I've just got to share the good stuff I read.

I love to read. I read every chance I get. If I read something really good, I want to share it with my friends and co-workers. I make copies of magazine articles, read aloud to my students, tell others about good books I'm reading, and keep a book with me at all times.

I love teaching and learning new things. I need a place to share some of the lessons and what my students and I learn. Since my teaching situation is different from everyone else's in my school, I would like to tell all of you in the blog-o-sphere about these great lessons.

Feel free to share what you are reading, teaching and learning with us in the comments.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Back to the books

I am back to reading children's books. I just finished the second Percy Jackson Olympian book and started the third one. Pretty good read. Before that I read the first How to Train Your Dragon book. Funny and goofy-gross. Should appeal to kids who like farts in movies. I read the first of the 39 Clues books. Want to read the others. Not sure about the subtext but it is entertaining and there's nothing good on TV.
I spent mega bucks yesterday on fabric for a new quilt I'm going to start Monday. I'm ready to start some projects that don't involve school or writing or testing.
Oh, yeah, finished testing all 75 of my students today. Yeaaaaaa! About 5 weeks of school left. Looking forward to going to the pool soon.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Second thoughts

Sent the 'box' off to the national boards place this afternoon. Now I'm having second thoughts. I had another week to write and perfect and deliberate and tweak and fine tune the thing but I was done. I was sick of thinking about it. I had read and reread, etc. I really wish it was a talking thing-an interview or something interactive. I think better when I talk and have someone to bounce ideas around with. Anyway, if I don't pass this time, I'll do better next time. It took three tries for the original certification, so I guess I won't be too upset if this time is a repeat. Peggy, my mentor was great help. She is so calm and seems to get right to the point of the questions. I don't know why I have such trouble figuring out what the questions are really asking. I think I skim when I read and don't really contemplate what I'm reading. So many things going on in my head all the time.

Today was act crazy day at school. The kids got to wear blue jeans as a fund raiser. The deal was they paid a dollar to be able to wear jeans instead of the uniform. They must have thought it also entitled them to act crazy, too. Or it could have been weather related. A storm was coming and the sky was strange colors. Several teacher took the day off, so the subs added to the craziness.

Then tonight I had craziness from dad. He got the nurses to let him use the phone and he called me and went off on money. He needs to get his money out of the bank, he says. Don't even want to write down all the crazy stuff he said. Then brother called from Atlanta to ask about him because dad called other brother twice today with same money issue. I'm already sick of this turmoil. Help! I don't know how to deal with this. Can I just get in bed and sleep for a week? Will it be better when I wake up?

On the good side, I'm really getting good at making videos on my laptop. Finished Anne's last night and burned two copies. She picked them up this afternoon. I hope she liked it. She'll probably pass this national boards thing and I'll be redoing mine next year. AYYY! Time to retreat into a book or something to turn off my head.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Just my luck

It's just my luck that last Saturday when I was trying to help a friend make her video for National Boards, I got a mini DVD stuck in my laptop. Who knew it wouldn't play mini DVDs? So I calmly call Apple support and get a very nice voice who tells me he doesn't know what to do, do I want an appointment at the store? Huh? Of course. So my friend is filled with guilt and I'm so unconcerned. I wanted to get on with the video but otherwise, it's going to be okay. I take myself and my lovely laptop to the store. The helpful guy comes and asks what's the problem? Mini DVD stuck. Let me see what I can do. He goes into the back room and is back in less than 30 seconds. The DVD is out. Laptop is fine. No charge. So, I ask, what did you have to do? Just tapped it on the counter, he says. Oh, my. Feeling dumb now. Packing up and going home. Just my luck.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

92 year old enforcer

My little ole 5 foot 6, ninety-two year old dad has recently moved from home to the community care center at the VA. He is by far the most mobile of the residents there. He shuffles a little but generally gets around well using a walking stick for extra support. The other day I went to visit him after work. I looked in the day room but he wasn't there. I looked in his room but he wasn't there either. Then I thought I heard his voice. When I looked across the hall I saw him sitting in a wheel chair shaking his walking stick in the air. I called him and he scooted out of the room, using his feet to move the wheel chair. When I asked him what he was doing in the other guy's room, he said he was telling the guy in the bed to be quiet and not wake everyone up at night. What? He said that the guy made lots of noise at night just to be annoying and that the nurses couldn't do anything to make the guy shut up. Sooo, my little ole dad decided to take things in his own hands. Huh? I have only heard stories about how helpful my dad was to everyone he meets-well, maybe he thinks he is being helpful now.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Busy Saturday

