4 More Days!!

There are four more days left of this school year and I am… hanging in there the best I can.  This week was interesting because we did all the traditional last week of school activities.  Tuesday, we the school talent show, which took an hour and a half.  Then, we had to go back to class and teach.  Which was hard.  Hard for me and hard for the students.  Thursday was the final awards ceremony which was also well over an hour.  And then today we had the school carnival which is an hour of playing games outside before heading back in and having to maintain some semblance of normalcy.

It’s been rough.  If my motivation to be there is low, I know the kids are worse.  All I can think of is Disney World and how I am SO CLOSE to getting to go.  But I have to do teacher things like report cards and cleaning my room.  Luckily, I am done with report cards, I’ve made all the copies I need for next week, and my room is decent.  There’s still some stuff that needs to come down, but that’s mostly just student work and anchor charts.  Student work will start coming down next week and anchor charts will come down Wednesday or Thursday (the last day!!).

Today, the last hour of school, we did painting.  I broke out the water colors and let them do whatever they wanted (provided it was school appropriate).  Once again, some of the kids were done in fifteen minutes while others took the whole time.  Luckily, I got some magnetic shapes from Toys R Us over the weekend, so the students who were done could do some engineering.  I was impressed with the results:

I also had one really beautiful painting (I mean, they were all good paintings; this one just really impressed me):

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Sorry it’s sideways.

So, next week, we’re making our Important Book, which is a class book I make every year where every kid gets to write what’s important about them, as well as their favorite things.  We’ll do some math mystery pages where we try to solve where… some sort of gremlins hid something?  I don’t remember.  But it’s fun.  And I’m going to make them read the last story in the reading anthology, learn some vocabulary and high frequency words, and maybe do some writing.  We’ll get through this.

Four more days.  Also, 24 days.

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Activity Overload

Due to a convergence of things, my class was nonstop activities today.  First, in ELD, the kids worked together to create an imaginary pet.  We discussed animals–real and imaginary–that might hatch from an egg.  We then talked about combining some of them to make them purely imaginary–like a chicken-wolf or a parrot-dragon.  They’re really excited about the activity; tomorrow they’ll finish writing their paragraphs, draw their pictures, and present to the class.
Then, in math, we did a lesson I found somewhere online, probably in Instagram.  It was making two dimensional shapes with marshmallows, then labeling each shape with their name, sides, and vertices.  It was a lot of fun for the kids, but stressful for me because I couldn’t find toothpicks at Target yesterday and we almost didn’t have enough.  Luckily, the science program had an extra box that I could borrow from, and we just eeked it out (without using too many of those toothpicks).  The projects turned out really well:

 

We glued the marshmallows to the construction paper.  I’d have loved to hang them up on the wall, but then I’d go to school tomorrow to find ants crawling all over my walls, so, no thanks.

Then, after lunch, we did Contraction Surgery.  I found the activity on Teacher’s Pay Teachers and have been looking forward to doing it all year.  Basically, kids are given two words, like can not, then have to cut the ‘o’ out of ‘not’ and replace it with an apostrophe.  Since it’s “surgery”, the apostrophe was drawn on a band-aid.  They had a little booklet that said “Dr.” where their name went, and I went around calling them “Dr.”.  If they messed up, I’d say, “Doctor, look at the board.  How many ‘n’s’ in the contraction ‘can’t’.”  I meant to buy masks and *maybe* gloves for them to wear while the did their surgery, but I was so overwhelmed at Target yesterday, it slipped my mind.  I almost forgot the band-aids as it was!

Then, after we finished that, it was time for science.  Each group got a disassembled flashlight.  They had to draw a picture of the pieces, then work together to assemble the flashlight and get it to work.  Then, they drew the flashlight and answered some questions about how they built it and what else is made from smaller pieces.   They were really excited about the activity and had a lot of fun.

I only had a few kids who couldn’t hold it together.  One girl just played with her marshmallows until they were mush.  I was helping a kid who I knew would be too overstimulated and not be able to work on his own, so I didn’t noticed until very late the activity.  I was a little frustrated at her, because the last few days, she’s been slipping into old patterns of not working and just daydreaming (and she had marshmallow and toothpicks in her hair), but we got through it.  Then, during the contraction surgery, one of the kid got completely overstimulated and started shouting and dancing around instead of working.  I had to talk to him about his behavior and threaten to tell his mother about it.  He got back to work, but ended up staying in for part of recess to finish.

