Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Back After FOUR Snow Days!!!

Yes, you read that right. Today was our first day back after four snow days. We had a storm come in last Wednesday so we were off for Thursday and Friday. Then another storm came in on Monday so we were off Monday and Tuesday. CRAZY! Apparently, this was a record setting amount of snow for our area (about 2 foot) and the last time this happened was in February of 1913 or something like that...weird that it was exactly 100 years ago.

Now, I know some of you from further north are probably making fun of us, but it was A LOT of snow for us. My kids were thrilled and spent lots of time outside building tunnels, forts, etc. Meanwhile I stayed inside and did a whole lot of nothing. It was great!

Here's my hubby taking care of the walk for us. He got to stay home 2 of the 4 days because of the road conditions. After the first foot of snow, the "town managers" came in and cleared our drive - thankful for that small town perk. This picture is taken after the second storm so the drive is covered again...

View from back door. Sorry - this lady was not going out in it - even to snap more fun pics of the kids playing in it.


So today was total survival-mode.

I was exhausted.

The kids were exhausted.

The good thing about it...they were very QUIET. We'll see how long that lasts. Ha!

Lessons learned from snow days:

1. Nerf Basketball should not be played anywhere NEAR windows. Yes, my kids broke a window, but fortunately neither of them were hurt and it was not "both" panes of glass so still warm!

2. Working out at times other than 5:00 a.m. means that it hurts worse - or maybe I'm actually awake and I can feel it more. LOL!

3. Drinking more water may be good for you, but you must also build up your bladder. Otherwise when you return to work and can't use the restroom any time you please, it can cause a sense of panic!

I think that about covers it. Have a great rest of the week!

Crystal




Saturday, February 23, 2013

Saturday Saying - Choosing our Attitude!


I am so excited to be joining Tammy with a “Saturday Saying” of my own today. There have been many Saturdays that Tammy’s posts have been exactly the inspiration I needed to push myself to become a better teacher. In fact, when she asked for volunteers, I told her I’d love to do it but was worried about the pressure—and I was only half joking. If you don’t make it a point to read her “Saturday Sayings” each week, you should. They really are thought provoking and inspirational.

So…

…deep breath…

…here goes…


 


This quote was actually included on something our principal sent out recently, along with this brief summary of Frankl’s history:

Viktor Frankl (the author of the quote above) was one of the millions of Jews placed in Nazi concentration camps during World War II. He lived in prison camps and watched as many of his friends were killed and while some of his friends committed suicide. He decided there was one thing that no one could take away—his ability to choose his attitude.  Dr. Frankl not only survived but became one of the most respected psychiatrists the world has ever known.

I asked my principal if I could use it today and she agreed. She took the quote from Life’s Greatest Lessons by Hal Urban, which I will admit that I have not read—yet.

This seemed like the perfect “Saturday Saying” because it combines two things that I believe are important in life (not just teaching) – choice and attitude.

If you’ve read our first blog post, you know that I haven’t always been a teacher. This is only my third year. Before going back to school to get my degree, I was a school secretary so I have been in education for about seven years.

Something that I have observed is that teaching is a profession with high demands, long hours, and constant change. We also often face unexpected—and definitely out of our control—interruptions to our schedules and plans. These pressures can cause us to whine, complain, and have bad attitudes. We might even make things worse by looking for agreement from our colleagues and before we know it, we are having a big “pity party.”

I bring this up—not in a judgmental way—but because I am constantly reminding myself that I have a choice in how I respond to those pressures that come my way.

The truth is we can’t control a lot of the circumstances we face in teaching—or life in general—but as Frankl said, we can choose the attitude we will have in those circumstances.
  • We can choose to be excited and upbeat to teach those precious kiddos who have been entrusted to us.
  • We can choose to be positive when facing another “boring” in-service.
  • We can choose to face MTSS or RTI (whatever your state calls it) with a smile.
  • We can choose to be flexible and accommodating when our schedule is interrupted.
  • We can choose to find joy in teaching (again—if we’ve lost it).

