Tuesday, January 31, 2012

photo challenge - february

I'm thinking - why not?
I already love using instagram
feeling like a little fun for february - join in too!
thanks to chantelle @ fat mum slim for creating this little project
I'm excited to pick up my iPhone and start clicking and filtering away!

Monday, January 30, 2012

confessions of a first year history teacher

well, where to start?
ummm...I don't know everything
and sometimes, this year, I feel like I don't know anything
at least when it comes to the nitty gritty specifics of the history that I am teaching
I've learned how much I didn't learn in the past
and I must say that it scares me from time to time
today as I was "learning" so much while planning
I started thinking that maybe having a history supplement
(which I was qualified for because of my history concentration in college)
 should not really qualify you for teaching middle school history
but I'm thankful that it did, because it pretty much saved my job
and thankfully I've gotten teaching logistics under control before starting this
so now, it is just learning for me
examples of my new found - should have already known facts:
#1 the Star Spangled Banner was originally written as a poem
during the War of 1812
#2 and while we're on that topic - I learned what the War of 1812 was all about
#3 and finally, you know when you've heard something, but have no idea what it means, well, that was me with the Monroe Doctrine, until this afternoon

whew, I feel better now that I've gotten that off my shoulders
and I am really grateful for the opportunity to get a whole year to really learn more history
something I really do enjoy - but come on - there is SO much of it to know

and, putting history aside
I've also learned that this is what happens when you give a teenager a stapel gun

Sunday, January 29, 2012

sunday's "so they said"

this week we discussed censorship with free speech
finally began to understand political parties and how they were created
had a flash mob come into first period
and after my suggestion - we now have an entire 8th grade flash mob in the works
for their graduation
and had such a simple compliment really brighten the week

"Mrs. Lewis - I just wanted to let you know that your class has really been the highlight of my day...well actually, it is always the best part of my schoolday."

if they only knew what part they had in making our days awesome
and while we're talking about awesomeness - here was my lunch date yesterday...

Thursday, January 26, 2012

thrifted it thursdays

now I have a hard time passing up little random pieces of pyrex when thrifting
especially when they are great deals
it you are in great shape - and under $1, you will be coming home with me
recently I was having to do a major pyrex re-arrange session
and these little guys just kept getting stacked
and it turns out - I'm pretty into it

what I'm not into right now - having a sore throat from teaching today
I was in quite the energetic/silly mood today
my kids quickly noticed
and I think they appreciated it
I guess strained vocal chords are worth it
and hey - tomorrow's friday!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

what teachers make

why you may ask do I share this with you?
#1 It is hilarious 
#2 It is so true
#3 Watching this video last night was actually part of my homework
#4 And I haven't gotten a paycheck since December 16th
so I'm feeling a tad punchy at the moment

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

sharing v. stealing

well, like I said earlier - I was pretty excited for this week
having the students once again jump into some historical roles
this time they have joined either the Federalist or Republican party
and tomorrow we will be having our own little political rally
for the election of 1800
so here's my dilemma:
when are you sharing a lesson, and when are you stealing?

because right now, I'm pretty sure that my lessons are being stolen
in person, right under my nose
now before I go further, I am all about sharing, and planning together
because from years past, I know that collaboration truly yields better teaching
so, with that being said
I'm in a situation where I will be teaching, and another teacher will come in
see what I'm doing, and then either take whatever direction sheet or handout I'm using
or ask for a copy
and that's that
and yes, I have talked to this teacher about this very situation
and yes, it stopped for a while
but today kicked things right back into the swing of things
I pride myself on being strong & outspoken
but being in this situation is just no fun
so my quick fix solution - emblazon my name on any project sheet I create
that way I know my projects are getting credit, even if  it is in just a small way

Monday, January 23, 2012

so yeah, I'm not one to buy birthday gifts at the mall...

in December my best friend celebrated her birthday
(yes, I realize I'm a tad late on this post)
and I knew that I wanted to have my ridiculously creative friend to help me with her gift
so I helped with the concept
but the rest was all miss Jaymee Srp from Retro Menagerie
I was SO happy with the final product & how perfect it was for my friend
seeing as how she has a thing for books, the way I do about pyrex
I knew exactly the direction we were going to go with the print
and it seems like she liked it too - you can see here where she posted about it on her blog
so yeah for spreading the love - it's a pretty good thing
thanks again to...

Sunday, January 22, 2012

sunday's "so they said"

earlier this week I shared the worksheet I made for my very first lecture of the year
and let me say, it turns out, just like chocolate cake
everything is good for you...in moderation
and as I now know, this can include a little lecturing here and there
my biggest issue with lecturing is the amount of engagement of the students
and the thought of me doing all the talking for 55 minutes sounds like
 the last thing I would want to do
well, my kids proved that we could turn that type of lesson into more of a conversation
and I'm so glad we did - they had so many amazing questions and talking points
here are a few of my favorites:

"So, at the Presidential Inauguration, 
they are sworn in on the Bible.  
What happens if they are an Atheist?" 

