Sunday, March 12, 2017

Teaching Life

Weight Loss, Scales, Young WomanI'm on my 2nd week of a "better life" plan. I can admit, I was irritated at the beginning of the week. I got on the scale... and NOTHING changed. My weight was exactly the same. So, I went out and got some doughnuts. I went to school, and snacked on some left over chips from our Homework Club Party. Went to a meeting during planning, and was told ALL of the this STUFF that just had to be done during my 20 minute guided reading groups. (Counted it up, and the time it would take would leave me about 6 minutes to "teach.") Then my lovely angel of a student decided it make goose noises the whole time we were taking a practice writing test. Cue the candy bar!

                                     It was only Monday...
                       ....and the tone was definitely set for the week....
I didn't work out... not once... I didn't drink enough water...not one single day...I ate so much bread... and I liked it...until I was thinking about my goals. Then I was disgusted.
The rest of my week I spent dealing with books flinging at my head, evacuating my class because of a child's meltdown, and reading that everything is happening becausBank, Wooden Bench, Spring, Naturee I'm probably not doing things a certain way. Phew! I thought it was because the children had a hard life and really didn't like when they were asked to do certain things. ::EYE ROLL EXTREME::

Ya'll when I say, I can't wait for this school year to be O-V-E-R I mean I CANNOT WAIT!! Ever have that year? I've heard they come every 5 years or so, and I've had 2 in the last 3 years.

Anyway, enough of the venting.... IT HAPPENED. I stepped up on the scale on Friday morning. It said, "Good Morning! You have lost 10 lbs.!" I couldn't believe it, so I stepped up on it again and it said, "I'm not lying!" In 2 weeks, I have lost 10 lbs, even with one week sucking pretty badly. I spent 2 hours this morning meal prepping. Here's my plan for this glorious shortened week (SPRING BREAK IS COMING!)...

Quiche, Pastry, Crust, Food, HomemadeDay 1: Mini Quiches (5) for breakfast, Tuna and avocado (seasoned like guacamole) for morning snack, Stuffed bread (left over from last week), hummus and raw veggies for an afternoon snack, and then for dinner stuffed chicken breast with roasted asparagus.
Day 2: I made my own Quiche, so I'll have 4 oz. of it, tuna and avocado with some crackers, almond flour coated chicken tenders, raw veggies, and stuffed chicken and asparagus.
Day 3: 4 oz of Quiche, fresh fruit and honey lemon dressing, chicken sandwich, and we are going out to a co-worker's house for dinner.
Day 4: (Ya'll spring break is here!!) So, after sleeping in... I'll probably eat my chicken nuggets because it will be lunch time (LOL!), then some fruit salad from the day before, and finally end on a peanut butter sandwich or La Torta Loca (If you ever come to Nashville, this place is better than Mas Tacos!).
Day 5: I'm off to Indiana. So the food will consist of car ride food (lunchmeat and cheese most likely)

Look at these two baby deer that walked up to me while I was walking!
We are going to our annual Teacher Retreat hosted by some wonderful women Mrs. Ehle and Mrs. Banister, plus some of their amazing friends. If you haven't hear, Principal Gerry will be there. OMG IS HE FUNNY OR WHAT! I'm sorry if you are missing it, but here is how you can see some of the shenanigans going on....Sign up for LIVE! From the Red Carpet. You will get to see some of the fantastic things happening and see who is sponsoring the event like ESGI and GoNoodle.

Back to the exercise routine this week! Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday I will be walking the track and doing the bleacher climb. I get some great stair steps in on those bleachers. It counts as something like 8 flights of stairs. It sure does wear me out, but it's worth it.

Post below what you did this week to help yourself become a better you!

Shoes, Footwear, Runners, Sneakers

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Better Life

The jacket fits! The jacket fits! The jacket fits!

I bought a 3x jacket 6 months ago. I tried it on, but it couldn't zip up. Back and forth I went...should I buy it...should I wait. 

Decisions, Decisions, decisions.

