Thursday, February 26, 2009

Thumbs Thursday

Hope everyone had a lovely Ash Wednesday! I know I did! I was asked to do the second reading at Mass last night and my cross came out really good. Not your typical smudge like most get. It was very dark and very defined. Thanks Father Art!

This has been a strange week so I may have more thumbs down than up. But I promise to always try to find at least one thing to be happy or grateful for.

Thumbs up:
Beginning of Lent: Like I mentioned earlier this week, I love this time of year. It is a time to draw closer to Jesus and to improve ourselves spiritually. Even my husband sees the difference in me and can appreciate how important this time of year is for me.

Last week of February: This has been the longest months of my life. I think it might also have to do with the vacation they took away from the students this month to make up for some of the snow days. All I can say is I'm looking forward to March and the beginning of Spring!

Thumbs down:
Not feeling 100%: I feel like this week my body has been fighting some sort of bug. My appetite has been off and the feeling that I'm going to be sick is not fun. No, I'm not expecting (let's nip that rumor in the bud!!!) I just think since I'm a teacher, I'm exposed to lots of gross little germs and this is one of them.

No February vacation: I know I shouldn't complain... Teachers and students do get two vacation this time of year. I will say, though, that they are well deserved. This time of year is extremely stressful with the MCAS exam just a month away, on top of everything else I'm trying to work on this year. It breaks up the month and helps give the students a final push towards the ELA portion of the test. Thank goodness its behind us and we survived that week.

Cancer: My mother-in-law's cancer has returned again (the "good" one, not the really bad one she fought back in '03) so that has been tough on the family. Luckily it is something she can take care of with only one day and night in the hospital, but it is still a hard thing to deal with every 6 months or so. We're praying that this will be the last time and that the doctors can find a more permanent solution.

Okay, back to correcting MCAS packets and then folding laundry. What a life I lead!!!!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Ash Wednesday

Off to get my ashes! Hope everyone is having a blessed Ash Wednesday. Update tomorrow!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

What a couple of days its been....

Hi everyone!!! Internet has been a pest the last few days. Last Wednesday-Friday we didn't have it at all and the last two days it has been touch and go. I figured while it was still working I would try to get out a quick post.

I was home sick today from school. It bummed me out since we were going to start our poetry and figurative language unit today. The students worked on some intro material, including a poetry pretest and a intro packet to figurative language. I'm hoping to go over those tomorrow and then go forward.

Happy Shrove Tuesday, or as some of you might know it better as Fat Tuesday. Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent. I don't know why but I always look forward to Lent and Easter so much. Ever since I joined the Catholic church almost two years ago, I can't help but get excited about the journey the next 40 days will bring.

Some of you may be interested in what I am choosing to "give up" for Lent. I know there are many people who feel we shouldn't share this information but since I am always so interested to hear what others are doing this time of year, I will tell you mine. First, I am starting a swear jar. It is a horrible habit and unbecoming of a lady. Do you think the Blessed Mother swore when she got frustrated or upset... I don't think so. So since she is one of my religious role models (along with my patron saint, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton), I wanted to try to change something in my life so I can be closer to them. Every time I swear, I put any spare change or bills in the jar. At the end of Lent, I will donate the money to Catholic Relief Services.

In addition to giving up, I like to take up a couple of things to bring me closer to Jesus. Every year I read from the "Little Black Book", a devotional that I spoke about last year during Lent. I also have added daily scripture reading from the women's devotional Bible I got this winter. I hope to start my day with reading a chapter of both the old and new testament and the devotional passage that goes along with it. Of course I intend on doing the normal Catholic things I always do: penance at least once during Lent if not more, Eucharist Adoration, Wednesday night Mass, and following all fasting and abstinence obligations.

I also forgot to mention that my application to become a Eucharist minister was approved and I begin training next month! I have been added to the schedule to participate in the Mass and my hope is that I will be one of the E.M. participating at the Easter Vigil, since that is a special night for me.

Okay, I'm off to work on some correcting and cleaning this apartment a little. That always makes me feel better after I've been sick!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Monday night excitement

As you may know, I'm a bit obsessed with The Bachelor. It is the only thing I look forward to on Mondays! This week it is down to the top three which happen to be my favorite three of the season. I've been rooting for these girls since day one so I'm excited to see which two Jason sees a future with. I will say gut-wise I think Melissa will be going home. Jason has yet to meet her parents (which he said was important to him) and I feel she is the less mature one of the three. I could be totally off base but that is my guess. We'll have to wait four more hours to see!

Anyways, back to finishing up 2nd term grades and then relaxing because I cleaned the apartment top to bottom!!!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Happy Belated Valentine's Day and my last thumbs post

Hi everyone!!!! Hope you all had a wonderful Valentine's Day :-) My honey and I celebrated with a visit to one of my favorite tearooms and I was surprised with a beautiful bouquet of red long stem roses. I'm so spoiled! We had a wonderful day and relaxed last night together on the sofa. We are such an old married couple lol!

