Saturday, December 31, 2005


A few days ago I read Oso's blog about a dream he had. I remember thinking at the time that I don't really tend to remember my dreams. But last night, I was reminded that I do have one dream that I remember - and it is not at all amusing, like Oso's was.

I have this recurring nightmare that involves the same 3 characters: myself, my daughter and her father. Her father and I are not together anymore. We were together for the first 13 months of her life and that was it. Since then, 6 years have past and we have thankfully heard not a peep from that man.

So here is the dream. The dream always starts out with us getting back together. My daughter is always around 2 or 3 in the dream - in need of day care and unable to tell me what is going on. In my dream I watch us doing regular family stuff like going to the park, eating ice cream, reading together, laughing and having fun. Somewhere along the line in the dream I think to myself - "How did I get sucked into this crap again?" All the old feelings of helplessness and anger start rushing back to me in my dreams. I am always taken back to that horrible place where I felt stuck in a relationship and don't know how to get out.

So then the dream moves on to a work day for me. I am on my way to work and my daughter is staying home with her daddy, who by this point in the dream is very close to the self desructive stage that he was in right before we split. I am nervous going to work because I don't know how safe things will be for her. I go anyway because I am the only one employed and what can I do? I call home several times during the day but do not get an answer. I know something is wrong but I feel trappeed to my work obligations and do not leave. By the time I get up the gumption to leave and frantically rush home - they are nowhere to be found. I have lost my baby to that man. It is clear that He has taken off with my baby. I then turn into a helpless, screaming and crying lunatic in my dream.

This is where I usually wake up in my dream. My heart is racing, I am taking very short breaths and I have to rush and turn the lights on and refocus and try to remember what the true reality is. I then rush over to my daughter's bed, kiss her, hug her and either jump in bed with her or carry her to my bed. I need to wrap my arms around her and remember that she is safe and close to me.

Why do I have this dream? I have taken care of custody paperwork a long time ago. Her father has not come close to trying to communicate with us, much less ask to spend time with us. If he were, I know he would have an extremely hard, if not impossible time of getting any custody back if he did come back into the picture at this point in her life. So what is the problem here? Is this dream really not about her father but my feelings of helplessness about not being able to protect my daughter from the dangers of the world?

As I sit here this morning at 5:14 am - I am hoping that writing this dream out will help me to remember that this dream was just that, a dream.

And now, I am going to go back to bed and hold my baby close and try and think pleasant thoughts.

Friday, December 30, 2005


Well, the time of year has come for New Year's Resolutions. Here are mine:

My Resolutions for:

1) Continue working out at least 4 days a week. So far I have been doing 6 days a week. Let's see if I can keep this up! If you see me sitting around on the couch - ask me if I have been to the gym yet. If not - PUSH ME OUT THE DOOR!
2) Continue to eat well. So far, I have been doing very well with this too. However, I could slip very easily. For those of you who see me on a regular basis PLEASE stop me if you see me anywhere near chips, candy or cheese. Offer me some celery sticks or something...
3) Read more non-fiction. I tend to gravitate to the light and easy reading material. I think I need to get a bit more serious about my reading material. I need some enlightenment....
4) Make some time for myself: I am always doing stuff for others - I need to have some fun too! :-)

Kelly and Sabi

For My Daughter:
1) Exercise: Make sure that she has plenty of fun and athletic opportunities as possible. This year she took gymnastics every Monday and then we added tumbling on Wednesdays and Fridays in the past two months. She will be starting swimming classes next Saturday. (shh - she still hasn't opened that Hanukkah present)
2) Academics: Do more extension activities based on what she is working on at school.
3) Quality Time: Read with her consistently at night - even if she doesn't want me to! :-)
4) Food: Make sure she eats those vegetables!
5) College Fund: See that she has one - Try and figure out a way to put more away than I already do each month.

For My Family:
1) Birthdays: Not forget Grandmother's Birthday! That was shameful!
2) Quality Time: Try and get everyone together more for dinner at the table.
3) Keep in Touch: Call my little brother Aaron more and see what is going on down in L.A.

My Friends:
1) Keep in touch: I need to go out to coffee with them more and call or e-mail more often than I do.
2) Go to S.F. to see Lisie. I don't even want to think when the last time I did that was because I know it was much too long than it should be. Sorry Lisie - Forgive me???

For My Pets:
1) Goldie: I will try and remember to feed clean your fishbowl out more often than I do. I will also make sure that Sagwa doesn't knock over your bowl this year and leave you flopping around on the bathroom floor like he did last month!


2) Sagwa:
I wil try not to step on you as much as I do now. I will also try and make sure that you have fresh water daily. I know that the water you have now is a little science-experimenty!Sorry!

For my Students:
1) Reading: Re-incorporate Guided Reading. Forget NCLB guidelines, Dataworks recommendations etc...I need to do what is best for the kids.
2) Challenge my high kids. I do this already but I need to keep it in mind at all times or I will forget about it.
3) Other: Do LOTS more art and P.E. We need to have fun and stay fit!

For my World:
1) Recycle all of my Diet Cherry Pepsi cans, Diet Lime Coke cans and water bottles. I have been very bad about this.

Ok - that is my list - let's see how many of these I can stick to this year...


Thursday, December 29, 2005

Work - UGH!

I went in to my classroom today to get a little bit of clean up done before the kids come back. Why did I do this? As usual, instead of focusing on the task that I set out to do - I thought I would put up a bulletin board that I have been meaning to get done for a while. What a chore it is to put up that paper! Getting it even while trying not to wrinkle it is a nightmare. It doesn't help that it is a HUGE space that I have been working on. Non-teachers have NO idea of how much work goes into classroom prep.