I still bought it, because I thought that it would be warm enough when I had to do car duty. I don't normally zip up my jackets, so I figured it would be ok.

This week I saw my husband walking into the room, and thought dang! He has lost over 250 lbs. in the last year. He's looking really good. I thought to myself, he's been over there losing weight, and I've been here barely dropping anything. When I goes on back up again.

On the right is what I fixed for my meals, and the left is my hubster's!
I began to prepare my breakfasts, lunches, and snacks a couple of weeks ago. That seems difficult and hard, but it's really not. This week for breakfast I'm eating sweet potato hash. Lunch is a Mediterranean chicken salad with fresh tabbouleh and tzatziki sauce. My snacks this week are simply hummus with raw veggies and honey/lemon fruit salad (cantaloupe, kiwi, strawberry, banana, and mango). I spend up to 2 hours on Sunday prepping, cooking, and packing. It's one less thing I have to worry about.

Next, I decided that just changing my eating habits wasn't enough. I needed to get up and move.  At school, they began this group for Fitbit wearers. I felt a bit left out, because I couldn't be apart of the weekly challenges--I didn't own a Fitbit--but I changed that! I went and found one that would get me into the "cool kids" group. 🤣 I began by putting 10k steps on my Fitbit. wasn't enough to just do 10k. I passed the track at the high school down the street. Hmm.... I wonder...

Should I stop? Can I get on the track? Is it trespassing?

After 30 minutes of walking, I had put another 2k steps on the tracker. While I was walking, some other people had come to walk. A lady walked up to the bleachers and started up and down. Hmm, that's easy enough I thought. So, I tried 3x..and I thought I was going to die. So, I went back again the next day...and the next... and I did it again today! Since Monday I have walked 53,525 steps.

I feel better...I mean...I'm so friggin' sore...but my spirit is feeling better. I'm hoping to keep up with this. It's been an uphill battle, but I feel like I can do it...and with the support of my work family (and my own family) I can do this!  

After 5 days... my jacket that didn't zip up...zips up. I was so excited. I am still smiling!

Want to learn more? Come back next week!

Post a comment about what's holding you back or what inspires you to do what you do!

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Keeping the Germs Out!

Allergy, Cold, Disease, Flu, Girl, Handkerchief, Ill
This year, I've only had 2 kids out because of the flu/stomach bug. Only 2! My partner teacher had 4 that was out, while the other teacher had a whopping 5 out last week. I am wondering if what I'm doing is working.

So, two years ago, I decided my janitor shouldn't have to really come into my room that much. I decided that my kids would be in charge of our classroom. They clean the room everyday. They sweep, wipe the floors, clean the boards, clean the sink, and even brush off the classroom rug. Once a week we do a disinfectant day, which I think might have helped keep my kids at school (which keeps them learning!)

Have you gotten this flu/strep/virus thing that's been going around? I haven't...yet...I've been struggling breathing.

Broom, Ragpicker, Mop, Picker, Toilet, CleaningDown here in the South, we struggle anyways because of the amount of constant humidity...but this winter it's been a roller coaster of temperatures. By now we would have had nearly 8 school days out for snow, instead their are districts closing down for the flu! Yesterday, it got down to the mid 30s, and tomorrow's high is 70! My sinuses are dying... like they are ROCK hard.

It made me wonder, what do you do to keep germs out of the classroom?

Years ago, I had read an article that talked about how Japanese schools don't normally employ janitors because the students do most of the cleaning. What an idea! I mean they make most of the mess, they make a bigger mess because they don't have to clean it. Why not give it a try?

Here is what I do...

