Wednesday, August 31, 2011

farewell august

you were pretty good to me.

Monday, August 29, 2011

wonderful weekend

it was busy - but pretty awesome
here's a peek into our final birthday celebration for the husband's 30th
such good times with such good people
things were starting out great.  the first cake was already on the stand, iced and ready to go when the second layer decided to make me remember why I don't bake cakes - strictly cupcakes.  it broke in two, and then three, and then four.  as things really started to crumble, thankfully the husband came into the kitchen before I started to cry too bad.  so, instead of starting over, I made due.  
sorry for the shaky photo - like I said, I was trying not to panic
but apparently still couldn't keep the camera still!
so what's a girl to do when her cake breaks into tiny pieces?  well, shove it in a casserole dish of course.  my pretty little blue delphite casserole did the trick.
I think this next image will get its own post soon.  but for now, yes, they are pages from a harry potter book wrapping my present that showed up at the party!
for the record - chocolate fondue rocks the socks off of cheese fondue, just saying
and for the next little birthday mishap - no candles
so instead, this lighter did the trick
so - there you go
happy birthday to that husband of mine
time to get back to life without party planning
at least until halloween!

Friday, August 26, 2011

what I learned this week - middle school edition

First week as a middle school teacher is in the books.
Here's what I learned this week:
#1 - 8th graders are just larger versions of 6th graders - they still need things spelled out.
#2 - it takes middle schoolers about 5 days to warm up to a new teacher - today there were so many "oh hey mrs. lewis" while walking around campus.  Actually excited to talk to me outside the classroom = good start!
#3 - I don't care for the repeating part of my day.  I never seem to keep straight what I have already said. I feel like I'm losing it pretty much all day.
#4 - Having student's lockers in your room means you have not a MINUTE to yourself, all day.  No time for the bathroom, and lunch, well, it is EXACTLY 30 minutes so my kids can get into their lockers.
#5 - 180+ names to memorize will be the hardest thing I do this year.  And the mandatory uniform takes away a lot of the personal style that normally helps me with their names!
#6 - Paper is hard to come by and by my prep 6th period, there is none left.  Once it's gone for the day - too bad so sad.
#7 - Speaking of "prep", they don't like when you call P.E. prep - elementary teacher mistake.
and finally
#8 - the gaps that kids have in their knowledge just gets scarier in middle school.  This week I taught a student how to use a ruler, and divide 18 by 3.  And no, I'm not being sarcastic.  Somewhere along the line we failed these kids.

Before school started we were talking about middle school, and how it really is the last step and line of defense before kids go to high school.  We may be the last ones to bridge the gap and prevent them from dropping out.  I like this mentality instead of just thinking of these couple of years as the "terrible middle school years".  I can already tell this will be quite the year.  Yes, it has gotten better, but I think I just may be an elementary teacher at heart.  We'll see.

Here is a preview of the quilt project I did with my students this week.  I'm excited to share the final products early next week!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

i'm going to call this my happy place post

the first week of school can be draining
and I'm thinking my attitude might not be quite in the right place for school #4
I'm trying - but I'm tired of starting over
I keep calling things like the spanish classes preps, and then with very confused faces
reminded they are sections, not preps in middle school
to that, I say whatever, I'm doing my best here people
I'm not going to lie, I thought this transition would be easier
the good news - my kids were better today
and besides the fact that one period has zero reading comprehension
we're looking pretty good
so far...27 has been a tad overwhelming
(yes, all 24 hours of it)
new grade, new school, apparently being the head of the 8th grade history department
master's program looming, taking a week off in a week
seriously, I'm panicking just thinking about it all
so instead...

let's just go to my happy place
twenty-seven did bring this to me
which is more awesomeness than I can explain
and I know that as I get a grip on the rest of my life
this will continue to shine even brighter
our families have caught on to our obsession
and so this year we got some gift certificates to our favorite place
and you better believe the day after our party I was there buying our hutch
SO in LOVE with it
However, bringing this beauty in meant the disposal of two ikea storage containers
not sad to see them go (one to the closet, the other to my mom's garage)
but trying to go through and relocate has been quite the job
and no, I can't take much credit - or any credit
it was all the husband
hopefully I haven't been too cranky while the house was in transition
I can gladly say - things are back together
and I'm a happy camper about that

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

so it's my birthday

I was pretty lucky because my sister surprised me and came home for the day!
Unfortunately, she didn't get a very kind welcome at my new school.
Some people weren't even sure who she was asking for - hmmm, that's not good.
Anyways, our family went out to dinner - enjoyed a lot of finger foods.
And I tried to make the most of the night, even though my day was still pretty rough.
Now it's time to crash - and look through my new Pyrex Collector's Guide
the husband got me for my birthday!

Monday, August 22, 2011

the day I ripped my adorable vintage dress

Or, more commonly known as the first day of school.
Hmm, well after my first day of middle school, I'm not saying I'm loving it.
It isn't the kids - it's more the structure of everything.
I can't tell you how many times I asked myself when morning recess was.  Talk about a wake up call.
And, the whole "getting to do the same thing 5 times", well, I'll give it some more time.
I know on most days I won't be talking so much, but today, left me pretty exhausted.
So, back to the start of the day.
I had found this adorable dress while visiting Long Beach this summer, and knew right away it was going to be my "first day of school" dress.  It's green, it's vintage, and it is SUPER teacher appropriate.  No cleavage or even knees to be seen - especially important for me in middle school!
Well, I was out the door, doing one final check in the bedroom mirror to make sure nothing was hanging off the back of me, when I hear the sound no girl wants to hear.
The ripping of a seam.  No, I hadn't eaten too much for breakfast.
I had caught the ADORABLE pocket that hangs from the side of the dress on the door knob.
Thankfully it just tore out the seam, and can be fixed, but as you figured by the name of this blog - I won't be able to do it on my own.
Maybe I'll survey the damage again, because it would make a great second day of school/birthday dress!