Just thinking about yesterday and remembering other YM festivals through the past 20 years. This year I took six girls to MC for festival. They had learned the songs-mostly by listening to the CD, not by my teaching them the songs. They sat together close to the guest director. I sat in the back and read my book keeping an eye out for any problems. There were no problems. We went to eat at the college cafeteria. Only problem was one spilled drink which the girls took care of. What a difference from some years ago when we would take a picnic lunch-I brought most of the food-and the kids hardly ate anything. They ran off to play on the football field. One even tore his brand new choir t-shirt climbing a chain link fence. I'm thankful for having quiet young ladies this year. I'm getting too old to chase around and pick up after a bunch of energetic kids.

Met up with my niece at the college cafeteria on our lunch break yesterday. It was good to get to spend some time with her and talk about what was going on in her life. We usually only see each other at family gatherings where there are many loud talkers. She usually stays out of the lime light reading or playing a video game. She is 19. Where did those years go?

Saturday afternoon after the festival concert we went to a movie. It was a kid's movie, based on a book. I enjoyed going and again the girls were so good. We had the theater to ourselves except for 3-4 people sitting way at the back. Parents came to pick up the girls and then I was off to shop. Two wedding gifts and groceries. Had help with the groceries. We did fine until checkout. Then had to do our Sonny and Cher act for the checker and bagger. Bagger said we made her day. She must have very boring days.

I finished the Quilter's Apprentice from the Elm Creek Quilts series. I really enjoy reading the books but they make me wish for endless days of quilting. So I have signed up for a quilt class on May 3. National boards will be mailed and forgotten by then. Yes, I'm getting near the end. Just a few more edits and copying, then it's off.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Great Reading Council

Yesterday at reading council we had some great discussions. I talked too much as usual but that didn't keep everyone from taking part. We really took off on the required summer reading. The kids are required to read three books. That's not very many. In fact most research says reading more books is better. But here's problem: there are two required titles for each grade and only a few choices for the third. Then the required projects don't give enough choice either. On top of that many parents aren't able to help their children, some of the books are out of print, and the public library copies have been lost or stolen. Doesn't sound like a workable system, does it? The person who originally came up with this mess had a background in high school English. Probably hadn't read a lot of research about beginning readers.

What motivates elementary age kids to read? That was our next question. There are so many good ideas-book talks, read alouds, books on tape or CD or MP3, great readers reading the books on the school cable network, etc.

And what about the schools and teachers who strictly adher to the summer reading program. If projects aren't turned in, AR tests aren't taken, anchor writing not done-zero, zero, zero in the grade book. How does that help children become better readers?

We talked about April, Poetry Month. There is a blog: gottabook.blogspot.com, where 30 poets are posting 30 poems in 30 days. These are new poems just for this month. Today's poem was a funny one. Can't wait to read the rest.

Scholastic is sponsoring a contest to encourage summer reading. Barnes and Noble is offering free books to kids who read. Let's get reading!

Next year we want to do teacher book studies. We are looking for ideas for good books to study. I hope people will participate and enjoy sharing ideas with each other. If others don't treat us a professionals (see NCLB-testing), then we will have to rise above that and be professionals anyway.

Much thanks to JARC supporters-Vicki, Martha, Marilyn, Judy, and Nikki.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Wishing for a time machine

If I had a time machine I probably wouldn't go to the UGG shop on the road to the Blue Mountains in Australia but it seems like long ago and far away to me today. So much going on. My 92 year old Dad is going to respite care tomorrow. He's looking forward to it-has his bags packed. He wasn't sure what I was doing when I asked him questions today about his health. He asked if I was taking over for his home health team. And what about Mom? Now that she will be home alone, how will she fare? Her heart is slowly failing but she doesn't want to leave her home. I'm terrible at this.
On the work front, the testing is driving everyone up the wall. Some of the worse teaching I've seen in years. I wish someone would stop the madness. Just let us teach the kids readin', writin', and 'rithmatic and how to get along with each other. It seems like their home lives are falling apart and their school days are chopped into pieces by the mania about test scores. On top of that, we don't know who will have a job and who will have to find something else to do.
So put me in a time machine. Let me enjoy the ride into the Blue Mountains. I'll even buy some Ugg boots this time.