Aaah! I’m Back!


I have been unable to post because, first, my own personal laptop was broken by one of my students. Secondly, the L.A.U.S.D. laptop that I’m using suddenly stopped allowing me to post. Well, I was on one of my favorite websites, Ebay, and figured out how to fix the problem.

Thank goodness. I’m back. I’m back. I’m back. I can be my usual post-a-holic self.

Underwear by Mary Elise Monsell


Underwear (1988), written by Elise Monsell and illustrated by Lynn Munsinger is a charming little book. I bought it a couple of years ago for David. He enjoyed it, but Phillise loved it. She thought it was so funny.

The title character in the book is Zachary Zebra who did not like buttons or snaps or zippers. But he did like underwear. All kinds of underwear in all colors and prints and styles.

His best friend, Orfo the Orangutan, who also loves underwear, is coming for a visit. Together, they go to the World’s Greatest Grassland Underwear Fair and purchase as much underwear as they want.

Phillise especially loved the part where they buy all types of underwear- orange spotted underwear, underwear with palm trees and bananas, zebra striped underwear, leopard spotted underwear, and underwear with fish and monkeys….

They have lots and lots of fun, until they run into the unhappy buffalo, Bismark the Buffalo who absolutely refuses to like underwear.

Although this book doesn’t teach academic skills, it does teach social skills, like how to get along with others, how to have a good attitude, or even how to be a friend.

Follow Zachary & Orfo’s adventure as they try to get Bismark to like underwear. Will they succeed?

Pick it up for yourself if you’d like to find out.

The Hungry Thing by Jan Slepian & Ann Seidler


I am so happy that I found this book, The Hungry Thing (1967), written by Jan Slepian & Ann Seidler, with pictures by Richard E. Martin. It is very hard to find. I found it on one site for $87.00. The cheapest that I found it for was $27.00 on Ebay. I knew that I would find it if I waited and bided my time.

Well, I did find it; and for the price that I wanted. I found it on Alibris for $7.99 + $3.99 shipping & handling. I wanted it because I read its’ companinon book- The Hungry Thing Returns- and had to see what the prequel was like.

N-e way, on to the review. This book is about a thing- a hungry thing. He suddenly appears in town with a sign that says “Feed Me”. All the adults try to figure out what the Thing wants when he asks for shmancakes… and tickles… and hookies… and gollipops.

A young boy provides the voice of reason and figures it out.

Children are invited to figure out what the Hungry Thing is asking for. This book makes a great read aloud. It’s also great for teaching and/or reinforcing rhyming.

Here’s an example:

“He’s underfed. Have some bread,” said a lady dressed in red.

“It seems to me he’d like some tea,” said a fellow up a tree.

“A bit of rice might be nice,” said a baby, sucking ice.

The townspeople band together and feed it until it’s satisfied. Finally, it turns its sign around which says, in big letters, “THANK YOU!”

There are two sequels- The Hungry Thing Returns & The Hungry Thing Goes to a Restaurant. I have The Hungry Thing Returns, but need to find it in the mountain of books in Phillise’s room. I guess I’ll have to find The Hungry Thing Goes To A Restaurant @ the LAPL. Once I do, I’ll post a review.

Until next time people!

*** This book is great for rhyming.***

Got A Story To Tell…


*** WARNING- This post is kinda’ long ***

Got a story to tell, like to hear it, here it goes. All this week is Vacation Bible School (VBS) at my church. I love it. This usually signifies that the school year is over, firstly. Secondly, I get to spend the whole week with my husband and my children. It is so much fun with quality family time.

It’s about reconnecting with people you probably haven’t seen all year. It also serves to remind you that time is indeed passing when you realize that the children who used to be in my & Phillips’ class (Beginners, ages 4-5), are now in the teen department.

My, how time flies!

Anyway, I digress. My story that I need to tell is one about me being a jackass. That’s right, I said it, a jackass. Why do I say that? I say that because I haven’t been able to enjoy my vacation that was supposed to begin on Tuesday, but hasn’t yet. To top things off, I have not been a good sport about it.Read More »

Thought I’d Never Finish


Whew! I finally finished cleaning my classroom. It was such a mess.

