Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Remember to breathe....


It's been a while.

I'm currently into my 4th month as a 2nd grade teacher. I taught 1st for the previous 3 years. I looped with most of my class this year. How I wish I could have kept us all together!!!

I just got student #27 yesterday. I'm pretty sure I'm no longer a teacher but more of a referee. I honestly don't know how to handle 27 students with varying abilities from Pre-K/K to late 3rd grade.

That's right..I have a student who is at a PreK/K academic level. He didn't start the year with me, and when I called his previous 2nd grade teacher, she said they were working on writing his letters correctly and writing his name. WHAT?! It was all I could do not to verbally react. I just went..ohh..ok. I called thinking this kid has got to have some sort of IEP or diagnosis. Nope, just 2 grade levels behind. Fun, right?

I've had stealing, bullying, pushing, spitting, and  incessant talking. I kind of think I'm going crazy. Sorta thought I would today.

We have a crazy amount of tests before Christmas Break. I don't know how I'll get it done, especially with all the other things we have to do. I have a stack of tests to grade from a couple of weeks ago. Oops. I have data forms that haven't been touched, looked at or thought of since September. I don't have a new data notebook for my new student because we didn't purchase extras.

And pencils...I think they eat them. I sharpen enough for every kid to have a brand new pencil in the morning and by the afternoon, at least 5 kids don't have a pencil anymore.

I can't get small group teaching done because no matter how I group my kids, someone always bothers someone else....or bothers me. I'm kind of at my end with all of it. I sometimes feel incredibly guilty for having me time because there's so much work I should be doing for school. I'm glad I don't have a family...as much as I desperately want one. I couldn't do it all. I can't even do it all as a single person.

YET.....despite all that junk...

My favorite kid passed her math test the first time at 80%! All my students (except my new one who hasn't tested yet) went up on their STAR Math test. Our classroom thief hasn't stolen anything since she  stole and ate a student's lunch in the classroom back in November. (I was out that day. Thank goodness!)

It may be just a little bit of good things going on, but I better hold on to them to help me make it through the next 9 school days.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Sweet Summer Time..

I've been out of school now for over a month. We ended the year well. It really feels like forever ago. 

So...I will be moving up with my class!! WOOHOO!! I think it ruffled some feathers, but I'm terribly excited. I have a lot of planning to do this summer and digging into the Common Core. I'm going to be sitting down with a friend here in North Carolina who has been teaching second grade for a while. I know that our curriculums don't match, but the common core does. I'm really looking forward to gleaning whatever I can from her. 

Here's my Currently: June. It's a little...or a lot...late in the month. I've been spending my time with people instead of my computer.  Check out Oh' Boy, Fourth Grade for more Currently-s. :)

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

One more chance...

In an email the staff received from our principal, he said that we would discuss our preferences for next year with us this Thursday. I saw this as one more opportunity to beg on my hands and knees plead my case for moving up.

I heard yesterday that there are two fifth grade teachers that are going to be told they can come teach first or resign. Yikes! That does not bode well for me.

But..I'm going in trusting the Lord works all things for my good. This has surprisingly been a very big issue for me. I've been in constant prayer about it for weeks. I am thankful that I haven't set my heart on it entirely, but I will be disappointed if I don't get it.

We'll see what tomorrow holds...

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Currently: May

Here's my May Currently. Link up with Oh' Boy Fourth Grade!!

I had been meaning to do this earlier. I guess I just got busy with life. I'm kind of a terrible blogger.

Anyways, testing is done. Only 8 more days of school...One of which I'm taking off to attend a friend's baby shower and this Friday is field day (or it should be...the person who sets it up is suspended...awesome!). Woo! So ready to be done.

I've asked my principal to loop with my class this year, but I was basically shot down. I have had practically zero office referrals and my students have done a great job academically...which is his reasoning for leaving me in first. Really, I think the reason is because both of my teammates are leaving and going to another school out of our district. I *personally* feel I'm not going to be allowed to move because of that. It kinda of makes me mad. There currently isn't a second grade opening, but one of the teachers has asked for a transfer. If she gets it and someone else gets her spot, I'll be really annoyed. I have two kids that probably need to be retained, but the parents are against it. If I looped, I could save them from retention for a year and really hit the ground running where we left off. I'm even willing to take some of the behavior kids from the other two rooms..knowing that I can't keep my entire class intact. 

