Sunday, January 6, 2013

New Year's Resolutions

We go back to school tomorrow. For the last two weeks that we have been off, I have been dreading going back to school. I started to get scared and wanted to plan my sick days already. Today I was at church and found myself with preoccupied thoughts. I could not concentrate on the amazing sermon that was being preached. It was only when I got home that I had sudden clarity. I instantly got into the teacher mode. I started planning a new schedule and activities for my girls. I started scouring my Pinterest boards for great ideas and new organization tips. I suddenly feel like tomorrow is the first day of school again. Except this time my students know and respect me already, I have trained my students already, I have the classroom and curriculum set up, and just need to tweak some things and get some schedule changes ready. I have some challenges facing me (Spanish lessons and testing administering problems) but I feel ready to face them with a calm head. One of the things I want to do with my girls tomorrow is to revamp our classroom rules and come up with some New Year's Resolutions. I am excited to see them and to get some great interactions started! Here's to feeling like a teacher again!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Glue Sticks and Bear Skulls

Today I was doing some Christmas shopping. I started wondering why my purse felt so heavy, so I searched inside it. It was a jumbo glue stick, my friends. A glue stick in my purse. The consequences of being a teacher, I guess. Ha ha!

In other news, we have started a science unit on bones. I brought in my dad's old bear skull he had in the garage. The girls had a great time investigating it with a magnifying glass and sticking their fingers up its nostrils. I took a picture of them holding the bear skull. Our headmistress is planning on using it to put on our school's brochure. I'd say I'm pretty lucky to be working in this cool of a school :)

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Volunteers Wanted!

Everyday with my students is eventful. I consider small victories breakthroughs. Yesterday I decided that we should learn a bit about Columbus Day. I found a short play on the internet and printed the script. The girls are having a blast! They all claim to hate reading, so I didn't think they would enjoy reading and acting out a play. Well, they had the idea to practice it and perform it during our fundraiser at the end of this month. I'm so proud of them! Some are natural born actors!

Maybe I could get a theatre friend or two to come in and volunteer to help them??? We are a very small and new (and poor) organization and we need all the help we can get. It is amazing to actually find something the girls are excited about. My girls are fantastic but come from rough backgrounds. My organization is helping them to make something of themselves and to see how people can succeed. Any guest speakers at all, not just theatre, would be great. We also always need people to help with things like reading, math, teaching skills (sewing, knitting, etc.). Any takers?

Friday, October 5, 2012

My 10 Girls

My job is pretty amazing. I have 10 African American daughters from 4-6th grade. We are starting to become a family in our little classroom. I made reservations for our first field trip (Orchard) and actually felt like a real teacher. They definitely challenge me, but they also adore me and I adore them. Let me explain our day today:

Morning: I, (Miss Trump) arrive late with a frappe in hand. Students hang out playing crossword puzzles in the activities room while I prepare for the day. I finally let them in about 10 minutes after the start of the school day. (Meh, boss was out of town. The rest of the staff felt pretty relaxed today obviously).

Math: Studied for next week's test.

Writing: Nope. Read "Coraline" instead.


Indoor recess due to the funeral procession outside. We watched "Madeline".

Afternoon: Continued watching "Madeline". I look over and see one girl has taken her tracks (fake hair), stuck it on her chin, and was stroking it like a beard. After a moment of fascination I told her it was creepy and she needed to put it back on her head. She looked like a billy goat. Creepy children.
Then took spelling test. Then "Fun Friday" with a surprise visit with cupcakes and ice cream from the birthday girl's mom, granny, and auntie. Told students to go get plates and silver wear. Girls come back with a soup ladle to dish out ice cream. I go with it. Its Friday.
Finished "Coraline". Students were five minutes late for dismissal because we wanted to finish the book.

That was my day. Not necessarily a typical day, but pretty close.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Man It Feels Good To Be A Gangsta

I've been singing this song today with the words changed to "Man it feels good to be a teacha".