In the process of putting this bulletin board up I have managed to make even more of a mess than I started out with! I will have to come back - I am too tired to finish this stuff up!

Thank goodness for my CD player and New Edition CD - they keep me going....

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

What kind of Chocolate Are You???

I found this on La Dolce Diva's site who found it from La Dolce Divas' site. Kind of fun ...enjoy! Click on the green link below to take the short quiz. Tell me what kind you are! Here's me:

You are Milk Chocolate

A total dreamer, you spend most of your time with your head in the clouds.
You often think of the future, and you are always working toward your ideal life.
Also nostelgic, you rarely forget a meaningful moment... even those from long ago.

Monday, December 26, 2005

I LOVE my iPod

My lovely but beat up iPod!

A year ago, I received an iPod as a gift from both my parents and my brother Nebur. I was so happy to get it because it just seemed like a cool gift. Now that I have had it for a year, I have come to truly appreciate it.

I have the 20 GB iPod. At first I was afraid that I wouldn't be able to put all of my music on it - WRONG! To date, I have used 4.03 GB of space. That translates into 1, 394 songs or 69 days straight of listening pleasure.

My iPod went on a journey this past May with my brother Nebur to Panama. He went on a road trip with his friend Scott and both my dad and Scott's dad. On his way out of town, Nebur asked me if they could take my iPod with me since the vehicles they were taking didn't have working CD players. I think they were not so pleased to see it dressed up in its pink case when I brought it to them! They were also probably less than thrilled when they saw some of the titles on there such as Shiny Happy People from the Sesame Street: Songs Fromthe Street CD or Move Like and Emu from the Wiggles Hoop Dee Doo CD. (I have also put all of Sabina's music on the iPod.)

I had quite a scare concerning my iPod back in October. My classroom was robbed of many things. The first thing I looked for was my iPod. I had left it in the classroom the day before. It was gone! The radio transmitter was gone and no iPOd. I was crushed! As my students and I cleaned up the mess the thieves left, one of the kids found my precious gem under some desks. The thieves either didn't know what it was, couldn't handle that it was pink or I just got lucky and it slipped out of their hands as they were taking everything else.

Since then, I always keep my iPod with me in my purse. It goes everywhere I go. I use it at school with the Radio Transmitter to play songs to dance to or sing to with my students. I play it occasionally in the car. It is much harder to use in the car though as I can't get clear enough staions. (I should invest in a higher quality transmitter, I guess) Mostly though, the iPod is my best friend at the gym. Thanks to the iPod, I can rock out while I am working out. It makes the time go by SO much quicker and it is fun. I do have to be careful though.... Sometimes I catch myself singing along with the music or dancing on the treadmill. OOPS!

Here are some of my favorite "Jams" that I listen to at the gym:

* Get Up Off of that Thing - James Brown (I always start with this one)
* Fin de Semana and Anabacoa - Oscar D'Leon
* Dale and El Kitikimbá - Vission Latina
* Fruta Fresca - Carlos Vives
* Caprichosa - Chayanne (for Mary!)
* No Creo En Brujeria - Samy y Sandra Sandoval (Cooking Diva and Nebur are probably
the only ones who know who they are!)
* Paid In Full - Erik B. and Rakim

* A Children's Story - Slick Rick
* Girls on Film - Duran Duran
* Love Shack - The B-52's
* Dancing Machine - Jackson 5
* I've Got it Made - Special Ed
* The Overweight Lover's in the House - Heavy D and the Boys
* A Quien Le Importa - Thalía
* Are You Gonna Go My Way - Lenny Kravitz
* La Negra Tiene Tumbao - Celia Cruz
* Check the Rhime and What? - A Tribe Called Quest
* Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart Club Band - The Beatles

and more...

I always end with Chaka Khan's "I'm Every Woman." It is corny, I know - but that's how it goes!

Thanks for the iPod y'all!

Saturday, December 24, 2005


Here are the recipes. I will post pictures of them as we make them! (and eat them)

Enchilada Soup

Enchilada Soup

1 T. vegetable oil 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
½ cup diced onion 1 clove minced garlic
4 cups chicken broth 1 cup Masa Harina
3 cups water, divided 1 cup enchilada sauce
1 lb. velveeta, cubed 1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. chili powder 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
Shredded cheese tortilla chips

Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Brown chicken breasts for 4 to 5 minutes on each side. Shred and set aside. To the pot, add onions and garlic; sauté for 2 minutes, or until the onions are translucent. Pour in chicken broth. In a medium bowl combine masa harina with 2 cups of water and whisk until blended well. To the onions and garlic add the masa harina mixture, remaining water, enchilada sauce, cheese, salt, chili powder and cumin. Bring to a boil; add shredded chicken. Reduce heat to low and simmer 30 to 40 minutes, or until thickened.
Garnish with shredded cheese and crumbled tortilla chips, if desired.

Hot applesauce - Ready to eat!

Kelly’s Homemade Applesauce:

2 bags of Granny Smith Apples
Lemon juice – just a little bit to keep the applesauce from browning and to give it a little tang
Sugar (to taste)
Cinnamon (to taste)

Wash apples, cut in fourths and bring to a boil. When the apples are tender, drain the water and put the apples through a food mill. Squeeze lemon juice in and add sugar and cinnamon to taste. Serve hot or cold.

