Sunday, July 27, 2014

Moving on up... the East side. <cue The Jeffersons theme song> More like, moving down the hall. With some of my students transferring to other teacher's caseloads and/or general ed home rooms, I too, will be moving. Out of my rather large Kindergarten classroom and into a more suitable classroom for this coming year as a K/1 combination class. Working Extended School Year right around the corner, I was able to get into my room and take a few photos before building services began working on the floors and hallways. I've bounced several ideas around in my head regarding classroom set-up given what I learned worked or more importantly, didn't work this previous year. I managed to snap some photos and am eager to get in later this week and start setting things up.

One thing I'm completely sure of is my theme: a Finding Nemo-inspired underwater escape. The luxury of having some of the same students again this year and my own love for the film will make this an exciting retreat from typical classrooms (I hope)!

How about you? Are your dreading the return to school or are you eager to get back into your classroom, or have already?

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Be the Change.

I recently turned 30 this year and like any milestone year, I came to one important realization: in order to achieve all that one wants, you must BE THE CHANGE. This applies to all aspects of one's life, both personally and professionally. For me, this meant taking up running and choosing to lead a healthier lifestyle, playing soccer and running my first (of many to come) half-marathons. At school, this involved assuming a leadership role, reflecting on my teaching and re-evaluating how I taught/worked as a teacher of students who are deaf/hard of hearing. I learned one thing: be the change.

So, I took notes, talked to fellow teachers, pinned to numerous Pinterest boards and signed up for a summer class geared towards developing my curriculum and classroom set-up for the coming year. As I've begun to log my hours, I realized how much I took away from fellow Pinners but teacher bloggers as well. And so, I cannot neglect my own blog. I have to start anew, blog about my teaching journey and hope that I can contribute in some way as I've found others to follow. Here goes nothing...

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Guess who's back....

For those of you who've noticed, I've been MIA the past few weeks...or should I say, the last two months. Once the long-awaited Spring Break came and went, the end of the school year just started coming faster and faster. LITERALLY - it feels very similar to the scene in Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark, where Indiana /sigh/ {Harrison Ford back in the day} is running for his life as he is mere moments away from being flattened by a ginormous rock. THAT - is what the last 8 weeks have felt like.

Life hasn't been very pretty lately or very calm...of course, to my fellow teacher friends - no explanation is needed. Quite simply put - part of my frustration is the inability to explain the life of a teacher to non-teachers. I've come to decide that the majority (NOT all) of individuals who do not teach or have not taught CANNOT understand what it is like to be a teacher and how NOT easy the job is. Despite my best attempts, explaining tenure and the process behind attaining it is difficult. Explaining why SO much of our work comes home with us is difficult. Explaining why there is SO much more to do throughout the year (including the summer) is difficult. Explaining that having the summer off in no way justifies how much we are paid is difficult. But alas - until one of said individuals walks in our shoes, the point is moot. We are BUSY individuals and the quintessential multi-taskers of the world...but to those who are not 'one of us', they shall never know.

/SIGH/ Rant complete. Now - to apologize for my absence. I promised myself that this blog wasn't going to be another unfinished diary (believe me, I've got several attempts there...) but I had quite a bit going on and couldn't bring myself to factor blogging back in. However, I remained somewhat in touch -- mostly thanks to Pinterest and all of its goodies and very much missed putting in my own two cents. And so, I'm back.

Today marks the final two weeks (3 more days this week, 5 next week and 1.5 the following week = 9.5) of time with my kiddos. Last Friday, we toured the middle school my 5th graders will be transitioning to, Friday is our field day, next week brings a field trip and fun day...and soon thereafter, promotion and their Clap Out. Has it been a full school year already?! *sniff sniff* Either's time to get busy and get everything I can in their little noggins before they're gone from me forever!

How are you preparing for the end of the year with your kiddos? I'm excited to see how our Memoir Project will turn out - I am having my kiddos create a Memoir Book about their 5th grade (or K-5th grade years) and present it on the next to last day of school...What fun things do you do with your students?

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Thank you!!

I just wanted to take a moment and say thank you to the super awesome fantastic amazing <insert adjective of choice here> 9 who are following my blog. A few months ago, I was a long-term substitute teacher looking for additional resources to support a Chris Van Allsburg author study unit I was attempting...and I came across a plethora of ideas thanks to OneExtraDegree.

From there, I discovered TONS more amazing teacher blogs filled with more lesson plans, ideas and activities than I could've ever imagined. I think I was following at least 20+ blogs in my first few days!! They reignited a passion for teaching that I had long forgotten (due a bad experience in my previous teaching position) and I made it my New Year's resolution to join in...