I'm lame I KNOW!

Anyway, the reason for this post is to update you all about my life. I had a summer of laying around and thinking that I was never going to get a job. I must have applied to dozens and dozens of schools throughout the US. I had a few interviews, but I didn't get a job. I was offered one job in Arizona, but I turned it down because I didn't agree with their teaching style.

Two Wednesdays ago I received a call from the headmistress of a private girl's academy. The teacher that they hired this summer had a family emergency and cannot accept the position until January. I toured the school, met with a few board members and accepted the position. I am the only teacher at this private academy. I have the job until January for certain and then possibly longer.

I have 9 girls from 4th to 6th grades. I teach them a home-school curriculum for math and language arts and I have a lot of freedom in what else I teach. Last week was art week, this week is drama week, next week will be either music or social studies or science. Then I will rotate. Hopefully we can get a good balance of material this way. I am still working our schedule out. I found that it is best if the girls have a strict schedule that they work in. And for goodness sakes, they need to work in small groups! Whole class instruction gets crazy. I love groups though, so I can make this work.

We have some bullying issues that we are going to work on next week. I am using the books "Chrysanthemum" by Kevin Henkes and "Pinduli" by Janell Cannon. Hopefully we can have some good discussions about feelings. Middle school girls are VICIOUS!

We are also working on enrichment activities. These are activities to help them become better people. Team building activities, yoga, meditation, Christian teachings, and other activities are going to be taught. We are a foundation that is founded on Christian values and I am supposed to teach the girls to be better people in the eyes of God. Through this, I will become a better person as well as my girls. Any type of enrichment activities that you can suggest to me are very welcome! I hope to help calm these girls and get them comfortable around each other and themselves.

I feel good about the work I am doing and I know that it will be a challenge. By the end of this experience I will have done so much good! I am truly blessed to have such a great job and great coworkers! I also got an apartment near my school so I am looking forward to moving in there!

Whew this was a long post! I hope that you will continue to read my updates and provide me with any feedback and suggestions! I can use help from sorority women (team building activities!!), teachers (any activities, but especially bullying), Sunday School teachers (enrichment activities), and all the rest of you!

Now for a bath!

Friday, December 9, 2011

The Christmas Singing: an excerpt

Click here for an excerpt from Cindy Woodsmall's latest book, The Christmas Singing.

Click here for a book trailer for the book as well.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Christian Zombie Killers Handbook: a book review

The Christian Zombie Killers Handbook by Jeff Kinley is a book like none I've ever read. It is half a zombie novel and half a Christian living discussion. Every other chapter follows a storyline about a world with a zombie outbreak and the other chapters are Kinley talking to you (the reader) about living a Christian life by "Slaying the Living Dead Within". Lets start with the storyline aspect of the novel.
Ben Foreman is a man living in a world where zombies are a constant threat. Each person has a dormant zombie gene that could break out at any time. Ben and others are forced to live their lives with their eyes constantly in the back of their heads. This story was compelling and interesting. As a horror fan, I appreciated the zombie element. There was enough creepy imagery to keep my attention, while at the same time I could imagine living in this world so different from my own. Or is it different? The other chapters explain how we are living with zombies in a figurative sense. By following God's commandments and expectations we can live lives unblemished by evil (zombies).
There was a lot of information in these chapters and Kinley's style of writing was very difficult for me to follow. I admit to only being able to absorb a small amount of what he was telling me because of his readability level of writing. The points he was making are relevant and very thought provoking. He used many examples and cultural references that are interesting for today's young people to think about. However, I believe that his language and cadence were too difficult to keep my attention. To reclaim Kinley's points (which I want to do) I will have to reread these chapters.
I recommend this book to young adults who struggle with understanding God. Kinley does an excellent job of breaking God's demands down into levels that are easier to understand and follow.
I received this book free from BookSneeze® for my review.