Friday, August 30, 2013

Class Snapshot

Every year teachers have to compile a spreadsheet with all the important information about each student and turn it in to the administration. You'd think in this technological age that you could just run a report or something, but not when all the information is spread throughout 3 different systems and a paper cum. So here is my snapshot. Oh, I won't be turning this one in...

42 students, 21 in each class
homeroom has:
 15 boys and 6 girls
 8 GT students
 1 Doctor Who fan
 1 student on homebound because she has been battling a cancerous brain tumor since early Spring

afternoon class has:
 12 boys and 9 girls
 1 autistic student, high functioning but needy
 3 girls that I have yet hear speak
 1 student who is in the church class I lead on Sunday mornings. She is very excited about seeing me 6 days a week!
 1 immature Taiwanese child whose parents speak little English
 4 students who have been retained at some point
 1 who despises reading but his parents are sure he should be reading chapter books

All in all, it's an interesting and challenging group. All the kids that aren't accounted for seem to be very sweet, mannerly and willing to do anything I ask of them. So far.

It's going to be a good year!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

My summer has been amazing and it isn't over yet! Nope, I still have a few days left, even if they are peppered with meetings and my mind is on prepping for school. I want to take a minute and review all the interesting things I have found/learned this summer.

1. A use for Twitter - I finally found a purpose for it, and that is Professional Development. This summer I was able to connect with other teachers, librarians, authors, and organizations that are in line with what I do a living. So much fun to be connected to the big wide world out there. I think our hours on Twitter should count for back to school inservice.

2. Diigo - on online bookmark for websites. Imagine if you could take your favorites with you onto any computer. You can! You can also create lists and annotate so you know what you are looking at.

3. - an amazing resource for information that is authoritative and easy to use. It will be an opening screen on my school computers this year.

4. The Book Whisperer - This is a book written by Donalyn Miller that explains why I think we should read books in reading class, instead of do worksheets ad nauseum and play games and talk instead of think. It's like someone took my idea, wrote the book, got it published, and did all the work so people could know what I think.

5. I have not found my next "favorite" "addicting" "amazing" book. I think it just hasn't been written yet. But I am still looking. I have read a lot of "eh,ok" and some "waste of my precious summer" books.

6. Jonathan Friesen - an author with a Christian world view. You can follow him on Facebook with some combination of his name and the word "author". He just published a book called Aquifer with Zondervan's Blink (YA) Publishing. I read snippets and it looks really good. I also got to chat with him at a virtual conference in July. He has Tourette's and a heart for Jesus.

7. The director of the Percy Jackson movie, Thor somebody, and Tamora Pierce, queen of fantasy writing, each answered a question I submitted and it was like they were talking to me! So fun to have a touch with "the big leagues".

8. Getting away from academic and vocational stuff, I learned that my kids are amazing. Not because they are cute or funny or smart. They are amazing because they get along, most of the time. They are amazing because they entertain themselves. They are amazing because they understand that when I say "Take some initiative and do something" I mean "go do chores without me telling you what needs to be done." They are still working on it, but they are learning and I see a great future for them. Future wives, you are welcome.

9. Teaching you child how to make coffee can be an emotional experience. It's a family right of passage.

10. I never want my snuggler to outgrow his need to crawl up in my lap and give me a big ol hug. I'm sure when he is 6 ft tall, I will feel differently, but for now, I want to hang on to those last remaining pieces of childhood. I am really going to miss this stage of life with him.

Those are the top 10 things I discovered this summer. It has been a great break from the routine. I'm still not ready to head back, but at least I know I used my summer well. Living a life of no regrets is a powerful thing.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

T minus

T minus 2 weeks.. and counting. This is the time of year I get all squiggly and nervous and regretful and anxious. There are two weeks until I have to report back to work. Yay for summer! But now I have to make hard choices. Go into the school  and work on my room so that the children will have a pleasant place to learn or stay in my pajamas and watch Netflix? Finally take my car in early for that oil change that is more than a little over due or sleep in? Stare regretfully and the piles of things that didn't get cleaned, organized, or thrown out this summer or half heartedly throw stuff away until the trash can is full to the brim (and then stare regretfully at all that is left and wonder why it doesn't look cleaner)? Grocery shop with the future in mind, stocking up on the sale stuff so I can be prepared in a few weeks when I don't have time to think, or continue the summer once a day trip to the grocery as my whim strikes?

I am not ready to kick life back into gear. Honestly, summer vacation is my dream life. What would I do if I had to get a job that didn't have a long break in the middle of the year? I have no idea. I have been on a school schedule, nonstop, since I started school when I was 5. Not a year off. Straight through. For 35 years. Looking at it like that makes me want a drink of something more powerful that Dr Pepper.

I have choices to make tomorrow that will define my week. I'll let you know how it goes.