For Once, It All Worked

Sep. 25th, 2017 06:41 pm
serafina20: (watchmen_redhead)
[personal profile] serafina20
WordPress entry with pictures.

Today, we stared our unit 1 benchmark test for ELA. As a grade level, we decided to do the test on the iPads and not photocopy the gazillion page test as a backup. I was nervous, because technology is notoriously unreliable and I was afraid something would go wrong.

It didn’t. It went so smoothly. The kids did… as expected (some did really well, most didn’t do as well), but it would have been the same on the paper tests. And it’s all graded already. All I had to do was get the sheet that told me which question was which standard and mark off if they got it correct or not. That took me about ten minutes. So, yay! Day one, off to a good start.

And, double yay, my meeting got cancelled this afternoon. We were supposed to have a PBIS meeting (which is our school behavior management system), but the principal went to a PBIS training and realized that she wasn’t organized enough to hold a meeting. It would just waste our time, and she didn’t want to do that. So, it was cancelled and I got to work on progress reports. I am now done with half of them.

In classroom decorating, I got the leaves up, but quickly found out I didn’t get enough. I need to run by the Dollar Store to get a few more garlands tomorrow. I think it looks cute.

So, fingers crossed that the rest of the week goes as smoothly as today went. Have a great week!

Another Busy Week Ahead

Sep. 24th, 2017 05:35 pm
serafina20: (hannibal_eyes suck)
[personal profile] serafina20
WordPress entry.

Sometimes, I don’t understand my district. It’s like they go out of their way to make things as difficult as possible for the teachers. Take next week, for example. We are supposed to work on progress reports next week. We fill out out the computerized form saying how they are doing in each subject, and then fill out comments. Filling in the form doesn’t take long (in fact, I’m already done), but the comments do. Especially because over half of them need to be in Spanish. I don’t speak Spanish, so I need to either run my comments through Google Translate or hunt through my comment books for comment appropriate for my students. I usually do the former, even though it makes me nervous since Google Translate is notoriously unreliable. I remember when I was trying to tell my parents to have their children count change and Google Translate translated it as “cambio”, which is not what I wanted.

Plus, I like to make my comments specific to each child, so I don’t use the pre-defined ones that come with the program and I don’t like using professionally published books (although I get ideas from them sometimes). So, it takes awhile.

So what does my district decide to do? Hold meetings during the week. The first isn’t their fault; my principal and the PBIS committee (which I’m on) decided to meet on Monday after school. But the second meeting is the district. We’re having grade level collaboration for the whole district on Wednesday. Why it has to be next week instead of the week after, I don’t know. I honestly think that the district expects us to do progress reports on our own time, which isn’t fair. We should be able to do it during our prep time. But every year, this is what happens. And I didn’t it easier on myself because I scheduled an appointment on Thursday.

But, I’ll get it done. I always do. But I’ll still complain because it’s just not fair.

In other new, I’m decorating my room for fall tomorrow. I’ve never done that before, but a) I’m in the mood and b) I’m trying to make my room prettier and more engaging. I found this sign at Michael’s that's orange and says 'Fall' on it in cute font. I also bought some leaves at the Dollar Store. The sign is going to go on my cabinets and the leave will go on the cabinets and the board (I think). I’ll do it tomorrow morning and take pictures. I hope it’ll look good. I’m not very good at decorating. My apartment is all superhero art I got at Comic Con. Grown-up decorations baffle me.

I finished What Teacher’s Make and am now looking for something else to read. I was going to try The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood, but the lack of quotation marks bugs me. Any suggestions?

Back to school Teaching Tag

Sep. 23rd, 2017 09:53 am
serafina20: (avengers_cap&bucky)
[personal profile] serafina20
Back to School Teaching Tag

This teaching tag was started by Kayse Morris at Teaching on Less. It feels a little weird to be doing a back to school post when I’m seven weeks into the year, but I liked the questions and thought I’d give it a whirl.

Where do you teach? What grade? What subjects?