Today was another busy day... visited my mom and poor Rosie got swollen eye while we were there :-(. We are keeping an eye on it and hopefully its nothing serious. Did some stuff around the house today (laundry, sweeping, and other wifely things) and then corrected some quizzes from Thursday while the boys (Dougie and his buddy next door) played video games.

Now my thumbs post from Thursday that I completely forgot about (I have my reasons but you'll have to wait and see!!!)

Thumbs up:
* Girl Scout cookie time: Got my girl scout cookies this week and just the right time. This has been the week from you know where so I'm been munching my stress away. My favorites are the Peanut Butter Sandwiches and Lemonades. Yum!
* Grading is just about done: Term 2 ended last week and I have all but one class entered. I just have to finish averaging grades and then I'm good to go!
*My new pink and green skirt I won on Ebay from a fellow blogger: It looks like it needs to be altered (darn my petite frame) but I can't wait to wear it. A perfect spring/summer skirt! It will look so cute with a pink cardigan and white cami!

Thumbs down:
*Full moons/School vacations that are taken away: Kiddies out of control this week. I think its a combination of a full moon and that our February vacation was taken away to make up for snow days this past December. Either way, so glad that the week is over and next week is a short week (yay President's Day!!!)

Anyways, off to get ready for bed and enjoying one more day off!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Reponding to Ms. George

Yikes, a long weekend this is turning into. My poor Rosie the bulldog has a nasty bladder infection so I'm been taking care of her (and the mess she is leaving around the house) and trying to work on my 2nd term grades which are due a week from tomorrow. But I wanted to take a moment to respond to some questions Ms. George had left me on her extremely helpful and enlightening post

So here we go:

Are you happy in your position? Yes and no...I love the 7th graders because they still respect (and fear sometimes) their teachers so in terms of classroom management I'm happy. My team members and principal are amazing and supportive. I also enjoy my student's enthusiasm and drive (they haven't lost it yet!!!)

The things I don't like is the content. I want to teach more novels and love the fact that high schoolers have more life experience to use when reading literature. I also miss that at the high school level I would be teaching multiple grade levels and ability levels at the same time and the constant change in courses each semester and year. I don't feel challenged sometimes at the middle school level because I'm teaching the same class three times a day. I do like that I learn from my mistakes and improve my lessons as I go through the day.

Are you happy with your team (if you have one)? My team is great! I'm part of a three person team and we are diverse in terms of experience, personality, and age. I feel like it makes us a more balanced team and the kids really respond to us because we get along so well.

What makes you wonder about the HS position? I student taught last year at two local high schools and loved it. The only things I had a hard time with (and I'm wondering if time will help with these) is classroom management (my seniors made my life a living hell but it was the last two months of the year and they didn't want to do any work anymore) and all the prep (I taught four different classes with three mentors). Although it was exhausting at times doing all that prep work and reading all those novels at the speed of light, I felt such a sense of accomplishment at the end of the units. I've only felt that way once this year and that is because of the play I just taught.

Is it something you could do next year? My unofficial game plan (which could change with this economy) is to keep my eyes open for any local opening at the hs level and apply but also assume I'm returning to my current school. If something does come my way, I will give my
resignation and move on from there.

Is there a way you could observe a few classes in the HS to see if you are a fit for the culture/department? See my response on student teaching.

Do you see yourself continuing in the MS for one, five, ten years? I could see myself doing ms level for a while but I don't know how fulfilled I will be. Believe me, I realize how lucky I am. I'm having one of the smoothest first years and I'm afraid that my experience at another school or district could be completely different. For example, my school is pretty casual. They trust us. I don't turn in my lesson plans and I don't have administration breathing down my neck. If I was to get pregnant (and that is something in our future to think about), my principal would hold my job for me and let me take as much time as I needed.

Do you plan to keep teaching or do you want to be in Administration? At this point, the only interest I have in administration is to one day be a department head (again, this was my daydreaming of my career as a successful high school teacher). But I can't imagine myself being completely out of the classroom.

So there you go! Hopefully that is more helpful, Ms. George. I also have a few more things on my mind (is it better to stay at your school a couple of years in terms of your resume or should I make the jump before I'm labeled as a ms veteran? Also, my husband and I are looking to start a family within the next couple of years... how should that affect my decision to leave my school and start in a new district?). Thanks for taking the time to listen to me and for all your help!!!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Twice in one day!!!!

Thank you Sweet, Sassy, and Always Classy , for tagging me for The Honest Scrap Award! And at the same time as I was singing your praises!!!!

The rules are...
(1) Choose a minimum of 7 blogs for brilliance in content/design
(2) Show the winners and let them know
(3) List at least 10 honest things about yourself

I choose:
1. Danielle

2. Kristen

3. Kimberly

4. Ms. George

5. Kappa Prep

6. Laura

7. Barbara

All seven of these ladies have inspired me through their words and their blogs! Sorry if any of you have already received this award... I'm hoping there are no repeats!

