Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Packing Up

There are lots of notes on the board. We were a little rushed at the end of the day... I forgot to have them fill out their Writers' Workshop self assessments and their Daily 5 sheets before lunch, so it was a last minute scramble. And some of them still didn't turn their forms in. My sub won't know who hasn't turned everything in, so I made a note. We didn't finish our Thanksgiving webquest today, so I made a note of the students who haven't finished. And of course our daily to-do list.

Before I leave, I want to have everything laid out for my sub. It will be weird to leave my flashdrive and clipboard here! Those things are never far from my side since they hold pretty much my entire life.

Last night I packed my suitcase and backpack. I have plenty of room in there, even with my rubber boots (it's supposed to rain all seven days) and the extra toys people donated after Sunday. I'm bringing a bunch of snacks... crackers, fruit leather, and granola bars. Hopefully it's enough! I also started my malaria medication today; it starts two days prior to travel. Can you believe I leave in a day and a half? Yikes! I still find it hard to believe.

My plan for tonight is to finish correcting my papers, hand them back to students, and work on Upwork lesson plans. I have one more lesson assigned to me that I want to finish before I leave. After that, I can assign myself lessons to write (this is for the freelance writing work). Tomorrow's Lutheran Educator Conference starts at 8:45 and goes until 5. Then it will be an early bedtime! We're leaving for the airport Friday morning around 1:15am. Ufda! It will be a long day...

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Picture Day

Today's high was 75 degrees. Normally, I'd just roll with the temperature, but today was picture day. I had my outfit all picked out... except I thought it was supposed to be in the upper 60s/lower 70s, so my outfit was built with cooler weather in mind. I thought about wearing it anyway, but my classroom is not a great conductor so it's hard to keep the temperature constant. I knew my room would be hot in the afternoon (we turned the air conditioner on today even!), so I changed clothes at the last minute.

Blech, guys have it easy! Throw on a shirt and tie and you're good to go! I found an okay outfit and my hair looked okay, so I guess picture day was fine after all. Still, I wish I could've worn my original outfit! It was way cuter than what I actually wore. Oh well.

We had an impromptu guest speaker before lunch. It was a volunteer coordinator from a Thanksgiving dinner celebration. They make homemade food and serve it free to anyone who wants to come. They have a garden to grow onions, potatoes, squash, and pumpkins for the meal. They've done it for the past 30 years and serve around 1000 people every year! Wow! The committee has placemats on each table, and they ask local schools to decorate them. This year our school was picked. They needed 400 placemats, which means each student would have to make 8. That's too many, so we're making 200 and the volunteer will ask another school to decorate some too. One last thing to start before I leave for a week!

I have most things ready to go. Tonight my goal is to pack my suitcase. Tomorrow I'm hoping to hang out with my farmer one last time before I leave the country, so today is kind of my last day to get things in place.  Most things at school are printed out. I have a few more things to set in prominent places, but I can't do that until all the kids are gone (resetting the classroom for next week). Man, I hope I remembered everything. I'm sure if I did forget something, it'll be fine. Still, I'd like to be as prepared for all eventualities if I can be.

Monday, October 16, 2017

"No Mom"

My kids were chatterboxes today. This seems to be the usual Monday pattern. They just can't seem to keep their mouths shut in my room. They all say they know when they're supposed to be quiet, but for whatever reason, they don't do it. It's super frustrating. The worst part is, they don't get that it's being disrespectful towards me. Or they do get it, but they don't care. Or maybe today was just a crabby day and tomorrow will be better.

During Daily 5 time, a few of them picked Read to Someone since we don't have spelling or handwriting (it's a short week because of MEA). One of the books they read is called No David and is about a boy who keeps getting into trouble. All the words in the book are from the adult/teacher chastising David until the very end when he does something good. They've read that book hundreds of times and might even have it memorized. To mix things up today, they decided to switch "David" for "Mom".  Boy, that made the story silly.  I'm sure they pictured their mothers sticking gum in their hair or shoving in the lunch line or digging up plants they weren't supposed to... "No running, Mom." "Clean up your mess, Mom." Lots of giggling from that corner of the room.

Mrs. L (my sub) visited today. She didn't stay as long as I thought she would, it was maybe a half an hour? My students wrote a 'Welcome' sign on the board and had everyone (me too) write their names up there. She and I went over a few things, but she's taught in a small Lutheran school before, so she didn't need too much going over. She had brought her baby along, and the kids couldn't keep their eyes off her (she was in a front pouch backpack thing on Mrs. L).

After school I printed a bunch of stuff for next week. I still have more to do, but I had to leave to run errands. I did get my errands run, one of which included putting money on a prepaid international card so I don't have to bring my debit/credit cards along. I snuck in right before closing time!