Potato Latkes

Potato Latkes
10 Grated Potatoes
1 Grated onion
1-2 eggs

Peel and grate potatoes. Drain the water from the potatoes. To the potatoes add enough flour and eggs to bind the potatoes together. Not too much! Add salt to your liking. Fry in oil until golden brown on both sides. Serve with applesauce, ketchup, sour cream etc…

Holiday Food and a Jolly Good Laugh!

In a previous post, I mentioned that I was really trying to watch what I eat. Now that the holidays are here - all bets are off! I will be indulging in some amazing food in the next few days.

Here is the plan:

Sunday afternoon (and evening) - Christmas with Grandmother:
- Enchilada Soup
- Cabbage Salad
- Grandmother's Famous Toffee and Cookies

Monday Evening: Second Night of Hanukkah
- Beef Brisket
- Potato Latkes
- Homemade Applesauce
- Mom's Lemon Meringue Pie

Tuesday Morning: Breakfast at Nebur's - (I haven't asked him yet but I'm hoping he'll go
for it)
- Nebur's famous build your own omelettes

In the spirit of my new blogging friend Melissa, the Cooking Diva, I will post the recipes for both the enchildada soup, potato latkes and applesauce soon. YUMMMMMMM...............

Now on to the funny stuff:
One of my all time favorite Christmas movies is A Christmas Story. I found the following spoof on someone's blog this month and want to share it with all of you. Enjoy:

Friday, December 23, 2005

I am Lucky

Funny Face Sabi and Mommy

I love my daughter dearly. She is the best thing to have ever happened to me. I love helping her with her homework, talking about things that happen at school, explaining questions that she has about the world in which we live, baking with her, playing games with her, being there for her when she is sick or hurt or just being there for her in general. I love being her mommy.

Yesterday something interesting happened. Sabi and I went out on the town to do some shopping. We had the best time. She made me laugh so hard I cried several times. Somewhere, in the middle of all of our silliness, Sabina stopped feeling as if she was my daughter. She seemed like she was one of my best friends.

I am lucky to have such a great daughter and friend!

Thursday, December 22, 2005


This week I have been feeling so good. I have been SUPER happy, I have been laughing a lot, and life, in general has just been wonderful. I was wondering what it could be the cause of this happy state and I just figured that it was due to the fact that I am on vacation and that Hanukkah is right around the corner. Wrong!

I figured out the reason - I lost 6 pounds this week! Woo-Hoo! I have been to the gym every day this week and last week. (with the exception of Sunday when they are closed) I have been very faithful with the cardio workout and the weights. In addition, I have been bringing carrots and celery sticks to work (and upstairs when I am at the computer) to munch on and I have somehow managed to stay away from all of the holiday goodies. (well - I did eat a few tamales!) I have also been drinking gallons of water daily.

I have to keep this trend up. Not only is it good for my health but just think of all the new clothes I'll have to buy! YIPPEE!!! :-)

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Guest Bloggers and Last Day of School

Here are some of today's entries from our class journals. I left the spelling and grammar errors in - I am sure you will be able to understand them! The hard to read parts I translated in red!

Poinsettia -Flor de Nochebuena

Journal Prompt: Are you excited about winter vacation? What are you going to do? Tell me ALL about it.

Yes, are you? I am because I can read and play and learn when I do my homework. We will celebrate Chrastmas and eat tamales too. We will open presents and go to Modesto to see my Grampa.
On my vacation I am going to stay home and count my stickers and do homework. And help my mother do dinner, And then I will watch tv and play with my brother and sister. Then I will see how my parakeets are.
I’m excited of our vacation because we can ride (read) and play games. I like to ride Jack and Annie books. I like to play gams too and go to my cusins house to watch a DVD. He has the DVD of Meregesdar. (Madagascar!) I hope that we get lots of homework. I like the homework.
I am excited that I am going to be in vacation because you get to play or wach movies or you could just drawing a pitcher. You could just eat peanut butter and jele sandwiches and sit in front of the t.v. too.
I am excited about our vacation because I am going to go to the show. We are going to go to the mall to see Santa Claus. Then we will go to Fresno to see my mom.
I will go to the sno to play snoball four Krismas. We sled down the sno. It is fun I fell off my snobord. It is fun.
I am excited that vacation is coming so I could go to my cousins’ house. We could play this game called Smackdown on his Play Station. We could also play a game called Driver. My cousin always lets me borrow his movie called SkyHigh. It is about this kid who doesn’t have power but he is suppset (supposed) to have them. Both his parents are Superheroes. The movie begins when it’s the first day of high school. I hope that this is a very good vacation like the other one was.
The End!
Lo que quiero decir a mi maestra es que la quiero mucho. En La Navidad la voy a pasar muy bien.
Yo cuando llego a m casa voy a quedarme en mi cuarto encerrada con mis conejos. Voy a leer unos libros y luego voy hacer matematicas de menos y mas. Luego voy a escribir un poco y despues voy a jugar con mi hermanita. Vamos a ir a la casa de mi abuelita para celebrar la Navidad.
On my vacation I will color La Virgen de Guadalupe and hang her on my fridge close to a candle. I am excited of Chrtismas. On Christmas Day I will put the baby Jesus on the house of God. Then I will eat and play games. Merry Christmas!

We are done for the year and don't come back until January 4th. Hooray for vacation time. Let's see if I can actually keep myself away from my classroom during the break and actually enjoy the vacation...

Holiday Banners

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Feast or Famine - UPDATED


In my many years of teaching at my school I am always amazed at the party trend that I see here.

Whenever we have a BIG holiday coming up we have a classroom party. (my principal prefers that we call them "celebrations!") I can always predict what and how much will come to the party based upon the type of kids that I have. If I have an academically high group, I get very little food. I usually end up going out at lunch time to get more stuff for the party. If I have an academically low group overall, I have too much food - those kids can party!

