Sunday, October 4, 2015

Busiest Week Ever? Yes.

This is the busiest week ever. No joke. I woke up with a cold (thanks, Jackson!) and now get to plow through spirit week, testing week, Homecoming week, pep rally week, fighting it off. Add in volleyball, grad class, and teaching...and, well, it's going to be a long week. Thank goodness for weekends. Right? Well, this weekend was equally as busy.

Saturday we were up at school building Homecoming decorations with SGA. We had between 10-15 students show up. They moved all of our decor to the closest mechanical room, put together most of the decorations that could fit through doorways, and they generously entertained my children. Emma, who Lily was extremely excited to see, allowed Lily to follow her around. Remy happily glittered a poster with Lily. They let Lily help with the Homecoming banner. Jackson was getting a cold and he mostly followed me around like a little lost duck. Kenisha bought the kids Popsicles. When people wonder how I can do everything I tell them: my parents, my husband, and my really awesome students.

Today I took Lily to Target. Then, came home and tried to catch up on as much grading as I could. I did get most of it finished between hugs and snuggles from Jackson who has a full on cold. Tom took Lily to my parents to dinner, while I stayed home with the sick boy. We worked on arts and crafts, had dinner, and he took a nice bath. He went to be quite easily, which was lovely. Now, I hope he (and Lily) sleep well. I need them to stay healthy!

Here's to a busy week! I am looking forward to a fun spirit week.

Oh, and, our new enrichment program launched on Friday and it was, simply put, amazing. Big things are happening this year...and it's awesome.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

{Finally} Fall

It's finally fall! This weekend, we greeted autumn with outstretched arms and apple picking. Lily had soccer on Saturday morning, we went to my alma mater's Homecoming festivities, and then we went apple picking with friends. The best part of the day, by far, was apple picking.

We went to Baugher's Farm and had a near perfect afternoon. It was overcast, so it never got too warm and here was a cool breeze. It was essentially the best sweater weather. Lily and Jack were so excited to pick apples! They were equally excited to see baby Sam. Their love for him was evident on their faces in all of the pictures.

Today was a more trying day. Neither kid slept very well and Lily threw tantrums all day long {I wish that was an exaggeration}. The whole thing was exhausting for her, and me, and I am glad the kids are nestled in bed and I have a little time to myself.

Tomorrow begins the first of a slew of 5 day work weeks for me (I know, teacher life). It's the last week of September, though, October begins on Thursday and I am looking forward to everything that the month will bring!

Oh Sam, you have her heart. Oh Jack, you are a giant 2 year old.

That's the look of some serious Sam love.

Me and my girl.

My favorites.

This picture makes me insanely happy. That is his whole personality right here. Also, he is 2...that shirt is a size 6!

Taking the tractor {school bus seats and all} to the orchard!

Love her so much. Wish all her days were just this happy.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Just a quick check-in!

Hey guys! I am still here! I am just in busy, back-to-school mode. This mode won't end until after the fall season is over, which is when busy, holiday mode will kick in. Why are things so busy you ask? Well, here you have it...

1. Volleyball season is well under way. This occupies most of my extracurricular time at school from mid-August-mid-November. I have a weird relationship with coaching. I love volleyball, and I really enjoy being with my players (they are just the nicest group of girls...who may have cried when we one our first game today...not set...we didn't win the whole thing...just one of the games...). The girls really make coaching worth it. The part I don't like so much is being pulled away from home and my own kids. Luckily, my players embrace my family as much as they do me as their coach and Tom happily brings the kids to home games.

2. SGA is busy with homecoming. We plan spirit week, homecoming, and the festival. And all of those things will be happening in just over 2 weeks! EEP!

3. Enrichment. I am working with a group of teachers to plan, launch, and run our first enrichment program. Enrichment is a weekly club period that meets, so students can participate in a club as part of the school day. We polled students and found that many would like to stay for clubs, but can't, due to work obligations, siblings who they need to watch, sports, or transportation. We wanted to make sure every student had access to a club, so that he/she could find a place to belong. Our dream is starting to become a reality and it is, seriously, one of the most empowering experiences I have ever been a part of. I am so proud of the teachers who worked to see this through.

4. Lily has soccer, which isn't a huge time obligation, but it's an added weekly event.

5. School is starting, so things are always a little busier and crazier. Getting to know students, getting to know schedules, etc...can be a task!

I am not saying all of this to complain. I am happily busy. I like feeling like I am making a difference in my school by being able to offer my time to things that I enjoy doing. I feel very lucky to have such supportive co-workers, friends, and family members who allow me to do what I love and be the teacher that I envisioned myself being.

