I’ve been debating if this really IS the first weekend of summer since most of it was spent fretting over school and cleaning/packing up my classroom. In the end, however, I decided it still counted because there would be no commute into school on Monday. I’ve stepped away from blogging for a variety of reasons but, in truth, I think it was stress and anxiety that caused most of the silence. This has been a tremendously difficult year and one that has left me reeling. I have been counting down to the end of school since January – and not in an exaggerated, dramatic way. I literally would not have made it through if I hadn’t kept my eye on the end of the 2016-2017 school year.
I’m looking forward rather than backward, and so I’m resurrecting this old blog.
Good heavens teaching right up through the 23rd is not for the faint of heart! My kiddos have been bonkers since Thanksgiving but they’re slowly building up to all out madness.
We had a snow squall on Thursday that none of us were expecting. When it started to snow, it wasn’t that big of a deal but then it really started coming down. I will admit for a hot minute I thought we might actually get an early dismissal. But then it stopped and the sun came out so my hopes were dashed. You really would think these New England kids had never seen snow before. Thank goodness it was during snack!
We’ve been working on Holidays around the world. My own child is getting ready to spend his 2017-2018 school year in another country so I’m feeling a bit international lately. The kids spent some time working on their own traditions before we moved onto traditions in other countries. And we enjoyed finding out that some of our traditions are a result of where our families came from. That’s the best part about teaching is watching them get excited over things we adults take for granted.
And in a totally unrelated but oh so thrilling for second grade, we started learning about fossils and dinosaurs in science this week. It was a little funny to teach this lesson about fossils and how long they take to form and follow that with a quick salt dough fossil activity but it was one wildly engrossed classroom.
Full Disclosure: I went to bed at 7:30 last night with a combination stress headache/virus that won’t go away. Really it isn’t a surprise that I woke up at 2am. I’ve had a disjointed week that has left me firmly here:
Monday we had a regular day and I was lucky to have my daughter with me to organize the classroom library, help record the kids’ sight word reading, etc. I was still feeling like death warmed over.
Tuesday was a district PD day. It was wonderful to hear about blended learning until you find out there is no tech budget to support all the amazing things we had dangled in front of us. Gee, thanks.
Wednesday…oh Wednesday, I was not a fan. We no longer have music and Spanish because the teacher had to resign for (serious) health issues. It’s temporary until we get a replacement but…that gives me three days straight with a 20 minute break. Unless the people who monitor lunches are out. Which they were. I had a lot of do in that 20 minutes, wasn’t feeling well, and needed to mentally prepare for an afternoon conference. Me…in a really grumpy bad mood and hosting a pity party.
Thursday…second conference. Another one tomorrow. Student struggles in school that I want to help solve but its beyond my abilities as a teacher. I’m not special ed, I don’t have mental health training. I’m just trying as hard as I can. But I’m missing that support component I’d have in a public school.
So now it’s FRIDAY!!! I have another conference today. But it’s also a half day and we’ll be doing a Walk-a-Thon to a nearby nursing home to join the residents in saying the Rosary. And Monday is a holiday. Thank the Lord!
I survived Week 2…just. The temperatures this past week were in the upper 80’s and with high humidity. I truly do not know how I grew up in the South where weather like this was and is normal. I had three fans going and was drinking water like there was no tomorrow (at least my skin’s looking good). We even had out of uniform Thursday and Friday. Nothing helped.
Second grade, my friends, is proving to be trickier than I’d thought. I have a class of sweethearts but they are chatty and they are young! Oh my. I need to rethink basically everything and quickly!
In reading my science curriculum very closely I realized that every other day is a lab. I love this because it means they are doing things instead of listening to me talk but it also means a ton of prep. My room is FILLED to the brim with furniture and I think I really inherited old preschool furniture. It’s crowded in there and not in a good way.
