Thursday, September 30, 2010

Finally Thursday!

Today was the last of my busy days-at least for this week. I've had a staff meeting, awards ceremony, a math meeting, scouting events, and today, a dentist appointment. I am looking forward to tomorrow, Friday, ahhhhhhh. If I can get through my day without losing my mind, it will be even better. We are going someplace super cool on Saturday. Details to follow.
I got my fabric order from Fabricworm. They are all flannel, except for the material in the front, with the blue bird. I LOVE them. I am not sure what I plan on doing with them, but they are yummy. Actually, the new edition of Stitch has a really cool pattern for square ottoman covers. I have two of those ottomans, and I'd like to personalize them.
Here's my smiling boy. Look at the giant drinks they serve at Boston Market. It's virtually a bathtub! It was also handy that he chose a drink that matches his shirt.
This is what Riley is reading right now. Have you read it? It's a REALLY really good book. He is liking it. It's a young adult book (9th-11th grade), but it's written in such an interesting way, and it tells a great story. If you get the chance, read it.

I ventured out this evening and got these folders to add to my Justin Bieber folders. I do have little girls who love JB, so sending one of his folders home, when they forget their own, defeats my purpose. I am on the search for more horrible looking folders-I don't think these are bad at all, but I am hoping the 6 and 7 year old girls will think they are horrible-at least until I can find folders that are worse. I sent a JB home with one of my girls today. She wasn't happy. Hopefully that means she will remember her folder next time, like tomorrow. When I asked her why she didn't have her homework, she said she had a headache last night. I have a headache tonight, does that exempt me from all of the correcting I still have to do? Welcome to my world.

Have a great Friday!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Hunt For Bieber

Things that have irritated me today:

*Talking, talking, talking, those students are always talking.
*Repeating myself. Repeating myself. Repeating myself.
*Girls that go to the bathroom and then don't return quickly so I have to send someone for them, and then THEY take too long and so I have THREE girls in the bathroom forever.
*Parents in the classroom while I have to constantly redirect the SAME person the entire time. I probably came across as the meanest teacher ever-or else they are relieved that they aren't the teacher. chuckle chuckle chuckle.
*Those damn personal pencil sharpeners for several reasons; 1) They are a constant distraction
2) They make a huge mess. 3) They take forever to sharpen a pencil-even when said pencil had been sharpened just moments before. Tomorrow I ban them.
*The heat. SICK. OF. IT.
*Yard duty on the hot playground, which wasn't my spot, but which wasn't covered as someone didn't bother to go out and DO their yard duty, so I had to help the one teacher out there.

BUT, good news! I did figure out something that terrorizes (I mean focusses) my students into submission...
Justin Bieber. It's a long story on how it came that I began singing Justin Bieber, but I did, and I landed on a gold mine!! All I have to do is sing, "Baby baby baby OHHHH..." and they beg me to stop-hands on their ears and everything. Sooooo, with my new knowledge, I thought I would go all Justin Biebered out! I will sing Bieber to get their attention (and the best part is that's the ONLY part of the song that I know-it's great, I know), and also, since I'm having big issues with kids not bringing back folders, I went to Walmart and purchased Justin Bieber folders. Now, when my students forget their Homework Folders, Wednesday Folders or their Friday Folders, they can take Justin home for the night. Bwaaaahh ha ha ha ha! I will try anything to get this wild group of mine under control. Teachers have to be creative and think outside the box-good skills, no? I could be screaming at them, but that is not my method. No, I am much more devious. Big grin. Evil laugh.

Completely unrelated, this was my fortune today. I don't like the Panda Express fortunes generally. I think they aren't specific enough. They usually suck, but hey, if I DO come into a fortune, I may change my mind about them!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Just Some Tuesday Stuff

Remember last week, when I posted pictures of what a few of us did to a fellow teacher's classroom? We decorated it for his 40th birthday, with all kinds of great "senior citizen" items. Well, today was part two, and it was GREAT! He didn't suspect a thing!
We had the staff chip in to get a singing telegram for Steve. We reserved a singing gorilla. He burst into our staff meeting this afternoon. It was hysterical! He sang a little birthday song all about Steve.
I think the gorilla is kinda scary looking. Can you read Steve's shirt? Click it bigger. His mother is a retired English teacher. He's always correcting our grammar.
The gorilla even made Steve dance! We got him good, and I don't think there's any kind of age related joke he can play on us ever again, that can top this. Hysterical fun.
After school, we were able to go home long enough for both boys to finish their homework, and then we headed to Quinn's school for the Test Scores Celebration. Quinn's school recognized those students (about 250 of them/half the school) who did well on their state tests last April. Both boys were invited-eventhough Riley is now a 7th grader at another school. He still took the test as a 6th grader, and along with all of the others, helped raise the API score for the school. Here they are with their loot-certificates and goodie bags. We are very proud of them.