Friday, October 13, 2017


Well, B squad volleyball is officially over. Our last game was last night; the A squad has a tournament this weekend.  The girls played hard the first game and went into triple overtime. You have to win by two, so we went back and forth with Janesville about three or four times past the usual 25 points. But we lost.  And we lost the second game too, although it was close for a while. The last game we finally won! Yay! But it was neck and neck towards the end again.

So many exciting things coming up... my sub visits Monday morning, I leave for Guatemala in less than a week, and I have a student teacher coming in November! This morning I got an email from the BLC placement teacher that told me what her name is and a little more about her. Now I'm even more excited. I told myself I wouldn't tell my kids right away because there are already so many exciting things happening and I don't want the student teacher to be overshadowed by the other stuff. So I'm making myself wait, even though I really want to spill... Oh it was so hard today! I kept thinking of how to get the student teacher involved in our reading routines which made me smile, and of course my kids noticed that, which meant they wanted to know why. Some chalked it up to other random things, but at the end of the day, they figured out I had something exciting to tell them. They were not happy when I wouldn't tell them. "Does it have to do with just you or does it include us?" they asked. And they were even more frustrated when they found out it had to do with them.

"Why won't you tell us????" they whined.
"I will tell you, just not until after I get back from Guatemala."
"But that's SO FAR AWAY!" 
"You'll survive."
Boy, I hope I can hold out that long...

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Sub Plans

Whew, I think my sub plans are complete! I spent last night working on them again and I think I even have the week after I get back planned out two. Hopefully not too much changes!

In NaNo prep I introduced the concept of conflict to them. They understood the concept, but they're having trouble applying it to their stories. Monday I will meet with each of them and try to help them iron it out in their stories.

Mrs. L will be in school with us on Monday too. She's coming at 9:30, so it's really important that we stay on track! We'll see if that happens or not... although lately I have been better about sticking to our schedule.

Today started out right on track; we even wrapped up religion a bit early. But since there was a little time, I looked up a version of the song we're singing in church on the 29th on Youtube and they liked it so much we had to watch it twice. (It's funny because before that they had all been grumbling about practicing music. But once they recognized the song, they loved it!). That reminded me of another 'Christian power jam' song, so we listened to that one too. Which reminded them of another good christian song, so we listened to that one too. We still had time to do read aloud, DOL, Workshop, and all our rounds, so we weren't too far off schedule.

I had forgotten that a grandpa was bringing in his Native American artifacts today... he's brought them before, but not since my first year teaching when his other granddaughter was in my class. I forgot he was coming until I saw his head peek in one of our windows. So I had a 6th grader open the side door for him and he set up his artifacts while I kept teaching English. We took a break to look at his stuff. He had scrapers, arrow heads, broken knives, fire starters, and pottery with designs etched in.  And a light up magnifying glass! Boy they had fun with that. Before the grandpa left, he told me if I want him to come back again (even if he doesn't have a granddaughter in my class), he still will come, I just have to let him know. I'll have to keep that in mind!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Pokey Little Puppies

Holy cow my kiddos were pokey at the end of the day! They came back from PE and lingered at the lab table, talked to each other a while, turned off the computers... but they never came back to their desks so we could pray and go home! They wasted almost 10 minutes! Finally I got most of them rounded up, but man, it took a while.

My sub binder is finished. I still need to write plans for the week I'm gone, but the 'Sub Tub' has allllll the info my sub will ever need while I'm gone. Routines and procedures, student lists/photo directories, fire/tornado evacuation plans, nurse contact info. For real. It's all in there. Whew!

The fire fighters came today. My kids were quiet at first, but they got warmed up after a few questions. I got some good pictures of them outside by the fire trucks. They got to try on the uniforms  (boots and helmets too!) and even sprayed the fire hose for a while. That took up most of our morning after chapel. We finished the morning with extra read-aloud time and a short round of read to self. They are super into the new read-aloud book we switched to! I've read it before, but I'm still sad that I'll miss reading to them for a week. I hope the sub has as good a time as I do reading it!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017


My kids started brainstorming about their characters today. I did too, and now I'm excited to write my story! Only 21 days and counting... My writing prompt board on Pinterest is full of funny dialogue lines that seem spy-ish, so my main characters are 21 year old twin brothers who are spies; one is smart/sarcastic/responsible and one is kind of crazy/doesn't always think before acting. Their family is rich and they have a sister getting married (and the wedding goes wrong because of them). My students want the boys to meet a girl and argue over who gets to be her boyfriend... we'll see if that actually happens. That's about all I have so far. Tomorrow we're having a work day and then Thursday we'll talk about conflict and what our characters want most in the world. I have no clue what my characters want. Things to think about!