Saturday, November 26, 2016

Lesson Plans on

I hope you all had a enjoyable Thanksgiving.  We had my family over.  Mr. FiberJewels got a Traeger Wood Stove so we had a "turkey cook off" of sort.  I tossed the 25 pound Butterball turkey in the oven.  Popped fresh thyme and rosemary in the cavity, sprayed it down with olive oil and basted it once it started to get a lovely brown.

His turkey required more prep - under the skin he put about 1/4 inch of a mix of butter, garlic cloves, fresh rosemary & thyme, salt and pepper.

The reviews from the family is that both were great and no one had a favorite between the plane oven roasted and the wood oven roasted.

Yesterday, after post-Thanksgiving clean up of the kitchen, we took a trip to urgent care -- I'm fighting a sinus infection, but as I have no fever, they will not give me antibiotics, but I did manage to get drugs to help me deal with the symptoms.

Early in the morning, I fell into the rabbit hole that we call Pinterest!  I was looking for information about Daily 5, and ended up stumbling on is an online planner, you can access it from any computer, I believe there are also apps for smart phones and tablets (but I haven't researched that).

taken from page
I have been struggling with lesson plans.

We are a new team, and one of my Teaching Assistants (TA's) is very new and YOUNG.  I think the best way to explain this TA is that she has the attitudes of her generation.  In a word, she's a millennial!  She needs a lot of guidance and positive reinforcement and I'm finding I have to have EVERYTHING written out for her.  Recommendations to her are frequently met with her telling me why she does it a different way.

So, in addition to writing lesson plans for the students, I need to write expectations of the adults in my room.  This is not something I've had to deal with as I've been lucky, and the TA's I've had are my age with a wealth of knowledge.

I was using a word document.  When I worked on it at home, I'd save and email a copy to work. At work, I'd save and send a copy to me at home.  I had several copies with the same name, and it was getting cumbersome.  Additionally, I have to hand in my lesson plans at the end of the school year.

While at the bottom of a rabbit hole, I learned how one teacher was using  A quick search on youtube lead me to this video, Walkthrough ~ Teacher Organization Tool, and set up my own account.  I spent most of the day yesterday setting up my schedule, adding notes I want to stay with the various lesson times in my own account.  The vlogger also has a part two video, Additional Features ~ Teacher Organizational Tool.  In the videos, she shared a discount code for a free six months!  So check them out and grab the discount code and explore!

Today?  I'll be leaving for school shortly - I have an IEP meeting Tuesday that I am NOT ready for (have to write the IEP and to do so, I have to be on a school computer, on the school network).  I'll also finish up this week's lesson plans!

I hope to finish my LazyKaty Shawl tomorrow; I have a row or two to complete.  The "bind off" will be crocheted.  Pictures to come.

Edited to add: keeps getting better.  At school right now working on an IEP for a student.  Feeling very rusty after 18 months away from school.  Can pull up my state's standards and am using them for goals and objectives!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016


Hard to believe that only four months ago, when a friend asked me, "Do you ever think you'll return to the classroom?'  I quickly, without a thought, responded with, "Probably not!"

Three months ago, on my way home after visiting with a friend, I picked up a substitute teacher packet--it took me a month to fill it in and gather all the necessary information and update my resume.

Two months ago, I hit "submit" on my online application, and delivered the remaining documents to HR.

Last month I interviewed and was hired for what I thought was a long-term sub position.  If I had started this position only two working days later, it would have been a long-term position, but it wasn't.  A big jump in pay, as well as full benefits, and all the responsibilities!

As I stated post, I'm tired.  I often come home, eat dinner and go straight to bed.  The students drain me.

During our language rotations, the students were working in various groups, while I pulled students to my table to help cut up vegetables (thanks to my Pampered Cheif chopper, no fingers were near sharp objects) the principal entered our classroom.  After chatting with various groups, she walked over to my table, asked the student what we are doing, he proudly announced, "We're making STONE SOUP!"  She looked at me and simply said, "Amazing!"  and walked out!

I LOVE this little group of kids.  It both breaks and warms my heart when various school staff will stand at my door and just watch the class and share comments with me such as, "I love watching your class and seeing that the chaos is gone and they learning and laughing."

I'm so thankful that things have changed so much from August when I never EVER thought I'd ever return to the classroom, and now, though always tired, I have the BEST class in the world!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

I. Am. Tired.

Friday marked my 23rd day in my new classroom.

