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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween

The house is filled with the nutty smell of roasted pumpkin seeds and I am sitting here remembering when I was a kid and Halloween was the best time of year.  Christmas was awesome too, but getting dressed up, wandering around in the darkness of the neighbourhood and trying to scare each other was very appealing.  It is 5pm and the street is starting to get busy.  Excited kids running from one house to the other, parents calling out to them to stick close.  Of course these days, kids start trick or treating while it's still light out and there's always an adult close by.  One of my students came by, she was the first kid we had this year.  She was pretty excited to see me at the door.  I also had a parent specifically bring his daughter by so that he could meet me.  We have 8 pumpkins on our steps this year, we bought them for our classes to carve.  It was a good move as we have many pumpkins and didn't actually have to do any of the work for them!  Luckily for the kids all the snow has melted and the sun came out in the evening.  I was worried for them, as last week at this time, there was about 4 inches of the white stuff on the ground.  It is only 7pm as I finish writing this, and it looks like the trick or treating is almost over.  We'll see.

On another note here are some pages I've had hanging around for awhile....
I was so inspired because of the snow, that I started making some Christmas cards after I finished my Halloween banner.  Since it is November starting tomorrow, we are going to start some new routines at home.  We are going to try leaving at 4 pm on most days, to come home and exercise.  My infection is almost gone now, so I am going to start heading to the pool and C is going to start going to the gym.  I also want to check out the new walking track at the new arena, for a change of scenery.  This week is a busy week at school with inservice on reporting and assessment, staff meeting and literacy collaboration.  Whew I'm tired just thinking about it!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Sick again

This week has been a total wash!  I finally went to the doctor on Monday after school and was ordered to stay home because of a serious infection.  This is the week of Halloween and I had all kinds of fun stuff for my kids to do.  Instead, they will have a TOC and not do all the great stuff.  My last experience with a TOC (last week) was terrible.  The man came by to meet me and see the classroom and I could tell almost instantly that he was in the wrong place.  He is a high school teacher and had never been in a primary room before.  He also did not seem to understand English very well and as I was going over procedures and routines, he had a glazed look in his eye.  I had planned (as I always do) in a very detailed manner, but when I got back into my class it was apparent that he had not followed the plan very well.  I will have to do some reteaching to make sure the kids understand the review I'd left in Math.  I am always nervous about leaving my class in the hands of strangers.  Some of my kids need the structure and routine and don't do very well without it.  I also try to prepare them for when I am not going to be there, hoping they will go easier on the sub, but I didn't get the chance this time.
I had thought I would get my classroom blog formatted and get everything ready to go, but I ended up sleeping the day away instead.  So much for all that extra work I was going to do on my sick days.  I guess there's always tomorrow.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

life, snow and other stuff

Well I am looking out at a winter wonderland and loving it.  I think the snow is a perk of living up here.  I don't know if it was because I was snow deprived as a child or what, but when I see the white stuff I get excited.  I know that it is only October, and I feel sorry for the trick-or-treaters, but I still love it.  It means that Christmas is coming, ski season will start soon and the world of brown will go away for a while.  Up here there is a very short autumn, the colours of the trees are mostly the same yellow and then the leaves fall quickly, leaving bareness and brown everywhere.  The snow comes and makes it beautiful again.  Not that I love the road conditions or the freezing temperatures that will come soon, but the snow makes it bearable. 
This weekend has been a wonderful break.  I was able to catchup with two friends on Friday night and had one over for Korean last night.  It's nice to be able to do that.  I haven't been able to see any one since my birthday (well over a month ago) for anything not work related.  We all have busy lives that get in the way.  I also managed to get my Halloween banner finished and put up; I'm not sure if I like it or not, but it's done.  I used Recollections paper with various pieces of grunge board that I painted.  I also used Making Memories chipboard letters that I had hanging around for a few years.  Overall, the only thing I spent money on for this project was the paper.  Everything else was in my stash already.  Now I have to clean up my room and get on with the next project.  My room has become a little lonely lately, as I usually work in the evenings.  I have decided that I will devote only an hour (unless under extreme circumstances) of time in the evenings to work.  We usually stay until 4 or 4:30 most days so that should be enough.  Then this way I can devote some of my time to scrapbooking.  Of course best laid plans....
C was nice enough to go and get some bird seed for me, so I am going to brave the elements this afternoon and go feed the birdies.  I was happy to see some birds checking out the birdy condo that Dad made for us this summer.  Maybe I'll get lucky and have some tenants in there.  I just hope it is far enough off the ground that London and Cairo don't end up with a snack bar. 
Have a happy rest of your weekend and a wonderful week!