My dear 2nd graders are used to, and like, sitting near me and the Smart Board or the easel but they are not good at choosing smart spots where they will listen to me and not their BFF. I’ve been on the fence about ordering Sit Spots but I’m breaking down and getting them this week. I also read on their website that the Sharpie paint pens can be used to write on them so I can number them with the kids’ numbers to make sure they are sitting far away from their friends in the best spots for them.
We’ve been working on building our reading stamina but we’ve spent some time in the auditorium (air-conditioning). I’m trying to transition us back into the classroom but we’re having the about difficulties. Actually it’s only with three kids but…can’t just pick out three kids even if they and the class know who they are! So I’m going to go ahead and get myself some pillows from IKEA. I’d almost decided against it after talking with other teachers who stopped using them because of lice concerns but it gets darn cold in Connecticut and I want them to be comfy while they’re reading or we’re going to stay at 8 minutes forever. At $3.99 a pillow, I won’t cry if they fall apart in the wash.
Also this year, I went with Brag Tags which my kiddos love but they also need to have some sort of tangible goal to keep their chattiness in check. So I am back with my trusty Class Dojo. I did tweek it a bit with this class though. Because I am using Brag Tags and because they are younger, I am not taking away points. The mere sound of Class Dojo straightens them up pretty quickly so even though they hear the losing points sound the points are set to -0. Hopefully they don’t figure me out!
I’d spotted the above image on Pinterest back in June or July, I think, and was intrigued. I’d used this highly complicated list of “privileges” like iPad time or lunch in the classroom because I didn’t want to be shelling out even more money (teahers, you know what I’m talking about) but it got to be a royal PITA. This system from Crazy Critter Café is much much easier because everything in there can be bought at the Dollar Tree or Oriental Trading. And I snagged candy on special for Halloween. Oh, and inherited a ton of stickers so I didn’t even have to spend money on those. Yay!
Well, the school where I taught and my children attended closed its doors permanently last Friday. As you can imagine, it was a stressful and emotional time. More than a few tears were shed. But, as teachers, we did everything we could to make it a fun day for the kids.
I’ve had to take a break from Facebook. Too many feelings that are still raw. My daughter had two more years so she’s feeling the most loss, while her brother graduated this year and is heading to high school in August. But, it’s been months now and I’m feeling relieved to have it over. 💙
My Facebook feed assures me that March 20, 2015 looked quite the same as 2016 is forecasted to be. If that purple could just move a few more miles west, I could rest happy in the near surety of a snow day.
A few quick photos of last week. I’ve been busy although I can’t think of why this past week left me so scattered.
Dinner is in the oven, laundry is about midway through. Lesson plans are a faint glimmer in my brain. I think I’d prefer to work on my newest pair of socks, instead.
Because our school will close its doors on June 17, I am trying to squeeze in as many “fun” activities as I can. STEM has been on my radar (and Pinterest board) for a good while, but I decided to bring it to my class only last month as a regular Friday activity. This week the kids had to construct three different penny bridges that could stand independently for at least ten seconds. That was pretty simple, so we also did the tallest and the longest standing.
We also began our study for rocks – which the kids will tell you did not seem terribly interesting. And then I brought in Starbursts. You can google this activity and find tons of resources, but I found this at Teachers Pay Teachers and it was worth every penny! Plus, they got to each candy after they were finished.
I’m holding myself together as best I can with one helluva cluster headache. I did this…
in an attempt to battle migraines. So far so good but these cluster headaches are my new nemesis.
I’m feeling a bit jealous of friends in England who are having a quiet weekend just decorating for Christmas and happily shopping. I have done my absolute best to avoid all stores with the exception of Home Depot, but even that was a terrifying experience. Who knew people could be so grabby over twinkle lights?
So instead I did a little decorating in my classroom. I still have a long way to go but I can’t find any of my Christmas books but I think the kids will be happy when they walk in this morning.
This horribly scary and oddly awesome skeleton is brought to you by sixth grade Spanish. She got an A, thank you. I have it hanging up in my classroom. My third graders think it’s the coolest thing ever.
It’s Red Riding Hood, by the way. In case the enormous red cape didn’t give it away.