Firstly, I inherited very messy closets. Nothing was in order. I didn’t know what I had in that closet for a couple of months until I had the time to fully clean them out.

When I finally finished, I discovered that I actually had some pretty good stuff in there. Fast forward 2 months before the end of school and you’ll see me messing the middle cabinet up.

The problem began when the Principal complained about the stack of papers on my desk. Since I didn’t have the time or the desire to sort those papers out, I shoved them in the closet. Hence the mess in the middle closet. This wouldn’t have been a big problem if I didn’t have to store everything in the class into three closets.

Ya’ know what that means? It meant that I had to straighten out the cabinet and do it quickly. I cleaned it and managed to store everything. Boy was that a challenge.

Being An Assistant Is Not The Same


Ever since November, when I got the  shock and wake up call of my life when I started my first teaching job. I have found out that being an assistant is not the same as being a teacher. If I didn’t know it before then, I know it now. It was a very rude awakening.

When I was an assistant, I had virtually no responsibilities. When the bell rang for the day, I left. When school was over at 2:30, I was gone. Looking for me at 2:31 was useless because you weren’t going to find me.

Now, when school is out @ 2:30, you can still find me; sometimes until 4:30.

Yeah, a big difference I know, but that’s what being a teacher is all about. Putting in the time necessary to achieve mastery and be the best that you can so the students can benefit. I have moved on to the third stage of teaching, which is mastery. That’s where I am now. The survival stage didn’t work for me. That is not a good place to be. I cannot imagine staying like that. I would leave the profession before I would stay there.

So, here’s to moving on to mastery!

Here, here!

Laptop Down


My laptop is down. One of my students decided that he wanted my personal laptop. He thought that if he broke it that I would give it to him to fix it and to have it. Of course I felt like killing that kid, but there is nothing I can do because I have no proof. Just my knowledge that he asked for it and that he was the only one near it. He also happened to point out that the screen was no longer on.

Needless to say, I have not been able to be my Post-a-holic self. No need to worry though, I am in the process of getting it fixed. After that, it will be posting as usual.

I’ve Been Through The Storm And The Rain…


Those words are the beginning of a gospel song that I just love. It says so much.That is exactly the way that I feel. I’ve been through so much this year- with it being my first year of teaching.

Everyone kept telling me that it would get better. Needless to say, I just did not believe them. I could not see the forest for the trees. It seemed like everything was so unnecessarily complicated and unusually hard.

Even though it was a hard time, I had to ask myself if I was glad the school year was over. Well? Yes and no. I’m happy that I have a small break for the summer. But, I am really going to miss the kids. I didn’t think that I would say that at the beginning of the year. Even though someone told me that I would, I just didn’t believe them.

I thought that surely they didn’t know what they were talking about because they hadn’t met my students. As it turned out, they actually did know what they were talking about because, as I stated earlier, I do miss them.

Although there is one student who I am happy to report that I don’t have to deal with or see any longer. I guess there’s always one!

I Made It!


I cannot believe it. I made it through my first year of teaching. There were so many times that I wanted to give up and quit.

Thankfully my pride, my teaching program, and my student loans just wouldn’t allow that.

But, yes it’s finally over! I cannot believe it passed by so fast. It’s like a blur. I can barely remember anything; even the bad.

I truly accepted the good with the bad because it was definitely the best of times and worst of times.
I am sad and I am happy. I always feel like that at the end of the year.

During the year, I think that I just can’t wait for it all to end because this kids are just stressing me out so much.However, once the time comes for the end, I start getting all teary eyed and emotional. I know many teachers feel like this. I guess I’m just going to have to learn how to deal with it.

Back At School


I’m back at school after having been absent all last week. I finally got the training that I so badly needed.

It was excellent. I feel great. I finally feel prepared. I hope that I no longer feel like an incompetent boob anymore. I know that everything takes a bit of practice, but I am so willing to learn.

Here’s to a good year in the fall now that I’m prepared!

In Such A Funk…


I am so bored. I have been in such a funk lately. I don’t even know what to do with myself.