Well, this year, my class is overall much higher than I have had in the past. What came in the door today for our party? Two bags of cookies! Never fails. :-) An hour after school started a mom came by and asked if I needed anything else and she brought in some Capri Suns. That will hold us. Really, the kids don't need to stuff themselves.

Hooray once again for my kiddos. I don't want to give them up at the end of the year...

Party Update: We had the best party ever this year. The kids didn't over eat since there was not too much food. We ate, practiced our songs for our Holiday Songfest tomorrow and then watched an awesome video about celebrating Las Posadas in Mexico. It was in Spanish. I have 1 student who doesn't speak Spanish but he loved it. He especially liked when he heard some of the songs that we will be singing tomorrow. He said " Hey Ms. V! They stole our songs!"

Gotta love it! :-)

Monday, December 19, 2005

Charter School Help


Hello Blogger Friends,
I am looking for information on Charter Schools. I really don't know too much about them. I am looking specifically for a definition of what charter schools are, who they can accept and deny in enrollment, what boundaries they have to state and national standards and regulations and what kind of accontability they have on a state and national level. (end of year testing and NCLB compliance)
Send me whatever you can.
¡Mil gracias! :-)

Uplifting News!

Well, I am over that memo that I wrote about in the last post. Why? Because I have brilliant students. I just got through with my monthly reading assessments. The results are as follows:

5 of my kids are reading above grade level.
7 are at grade level
5 are below but in this group 2 of them jumped 5 levels from last month's assessment.

Basically, 12 kids are where they need to be at this time of the year. For my school, and my group of kids, that is awesome. Last year I had 12 in a group but they were all below grade level at this time!

The best part of the morning though was sitting with one student in particular. This little kid was so eager to read to me. Now I have struggled to make school exciting for this child all year long. He needs to be entertained to learn and let me tell you - I have been tap dancing as hard as I can for him!!! Anyway, he started to read for me today and what a changed person he is. He read with good fluency, great expression and accuracy. He is a few levels below grade level but he is coming along. As soon as he was done reading he looked up at me with the BIGGEST smile ever. He was so proud of himself. He said "How was that Ms.V?" I wanted to cry I was so proud!!! I gave him a big hug and sent him to the office on a "good" visit to the principal. Yeah for progress!

Bah Humbug! Part 2

Today I received a BRIGHT RED memo in my cubby at work. It was from the Head Honcho of our school district. It essentially said that Christmas and New Year's are very important holidays in our town. They give us the time to focus on our families and be together. The letter thanked all of us employees for working in the district. The closing wished us a meaningful Christmas.

Gee - I am glad that my school district is so diverse and aware of all its employees! (NOT!)

Grumble, Grumble, Grumble!!!

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Happy Birthday Grandfather

Lil' Chuck

Today would have been my Grandfather's 88th birthday. He is no longer physically with us but remains with us in our thoughts constantly. There are so many times that I have picked up the phone or thought "I want to tell Grandfather that" only to be reminded that he is not just a phone call away.

Charles Baker

Losing my Grandfather was rough. It was the first death of someone close to me that I ever had to deal with. I don't know what was worse - watching him suffer with Parkinson's before he died or dealing with losing him after he died. In his last days he was very feverish and was not communicating well. I remember grabbing his hand to try and attempt to comfort him. I was not even sure if he was aware that I was by his side. I was surprised and shocked when he grabbed my hand very tightly and for quite some time. He spoke no words but it felt as if he was saying goodbye to me and wishing all the best that life has to offer.

The Baker Family

My Grandfather was such a wonderful man. He was the best Grandfather I could ever ask for. I was so blessed to live close by him for most of my life. I am so happy that my daughter had the opportunity to get to know him and that he had the chance to know her. He called Sabina his "Little Sunshine."

Wedding Picture - Grandmother and Grandfather

One of the things my Grandfather used to always tell me was that he would dance at my wedding. (This coming from a man who I NEVER remember dancing! ) Well, I was not able to provide him with that opportunity. However, I know that if that opportunity ever presents itself in the future, he will be there in spirit.

Grandfather and Sabi

Today, I was looking frantically for a picture of the two of us together. I couldn't find any. I then realized that there probably were pictures of us but in slide form. I also remembered that Grandfather probably took most of the pictures so he wouldn't be in that many. I finally remembered that I did have one slide of the two of us made into a print a few years ago. It is very special to me. It is of Grandfather reading to me. Reading was one of his favorite things to do. It is also one of mine.

Grandfather and Me

I am thinking of you today Grandfather. I love you dearly. Thank you for loving me too.

Friday, December 16, 2005

One Big Happy Family

Class Portrait

I know that I have said this before but I LOVE MY STUDENTS! They are the best. This year I was blessed with some really hardworking and sweet children. They all bring something special to our group and it is such a pleasure to see them each and every day. They are really good for my ego too. It is not uncommon to hear "Ms. V. you are nice" or "Ms. V you are pretty." They even draw me like I am a cutie! Check out the above picture. I am skinny with pretty blue hair and a crown! Who could ask for more??? In the past few weeks I have been showered with gifts that included the class portrait above, flowers, tamales, pastel de tres leches, tacos TONS of pictures and MILLIONS of hugs. My students ROCK!!!

Today we did some art. We rarely do art in my class. Art is unfortunately frowned upon at school. However, with 4 days left until break, I am going to get in each day. Today we discussed Kwanzaa and made a Kinara, the candle holder used during Kwanzaa. Monday we will do a Hanukkah activity and Tuesday will be on Christmas. On Wednesday we are putting on a songfest of holiday songs for the parents. I can't wait!!!