I am still waiting for the time I no longer feel like I'm behind the 8 ball!

The Special Education process is SO different from the other district I was working at, I almost feel like I'm in a different state and not just a neighboring district!

Completed my "Mandated New Teacher Training" today, one week late!  oops!

Still spending more time on behaviors than on academics. We are getting better each day!

I'm still doing lesson plans daily ~ every time I think I can do a week's worth of lessons, something happens on Monday, and I'm back to writing plans for the day each and every day.
Each. And. Every. Day!
Every morning, I look at our daily schedule and fill it is.
Did I tell you I do this EVERY day?!

I have my first Three-year re-eval and IEP on a student Tuesday.
SURPRISE! Exiting teacher did NOTHING for it!
It is what it is -- I'm attempting to let it go.
I'm to OCD to let it go, but I'm trying!

I have been asked here, as well as other places:
With the huge Special Education Teacher shortage, how could they let one go?

The teacher was on a plan of improvement and wasn't making improvements.
The teacher had ZERO classroom management skills.
I've seen the videos of her in action.
I'm dealing with the fall out of her lack of control!

Yes, it was bad enough that this teacher had NO business in a classroom!

The students ran the classroom -- First and second graders RAN the classroom!
First and second graders with behavior issues ran the classroom!
The classroom was not safe.
I continue to deal with coping behaviors from the chaos of the first 40 days of school!

Three days, that's all I have to survive this week.

We are doing a mini unit on Stone Soup!

I am managing to get some knitting in evenings - it's been my saving grace each day.

Spent today printing a million and one things from Teachers Pay Teachers, ordered book bins, and completed the last of my "mandated training".

Now I can focus on the training I NEED -- the Special Education training for the district!

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Busy Saturday

Seven Sweet Pumpkin Pie Pumpkins.
Freshly washed with Clorox Wipes to removed some of the mold found on these.
Gotta love produce shopping in Alaska!
After two weeks in the classroom setting up routines and getting my students to understand that I am the adult in charge and that I say what I mean and mean what I say, last week I began academic assessments and activities.

We did math activities with small sweet pumpkins.  At the Fred Meyers in Anchorage, these little beauties were priced individually at something like $2.49 each.  But they didn't have 7 pumpkins, and the few left were in sad shape (such is the story of buying produce in Alaska).

When we dropped by the Fred Meyers near our home, they had a HUGE box of small sweet pumpkins, with no price listed.  I was a bit shocked when I learned, at check out, they were per pound!  There was no way I was going to let these expensive babies go home with the students!

Friday, I hauled the seven pumpkins home, bruised from falls off desks and out of students' hands, some with bandaids from being poked and explored by busy fingers.

Before I could deal with the pumpkins, I fulfilled my commitment to my mom and the knitting group at the Senior Center by helping set up their booth at the Senior Center craft sale.  A retired teacher donated a bunch of earrings to the knitting group, and I had to grab these for my friend who often dresses like Miss Frizzle from Magic School Bus.

Upon my return home in the early afternoon, Mr. FiberJewels assisted me in cutting pumpkins, carving out bruises and bad spots and in the oven they went.  

While in the oven, I began cleaning the seeds.

Many of my students haven't seen the inside of a pumpkin, tasted raw pumpkin, or even sampled a bite of cooked pumpkin.  We reserved a pumpkin half, with seeds still inside for them.

Monday we will be:

Sampling roasted pumpkin seeds;

and baking pumpkin bread - the rest of the pumpkin puree is in the freezer for Thanksgiving Pumpkin Pies, and other goodies over the winter.

My house smelled of roasting squash pumpkin.  While it was cooking, I got to sit down and knit.

Please excuse poor picture quality.

I was worried if I'd have enough yarn to finish the bind off!

Falling Leaves Lace Shawl completed!

Luckily, I had enough, just enough. I cut off only about 6 inches before I started to weave in ends!

Today will be spent doing weekend chores, getting plans completed for my classroom for the week. Baking a loaf of pumpkin bread while preparing what I'll bring to class for the students to help me mix up another loaf of pumpkin bread.

Maybe I'll be able to squeeze in some more knitting!

POST PUBLISH UPDATE:  My pumpkin bread recipe made two loaves, so the students will not be baking pumpkin bread, but will be able to taste it during pm snack!