I teach in a small town near California’s Central Coast. I teach second grade, all subjects.

When did or when does your school start for you?

School started on August 14. I wish I taught in a district that started after Labor Day, because August is too hot (although September was too hot this year, too), but, alas, I don’t. The school board tries to push our start date back every year, but so far we’ve been successful in keeping it around the same time.

What fun things did you do this summer?

I went to Universal Studios with my brother and sister. We had so much fun, and Harry Potter world was amazing. It was the highlight of the summer (that and spending time with my siblings, of course!)

Give 3 tips to teachers when starting back to school.

1. Teach your routines and expectations over and over and over, until they become habits.
2. Over plan. Better to have too much to do than have to little and have to scramble around to fill time.
3. Be gentle with yourself. The first week is tough and you will be so much more tired than you think you will be. Go home, rest, and relax.

What’s your back to school go-to resource?

This year, my go-to resource was Haley O’Connor’s First Week Survival Kit from TPT. I found some of her posters on Pinterest and thought they were wonderful. And I did not follow my second piece of advice, which was to over plan (I thought I did, but I kept getting through things too quickly), so having that survival kit really helped out a lot.

Who do you follow on social media that inspires you?

I’ve said it before, but Pocketful of Primary. She’s really inspired me to become a better teacher and renewed my passion for the profession.

What routine do you set for your students in your classroom on day 1?

We do a lot of routines, but how to line up and walk in line correctly is one of my biggest ones. By the end of the day, the kids know the expectation and are doing it correctly. The other big one is that I expect them to be active listeners and participants at all times. They don’t get let off the hook for anything.

1 thing/item you can’t live without during school.

My recess coffee. First recess, I get coffee and it makes me feel so happy. Other than that, my document camera and projector. I don’t remember how I ever taught without them.

Easy lunch pack recipe for teachers!

This is better on toast, but I eat it on bread:

Guacamole, cucumbers, tomatoes, feta cheese and red onion (optional; I usually skip that because I forget). Layer it on bread, and you’ve got a delicious and filling lunch.

I got the recipe from With Salt and Wit.

What do you love most about back to school?

I love the anticipation that for the new school year. It’s bright and fresh and there are so many possibilities in store. It’s that New Year feeling that you can do anything and everything, and it will be wonderful.


Sep. 23rd, 2017 12:29 am
halfshellvenus: (Default)
[personal profile] halfshellvenus
I'm back home again, after driving our son down to UCLA for his move-in. It's a long drive—6.5 hours or so—but practically brief compared to the 10-11 hour (or 12 hour) trips to San Diego to take our daughter to school. It's a much more manageable distance.

The weeks leading up to this were tough, but the trip and separation itself a little less so, mainly because he was actually ready to be going. Well, emotionally, anyway. I still wound up packing most of his stuff, because neither of our children inherited my godlike Tetris skills.

Originally, we'd planned for both parents to drive south for the journey, but HalfshellHusband's broken hip keeps him from going anywhere. That was hard on him, having to stay behind again and say goodbye so abruptly. We went through this with our daughter too, but that was mainly because she'd packed too much stuff to fit a third person in the car!

So now I'm back, in the empty nest, and it is strange and likely to feel stranger over time, at least for awhile. HalfshellHusband saw the orthopedic surgeon a week ago, and while the pieces of bone have moved a little (PIECES, not just a crack as I'd originally hoped), the current thinking is still that surgery might possibly be avoided. Given HSH's tendency to overdue, I'm not so sure. He's supposed to keep weight off of that leg, but I catch him free-wheeling around without his walker or even the cane—or trying to make dinner on the sly because it's "not that hard," even though standing up for long periods is forbidden. This is usually followed by a long, sleepless night due to pain. :( I'm really dreading trying to juggle all of those chores and responsibilities while also having to nag HSH to stop helping when he shouldn't. Give me strength...

