Monday, December 31, 2012

Currently...January is here!

Glad that Farley posted her monthly Currently early.  Otherwise, I don't think I would have time to get around to it.  My schedule is CRAZY busy over the next few weeks.  If you haven't participated with Farley of O'Boy Fourth Grade, make it a part of your New Year.

I'm currently....

Listening to the humming of our little heater.  We live in a house that was built in the 40s or 50s, so there is NO insulation.  It is set up for oil heat, but this girl is allergic to oil heat.  I'm talking about can't breathe, headaches, heart palpitations, etc.  Terrible!  So, for the last few years we have survived on electric heaters in each room and lots of blankets.  This year, my loving husband bought a ceramic heater that warms the ENTIRE house.  That hum is a sweet sound.

Loving my new Frye boots and Mountain Hardware jacket.  The hubs listened well this year.  I've had the Frye boots on my list for about 4 years now.  When we purchased them, a Christmas miracle occurred because I got them for under 200 bucks.  Cheney also got me a red Mountain Hardware synthetic down jacket that I LOVE.  It will be accompanying me on my runs because it is thin.  

Thinking about that stack of papers that have remained in my bag the entire break.  I haven't looked at my bag since I packed it up to go home for break.  I have ONE day left, so I guess I'll be pulling out the stacks tomorrow.  

Wanting just a few more days.  I can't believe my district is having us go back on the 2nd.  I won't be recovered from NYE yet!!  My nieces don't go back until Monday.  I'm JEALOUS!

Needing to be serious about my health and fitness this year.  I've had a difficult time balancing work and me for the last 2 years.  I have to do it for myself this year.  I headed to Fleet Feet this morning for a new pair of running shoes and some gear to get ready.  

One Little Word  BALANCE! I've got to do better.  My girl Amanda at Teaching Maddeness is planning on calling me out if I don't get out of the building before 6:00.  It may take a serious intervention.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

A New Year, A New Goal

I turned the computer off for an entire week and now I'm overwhelmed with everything that I have missed.  There are linky parties coming out of my ears.  However, in order to "balance" my life at this moment, I've chosen to ONLY participate in ONE linky party.  My friend Amanda from Teaching Maddeness gets that honor.  She is hosting a New Year's Resolution linky this year.

I'm a goal setter, but I have to be honest, I'm usually not a goal keeper.  I've had the same resolutions for the last 5 years, and I haven't met a single one of them. For shame! Those goals have been to eat better, workout more, etc.

Personal Goals
1.  Get back to running - I've never been super consistent, but since moving to a new school 2 years ago, I've completely slacked in the fitness department.  I work way too long and exercise way too less.  My school sits right on the Swamp Rabbit Trail, so theoretically, it should be easy to hit the pavement.  My goal is just to run 3-5 miles 3 times a week.  Should be doable.  I would love to be able to run the entire 5K distance.  I've completed 4 5K races, but I've had to walk in portions.

2.  Eat out less - Because my husband and I are extremely busy, it is so much easier to stop and get supper on the go.  I have to stop that immediately.  I will never be able to out exercise the food choices I make, so I need to be smarter.  Plan to utilize my crockpot more and my debit card less :)  If you have any ideas for simple meals, shoot them my way.

1.  Blogging - I've been hit or miss with sharing on my blog, but this year, I want to focus on sharing student work here.  I have LOADS of pictures that show what happens in my classroom, I just need to get them posted.

2.  Leave at a decent hour - I am guilty of staying until after 6:00 and then working ALL evening at home. I'm trying to focus on balance this year and I hope that I can leave earlier and put the computer away.  This was my goal at the beginning of the year with Amanda's first linky.  I was completely unsuccessful and NO ONE called me out other than my husband.  But, I have a student teacher this semester, so I'm hoping that I can work smarter.

Join Amanda for her New Year's Linky!
Teaching Maddeness

Monday, December 17, 2012

Thoughts on Tragedy

It's been awhile since I've been here.  Labor Day to be exact.  Throughout my life I've used words to express my feelings in times of victory, disappointment, surprise, and the mundane every day life.  But, I often feel more compelled to write when tragedy strikes.  In honor of the recent tragedy in Newton, Connecticut, my teacher blog will be silent for the next few days.  But, I feel like I could not go any longer without putting pen to paper, or fingerstrokes to keys.

I've taught for 13 years now and my job has become increasingly more difficult each year.  The number of tasks that the typical teacher completes in any given day is astounding. From receipting field trip money, recording attendence, cleaning up vomit, calling the nurse, making sure a child has clean clothes, lunch money in a student account, one on one instruction, reteaching simple concepts until you can't teach them any longer, drying the tears of a child who has been physically hurt on the playground, or wrapping your arms around the ones who have been emotionally hurt by those they love.

There are many days where the thought of going to the bathroom doesn't even occur until after school and I sit for the very first time of the day.  Once my children arrive in the morning, it is almost like we have entered a time warp and the outside world disappears.  Our classroom becomes our world. 

Each year, I am BLESSED with a new crop in my classroom.  With that comes a new crop of parents, a new crop of personalities, challenges, victories, and love.   I haven't been blessed with children of my own, but I have been chosen to care for those of others.

Each morning, parents drop their children off at school thinking they are safe and will remain that way until those little faces return to the warmth of the car or the arms of a parent/grandparent/caretaker. Those children are given to me to nurture, care for, love, and educate.  A pretty tall order.

There are days where life isn't easy in our classroom.  Days where we need to a new start.  And then there are days that are beautiful symphonies of learning. 

I spend countless hours planning for learning in my classroom, but more than that, I spend countless hours investing in the future of my students.  I invest in their lives by attending sporting events, sharing their interests, writing them notes - pouring positivity into their little minds in the hopes that when life doesn't work out the way that they had planned in their future, they will remember that there was someone else in their lives who believed in them and LOVED them as if they were her own.