We have a Lysol day. We take Lysol or Clorox wipes and everyone cleans. We start with our tables (EVEN UNDER THE TABLES--gross) and chairs. They throw those away and clean their cubbies and backpacks. Then we divide and conquer. Some kids clean the bean bags, some clean the door handles, some clean the common areas and counters, some clean the sink handles, some clean the markers. Then there is one child--you know who to pick-- you tell to wipe off everything they have touched that day. 🤣
Lysol Disinfecting Wipes Value Pack, Lemon & Lime Blossom, 320 Wipes (4 Packs of 80 Wipes)

You can even pick up some Lysol wipes from Amazon pretty cheap right now! (They have a $2.50 coupon to apply!) Check out this affiliate link to get yours today.
I noticed that our vents haven't been changed a while at school. I'm wondering if I should climb up there and unscrew it to give it a cleaning and change the filter myself. I'm sure that's a part of the air quality in my room.

What do you do to keep out the germs? Leave a comment below to tell what is working in your room!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

I'm a bad teacher...

I've been beating myself up for weeks months. I've dreamt about office jobs, where I look at a computer screen all day and not worry about the lives of others as much. I've dreamt about picking up my backpack, grabbing my small non-teaching related personal belongings, and walking out the door one afternoon and not coming back. I've sat in my room, car, bathroom stall and have cried my eyes out. Screamed inside my head, and again out loud in my house when my husband wasn't home to hear. I've cussed, argued, and demanded for my school kids as well as my own professional sanity. I've been a bad teacher.

Image result for inspirational teacherI've neglected the better parts of my craft. When people ask me how I like teaching... I have said, "This year has been God-awful...and I don't want to come back." I've dealt with chairs being thrown, threats, screaming, crying, hollering, fighting, stealing, and the worst home stories you can imagine this year. All I can think about is how bad a teacher I am.

These tests we take keep coming. They keep coming, and my kids still perform BELOW average. The kids don't get it. The kids' grades are horrific compared to kids on the other side of town. My scores scare me, they scare my administration... I'm a such a bad teacher.

I'm not staying as late as I have in the past. I'm not coming as early as I have in the past. I'm not coming home and working as much as I have in the past. I feel like it has taken a toll. My grading isn't done as timely. My paperwork is slacking sometimes. I haven't spoken to as many parents as I have in the past. See how bad a teacher I am?

I sit in meetings and am told don't try to win the power struggle as it only hurts your pride... you won't ever win...let it go...walk away. The child that's screaming in the corner and disrupting class will stop if you ignore him/her. I try it. It doesn't work. The kids cover their ears. I try to talk calmly. It doesn't work. I lose my cool, and raise my stops... for awhile. I am a totally bad teacher.

We don't always get through the lessons I have planned out, because we really need to have some quiet time for all of us--me included-- to regain our sanity. I leave the lights off most of the day with the music playing, even during tests so they can stay focused. Sometimes I don't go over their graded work, after I grade it. I don't update my word wall. I have the SAME "I CAN" statements up since we got back from MLK day. I haven't checked homework or binders. I don't know where their go home folders are some days. I forgot to pass out the flyer for the event that's tomorrow night. I didn't do a single running record during guided reading this week. Dang, I still haven't typed out plans for my guided reading groups this week...or next week. I make up lessons on the fly sometimes, because I didn't get to the copy machine before the ink was all used up--or I ran out of copies for the month. I am a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad teacher.
Image result for inspirational teacher
This is ridiculous.

My kids are hungry, their clothes are dirty, they don't have the correct kinds of clothes for the weather. They have no hats, gloves, or scarves... they don't eat the school food because it's not like the fast food they are used to. There is no salt or seasoning in their food. They don't eat whole wheat honey buns or soft shell whole wheat taco shells. I mean...would you? I keep their leftover breakfasts and let them eat those throughout the day, but I'm not supposed to. I am a bad teacher.

I listen to the stories they have to share. How their house was burnt down, they were evicted, they were made to leave... or how they were touched wrongly, or how they aren't allowed to eat, or how they couldn't sleep because they live with so many other people that are up all hours of the night. I hear how they are scared of the gun shots, the sirens, and the knocks at the door. I hear how there is not one person at home until after 10 PM, so they couldn't read their book to an adult or get help with their homework. I'm a really, really bad teacher.