My list could go on…but I’ll stop there.

I hope this "Saturday Saying" has been an inspiration to someone else, but I know that just writing it has been a good reminder for me to choose a better attitude!

Don't forget to head over to Forever in First for more "Saturday Sayings!"


 

 


 
 
Crystal

P.S. Speaking of that first post, that was a year ago this week! WOW!!!



 

 

 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Narrative Writing Funnies

We have been hitting narrative writing very hard as grade cards approach. Kristi and I plan to have the students have a narrative piece with an illustration up in the hallway for parents to admire as they wait for conferences.

I have really been challenging the students to be creative and come up with some original stories.

Here's a few that should give you a chuckle...

...and maybe prove that we have more work to do...

...I did try to correct spelling for you, but there is obviously some grammar mistakes, etc...

Once upon a time, there were two friends. Their names were Miranda and Maggie. Miranda lost her necklace. We looked and looked and then we found it! But then grumpy old ________ (name protected because it is another student in class and didn't seem too flattering  to call her grumpy) wiggling down the road and growling at us. We ran to the house and hid in the closet.

This is an ocean. I like to fish with my dad. A big fish we could not get it in the boat! It was SO heavy I almost fell in the water!

Once upon ago, there was a chipmunk. He couldn't see his owner so he was sad. La La La. I found my owner. He ran to his owner. "Are you my owner?" "Yes," said the girl.

When I learned how to ride a bike, I still needed training wheels. I got way better. I could do wheelies. It was scary. When I got older, I got better.

There once was a cow named Gavin. Gavin was a very nice cow. One day Gavin was at his house looking out the window. Then he saw his friend Alyssa the fly.
Then Alyssa said, "What are you doing?"
"I am looking out the window. I can't go outside because it's raining."
"Ok," said Alyssa. "Do you want to do something?"
"Na," said Gavin. So they looked out the window for about 5 hours and then they saw some light!

Here's my personal favorite...this one they came up with as a class.

Mrs. R loves Coca Cola in a glass bottle. It is her favorite way to drink pop!

One day, when the first graders were very rowdy, she needed an ice-cold coke. She searched her desk for a Coca Cola in a glass bottle, but she couldn’t find any.

So Mrs. R rummaged for her wallet in search of money to go buy one. But she had accidentally left her wallet at home! However, she had a sack of cans that she decided to sell on the street.

After selling cans for five long, hot hours, she finally had enough money to buy a Coca Cola in a glass bottle. Then she took a sip of it, and said, “Yum!”
 
Around Christmas time when we were making our Christmas lists, I put Coca Cola in a glass bottle on mine. I do absolutely love it - hubby got me a huge box FULL our first Christmas together and I told the kids about it. Apparently, it left quite an impression. ;-)

Okay, one more funny...

One of my kiddos tells me that his dad has been trying to guess my age...thinks I'm in my twenties. I'm thinking, "Hey, I can live with that." Then my kiddo says, "I told him no way. She has to be in her thirties at least." LOL!

Kids are so honest...

Have a great rest of the week! We have already called off school for tomorrow. SNOW DAY!!!!

Crystal

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Update on Checklist and Timer

YAY!  It is working!  I love the checklist and timer......well I guess I should say that it worked 3 out of 4 days.  I left fairly early for me (4:30-5:00) three of the days and then the last day, I didn't even set the timer because I knew that there would be no way I would be able to get out of there by the time the timer went off.  Of course some of it may be that we only had 4 days this week and the last day was an in service day.  So, I had to be done with everything a day early. 

So, once again thanks to all for the great ideas and I'm glad that I started doing this.  I feel more organized and I stay on task (for the most part LOL)!  

Since it was going well at school, I decided that I was going to make a checklist at home as well.  I only did the checklist this week without the timer.  I believe that I will need to add the timer next week because I think the timer makes me move faster (the checklist that I had daily at home took me quite awhile each night to get done-so I think the timer will make it go faster).  I will say that by Friday evening, I had my house all clean, dishes done, laundry done (and actually put away) and groceries done!  I felt like I actually had a weekend where I could just lounge and do things that I really wanted to do (like check out pinterest LOL)!