So, as for being a middle school teacher.  Well, I'll get back to you.
I know it will get easier.
I just was hoping for a smoother first day of school, considering I have now done this five times.
The kid's schedules were just seriously messed up, and that doesn't make anyone's day easier.
And not having enough desks isn't too peachy either.
The good thing is - I think I'm officially over not sleeping the night before the first day.
The last two years I have been out like a light.  Pretty lucky for that I think!
Unfortunately my feet didn't fare so well.  
They clearly haven't been in actual shoes all summer.
So, it's safe to say they are pretty raw tonight.  Which also complicates my outfit for tomorrow.
Positive thinking - I said it was important to my kids today.
I think I'll practice what I preach.  

Sunday, August 21, 2011

27 & 30

This week the husband and I are celebrating being one year older.  Yesterday, we had fun with our families, ate way too much food, and are looking forward to doing it all over again next weekend with our friends!
dinner consisted of beef stroganoff, mac n'cheese, cheesy vegetables, raspberry jello salad, and fruit salad.  Yum.  For dessert, homemade chocolate chip cookies, cinnamon rolls, and yellow birthday cake with chocolate frosting.  Double yum. 
 thanks to our families for helping me pull this dinner party off.  
It was not an easy task by an means!

Friday, August 19, 2011

grab bag

So, my first five minutes is spent welcoming the students in at the door
normally their names are on their desks, but this year being in middle school
that won't be possible
instead they will be displayed on the board
once they are seated, I pretty much introduce myself, through my grab bag
I have found that by having something in my hands
helps with all the staring eyes
now seriously, I am never nervous in front of my kids
but those first couple of minutes can be intense

So what is my grab bag exactly?
well it holds little things about me
now here is a start for this year's bag - I'll add a few more goodies 
over the weekend
like a pack of gum - which I also use as a "teachable moment"
that yes, gum rocks
but not in the classroom

Now once I'm done going through my things
explaining their importance
and giving my kids a little glimpse of who I am
as a person - and not a robot teacher
we start going into classroom routines & expectations
this year, it will be the syllabus
because I only have 55 minutes this year for day one!
I'm thinking since I get to repeat my grab bag this year
I keep feeling like I am forgetting something - 
like six more hours of day one plans!

So - my number one rule
Greet every student at the door
be firm - but still a person in their eyes
when they find similarities between themselves and their new teacher
it is amazing how fast they can buy in to you

oh, and you may be wondering why a grocery bag is my grab bag
well, it is simple, met the husband while bagging groceries
done and done.

Thanks for sharing your first five ideas ladies!
My first five originally came from my amazing mentor teacher I had while getting my credential.
She shared so many amazing ideas that focussed so much on the 
connections we make with our students.
Thanks Heather - you taught me how to rock!

work day

Well, today was my third official paid day for this school year.  Yes, you are right.  I have been working since August first, but we won't go into that.  I think I'm ready.  As ready as I can be.  The room is ready, thankfully.  But am I?  Yes, I think so.  See, I'm not so sure, but I know the first day is looking pretty good. And after that, well, there is always time.  One day I know that I will get to teach something I have before, and that day will be awesome.

So here it is, the last few touches.  Excited to meet my kids, I think they are going to be pretty cool.  I can just sense these things.
Soon (like tonight or tomorrow morning) I want to post what I call my grab bag.  When you are a teacher, your first hour with your kids can be pretty un-nerving.  Not to mention, you will never have every single eye on you for the rest of the year the way you do in that first hour.  So yes, it is safe to say I'm normally perspiring just a tad during that time.

So the question is, what do you do the first five minutes of the new school year?
I'll share my strategy as soon as it is together!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

happy national thrift store day

And no, I didn't make that up.  It's actually a real thing.  So, to celebrate, I thrifted, and I thrifted with success.  What else was I to do after a day of staff development that left me a tad dizzy?  Changing schools can also mean re-doing staff training.  Especially in a large district like mine, all schools pilot programs at different times.  So this year, I will pilot the same program for the third time.  Well, at least I'll be able to focus on other things, like getting my masters, and thrifting.
And well, I thought having my pretty new little glasses wrapped in primary writing paper at the thrift store very fitting!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

coming together

well after today's success at the local fabric store
I'm starting to feel like I can see where our upcoming party is headed

today in my classroom I felt more together and overly panicked all at the same time
tomorrow we begin staff development
which isn't too exciting
but getting to see old friends and co-workers will help the situation
I just need to remind myself that I don't need everything planned the first day
but I still can't stop hyperventilating a bit
but it will be ok

today my former kiddos found out their teacher assignment
now of course they already knew who they were getting
but for some reason knowing they have now seen their names
next to another teacher's name
just makes it seem final 
and reminds everyone that we aren't getting to loop together like we had planned
 I'm just staying positive for them -
I think their adjustments may be harder than my own
now if you are a newer reader to this little blog & are totally confused by what I'm talking about -
this pretty much sums it all up

Monday, August 15, 2011

planning is progressing

and I'm not just talking about in the classroom!
well, as I had said earlier, the husband is turning thirty soon
and we are going to be celebrating with a mid century themed party
so thankfully I found this golden fondue pot while thrifting the other day
and it was never even used!
the rest of the dinner menu is coming together
thanks to a little inspiration from the photo below
I can't wait to pull out the pyrex & have some good birthday fun!
image & inspiration from the arugula files
tomorrow = more thrifting for party planning
 after some good hours spent in the classroom!
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