Other news... Work=grief, and I have no idea when/if I'll be able to get away for a few days to visit my mother. We've watched a couple of movies (The Girl On The Train was much twistier than I had expected), I've read some books, I've listened to more Chris Cornell (because I'm already feeling sad, and the mood aligns), and now a future of tackling the in-home chaos awaits me... And to think, Fall is usually my favorite season. \o?

Made it to Friday

Sep. 22nd, 2017 05:28 pm
serafina20: (avengers_cap)
[personal profile] serafina20
WordPress entry with another picture of my room. I got 9 views yesterday; it was so exciting.

I survived the week! I actually went in early every day this week, worked on things that needed to get worked on, and feel like I ended in a good place.

I had another surprise drop in today. On Friday mornings, we take our weekly ELA assessments on the iPads. It’s nosier than paper tests for some reason, but the kids do a lot better (probably because they find out how they did right away, and that motivates them to do their best). Anyway, we were in the middle of doing the tests when the superintendent walked in! I hate when that happens! I mean, I don’t know this superintendent, because he’s new, but he seems nice, but, still. I never want the top boss walking into my room because I get nervous.

I smiled and explained what we were doing. He nodded and hung out a few minutes, looking at my boards and everything before leaving. Actually, he left, came back, looked around a little, and then left again.

Next week is unit 1 assessment week. The unit test is long, has 4 stories to read, a phonics section, grammar (and the grammar is so hard. It’s almost not fair, because it’s not tested like it was taught and it’d be difficult to teach how its taught. It’s just… ugh.) We’re taking them on iPads because a. it’s easier to grade and b. the kids are used to it and c. it’ll help prepare them for state testing.

But, honestly, mostly because it’s easier to grade. 🙂

Have a great weekend everyone!

Surprise! An Observation!

Sep. 21st, 2017 05:16 pm
serafina20: (thor_god)
[personal profile] serafina20
Wordpress entry with pictures.

So, today I was sitting down to do a small group with math while my other students were working on the skill I was reviewing with my group, when the principal walked in. And this is what I looked like:

(imagine me with a butterfly winged headband)

Yup, that’s me, wearing butterfly wings on my head.Read More )

Teaching with a Migraine

Sep. 20th, 2017 06:23 pm
serafina20: (Default)
[personal profile] serafina20
Teaching with a migraine suuuuuucks, y’all. My patience tanks, but desire to be there dissolves, and I’m not in my best. Luckily, today, the migraine didn’t surface during the day. I woke up in the middle of the night with one, took medication, woke up feeling okay, got through the day, and, BAM!, it hit during collaboration. Which I can deal with. But I was crankier and less patient than I want to be, so, overall, it wasn’t as successful a day as I was hoping for.

I did get a bulletin board done. The space above my board didn’t have any background to it; I was just putting posters up. It looked ugly. So, I threw up some fabric I had, surrounded it with border, redid a couple of anchor charts to fit, and now it looks better. I still feel like my room is really ugly, but it’d a little better. No pictures, because I didn’t take any.

WWW Wednesday )

Losing the Pencil War

Sep. 19th, 2017 05:41 pm
serafina20: (watchmen_redhead)
[personal profile] serafina20
Link to WordPress with pictures.

Is it just me, or are pencils getting worse? They break so easily, at least in the hands of my second graders. Last year and this, it seems like I sharpen a bunch of pencils and ten minutes later, they’re all broken. And half the time, I sharpen the pencil and then can pull the point right out. It’s so frustrating. It doesn’t matter what kind I use, either. I try to use only Ticonderoga pencils, because they’re supposed to be the best, but, really, they’re just as bad as the Target brand. Maybe it’s my pencil sharpener. I don’t know. I used to manage pencils using The Wise Owl’s Winning the Pencil War, but even with giving the kids seven sharp pencils, I was constantly sharpening. Now, I have a sharp bucket and dull bucket and just try to keep up with them throughout the day.

I was going to take pictures of my class and post them today, but, honestly? My room isn’t that pretty. I try, but I’m just not good at decorating. I wish I was better, but I don’t have the interior design eye.

