Saturday, March 27, 2010

Crap Happens

There once was a pup named Samson. He lives a simple life, with his mom and dad. He has a friend named Sammie.

All was going well in his world. He napped, ate, and played. Until one day, when out of the blue...

he found himself wearing this cone.

Friday, March 26, 2010

All grown up.

Today, about 3:20 strolls up, my first year student K.

Now, normally I wouldn't be surprised to see her. She comes to see me often.


Up walks this teenager. complete with linebacker style eye line
invisable braces
straighten, hair sprayed hair

I almost didn't recognize her...
it was the hands in the hair shouting Mrs. Howard
it was the tie-dye shirt
it was the K walk babies are growing up :(

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Recess Duty

I have recess duty this week with Mrs. M. As much as I like spending time with my friend, recess duty is not my idea of fun.

Things I've been told/handled so far this week:

1. A boy telling me he's going to f'n beat up another boy.
2. A boy punching another boy in the balls....for coming up to him and saying roar
3. A girl spanking another girl with her belt
4. A girl with a cell phone out taking pictures
4. "I'm a purple pony" then gallopping off
5. A boy double fisting flipping off Mrs. M

Yes. 6th grade is too old for recess.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Top 10: Spring Break Edition

10: Knowing when Samson wakes me up at night, it's okay because I don't have school the next day

9: Not grading, and not feeling bad about it

8: Getting a much needed break from those I see all day, (students) and fitting in time with people I don't see often. 

7: Taking short or long naps, at any point in the day

6: Getting to try out new recipes because I have time to cook. Also, getting to go to the grocery store in the middle of the day, when there aren't many people there.

5. Getting to enjoy being outside at the park, digging for a garden, walking Samson. Sun is so good for my soul.

4. Rubbing it in certain people's faces who have jobs that don't get Spring Breaks

3. Spending alone time with my husband, while we are both awake

2. Getting to see my family! Mom, Dad, Ward, Tammy, Carter, Robyn, Meme, Poppy, Aunt Terry: Loved seeing each one of them! 

1. Spending time by myself: relaxing, refocusing, reenergizing 

**3 days left in my Spring Break. I think come Monday, I'll be super teacher again :) **

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The longer I am in Public Education...

I know what you're thinking. Two years isn't long to be in public education...

I know teachers who have taught more then 30 years.

But in truth, I've been in public education since I was 6 and entered the big K. Except for a 4 year bout in a private college, public education is all I have known.  

My roles in public education have changed from student to teacher...a small change if you ask me. 

In my 20 years in public education a lot of things have changed.  Discipline, Motivation, Testing, Theories on Learning.

....where is she going with this? Well, after being on the teaching side of public education for two years, I'll tell you what I think...

-More time is wasted redirecting then teaching
-Discipline is a joke, because the administrators are afraid of parent retaliation
-Kids know more now about things that are beyond their years
-Kids are skipped over, either intentionally or unintentionally because of their behavior
-There are hours in my day, where I'm not permitted to teaching because kids are receiving other services
- Learning is put on the back-burner to testing
- Morals don't count for as much as they used to

So this short list, comprised off of the top of my head leads me to have this conversation with my TH. 

Me: Babe, What do you think of homeschooling?
TH: Ugh...those kids are weird.
Me: Why do you think that?
TH: Because they have no social skills
Me: Do you think our kids will have social skills?
TH: Yeah
Me: Do you think they will come from school, or us
TH: Us probably
Me: So, besides social skills, do you have any other opinions
TH: not really, Why?
Me: don't judge me, k? I want to homeschool our kids
TH: Huh?

So this conversation has led to many more. Right now, having kids seems light years away. But when I do have children, I would like to homeschool them (until they are about 8 years old) for various reasons..I can narrow it down to 4 (in order from most important)

1. I want my children to have a solid foundation in reading and math skills
2. I want my children to think of learning as fun and exciting
3. I think I can teach my children most effectively and efficiently 
4. I don't want to be on a rigid 8-4 schedule 5 days a week. I want learning to be woven into our day.

There are quiet a few other reasons...but those are the main four.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


It's official. They've flipped.

two days before spring break and we have flipped...

erasers at our classmates
each other off
our books upside down
paper on the floor
our chairs over

and I've flipped open each workbook and assigned them lots of busy work.

Monday, March 8, 2010


Today I found out my childhood best friend's dad died.

Hilary and I were the best of friends from 2nd grade until high school. We met as 8 year olds, when she moved from California to Missouri. The teacher, our favorite, sat us next to each other. I didn't know how to say her name, after I asked her, she asked if I wanted to play at recess. We started and just never stopped. We had a unique friendship, built on our specific strengths. School came easier to me, art and style came natural to her. We spent years planning the rest of our lives as friends, bothering our younger siblings, hating boys, and complaining about school.  As friends often do, our lives took separate paths.  There's not a year of elementary school or Jr. High that Hilary doesn't stick out in my mind. She was a great great friend.  We spent summers swimming, playing sports, and having adventures. Her dad was a big part of that, coaching our teams, helping us build things. He was always up for a good time. 

Today when I read on Facebook that he had passed away, it hit me really hard. How could such a joy-filled, energetic man be gone. He wasn't old, he's MY dad's age. I called my dad. I told him I loved him. 

Hil, know you're dad's legacy lives on by all of us, who took the extra time to tell our fathers what they mean to us today. You're in my prayers friend.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Top ten things I would tell a teacher candidate

Top ten things I would tell a teacher candidate 

10. While student teaching, pay close attention to how your teacher disciplines. Ask if you can listen in when they talk one on one with a student, when the call parents, or any other situations where a teacher has to handle a student’s decision one-on-one.