Talk about a great way to start a conversation about SO many things.  And this question didn't just come up in one of my classes, but in all of them, and from so many different students, asking about different faiths and backgrounds, hypothetical situations, and the general progression of politics in our nation.

  I exclaimed my excitement by telling them what amazing questions they had - and that most adults have probably never even stopped to think about any of them.

I really do think they are getting it.  
I really do think they are starting to realize why we should study history.
I really love how quickly they "got" the significance of having President Obama
choosing to be sworn in on Abraham Lincoln's Bible
Oh, and I'm so in love with our lessons this week...
campaign rally for the Federalists & Republicans
with rally signs, buttons, and all - yes please.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

it's pretty, and shiny, and not new

seeing as how the bowl is pyrex, I've had it for quite some time
and the husband uses it everyday for his pancake mix
but I never found the Hamilton Beach Mixer
that is, before today
now I have the complete set, and I'm pretty into it
also posted over at the Pyrex Collective II

Friday, January 20, 2012

hey, what's that falling from the sky?

oh wait, it's rain
something we haven't seen in so long I almost forgot it existed
sounds like a good excuse for my favorite type of friday night
home, husband, movie, dessert
done and done.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

if you have to take lecture notes...

might as well make them interesting to look at
well, for the first time this year I am actually planning to do a few mini-lectures 
on the up-coming chapters
me talking and them listening isn't really my style
but looking at pacing, and some really DRY material we have to cover
I've decided to pull a few sections out for what my partner calls "storytelling"
hopefully my not so ordinary handout will help spice things up!

Monday, January 16, 2012

trying to see the positives

even though the antiquing was very disappointing today
and the $90 parking ticket for having 2 inches of our bumper
apparently blocking a driveway
was for sure a bump in the road
but besides that - here are the positives:
the city was brisk - but so clear and beautiful
we had great company to help us keep our cool through the ticket fiasco
and had a beautiful lunch with my sister
and tomorrow is looking up too - "teacher work day"
no offense, but a day of work sans kids is always ok in my book
because those don't happen too often in my field
and those lesson plans don't seem to get done on their own!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

sunday's "so they said"

well this week I must say my favorite words that came out of my middle schooler's mouths
were them singing the lyrics to a Bill of Rights song
we sang this song every day this week
and I truly think my evil plan is working
I bribed them with some extra-credit on their next test
for every day they sang the song they got a stamp on their song lyrics
each stamp gets them a point
win win
and even though they liked to gripe before we started singing
 they sure did chime in pretty quickly
especially once I started obnoxiously with the first line
now no, this isn't my class
it is actually my aunt's class picture from back in the day
look at those rows and perfectly folded hands
and because my district is pretty old
several of my classrooms have been laid out just like this
sink, cabinets, and bulletin boards in the exact same position!
tomorrow I'm off to the city with great friends, antiquing, & a visit with my sister
three day weekends are truly the best

Saturday, January 14, 2012

friday friendship find

well, friday the 13th was a pretty lucky day for me
I have NEVER found one of my favorite patterns in a thrift store
until yesterday
and it wasn't just one bowl, but all four of these beauties
and lucky for me, the little lady who had them before me
took extremely good care of them

Friday, January 13, 2012

Friday the 13th

Luckily I'm not superstitious, just amused when I noticed what street I work on. Now for a very lazy Friday night and a very well deserved three-day weekend.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

days are like a sprint lately

so this year I have been swaying a tad on the multiple personalities spectrum
one week I LOVE teaching middle school
one subject to prep
once I teach a lesson, I get to perfect it four more times that day
my kids are old enough to let a little of my natural sarcasm slip out
well, this week my dry sense of humor has been coming out left & right

image here
however, I've finally decided my biggest gripe with middle school...
and no, it's not the kids
even though some of the questions they ask do kill me
one day they will realize it is just easier to listen to the person talking to them
the first time
or the second time
you choose
instead, my issue would be the 55 minute class periods
it is like I am always running an hour sprint
and always losing to the clock
there is no down time when you have to get out everything in that one little class
elementary lends you so much more flexibility
now, please, don't get be wrong
I was ALWAYS going in my elementary classrooms
but when the bell rang, they were mine again in ten minutes
and I could just keep going
so...with all that being said...maybe still an elementary teacher at heart
however, I could just need a day off

