Thursday, November 26, 2015

Stuff & Things: Time for Thanksgiving

Stuff, Things, etc.

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope you are all enjoying time today with people you love, good food, and full hearts!

I decided to link up with Kristin and Joey today for Stuff & Things, and I thought it was a perfect day to share some things that I'm thankful for.  BUT rather than the regular, boring, "I'm thankful for my husband, family, etc..." (You all know that I am!), I thought it would be fun to share some other things I'm thankful for this year!

1. My cell phone
Seriously, I don't know how I ever survived in life before I had a cell phone.  It is my endless source of connection to the outside world, entertainment, and boredom buster.  I never leave home without it....and if I do, my whole day is off kilter.

2. My FitBit
I love that this validates my life by proving that my daily steps are actually meaningful and that the endless laps around my classroom really are helping me to burn calories.

3. My blankie
I still sleep with my baby blanket, and I'm so glad that I have it.  That blanket brings me comfort and helps me to sleep at night.

4. Books
In both audio and paper format, I love, love, love books.  I love that I can "read" more than one book at a time because one I can listen to as I go about other things in life (like driving to work) and the other I can curl up with on the couch or in bed.

5. Television
Whether I'm binge watching TV shows on Netflix, watching a movies or other TV shows, doing my PiYo workout, or just need some background noise, I would not be able to survive without my TV.

6. Christmas Music
I think it's pretty special that the Christmas holiday has it's own genre of music.  There is a special quality to Christmas music that other songs just don't have.  I don't care what people say about it being "too early" for Christmas music.  I started listening to my collection on the first of October, and I still haven't gotten through all of it yet!

7. Cheat Days
I am doing my best to keep my food intake within my daily calorie limits each day.  With exercise and watching my calories, I have actually lost about 16 pounds and was able to get back into clothes that had gotten too small.  As proud as I am of this, I also really love food, and I simply refuse to be picky about what or how much I eat on Thanksgiving.  :)

8. Boots
Enough said.

So what things are you thankful for this Thanksgiving??

Monday, November 23, 2015

Teacher Thoughts- 1st Edition

Thank you for joining me for my first official Teaching Thoughts post!

Last week, Kristin posted this article that listed things parents do that drive teachers crazy.  You should take a moment and look over the list.  I'll wait....


Now that you're back, she and I agree that this list is completely asinine.  Most of these "problems" are not real problems, and if my problem was that someone brought me a mug on the first day of school, I would be thrilled.  Do I need another mug?  No.  But the simple act of someone welcoming you to a new school year is what really matters.

Would you like to know some things parents do that actually drive teachers crazy?  I'd be happy to share some real world problems with you, in no particular order.  (While I have mentioned some of these things in previous posts, it appears that they need to be shared again.)

1. Take their child's word for it.
Parents love their children.  They should.  But you lied to your parents, and your child probably lies to you.  Who WANTS to tell their parents that they got in trouble at school?  I am willing to bet that if you think the teacher did something unreasonable, you better check with him/her first.  We don't just give consequences to students just because we like it.  Just as you don't like to have to punish your child, neither do we.  Ask your child's teacher for the other side of the story before you get upset.

2. Complain/argue about their child's consequences.
In sixth grade, my team and I send home a 6th grade handbook (in addition to our school district's student handbook) with specific rules and consequences for sixth grade.  Parents are required to look over the information with their child, provide their contact information, and sign a sheet stating that they have seen the handbook.  A copy can be kept for their reference.  At my district, our students leave 6th grade and go to the Jr/Sr high school.  We are preparing them for more responsibility.  If they do not follow the rules, they receive a consequence.  The end.

3. Go over the teacher's head.
If there is a problem, please talk to your child's teacher.  If you are not satisfied with the outcome, then talk to the building principal.  If you are still not satisfied, then go to the Superintendent.  If you continue to remain unsatisfied, take the issue to the school board.  If I don't know that you have a problem with something, I cannot make changes to the situation.  I am human.  I will make mistakes.  I will apologize when I mess up, but I cannot do this and work to resolve the problem unless I know that there is one.  Skipping over us and going straight to our bosses makes us resentful.  I doubt you would like it if I went to your boss and complained about you without talking to you first.

4. Blame the teacher for the child's bad grade.
I don't like to see kids fail, but the reality is that sometimes they do.....even the best students!  We all have "off" days.  If I know that many students failed because I didn't teach something well, I will reteach and give the test again later.  I am doing everything I can to help your child to be successful.  I can't give them the answers to the test.

 5. Expect teachers to be infallible.  
Sometimes, I have to be firm.  Sometimes, I have to give a failing grade.  Sometimes, I have to give a consequence.  Frankly, sometimes, I have to yell.  I am certain that as parents, you are not always perfect, please don't expect me to be.  I will mess up.  I will say the wrong thing.  I may upset your child because they don't like their consequences, or they didn't like being corrected.  But it's my job.  It's my job to prepare your child for the next grade.  It's my job to provide correction when it's needed.  I wish I could be 100% perfect all the time.  Sometimes I'm sick.  Sometimes I'm tired.  Sometimes, I'm all in and completely focused.  Sometimes, I'm annoyed at the behavior of another student or class.  In all, I am a human being with emotions, and sometimes they get the best of me.