The funny part was, the kids who finished their two-dimensional shapes early were allowed to make a cube.  I had the kids take them home.  Not a one made it past the parking lot.  By the time parents came to pick up the kids, all the marshmallows were gone and all that was left was a stack of sticky sticks.  Ah, kids.

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He’s Back!

Kung-fu Monkey came back today!   The student sort of sheepishly came up with him in hand and gave him back to me.  I thanked her for doing it and rejoiced.  I’m so happy!!

Yay!

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There’s Always One

When painting with water colors and second grade, there is always one student who will

finish in 5 minutes.

take the whole hour.

not listen to how we use water colors and mix all the colors together.

spill the water all over their desk.

spill the water on the floor.

be absent.

And…

drink the water after cleaning their brush in it.

 

Twenty something more days until school is over.

59 MORE DAYS TO DISNEY WORLD!!

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RIP Kung-Fu Monkey

Well, he’s not really dead.  But I guess he’s dead to me.

Thirteen years ago, one of my students brought me a gift: a Starbucks gift card and a monkey-puppet.  He was very fond of showing me how the monkey could do kung-fu, so the monkey was soon named Kung-fu Monkey.  That monkey has been with me in every classroom since.  He’s gotten kids through the trauma of their parents leaving them, fights with friends, sick days.  He’s been with kids when they’ve passed tests or finished their first chapter book. He’s been a staple, and the kids love him.  For the past few years, one of the rewards the kids could earn was having a stuffed animal sit at their desks for the day.  Kung-fu monkey has always been the first to be snatched up.

One of my students took him home.  And lost him.  I’ve been slowly increasing the consequences all week in an attempt to get him back.  She’s gotten an infraction and has lost one recess a day for two days.

Today mom called.  She wanted to know what she needed to do so her daughter didn’t have to miss recess.  Obviously, besides return my puppet.

So, that’s it.  Parents don’t care.  Child doesn’t seem to care.  I will talk to her tomorrow and tell her that she’s taken something very special from me and hurt me very badly, but it wont’ do any good.  Kung-fu monkey has moved on.

We’ve had good times, pal.  I’m sad to see you go.

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It was One of Those Kind of Days

I’m just crabby this week.  It’s been a weird week.  Like, yesterday, I was out half day for a training, only in the middle of that training, I had to run back to school to do data analysis on a test we took a month ago.  We got through the analysis, only to realize we were analyzing the wrong test, so we had to do it all again.  Then, I ran back to the training to find that they were doing the part I was most looking forward to–math games–and were almost done.  And then I went back to school and had to teach.  It was just… weird.

Anyway, one of my students is on a daily monitoring system where he has three goals and I check in with him every few hours to see how he doing on those goals.  Then, at the end of the day, he checks in with the counselor to discuss how he did.  One of his goals is “Keep hands to yourself.”

I decided that it was imperative we get out to PE today.  We don’t get out as much as we need to, and we had some time, so out we went.  We were playing kick basketball, and the first kid kicked the ball, they play was done, everyone was excited.  My darling was so excited that he ran up to me and smacked me in the head.

“Please don’t hit me on the head,” I said, because, dude.  Don’t hit the teacher in the head.

“I didn’t.  I just touched you.”

*sigh*

So now, instead of it being a little thing were he did something, I told him not to, and he apologized, I have to go into the whole “we don’t touch people and if we do touch people and they ask us not to, we say we’re sorry and DON’T TOUCH PEOPLE.”  It just sort of put a damper on PE.  And then, I’d already filled out his goal sheet so I wasn’t able to change it.  Not a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but, man, I hate being hit in the head.

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Messy Week

This week was just messy.  We were doing the ELPAC (English Language Proficiency Assessment for California) and that threw everything off.  First, on Monday, the librarian walked in and said that since were were testing the next day during our regular library time, would I like to take my kids to library in about ten minutes?  Which, yes, of course I did, because otherwise we’d lose our library time and we needed new books.  But, that upended my schedule for the day.  And, although I know flexibility is the key word in teaching, I hate when my schedule is upended.

Then, all day, kids kept getting pulled out of class to be tested in small groups.  Which, it wasn’t very many kids, but it was still enough were I was worried about who was missing out on what.  But what are you going to do?