Look at that sky! It's probably pretty like this because of the smog hanging out with the hot hot air, from yet another Spare-the-Air day (our third, in a row). Anyway, it was so pretty and pink and purple, I had to take a picture. I like pretty skies. It's supposed to be cooler tomorrow-I certainly hope so as it was 97 degrees here today. Yuck.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Mail and Scouts

The rest of my Amazon order arrived today.
It's my table-top indoor grill! It's HUGE! The one I am using now, a wedding present, is just a small round ceramic base, with grill bars on top. We can't fit too much on it. THIS one looks like I can feed the whole neighborhood! I want to make those kabobs!

Riley had his Court of Honor tonight, for Scouts. It was a jillion degrees here today. Quinn and I stayed at home with the dog. I honestly can't tell you what it is that Riley does to his hair every day. He starts out the day with it nicely combed, but by the end of the day, this is his do. Perhaps it's his sweaty boy head?

BTW-for those of you with a DS or DSi, I just got the Bejeweled Twist game, and it's AWESOME! I love to play Blitz via Facebook (on my phone though because I am faster with my finger than with the mouse). This is like Blitz, in that it's timed, but you can twist the jewels and move them around. I LOVE IT!

Sunday, September 26, 2010


We had a rather slow day around here until...

Quinn got stung by a bee. He was taking the recycling out tonight, and he stepped on a bee. I did not know that boy could scream like that! He was so upset, shaking all over and just howling. He's not really a cryer, so both Kevin and I went running. We got him onto the counter in the bathroom and looked at the bottom of his foot. The stinger was still in his foot. Kevin got some tweezers and was able to remove all of the stinger. Poor guy had a tiny little hole in his foot. We gave him some Tylenol, and some ice-after googling what to do for a bee sting. He's just fine right now, and the little hole is all closed up, and good news...he's not allergic!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Academy of Sciences-San Francisco

Kevin and I took the boys into the city today. We went to the Academy of Sciences in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park. We've been here before, but it's always really cool. This time we got to see the Planetarium show. It was cool, but it was so dark, and you sit in these recliner-like chairs, that I found it very hard to keep my eyes open. What I saw of it though, was really good. The museum was super crowded-actually, I think it's ALWAYS that crowded. You should have seen the line to get into the museum. We went early, so by time all of those people managed to get inside, we were on our way out.
I like this hanging tree mural.
We went inside the rainforest dome. There are all kinds of butterflies and birds flying around. I love the butterflies. They are so pretty.
The Academy of Sciences houses Claude, the albino alligator. He is super cool. That's a snapping alligator turtle with him.

We went up to the Living Roof. This roof reminds me of Teletubbies. Remember them? Riley was really into Teletubbies as a toddler. Quinn was more of a Wiggles fan.
This part is really Teletubbie-like.
From the roof, there's a great view of the De Young Museum. There's an observation deck at the top of that tower. That's a really cool view of the city.
Along the planetarium is the top of the big aquariums from the lower level. The Academy has an awesome aquarium.
After the Academy of Sciences, we headed over to Japantown. I had never been there. Don't you love this giant pagoda? It's in the Japantown Peace Plaza.
Here are the boys on Osaka Way, formerly Buchanan Street, in Japantown.

To see the rest of our pictures, CLICK HERE.

