Monday, December 1, 2014

Currently...Back at It!

Um. November is over, December is here, and I missed a whole month on ye olde blogge! Eeeek! Thank goodness for Farley and her awesome monthly linky.

I'm back, baby.

Listening: Ok, I have crossed over into the next demographic box or something, because I am loving smooth jazz lately. It soothes the beast, I think. And the Christmas station is exactly what the doctor ordered: comforting, cozy, and mostly instrumental (e.g. no obnoxious singing). Maybe it's the grinch in me, or maybe it's too early, but I heard Perry Como singing It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas and I almost tore my hair out ("and mom and dad can hardly wait for school to start again! AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAA!"--it was awful).

Loving: another thing that soothes the beast! I have been drinking tea every night before bed for the last couple of weeks, and it really makes a difference. I am able to sleep the whole night through, and it is awesome restorative sleep. Two enthusiastic thumbs up! I recommend it for all my teacher-blog friends :)

Thinking: Yup, another thing that comes with December. Put it on the to-do list!

 Look at them! They are rock stars, they got this.

Wanting: Oh, my poor, neglected blog. I have missed thee so. But every time I thought about posting something in November...I talked myself into doing some other school-related task instead. I figured if I have time to blog, then I have time to do XYZ. It's a terrible slippery slope. My goal is to get back to posting at least once a week, deal?

Needing: OMG, I looooooved my Thanksgiving break. Five glorious days of lounging, napping, relaxing, wearing sweat pants? It was everything I hoped it would be. I didn't even watch much tv, just relaxing on the couch with the kitties was enough for me. And listening to the smooth jazz radio station, of course!

Giving: You know what? I have a wonderful family, a loving supportive partner, and the best class I could ever ask for as I dive back in to classroom teaching. I am one lucky lady, and I need to remember that instead of letting the stress wear me out (as it did in November...). I also give thanks for the support from my friends, both IRL and here! 

So if you are reading this, Thank YOU!

And see you soon,

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Wordless Wednesday-October Reflections

It's late, but I'm joining Christina's linky at Sugar and Spice for the last Wordless Wednesday of October:

First, a little inspiration:

**Courtesy of my lovely first-grade teacher friend from a former life

I am feeling tired, but happy, at the end of October:

Thanks for reading,

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Five for a Saturday Afternoon

Happy glorious Saturday! After a gloomy week with no sunshine and 40-degree weather, today it is actually 70 degrees and beautiful in Chicago :)

So I am feeling lazy and happy and decided to link with Doodle Bugs even though I missed the Friday party...

Sooo, without further ado, here are my Five for Saturday, in no particular order:

This week we took a field trip to the farm to learn about pumpkins and gourds, and farm life in the past. The kids got to feed the animals and we even went on a haunted hayride!

We had parent/teacher conferences the next day, which means sitting in a tiny chair for 8 hours after being allowed to roam free on the farm and enjoy the fresh air. Le sigh.

However, my conferences went great. I have THE best class in the whole wide world, incredibly supportive parents, and a happy, positive, calm classroom atmosphere in general. I have to pinch myself sometimes, "Is it really supposed to be this easy??" Believe me, I count my blessings every day.

So there were really only three days of actual classroom instruction going on this week, and the best day was Friday, believe it or not! We have NO specials on Friday. I think the kids were excited to do some actual work after 2 days of fun and running around. They were well-behaved, focused, and productive.

I love these kids.

As you can see, I have become very handy with the ol' classroom twitter account that I was hesitant to adopt at first. It's just hard to detach myself while I am teaching and remember to document and tweet about what we're doing. I think it's because we are so hands on in the primary grades with these little ones. But, the way I do it is to make sure I have my phone with me in my pocket at all times; that way if something is particularly cool I can snap a picture and tweet it when I get a moment (not necessarily in that moment).

P.S. Android, not iPhone, all the way!

I have a new contract! Woo-hoo! The board approved it on Wednesday, so hopefully my (very modes) raise will kick in on the next paycheck. Mama needs a new pair of shoes-- and transmission work on the car :/

That's it. Thanks for reading and have a fan-tastic weekend my friends.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Letters On My Day Off-Columbus Day

Good afternoon everyone,

Today I am linking up (a day late) with Michelle at Big Time Literacy for her bi-weekly Sunday Morning Letters:

Thanks to this glorious 3-day weekend, today is like my Sunday! I'm having coffee now and chilling on a rainy afternoon, just catching up on my favorite teacher blogs. Ah, if only we could have an extra day every week to decompress...anyway, the letters:

Dear Neck and Shoulders,

Please have mercy on me and stop tightening up so badly! I've already taken you to the chiropractor twice in the last 4 days, I've relaxed with no schoolwork since Friday, and I've slept in all weekend. What else do you want from me? Someone has to clean the house, you know.