On Tuesday, we were testing.  My kids got send off to room 20 to test with a couple of retired teachers, and I got kids from another class who weren’t testing.  It was a really easy morning.  We had silent reading for about fifteen minutes, and then we did a Scholastic News.  That took up the morning.  Then, right before recess, I got a call saying that morning testing was done and since it was so fast and the next part was so short, they were going to keep testing after recess.

Schedule upended again.

I went to the teacher’s lounge and photocopied some math pages for after recess.  They were some basic subtraction coloring pages, simple for all but two kids.  But they were so excited to do them, you’d have thought I’d said we were watching a movie.  It’s nice to see kids get excited about learning (even if they were excited about the coloring; they still were doing the math).

Then, my kids were sent back.  I had them to go the classroom library to read, which they did for about ten minutes, but weren’t quite able to hold it together after that.  I’d just told them to do ABC Mouse or Epic on their iPads when the other teacher called and said I could send her kids back.

Then, in the afternoon, we had our half day of grade level collaboration, which meant I was out of the class and a sub took over.  Just as the sub was leaving, one of my students announced that he’d brought 20 dollars to school, put it in his desk, and now it was missing.  So, after school, I went through his desk and the desks of the kids nearby, but there was no 20 dollar. When I asked the next day, no one in my class saw anything.  They all saw the money, because the kid showed them all, but they had no clue who took it.  Neither did my guests from the other class (although, at the time they were there, the money was in the kid’s backpack and not the desks).  So, now I”m heartsore because someone, or many someones, in my class is a thief and a liar and that makes it very hard for me.  I hate, hate, hate when things go missing. (Someone stole a book out of my library, too).  So, that put a damper on the week.

The rest of the week went okay.  We finished testing early, so I was able to teach without any interruptions to my schedule for two days.  I was even able to to start an art project on Friday.  We haven’t done art in forever.  I was feeling so good that, on Friday when I was doing my book order, I decided to splurge.  I had nearly 10,000 bonus points from Scholastic, so I spent some on a set of Magic Treehouse books.  I can’t wait to get them.

All in all, it was a good week, but, boy, was I glad when it was over.

If you have time, why don’t you head over to my Youtube channel and watch me talk about books?

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Back to Reality

Tomorrow I go back to school after a glorious week off.  I had a wonderful week.  I got a ton of reading done.  I started a BookTube channel.  I got a beautiful new camera to take on my trip to Disney World.  I went to a comic book convention and got to see Dr. Mae Jemison, the first woman of color to go into space.  I started listening to my first audio book, and either I choose the book well or I really like audio books because I’m really enjoying it.  So, yeah, it’s been a great week.

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Dr. Mae Jemison and Nichelle Nichols, who played Uhura on the original “Star Trek”

I don’t wanna go back to school!

I mean, I’ll be fine tomorrow.  I’ll be ready and happy to see my students.  But I’ve had such a wonderful time not working and not having to be responsible.  And sleeping when I want to.  And reading when I want to.  And, and, and….

It’s also going to be a strange week.  We’re taking the ELCAP, which is the new test for English Language Learners.  So, on Monday, students are going to be pulled for my class all day to do one on one testing.  Then, on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, they go out of the class for the morning to test and I get students who are not being tested.  We don’t know exactly how long it’s going to take to get through the tests, so it’s hard to know how much to plan and what to plan.  I know that over prepared is always better, so I’m trying to over prepare.  Luckily, I have stuff that I prepared for a substitute a few weeks ago and then ended up not getting a substitute, so I’ve got that stuff.  Oh!  And then on Tuesday, in the afternoon, the second grade teachers have a planning day, so we’ll be out of the classroom again.  So, yeah, it’ll be an interesting week.

And then, there’s only about eight more weeks until the end of the year.  I’m gearing myself up for the finish line and am going to power through.  It’s gonna be a good two months.

I can do this.

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They Notice Everything

Yesterday I took my students to the school store to spend their hard earned reward dollars.  We got their on time, but the class in front of us was still inside, to we were stuck waiting.  This was a good thing because we were waiting in front of the lost and found and I’d meant to take them there to see if they had any jackets or sweaters there.

One kid had about five.  Oy vey.

Anyway, I was picking up jackets I thought looked familiar and asking if they belonged to anyone.  I saw one that looked really familiar, so I picked it up and asked.