I just don't feel like I'm done with them. And I'm tired of teaching first grade. I'm bored. And if I'm bored, I know my students are bored too. 

My principal is staying tight-lipped on just about everything. It's been a hot-mess in my school the last two weeks. I'm kind of over the drama and lack of discipline. Thankfully, I don't deal with my in my own room...but everywhere else is falling apart. I'm so ready for this to end. 

Truthfully, I wish I would have put in applications so much sooner. I never had peace about leaving and going home...or even leaving the school. I have had so many more questions than answers. It would be very easy for me to beat myself up saying that I should have made a decision sooner. I have spent countless hours praying and no answers...no direction. But I'm not going there...again. I'm resolving to trust the Lord. To trust that He has the perfect class planned for me. Not that everything will run perfectly..but that in the end, they will have been the kids for me and I'll have been the teacher for them. He works all things together for my good.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Survey Says Linky....or Procrastination at it finest...

Two posts in one day? Clearly, I'm procrastinating the excessive amount of paperwork in my bag. I'll get to it eventually. It's not like it's going anywhere....

So I'm completing the "Survey Says Linky" from 5th Grade Rocks, 5th Grade Rules.

The rules are to answer her questions and add one more...so here we go..

1.  Are you married, do you have a bf, or are you flying free as a single lady/man?
sadly single...haha!
2.  Where did you grow up?

Eastern North Carolina. I miss it more and more as I get older...

3.  Do you have any pets?  If so, what kind and what is his/her name?
no pets. I live in an apartment with my sister. She wants a pet, but she is gone every other week with her job. I don't want to be stuck taking care of a pet.

4. What is a favorite tv show you are embarrassed to admit to watching?
Anything on Bravo...or 2 Broke Girls.   

5.  Are you a saver or a spender?
a little of both...becoming a bigger saver than spender. 

6.  What is your favorite children's book?
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom! I love the pictures. 
7.  Were you the class clown, teacher's pet, or neither?
More of a goody-two shoes. I did my work, kept quiet but hardly ever kissed up to the teacher. 
8.  Who is your favorite athletic team?
Duke Blue Devils!

9.  Where did you go on your last REALLY fun vacation?
Home to NC. There's nothing exciting to do in my town, but my friends made it the best summer ever.

10.  Who is your favorite actor?  Actress?
Actor...umm....Gerard Butler, maybe. Actress....Reese Witherspoon 

11.  Tell about the last time you cried because you were happy.
A few weeks ago..I've been going through some pretty crazy emotional stuff..think life crisis...and I received some good revelation on some things. :)
12.  What is your favorite season?
Spring. Fall. Winter. I love each equally when they happen. Hate summer.

13.  What is your biggest regret?
missed opportunities for adventure...

14.  What food do you just NOT like at all?
seafood. ick.

15. Who was your most memorable teacher, and why?
Mrs. Burns. She was my high school English, Biology, Physics and American Government teacher. She pushed me much farther than I thought I could go. It was so frustrating in high school when I was already working so hard and never seeing it pay off. But it paid off later. College was a breeze. 

And for my blog...
16. What is your guilty pleasure music?
Sadly...Justin Bieber or Selena Gomez....There must be a part of me that does not want to grow up... 

Currently: April

Here's my currently for April. Link up with Oh' Boy Fourth Grade.

I can't believe it's already April. We just have three very short weeks until our big state test. 

Our 3rd, 4th and 5th graders start their testing this week. Tensions are very elevated in our building. We're still getting new kids. I guess everywhere does, but it seems like we get so many of them. 

