lunes, agosto 29, 2005


bueno pues

i know i don't post anymore... blame it on utter teaching bliss and a much-improved social life. i have 13 students, one of whom claims he will be leaving tomorrow, and the rest of which would compose a near-perfect class. i hate my school's new ESL curriculum, but that aside, my lessons have been loosely planned and generally well-executed given that i leave plenty of room for adaptation and my crazy "oooh, wait, no let's read this great book instead!" whims. i went to the public library today to return some videos and ended up leaving with over a dozen children's books, two audio tapes with books, and two new videos. i am a serious children's lit FREAK. anyway, seems like there's little time for blogging these days, but i'm sure it'll pick up if/when things start to get annoying and/or frustrating. i did all of my beginning-of-year testing in THREE DAYS, while showing minimal movies and making sure the kids were on track with the lg. arts and math curriculum. i'm getting awfully good at this juggling shit, but then again, my small numbers sure helped.

so yeah. not a lot to talk about. i have, however, been going music crazy. i am a total child of the 90s, so yesterday i bought 2 cornershop CDs, a bjork album, Café Tacuba Unplugged, and a José Alfredo Jimenez CD. i've been jamming out to Tori Amos and 10,000 Maniacs in the car. a friend loaned me Damian Rice and Thievery Corporation albums and they're not too shabby, but i just can't get over my obsession with music that was popular ten years ago.

OOH! and i sold three paintings last week and will be submitting work to two shows in october. see? i TOLD you i've been busy!

hope everyone else's years are off to a great start. and i hope the texas legislature gets its shit together sometime before i RETIRE.

lunes, agosto 22, 2005


ms. congeniality

there's been a serious shift in teachers this year... new teachers, recent additions changing grade levels, and old veterans moving elsewhere. it's resulted in my blossoming... most of my favorite people have stayed and even moved to my wing, so we interact constantly. the new people are all very nice and friendly and the general staff rapport is ten times better than before. wow, i actually really LIKE my co-workers... almost all of 'em! and i'm even super friendly with most of them now. craziness.

*this post was instigated by a call i just received from the team leader... she said i'm her new "confidante" and we proceeded to talk about all kinds of school-related chisme. i'm getting chisme from all sides and grade levels, it's great! =P

domingo, agosto 21, 2005



it's been an interesting week. there was minimal stress, a frightening amount of socializing, and a lot of prep and planning.

my kids are great. most of them have a really good understanding of english, in stark contrast to last year's group. i have two kids that have some difficulties waiting their turn to talk and getting to work, but they're all about trying their very best so it's hard not to love them. one kid is so desperate to help everyone else that she never gets her own freakin work done, but better that than being mean and picking fights. and my favorite is the chamaco who has never been to school before and is fresh from a rancho in mexico... his first two days were a bit of a nightmare (as soon as he was done with lunch, he got up and left... luckily he was intercepted by the principal, then handed off to me. he's definitely marching to the beat of his own drum and sees no point in asking permission or doing as others do.), but he's getting the hang of things. unfortunately, he have zero letter/sound knowledge so i've already met with a kinder teacher about having him join their class for language arts. we'll get him on track soon enough.

two of my fifteen will be leaving in the next week or so in order to receive special ed services at another campus. this means my already small class will be officially tiny. i LOVE it. they are super hard-working and looooooove the fact that they have TEXTBOOKS! friday we made a graph of our favorite foods and they had to copy it in their math notebooks. i was very impressed by their work ethic as they all sat quietly on the carpet and copied diligently. one kid started talking, and the student next to him hissed, "Stop talking and do your work!" really, i could have left to go get a milkshake and they would have been fine.

the new first grade bilingual teacher next door and i have great lofty dreams of team teaching. we've already begun a little swapping... last week she read social studies to both classes and i did a math lesson for both. ideally we'll start with 4-5 reading groups in september and try to work our way up to switching based on ability level in ESL and math. it'll require a ridiculous amount of planning at first, but the benefits for the kids would be extraordinary.

so there you go. a surprisingly smooth first week. we did some alpha knowledge and math testing but now we have to pull out the big beginning-of-year assessments that we all HATE. they absolutely require busy work. blech.

