Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Pictures

I've run through about all of my Kabul pix, the ones I want to post anyway. Now I'm ready for another adventure. It'll probably be a good one.

As #1 son said last night, "Aren't you excited that we get to live for awhile and go on so many great adventures?" He was playing Lord of the Rings online at that point, so maybe he was talking about his avatar, or to someone else's avatar. It was hard to tell.

But I thought it was a good, profound question to keep in my mind as I walk around the planet. I'm going to work on boosting my excitement level as I venture forth on my next quest. The Farmer's Market.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Schedule

Schedules are made every day now for the reading teachers. These schedules are made by me. Some of the reading teachers thank me for making the schedules. Some tell others that they have no intention of following the schedule. And then those people come and tell me that people said that. And I follow people around to see if they're following the schedule. Some are and some are not. And then I offer friendly reminders.
I'm finding out that I'm fairly tenacious.

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Thing

I have to come up with a presentation for an after school teacher thing. I may do something with the Afghanistan project. I have to come up with a description and title by 2:00. Most of the other presentations are on fluency or some other reading related skill. Let's see if they go for it.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Identity

I'm not a sentimental mom. I've never been one to pine for the days when the kiddos were little. Never cried when they had their first days of school or had a new birthday. I've mostly been curious about every new stage and step and I've felt pretty happy that I've gotten to be along for the ride. But this college thing Teendaughter's into now is shaking the hell out of my identity. I want to be excited and happy, but I mostly feel sorry for myself. I like having her around. Right here in the house. I like seeing her every day and talking to her. I like seeing her pals around. I feel vaguely like I've been left behind. Teendaughter texted me a lot yesterday so maybe we'll get into a groove and I'll shape up and create some new cool role for myself in her far away adventureland. Until I figure this out, I have told #1 Son that he's definitely making the right choice, staying home with the family. His good choice will be recognized and rewarded in some way this weekend. I'm buying him some gifts. I'll probably pick up something for TD as well. I'm sure she didn't grow up on purpose. She's a good kid, with lots of potential.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Driving

3 days in NorthLand this week, learning about testing little kids, using a palm pilot. The 7 tests are called "probes." The palmpilot test is mandated by the state because we've failed the state tests for so many years in a row. A lot of people in the state are in the same boat. The room was filled with new literacy workers learning how to give the test. As the speaker perkily described the miracles the test would create for us, literacy workers practiced in pairs. My partner kept looking up at me and saying stuff like, "This doesn't really test vocabulary, does it?" or "Why would we want kids segmenting words like this? That's not how people talk or read." If you hear of your school going for the palm pilot test, try to raise a ruckus about it. I've tried a bit, but "mandated by the state" is a phrase that really ends conversations quickly.
So here I go, off for another round. The good thing is this: Teendaughter and #1 son make quite good mix CD's and I get to listen to some surprising music as I drive the miniature van.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Colors

With a few spare minutes on Friday afternoon, I decided to wander into kindergarten.
The K's were huddled around their teacher who was frenetically tearing open scissor packages.
"She needs help!" a K yelled out to me.
I jumped into the fray and ripped open scissor and glue stick packs like they were going out of style.
By the time I left, the K's were working on their Kissing Hand activity.

The Literacy Worker strikes again.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Wildcats

We had the school picnic indoors last night. All the teachers have new tie dye t shirts sporting our wildcat logo, so we were looking good.

After eating, I wandered into a few classrooms. Newbie first grade teacher had a dad just yakking her ear off about how great his kid is. "He's so great. He's a leader. He'll never give you any trouble. He's a model for other students." I was wondering if the kid in the back of the room, HURLING a rubber ball across the room, belonged to the guy or not? After 3 or 4 wild throws ricocheted off the walls, I wandered over to the kid. "Hey buddy, we don't want you throwing that ball in here."
He was on the ground having just completed a spectacular diving catch of his own throw. "Maybe I should do this outside?"
"Yeah, that's a good idea."
"Or I could go down to the gym and see if I can throw it around in there."
"That's what I'm talking about, pal!"
The kid scampered off and the dad kept talking, not missing a beat.
The year's going to be full of good times with the wildcats. I can already tell.

Monday, August 10, 2009

The Beginning

The teachers assemble today to hear the new supe talk. Then we go to the schools and work. Peeps come on Wednesday.
Send good thoughts to Sarah M today. She's defending her cool dissertation about the peeps and their podcasting. Go SARAH!!!!

Saturday, August 08, 2009

The Meetings

My first real day on the job went pretty well i thought. (Fist of Five = Probably 3). I helped a lot of teachers work on some planning for the first few weeks of school. We didn't get done with everything and now I have to go collect all the work from people in the upcoming week. That might be difficult. Most people seemed appreciative of my assistance during the day. My name was called continuously as I ran from table to table. That felt good. A few T's indicated through nonverbal communicative techniques that they would rather be left alone. I gave those people what is sometimes referred to as a wide berth.

I've been sitting in on a ton of interviews this week too. Interviews honestly can be a bit boring. After awhile, I am dying for someone to break out into song or pull some playdo out of their bag to demonstrate some radical teaching theory. I always feel compassion for people being interviewed, tho, so I try to nod, smile, and make small affirmative vocalizations. I have one more interview to do this afternoon. It's a bit of a drag because I wanted to wear sweatpants and a tshirt today, but instead I'm wearing my school uniform. On a Saturday.

This is one mark in the bad parts column of the new job.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

The Fist

Fist of Five. It's a new thing I learned at the workshop yesterday. You can use Fist of Five to pre-assess student knowledge about upcoming units. Say you'll be teaching about the Civil War. Before you start, just hold up your fist and say, "Fist of Five. Five means you know all the causes and effects of the Civil War. Zero means you've never even heard of it." When students hold up a continuum of fingers you can use that info for unit planning purposes.
I used Fist of Five about 200 times last night.
"Fist of Five, Pizza for dinner."
"Fist of Five, Quality of our days."
"Fist of Five, Interest in answering the telephone."

Sadly, the fam, for the most part, would not get into my Fist of Five Fervor. Teendaughter on occasion would hold up a few fingers while reading her book. #1 son just flat out said, "No" every time I pointed to him for a Fist of Five. Husbandman ignored the entire project.
Yet, I soldiered on with Fist of Five, using the technique at every turn.

Monday, August 03, 2009

The Job

The classroom is nearly packed, thanks to Husbandman who got bossed around yesterday quite a lot. After 4 hours, Husbandman wanted to stop. "My spirit's been broken," he muttered, walking out of the building to wait in the car while I finished up a few more things.

My new job has a lot of meetings to it. Today I'm going to an all day meeting on differentiation. It's not so bad going to meetings when you're not being taken away from a classroom full of peeps to attend. Basically, I have a new attitude about meetings this year. Maybe I'll learn some stuff.