Saturday, August 29, 2009

School is Back in Session

Whew! It's been a whirlwind couple of weeks as back t0 school time is here...

School: This year middle schools in my county changed from 6 class periods to 7 periods a day. As the reading course I teach requires a 2 period back-to-back block, this enables me to have 3 class loads of students, rather than just 2. I am loving it!

--There are still some things I'm getting used to. The biggest change is that I had 1st period planning last year and this year I have 7th. Yikes. This means I go, go, go all day and get a break at the end. But, though it's the "reverse" of last year, I'm managing.

--And there is a HUGE glitch with my afternoon block of students. Reading classes in my county are supposed to max at 21 students. My 1st/2nd class has 14, my 3rd/4th class has 17, but my 5th/6th class has 31. THIRTY-ONE???? I have a small classroom with only 24 desks in it. So I've had students seated at the "small group" table area in my classroom. It's been difficult. Another struggle has been that the majority of the group is ESE. I have to say the class has been extremely WELL behaved for the number of kiddos in tight quarters. I just struggle because many of them need individual help and attention I am unable to provide in such a large group. This coming week, we'll conduct testing to see if there are any students that can "test out" and no longer be in the reading program. After that, we'll start to level out classes and shift some from the large class to one of the smaller morning groups.

The annoying thing I don't understand is why this is being done NOW after students are already attending?? Surely when schedules were being created this summer the curriculum people could see the unbalanced classes. Why not shift students around THEN instead of when the kids are actually present and already attending classes? Sighs. This county makes no sense sometimes.

--I swear I am not usually a klutz. Remember how I fell and busted my butt when walking in NYC with my girlfriends last month? Yesterday, I slipped and fell on a pencil someone left on the floor in my classroom. My first thought was, "THANK GOD it is my planning period and no students are in here!" My second thought was "OUCH! I whacked my upper arm on a desk, and hit my knee (the same one I hurt in NY, of course) on the floor. Check this out...

How do you like my lovely arm bruise? The photo doesn't do it justice. Maybe I'm a whiner, but it seems much larger and purpler in real-life, I think. :-) (And yes, I filled out an "accident report" with my school.)

--I've been swamped, because as the reading "department head" I have some beginning-of-the-year-responsibilities. Yesterday after school I ended up picking Em up from her school/daycare and bringing her to my classroom until nearly 8 p.m. (She LOVED playing on the beanbags in the reading area of my classroom, writing on the large dry erase board, and doing "arts and crafts" while I got some work done.) Beginning on Monday, every reading student is required to take a test on the computer to determine their current reading level. However before they can test, each student must be placed/matched to their teacher's class within the software system. I had to match all 187 reading students to the correct teacher. It took foooooreeeever. And since the software is only on my school's server and inaccessible on the Internet, I couldn't work from home. Ugh!'s done now. It's just really time consuming at the beginning of each year.

--My new principal seems cool thus far. The first time I met her in person, she thanked me for sending her "prompt data" this summer when she requested it. Yea, I guess I'm off to a good start!

--Emma had one week of "summer camp" at her daycare, due to my pre-planning week for teachers. Then she started her pre-school class this week on 8/24 when "school started." Em is loving her teacher Ms. Tyson and is SO excited about makes me happy to see her eager to learn. The school separated the 4 year olds into "high fours" and "low fours" based on age. This year Em is in a class with kids who will nearly ALL be 5 in the next few months. Her teacher is starting reading strategies with them already. This makes me very happy. (Em misses the kindergarten cutoff by 17 days due to her birth date. I think she is more than ready for kindergarten, but our county won't allow kids to "test out" of a grade until 2nd grade.) Last year she was the oldest in her class and was nearly a year older than many of her classmates. I am grateful she's with kiddos closer to her age this year.

--DH: Has been writing up a storm. He enjoys writing, and I'm glad to see him back at it after a nearly 10-year hiatus. I don't want to say too much, since his project is his news to share with family and friends....but I can tell you he's written up to 100+ pages of work. And I can tell you I've been told that I won't be permitted to read it until he has completely finished and then revised his first draft. He's been able to write a lot during the evenings and weekends. And during work on "slow days," or when he has "down time," he'll try to jot things down as well. The other night he said he'd been able to complete 4 pages while at work. I'm glad he's pleased with his efforts, and I can't wait to read them one of these days... :)

--Before I sign off, here are some recent Emmaisms:

7/26/09 On not getting to watch the WHOLE movie at Grandma's House:
"But I only got to watch the tippy beginning!"

(I guess if standing on "tippy toes" means you only stand on a tiny bit of your toe, then "tippy beginning" is just a tiny bit of a show.)

8/10/09: On Fashion

"Why does that teacher wear bald caps a lot?"

("Bald cap" instead of "ball cap." It actually makes sense! Lol.)

8/13/09 On realizing life isn't fair:
"Why do adults always get to do what they want?"
DH: "We don't. Sometimes we have to do things we don't want to. Like today, I had to go to work, but I would have rather stayed home with you and Mommy."
Em: "Oh. It's like going to your favorite restaurant, and then it's closed?"

(Rofl. Watch out Alanis Morrisette, Emma might be re-vamping your "Ironic" lyrics.)

Sorry blog buddies....I've been absent for awhile again. After this week, I should be back in the school groove and more frequent at posting and commenting again. :)


Marie W said...

Ouch! That bruise looks like it hurt. :-) As you know i teach ESE, and a lot of Gen ed. teachers have the same complaint. My suggestion is to get a volunteer to assist until they test out. The county does weird things, but I have learnt to be one step ahead or simply roll with the punches. Hope you have a "smoother" week next week.

Danifred said...

I LOVE the "tippy" beginning. I'm going to have to start using that immediately in my day to day vocabulary :)

looking4#3 said...

I was thinking that school had you overwhelmed!!! That really does stink about testing the kids and changing class room sizes. I totally agree with you that this SHOULD have been handled well before school started.
Oh, and what can I say about Miss Emma--she just seems too cute for words!!! She comes out with the most adorable things!!!!

Carrie27 said...

The bruise is nasty! Ouch, ouch, ouch!

Starting the year is always a whirlwind, that's for sure. Jealous of your last period planning. I had that for 2 years and loved it! Made it easier when it came to going to appointments. Now I have it in the middle of the day and I feel like it just zooms by.

Miss La said...

Sorry to see nasty bruise!... If it makes you feel any better about 4 years ago I fell on the first day of school, in front of my entire class, and fell into a desk (luckily no one was sitting in it at the time). I just had shoes with too little traction, and I slipped on nothing and fell (and I never wore those shoes to work again). Luckily I had no true bruises, but slightly bruised pride (and of course it happened in the morning so many of my afternoon classes had heard about it and were asking me about it-ugh!). Hope next week seems better and faster! :)

Beautiful Mess said...

WHEW! You sure have been busy!

Your bruise looks very painful! I hope it goes away soon.

Yes your county does seem a bit backwards. Maybe all the teachers should write a letter or something and they'll figure it out. Probably not, but it's a nice thought.

LOVED Em's "tippy beginning" that's SO cute!

Good luck to your hubby on his writing project. I hope he finds time to work on it as much as he likes.

Sunny said...

Ouch on the bruise!! That looks like it hurts. I am prone to walking into things, I have an assortment of bruises on my legs and hips at any given moment. DH is always like, "Oh no, what happened there!" And I look and say, "HUH! I have no idea."

Hope you are back into the school groove soon!

tbonegrl said...

Oh no! Your bruise! How awful!


"Tippy" beginning is one of my favorite emma-isms of all time!

looking4#3 said...

Where ya been?? School must really have you nuts!!!!
Miss you!!!