September 8, 2015

Show Me Your Papers

During my 5th period plan today, I went to the office to make a class set of assessments for this week. Upon arrival, I was informed by a secretary that we're out of copy paper for the week.

Out of copies?

For the week?

I smiled nicely and explained how desperately I needed to make these copies. There was no school yesterday. Today is our Monday. We were only half-way through the day at this point. We simply cannot be OUT of paper!

She then told me that the stash in the hall closet contains our entire inventory of copy paper through December, and we're already over our allotment for this week. Thankfully, she filled the copier for me anyway... SO I COULD DO MY JOB!

I know my school district is in financial distress, but this is RIDICULOUS! I shouldn't be dealing with no copy paper in September!

(We also had ZERO paper for the first week of school. None whatsoever. That made for an interesting start of the year.)

Save our schools!

*Don't judge me when you see "1 package of copy paper" on the school supply lists for next year!*

August 31, 2015

My Classroom Library

I haven't been able to display my classroom library in five years. FIVE! When I taught in Louisiana, I had them in storage because there were already other books on my classroom shelves (I never knew where they came from), and I was afraid to get them mixed up. The few I did bring in didn't exactly make it back to me at the end of the year, so it's been a while since I've been able to assess my collection.

This year, though, I went out and bought four new IKEA bookcases, which Joel graciously assembled for me. I honestly thought that would be enough. I was SO WRONG! On the day before school started, I was in a panic to get out of the building because I needed to get back to IKEA and buy more shelving. Thankfully, a new friend stopped in to check on me and saw that fear in my eyes. He had a large bookshelf in his room that he had no plans to use and offered to help me move it to my room. YES!!!

So, I present to you my 2015-2016 classroom library. 

The first, large bookcase is my Book Club Bookshelf. This is where I house my books that come in groups of 4 or more. I love to buy multiple copies of the most popular choices so students don't have to wait so long to check them out. Also, since there is so much excitement around these books, they lend themselves naturally to book club selections, as students always have much to discuss. 

On the top of the white bookcases are my buddy books. These are the ones that come in groups of 2 for students who want to partner read. I also have series books like Twilight, Hunger Games, Uglies, LOTR, and Harry Potter

On the first day of school, when we did a classroom tour, my sweet babies asked, "All them books for US?!" with a sense of awe and disbelief. And when I finally gave them time to start checking them out last week, you would've thought I was giving away free candy. They were so eager to pour over the titles, ask me about my favorites, and feverishly write down titles they knew they'd want to read in the future. 

My heart was sooooooo happy!

My students. My title 1 students who supposedly hate to read, begged for the chance to select books to read. Many checked out two titles, one to leave at home and another for our classroom. I'm already watching them dive in every chance they get. Even students who aren't on my roster have been coming to me, begging for permission to borrow books from my shelves. It gives me ALL THE FEELS!

If you can believe it, I'm not completely satisfied with my current library. I haven't really purchased many books for my library in the past 5 years, except for the ones I've found at Goodwill, mostly because Joel was going to have a heart-attack if I kept bringing home books to store in our garage. My current list of books-I-want-to-buy-for-my-classroom-library is at $280. Some of the newer ones, like The Fault in Our Stars and The One and Only Ivan are already being requested by my students. How can I deny them access to such titles??? Oh... my bank account. That's why I'm setting up a donor's choose account ASAP!

More on this to come.

August 30, 2015

Weekends Have New Meaning

When you're a teacher, it's easy to forget, in the summer, how great a weekend feels. But now that school is back in session, I definitely remember. Saturday mornings, oh, how I love thee! 

On Friday afternoon, I was debating whether I'd try to go home right after school or stay for a while and work. I knew Joel was already home, and since we hadn't really seen each other much during the week, as we've both been working 12 hour days, I liked the idea of going home for some quality time with my man.  

But then Renee walked in and mentioned some things she needed to get done for Monday. Of course, I know how everything is better with a friend, so I told her I'd stay and make some more positive calls. Ten minutes later, our AMAZING social worker, Maddi, and SPED department head, Val, walked into my room demanding that we pack up our things and exit the building. Maddi even closed my laptop for me. They were having NONE of this working on Friday afternoon business. Instead, we were kidnapped to Chili's for happy hour.

It was a good choice. I laughed SO much. And My social calendar is filling up fast with activities with my new coworkers from baseball games to Oktoberfests and winery visits. 

After happy hour, I raced home for a dinner date with Joel. I have to say, when we're both working so much, we have so many extra things to discuss when we're together. It kinda feels like when we were newly dating, before we moved in together, because we have so much to talk about! It made it extra fun to have a date night. I have more to share about this (including a super embarrassing story) later.

By the time we got home, I was exhausted and only lasted about 30 minutes hanging out with Joel and Aniya for Sesame Street time before crashing in bed. I think I slept 11 hours Friday night. Now, it also wasn't exactly a peaceful sleep because... I'm a teacher, and my mind is always racing with things I should do, but it was still blissful not to have an alarm screaming in my ear at 5 AM!

Sesame Street, equally mesmerizing for nieces and uncles alike
Yesterday, Joel and I watched Aniya so Resha could have some mommy time. We had lunch and then ended up taking her to Woodfield Mall to run around in the play area since it was rainy outside. Weekends at Woodfield are usually crazy, but they're extra crazy on rainy days, so the play area was PACKED. Also... who are these parents who let their kids run amuck without supervision? The perimeter of the play area was full of parents staring at their phones, while their children ran UP slides and knocked littles off the stairs. The mama bear in me came out when one such child knocked Aniya flat on her back. I knew she was okay because the ground was super squishy (like... can I get some of that in my classroom, please? My feet would LOVE it!), but the poor baby still cried because it scared her to death. 

After she got knocked down a second time, I had had enough. We turned our attention to shoe shopping (why do I ALWAYS wait until the end of the season to buy the shoes I need for right now? I cannot find cute, black sandals to save my life) and a visit to Rainforest Cafe to see the animals. Aniya liked the monkeys and butterfly, but was terrified of the alligator at the entrance. Toddlers don't understand when you tell them the alligator is fake. That means nothing to them. Instead, I got certain ear drum damage from her shrill cries! haha  

My favorite monkeys!
We then treated ourselves to bubble tea, which is my favorite thing in life, before heading home for nap time (for all)!

Saturday night was filled with grocery shopping, laundry, and Netflix. I honestly can't remember the last time the TV was even on in our house, so it was nice to have a relaxing evening at home. 

So far today, we've cooked breakfast, paid bills, and I've blogged. I know... so exciting! I do have to grade Friday's assessment, but it shouldn't take more more than 30 minutes, so I plan to do that while we watch The Real Housewives later tonight. It feels so good to be able to go into this week prepared (lesson plans have been done since Thursday) and well-rested. 

Week 3, here I come!