Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Spring Cleaning

Yuk!! How I despise those two words. However, I was just reading some educational blogs and came across an interesting one that challenged me.

This time of year always brings different emotions for me at school. I feel the end is near and that I never have my students where they should be. I panic that they won't be ready for first grade. The blog I read suggested making a list of failures and successes, so here it goes.... (These relate to work.)
1. Parent Communication-The hardest thing I find about teaching is talking to parents. I can write notes/newsletters all day long, but I am not good about contacting parents with problems. This has become more prevelant since having my own child. After listening to parents complain about education, I find that what I might think is important, a parent will find it picky. I also have a difficult time explaining myself. I guess I see the big picture and forget the little details.
2. Behavior-I have not had a good year where discipline is concerned. This group of children is VERY talkative and doesn't listen for directions. We have a bunch of chiefs and not enough Indians. : ) I just wish they would listen and follow directions. I have tried our behavior plan with rewarding good behavior with starbucks. It doesn't phase the ones that aren't doing the right thing. I have tried incentives with a marble jar, lunch bunch, silly banz, behavior charts, etc. I just don't seem to be getting through to this group. Many would say that I just haven't found the thing that works with this group. Probably so. Maybe it comes down to problem # 1.
3. Time Management: I need to use my time at school more wisely and get things done. I bring home way too much work. I stay late at school most days. I just don't ever feel like I get it done.
4. Keeping the fun in it: Since moving back to S.C. I am amazed at the difference in the expectations for kindergarten. It is like first grade used to be. There is NO time for the fun things. They (the powers that be) expect you to be teaching the kids to read, add, subtract, and write by the end of the year. What happened to art projects, centers, games, socialization, etc. I hate that we are missing out on the fundamentals that WILL make a difference down the road. I wish I could find the balance.
5. Meeting the needs of all of my children. What an enormous task. I don't ever remember having children at this time of the year that don't know their letters/sounds, numbers, etc. Then I have a few reading on a first and second grade reading level. I TRY to differentiate, but I feel that I can only stretch so far.

1. Provide a safe and loving environment: Although I am a rule follower, I make it a point to make sure the children know they are safe and loved. It is one place they can count on someone paying them attention and giving them that needed hug.
2. Organization: Enough said.
3. Flexibility: My classroom seems to have a revolving door this year. I have gained/lost 6 students this year. As one leaves, another comes in. I have to be flexible with all of the pullout programs. I have to be flexible when working with 5 other females on a team.
4. Serving my school: I am a firm believer that it takes more than the 7:30-3:00 to make the school work. I stay involved by serving on the PTO executive board and our School Improvement Council. I volunteer to help out whenever needed.
5. Student Growth: Wow. I love this time of year. It amazes the growth the children make. I try telling the parents at the beginning of the year that their child will grow by leaps and bounds. Checking report card skills this past week has proven this statement. I am sooo proud of my kids. They've come a long way...baby.

For those of you that know me well, you know how hard I am on myself. I continually question what I do and try to make sure I keep up with the latest educational programs. I'm sure that if I had done this list every year for the past 23 years, the failures and successes would be very similar. Maybe this post will get me motivated to turn those failures into successes over the next 9 weeks and next school year. If you have any suggestions on how to do so, please let me know.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Tag. You're It!!

This is a fun little blog game. I got tagged by JoDee and had to tag 5 more people....
1. Open your 1st photo folder.
2. Scroll down to the 10th picture.
3. Post the photo and story behind it.
4. Tag 5 more people.

This was taken just a month ago. Lexington actually got some snow. This is a picture of Rebecca and her friend, Lexi playing in the snow.
I tag: Kristy, Megan, Pamelia, Nicole, and Susan.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Frogs, Frogs, Frogs

Last night we heard the strangest sound outside. I actually thought it was Eric snoring. But, when he woke up and went in the kitchen, I knew it wasn't him. We went outside to see if we could figure it out. Low and behold if Eric didn't find a frog in the pool. The sound subsided while he was standing right there, but returned once we were in bed. We got a phone call about 3:00 a.m. It was our next door neighbor calling to see if the noise was one of our outside dogs in pain.Imagine my surprise when I went outside and saw about 30 frogs in the pool. Not only were there a ton of frogs, but they were mating. Oh My!! I have never seen anything like it. There are even frog eggs in the pool. I was able to get a few so I can take them into my class on Monday. We are learning about frogs this upcoming week. I hope they hatch and we have tadpoles.

The frog mating call is like none other I've ever heard. Happy mating, Mr. Frog.

The actually swim and dive in that position.

Look to the left and you can see frog eggs

All I had to do was pull some pine straw out of the pool and found a ton of eggs.

Sunday, March 7, 2010


Eric and Rebecca went to the race in Atlanta today. That left me here to enjoy a day of crafting. I actually got my lesson plans, newsletter, and laundry done before I began. Then it was on....

I made some initials for a gift I'm giving to my cheer co-coach, Doris.

I saw this idea on a craft blog a while back. I actually bought the frame when we went to IKEA last month. Finally got around to making it today. The cool thing about it is I can change the paper to match the different holidays, seasons, or decor.
One of the guidance counselors at our school is going to be the high school j.v. cheerleading coach. I made her a car decal like mine and Doris'. I hope she likes it.

I also made a "box" for Doris' mother. She works at LMC in the discharge planning unit. She asked me to decorate a box for her unit. I didn't really know what to do with it, but it continued to evolve the more I worked on it. I think it turned out pretty cute. You can't see the backside, but it has a puzzle on it which is part of their mission.

Now it's back to school work and the Oscars. It was great while it lasted. It definitely keeps me from eating. : )

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Cat in the Hat

Sunday night I was checking out Facebook when I came across a post of pictures from one of my former students. (I know... hard to believe that I am old enough to have former students actually teaching. : ) ) She had posted some pictures of cupcakes she was making. They were so cute, that I decided I had to make them for my class. They were in honor of Dr. Seuss' birthday today.

First the blue frosting

Then the red stripes

The final product

Thanks for the idea, Danielle. I would never have dreamed 18 years ago that I would be getting cool ideas from my former students. I LOVE it!!