We had a great day. Both boys bought Super Mario stuffed animals. Japantown is full of stores with Pokemon, Super Mario, manga, etc. The Japanese have the BEST stuff ever! I didn't find any Blythe dolls though. I saw Dal, and Pullip, but not Blythe.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Poor Maya

We took Maya to the vet today. She's been peeing in the house, and last night she peed on me! She's been shaking a lot and in the mornings, she doesn't want to come out of her crate. When we take her out to go potty, she won't go-and usually she does. When she hasn't gone potty, she has an accident in the house. We were at the vet's office for over an hour. They were behind, and then the doctor decided to run the test results herself, so we waited, in case she needed medication. Maya was anxious the whole time. She wanted to smell every new person, every new animal, and to smell the smell of all the people and animals who have come before her. She was happy to get home though...

and fall asleep on the couch. She's on antibiotics and has to go back for a check up in two weeks. Poor doggie. We hope the meds work quickly.

Happy Friday!! We are off to do fun things tomorrow, and I hope to get some jewelry made this weekend as well.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Soccer and Mail and an Exciting Life

Did you miss me yesterday? Yeah, after work I went home and had all I could do to keep myself from falling asleep before Quinn's soccer practice. Sleep seems to be a major part of my evenings and weekends lately. Anyway, I took Quinn to practice and then went to Target, and then went back to get him.
He's goofing around with the soccer ball after practice. I think that's my finger in the way of the flash somehow.
There's my finger again! Quinn got to try playing goalie during practice. His coach said he did really well. She's going to practice with him some more, and then he'll get to play goalie in a game. He has no fear of the boys (or the ball). He actually wants to play goalie.
It was a good mail day! I got a Halloween care package in the mail from Valerie. She sent the cute Mickey Mouse window cling, some Giant Chewy Nerds, and a collar for Maya! It was awesome, and after the crappy day I had today, it was extra awesome! My Amazon order came too-well most of it. I got the Lady Gaga CD-this one has both her first and latest album together. I also got my Bejeweled Twist game for my DS. I have had so much school work to do tonight though that I haven't had a chance to try out my game. Bummer.

Here's Maya wearing her new Halloween collar. Isn't it cute? Thanks Valerie!!

Did you know that I literally say one certain name ALL day long? Yep, all day at school and then I come home and continue to say the same name-and it's not male. It's both funny and irritating. At school it's getting really irritating. This class is quite a challenge. I no sooner get one kid figured out, and then others act out. It's crazy, and I think I better join the police force since that's all I do all day-or else the fire department. It's so exhausting. I like 8 of my students. I like those 8 a WHOLE lot. I feel really badly for those 8, because right now they don't get as much of my time. It's not fair, I know, and I am working on it. The other 19 (or should I say 18 since one of mine has not been to school for the past 6 days) are too much work to enjoy right now. I am hoping that my opinion of them will change around October, but I don't know. There are some very difficult kids in my class. There are too many of them. Oh well, tomorrow is Friday, and this weekend we plan on going to the Academy of Sciences in SF. I need to focus on my own family this weekend as they are not getting my full attention at home either. I hope things slow down and even out. I can't keep this up the entire year.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Fun At Work

A teacher friend of mine turned 40 today. Yesterday, my other teacher friends and I searched the parking lot for his car after school, to make sure he was gone. When we figured out that he had already left for the day, we went to the office to make sure he wasn't calling in sick for today. He wasn't. Using our "C" key, since he is in our wing, we got into his classroom and had a little fun...
We decorated his cabinets with spare body parts, a fake toupee, a necklace with some necessary "old people" items on it, and 40 year old caution tape.
We wrapped his desk area in the caution tape, and added a magnifying glass (a geezer pleaser) and some other goodies to his desk.
We fashioned this "OLD" message on his whiteboard-boy that caution tape sure has many uses.
We blocked every doorway with the tape, and covered the clock too.
This is his front classroom door.

We even got his mailbox in the staff room. Behind this tape are walking, clacking teeth-extras, you know, just in case. Now, you may think we are mean, but let me tell you about this guy...when it's OUR birthday, he thinks nothing of getting us "80 year old" type cards. When one of my friends turned 50, he wrote, "50 is old. Game over" on her whiteboard. He delighted in this behavior for years, so we just paid him back. He thought it was funny. It was the best part of the day.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Ready for Halloween

I'm excited that it will be October soon. I really love Halloween. I think I will get my pumpkin collection out this weekend. I feel like looking at them.
Speaking of pumpkins! Isn't this one cute? I ordered it off Etsy. It's made from fabric yo-yo's. I might want to try and make some myself, but not to sell, just to make.

