that I needed to take things seriously. I told her that it was just one of those days where nothing went right. She didn’t believe me; but it was. Right now, I couldn’t buy something going right for me.

Anyway, she picked on everything. She told me that I couldn’t talk on the phone while signing in (sometimes @ 7:00 a.m. when there are no students there), when I’m walking to the copy room, or in my room (even when the kids aren’t there). Mind you, I’m not using any instructional time. She just wants control. That’s it. Control. It reminds me of George Orwell’s 1984 where they wanted power. They didn’t want money or luxury or sex; just power.

That’s my rant for the day. Probably for the next couple of months. So bye for now.

**Just remember, nothing too good or too bad lasts for too long.**

Storytelling Unit Opener, Part 2

My task for the Unit Opener (the link to the theme) was to help make memories and stories of past events that are treasures a family can share. I came up with a great idea. I die-cut doll bodies in five Lakeshore People colors in assorted shades of browns to represent most of the colors of the children in the classes. Ahead of time, I made one of myself from a darker brown die cut, short hair that I drew on, small stud earrings, and a dress, with a backpack and a ruler. I shared this with the students who thought it was so cute. I told them that, for the exercise, they were going to make one of their own to tell their own story.

As I held up my example, I asked the students who it was. “It’s you!” they all said.
“How do you know?” I asked.
There was various answers. All correct.
“Good. I’m glad you get it,” I said. When you get yours, I want to be able to tell what your “story” is about.
Since this assignment was all about memories and connections, and since I love reading and doing read alouds, I chose Natasha Anastasia Tarpley’s “I Love My Hair”.
My connection(s): The little girl in the story had braids. My mother used to braid my hair; I now braid my daughter’s hair.
So that everyone could see, I made an 11″ X 17″ poster of the front of “I Love My Hair”. I passed around a picture of my daughter with braids for the class to see. (The students always love to see my children. I think it’s because they think that teachers aren’t real people and don’t have real lives.)

I also used some real life examples. A couple of the little girls in some of the classrooms had braids, so I had them stand up and instructed everyone to look at their braids. This served two purposes. It’s a real life example, plus the student who’s receiving all the attention feels special.
I had three copies of the book- a board book, a hardcover book, and a book made by my daughter Phillise. As I read, I let two students in the class (usually the ones who have behavior problems) be my helpers and hold up the board book and Phillise’s book so that everyone could see. After reading the story, I had other students pass out the construction paper for them to glue their die cuts on, the doll die cuts, scissors, glue/glue sticks, crayons, ribbon, and pencils to draw with.
It turned out really well. I had a wonderful time. The children had a wonderful time. It was great. How funny that I always think that I’m not going to be able to fill the time, or that the children won’t be engaged. It’s never happened. Although I had one little girl say that she didn’t want to do it.
“Oh stop it girl,” I said. You are at school. You don’t have a choice. You are here to work.
“Isn’t that why you came to school?” I asked her.
She shook her head.
“Okay then, get to work”.
“Do you need help?”
(blank stare) So I go and help her.
She didn’t finish, but she didn’t give me trouble either. Mission accomplished.
I worry for nothing!

Unit Opener (Storytelling) was fantastic!

Even though I am exhausted afterwards from standing on my feet, I have to say that I really look forward to the Unit Openers.
I love the team spirit amongst the other third grade classes. We all work together to come up with something related to the unit that will wow the kids. It’s fun. The children are always engaged and learning.
It’s a bit of a break from the everyday dealings with my classroom. I love interaction. By participating, my class gets a chance to be a part of things like everyone else. I get a chance to interact with so many other children during the day besides my own. It is a refreshing change.
The first time I did a Unit Opener, for the Imagination Unit, I started off with a DVD of Harold & the Purple Crayon. Before I started the video, I tried to access prior knowledge by asking if anyone had every heard of it. There were one or two who had. We discussed it and talked about what we liked about it.
I also explained to them that Harold used his imagination, so while they were watching the movie they were to use their imagination to think of a super power they would have if they could use their imagination and think up a new character. For this assignment, they were to make up their own character and three superpowers. It turned out great. I’m doing my weekly lesson plans now so I will write about it later.