Hope all of you had a great weekend and have a great week!  Kristi

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Checklist - I'm a Believer and Lunch ?s

You may remember my whiny post the other day...about never being done with my work even though I stay late every night...
 
Then Kristi's post about the checklists she is using along with the timer that Amanda suggested...
 
Well, I have been using the checklists (no timer for me because I usually ride with hubby) and guess what time I was done with my work today (remember contract time ends at 3:45)?
 
4:00
 
Can you believe it? I'm not sure I believe it either. Plus I have things marked off of tomorrow's checklist already.
 
I think I need to write this down in a history book somewhere just in case it never happens again. :-)
 
I was so early I paid the bills.
 
Then I wrote out encouragement cards to some friends.
 
And now I'm blogging.
 
I'm so early, I may get to browse Pinterest while I wait for hubby to get off work.
 
Okay, onto the lunch quandary I have been in. We have a duty-free lunch, so I send my kiddos to lunch and leave them in the hands of our wonderful lunchroom workers. And almost everyday when I go to collect those sweet kiddos, I get the same bad report.
 
"Too loud."
 
"Talking when the lights are off (that means be quiet and eat)."
 
"Playing around."
 
"Hands on others."
 
Etc.
 
It wouldn't be so bad, but Kristi's class gets a glowing report (I may be exagerrating there) every day.
 
Never mind that I may be getting what I deserve because last year these reports were flipped and I would tease Kristi about her loud, obnoxious class. :-)
 
Anyway, I'm wondering if anyone has some creative consequences or ideas for misbehavior at lunch.
 
Here's what I have tried:
 
Moving clips down when we get back to the room when I know names.
Time on the line at recess as a whole class.
Shortening FUN FRIDAY to put our heads down on our desk.
Points - for them or me (we have a friendly competition each week where they earn points for a lot of things - not just lunch)
 
And finally, today I sat them in assigned seats. I told them we may stay like that forever...
 
Well, at least until the end of the year.
 
Thoughts?

Crystal
 

Saturday, February 9, 2013

THE TIMER AND THE CHECKLIST!!

The last time that Crystal blogged about always having a lot to do after school, she asked if anyone every left at contract time.  Well, Amanda Hallman from Elementary Teacher Files http://elementaryteacherfiles.blogspot.com/ replied that she actually sets the timer for 30 minutes after contract time and leaves when the timer goes off.

Crystal told me that I should try it (of course she volunteered me to do it to see how well it would work for me......she used the excuse that she had to wait on her husband until 5 LOL! so she couldn't do it).   I had been trying hard to be able to leave on Fridays by at least 5:00.  So, awhile back I made a checklist of everything I needed to have done on Friday before I could leave.  I was making a copy of it every week, until Crystal gave me the great idea to just put it in a page protector sheet and just use an expo marker and mark it off as I go (I never think of those kind of things). It saved me time because I no longer need to copy it every week. 

Well, I decided that I should probably do a checklist of things to do daily instead of just on Friday.  You see, I am one that will just sit there thinking of all the things I need to do and I think so long that I waste time and don't get as much accomplished, so with my checklist, I won't need to waste as much time thinking about everything that needs to be done  :-). 

On normal days, I usually don't leave school until around 5:30-6:00, then I have a 20 min. drive home, which puts me home somewhere between 5:50-6:20.  Then you know once you get home you have to make supper etc.  Anyways, my nights seem very quick.  Therefore, when I heard about the timer, I thought OK I'll try it.....and with my checklists maybe I can do it. 