I was out and about this evening, and I went to Cost Plus. They have their Halloween items out. They have really cute stuff. Really cute. Look at how cute those pumpkin heads are! They also have this really cute, three tiered pastry stand thingy. I think my pumpkins (well some of them) would look so cute stacked on it. I may have to go back. I'm thinking about it.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Another Weekend Bites the Dust

Man! Why is it that the weekends go so quickly? I go from that great Friday afternoon feeling, to the Sunday feeling of dread. At least I don't have yard duty at school this week, so I might be able to sit down at my desk. Today was an excellent day though. My first college roomate and her son visited us today. I had not seen her in years. It was so good to catch up! She only lives about 25 minutes from me, so we agreed to spend more time together. When they left, it was nap time-not because they wore me out, but because that seems to be my weekend norm!
Maya and I had a nice couch nap. Come to think of it, I had a nice couch nap yesterday too! Ahhh, the joys of working and getting the life sucked right out of me.
When I woke up, I finished sorting my beads.
All of those boxes fit nice and neatly into these two boxes. I love these boxes. I got them at Michael's, and I think I will get another one, because you know me and beads. Now that they are all sorted, perhaps I'll actually get some jewelry made.

I did some school work. With more kids, I have to take more home. I don't like it, but I am not getting it done at school. The first parent that complains about how long it's taking to get things back, is going to get an earful. I really hate to take stuff home. It interferes with MY family time. I still have lots of correcting to do, but I am hoping to pass some along to some of the parents who volunteered to do such a job. I like to do all of the correcting myself, so I can see mistakes being made, and help fix those, but this year, I have to let some of that go.

Riley cooked dinner for us tonight, for his science project. He had to find a family recipe, fix half of it the way it was intended, and the other half he had to make one change, or add one ingredient. He made BBQ chicken cups. They are super easy, and really quick. He replaced half of the recipe with pasta sauce, instead of BBQ sauce. All three of the boys liked it. I thought it was gross. I love me some BBQ sauce though.

BBQ chicken cups: I buy two packages of the cut, cooked, grilled chicken. I cut the pieces into cubes. Add the chicken and about 1 cup of BBQ sauce to a saucepan, and cook it until heated. It smells really really good. Place a refrigerated biscuit into a muffin tin. Fill with the chicken mixture. Bake for about 15 minutes or so, at about 350 degrees. Yum.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Hanging In There

Last week was a super busy week. I had Back to School Night, and Quinn had a game the same night. Kevin's parents took him for us since I couldn't, and Kevin was at a conference in SF (where his work laptop got stolen out from under him). Wednesday night was the Back to School Night for Riley's school. Kevin and I went, and went to all of Riley's classes, while Quinn went to his scouting event. Riley has an AWESOME science teacher. Thursday I had a union meeting, and last night, Quinn had a birthday party to go to, and after that, I was asleep on the couch. Things are only a little better at school. I have restricted the movement of my #1 pain in the butt (O.D.D. Eddie Haskell aka Parrot). I had a conference with his mom and her boyfriend on Wednesday. Interesting. The mother actually said, "I don't know how you put up with him all day long." Part of me wants to really help this kid, and part of me is so tired of having to parent kids when the parents don't. Another part of me is pissed off that they are lying about something HUGE, and that I am stuck with him, even though he may not live in our area. I hate liars. He had a good Thursday and Friday though, but his mother doesn't think it will last. They have no faith in him. I think I am going to be beating a dead horse, but I will keep trying. There are other behavior issues, with other students that I am working on as well. 19 of my students have "issues." 8 of them are VERY sweet, but only 8.
These are on the wall at school. I already posted this on Tuesday. They were up for Back to School Night. 67% of my students' parents saw them. Why???? Well, because of my 27 students, only 18 of their families bothered to come to Back to School Night.
Remember the scavenger hunt we did this summer? We didn't win, but we had fun. We searched all over for a mime to take a picture with, but were unsuccessful. A trip to Target the other day produced this cute Lego mime. Figures.
Quinn went to a birthday party Friday night. He went to Boomers in Livermore. It's a place with a mini golf course, go-karts, laser tag, bumper boats, and an arcade. He had a blast. It was so funny to watch him play video games, because he's so vocal about it.
I went to a Quilt, Craft and Sewing show today, with my mom. I got this really cute cupcake pincushion kit. I will put it together in my spare time.
My girls got new shoes yesterday! The bottom pair do not fit though-they are way too big. I need to check the eBay listing to see if they advertised them for Blythe. They don't fit Blythe. The other two pair of Converse are super cute though.