The teachers and staff of Sandy Hook Elementary did the very same thing.

When I stop to think of the innocent children that were hurt yesterday, I cannot help but to think of the 22 beautiful children that I see every day.  The 312 children that I have taught over the last 13 years.  The smiles, the dreams, the excitement of life, the opportunities that are waiting for each of them.  That was all stolen from those at Sandy Hook Elementary. 

I've tried to wrap my mind around what happened in Newton, but it is impossible.  I've experienced lockdown drills and mock shootings to "train" me for a reality that I hope I never face.  I hope I'm never faced with a situation where I am unable to protect the children in my care.  I hope I never have to find hiding places or calm students who are very aware of the nightmarish reality that is occurring. 

But, I would.  If it meant sacrificing my life for those of my students, there would be no decision to make.  I would make that decision for the children who have parents who love me.  I would make it for the children whose parents disagree with me.  I would make it for those children who misbehave and disrespect and love me.  I would make that decision for each child I've had the opportunity to teach this year and every year before - those in my classroom or outside of it.

There were heroes in yesterday's tragedy.  Those heroes were teachers.  The teachers who read Christmas stories to keep their students calm.  The teachers who held each child's hand.  The teachers who muffled the cries of those huddled in their midst.  The teachers who hid students and then lost their own lives. 

When you enter your child's school this week, remember those heroes in each classroom.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

A Day of Silence

In honor and memory of those who were lost in yesterday's tragic events at Sandy Hook Elementary.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

12 in 12

I've been MIA for quite some time.  Partially because life all of a sudden got insanely busy for me.  My inbox has been full for an entire month.  I have to delete every day because I can't send or receive emails any longer.  My after school schedule is booked all the way to February.  Christmas is coming and I don't have a tree, lights, or the first Christmas present purchased.

I have a catch-up post scheduled for this week to show all of the learning that has taken place in my classroom.

But, I discovered the 12 in 12 linky with Hadar and Kristen.  It was something that I could get on board with easily.  So, here it is.

12. Favorite movie you've watched:  It would have to be Lincoln hands down.  Even though I liked Hunger Games, Lincoln was spot on, and something I've looked forward to for quite some time.

11. Favorite TV Series - Easily, Duck Dynasty.  I know, ridiculous.  However, they are my people.  I am from Louisiana and I just love it.  It's also one of the only clean, family centered shows left on television.  Si is my favorite.  I know I've met Jase in college at some point.

10. Favorite Restaurant -If I went with where we eat most often, it would easily be Cracker Barrel.  But if I had to choose my favorite, it would be The Wreck in Mount Pleasant, SC.  I love local fare and this one is completely off the tourist path.  Favorite seafood of all time.  I'm from Louisiana so that says a lot.

9. Favorite New Thing You've Tried - Blogging - I've just started this little space this year and although I've blogged in my personal life, I've really enjoyed the professional side of it.  I've loved meeting everyone online and expanding my network as well.

8. Favorite Gift You've Received - Last Christmas my husband surprised me with a hot little red convertible!  Life without kids does have its benefits.  It was completely unexpected.  I LOVE it!

7. Favorite Thing You've Pinned: It just makes me smile.  This looks exactly like my baby who is currently curled up in my lap.

6. Favorite Blogpost: I have a lot of favorites, but this one is from my personal blog Scripted by Shasta

5. Favorite accomplishment: Happened this year - a month ago to be exact.  I was honored, humbled, surprised, overwhelmed to receive the Milken Educator Award for the state of South Carolina.  The award is a complete surprise to any recipient. There was a cover-up ceremony and everything.  I'm still reeling in the aftermath of it and it hasn't really hit me yet.

4. Favorite picture

3. Favorite memory:  See #5

2. Goal for 2013:  To balance my life better.  I spend way to much time doing school things and not enough doing family or me things.

1.  Word: Balance!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

December Currently

It's that time of the month again.  I look forward to the first of each month thanks to Farley at Oh Boy 4th Grade and her Currently link up.
Listening:  to New Girl - I don't even know what it is about, but it is what the cool kids watch.  Love Zooey Deschenal and her quirky self.  One day I aspire to be like her.

Loving:  Here in the Upstate, the weather has been amazing.  Cold in the morning, but by recess time, it is clear and perfect.  Hasn't really helped with my weather unit, but I love it for convertible weather.

Thinking:  I have a meeting with our state superintendent in a couple of weeks and want to make sure I have something nice to wear.  However, I don't really like suits.  But, it would be a good investment, right?  Maybe a pair of new shoes would make me feel better.

Wanting:  My Christmas list is small this year, but it has a big punch - a pair of Frye Harness boots and a new North Face down jacket.  

Needing:  Another entire weekend to do everything that I haven't even taken out of the car.  I hate that I wait until Sunday, but cannot bring myself to work on Friday or Saturday.  Did you see that spacing mistake up there?  Bothers the heck out of me, but I don't want to take the time to fix it.  That's what kind of day it is in the house.

RAK:  Most amazing day today bringing my students to perform RAKs in the community.  It was the most rewarding experience ever.  We went to a busy shopping center and hit the sidewalks.  My students brought roses to hand out to ladies that were shopping at Talbots and the Loft.  We placed candy canes on car doors, held doors for people, and picked up Legos in Barnes and Noble.  My favorite part was when we hid $1 bills in children's books and stashed crayons on bookshelves.

I was amazed at my kiddos.  However, some people were not receptive and just downright rude.

I Don't Have the Answers...

It's taken me all weekend to begin to process what happened in Parkland, Florida.  I put it aside and compartmentalized it until I...