Friday, March 16, 2012

teacher field trip

So yesterday I went with Suzanne to an OMA workshop. What an awesome experience!! It was more like a retreat, in that it was that relaxing and rejuvenating. For one part, we had to go out and take a bunch of pictures. Usually, when I take a picture, I look at the Big Picture. The presenter was more into (for herself) doing close-ups of things, like the blossom of the flower. I tried to keep that in mind when I was out there. Then we had to do projects with one of our photos. They kept what we did (for now), so I'll wait until it comes back to explain it better. But it had to do with using different symbols and designs to represent shadings, and only looking at/using part of the photo. My favorite photos from the numerous ones I took are below. I was fascinated with the spider web that had a little funnel (and thrilled that I didn't see an actual spider). I decided that I have to have internet (but definitely not TV). I was way behind in posting grades and doing both reading prep and documentation because it all happens on the web site below, and there's not enough time at lunch or after school to do it at school. (I carpool, so I can't just stay until 5 to make sure everything's done.) I also have to access math on-line. We don't have workbooks any more. Any paperwork we need, we have to get from the web site, especially to download what needs to go up on the Promethean Board. Being able to do it from home again will be a big help! Plus, I'm going to have the highest reading group for the last quarter, which will be a tremendous change! I (finally!!!) had a conference with one boy's mother. He is very bright in math, but it doesn't show because the tests (and the AIMS) are story problems, and he is very low in reading. One reason is that he doesn't read! He won't do his reading homework. So I got to find out (a benefit of conferences) that what he says doesn't match what's happening at home. I was worried that his mother was going to be this hostile, horrible person who was going to blame me for everything since WWII. Nope. She was a perfectly nice woman who has her hands full with four sons from high school to age 2, but who is very much interested in her son's progress and does try to get him to read. SFA web site math text web site spider web: Photobucket my favorite, because it's so absolutely typical: Photobucket anyone who's been around small children will recognize this as a birthday cake: Photobucket The rest of the pics are here

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


So Monday we go to library (we go every other week), and when we get back I see a tail go by on the counter behind a box. I’m thinking it’s a large lizard. I’m wrong. It’s a mouse. I knew there were mice in the next room after the bathroom, and they had been in this room before. So they set out two traps overnight, and two were caught. Of course, there’s no such thing as two mice. So yesterday, the mice were taunting us. Really. One teenage mouse would say to his friends “Watch this!” He’d run out, stick his tongue out at us, run back, and high-five the other mice. We ended up in a Portable. We packed our math, writing notebooks, and backpacks, and spent the rest of the morning and afternoon elsewhere. There had been a small amount of seeds left from the science kit that I couldn’t find, but they sure did. Today we clean. There’s no food in the room, but there are tons of papers, and apparently they like nesting. I never have time to do a good job of it, but the principal said to have the kids help. Well, of course! Duh. BTW, I don’t have internet at home any more. My students loans are $300 a month now. That takes care of any remaining frivolity. I can still try to post from work this early in the morning, though. Signing off from Mouse Central…

Saturday, March 3, 2012

This Week

I try not to post just a festival of gloom and doom, but sometimes that means that it's hard to find something to post. For example, this week saw the suicide of a crossing guard, which we had to tell the children about (just his death, although all the neighborhood kids know because he lived in their trailer park), a couple of students (SFA, not homeroom) getting CPS or police involvement and being put in foster care, having to be on the look-out for a relative (in one of those cases) who might show up to contact the students, etc. I did start tutoring again. My student loans are not pretty, and I totally downgraded my phone to the lowest cell phone; it doesn't even take pictures. But in the end, it does what I need it to do, which is make and receive calls and texts. Anyway, the lady at the tutoring company will see if she can get me more kids. I have one boy in Kindergarten. I had his sister in my last tutoring bunch, and know his older brother. He cracks me up. He wasn't there Thursday, but they had me do another kid as an emergency, which was fine. He's in K or 1, and doesn't speak English. Some letters he recognized by name and some by sound. After doing various things, I finally got out this book. We looked at the pictures to see what they were made of (my favorite is a sofa in a hotel lobby that's made of gloves). This got him excited and talking! As he recognized things, we could go over their names in Spanish and English. In the meantime, in my reading class, I've started bringing in things. For example, one vocabulary word was skillet. I told them what it was, showed a picture, but finally brought in a cast-iron fry pan, which is what was used in the story. Then it made more sense. I brought in sea shells for the next story. It also involved chopping cocoa from a tree, and a vocabulary word was bitter. You can't really explain bitter, and they really couldn't fathom the difference between cocoa and chocolaty goodness, so I brought in powdered baking cocoa. I gave them each a 1/4 teaspoon of it. They looked so disappointed at the measly amount until they tasted it! Now they get both cocoa and bitter!