My first day was on Wednesday.  I was very nervous the first day so decided I would gradually start it.  So, I started with 60 minutes instead of 30.  I was very excited because I completed my checklist and was able to leave school by 4:55 (our contract time is 3:45, so I was a little more than 60 min.-so didn't leave right when the timer went off, but it was still early for me)  YAY!!  On Thursday, I decreased the time and actually left at 4:15-WOW!  Then on Friday-I left at 4:20!!  I believe that this system will be nice to use.  I'm sure that there will be days that I won't feel like I can leave when the timer goes off and I will stay longer.  But, I can see how the checklist and timer is definitely going to help me out.  Not only does the checklist keep me organized, but I think the timer keeps me on task and makes me move a little faster LOL! 
(I should probably do something similar at home with cleaning etc. :-))

So, thanks Amanda for the idea and thanks Crystal for making me be the guinea pig and try it because it helped me leave a little earlier this week and gave me more time to spend at home with family.  :-)

Hope you have a great weekend!  Kristi

Monday, February 4, 2013

A Little Late, but Currently...

So I realize I'm a few days late, but thought I'd go ahead with Farley's Currently. I think you'll understand why as you read my thoughts...
 
 
I'm still at school. It is 54 degrees outside and some parents let their kiddos stay and enjoy the weather on our playground.
 
My windows do face the playground which is not necessarily a good thing...especially when some kid kicks or throws a ball against the window while we are working in here.
 
Oh, who am I kidding, it is not helpful to my students' concentration anytime there are other classes at recess. I do not like to close my blinds so instead I threaten tell the kids at the beginning of the year that if I catch them watching recess, they will lose theirs.
 
I'm off the clock...our contract time ends at 3:45. Does any teacher ever leave at their contract time?
 I may still be a newbie (3rd year) but I am thinking not. At least not me...not unless I have to get somewhere for my own kiddos.
 
And no matter how late I stay, I always leave making a mental list of all the things I have to do the next day.
Can I get an "amen"?
 
As you can tell, I am stalling. I have plenty of work to do and I am dragging my feet.
What can I say?
It was a lllllloooooooonnnnnnnnggggggg day!
 
I can't go home because I am waiting in town for a bridal shower. I live about 30 miles away.
And I still have to go to the store...ugh. I hate grocery shopping. Hey, I should have put that on my pet peeves! Really, I have told hubby that if I ever get rich I *will* hire someone to shop for me. LOL!
 
Needing a nap or a Coca Cola (the real thing)...enough said.
 
Pet Peeves:
Moodiness - I hate when someone makes me feel as if I've done something wrong or made them mad, only I know I haven't and that it is just them and their moods. I say, BE HAPPY. The Lord has blessed me too much to let the day's events determine my mood.
 
Germs - All who know me will get a kick out of this one. I truly am a "germaphobic."
That may be a made up word.
In fact, Friday as I stuffed one kiddo's shoe sole down into their PE shoe, I found myself saying:
 
"Mrs. R, will you open my milk? Oh, by the way, I licked it first.
Mrs. R, will you open my go-gurt. Oh, forgot to tell you, I tried it with my teeth first.
Mrs. R, will you fix my shoe? I know it is sweaty and smelly.
You guys need to stop asking me to do gross things that make me touch your germs!"
 
The kids all laughed (and so did I), but I was serious!
Then I lathered up with Germ-X. ;-)
 
Crystal
 

Sunday, February 3, 2013

More 100 year old pictures and a FREEBIE!!

We celebrated the 100th day on Wednesday and it was a lot of fun, but like Crystal, I was also very exhausted at the end of the day.  The kids looked so cute!  Check out my pics below (sorry the pics didn't capture the full effect-many of the students had grey hair and it didn't show up as well in the pictures). 


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Our kids have been playing the connect four games in reading for quite some time now and love playing them. What we really like about them is that they are having fun playing them and we don't think they realize that they are learning as well in the process. :-) We have the one we will be using this week in reading and we are making it FREE! So head on over and download a copy of it!

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Connect-Four-Game-with-words-with-long-i-ie-igh-y


Connect Four Game with words with long i (ie, igh, y)

While you are there, don't forget to check out our SUPER SUNDAY SALE going on where you can get up to 28% off.  
 
 

Sunday super sale


Hope you have a great week!  Kristi

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