The K room next to me is getting a new girl tomorrow. The teacher was told she has "mood disorder". She already has three strong behavior/emotionally unstable boys in her room. One of them cannot sit still for more an 45 SECONDS at a time. Yes, SECONDS!!! She has been timing him when they're on the carpet. This one tried to get her with scissors the other day. Oh..and we're his FOURTH school this year!!! Another boy is self-harming. He wants people to cut him or put shoelaces/etc around his neck. These K's make me fearful for my life next year....whatever next year may be. But that's another post for another day...

Here's how I did the "Currently" on my Mac...

1. Saved the blank image to my computer
2. Opened Keynote (Apple's Powerpoint...I chose the white background and started with a blank slide)
3. Insert to Choose (all the way at the bottom of the choices)
4. Found where I saved the image and inserted into the blank slide
5. Added a text box and my answers for each one
6. When I was finished, I went to File and chose Export. From there I could chose image and then clicked on Next.
7. I gave it a title and clicked Export.
8. I had to open the image into Picassa to crop the white spaces. I'm not sure if there's a way to do that in the first place. This is the first time I've done this on my Mac. I just played around with it. 
9. Saved the image again and then uploaded it to my blog

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


I'm a little behind, but it's better late than never, right? 

Link up with Oh' Boy Fourth Grade!

Oh..I also did this on my Mac. Here's how I did it...
1. Saved the blank image to my computer
2. Opened Keynote (Apple's Powerpoint...I chose the white background and started with a blank slide)
3. Insert to Choose (all the way at the bottom of the choices)
4. Found where I saved the image and inserted into the blank slide
5. Added a text box and my answers for each one
6. When I was finished, I went to File and chose Export. From there I could chose image and then clicked on Next.
7. I gave it a title and clicked Export.
8. I had to open the image into Picassa to crop the white spaces. I'm not sure if there's a way to do that in the first place. This is the first time I've done this on my Mac. I just played around with it. 
9. Saved the image again and then uploaded it to my blog. 

Friday, March 16, 2012

Spring Break

This week is/was our Spring Break. Thankfully, the weather decided to cooperate. It's been close to 80 and clear all week long. I have indulged in reading some books on my "want to read" list and starting one that wasn't on the list. I avoided school work like it was a plague.

I decided today would be the day that I got some of my ridiculous paperwork done. I have spent almost 3 hours at Panera Bread grading tests and filling out data forms. Clearly, I procrastinated doing this for far too long. But, oh well. I hate grading papers. I used to think I'd love it when I was a kid. Why would I think that? I have to look at the same papers 24 times. Who wants to spend their time doing that? I need an assistant. Or just to quit procrastinating. Yah..that's probably it.

After grading two Reading theme tests, I can officially say I am irritated. Why do I spend all my time trying to get them reading, when they go and bomb the tests? I expect them to take their time and do their best. We talk about it ALL.THE.TIME. !! When our tests ask for the students to fill in the missing words, we have practiced over and over again how we try all the words to find the one that fits and not just choose the one we know how to read right away. 

I know at least three of my students continually rush through the test without even reading it. Do they expect to do well? It's a READING test. You HAVE to read it. Oh. my. 

I am going to give them an ear full on Monday and all next week. This laziness has to stop. I can't continue to have these terrible scores when do so well on everything else. The majority of the class is reading on-grade level. Our Early STAR Literacy scores are top of the district (as a complete 1st grade). They continue to show growth every time they take it. As a grade level, we probably have at least a third of our students who are taking the STAR Reading test that begins in 2nd grade. We have students that are learning the 2nd and 3rd grade Sight words. Our Math scores are great. 

Why are they bombing this reading test EVERY TIME!?!?

Now, I realize that they have to read the test on their own, but it's words we see all the time. I make sure that we spend a good portion of time learning the phonics skills for the week. It's reinforced in our stations, spelling lists and stories. I don't get it. If I could I'd test them all in small groups, but with 24 that's not possible. So depressing and frustrating.

I guess it's just fueling my fire for the rest of the year. I fell like coming out guns blazing.    Hopefully, we can pull it together before testing next month...which has been pushed back two weeks!!! We won't be taking our test until the last week in April. But then we will be about 3 weeks until the end of school. PTL! :)

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Currently: February

In an attempt to put off writing lesson plans for as long as possible, I thought I would complete this cute little "Currently..." for February. I am linking up with Oh Boy, Fourth Grade. :) Enjoy!

