Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Life Cubby

I was contacted by a website that is a great resource. Check out this video to see what it is all about.

Doesn't this just sound awesome?

Want to see something awesome????? Do you see my button???  =)

Click on the picture to go to the website.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Off Topic -- We are building a house!

So I need to focus on something other than school for a little while. I will be posting about our house periodically over the next few months as it is being built. We are super excited! Here is our floor plan:

We added:
-covered front porch
-study has glass french doors and a closet (so it can be a 4th bedroom if needed)
-2 archways (one in entry to kitchen and one at the doorway to bedrooms 2 and 3 and bath 2)
-brick fireplace
-double vanity in master bath
-garden tub and 5ft shower in master bath
-pendant lights hanging over the bar
-additional footage onto back porch slab
-upgraded front door (it's very pretty)

We will have tile and carpet. I have missed carpet.  =)

We will have a fenced yard, full sod and some landscaping, new kitchen appliances including washer and dryer. The windows are beautiful! Everything is energy efficient. So of course I have been planning for what I want to put in our new house. Guess what has been a great resource?

It is a blessing and a curse. Anyone who is on Pinterest know what I am talking about.

Here are a few of my favorite pins at the moment:

I am thinking this would be great on plastic containers as well.

Source: via Rebecca on Pinterest

Source: via Rebecca on Pinterest

Source: via Rebecca on Pinterest

I am so excited! I can't wait until all our permits are approved and they can start. We have been going out to see our lot, but they have not done much.

It is going to be great.

I am so thankful that I have this outlet to share my thoughts, be they creative, depressed, excited, etc.

Have a good evening!

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

The Good

I have to say that my reading block is a great part of my day. The kids have individual reading time, then buddy reading or literature circles, and stations. I am pulling guided reading groups throughout this time. I love being able to spend this time with small groups of students. I love listening to them read and helping them to enjoy it.

This is the most routine part of our day. Here are my basic guided reading plans.
It also includes our online intervention tool -- iStation. I have another teacher who comes in to work with some of my students and I love her! We are required to keep a log of our guided reading time and turn them in every six weeks. This is the template I made.

Guided Reading Log

I am also happy to say that I have my kids read around the room during individual reading times. I made these "reading spot" signs and taped them to the floor. (Actually, I need to redo several. Chairs and little feet can cause a lot of damage.)

Reading Spot

The Bad

I am having some trouble loving teaching this year. I have a good class, so I don't think that is the problem. I just keep feeling beaten down by all the demands that are sometimes unrealistic. 

I have some issues with some of our assessments, because I don't think they are developmentally appropriate. I hate having to beat the kids down with reading passages, when we should just be focusing on reading with fluency and comprehension. Oh no... there has to be some mandated assessment that "measures" what they are learning. 

I am seeing a big discrepancy in the numbers. Not only do I feel like the worst teacher in the world when my class scores low, but then I have to find a way to share the low scores with my students. That is a tricky thing. I want them to take the assessments seriously (because they will be taking them throughout their academic career), but I don't want them to have a panic attack whenever we take it or feel horrible about their performance. Ugh.

I think the worst part about all of this is I can't do anything to change it. I am just the teacher.

The Ugly
We are really battling bad attitudes and disrespect at my school. Last year we implemented R-time. It is a really great resource for teachers to talk, model, and encourage practice of good manners.

Watch this video if you are interested. I think it is making a big difference for us. It helps us deal with the ugly issues of disrespect, bullying, bad manners, and making new friends. We do a lesson once a week, or as needed, on Monday mornings. I would encourage everyone to check it out!

My goal is to take pictures of my students at literacy stations this week and share them this weekend!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Teachers are Overpaid - Study that looks at numbers not real life

Assessing the Compensation of Public School Teachers
Jason Richwine, Ph.D. and Andrew G. Biggs, Ph.D
Nov. 1, 2011

The newest study on our profession.

Click HERE to watch a video of the authors presenting their findings.

Assessing the Compensation of Public School Teachers 19282337242

Can I just say that I am tired of being society's doormat? I am tired of hearing that teachers and schools are the reason things are going downhill. We are not the cause of the problem. We are working as hard as we can to improve the lives of the students we teach. We want all our kids to be successful and happy. We want them to have long, productive lives.

I am not saying that I am under paid. I wish I made more, but I am satisfied with my salary. I work an average of 50-60 hours a week, not including what I do on weekends. That adds up to more than my contract hours. My students are always on my mind. I dream about school. I am always on the lookout for things I can use or ideas I can put to use for my students.

I don't do this for recognition or fame. I do not receive either at school. We usually just hear about what we need to do better. I do this because I believe in kids. I want to teach them. I want to be around them. I want to show them love and give them a positive role model.

I sat down a few weeks ago and made a list of most of my responsibilities.
The Responsibilities of a Teacher

I don't want to be attacked for something I love. I give everything I have to my students and then some. It hurts to hear the things people are saying. I am sorry that the course work for educators is not as difficult as other majors. That doesn't mean that I didn't study and work hard during college. I went to class, participated, read the material, studied, wrote papers, completed projects, went to schools, completed my student teaching and graduated with a 4.00. That doesn't matter now, but I am still proud of it. It enrages me to hear people scoff at my college degree like I didn't work for it or like I am not paying for it through student loans.

You can not understand how difficult the job of a teacher is unless you are in the classroom with us. I wish all the politicians, law makers, administrators, etc. would spend time in classrooms every year. Not in a dog and pony show as a special visit. A real classroom in the regular day to day routine. Come and see what we really do all the time.