Wednesday, December 14, 2005


My letter was published today in the paper. It was changed a bit.

Candlelight Vigil

On Sunday, while watching the news my daughter told me "If the governor doesn't let Tookie Williams go, when I become governor, I will do it."

I didn't have the heart to explain to her that Tookie Williams would not be let go, just not be executed. I also didn't explain the the deadline for his execution was the next day, not enough time for her to grow up and run for governorship. Instead I hugged her for having a big heart and we talked about what she would need to do to be governor. (college, running for office etc)

Monday came. Clemency was denied. Tuesday morning came. Tookie Williams was executed. I kept NPR off in the car and didn't turn on the TV in front of her. If she asks, I will do my best to explain. What will I say? I just don't know.

Sunday, December 11, 2005



Star and Dreidels


Star of David Cookie

Today my Sunday School class decorated cookies. I brought in colored frosting, sugar sprinkles, colored cookie spray and candies to decorate the cookies with. The cookies turned out beautifully. The kids were hyper. HMMM... I wonder why?

TOO MUCH DARN SUGAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, December 09, 2005

Hanukkah is Coming...

My Hanukkiah

Dreidel Hanukkiah

Mom's Hanukkiah

Mom's Hanukkiah

We got our pottery back that we painted on Thanksgiving weekend. Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture of the vase that Sabina made for her teacher. It was beautiful. Sabina and I did a presentation on Hanukkah for her class and she gave it to the teacher as a present. I will have to ask the teacher if we can take a picture of it.

I tried to take pictures of all of our Hanukkiot today but the lighting was bad and I need to have a better backdrop. I will have to work on this.

This weekend we will start pulling out the Hanukkah stuff and decorating. It is still a bit early. Hanukkah starts on the eve of December 25 this year. We might even bake some cookies too!!!

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Feliz Día de las Madres

Kelly, Mom y Conjunto Viva Panama

Mom, Me and Conjunto Viva Panamá

Today is Mother's Day in Panamá. Thanks to Melissa for reminding me!!! Check out her Mother's Day post here.
Happy Mother's Day to all Mommies!

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Subtraction With Regrouping Update

Last week I wrote about teaching subtraction with regouping to my class. The kids really caught on quickly. They were so good at it that they were ready for the test on Monday. The test consisted of 16 mixed subtraction problems (some with regouping, some not) and 4 word problems where the kids have to use the same above mentioned skills. The results were the best ever. Our class average was 88%. I was just amazed. I have four kids who receive math resource support during the day and 2 of those did quite well. One of them told me "Ms. V., it is like a game, I get it now!" Well thank goodness!!!

The other two students who receive extra math support got a zero on the test because they sadly have not been able to unlock the door to the math world and numbers. I am going to keep working with those two but we will be working on one to one correspondance, number formation and basic math facts.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

One More Time


I know people are probably tired of hearing of this ongoing Christmas/Holiday debate. Oh well! Here is more:

The cartoon above shows just how out of hand this debate has gotten. Am I really offended when people say Christmas? Absolutely not! Am I offended when people act as if it is the only thing going on right now? A little bit. The cartoon above is quite interesting because it depicts a child getting in trouble for doing this. To tell you the truth, children, in my experience are the most open about the holiday season. I always teach the winter holidays to my students. The kids really want to learn about other customs and celebrations. I am reading a chapter book right now called Horrible Harry and the Holidaze. It is a nice little story about a 3rd grade class and the holidays that are celebrated in their room. It covers many winter celebrations such as 3 Kings Day, Korean New Year, Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa. The kids are on pins and needles as I read each day and want to hear more. They go to the library each day during their recess to get more information on the holiday that they just heard about that day. When we wrote our pen pal letters today, one of the kids said "Ms. V., should we say Merry Christmas to them? What if they don't celebrate it?" Can you believe that? I promise - I had no influence on that end. The kids decided that they would say "Happy Holidays" so they "don't hurt anyone's feelings."

More on this subject...

In today's Modesto Bee, the following letter was submitted to the Editor.

Atheists also want to forbid happiness
No Merry Christmas? What kind of unhappy heathens are trying to dictate to us? What is next? No Happy New Year, no Good Friday, no Easter, no Happy Birthday, no Valentine's Day, no Mother's Day, no Father's Day, no Independence Day, no Labor Day, no Halloween, no Veterans' Day, no Thanksgiving Day? Will we no longer say, "happy days," "good morning" or "good night"? This would become a sad "Goodnight to America." These are part of our American heritage. If these ill-educated atheists do not like a "Merry Christmas," maybe they have no place in our society. Let them dwell in their own devil domain. Let's not let them take over our happy country. We can start by boycotting all these un-American pagans.

I don't usually write in but I did before I left for school this morning. We will see if it gets published. If it does, you read it here first! :-)

It saddened me to read (name omitted to protect the unenlightened!'s ) letter to the editor this morning. It is yet another hateful display of discrimination to all non-Christians living here in the U.S. Mr. _____ assumes that the only people who don't like the term "Merry Christmas" are Atheists. He then goes on to refer to Atheists as "un-Americans" who should "dwell in their own devil domain." Mr. _____: no one wants to take Merry Christmas away from you. There are many of us however that don't celebrate Christmas, not just Atheists. We celebrate Kwanzaa, Ramadan, Diwali, Hanukkah, other winter holidays or none at all. "Happy Holidays" seems to best encapsulate the spirit of the season.

Happy Holidays to all!