sidebars: first, at breakfast yesterday, i overheard a parent tell his spouse to buy their kid a gumball instead of a bouncy ball. what the hell? since when is sugar preferred over something that might inspire physical activity? lazyasses. second, today i went to the mall with a friend. as we waited in line at the cashier, a mother who appeared to be on the verge of self-implosion kept grabbing her kids by the ear and yanking them into line behind her. the first time i know the shock on my face was evident... the second time, i had to walk away or else i was gonna start lecturing her. what do you guys think of criticizing bad parental discipline in public? i've never done more than make a face, but now the teacher in me is way less tolerant of bullshit discipline methods.

back to my classroom, this week we'll work on retelling the fantastic book Tuesday by David Wiesner. it's one of my all-time favorites, check it out! we'll also be using My Little Sister Ate One Hare by Bill Grossman for rhyming practice and ESL. hmm, speaking of books... anyone willing to email me and teach me how to put that stuff on my blog that allows others to know what i'm reading? i love sharing great children's books and think that might be a good way to do it.

sorry for the lack of updates, but it'll likely continue as i try to maintain a social life =) more classroom photos will be up on flickr this week, so make sure to add me as a friend if you'd like to see them since i'm no longer making those photos public. ¡cuidense!

martes, agosto 16, 2005


i'm still alive

just too exhausted to think coherently. in a fabulous twist of fate, i have the smallest class in first grade with fifteen students. someday, when i'm not at school for 12 hours, i might actually post about my new chamacos.

miércoles, agosto 10, 2005



same acuario, just with more crap thrown in and a bulletin board done.

just a heads-up: i'll be making all these photos private at the end of the week, so if you'd like to look at them again (or see any future classroom photos i might post), you'll need to add me as a friend on flickr. click on the photo for a link and info.

domingo, agosto 07, 2005


makes magic happen

turns out all you need to make your classroom wonderful is a staple gun, measuring tape, colored duct tape, fun fabric, and a hard-working buddy.

...all other photos now available only to friends on flickr...

viernes, agosto 05, 2005


flabbergasted by flattery

as i mentioned, for some weird reason my principal decided to have me mentor the new kinder bilingual teacher (this would be weird considering i have a whole 6 months of experience under my belt). at today's mentor/mentee luncheon, we all introduced ourselves. i mentioned how i started in january, so i wasn't new but certainly not a veteran, and my principal added, "She's an incredible teacher!" i would have been totally floored by the compliment if it weren't for one teeny tiny little detail...

she's never seen me teach.

texas has a professional appraisal system abbreviated PDAS wherein every teacher is assessed bi-annually by a designated supervisor on their campus. because my principal is not bilingual and our asst. principal is, my assessor is the asst. principal. now he's seen me in action many, many times, so it's quite likely that he's commented to the principal about me... but STILL. hard to accept something like that when there's no firsthand knowledge to back it up.

imagine how i react when a guy at a bar says i'm pretty!

more photos coming soon as my classroom comes together...

jueves, agosto 04, 2005


here, there, and everywhere

first of all, people are disgusting. my dad was in town and we had dinner at souper salad, an all-you-can-eat salad/soup/etc. bar. in addition to several folks who helped themselves to bread and pizza with their hands (provided tongs and spatulas be damned), there was one lady who was pigging out as she built her salad in line. BLECH. add this to the excesses that are already inherent in all-you-can-eat restaurants, and it makes me not wanna eat out for a long time.

there's a new male teacher at school, and all week long i've been dying to get a peek. i finally saw him walking by and he's got the 70s hippie rocker look going. weird.

i'm happy to say that i feel very comfortable with my co-workers and school staff. i'm no longer the new kid on the block and it feels GREAT. in fact, by some weird twist of fate, i'm actually mentoring a new teacher this year. AND, because we rotate team leaders, i'm up for the job next year. eek! my room is finally coming together, i'll try to remember to bring my camera tomorrow. i think it's gonna be a good year... but we'll see if next week's professional development changes my mind!

on a final note: i saw the triplets of belleville and hustle & flow this week. both are fabulous, check 'em out!

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