Leave me alone,
Cranky Teacher

Dear Massage Therapist,

You rock! You are 5'2" and super-strong. The deep tissue massage that you gave me today hit all the tiny muscles in my neck and scalp that I forgot existed! I'm sorry my stomach was growling the whole time because it was lunch time...I can't wait to go back later this week for more relaxation and rejuvenation.

Very Truly Yours,
Relaxed Teacher

Dear teacher friends,

You help keep me sane in an insane environment, and for that I am so grateful. It was wonderful to get together last week for happy hour and chit-chat, just like therapy for me. (I actually did happy hour with 3 different friends on 3 different nights!) Please know that you are wonderful teachers and very good friends, even if I forget to say so sometimes.

Frazzled Co-Worker

Dear Students,

Thank you for being you. I could not have asked for a better class for my first year back in the classroom! You make teaching you the best part of my day. And when you groan because the timer goes off and we have to transition to a different activity, I have to hide my smile as I help you switch gears. Your excitement for learning reminds me of what it's all about!

Thank you thank you thank you,
Su Maestra

Dear Workload,

How is it that you manage to keep growing steadily, even as I continue to chip away at you everyday?? Do you realize that I am just one person, and that I have a family and personal life? Can we make a deal? I will stay later on Friday to get ready for next week if you promise to stay at a manageable size this week.

Simple Human

Ok, so they were more rants than letters, but it was still fun to write! Please write your own letters to the stuff in your life and link up with Big Time Literacy :)

Monday, October 6, 2014

Caballero's October Currently...

Can you believe it's already the second week in October?? Wha' happened?

Hee hee hee, such a silly movie! Good times if you haven't watched it.

So, I am ready to link up with Farley for her awesome monthly teacher linky:

Listening: I took a sick day today and decided a change of scenery was in order. I've been nursing a sinus infection all weekend in my bed, so today I decided I would lie on the couch instead and just turned on the TV and tuned out...daytime TV on a Monday...don't have any good channels because we usually just watch Netflix...but E! decided to air Sex and the City from the beginning! It was like being in college all over again, except all the swear words were bleeped out and all the really naughty stuff was edited out. OMG, so 90's! The hair, the clothes, the giant cell phones/answering machines. I LOVE this show, guilty pleasure confession...

Loving: My parents are retired and split their time between here and Mexico, and I've been missing them lately. I talked to my mom on the phone this weekend and got a surge of love for the folks! I'm looking forward to the holidays so we can be together again, eating and nagging and arguing, just like family should. But also this weekend we took the girls to see their grandma (about an hour away from where we live), and it was lovely! Their aunts and uncles came by to say hello, we got FED (Mexican grandma-style), and we chilled and talked and hung out. It's that feeling of warmth and family that I've been missing lately, probably cause I'm sick, and it was very therapeutic. I feel very blessed to have my little family.

Thinking: 'Nuff said. It's a 4-day week and I missed a day already! Aaaack!

Wanting: Sigh. Just to get away and not have a schedule or chores or to-do lists, and preferably somewhere with awesome cuisine and libations (beach is optional, since I am chubby right now ;)

Needing: A pedicure. An eyebrow wax. I actually had time to shave my legs today...TMI?

Trick: Morning Meeting. Works like a charm, every time.

Well, that's it for me. Thank you for reading, and go link up with your own Currently!


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Last Wordless Wednesday in September!

Hi there, I remember you! I'm talking to both you the blog and you the readers: I've missed you. But I'm back again to link up with Sugar and Spice for Wordless Wednesday:

First, my week thus far:

(do you ever feel this way? Full-on survival mode in September)


AND no specials on Wednesdays...but...BUT...BEST. DAY. EVER. so far this year!

(don't I look quite fetching in my high heels?)

My students are great. They are great kids and great students, and I am blessed to be their teacher. They are the only sane part of my day, and no specials means I get to spend the whole day with them. Laughing, learning, creating, collaborating, sharing, singing, playing, and growing. I'm growing with them too as a teacher and as a mom and as a human being. 

So, I went from no words, to a few words, to lots of words, sorry.

But, life is pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty good, actually.

Enjoy your Wednesday!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Sunday Morning Letters, Cold Weekend

It's still Sunday and I already finished my coffee, but I'm going to link up with Michelle at Big Time Literacy for Sunday Morning Letters!

Dear Itchy Nose,

I sincerely hope that you are a weird late-season allergy visitor and not a new round of the common elementary teacher cold. You have been bothering me and making me sneeze since Friday afternoon, and I don't mind because I don't feel sick otherwise. Please just keep your cousin, Sore Throat, away from me OK?

