Friday, August 30, 2013

Five for Friday (8-30-13)

TGIF. Can I get an AMEN? 

What an emotionally and physically draining week.

Yippee for a three-day weekend!!

Doodle Bugs Teaching  is having her weekly party. Time to share five random photos from my day.

1. A morning drink from our local convenience store. Butter rum cappuccino.

2. A lovely note from my student before school started.

3. My favorite soda from a different student, before school started. Nice and cold. Delivered with a smile.

4. Another note. Delivered with an apple. Before school. 

*******What is going on with these kids??? All these special things. They sure know how to make a teacher feel loved.**********

5. Snack for the day. How cute!!

There you have them. 5 photos.

Hope you all have a lovely weekend. Celebrating. I'm going to a wedding and creating some awesome hands-on activities for next week. We really need to understand about blending sounds together to make words...adding numbers together...writing a sentence...
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Wednesday, August 28, 2013


Can we talk?

Let's be clear, when something is going not so good, I am pretty sure it is because I did something. If a parent calls me, it probably means I messed up somehow. An email most likely means I screwed up.

When things are going great, it is not because of anything I did. If my students are responding to me and following directions, it's probably the moon.

Yep, I have a problem. It's all about me. Just ask my best friend. She knows this about me. We laugh and cry about it together.

Today a girl was crying during our ELA time. The aide could not figure out what was wrong. Finally she went to the social worker. I made her cry.

A boy doesn't want to come to school this year. He has never been this way in his short school career. I make him sad.

These must both be my fault.

Time for me to take some Becky Bailey medicine. See the best in others (or me in this case). It is soooo easy for me to see the best in others. Me, not so much.

A while ago I was seeing the best in me, and I got slammed. I did not see it coming. So many hurt feelings. Now it is just easier to be hard on myself, so that when I get slammed the fall is not so far and doesn't hurt so much.

My assignment tonight... Wish all three of us well. Me. The girl. The boy. Breathe deeply. Feel the bad. Feel the good. And know that tomorrow I have another opportunity to make a difference to all three of us.
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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

What is One Word That Describes Teachers in August?

I was ready. I was prepared. After all, I spent all summer planning for it.

The start of school.

But, no matter how ready I am, how much I remember from the last number of years, I am never truly ready for that "I cannot believe how tired I am" feeling.

Last week I could not cook for my family (thank goodness for pizza and grilled cheese sandwiches) and I barely saw my home (leave early, get home late).

I have not been reading my blogs. (I ran through them tonight and saw a recurring theme...back to school teacher tired. Amen, there are so many people out there that 'get it,' I am tired!!)

And the weekend wasn't much better. 

I have this wonderful teaching partner (Mrs. Jones) and we like to plan together (two heads are better than one), we didn't get finished on Friday, so we spent Saturday am at school putting the finishing touches on our week.

Today I finally feel like my old self. So much better. I'm smiling and meaning it.

And yes, we are loving singing with my guitar. Very soon I am going to have to learn some new songs...the two we sing are just not enough. Labor Day weekend plans?
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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Meet the Teacher 2013

On the way to school this morning (my last workday before school starts), I realized I forgot to eat anything.

So lucky for me that our local coffee shop is directly on my way.

A chai tea and a white chocolate chip scone. Kind of like my last breakfast. The last day that I could arrive the moment before I am required to be there and not feel like I am behind before I even get started. So, I had time for a five minute detour.

It was yummy.

And tonight I met 19 out of 20 of my new firsties. I recognized most of them from last year, but now I have no excuse to not learn their names.

Meet the teacher is about letting the children and their parents come and meet us. But, I think it did as much for me. I was really nervous. Will I forget names? Will there be a question that I cannot answer?

But I'm feeling good about tomorrow. Except for the guitar and singing (I didn't practice enough today). They aren't strangers anymore. I spoke to all the students and most of the parents. 

Buttering up the families is also a good idea. I gave out student and parent presents.

And I got 4 hugs from last year's firsties (now they are seconds--not sure how to say that).

Perhaps with those hugs and firsties that are not strangers I will be able to sleep tonight. A girl can hope.

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Monday, August 19, 2013

This, That and The Other Thing

This: Today I got a package!

A while back I impressed my sister by singing (and playing the guitar) over the phone to her. I regaled her with the Good-Bye song that my cousin taught me, and together we sang 100 Bottles of Pop on the Wall. That was a great time!

The very next day she found this book and thought of me. She didn't leave the store without it. 

I think the book will be a great addition to my classroom routines.

That: My left index finger is burned a little. 

Today my husband needed to laminate the college student ids. He has helped me so much at the beginning of the year that I thought, "I will offer to help him."

He turned me down.

Until he changed his mind.