And now, my ten honest things:

1. I have some days where I leave my job and think, "Wow, middle school isn't too bad". I always dreamed of teaching high school so when I do have those days, I wonder how long I'll put off the move to high school and the novels I've always wanted to teach. It isn't a horrible thing but something that throws my plans off a bit.

2. I can't wait to buy a house this year. My hubby and I have been looking on and off since 2005 so the suspense is killing me. We really think this is the year though because of the low house prices, the possible tax credit, and the fact we have a good amount saved up for the down payment. Let's just hope neither of us lose our jobs (darn economy).

3. I have the baby bug! I have two friends who gave birth this past year and I'm starting to think I'm ready! Of course, hubby and I are waiting for a house but who knows!

4. I can't wait to take classes towards my Masters. I'll always love the fresh school supplies, new textbooks, and the adrenaline I feel when I write an essay or take test.

5. I take a nap (almost) every day after work. A guilty pleasure, I know! And its not even a short one. It's usually at least an hour, if not more. Then I wake up, ready to make dinner and do all my teacher stuff.

6. I am obsessed with Dave Matthews. I even got to meet him once! It was such an amazing night. It was the night before my birthday, too. I got to hug him and boy, I didn't want to let go!!!

7. I use Dove body wash, shampoo, and conditioner. I love the stuff, especially the body wash. Smells so good!!

8. I converted to Catholicism in 2007 and am so happy I did. I felt so lost spiritually and now I am so happy I found a home. I got involved right away and now I am a lector and Eucharist minister (I start my training soon!!!!) at my parish.

9. I wear my pearl earrings every day! I love how they dress up a casual outfit but also completes my more dressy stuff. Addicted!!!!

10. My 10 year high school reunion is coming up this fall and I'm a little excited to go. I honestly hated high school and had a crappy experience.... Remind me to tell you my yearbook story. Talk about ruining someone reputation because the wrong profile was put under my picture!

Boy, that was fun!!!! I hope you all enjoyed it and thanks so much for my very first blog award!!!!

Thumb Thursdays

So since I'm in "I want to write more in this blog" kick, I came up with a way to at least make sure I would have a reason to write more in this thing. Thus the idea of thumb Thursday.... My way of sharing with you what is thumbs up and thumbs down in my life this particular week.

Thumbs up:

  • A huge pink and green thumbs up to my swap partner Sweet, Sassy, and Always Classy for her amazing gifts I received in the mail just yesterday from our Pink swap through Kappa Prep's blog! All I can say is this girl went above and beyond. I can't find my digital camera right now (yikes!!!) but when I do, I need to put up pictures. First, a wicked cute white basket with pink and white cloth inside, a beautiful pink and green picture frame which will look uber cute on my desk at school, pink and green tissues, nail file, pink heart coasters, a cupcake-decorated spatula, pink kitchen towels, a cute pink mini book on pampering yourself, a pink heart container filled with pink Hershey kisses (yum!!!), a adorable pink heart with sequins and beads on it, and it the list goes on from there. Thank you so much!!!! You are the sweetest and most generous lady! Everything was wrapped in tissue paper and tied with a pink ribbon (how cute!!!!)
  • Winning one of Kappa Prep's skirts on ebay! Pictures to follow once it comes it. Its a cute silk spring skirt so I'm looking forward to getting it in time for spring (which we all know will take forever in New England).
  • Having an awesome teaching day today! We are getting ready for the Our Town test tomorrow so today we played a review game which went so well. I had 4 rows set up with 6 chairs in each row. The front seat gets a dry erase board and has to answer the question asked (I had 5 categories to choose from, one for each act, people, and potpourri). If the person gets it right, they get up and return to the back of the row while everyone moves up a seat. If you get it wrong, you have to stay until you get an answer right. Not only is it holding everyone accountable (which can be tough when you are doing any time of team games) but I can also use it for informal assessment. The students loved it and I can't wait to try it with my next unit! We also talked about themes in Our Town and I had the class split up into four groups (I choose four themes for this unit) and using their notes and the book, they had to come up with a moment from the play that is an example of this theme. Each group had a different color marker and I had poster paper around the room with a different theme on it so they had to walk around the room, see what others wrote, and come up with a completely different example. Again, it went so well and they did a wonderful job. After the groups finished, we went around the room to share what we wrote and how the example they choose showed the theme. They really did a great job sharing and explaining.

Thumbs down:

  • Things in three: I've had three wakes or funerals in the last 10 days so that has been a huge bummer. My oldest friend's mother passed away last week from a short but courageous fight with cancer at the age of 51, my best friend's grandmother passed away yesterday, and finally another of my closest friend's father passed away Monday. Its been a pretty sad week and my thoughts and prayers go out to all of them.

Honestly, its been a good week overall. I feel very grateful for the wonderful things that came my way but also for the reminder that life is short so we have to appreciate life while we still have time (like Our Town tries to teach us!!!)