...since then, I've managed to earn a few followers of my own and feel a little overwhelmed that anyone is reading this li'l blog much less listening to my squirrely thoughts. So, to those who are following me and those reading this for the first time, thank you. Additionally, in March, I officially became a full-time, permanent staff member - Go Cougars! With teaching jobs in the deaf/hard of hearing field few and far between...this has been the biggest blessing this year. =D

Spring Break has ended and the beginning of the fourth and final quarter has card comments, progress notes and grades are completed. The majority of testing is over (with two or three more smaller tests coming up in the next few weeks) and it's time to cram as much into my kiddos heads as possible before they leave me and the school forever! Cannot believe they will be going off to middle school in the fall and leaving! *SOB*

Whoever designed the 5th grade curriculum is a genius, however, and we're ending our ELA unit with memoirs...a perfect way to reflect on all that we've learned and experienced this year. I'm brainstorming how to best modify the unit for my kiddos and see what we come up with.

What's worked best for you? What have you enjoyed the most?


Thursday, April 5, 2012

Currently...'s time to get back on the road and head on home...but before we do, here's a little Currently - for April.

S-P-R-I-N-G B-R-E-A-K...

is FINALLY here!!!!

Can I just KNOW you're a teacher when you're constantly checking the clock and thinking aloud, "well, it's 10:45 now...I should be setting up my centers for reading..." when you should be kicking your feet up and enjoying the days of NOTHINGness.

But alas...that's what I have found myself doing. Wondering what day of the week it ACTUALLY is - I do believe I need the calendar routine more so than my students. Incidentally, we've about 4 more days for Spring Break and I'm working hard not to think about anything but S P R I N G    B R E A K!

So far...the Mister, Li'l Mister and myself have managed to have a bit of fun. We packed our bags and drove south to the Carolinas and have:
  • visited with old friends
  • visited with the Mister's family and had a great day at the local park - discovered the Li'l Mister REALLY enjoys the swings and burying himself in the sand...
  • took the li'l Mister to Riverbanks Zoo - his first zoo visit. ABSOLUTELY loved his expression of shock and awe at all the animals
  • been avoiding my impending work load (so far...)
  • increasing my love for Pinterest and finding all sorts of scholastic and not-so scholastic goodies.
  • am currently visiting with my grandparents - namely, my personal hero, mentor and best friend in all things, a fellow teacher, my grandmother.
I've also managed to survive the month of March which was filled with a not-so-tasty smorgasbord of IEP meetings and even yuckier state finally, mostly over and now it's time to geared up for the last two months of school!!

But for's almost 4:00 and that means that my day is almost over. DOH! See?! There I go again...not allowing myself to forget my regular school day schedule.../sigh/ maybe some Pinterest-ing will cure me?

How are you all spending your Spring Breaks?

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Week One in the books...

I don't know what I expected to happen...but there was no fanfare, fancy celebration or any feeling of "change". I woke up on Monday and much like it was for Molly Ringwald throughout 'Sixteen Candles', no one said a thing. Well, I take that back. My vice principal and the members of my small team congratulated me...but I still didn't feel any different.
This week was like any other week this year - crazy busy and even more so. The IEP/Re-eval sandwich of meetings was devoured on Thursday and the prep required beforehand left me exhausted and in bed by 9 that night.
The next two weeks are ones I am sad to say, dreading. Monday we begin administering state assessments to our kiddos and I, for one, am not looking forward to the amount of teaching time I will be losing since I'm being pulled for two separate grade levels and testing everyday. Thus, in addition to the crazy wonky schedules that have had to be developed, I am trying to create effective substitute lesson plans for the classes I will be missing in the morning. I am having to modify the lessons I would leave simply due the fact that I know my sub will not be able to effectively teach previously intended lessons.
Is it just me, or is it hard to trust a substitute to teach and assess a lesson the way that YOU would want it taught? And I don't say that against substitutes and their teaching ability - I'm speaking more towards when you know specifically who is going to cover your class and you know for a most likely won't get done. Either way - I am hoping that whatever I decide to leave with my sub for the mornings will be done and worst case scenario, I will be revisiting concepts in the afternoons when possible.
Now...a much needed and overdue cup of coffee is calling my name. Fingers crossed that a growing To Do list is dominated and I get all that I am setting out to accomplish today within a reasonable amount of time. Note to self: prioritize, prioritize, prioritize!