....and now to get on those lesson plans...just in case we don't get a snow day. 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Words from First Graders

This week, you would have heard these things in my classrooms....and it's only Tuesday!!

"Miss R., I'm going to stick my head in a pie."

A mentor teacher came into to model a read-aloud for me today. She asked the kids in the middle of the lesson she asked the kids who we were reading about. One of my kids responded with "Alvin Alien". We were reading about Alvin Ailey. HA!

Friday one of my lovely ladies told me that I need to go home after school and rest because I've been teaching all day. 

It's hard right now to hold on to the good parts when the stressful/hard parts are so much more. 

We need a snow day so very badly.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Hello, 2012!

I'm getting student #24 tomorrow. Technically, this will be the 27th kid I've had this year. 28..including our sweet friend who pushes in from the SpEd room.

I really have no idea how you teach 24 first graders in one room. It's 24 vs. 1. I realize I'm the teacher, but sheesh. Those are some crazy odds.

I feel like I'm going to be forced to pick and choose who I teach. How nutso is that!?!

We had a quick little grade level data meeting today to discuss our Early Star Literacy scores from December. The Superintendent of Elementary C & I said that our kiddos should at least fall into the "Transitional Reader" category at this point in the year. I still have 6 that are below that in "Emergent Reader". HOWEVER, just one month ago, I had TWELVE!! I cut that number in half! Woo!!

In looking at those 6...2 are ELL and 2 receive Tier 3/Title 1 instruction. So, really...the last two are my biggest concern. Is that not picking and choosing or what? Makes no sense to me.

Common Core Math is whoa. Whoever set the pacing for us this year was on some kinda crack or something. The windows for each unit are incredibly short. And with CC we HAVE to teach the skills to mastery. I have to fight the urge to roll my eyes every time we talk about it. I swear the people in positions of "leadership" have no common sense.

We read "How Full is Your Bucket?" yesterday. I had my kids draw another kid's name at random and then write or draw something to them that would fill their bucket. I heard lots of "I like his/her shoes". We got lots of new shoes for Christmas. :) Two of my favorites were "_____ is my hero" and "_____ is really funny". So sweet. One girl asked if she could write one to me. She said that she thought my nails were pretty. They're currently hot pink. haha! I may or may not be using the line "you're emptying my bucket" for my kids that won't stop talking or interrupting me. I've also had a few kids tell me they felt their buckets were empty, so we brainstormed why and how we could fix it. If this gets them to think about how their behaviors effect each other, then I have definitely succeeded this year.

Ooo...I can get them little buckets as an end of the year thing. Gotta remember that.

We're also writing New Year's Resolutions. Two of my sweet kiddos want to be better spellers. One wants to drink more milk. One wants to get better at driving her little play jeep. Quite a few want to be better helpers for their parents. We talked about ridiculous resolutions vs. realistic resolutions. Sky diving and driving cars are ridiculous resolutions for a 1st grader. They loved hearing that. I think this group is a lot more realistic with their resolutions than my kiddos were last year.

We also made a patchwork quilt square to make a classroom quilt. We talked about how each of us is different and unique but together we make a beautiful masterpiece....and how it takes teamwork to accomplish this. I surprisingly feel like we're pulling ourselves together.

I am going to try to figure out what to do with my life after this year. I am looking at gaining certification in another state to be closer to my parents. I also heard about a program there that works with children who have autism. They work with the students and families outside of the classroom. I have decided that the part I love most about my job is coming up with creative solutions to learning issues. It's rather daunting to do for 24 students. I feel I am most effective, creative, inspired and on my game when I work with less kids (as I'm sure most people feel). I am definitely going to be looking into this and consequently pursuing a Masters in Special Education.

We have a little more than 70 days until State testing. No snow days in sight. I still haven't decided if that's a good thing or not. I'd like at least 1 or 2.

I am extremely thankful for the grace to teach. I am even more thankful that these first two days back haven't left my bucket completely empty at the end of the day. :)