These are all things that I have experienced at one point or another in my career.  I take things very personally, and it's hard for me when my character is being attacked.  It weighs very heavy on me, and it makes it hard to stay positive.  The students rarely know that these things are taking place.  They may be mad at me for taking their recess on Monday, but by Tuesday (or even 5 minutes later on Monday), we're good again.  There are times I think parents could take a lesson from their children.

Fellow teachers, what do you think about this list?  Is there anything you would add?

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Teacher Thoughts

I've got a lot to say on the subject of teaching and education.

As a teacher, I feel that I am highly qualified to discuss the subject.  I've got so many thoughts floating around in my brain and topics weighing on my heart, and I've decided to make an effort to blog more in order to share my thoughts with all of you.

With that being said, these posts will NOT be just for teachers!  If you've ever been to school, know someone who is in school, have a child in school, know someone who has a child in school, will have a child in school, etc. etc. etc. these posts will be for you, too!

I hope that you will join me as I share what's on my mind regarding teaching and education in today's society.  I'm going to call my little segment "Teacher Thoughts."

As I begin this journey, here are a few of my past posts I've written along these lines...

Things to Remember about Teachers
On Being a Teacher
What Not to Say to a Teacher

"See" you tomorrow for my 1st Edition of Teacher Thoughts!

Friday, November 6, 2015

The 4th Annual Great Pumpkin Swap...Reveal!

I am honored to have hosted The 4th Annual Pumpkin Swap again this year with Kristin!  She is a MUCH better blogger than I am, and I'm thankful that she still hosts this with me because who doesn't love a good swap!?

This year, I was partnered with Joey from HodgesPodges.  As always, I have loved getting to "know" my swap partner and reading her blog.  As it turns out, we both have a deep love of nail polish!  Be sure to hop on over to her blog today to see what I sent to her in the swap!

Package immediately upon opening

Sweet little note from Joey

Burt's Bees Cuticle Cream, Sparkly silver nail polish, journal, and colored pens
I think Joey hit the nail on the head.  There are few things that I love more than pens and nail polish!  The cuticle cream and journal will definitely be put to good use! :)

I didn't mind that the package wasn't specifically fall themed, but truthfully, I'll be using these items IN the fall, so that counts, right?!

Thank you to everyone who joined us this year for The 4th Annual Great Pumpkin Swap!  Link up below, and visit the other bloggers who joined us!  It's always fun to see what others received from their partners!

Happy Fall Y'all!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

October Books

The good news is that I did better with books in October than I did in September!  

So here's what I managed to read....

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I wanted to like this book more than I did. I listened to the audiobook on Audible, and I'm glad that I listened to the story instead of reading it. (Although, it was over 20 hours long...)

Overall, I liked the story, but I felt that the story went on and on, and sometimes the changes in point of view were confusing. To me, this was mostly because I sometimes forgot what was going on with the other characters by the time the story returned to them.

In the end, after so much build up, things resolve so quickly. I didn't feel that the ending was as satisfying as it could have been after A LONG story leading me there.

Outlander (Outlander, #1)Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I am officially hooked! I love the concept of time travel, and this novel does not disappoint. I was captivated by Claire's story, and I didn't want to stop reading! There were moments of this book that moved me to tears, as well. I can't wait to read the next book in the series!

Teaching Gifted Kids in Today's Classroom: Strategies and Techniques Every Teacher Can Use (Revised & Updated Third Edition)Teaching Gifted Kids in Today's Classroom: Strategies and Techniques Every Teacher Can Use by Susan Winebrenner

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book has been a tremendous help for helping me to understand options for teaching gifted (and advanced) students in my own classroom. While it is SO important to help our struggling students to grow, catch up, and fill in missing pieces of knowledge, gifted and advanced students are often ignored. Because of this, they do not grow to their full potential, nor do they make any real progress or truly learn.

I have already begun implementing some techniques in my classroom, and I will continue to add more. I want these students to be challenged and to have meaningful learning just as much as the students who need more assistance.

This book was the text for a class I'm taking through Learner's Edge.  I really needed to get it finished this month.  I was looking over my work list the other day, and it turns out they recommend you return your work a month before it's due.  I'm quite behind schedule.  Whoops.

The even better news is that I met my Goodreads Reading Challenge goal for the year!  I set a goal for myself to read 30 books this year, and by finishing these last two books, I have hit my goal right on the nose!  There are still two months left to go, and I have MANY more books on my "to read" list.  My goal for next year will be based on how many books I actually finish this year.  Subscribing to Audible has been a HUGE factor in allowing me to read with limited time!  I can listen at the gym, on my commute, and when I'm working around the house.  I highly recommend using Audible if you've got a lot going on!  :)

What did you read this month?

Also, don't forget to link up with Kristin and I on Friday, November 6th to reveal your Great Pumpkin Swap Packages!!

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