That said, I will welcome a breather when November rolls around...just in time for the holidays! Fall is, seriously, my favorite time of the year and I am happy that it is well under way. I may get around to updating this thing in another month!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Lily starts preschool!

Our girl had her first day of preschool today. She is attending the same school that she has been attending since she was 2, so it wasn't a particularly different or difficult day for her. Preschool will definitely be more school-like than any experience she has had yet. My mom took pictures of Lily before school with a chalkboard that I decorated for her. Of course, I wrote the wrong date on it (so I corrected that error when I got home...). Lily loved her class and teacher. She recited the rules for me, and she even had a little homework. She is extremely excited for Friday because it will be her first show and tell. She is ready for school and so excited for this experience...and I am so excited for her!

After school. Corrected date. 
Before school. Notice, the wrong date. Way to go, mom.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Is this a post mid-week confession?

I am curious: do parents of BCPS students realize the cost to retrofit a school with A/C (and get building up to code to do those renovations)? I am following all of these big A/C debates in school and I am wondering a few things:

1. Where do people think millions of dollars can appear from to get A/C?...
2. What has changed since I was in schools without A/C? (because there wasn't some crazy public outcry when I was in school...there were fans, water bottles, and some very warm days...we just dealt with it)...
3. One argument I've been reading is that kids get dehydrated. I regularly hold volleyball practices in a gym that isn't air conditioned. Temps are definitely in the 90s, plus the girls run around. I am very good about giving water breaks, but I also tell the girls they need to drink more water at home to work on prevention. Don't parents know to keep kids hydrated at home to work on preventing dehydration before it begins?

This just seems so #firstworldproblem to me. There was a time, not so long ago, when A/C wasn't in any building...anywhere. Have humans changed that quickly that we can't cope when it's hot?

I am genuinely curious. I just wonder if we get so accustomed to technology that we forget how to human (in more ways than just this one...).

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Welcome to my room!

Learner centered is the buzz this year, and Sarah (my work wife) and I are embracing it. We had a little conversation last year about alternate seating and it grew into actual practice in our rooms. I finally got around to taking some after pictures, and I am just getting around to putting them on the blog. My students are enjoying the room (I think!). Their favorite things, so far, are the core balance cushions I got for their chairs. They inflate and they can sit on them and wiggle a little to get energy out during class. They are great for quiet writing because it takes unfocused energy and allows students to concentrate on writing. I got 5, but so many kids use them, I may need more!

Anyway, without further room (well, my room and the English room of about 130 students!)!

When students walk in the room they can see the date and day (A or B). The bathroom pass is on the board and the papers for the class are on the small table.
The board for class agendas and homework,

Reading area. A few bean bag chairs, a lamp, an area rug, and 4 clipboards on the wall to use if a student is writing.

The whole room.

Back corner. Teacher computer (no desk!), storage for students' supplies, a computer for student use, reference posters, and other student resources.

English 9 board for I can statements. Also showcases our GRIT program.

Another reading area. Looked so cozy in the sun. The pink storage units are for bags filled with markers, pencils, crayons, glue, scissors, etc...for each table group. The kissing pumpkins are a student project from 2 years ago. It depicts Proctor and Abigail Williams dancing on Elizabeth Proctor's grave...

Goals bulletin board...we haven't written goals yet.

My favorite area! Hanging file area, objective area, and info bulletin board. 

The OM letters were given by the principal for commitment to the school. The gold seals are for various programs I facilitated.

Seriously. This just makes me happy. Nerdy teacher happy. BUT SO HAPPY.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Bye Bye Summer 2015

So, I sort of paused the reflective teaching challenge, but it's for good reason...I've been enjoying my last days of summer vacation. Friday we went to the National Zoo and hosted a get together with friends, yesterday we went to the family shore house, and today we played outside. This morning I got to spend some quality time with my computer while I took the final exam for my grad class. The hardest class I have ever taken is OVER! Of course, my next course starts in a week and a half, but that's at least a week to get my bearings at school before the class begins.

This summer has been wonderful. We didn't have a formal vacation, but we spent a lot of time with our kids and enjoyed being home. We went to the shore a lot, explored playgrounds with friends, played in the yard, did some gardening, ventured to Austin, read a lot of books, and just had fun. Being a summer stay at home mom is definitely fun. I am grateful that I get to have two worlds to enjoy-- my world at home and my world at work. The summer felt short, and it was, just 8 weeks, but they were 8 enjoyable weeks. I am sad to say goodbye to the summer, but I am also happy to say hello to school and autumn and a schedule (oh thank goodness for a schedule!). Saying goodbye to Lily and Jackson tomorrow will be hard, but I know they are excited to see grandma. 

Here's to summer 2015! Welcome fall!