Sunday, January 6, 2013

The Last Few Precious Hours...

Well friends, this is it - school resumes tomorrow. 1st hour starts at 7:40am. Are you ready?

I spent a couple of hours this afternoon completing odds and ends grading - make-up work, a quiz I gave the last day before break, work turned in from in-school suspension, etc. My mind was screaming "No! No! Not yet!"... you know how it is.

The primary reason I'm not 100% enthusiastic about tomorrow (other than having to get up at some dreadful hour again) is that it's going to be a weird week. We have two "regular" days, two final exam days, and then an Institute Day. You can imagine how seriously junior high kids take final exams, not to mention elective class final exams, so it's going to be rough. Especially since my kids all leave me and switch electives after this week.

I am pretty excited about brand new rosters coming up, though. The bummer about switching schools is that two weeks into the school year you realize about 40 things that you wish you had done differently/wish you hadn't done at all/wish you had done, but you've got to wait a whole year until you get that second chance. I get my second chance during the first year this time! So not only do I get to revamp procedures/rules/seating/etc, I get to revamp curriculum/projects/instruction. And since I've put all of my classes on a rotation, three of the four big units I've taught this year (sewing, foods, child care) I've already been through three times, so this will be the fourth time through. I love fitting six years into one!

In other news, it's been a while since I've mentioned a product/piece of equipment that I find extremely useful. So today, let me rave about my Rachael Ray Bench Scraper!

This thing is a fantastic piece of kitchen equipment, I absolutely love it. I used to be attached to the traditional method of using my chef's knife to transfer ingredients, but this gadget holds so much it is so much more convenient! The ridged rubber handle makes it easy to grip, and it lays flat when you set it down unlike many other scrapers. It is ideal for scooping up piles of food, chopping apart dough, or scraping pastry. Right now it is offered in four colors: orange, purple, blue, and red. If they would just add green and yellow I would buy them for my school kitchens! Guess I'll just have to look for a generic option for those kitchen colors.

Friday, January 4, 2013


So I finally got around to opening all of the packages which contain the textbooks I'll need for my next grad school class, which begins Jan 23 (order early, get the best deals before my classmates!). This many packages cannot be good. Look at the fun they contain!
Did the song "One of these things is not like the other, one of these things just doesn't belong?" pop into your head while looking at these? I couldn't help myself but order "K is for Knifeball" when I saw it. It is HILARIOUS. During my child care unit my students analyze various children's books, and I've been looking for a couple of books to slip in that are definitely not appropriate but look like books for kids (and I'm thinking slipping in "Go the F**k to Sleep" would probably get me fired) - this is perfect! And, an enjoyable read all on its own, of course.

And now that I'm scrolling through my blog, I don't think I've mentioned grad school at all. In September I went back to school for a Reading Specialist master's. I don't know what if any career changes that may lead to in the future, but what I'm learning has already made me a better teacher! It has always driven me crazy when high school/middle school content teachers pronounce "Well I'm not a reading teacher." Bull, we're all reading teachers! The number of strategies to help kids with their reading (and let's face it, no matter what you teach or what age you teach, you have got a LOT of kids who struggle with basic reading!) I've already learned is staggering, and I've implemented quite a few of them with great returns so far. I keep thinking "If only I had known this x years ago!"

The only problem with taking on a Reading degree is that it leaves you much less time for your own reading! I managed to get in some of the reading I wanted to do over break, but not what I aspired to (isn't that always the case with breaks?). One of the great ironies of being a teacher is that most of us love to read and most of us don't have anywhere close to the amount of time we need for such pursuits!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Currently and a New Year

It's been a while since I've posted, but with the new year I'm getting back into the swing of things. Here's a "Currently" linky from Farley (check out the link if you don't know what it's all about - it's fun!):

Listening - I am a "West Wing" nut! I've watched the series through more than once but it's been a few years, so I'm starting it up again.

Loving - The way break fell this year is so great - I love not going back until the 7th!

Thinking - I get all new kids with the beginning of second semester (January 14th), so I'm thinking about what to do differently: rules, procedures, units... the whole she-bang! I'm pretty sure I'm going to leave binders behind and switch to folders. For some reason, despite the many many many many many teachings, modelings, etc, the whole concept of putting three-hole punched papers in the rings of the binders seems to elude junior high students. Also thinking about a new way to arrange the desks...

Wanting - Hot cocoa is soooooo gooooooooood!

Needing - Gotta get going on creating the "prezi" for a presentation due in a couple of weeks. There's still plenty of time, but that time will get sucked up fast when school is back in session.

OLW - POSSIBILITY! With the new year comes a fresh start, a blank slate, and all sorts of possibilities - especially since I'll be starting fresh with new kids after the first week back. Learning all the procedures and hidden rules of a new school along with transitioning to junior high has been incredibly challenging, but I'm beginning to really "get" it. And, I'm excited to get a second chance to start fresh within the same year.