T.V. shows that used to excite me no longer do so. I don’t want to read. I don’t want to write. I don’t want to stay in, but I don’t want to go out. What is wrong with me?

Missing Them…


Even though the students in my classroom are so unruly and sometimes disrespectful, I miss them when I am absent. Last week, I was away from them for a whole week.

I’ve never been absent for a week!

I called one of my assistants to check up on them and found out that three of them had been sent home. One of them was expected. He always misbehaves. The other two were a little bit of a surprise.

Lil’ Man began misbehaving little by little about two weeks ago. Even though he started misbehaving a little while ago, I was still surprised that he had to be sent home. He’s never had to be sent home before. It looks like I’m going to have to bring his mother in on this. Especially since he’s going to be in my class next year, I really need her help with this.

I don’t need another discipline problem. However, I will do it like I usually do, slow and steady.

Until next time people!

Teaching Someone How To Read!


Teaching someone to read. Ah, what a challenge! That has been one of my most pressing problems this year. Most of my class (7/11 students), either could not read or was reading 2-3 levels below grade level. Hence, the behavior problems.

Note: Students who act up because they have reading problems would rather be thought of as “bad” than “stupid”.

I knew what to do right away, but my energies were so scattered that I didn’t put them into practice right away. After I got it together, I started it. The “it” that I refer to is a solid phonics foundation. (Here is a link to an article that explains it all: http://www.succeedtoread.com/phonics.html)

However, I knew that I had to get the class in order or no learning would be going on. Once that task was accomplished, I got on with the task of teaching those students how to read. I will write all about it when school is out for the summer and I have more time.

A Fancy Nancy Party!


Just in case you don’t know about Fancy Nancy (2005), it’s a children’s book, written by Jane O’Connor & illustrated by Robin Preiss.

The first book in the series is Fancy Nancy. The second is Fancy Nancy & The Posh Puppy, and the last one is Fancy Nancy- Bonjour Butterfly.

The little girl in the book, Nancy, has to have everything fancy. She loves all kinds of fancy stuff like feather boas, glitter, crowns, bright & bold colors. She’s so unlike her family who are extra plain.

Hence, the fancy dress up parties to promote the book. I had planned to take Phillise to one of the parties when the book debuted, but I worked Saturday school and ended up missing all of them. So we have decided to throw our own.

Since I missed the parties, I am in the midst of planning our very own Fancy Nancy party for Phillise & a couple of her cousins in July. I was just at Michael’s Saturday night buying some items to complement the theme of growns and everything fancy.

I am going to make memory books for all six five girls with this oh so girly paper.

It is so cute. It’s pink with burgundy & black dresses and purses on them.

As an added bonus, I bought some stuff for Phillise & her cousins to decorate (magic wands & foam crowns). I am also going to buy them some fancy feather boas and play necklaces for dress-up fun.

It is going to be so great. I am so excited. I will write more about it and actually upload pictures of the event. Phillise and I wrote a post about it on her blog. Click here to check it out: www.phillise.wordpress.com

A Tribute!


This post is dedicated to one of my professors-my favorite professor @ Azusa Pacific University- Kathleen Berk. She fought a brave battle to the end, but in the end, the cancer won. It was a very aggressive cancer. She worked until the end, relying on oxygen to sustain her as she fulfilled her obligation to the end.

I am really going to miss her. I am mostly mad at myself because I was asked to organize a group of my old classmates to see her to pep her up. I hemmed and hawed and did nothing. I communicated with her by e-mail, but I never saw her again because of my procrastination. That is something that I will think about for a long time.

There’s nothing I can do about it now. I will just have to deal with it and do better with this nasty procrastination habit that I’ve developed.

I just want to say a belated I love you to my favorite professor/teacher/encourager Kathleen Berk. A praying, virtuous woman to the end.

I am unable to make it to her memorial service tomorrow @ 11 a.m., but I will be there in spirit.

Goodbye Kathleen. You will be missed.

She Turned Around!…


Let me start by saying that Memorial Day was a phenomenal day. I barely have the words to describe how I’m feeling. I released over 30 years of pent-up hate and anger I had for my maternal grandmother. I knew that all the drama surrounding the relationship that my brothers & sisters and I had for her was not good, I did not know that it affected me to the extent that it did.