Monday, December 05, 2005

Bah Humbug!

I hate shopping at this time of the year because it makes me see how truly divided we really are in this country. At this time of the year it is all about X-Mas. Anywhere you go that you have to interact with a human you will hear "Merry Christmas" or "Have You Finished Your X-Mas Shopping Yet" etc. Too many people assume that the only celebration, if any at this time, is X-Mas.

Finding holiday items is a major chore. Can you believe that in this very big city that I live in only 2 stores carry Hanukkah items? TWO! Those 2 stores would be Party City and Bed, Bath and Beyond. The selection is very small but at least it is there. Actually, there is a third place - our synagogue gift shop.

Now my fellow Jews may argue with me and remind me that Hanukkah is not even a big holiday for us Jews. I know, I agree BUT - I have a 7 year old and I like the idea of a winter celebration of lights. It is a truly beautiful and wonderful time for the family to come together.

If I want Hanukkah stuff, I have to glean what little I like from the local stores and then go online to get the rest. How unfair is that?

I have started going in to stores, that I don't even shop at, and asked the sales people where the Hanukkah section is. The responses vary from "huh?" to "What" or to "I don't think so" or "we only carry X-mas stuff because it is more popular!" Cost Plus, one of my favorite stores used to carry a great supply of Hanukkah stuff. Since their remodel, they don't carry anything anymore. Today I asked the manager at Cost Plus why they don't carry it. She gave me some stupid answer.

I then realized that it was selfish of me to think that I was being deprived of Hanukkah stuff since I have seen absolutely no Kwanzaa, Diwali, Ramadan or other winter holiday stuff around. Why, in our very diverse city, in our very diverse state and in our very diverse country is this the case??? I WANT TO SPEND MY $ JUST LIKE THE NEXT PERSON!!!

Friday, December 02, 2005

Subtraction With Regrouping

One of the subjects that I absolutely hate to teach is subtraction with regrouping. (borrowing) It is somewhat confusing to kids to grasp the concept. It doesn't help that our book spends a lot of time trying to get the kids to internalize the process and idea of borrowing tens. I guess that the purpose for doing that is so kids can understand why they are regrouping. In my humble opinion, that only makes things worse. It can take weeks for the whole class to really master the art of double digit subtraction with regrouping.

This year, I took a different approch to teaching this subject. During Intersession, I pulled a few kids and taught them this subject ahead of time. When we tracked back on this week, I taught the rest of the group. I also decided to skip the whole explanation of place value and I merely taught them the process. Guess what? It worked!!! We have been working on this for 5 days and with the exception of 3 kids, they can do it. They can even do worksheets of mixed subtraction facts where some problems are to be regrouped and some are not! The 3 kids who can't do it are still having problems with identifying numbers and adding and subtracting basic facts. That is another story...

Yeah math! ! !

Thursday, December 01, 2005


It is a dreary and rainy day.

I think we should have "Rain Days" in school. On "Snow Days" kids don't have to go to school. We shouldn't have to come when it rains either. It is dangerous to drive in rain. It is dangerous for kids to walk in the rain. Kids have an EXTREMELY hard time concentrating when it rains.Basically, rainy days are a wash!

We did manage to get some things done today but that was during the part of the day that it didn't rain.

Why can't it only rain on the weekends when I can snuggle up with a good book in front of the fire?

Whine, whine, whine!!!

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Light Show

I just received an e-mail yesterday with the coolest video of a Christmas Light show. Check it out:

I showed it to my daughter this morning. She was in awe and she asked me if we could do it with a Hanukkah song and Hanukkah lights.

I showed it to my students who were also amazed and excited by the light show. Here are some of their responses:
1) "That is AWESOME"
2) "How long did it take you to decorate your house?"
3) "Where did they get the lights Ms. V"
4) "I think you can get that at Wal-Mart!"

Tuesday, November 29, 2005


Have you ever had a student who is as cute as a button but...

1) Can't sit still for even 30 seconds?
2) Sneaks bugs into the classroom in his pants. (collected during recess time)
3) Can take a brand new pencil down to a stub in a day?
4) Can break apart a "pink pearl" eraser in 3 minutes flat? (In really tiny pieces too!)
5) Thinks that no talking means not yelling but continuing to talk out loud?
6) Whose parent thinks that he'll grow out of it.
7) Whose name you call out more times during the day than you care to count?
8) You can't get mad at because he is really sweet and just can't help himself?

He is my joy this year. Let me tell you it is a fun and challenging roller coaster ride. At times, LIKE TODAY, it can be completely EXHAUSTING!!!!

Monday, November 28, 2005

Back to School Drama

1) Farewell:
We lost our VP today to an administrative position in the district office. She was awesome. It looks as if we may not get a replacement either. This is very bad news. We are in our 3rd year of program improvement. The extra work that we have to do at our site is difficult for 2 administrators. I don't know how 1 will be able to handle all of the work.
2) Little Girl Lost:
Today was a great day tracking back on. The kids came back refreshed and so did the teachers. Everyone behaved well and seemed to have retained what we learned in the first trimester. We had a minimum day and it flew by. The bell rang to go home and I walked down the hall to a staff meeting. That is when all heck broke loose.

I got a phone call during the meeting. The secretary told me that one of my students was missing and that her mom was in the office. I did a quick walk around campus to look for her. Mom was beside herself. She was really trying to keep it together but it was hard, understandably. Mom doesn't speak English well. I was able to translate for her but I know that she felt extremely desperate and lost with the rest of the staff talking in our attempts to find her.