He put the packets through, I took the ids out. But they were very hot. It took about 60 minutes to put 410 ids through the laminator. My finger will hurt for a bit yet.

The Other Thing: Back to School Meetings were today. Before we got under way in my building this afternoon I played the guitar and sang for my teacher friends a Hello song. I learned about it from Grade ONEderful. And then as we finished this afternoon I played and sang the Good-Bye song.

I call them my friends because no one laughed (even when my voice was shaking) or heckled (when I may have had trouble finding the chords or pitch). Some even suggested I sing over the PA some day.

Today was a test for me. If I can sing and play for my teacher friends, how much easier it will be with my firsties! Yay, I am so happy singing and playing the guitar.

Maybe tomorrow I will sing Kumbaya to calm us all down.

We have tomorrow and Wednesday to finish "things" up, and then Thursday--Ready Or Not, Here They Come!
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Saturday, August 17, 2013

B2S Blogger Exchange

Back in July I was looking through Instagram and found this way cool announcement. Covered in Glitter and Glue was organizing a blogger exchange for back to school. A secret pal, if you will, that gives one gift.

Loved the idea.

I filled out the form, and just before heading on summer vacation I found out who my pal was.

Fun and stressful to find great gifts, stay within the $ guidelines, and find some goodies my pal would like.

Before I could get the box sent, I received my box. However, I did not allow myself to open it until my box had been sent. 

Fun fact: we had each other's name. The pal I was buying for, also bought for me!

I waited another day to open the box.

The contents brought a smile to my face. Just take a look...

Candy, a composition notebook in red, stickers, post its, pens, stamps, and a fun spiral notebook.

The spiral notebook has traveled everywhere with me. I have my B2S lists in it. A list of all staff at my school (because I'm making a surprise). Grocery list. It is just small and fun.

But, my absolute favorite part of the gift... the pens!

They write so smoothly, and so many colors! My pages are bright and cheery.

So, who is my mystery blogger exchange pal? Karen from An Apple a Day in First Grade.

Thank you so much Karen! I love it!!!

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Friday, August 9, 2013

Five for Friday (August 9, 2013)

Welcome Friday. 

Welcome Rain. You were just here, but another visit?

You have stopped the work on my school addition (boo). You flooded me in this morning so we couldn't make it to the dentist (boo). You have given me time to blog (ok).

It is 9:45 am and I have 5 random pictures of rain. From TODAY!!!

1. My boys and I left at 7:30 this morning to drive 25 miles north to the dentist. We got 1 1/2 blocks away before we took refuge in a parking lot. The streets were more flooded than I have ever been in. I am a scaredy driver. We sat in the van for one hour.

2. Finally got brave. We left all of our stuff in the van and started the walk home.

3. As I was walking (and I got the only umbrella), I thought. Take pictures!

(A grassy area that we throw baseballs and frisbees in.)

4. My best friend came out of her house to watch me trudge by. She took a picture of me taking a picture of the street in front of her house.

5. When I got home my jeans were soaked to my knees and my flip flops were very squishy.

This is the fourth rain we have had like this in 12 days. But the first day I tried to go anywhere or do anything.  Think I learned my lesson--STAY HOME!!!

I'm off to reschedule those dental appointments. Wishing you a great day!

Hop on over to Doodle Bugs Teaching
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Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Whole Nuther Level of Tired

As I was sitting in piano lessons (both of my sons take piano lessons and they play lovely) this afternoon, I sort of melted into the chair.

What's going on I thought? Why am I zoning out? Why am I tired?

Oh, right. Today I was at an optional professional day.

So glad I went.

Can there be best parts? If so, I loved the work we did this afternoon as a first grade team (12 of us from across the district). We took all the CCSS (we call them KCCRS in Kansas) and mapped them into logical months to teach. 

I am still newish to first grade and was so pleased that the veterans led the way.

This has been on my list to do, but I didn't know where to start. I was so happy to have this that I volunteered to type it all up in a google doc and share it with the first grade teachers.

What I have now...
1. District "I Can" statements.
2. An idea of what to teach (in ELA) each month that coordinates with ALL of the first grade teachers in the districts.
3. A temporary room! Yep, I am staying in my half-packed room for the first while of school. And at some point I will either move to a different room (several weeks/a month into the school year) or unpack what was packed and stay put.

What can I do now...
1. Start work on a temporary space that will be inviting to students and their parents, yet easy to move if necessary.
2. Type that document.
3. Work on coordinating that document with ag books, ag themes, science and social studies standards.

I have a feeling that today is only the first of many tiring days that are coming my way. 

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Sunday, August 4, 2013


I feel like telling some stories. 

Story #1: We bought a Wii this past week. Our boys have spent loads of time on it. I've bowled every day, and played MarioCart once. MarioCart was no fun for me, how am I supposed to race when the controller is so touchy and I have no idea what the course is?