Let me explain. You know how little children or even an adult will look at someone with the side eye of death. (Boy, if looks could kill.) Well, if the person being given the side eye of death, doesn’t turn around and acknowledge the person giving the side eye of death, then all of their power is taken away. Well, it’s the same situation here.

That’s how it’s always been with my grandmother. My sisters & brothers and I would be giving my grandmother the side eye of death (figuratively), but she would never turn around. We harbored such resentment because she always played favoritism with a particular aunt’s children. We only wanted her to acknowledge that she wronged us. Even though it wouldn’t have been much, it would have been a start.

She finally did on Memorial Day. She gave me and each of my brothers & sisters a hug and told us that she loved us no matter what we think.

I was overwhelmed with emotion. I didn’t know what to do or say. Everything that I’d been feeling for the past 25 + years came to the forefront and I didn’t know what to do. Where does 25 + years of anger go?

Now I have a dilemna. The problem: I never stopped to consider how I would feel if she ever did acknowledge that she wronged us. Nor did I stop to consider what I would do if she ever acknowledged it. What would I then have to do to continue the healing process? How would I explain to my six year old that my maternal grandmother lives about 2 miles from us and she has never seen her? How would I now try to begin a relationship with someone who is a virtual stranger to me, my children, and my sisters & brothers?

I guess that I am going to have to deal with this and approach the situation like I always do and just deal with it. What a situation. I am happy, sad, scared, and excited all at the same time.

A Hectic Saturday!


I had such a hectic & crazy Saturday. It took me awhile to calm down. The day started off normally enough. However, by 4:00, I was in tears.

Why?

Well, my husband and I went to a hazardous waste disposal site. Our plans after that was to go to one of my sister’s house for a little scrapbooking. So, I put my miniature die-cutting machine in the trunk along with the hazardous waste we wanted to dispose of.

Why, oh why, didn’t I think to make sure the people didn’t take my die-cutting machine, I don’t know; but I didn’t. So, long story short, my die-cutting machine was taken out of the trunk and disposed of. And if you’re wondering if I cried, the answer would be yes. Of course I did. I am such a big fat crybaby!

I was so upset. I didn’t even want to go to my sister’s house. I still went, and surprisingly enjoyed myself. I still wish that I could have a do over though regarding my machine.

Oh, well!

Max Elliot Anderson News!


Here’s the latest on author Max Elliot Anderson:

Kid’s adventure author sends message in a bottle.

Max Elliot Anderson, author of action-adventures and mysteries for kids, has begun a real life adventure to encourage summer reading. On Saturday, May 31, he released a special bottle into the Rock River, near his home of Rockford, Illinois.

“Since most of my books contain adventures, and are written especially for boys 8 – 12, I wanted to do something different this summer, to point out the importance of reading in America. That’s because I grew up hating to read.” His blog, Books for Boys, ranks in the top 10 searches on Google.

He placed the bottle into the river, downstream from a spillway. “I know there are lots of hazards and obstacles in the rivers,” Anderson said. “But I’m hoping my bottle makes its way to the end of the Rock River, and into the Mississippi. If it gets that far, then who knows?”

The large, clear, plastic bottle is decorated with blue tape. Inside is a special card. When the card is returned to the author, he will send a set of his books to the person who found it. Also included is a forever stamp. “That way,” he said, “it won’t cost the finder anything to claim the prize, no matter when they pull it out of the water.”

The prize card includes instructions for proper disposal of the bottle, or recycling. “I don’t consider my message-bottle to be litter since I’m confident someone will find it one of these days.”

This summer adventure is in keeping with what young readers have reported, after reading Max Elliot Anderson’s books. “Reading one of your books is like being in an exciting or scary movie,” several have said.

“It’s vital,” Anderson said, “that we teach our children to turn off the TV, put away the video games, move away from the computer, and pick up a book. Reading helps to exercise the imagination in ways that nothing else can.” His books include North Woods Poachers, Mountain Cabin Mystery, Big Rig Rustlers, Secret of Abbott’s Cave, and Legend of the White Wolf. “Each book has completely different characters, and takes place in a different part of the country,” he said.