My husband said, after listening to this for the past 7 months, if you are such a bad teacher--why do you tell me about every single kid, every single night? If you are such a bad teacher, why are you spending our vacation money on making sure those kids have pants to wear during the winter? If you are such a bad teacher, why does the administration keep asking your to do things for them or for your co-workers? If you are such a bad teacher, why are you showing me their work--wasn't it a few months ago they couldn't even write a complete sentence and now they are writing essays? If you are such a bad teacher, why do they come in and work so hard for you while giving the other teachers such a hard time? If you are such a bad teacher, why do you brag on the chapter book that one kid is reading when he came to you barely knowing the sounds? Are you thinking you are a bad teacher because of a test the state gives your kids every year? The tests that your district keeps sending you? Why are you so worried about that, when your kids were on a second grade reading level and now they are on or above grade level? They come to you to tell you what's bugging them? They come to you for hugs, even outside of school? They try to add you on social media? You are not a bad teacher.

Image result for inspirational teacher
And... you know what...he's right. I'm not a bad teacher. My class has worked their butts off to get to this point. At the beginning of this year they HATED each other, they HATED school, they HATED life. They came in 2 years behind, and even though they aren't 100% caught up, they have made amazing strides. They are working together more. They are talking more. They are helping each other. They are mostly getting along. Out of the 64 kids I started out with this year... pretty much all of them are on board with school now. They really couldn't even write a sentence on their own in August, and we just published our first 5 paragraph essay. They wouldn't even pick up a book this past August, and now they are begging for better books. They are asking for more homework to better themselves. They are trying.

I've been beating myself up, because I'm not following the "model classroom approach." I'm not chanting and whole brain teaching. I am, however, being the school momma for my kids. I've been hard on them, like really, really hard on them. It's been rough, tough, and dang near impossible...but it's working.

I know this has been an extremely long post...probably THE longest I have made--ever. To all the teachers who feel like I have been feeling, who are overwhelmed, who are working their butts off everyday and night to make sure their kids are loved, educated, and prepared for the world--this is for you...


Know that you are touching lives around you--not just your kids' lives, but your coworkers, family, friends, and more. The kids really aren't going to remember what you taught them, but they are going to remember the love and caring heart you had for them. Make the connections with them. Keep them accountable. Work with them until you can't work with them anymore. Go ahead and scream and cry sometimes. Just know-- you are not alone. Image result for inspirational teacher

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Have you tried these?

I have to tell you about these new Kwik Sticks!

Do you want your anchor charts to really pop on the walls and not fade? I created an anchor chart for my students using the new Kwik Stick-Thin Stiks, and they commented on it right away. They couldn't believe how much brighter the charts were. They asked how I made the colors brighter, and I showed them how the paint sticks worked. Of course they all wanted to use them after that!

Look at the wall! The chart in the middle and on the easel I used the Kwik Sticks too! On the ends, are just markers. :)

When you use them be prepared to be amazed. You don't have to worry about getting ink--or in this case paint-- on you. They dry very quickly, so there is no worry about  messy smears.

Get yours here! (*affiliate link)
Comment on how you use yours. :)

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Communicating with Parents: Teacher Lingo

I hope your week has been fantastic!

In today's blog, I wanted to talk more about communicating reading levels with parents. Last time, I talked about sending a nice little letter home that explained everything and gave hints to parents on what to do at home. This week, I want to talk about teacher lingo.

Have you ever gone to the doctor and leave not knowing what half the things s/he said to you? I know I'm not alone. You are an educated person. You don't want to look dumb by asking them to explain their lingo! Parents feel a similar way.

Make sure to take a second and explain the ins and outs of everything. Yes this takes time, but remember you have been trained to teach kids reading... the parent receiving the info...probably not!

Check out this list from Scholastic about some lingo that you might need to explain some to parents. Your goal is to not intimidate, so you might have a list of words printed so parents can take for some more information. You can break down the words and add definitions in the sentences too. However seems more natural, but make sure you do it! Be very specific. Explain what you need the parent needs to know, don't go into the nuts and bolts unless you really need to.