Here are Arden and Piper, modeling their new shoes.

So yes, it was a very hard, very busy, very long week-oh and I had yard duty the entire week too. I hate yard duty. This week is not quite as busy, but we do have Quinn's Back to School Night, and he has a soccer game the same night.

So I shall leave you with the conversation I had with one of my student's parents yesterday...

Me: "Your son got bit today."
Parent: "By a dog?"
Me: "No, by a boy."

Yeah, my hands are quite full at school. I have no idea how I am going to get through the next 166 school days.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Back to School Night...DONE!

Day two of my new discipline policy. It was mostly successful. Friday will be the end all-as those that don't have enough tickets to participate in the free time, will hopefully, figure out their behavior. Have I told you how the plan works?
I use the old fashioned flip chart. Everyone starts with a green card. Green is good. If they make good choices, and their card remains green, they get two tickets, at the end of the day. If I have to turn their card to blue (warning), they only earn one ticket. If they get to yellow, they pay two tickets to ME. If they get to red, they pay 3 tickets, lose their recess, and may have to call home to tell their parents what their problem was. I give them 6 tickets on Monday-kind of like an allowance. Free time costs 12 tickets. They have to earn 6 more tickets during the week, to participate. As you can see, we had many challenges today. There will be lots of sad faces on Friday when kids don't have enough tickets to have free time. Oh well. They are the managers of their behavior-only they can choose to change it.
These are the tickets-cute huh? They collect tickets. If they have to go potty, they pay a ticket. I give tickets randomly for whatever I dream up. On Friday, they will turn in all of their tickets. I will apply 12 toward free time, and then I will log the extra tickets earned. Then I will add how many extra tickets they have-maybe every two weeks-and give prizes for that. Once we start homework, they'll earn tickets for that. I will probably have to raise how many tickets they need for free time, because I will pay them in tickets, for doing their homework, and they will earn lots. They are digging these tickets. They are pretty cute. I actually like this new system better than my money system-it's a lot quieter. Those coins can get noisy! Also, I don't need a store mom.
We had Back to School Night tonight. I may not be very popular after tonight, but I had to lay it all out for the parents. The bottom line is that I am spending so much time managing behavior, that my lessons are suffering. I think the parents got it. I had a lot of support, A LOT, and all of my jobs were taken away to finish for me, so that was a good sign! I was very honest with them. I have been teaching for 15 years. They need to know that they can't fool me, and their kids can't fool me. I won't back down. There's too much at stake. I want success for ALL of my students.
These are the heads we made last week. They had to draw their head, cut it out, and glue it onto green paper. Then, using magazines, they looked for pictures of things they like, and glued them above their paper heads. They turned out really cute. My favorite is the one in the middle of the bottom row. A cute little girl made that. She wears her hair in these mini pigtail things, on the top of her head, with the rest down. I love her paper face-I love her real face too actually.

We made these apples yesterday. They did a good job with them. They do like to do art. They may not be able to sit down, be quiet, or listen, but they sure can do art!

Excitement of the day: I got a new student. A sweet girl, new to our school district and city. She came in, sat down, started to work. 15 minutes later, I look over and she's crying. Tears and snot rolling down her face. I got her tissue. I comforted her. I modified her work, then I walked away. She continued to cry, quietly. The kids tried to comfort her. I told them to leave her be and she would be fine (crying does not work with me). Pretty soon though, the quiet crying turned into full on wailing, with very loud cries of "I want my mommy!" I told her I wanted mine too, but that she really needed to try and pull herself together. When she couldn't, and got louder, and I needed to TEACH, I called the office. One of the secretaries came and got her. She spent the rest of that hour, and recess, in the office. They called mom. She talked to mom, but she stayed at school. I went in at recess to see if I could get her to come back. Nothing doing. After recess, my principal came in with her, and she sat right down. She was fine after that, smiling, doing her work. It was a bit tense for awhile there though. She said she's coming back tomorrow, and I talked with her mom after school. They just moved on Sunday, so this is all brand new. She's a sensitive little thing. Tomorrow will be better.