Spring Break

Decided that the best way to get everything done that I want to this week, would be to make a  list of everything and then break it up by days.  Will probably add to my list but here it is. And know I can cross one item off of my list.  Today’s SOL entry.

Spring Break To Do List

  • Get over this cold/virus that has been hanging on way to long

Monday

  • Eye Exam 1:00
  • Kitchen Table cleaned off
  • Design Diva Challenge 1
  • Design Diva Challenge 2
  • Design Diva Challenge 3
  • Design Diva Challenge 4 (maybe, not sure if I have the stuff)
  • Grade 7 scrapbooks
  • 12 cards made
  • Sarah’s stuff to storage unit
  • SOL16

Tuesday

  • Grade 7 scrapbooks
  • 8 scrapbook pages
  • Old clothes to Goodwill
  • Cut up Celery for Sunday
  • Make small gift box for Kaitlyn
  • Trip to storage unit
  • SOL16

Wednesday

  • Grade 7 scrapbooks
  • 8 scrapbook pages
  • Trip to storage unit
  • Get out Good China and serving dishes for Easter
  • Make sure everything is clean for serving
  • SOL16

Thursday

  • Grade 7 scrapbooks
  • 8 scrapbook pages
  • Trip to storage unit
  • Figure out what I still need to purchase for Easter
  • Church
  • SOL 16

Friday

  • Grade 7 scrapbooks
  • Pick up Sarah from college
  • Church Kristen sings
  • Shop for rest of Easter Supplies
  • SOL 16

Saturday

  • Prep ham for Easter
  • Prepare Party Potatoes
  • Make Cheesecake
  • Set Table
  • Finish Grading Scrapbooks
  • SOL 16

 

Day 1

First day of Spring Break.

  • Clean Living Room
  • Set Up Easter Decorations (husband won’t let me do it earlier.  He says we have to wait until Holy Week.  Then he won’t let me take it down for 7 weeks. )
  • Dishes
  • Cricut Challenges for March Diva Days (Due March 21, there are 10 of them).
  • Begin to pack Easter Baskets for kids and hubby
  • Make supper

Since my goal for the next few days is to take it easy and try to get over this cold/virus that has been hanging on since the first of January, I feel like today was a good day.

Learning Systems

Several years ago when we went to a 1-1 system and all students 4th grade and up were given laptops we also started looking at different Learning Management Systems.  Most of us started using one system and for awhile I really liked that system, but then the honeymoon period wore off and I was finding more and more things I didn’t like.

Online quizzes allow students the ability to search for the answer instead of knowng the answer.  Of course, the students believe that they are just using their resources.  So I stopped using the quiz feature.

After I lost interest in this feature, I quickly started losing interest in this program altogether.  Now, my district has actually invested in an LMS that will allow us to do more online, and possibly even teach strictly online.  I have started attending the class sessions in order to learn more about this system with the goal of having, at least, the first unit for each of my classes up and running before the start of the next school year.

I can see so many benefits to this new system that I can’t wait to begin using it.  Am I sick?  No problem, the day’s assignment should already be online, I will just need to go in and publish it so that the students can see it.  Did a student miss class? No problem, just check the LMS to see what you missed, or better yet, complete the day’s work while you are at home.  Did you forget how to do the assignment?  No problem, the directions will be on the LMS program.

Using this program should also allow me to cut down on the amount of paper I need to keep track of.  Exit tickets can be done through the LMS, assignments turned in through this program, group collaborations done through this program.

Yes, I can tell that a little hard work this summer will pay off in the long run next fall.

Lunch Time

When I first started teaching at Central we were lucky to have a small closet for the teacher’s lunchroom.  And I do mean small closet.  We were lucky if 4 people could fit in there around a card table.  Then one day the powers to be decided it was time to start remodeling and building on to the high school.  We are now in our 4th lunch room/teacher’s work room.  When the first stage of the remodel was finished, we were moved into a portion of the old cafeteria.  A new cafeteria/kitchen was built on and we felt so lucky to have this new space.  One of the first things we did was have a pot luck to celebrate our new space.  (it wasn’t even finished yet). We had so many Crock Pots and a microwave going that we blew a fuse.  Actually while in that space, we blew many a fuse.  We soon learned that if someone was heating up their lunch, you couldn’t run the copier. We were also privileged to have a refrigerator in this space.  It was so nice to have room for several people to eat at one time.

After about a year, the next stage began and they were going to tear down that end of the high school and build a new middle school for the 7th and 8th graders.  Yes, we lost our wonderful space.  We were moved into a room between the high school and middle school library.  This room had previously housed teacher materials and references, but they were so old that no one actually used them.  Finally stage three was finished and we were moved into our brand new teacher lunchroom/work space.  A room that had actually been built for this purpose.  We are actually able to put quite a few staff members in the room, which is great on conference nights when we have 30 minutes for supper if we are lucky.  It is also nice to be able to sit in one room and enjoy lunch with several of our peers.