At this point, her dad was driving around the neighborhood looking for her. I was on the phone calling classmates to see if they had seen her and our secretary was calling the police. We were frantically trying to find a picture of her to give to the police. The little girl was absent on our picture day and we had no photo of her. As it so happened, I had a class picture taken today in the morning to send to a pen pal. Thank goodness!!! I ran to the class to get it for a description of what she was wearing.

About 1 hour after she was missing, I was able to get a hold of one of a mom from my class. She said that the little girl was at her house playing. She was walking home her daughter and asked the little girl where her folks were. The little girl said that they would not be there until 3. The mom didn't want this girl left onthe playground alone so she tried walking her to her house. When no one was at her house, she took her to her home. She said that she was going to walk her back to school at 3:00 to find her mom.

I ran to find mom. When I told her that her daughter was safe she practically fell apart. We rounded up her husband and drove to pick up her daughter. We didn't have to drive far. The mom who took her home was halfway to the school at this point. The little girl who had been lost had no clue as to why everyone was acting crazy. I am sure that she is going to get a BIG lecture (y unas nalgadas!)today about staying put and not leaving with people. The mom who took the girl home was very apologetic. She felt badly that the other mom had been worried for so long but she didn't feel right letting her stay alone on the playground.

WHEW! What a day. I am exhausted. Thank goodness for a happy ending.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

It's Beginning to Feel A Lot Like Winter

This morning we fianlly broke down and turned on the heater. The weather has actually been on the warmer side for this time of year. I think we have been in the low 70's or high 60's for a while. Last night though was SO cold around here. I took a hot bath around 11:00 pm just to try and stay warm. This morning we decided that the time had come to finally turn on the heater since it was 58 degrees inside - BRR!!!

I am back on track tomorrow starting off the second trimester. Although I am sad to be done with my vacation I am happy to know that I am going back to my great group of kidlets!

Friday, November 25, 2005

Family Gathering

Nebur, Cousin J, Cousin C, G, Sabi, Auntie M, Grandmother, Uncle A
Thanksgiving was great. We had great food and spent the day enjoying each other's company and listening to great music. Nebur and Cousin J went golfing in the morning. It was Cousin J's first time and apparently he did quite well. This year was our first year with Cousin C's new wife, "G." We enjoyed having her with us and also enjoyed the apple crisp she brought! We initiated G into the family by singing the fun and hokey "Pie Song", "The Chore Song" and "The Fairy Tale Song." (family favorites) She survived and we got to hear the vinegar pie story...

A good time was had by all. The only thing that would have made it better is if we had the entire family here with us. Maybe next year...

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Most Memorable Turkey Dinner

It is turkey season - I have a turkey-story to blog!

My brother Nebur, my dad and I went to Panama in December of 1997. We were on my dad's farm in Parita. My dad, my uncles, brother and cousins made an oven out of tree limbs and the clay-like soil. I had no faith that this oven would actually work and be a success. I was wrong. My brother, my dad and I went out to a big Supermercado, I am not sure which one, it might have been the Super 99. We found a Butterball Turkey, (which had the expiration date listed as Noember of 1997) These turkeys were probably the left over Thanksgiving turkeys from the US! We also found some Ocean Spray cranberry sauce. We brought it back to the farm and Nebur went to town cooking up that bird. My Tía Elia baked some amazing bread and we had a most memorable feast. I couldn't believe how wonderful everything tasted. What a meal.

I will post pictures later. I think I have them at school.

Happy Thanksgiving all of you!


OH NO!!! We have been invaded by ants in our kitchen. Can you believe it - the day before Thanksgiving??? Actually, they came several day ago but today is the worst. The pest control people are here as I type - thank goodness that they could make it out before we do all of the actual cooking. I want no "special ingredients" in my food!!!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Getting Ready for Thanksgiving

Turkey Dinner

I love Thanksgiving. I love having everyone over and spending time together. My aunt and uncle and cousins always drive up for the special day. This year will be extra special because we have a new addition to the family - my cousin's new wife. They were married this summer. How fun!

My favorite Thanksgiving food is fresh cranberry relish. I love that stuff! I have to admit that I hate sweet potatoes and pumpkin pie - not my kind of thing.

I can't wait for everyone to start showing up - FUN, FUN, FUN!!!

The Single Life

I have to admit that I did something I thought I would never do. I signed up on one of those online dating places. Why? The obvious reason I guess. I rarely go out and have the chance to meet other people. I work with mostly women – the men there are all married with the exception of one who has been divorced now 3 times (not interested in going there!) I have heard many people tell me about their success stories online so I thought what do I have to lose?

The online dating world is a strange thing. Here are my thoughts:

1) I didn’t realize that there were so many different online dating companies. I also didn’t think that there would be so many people signed on to so many of them. (I guess that I also didn’t realize that there were so many desperate people out there!)
2) Did you know that on many of these sites you have to pay to use the site freely? One of the sites I visited was actually free. The people on there were crazy looking too. I mean there were pictures up there with people who I would be afraid to run across at night – heck – they would scare me in broad daylight. They were very scary looking, the posted pictures looked like WANTED posters! The sites that are not free have much more normal looking people.

Needless to say, I didn’t pay the money and join up. I am not about to spend anything on dating yet. That just makes me feel too desperate and I can’t rationalize spending money that way.

3) What do you do if you don’t pay? Not a whole lot. You can look around the profiles but you can’t receive any mail from people that read your profile and e-mail you. It is dangled in front of you though with the reminder that you can read it if you pay! The one thing you can do is receive Instant Messages from people who see you online at the time you are on.