Take care,
Frazzled Teacher

Dear September,

Please take it easy on me. You have been kicking my butt so far with all of the beginning of the school year activities and I am ready to put you behind me! This week's first round of Parent-Teacher Conferences is going to be another endurance test for me, but after that you will ease up, right?

Beat it,
Grumpy Teacher

(This is Bob Cratchit, how I feel sometimes)

Dear Tentative Agreement,

It was not your time to be yet. I hope that after tomorrow's meeting we can go back to the other party and re-create you for the good of all the teachers. Please come back to us soon!

A Hopeful Employee

(Courtesy of IBEW)

Dear Riot Fest,

It's official, I am old. When I first heard back in April that you were bringing The Cure and Social Distortion to Chicago, I almost peed my pants with excitement as I jotted down it in my calendar! Not only were you too expensive for my little entertainment fund, but there was no. way. I was going out in the cold and rain to dance in the mud after a LOOOONG week of school. Sigh. Fade to me listening to Disintegration on my CD player.

When did this happen,
A former New Wave Enthusiast
(Oh yes, I used to party like these guys :)

Dear Teacher Blogs,

I love you. You make me feel like I am part of something bigger, and you remind me that there is more to what we are doing than the countless meetings, assessments, and data. I love getting new ideas from you, and I love sharing my little corner of the first grade world with all of you!

Much love,

That's it for this edition of letters. I will post again this week to update you on the happenings of my classroom!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Tech Kick-off 2014

Hahaha maybe not quite as exciting as football season, but pretty darn close if you ask these 6-year-olds:

Yesterday we looked up our houses on Google Earth and traced a pathway to school using the street-view feature (sooooo cool!). In order for this to happen for everyone, each student had to practice writing, saying, and typing their address for the last two weeks--this is really challenging stuff when you're in first grade! Oh, did I mention it was all in English? We did this as part of our first unit in ESL/Social Studies, "All About Me/My Community."

It was great watching them help each other and encouraging each other not to give up when they got overwhelmed with all the typing involved--a number, a street name, and a city?? Yikes!

My heart. I love these kids.

They've been learning how to use the laptops to access the internet and log in to school websites for the last two weeks and...the students were able to take their 1:1 Macbooks home today! Cue 16 squealing first-graders excited about doing homework on their computers....

After the madness that was Parent Orientation Night last week and all of the behind-the-scenes work that goes into launching the school year, this week has been much more manageable and enjoyable. We are settling into our little routines like readers workshop and writers workshop, and I've even had time to do a couple of running records! Whew.

 I may just survive.

Happy Wednesday,

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Wordless First Wednesday in Spetember

Just about ready for Parent Orientation Night tomorrow (Thursday)....

Oooops my water bottle made it into this picture

Las Matemáticas

Morning meeting and Calendar area, Lunch Choices activity from Haley at My Silly Firsties

The classroom is as neat as it is going to get now that my little ones are really living in our space!

Now go link up with Miss DeCarbo at Sugar and Spice so I can see your classroom pics!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Big Time Literacy Letters

Even though it is not Sunday morning, I am still going to link up with my friend Michelle over at Big Time Literacy for her semi-weekly letter-writing partay!

Dear Blog,

I have been neglecting you for the last week or so. I have loved you from the moment that I created you, but lately there are just not enough minutes in my day to eat lunch, hydrate, or visit you. I am very sorry for ignoring you. You have been very kind to me as summer came to an end, and I know that you will continue to encourage me to post as we ease into Fall. You are so patient with me.

Thank you,
Your Frazzled Creator

Dear New Classroom,

I know I told you that you would be ready to host people last week, and I know that I lied. I didn't mean to, I fully intended to finish dressing you when I said that. This Thursday is parent orientation night, so you will definitely be ready to greet everyone as of Wednesday night. I promise. And I mean it this time.

Your Busy Designer

Dear Classroom Twitter Account,

I know we just met, but I feel like I've known you for years! It's because I had such a good relationship with your sister, Personal Twitter Account. Lately she and I have not had time to get together, but I know she remembers me. I am more concerned with you and I getting this relationship off the ground. I think I've tweeted 2 or 3 times, but the powers that be expect us to spend more time together. I look forward to working with you and meeting your Tweeps!


Dear Tentative Agreement,

I was excited to read you this weekend and note that we were able to get a raise after all! I hope that at tomorrow's meeting the members all vote to ratify you, because Mama's gotta pay her September rent! I know that employers don't just hand out contracts out of the kindness of their hearts, and I know that you are the result of countless hours of work and time away from loved ones. Thank you for coming into my life.

A Proud Union Member

Dear Week Ahead,

I'm coming for you, whether you want to or not!

Weekend Me

Haha well, that was super-fun and much easier than I thought it would be! Kudos to Michelle again for hosting and for encouraging the curation of this little corner of the blogging world.