Saturday, February 18, 2012

Update on the year....and a little venting

So, neither Shayla or myself has posted since's February! We have both been so busy and overworked this year after moving up from 2nd to 3rd grade. We are definitely noticing that there is a HUGE difference between the two grades. I, for one, am sad that they have seemed to have lost their innocence. Between our two classes and our other co-worker's class, we have had 3rd graders talking about sex, "play" fighting, slapping, punching, no motivation, and a HUGE lack of caring about their learning.

Seriously, I am at a loss of what to do! I cannot seem to wrap my brain around how 8 and 9 year olds know anything about sex. They're talking about people in other classes having sex, "going out", cheating on each other....we've had kids say horrible things and write horrible notes to each other. "I'm breaking up with you B****!" "If you cheat on me, I'll kill you." And the one that made my mouth drop was when my kids were caught singing in the cafeteria "Bobby and Suzy sittin' in a tree, F***ING." Seriously???? What happened to swinging on the swings, jumping rope, playing kickball or tether ball??? The things that our kids are talking about are things that weren't even in my realm of thought until at least the middle of high school, if not later.
And on top of all of the sex talk from our kids, the district keeps piling things on us, our principal is SUPER stressed and takes it out on us, and then we take it out on the kids. Our scores don't show that we're having any effect on the students' learning and it breaks my heart that they are more interested in having boyfriends/girlfriends than they are about knowing how to read, write, or do math. I was always the type of kid that wanted to do well and wanted to please everyone. I had stellar grades and was very upset with myself when I didn't do well. Quite a few of our 3rd graders seem to be completely fine with being considered Below Basic or Basic when it comes to our Acuity testing (which predicts how they will do on the MAP test in April).
I can feel myself starting to not care anymore. Seeing my kids not care one bit about how they do on a test or what they learn each day really gets to me. I went into teaching thinking that I was going to make a huge difference in the lives of my students, but I feel very defeated right now. Sometimes I think, "Well, they don't care, so why should I?" I feel like the worst teacher in the world when I catch myself thinking this way. I'm busting my butt to get lesson plans done, finding fun/different stations each week, searching the Pinterest and blogs for AMAZING ideas to bring into the classroom, only to find that my great, wonderful ideas are met with a lack of caring, disrespect, and lack of motivation. Is anyone else out there having this problem? If so, what do you do to overcome these feelings?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

getting ready for school!

Okay, so i haven't blogged in a bit.  I've been spending some quality summer time with my kids and hopefully not die of heat exhaustion!  I have been looking back on some of the other blogs that I have missed the last few weeks.  There are some ReA11y good ideas out there!  I am mostly interested in decor at the moment since that's what I am currently doing in my room - gotta get my room settled before I can focus on important things like children learning!
anywho -
I found this aD0Rab1e idea to use with milk crates! 

I found it on What the Teacher Wants!  The reason this caught my eye is because we have a BuNcH of milk crates between my colleaugues and me.  I have thought of using milk crates as seats before by turning them upside down.  But, I think it's even better to make a cushioned lid!  As always - I will probably try to do a shortened version and do it half-way or not as put together.  This is just because I don't have very much patience when it comes to things like this.  But who knows - I may surprise myself this time. 

Great job What the Teacher Wants!  Of Course - it's exactly what I wanted!  <cheesey, I know>

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Science Matters!

It's been awhile since I've posted anything, but I've been a little busy. I was chosen at the end of last year to participate in a grant called Science Matters! It's all about science (duh!) and it's for the next 3 years. We've been participating in a summer institute for the last 2 weeks and I just have to share what our first week was about.
If you haven't heard of Picture Perfect Science Lessons, you really need to check the books out! They are AMAZING! Through this grant, we got to spend an entire week with Karen Ansberry and Emily Morgan. These ladies are amazing at what they do and I couldn't imagine the science activities we could create if we had them in our district.
These two ladies are awesome! They received an Ohio Board of Regents grant in 2001 and a Toyota TAPESTRY grant in 2002 for their Picture-Perfect Science program. Ever since then they have been helping teachers learn how to incorporate read alouds into their science lessons. They pair a fiction book with a non-fiction text to help students fully understand science concepts.
I sort of tried a few of the lessons last year with my kids when my science coach gave me some of the fun lessons. If I could really get myself organized this year, I would love to do more of the lessons that Karen and Emily have created for teachers. At the beginning of the week, we all received copies of BOTH books that the ladies have created. I'll add pictures and links to the bottom of this entry so that you guys can check them out. They said that they are currently working on another book for grades K-4 (I think).

Sunday, July 10, 2011

me do! me do!