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Monday, January 9, 2012

Out of the Files - Remembering Dr. King

so if you have been reading this little blog long
you are probably feeling a tad bit of deja vu right about now
but, seeing as how this week many amazing teachers are going to be introducing 
their students to Dr. King, I figured we could always dig this one out of the files
and since I am on a bit of a crunch with my own curriculum
I'm not going to be doing it with my students (slight tear for my elementary days)
so, maybe you will be inspired to try it!
Last year when I came up with this project I went here to learn how to do
positive/negative space art
and this was just about the only place that explained it in a way that made sense to me!
To make my stencil I used my smart board to outline an actual picture I found of Dr. King
split the image in half and then copied one half onto the white construction paper
This project is a little time consuming to plan - you want to make a few trial runs at it yourself
before actually teaching it
but I really do think it pays off - the kids LOVED this project
and it looks so striking in the room - I kept this bulletin board up extra long!
and of course to really finish off this project I would suggest
some poetry writing for students to really dig a little deeper
Last year we created poems where the students compiled
 their own dreams for the world/society
repeating the historic line "I have a dream..."
they were pretty touching - but you could go just about anywhere with the written piece
good luck - if you have any questions please just ask!!!
oh - and tomorrow is our first ten on ten of the year - so grab your camera - and go!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

sunday's "so they said" - hashtag

image here
turns out the first day back to school made my 4th period a little...
so right before class the kids starting saying "hashtag" before anything they said
I mean anything & everything
I heard "hashtag - good morning mrs. lewis" so many times before the start of class
that if they were actually tweeting all these #'s I would have definitely been trending
and really - who was this little game of theirs hurting?
well, not me, because by fourth period I really needed something to keep me interested!
and come on - getting the answer "hashtag - the judicial branch" works for me
hashtag - what the kids are doing these days

Thursday, January 5, 2012

thrifted it thursdays

this year I've decided to try out a few more regular "weekly" postings
I've enjoyed my "so they said" on sundays
so why not add another day of the week for another passion of mine - thrifting
and more specifically, thrifting pyrex
this week I picked up this turquoise bowl from the  Hostess Oven and Table set
and the funny thing was I was in one of those thrift stores that have the "collectible" section
where they put ALL their pyrex, and it is almost ALWAYS overpriced
you just have to get lucky that you are there on the right "tag color" discount day
however, this bowl was in the regular kitchen section
maybe a fellow thrifter was hiding the piece until the discount day was even higher?
well, sorry, not going to chance it for my first piece of this kind
I'll take the 25% off gladly
oh, and it is hard to hide pyrex from a true collector hoarder of pyrex
now you may notice the interesting stacking I've chosen here
yes, I do actually love this combination with my set of Designs bowls
but truly, things are having to get very creative in my collection display
now while I'm on the topic of thrifting, I actually did thrift the large Designs bowl
at the very same store I found the Turquoise Hostess!
Just about five months apart from each other,
clearly they were meant to be together
Now the littlest guy was not thrifted, but found in an antique mall in Ohio
at a very thrifted price!
so there we go, enough about that - happy thrifting!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

they're like heaven, no, wait, willy wonka

at least that's what I've been told
and they work pretty well in that little starburst pyrex too!
cake pops were a hit this new year's eve
and even though they are a bit of a process
they are kind of fun
let me say that out of a whole boxed cake mix
the ones you see are the only ones finished
there were many "oops" in the process
but we really didn't need 24 cake pops for our little group
and I can't wait to try lots of different colors 
and the best part - sprinkles are a must when decorating these guys
and that is one of my favorite parts!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

back to school insomnia?

well, I thought that I had outgrown it
but last night proved otherwise
for some reason teacher's seem to be plagued with back to school insomnia
or sometimes worse - back to school nightmares
I really was not dreading going back to school
but man, I sure wasn't falling asleep
so the remedy?
left work way early - like 45 minutes after the bell rang
and it felt pretty good

Monday, January 2, 2012

post holiday decoration blues

well, tomorrow it is back to the grind for me
and knowing I need to start off 2012 fresh
it meant it was time to take down all my christmas decorations 
and well folks, that makes me a little sad
sure my house seems clean & clutter free
but coming home with no twinkly lights to turn on = sad face
so in order to not totally de-festivize the house
I left up my new year decorations for now
and I guess that will just have to do
for now I am going to enjoy my last night of freedom
celebrate the fact that I did not do a SINGLE bit of school work over break
(besides masters homework!)
and try to remember what I am supposed to be teaching tomorrow
I'm thinking something about the 3-branch government system
is ringing a bell
and very quiet bell.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

ringing in with cheer

we ended our year together with friends
we look forward to all this year will bring
our goal as a couple is to buy our first home
my goal professionally is to continue to vary & improve my craft with even more awesomeness
and artistically I will continue to challenge myself in photography
and that means actually learn how to use that camera of mine
and on the collection front - pyrex, pyrex, pyrex
the end.
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