“That looks like your jacket!  The inside is pink like yours!”

He was right.  It wasn’t my jacket, but it looked almost exactly like it, which is why it was so familiar.

Kids.  They notice everything.

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Stop Reporting Things!

So, a big thing in education is teaching kids when something is reporting and something is tattling.  But, honestly?  Sometimes I’m not sure of the difference myself.  Or, sometimes, it’s not as clear cut as all that and everything is muddled and it makes me feel frustrated.

Take this.  For some reason, at my school, tag is not allowed.  I don’t know why. I don’t really agree with it because I love tag and I love playing tag and I like being able to play tag with the kids.  My third year of teaching I taught at a school with no playground and no equipment, so all we could play was tag.  It was awesome.  But, not tag.

The kids struggle with this.  I mean, it’s natural.  They run and they chase and they naturally want to touch each other and shout, “You’re it!”  Even the best behaved kids fall into the trap.

Last week, a bunch of boys were caught playing tag.  Only, one of the kids had fallen and the others gathered around him and were smacking him playfully.  A teacher caught them and all of them got infractions.  Because, Lord, I am tired of explaining they can’t play tag.

Today, it was the last recess before spring break.  I was almost home free.  We were going to clean our desks, gather our school currency for the school store, play some games, go to the store, play some more, then clean up and go home.

But, my informer ran up.  “These five kids were playing tag.”

And… see, my gut says he was tattling.  No one was hurt and the only aim in telling me is to get them in trouble.  But, they were breaking a rule.  One that he’d gotten in trouble for breaking the previous week.  (I think he was one of my taggers).  And I felt like I couldn’t just let it pass, especially since they all admitted it (sort of; one girl said she was just running away from the rest of them, and another said she didn’t get a chance to actually touch anyone.  But… it was still tag).

So, they all got infractions.  But, man, my day would have been so much better if that kid hadn’t reported anything.

In other news, last week, I had a sixth grade guest in my class who was in school suspended.  She sat and worked quietly at the back table and was a very nice student.  On the first day, I started to get overly warm and went to the back of the class to turn on the air.  Being warm, I wasn’t especially happy, so I may have had a scowl on my face while I went to the air conditioner, which may have prompted the questions, “Is teaching tiring?” from my guest.

“It can be,” I answered.

Later that day, she came over and stood by me.  She said, “I used to want to be a teacher, but now I’m not sure.  It looks hard.”

So, I told her, “It can be, but anything is going to be hard at times.  Everything you do, even when you love it, can be hard and can be tiring.  If you think you want to be a teacher, you should do it because there’s a lot of good stuff too, even if you get tired.”  It probably won’t sway her, but you never know.

In Disney World news, I’ve pretty much got all my outfits together for all four days.  I’ll do a post with pictures another time, but basically I’m wearing:

something Star Wars themed to Hollywood Studios

a Lilo and Stitch sundress to Walt Disney World, day 1

a Lion King dress to Animal Kingdom

an Elsa Disneybound* to Epcot

and a Belle Disneybound to Disney World day 2

For shoes, I’m just wearing sneakers every day, which’ll look awful with my Elsa dress, but what are you going to do?  I want to be comfortable and I have two pairs of sneakers already broken in.  I’m taking a pair of hiking sandals to Animal Kingdom to ride on Kali River Rapids so my shoes don’t get wet, but I probably won’t walk around in them a whole lot.

As for my suitcase, I think I’m going to have to buy another one.  The one I have will just about fit everything I’m taking if I pack right and use the packing cubes my brother got me for my birthday, but… there won’t be much room to bring anything back.  And while I don’t plan on buying much, you never know.  I went to Wonder Con last weekend with my suitcase and had to carry everything I bought in extra bags.  Granted, I mostly bought books and art, but still.  I need to leave myself wiggle room.  So, I’ll be checking my luggage, which is good because now I don’t need to worry about my liquids bag, which was stressing me out.

Anyway…. 88 more days to go!!

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Me in my Animal Kingdom Dress

 

(*Disneybounding is a way of dressing up as a character without violating the rule that adults can’t wear costumes in the parks.  It’s wearing a color scheme/style of a character in tribute to them.  So, when I go as Belle, I’m wearing a blue dress and a book necklace.  I know Belle doesn’t wear a book necklace, but she likes books.)

 

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