I'm following Ashley with this ten things deal! -but as my own post.  So please feel free to comment about my ten things!  Congrats again, Ashley, on the new homeownership and engagement!! You're a big girl now!  ;)

1. my son starts preschool next month and has to wear a uniform   <happy tears>
2. i am already getting beginning-of-the-school-year anxiety
3. i drove through 5 different states this summer to get to my destinations
4. i have an  AwEs()mE  2nd/3rd grade team to work with this year!  we are going to be Gr8t!!!
5. i L0vE fresh flowers
6. it's my goal to have fresh flowers in my classroom at all times this year
7. my 6 month old daughter is trying the heck out of crawling
8. my 6 month old daughter gets ReA11y frustrated when she can't do something right (like her mom)
9. i Lo>e erasers
10. i've read 3 non-school related books so far this summer

Saturday, July 9, 2011

10 Things About Me

I've been wanting to post these last few days, but can't seem to think of something interesting to write I'm joining another linky party. Mrs. Owens over at Go Fourth! With Mrs. Owens is having a linky party where everyone shares 10 things about themselves. She has a great download for you to use with your kids at the beginning of the year. I wish I could use it, but I'm looping up to 3rd grade with my kids, so this might not work this year.
Anyway, here's my top 10.

10. I have 2 boxers...Lily and Zeus.
9. I just bought my 1st house.
8. I live in Missouri, but will ALWAYS be a Jayhawk at heart.
7. I could drink Dr. Pepper everyday.
6. I have a younger sister that is a nurse.
5. I have taught 2nd grade for 4 years, 1st grade for 1 year, and now I'm going to venture into 3rd grade.
4. I love my family with all of my heart and wish that I didn't have to drive an hour and a half to see them.
3. I LOVE when school supplies come out each year.
2. I just completed my first MS Challenge Walk....50 miles in 3 days. I have an AMAZING team that helped me get to the end.
1. I just got engaged!!

I can't wait to learn about more of you and hopefully get some more followers that can help me navigate the world of blogging. I'm still trying to learn how to do things on here.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

My Obsession....fonts!

So this post has nothing to do with school, but it is something that I am obsessed with. My grade level team knows that I have somewhat of a problem with finding and sharing new fonts that I find online. When I was looking at other blogs today, I saw that Jenn over at Finally in First was having a Favorite Fonts Linky Party and I knew that I had to participate. I'm still fairly new at blogging, so I hope that I can add a picture or document with my favorite fonts. Most are from Lettering Delights, Kevin and Amanda, or just from me googling "free fonts" and looking around at ones I liked.

fun fonts

Sunday, July 3, 2011

LIAR! LIAR! Pants on fire!

Here is the question -
How can a teacher combat against children's negative habits/behaviors that are learned from his/her parents?

True story -
A Visa Gift Card was "lost" in my house.  I had received the gift card from my 2nd grade team to purchase wall art for my baby's nursery.  Upon calling customer service to receive a new card, it was found out that the card had been activated and spent in 3 locations in one small city.  This one small city is coincidentally the same city that my nanny-friend lives in.  My nanny-friend and parents are the only people who live in this one small city that come to our house.  When accused, my nanny-friend denied stealing the card or anything from us.  Upon further research into the spending of the card, it was found that the items purchased at a store were purchased with two cards - one matching the gift card numbers and the other matching the debit card numbers of my nanny-friend.  The items purchased were seen in her bathroom, on her toenails, and food that was at her son's birthday party two days after the purchases were made.  With the new "evidence" found, I confronted my nanny-friend.  I was not asking for the money back.  I simply wanted her to admit to taking the card from our house.  My nanny-friend, with all the "evidence" in front of her, still denied taking the gift card.  It was actually stated, "I did not realize I took the card . . . I don't remember paying with two cards then . . . I did not take any money from you."

Here is the connection -
It cannot be denied that my nanny-friend is lying.  There is receipt proof that she used the exact gift card with another one of her cards to purchase items that are seen on her and in her house.  This situation started my brain rolling on the fact that I trusted this person with the care of my young children at my house as a good friend and child-care provider.  It then came to my mind the times that her own son has lied, while playing with my son.  I have also heard my nanny-friend refer to her own mother as a liar.  My mind went to further wondering about personality traits of people that are "passed down" from our parents.  It is said that personality traits, like lying, can be passed on to our children.  It is a learned behavior that can be learned from people the children are around frequently (as stated in an article from found July, 2011).  As teachers, we see many instances of children lying to us and their peers in our classrooms.

Here is my reflection -
How, as teachers, do we combat against this negative personality trait?  How do we change the negative behaviors to better our society when the behavior is ingrained and seen frequently at home?  We only see the children approximately seven hours a day, five days a week.  If lying has become a habit, how many times does a person need to correct the behavior to permanently change it?  Yes, as teachers we are better examples in front of our children in the classroom.  Is that enough?  What else can we do to combat the negative influences that some parents have on the children coming into our classrooms?

 Harry Chapin sings,
"I'm gonna be like you dad.
You know I'm gonna be like you."
(lyrics from The Cat's in the Cradle, 1974)