All in all, it was a good day. I still felt rushed for time, but I had library today and was expecting to feel rush. I did get a chance to take pictures of the kids at library and playing math games, which I posted to Class Dojo. The parents really liked that. It made me feel like I was doing something to connect with them without having to step out of my comfort zone. I really need to work on connecting with parents. That’s my goal this year.

What’s your goal for the year?

It's Only Monday?!?

Sep. 18th, 2017 05:44 pm
serafina20: (Default)
[personal profile] serafina20
How is it only Monday and I already feel four days behind where I need to be? And after working all weekend to get ahead, too?

Lots of Rambling )


Sep. 17th, 2017 11:07 am
serafina20: (pb_alex's eyes)
[personal profile] serafina20
WordPress post with a rare picture of me in a dress.

I’ve watching some videos on Youtube under the #iteachtoo tag, and I wanted to do it. However, I don’t vlog and I’m too embarrassed to try. What I do, however, is write. So, I’m doing this blog style.

Questions and Answers )

The Laminator

Sep. 16th, 2017 06:09 pm
serafina20: (dw_nine)
[personal profile] serafina20
WordPress post with pictures.

Yesterday, I got my laminator from Amazon. I got a Scotch 2 Roller System (TL901C-T) and 100 Thermal laminating pouches.

Talking about my laminator )

Today's Goal

Sep. 16th, 2017 09:31 am
serafina20: (cap)
[personal profile] serafina20
Clean ALL THE THINGS. Seriously, my place is a mess and it's driving me crazy. I was going in to the SPCA today, but now I'm thinking I just want to clean. The box situation is bad, the litter box situation is bad (the boxes are cleanish, but I have a pile up of bags that need to be carted to the trash can), I need to vaccuum, declutter, get rid of recycling.... It's all bad.

But, after that's all done, I get to play with my laminator. It's a lot smaller than I expected it to be, and I didn't think it was going to be big to begin with. Can't post pictures because Photobucket is a dick and I don't know where to host images for free. Do any of you?

If I really need to, I'll post it on my WordPress site and link it. (Because I know y'all are dying to see the laminator. It's probably the only thing you're thinking about.)

Okay. Off to clean.


Sep. 15th, 2017 08:12 pm
serafina20: (Default)
[personal profile] serafina20
My laminator arrived!! I have achieved lamination! I shall laminate more this weekend (after getting more ink and cardstock). YAY!!!! HAPPY!!

It's Friday!!

Sep. 15th, 2017 04:58 pm
serafina20: (pb_wet neck)
[personal profile] serafina20
Today I introduced Class Dojo as a new management system. Up until now, I've just been giving out Eagle Dollars, the school incentive system, to encourage good behavior, but I wanted something more specific. I used to use BUGs (Being Unusually Good) as my incentive program. If kids were on task, I gave them a card with a bug on it. If they got five, they could turn it in for a reward. If they weren't being good, they lost their bugs. It was simple. However, last year, I found it really hard to do. The class was good and didn't need as many rewards, so I slacked on giving them out. And then I did it really unevenly, so some kids got a lot and others, not so much. I couldn't keep track of who I'd given them too, either.

More under the cut )

It begins

Sep. 14th, 2017 06:00 pm
serafina20: (spn_dean eyes)
[personal profile] serafina20
Today, one of my students punched another second grader in the stomach. Why? She dared to touch his shoulder. *sigh* So, now my class doesn't get an honor ribbon this week because he got a referral. At least it's not like two years ago, when we almost never got honor ribbons because a student was averaging a referral a day for awhile. This was one incident. We'll all get over it.

Oh, and then I sent the kid to the wrong buddy room at recess. The teacher who was supposed to get him came by after school and was like, "You kid never showed up," and I realized that I sent him to the wrong room like a dummy.

I went to the post office to complain about my mail today and then, when I got home, my mailbox was empty and one of my bills was on top of the box. So I'm glad I put in that complaint. Let's see if it works.