So, bowling it is.

Except that I must have a very awkward throw, because my wrist, armpit and opposite leg hurt. I had difficulty walking last night. My husband said that he is glad that our HSA is full of money to pay for my Wii injuries.

Story #2: My first grade partner and I created our beginning of the year alphabet sound and handwriting review sheets. 26 sheets of paper. 50 copies of each pages.

I've been looking at this stack of paper for 4 days. Not wanting to collate them, but with a movie on this afternoon I decided to get started.

How would you collate them?

Well, I put the first 10 sheets down on my basement floor and crawled around on my knees to put them together. Then my knees hurt. So I started squat walking. Now I have other parts hurting.

The next set of papers was 6. I could do that from one spot. Much better.

(All 50 packets, they need a cover and then to be bound.)

I hope to be walking normally by the time I have a district meeting on Tuesday.

Story #3: I can play 4 songs on my guitar. A good bye song, Skip to my Lou, Buffalo Gals, and 100 Bottles of Pop on the Wall. When I play the songs sound like ballads (slow), perhaps by sometime in the future I will be able to transition faster like the lady on my instruction DVD. Yep, I'm using a DVD to learn how to play. 

I still have 2 weeks until we start back, but wish all my friends well that are starting this week! Good luck.
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Saturday, August 3, 2013

My Summer

This has been a summer much like the summer after my first year of teaching, way back in 1995.

I can sleep late, because my kids are big enough to take care of themselves without me (back then I had no kids).

I don't have any place to be on most days.

And the coming year has many uncertainties.

I have been discontent most of the summer. For reasons out of my control (and many others') I ended last school year without knowing which classroom I would be in for the coming year. That goes for all of the teachers in my school.

I still do not know. And I do not know when I might know. The not knowing has been harder on me than I expected. 

So, while many of my bloggy friends are planning color schemes, bulletin boards, and classroom layout, I sit doing nothing and the discontent grows.

There have been some good days.

***My trip to Minneapolis in June to the National Ag in the Classroom Conference.

***Weekly planning meetings with my teammate. We are mapping out the whole year! Perhaps not exciting to some folks, but we were constantly behind last year, because we did not know where we were going.

My favorite piece of our planning is this... 

We did this for each nine weeks. It is a document to give to parents at the beginning of each quarter to see what is coming, and then again at the end to see what has been mastered. I'm excited to share it with parents at Parent Information Night (and throughout the year).

I got the idea from Jennifer at Rowdy in First Grade. She generously shared her document with me (THANKS!!!) and my teammate and I reworked it for us. We were thinking of adding everything from the CCSS, but that would not be an overview for parents, that would be overwhelming.

So, we need to make one more, for us. With EVERYTHING on it. Won't take too much time, because of the start we have.

***Blogger meet-up in Ohio. Yes, I am a Kansas blogger and I road tripped to Ohio for this awesome meet up. My BBB (best bloggy buddy) was setting up a gathering, so I arranged my family vacation to go (not really, but it did work out!)

When I arrived at the restaurant the hostess looked at me with a smile and "how may I help you?" I responded, "I'm meeting some people, I don't know them, or how many of them there are." She was so kind, "Right this way." When I got closer, I recognized Julie and my heart relaxed a bit, and what a great welcome she gave me.

Left to right we are:


I had so much fun with them. What I learned: Frixion pens, calendar folders, writing rubrics. Pretty cool that I was already a follower of Emily, Julie and Kate, so I blog-knew them. Jessica and Brittany were great, I follow them now too (and all of their TpT stores). Am I the only one without a store? I would much rather buy than create, maybe next year...

I have 15 (today not included) days until my first official day back. My goal is to keep busy with paperwork, smile, and wait patiently for news of the classroom.

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Thursday, August 1, 2013

August Currently!

Yay for summer! Lounging, reading, surfing (internet, no waves near me in Kansas!), sleeping. I certainly don't know what I'm going to do when I have to start setting an alarm for 5:15 am again!

But I am super excited to get back to school. I feel like I have a handle on the grade and am looking forward to being a step or two ahead this year, instead of ALWAYS playing catch up.

August 1 means time for a Currently party. The lovely Farley has created a wonderful party and I love participating. I met one of my best blog buddies through Currently last November, so I am usually eager to get my currently on and meet some new friends.

Not too much to explain. I got a guitar this summer and am working daily to play clean chords and some EASY songs. I love singing with my students, and this will definitely help me.

Last week I got some Flair pens, and then found out about Frixion pens. Looks like another trip to Office Max. 

You can read what more of the blogging world is up to by heading to 

If you link up, remember Farley's rule of 3. Leave comments on the 2 links ahead and 1 behind your link. It makes us feel good to not be left out of the blog comment love.

Happy August and Back to School!
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