PLC? I'm not sure

We had a Pro D day on Friday, my first at our new school.  I have to say that I was a little disappointed.  There were a few people missing as they had signed up for other things, so there were 8 of us in the library listening to an Action Schools presentation.  C and I had already done the workshop, but had cancelled our plans so that the school would have enough people to be able to get the materials and workshop.  While 5 of us were actively participating there were 3 people that sat behind with their computers on doing their own thing.  Two things about this bothered me: 1. It was just plain rude.  2.  We are supposed to be professionals and I found their lack of attention very unprofessional.  I often hear teachers complain about not being taken seriously, not being in control of their professional development and then I see instances like Friday and wonder.
It's funny that when we were hired, the outgoing principal had stressed that this school was really involved in collaboration and worked together as a team.  I haven't seen it-at all.  I have put myself out there, making myself available but nothing has happened.  A teacher on staff is struggling, but refuses to seek help other than to demand materials that I am using at the time.  I offered to get together, but she has been actually quite rude and insists that she can do it.  How are we to build a PLC?  Everything that I have read about building a PLC says there has to be trust, communication, leadership and direction.  At my last school most of those were missing, at this school, it all seems to be missing.  I find that even though we are all in the building, most of the time we are all doing our separate things and communication comes when there is a question about a rule or procedure. Now don't get me wrong, we all have a pretty good relationship, and there doesn't seem to be many conflicts.  There were a few heated discussions about some things, but afterwards it didn't leave any ill feelings that I could see.  There just doesn't seem to be a connection yet.   Beyond C's classroom, I have no idea what's going on anywhere else.  Hmmm how to effect change?  I'm not sure yet, but I'll get there. 

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

Well it is that special time of year again, Thanksgiving, and I have to say that I'm thankful for the long weekend attached to it.  I know, I know, I should be thinking of all the great things in my life and blah blah blah, but really I'm thankful for the long weekend.  It's going to be a break that some of my students really need and I know I need it too.  I did go into school yesterday, but I needed that time without students. 

I woke up this morning at 5:30 and it took a long time to get back to sleep.  While I was laying there, I started to think about people in my life that have come and gone.  Friends that I have collected, held close and then over time have let go of.  I believe that people come into your life for a reason.  Some stick around for ever and some only for a short time.  In my travels I have met some really fantastic people and for a few years there is an effort made to keep in contact and involved in each others lives.  Then one day I realize that I haven't heard from them in a while and am sad.  On another day I may come across a photo of them and realize that I haven't heard from them in a really long time and I didn't notice.  I usually make an effort to reconnect, but after a few tries I let it die.  If there is no back and forth, then to me there is no relationship.  I am not one of these people on FB that collect "friends".  Periodically, I go through my list of "friends" and decide if I really want them to have continued access to my life.  When I decide no, I kick them off.  I feel like they've already kicked me off, so they won't even notice.  It is sad sometimes, but time and life move on.  I am very fortunate to have a wonderful group of friends now.  I had thought in the beginning that FSJ was a wasteland, but I have made strong connections with some women that are fabulous.  Looking back at my  connection with them, it was mostly through my last position in Special Ed.  One of them is a teacher that I had to work closely with and the others hold specialist positions in the district.   I also met one through scrapbooking as funny as it sounds.  She too will be joining the ranks of teachers come December.  It's nice because they all can relate to my job as a teacher working with children, but we all have a different perspective.  It can lead to interesting conversations.  I am thankful for these women in my life. 

Thursday, October 7, 2010

leaves, dogs and general craziness

I really can't believe that Friday is here already.  I woke up Monday with a feeling that I had all week to get things done, and here I am facing another Friday and feeling like I haven't caught up yet. 
London (our scrappy little cat) ended up at the vet this week after I noticed on Monday night that he had a swollen back foot.  Me of course jumping to the worst case scenario, thought twisting, breakage, amputation etc. and had a sleepless night.  The vet examined him and decided that it was an abscess.  After quoting us $500 with an overnight stay (Chris went a little pale), I was relieved and went home.  Ten minutes later they called to say that it had ruptured and he could come home!  It's pretty gross, and he's on painkillers and we have to soak his foot daily (a special operation as he HATES water) but the bill was only $185. 
My kids seem to have the case of the crazies this week.   My little super-stars have been punching, kicking and generally making bad choices all over the place.  It's tiring.  My other kids are getting tired of it.  I'm tired of it.  Hopefully a long weekend will help and we will all come back rested and ready.
Today was a big cross country race at our school and five of my kids were in it.  They were so excited and it was contagious.  So I decided to do a messy craft.  They turned out pretty well, but next year I will do them sooner while the leaves are still nice.  My EA walked in the door just as I was dumping large piles of leaves on desks.  She took it all in stride which is a good sign. (I thought she was a good one.)  
My broken down room got a little help today.  New white boards were installed and I didn't even have to beg!  I don't know if my AO had to, but I'm thankful nonetheless.  Now if only my rainbow table would appear before Christmas....
Another great thing that happened this week was when a giant dog managed to get into school.  It was the best thing ever and made me smile throughout the day.  To see this giant dog so excited to see so many kids, wagging his whole body, tongue lolling out as he wriggled through the crowd at the front door, was awesome.  Did I try to catch him?  Did I warn other teachers?  No I did not.  In fact I was rooting for that dog to make it down the hallway.  I did manage to get in just in time to see him scrape his giant tongue up a tiny kindergarten boy's cheek.  They were eye to eye, dog smiling, child big eyed and stunned.  A moment that will take me through the bad days.  The fun was put to a rapid halt by a very diligent collegue who grabbed the beast and wrestled him to a stop.  Party pooper. 
Whew a lot has gone on this week and I'm ready for the long weekend (even though it looks like I'll be going to work on Saturday).  Just one more day.....
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