9. Decide early on how you are going to reward/punish individually and as a group. Finding this balance will make your room run smoothly.

8. Don’t be afraid to change things mid-year. Communicate with your students that they are a part of their flexible class, and that you all will learn and adjust together.

7. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from your principal, especially as a first year teacher, they are their to help you.

6. Trust me that you are not a miracle worker. You can give your 110% everyday, and you will still have students that are not motivated to learn. This is not your fault. Don’t let it eat you alive.

5. Don’t try to grade everything. There are ways to assess without looking at EVERY SINGLE answer on each page. Be creative in your assignments to give the students variety AND make it easier on you.

4. Implement a no tattling rule the first day. Unless they are injured or in danger have another way for them to “tell”.

3. Start each day new with each student. This is tricky, but if you can leave each day with the mindset that tomorrow is new, your frustration level with each student will be less.

2. Find a stress-outlet.  I write my “teaching happenings” in a blog and have three teacher friends that I vent to. No one is perfect, the key is releasing the hardships of teaching in a healthy manner. I try not to take it home to my husband because he doesn’t understand.

1. Keep parents on your team! Do what it takes. I try to make each parent that walks in my classroom feel like his or her student is the most important child in my classroom! People often tell me I’m too full of energy. This does not come naturally, but if I can win those parents over with my first impression, my year will be easier. Get to know each of the students and add those little tid-bits in to the conversation. If the parents can see you really know their child, they will bend over backwards to help you!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Longing for the Beach

Certain things trigger my longing for the beach.

The beach is tied for my favorite place on earth.  The mountains share the coveted first position.  It's weird how they are extremely different, but both make me feel more alive then anything else. 

When I am stressed at school, there is a poster in my classroom of the beach. It has some inspirational saying on it, but I can't even tell you what it says.  I just look at the poster, imagine myself laying there, cold drink in hand, reading a great book.  I love the way the sun feels crisp on my skin as I absorb all those sun-cancer rays.   It's the epitome of relaxation. 

When I see picture of myself on the beach, or a movie with the beach I long to be there, in the sun, listening to the water. Napping on the beach is good for my soul.  

How I wish I could zap myself there. 

Friday, March 5, 2010

I'm the biggest dork in this room, thank you.

  I try to instill in my students this one fact: I am the biggest dork in the room.  By implementing this, I insure that none of my kids get made fun of, because if anyone gets made fun of, it's me. I try to model the correct way to handle people poking fun at you, by laughing right along. 

I tell my kids this all year, so when I came in today with a blacking, swollen, cut eye they wanted to know what happened.

I fought a door knob and the door knob won. 

I'm pretty excited for when it turns green.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

It's the little things...


So the reason I am posting this picture is, I'm so excited for my roommate! I was looking for a picture of us, that I love...and the first thing that came to my mind was this vacation.  After we graduated from college we took a girls vacation to FL. (This happen to also be the summer of my wedding)
We got to spend a blissful week on the beach! Oh how I wish I was there now, and not in Oklahoma.  Okay. On to the excitement.  So....a few weeks ago, my roommate got engaged! Now, the whole story of us ending up being roommates is a pretty neat one. We both were thinking of getting new roommates at the same point in our sophomore year. We also both happened to be in the same class education class. So at the end of class, Lindsey asked if who I was rooming with next year, and so it began.  There could not have been a more perfect fit. I have been blessed blessed blessed with her friendship. 

It is possible I might be more excited about Lindsey's wedding then my own! Literally, I am so happy for her, for Matt. I can't think of anyone who deserves a great guy and life! So with this on my mind...I'm so excited for her dress trying on tomorrow. 
Roommate, I know that we no longer live together. But you will always be my roommate. Hope Matt is okay with that.  I'm so glad we get to share the joys of


One thing that is different about my teaching theory this year, is my view on parents.

Last year, I figured:  Hey, the kid's making good decisions, decent grades. I don't really need to talk to the parents.

This year, I figured: The more the parents know the more they can help me. 

Case and point: I tried to keep my parents very up to date on what is going on with test prep. 

-I want them to understand percentages, number of questions and what kind of questions.
-I want them to understand what will happen if their child does not pass this test.
-I want them to know what to practice. 
-I want them to know where their child is currently standing

As I've found out: education is bliss. 

Being kept in the loop, my parents have not let me down! The students are practicing extra, at home. They parents are offering incentives and consequences. Staying in the know, has given them something to talk to their kids about!

So thank you parents, our test scores went from 8% passing to 68%. We couldn't have done it without you. Now, let's make the next 20 days, really count!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Full moon?

I'm pretty sure there is a full moon in the next few days...or a storm coming in

My day was completely insane. Some days I walk out of my class feeling like a success, but today I felt like somewhere, I messed up. Maybe I wasn't tough even on them, maybe they don't respect my authority.  

Those days are few and far between, but they leave me feeling drained. 

Today my students would not get quiet. I waited, and waited. I counted. I assigned extra work. I didn't yell.  

I'm not really a yeller. I especially make it a point not to yell in my class. I like my students to notice when something is really important to me. I feel like if I yell all the time, it all seems the same. I like to save raising my voice for when it really matters. So today, I didn't yell. 

Maybe I should have yelled, or kept them in from recess. I don't know. I guess that's part of being a second year teacher. I wonder if it changes after you've been teaching 20 years.