Friday, October 17, 2008

Struggles and Shout-Outs

First---Some recent pics
Two weekends ago Em and I went to the Jacksonville Zoo. There is a rope ladder in the play yard that I'm guessing is about 8-10 feet high. Previously, I would not allow Em to climb higher than I can reach. This time I gave in, and allowed her to climb to the top. Which she did again, and again and of 5 times. I was SOOO paranoid about her falling. Em is a pretty good climber, but there were other kids who would come into the rope ladder and sway it back and forth while she was climbing...scary! It was one of those moments as a Mom where I knew it was important to give Em her independence...even though it hurt ME a little bit on the inside. :)

Just under the halfway point

At the top, climbing off the rope and onto the platform.

They have also added a new sandbox area with a tarp, so that it is completely shaded. Em had a blast. I'm going to have to speak to Santa...once our fence is installed (Nov. 20th is our install date!) I'm thinking a swingset and small sandbox would be nice backyard additions.

Last weekend Em and I picnicked at the Ft. Caroline/Timucuan Preserve site and then walked the nature trail.

View of a barge we saw across the river

Ft. Caorline

"Take a picture of me with the 4 sign, 'cause I'm 4."
(The nature trail had numbered signs throughout the trail from 1-20 or so.)
(By the way...Emma's expression in this peek-a-boo picture SO reminds me of my sister Laurel.)

Sign hugger

A stump on the nature trail.

Hut replica of the Timucuan homes.

Some recent struggles:

In sad news I learned that one of my former students was killed last week. He was shot in the face in a robbery attempt. Sadly, police found a gun in his belt/waistband as well. Thomas was 16. When I taught him 2 years ago he was frequently in trouble at school...and actually quite a jerk to most teachers (myself included.) He also bullied other students. We tried to have meetings with parents, but didn't feel support from the home. Well...maybe that's not fair. Mom attended the meetings and I do think she tried. This was truly a kid who did what he wanted when he wanted...with little regard for anyone else. Eventually, he left my old school due to being placed in an "alternative school" setting (school for students with multiple behavior offenses.) Thomas has been on my mind a lot this week. It is a conundrum that may never be answered: Did the "system" fail him? Or was he unwilling to partake in the services available to him? Still, I wouldn't wish his fate on anyone.

Along with my lesson-plans-are-time-consuming- struggles, I've also been learning about co-teaching. This is my first year with inclusion teachers working with me in my classroom. They are WONDERFUL! I have been grateful for their help and support. The inclusion teachers at my school travel with a particular class and are with the students all day, as the students are integrated into "regular" classes. Thus, at least 50% of both of my Read180/ELA classes are comprised of ESE students. The inclusion teachers enable me to have more differentiated instruction because I am able to divide the class into sub-groups to focus on specific learning skills. However, my difficulty is in orchestrating what occurs in my classroom. At times there are 4 adults in the room: myself, the inclusion instructor, an ESOL teacher to help my non-English speaking student, and a language arts teacher who was asked to help our class to ensure that our Read180/ELA kids are having similar lessons as non-reading-student ELA kids. Yikes! Everyone is kind and helpful, but it is sometimes a pain to determine who-does-what. When I used to teach ESE, I had a paraprofessional in my room 1 or 2 periods a day. But it has been years since I was the only adult in the room. So again, while my colleagues are great...there are times I wish I could run a solo or duet ship, instead of a quartet...not because I don't want the help...but because it takes a long time to figure out what everyone will be facilitating!

My prior school hours were 7:35 - 2:35. My new/current school hours are 9:15 - 4:15. Last year I would stay after school for 2-3 hours each day. It was wonderful because I would get lots of school work done. I did not allow myself to bring school-work home, except on rare occasions. Sighs! Though my schedule this year is much better for Emma (she is no longer cranky and crying in the a.m. Now she is wide awake and waving at the window when I leave,) it is SO hard for me to get work done. I have been getting to school early and staying a little late. But with Em's daycare schedule, I have to leave work by 5:30 at the latest. Thus the problem is time. The 3 hours a day after school last year outnumber the 1 hour before and 1 hour after school I am getting this year. I have had work to do at home nearly every weekend thus far this school year. YUCK!

On a positive note, some "Shout Outs" for people/things I've appreciated recently:

Emma received a Halloween card in the mail this week. It had 3 Disney princesses dressed up with glitter/sparkles on their dresses. Em rubbed her fingers across the glitter and said, "It doesn't just look beautiful, it feels beautiful too!" Thanks, Beckstrom family!

I received a snail-mail handmade thank you card from my friend, Shannon Kay. Thanks, Shan for the lovely card. And you're most welcome for the turtle. :) (Thanks, Lal for delivering it, as well!)

Shout out to my friend Stacye, for researching and finding the location of a MyGym and class times for Em and Adrian to attend. They are both enjoying it very much. And Adrian's birthday party will be there next month. Should be a great time! :)

Shout out to my Mom---months ago she sent Emma rebus books. Em finally really grasps the concept and LOVES the books. I think they help her to feel that she is part of the book reading. She especially enjoys the Scooby-Doo Meets Big Foot rebus book. (Seeing as Scooby has been my favorite cartoon character for years, this book is right up my alley too!)

DH's Dad/Emma's Papa---THANK YOU! He has been babysitting Emma on the nights I have my class. In the past when he babysat Em, I would pick Em up from school/daycare and take her to his house. My new school schedule does not allow me to do this, so Papa has been picking her up AND babysitting AND feeding her dinner before DH or I pick her up. THANK YOU, PAPA!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Emma is about the age her mother was when Alana repeatedly checked a baby bunny rebus book out of the library. I was never able to find the book at a book store nor duo I remember the author or title, but recall it as being written in the 1950s Although she had loved being read to since babyhood and could remember the story content and memorized sounds through context, the concept of lines and symbols forming words which equalled reading first took root thru the rebus experience for her. Buckeyes may not fall far from the tree?