I can't seem to stop spending money this month. There's always another something I want either for me or for my classroom. I'm trying to restrain myself, because I've been spending a lot, but I want a teacher toolbox and I need another three drawer Sterilite organizer, and then I need the labels for both of them, of course. And I still need more scrapbooking cases to put games and stuff in so I can clear out some of those big boxes from my room. But I'm only buying those if they're still $3 each, because the regular price is not worth it.

In other news, I introduced a math game to the students today. It was reviewing 3-digit place value. I'm glad I did it, because I had a lot of kids who couldn't do it without their white boards, when they should have been able to look at the pictures and figure it out. But my real low- lows started catching on so I think it was really helpful. It's just a pain in the butt to get all the pieces handed out. I wanted something that they could grab and do when they're done with their math, but I'm afraid it might not be feasible. Too bad; it's a good game. The best part, it could be done in pairs or independently.

One more day until sleep day. I can do this.

I am so tired

Sep. 13th, 2017 05:28 pm
serafina20: (thor_god)
[personal profile] serafina20
I have no idea why I'm so tired, but all I want to do is sleep. However, I can't because it's book club night. I don't know why I bother with book club, because I'm the only one who actually reads the books. No, scratch that. I bother because I'm interested in the books. I don't know why anyone else bothers because they don't read the book, so why are they even doing it? I just don't get it.

Post office finally delivered my dress. Yay. And, even more yay, IT FITS!!!! There were all these warnings about how the sizes run small, and I think I know what dress size I am, but am not totally sure. So, I did my best guess, but got all worried when looking at another dress by the same people and customers were complaining that it really really ran small. But, it fits perfectly and looks great. I'm going to wear it for picture day.

Oh my God, I just put in a new ink cartridge in my printer, printed one thing, and the printer says the cartridge needs to be replaced. I got the store brand instead of name brand, but still.

I got roped in... well, no. I volunteered to be on a committee for the Next Generation science standards even though it's chaired by someone I hate. We have to come up with a lesson plan based around a piece of children's literature. My partner and I are going to do something from the science program they bought us and use the book "Too Many Toys" by David Shannon as our lit piece. At least, we hope we will as neither of us has read the book. But it looks like it should be what we need. The lesson is on properties of matter (hard, soft, fuzzy, smooth, rough, etc) and then the kids will build a toy and describe it using the properties. The book should tie in by using the pictures of the toys and stuff. At least I hope so. Otherwise, I have no idea what to do.

In bigger news, I ordered my laminator today! Since I had to order the book and some adhesive magnets, and I'm in a bad mood, I decided to do something to get it off my mind. It says it'll arrive by September 15, so I imagine it'll be here sometime in October. I was going to use an Amazon Locker, but the one by me isn't open right now. Of course.

Someone must have recced my "Man from UNCLE" (the movie) fic, because I got a bunch of kudos on it today. I love when that happens, but I want to see the rec!

On substitutes

Sep. 12th, 2017 05:45 pm
serafina20: (dw_nine)
[personal profile] serafina20
I almost put "on subs," but realized that a subject like that could lead to confusion and disappointment.

I was out today for a PD which, for once, was enlightening and helpful. We learned about math and some best practices and some simple games/number talks that I was able to go back and use right away. Plus, I was out of the class for a few hours.

Except... my sub didn't leave any note about how the day went! I'm piecing together what she didn't get to, but she didn't leave *anything*. The only thing she left was a list of names on the board as to who was good and who was not. One kid was on both sides. This is a not a new sub; I've had her in the past (when I taught first grade). I don't remember if she left notes then, but this was kind of ridiculous.

Why can't my mom be a sub in my room? She always leaves notes.

In other news, the post office continues to deliver my mail to other people. They have also failed to deliver a dress that I was supposed to get yesterday (Amazon Prime 2 day shipping). I'm getting really irritated. One day, when I have time, I'll call and complain.


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