Anderson’s books have been compared by readers and reviewers to Tom Sawyer, The Hardy Boys, Huck Finn, Nancy Drew, Tom Swift, Scooby-Doo, Lemony Snicket, and adventure author Jack London. His books are equally enjoyed by boys and girls.

Anderson’s prize bottle could possibly make its way past Moline, and Davenport, to St. Louis, past Memphis, and all the way to New Orleans. “Hopefully someone will fish it out of the river before it gets to the Gulf,” he said with a smile.

“What better way to get kids excited about the adventure of reading, than to give them a real adventure this summer?” Anderson asked. He encourages young readers, who live along the Rock and Mississippi rivers, to be on the lookout for the bottle.

“Even if you aren’t the lucky one to find it,” Anderson said, “why not read a good adventure this summer anyway?” (Photos available on request to mander8813@aol.com)

Author Web Site

http://www.maxbooks.9k.com

Books for Boys blog

http://booksandboys.blogspot.com

Max Elliot Anderson

P O Box 4126

Rockford, IL 61110

(815) 877-1514

Mander8813@aol.com

A Sticky Situation!


I am in such a sticky situation. My position for next year is so up in the air. That’s why we, most of the teachers in L.A.U.S.D., are going to be walking out. It’s only going to be for an hour. We will be picketing in front of the school and passing out leaflets to parents and passer-bys.

Because of this I will possibly not be returning to my students. Even though at times I was ready to walk out on them, I don’t want to leave them. I am so attached to them. As a class, we have been through so much. I remember my first day that I saw my class. I was asked to observe the class, for as long as I thought necessary, by the A.P. & Principal, and prepare a lesson accordingly.

I entered the class, and was taken aback. It was chaotic at best. However, I had a good feeling about it. I knew that, no matter what the situation looked like, I could turn it around. And I did!

Looking back now, I think that I was crazy to think that. What made me think I could do it? I don’t know, but I did.

I have been in a very reflective mood lately and I have been thinking about my class. I don’t want to leave them. As much as I want to throttle some of them, I feel like they are a part of my heart.

I bring all this up because, as I stated before I strayed, my position is in jeopardy. Since I am an intern, I may very well be replaced by a teacher with more experience. However, how will that “more experienced” teacher deal with my students. Will he/she be as patient with them as I am? Will they understand their disabilities and give them work to meet them at their level? Will they love them as much as I do? Will Lito get the atttention he needs? Will Robin get the attention he needs?

I guess I need to let it go because if it happens, it happens; there’s nothing I can do about it. But I am worried about them. I just want the best for them. I would really like to be there for them. But as I said, only time will tell.

What Is Pink Hand?


What is pink hand? That is what my little girl, Phillise, asked me a couple of minutes ago.

That is such a funny question. The funny part is that I knew exactly why she was asking me that question. My little boy, David, is such a germaphobe that he will not use my older son’s bathroom. He is constantly up in arms about some kind of germ.

In this case his apprehensions were well founded. Phillise has pink eye. She slept in his bed last night and he is terrified. My husband made the mistake of telling him that pink eye is highly contagious. So, of course he (rightfully so) thinks that Phillise is so diseased.

I hope he feels better after she comes from the doctor tomorrow!

Just The Way I Feel…


It’s the end of the year and I’m starting to feel that old familiar feeling-melancholy. I hate this feeling. I feel so vulnerable, so emotional, so out of control.

I have such conflicting feeling. On one hand, I want the school year to end. However, on the other hand, I know that as much as I have wanted to throttle some of the children in my class this year, that I am going to miss them.

If you think about it, I, and other teachers, spend more waking time with other people’s children than they do during the day. Teachers  have so much influence on the lives of their students- positive or negative. Conversely, students also have a tremendous influence on the lives of teachers- whether it’s positive or negative as well.

I’m just putting this out there here and now that I take my job very seriously. My job is more than just a job; it’s a commitment;  it’s about caring and making a difference.