Today, we enjoyed a St. Patty’s day potluck.  So many wonderful foods, treats, sweets to eat, but even better some time spent talking to each other in a relaxed atmosphere. Without days like today, we might forget those that teach in the opposite end of the building from us and that we rarely see.

 

 

PD

Today we have early out and yet another round of professional development.  The way we do our PD is a total waste of time.  Yes, this year my department has spent time discussing what to give a former teacher from our department for her wedding, decorating for Halloween and how Halloween is most people’s favorite holiday.  Another time was spent griping out some of the teachers in other departments.

I have nothing against PD, but would like it to be an actual chance to learn something.  However, we can’t take the time to really learn something. Instead, we have to come up with something to study at the beginning of the year, then we spend time developing a lesson and testing the students.   The problem is that we are always interrupting the students to give them a lesson and test them over something that we aren’t working on at the moment.  So our data is not authentic to what we are learning.

I want to spend time learning something that is relevant to my students and what I teach.  I will continue to grow and develop on my own as a teacher, sharing what I have learned.

End of the Quarter

The Quarter ends tomorrow, so of course, today the emails begin.  Why is my grade so low, what can I do to bring my grade up, can I do a book talk?

Remember at the beginning of the semester when I talk about doing the book talks as you go and not waiting until the end?  No, you are only allowed to do one book talk a day.  Shouldn’t have waited until the end.  Really, you read a 600-page book over the weekend, but it has taken you an entire semester to read that 200-page book?

Can I come in after school to make up my test?  I am sorry but I have a meeting right after school and you were supposed to make up that test 2 weeks ago.  But, I didn’t have time then.  But I saw you walking the hallways before school every day for the past month.

Can I still submit that paper that was due back in January?  No, I am sorry it is two months past the due date.

But my Dad is going to be mad and I am going to be grounded for Spring Break.  Really, I am sorry, maybe you can use that time to read a book or think about how you will do things better for 4th quarter.  Oh, and be glad that the 3rd quarter grade doesn’t go on your transcript.

Letter to my Daughter’s Principal

Mr. K,

My daughter is in attendance today, even though she is ill and should be home in bed and drinking fluids. She choose to attend school because she doesn’t want an unexcused on her records or transcripts.

Last week I had the same thing and was able to take a day of sick leave. This allowed me to stay in bed, rest, and drink plenty of fluids so that I began to feel better faster. Kristen on the other hand does not have that option as you have changed the policy so that all absences are considered unexcused. Instead of getting better, she is at school, coughing and sneezing on her classmates, teachers, and other staff that she comes across. This will help to spread the virus making even more people ill. You can also figure that not much learning is taking place as she doesn’t feel well and will be trying to just make it through the day, and will not be able to concentrate on what is being taught.

If you look at the Department of Education’s Attendance Policies- Key Points to Remember, (as recorded in the September 2014 School Leader Update) under Discipline and Attendance, point 6 “Students should not be subject to sanctions for failure to attend school if lack of attendance is beyond the control of the student. Some absences should be excused without disciplinary penalty. Illness, school-sponsored trips, or “unavoidable” occurrences (court appearances or other legal obligations, bereavement, family emergencies, etc.) would be examples of excused absences. It is also reasonable to require a doctor’s verification of the illness in some circumstances. It is not reasonable to do so in every case since to do so may create a hardship on families with limited or no insurance or families with working parents.”

I realize that the school can determine what is excused and unexcused, but surely a sick student should be excused. Kristen has good attendance, rarely missing more than a day or two a year, which tells you that she is not trying to avoid school. When she does stay home it is because we as her parents have determined that she is too ill to attend.

Please consider changing this policy back to the way it was before this year. By doing this you will be benefiting many students and others throughout the school year.

One more week

One more week until we have a much needed break.  But what a week it is.  The 3rd quarter ends this Wednesday so grades need to be finalized by Friday. Not a problem, normally, just trying to get some projects graded quick so that they can go the quarter grades.  Making it a bit harder, we adopted a new homework policy and kids basically can turn stuff in up to 3 days late for full credit.  Don’t like the way that is working and hope that we get away from that policy soon!  It has been a long time since Christmas break.  Normally we get at least 2-3 snow days during this time period, but this year there hasn’t been anything (we are predicted to get a snow storm during spring break week).  You can tell the kids need a break and the teachers also.  Most of us have fought a virus of some point, so the teachers are dragging even more than normal.

But yes, we can last 5 more days.  Then when we come back there is only about 8 1/2 weeks left.  Yes, we can make it.