4) What, if anything, is true? I really couldn’t tell you. Who knows? Are people posting real pictures of themselves? Why are picture posted at all – does it really matter what you look like?
5) An experience: I was Instant Messaged on Sunday and I didn’t respond – I chickened out. Today I was instant messaged again. WHY did I respond this time? Here is the synopsis of the guy who Im’d me: Supposedly lives in NY but in London on business. (I guess I am supposed to be impressed) He wasted no time in telling me that “enjoyment without a woman is like working in the dark.” (How corny!) Come on, it is just like going out to a club - Weird.

Being single is definitely awkward. Lots of married people or people who are in relationships tell me “thank goodness that I am not single – it is rough out there.”

Gee thanks! Tell me something I don’t know!

Monday, November 21, 2005

This is the Life!!!

Today truly feels like a vacation day.

I started off by dropping Sabi off at school and went directly to the dentist office for a check up. I was done by 9:00. I called a friend who lives close by and went over to her house to gossip and drink coffee for a while. Then I headed out for the gym. What an amazing thing it is to go to the gym at your own leisure and not in a mad dash trying to fit the time into your busy day. After the gym, I stopped by the supermarket and picked up a fresh loaf of bread, some sliced turkey and cheese and a bag of sugar peas for lunch. I am now at home enjoying a great lunch, I feel SO relaxed and have not one thing that I HAVE to do. The great thing is that I can stay just like this until it is time to go back and pick up Sabi.

What a life - I am loving it!

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Hanukkah on the brain!


I teach Sunday School to fourth and fifth graders each week. Today in addition to our regular course of study we practiced some songs that we will sing for our Hanukkah celebration late in December. It is a good thing that we did most of our study for the day before the singing because these kids lost their minds. The mere thought of Hanukkah got them VERY excited!!!

Not to be outdone by the big kids, Sabi has already started her Hanukkah list! Oh boy ...

Lucky me - this year, Hanukkah starts on December 25. That means that if I can hold out, I can get after X-mas day deals on Hanukkah gifts!!! Yes!

Saturday, November 19, 2005

History ALMOST repeats itself

Book 4

We saw Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire today. Before I continue though I have to begin with some family history.

When I was young, probably about 4 or 5, my mom took me to see Charlotte's Web. It was a double feature playing with Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. (The orginal and best version, of course) Anyway, this was a big deal for my mom to take me to see Charlotte's Web. My mom does not like cartoons and was holding out for Willy Wonka. She was very excited for Willy Wonka to start. We didn't get to see too much of it though because I apparently got very scared at the beginning of the movie. I think it was probably when the chocolate factory was introduced. Well, I made my mom take me right out of that theater and that was the end of the movie and the beginning of the famiily story about how I got scared and had to leave the theater. How many times has that story been told around here? Too many for me to mention!

Back to Harry Potter...
Sabina, my mom and I have seen all of the Harry Potter movies to date together. We have read all of the books and then eagerly awaited the movies. I wasn't sure if I should take Sabina to see this movie because it was rated PG -13. I didn't know if she could handle it. After much thought and discussion with her I decided that she could go. She knew the whole story inside and out and knew just what to expect. She also knew that Harry would make it out alive. I even teased her saying "ok - don't make me take you and then try and tell me that you want to leave in the middle of the movie." What a mean mom!

Sabina did a super job of handing the movie. Not only was she ok with the movie but she was telling me the names of the chapters and reminding me about some parts that I had forgotten as the movie progressed. Life was great and beautiful until the third task. I knew right away that there was a problem when Sabina asked to go to the bathroom for the 3rd time in the movie. This girl NEVER goes to the bathroom during a movie. It was then that I realized that it was an escape trick. We ended up watching a good portion of the rest of the movie in the hallway right below the seats. I could see the movie and Sabina could hear it. When Lord Voldemort came out though she just lost her mind. Bad mother that I am, I just told her to hold on to me and she would be fine. When I felt something wet on my waist I knew we had problems. Sabina was crying because she was scared. I had to regroup with Sabina. I really wanted to see this movie. I mean I REALLY WANTED TO SEE IT! I took a deep breath and told her that we could leave. As it turned out, at that very moment, the third task was over and Harry escaped Lord Voldemort. Sabina decided that she could handle the rest of the movie. Once we sat down, the poor thing apologized to me and said that she was sorry that I missed the movie. Let me tell you, I felt rotten! I of course told her that she was fine, not to worry about me and asked her again if we should go. She was ok though and we saw the rest of the movie.

I was feeling pretty terrible today after the movie. I knew that it was going to be ok though when Sabina started telling me about how she was going to tell everyone at school about how she got to go see Harry Potter 4 as soon as she got to school on Monday. She also mentioned how she was going to tell her friends that her mom was scared of movies when she was little but that she could handle going to the movies and staying. I DESERVED THAT ONE - LET ME TELL YOU!

My movie review:
This is my very favorite of all of the books in the series. I of course think that the book is far superior to the movie. I also was IMMENSELY disappointed that Winky, the house elf was not in the movie. She played a pretty big part in the book. That being said, all in all, the movie was quite good. All of the kids are growing up and were very enjoyable to watch. My favorite line from the movie and form the book is at the end when Dumbledore says something to the effect of
the time has come Harry to choose between what is right and what is easy." How true...


Oh - and if you take kids with you, pull them out as soon as they get scared. Learn from me!!!

By the way - Here is a very cool Harry Potter link that I found today:

Book 4

Book 4 - Printed in Spain

Today we are going to try to go see Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. It is the fourth in the series of books and movies. It is my FAVORITE of all the HP series. We did not pre-order our tickets online because I am too cheap to pay $1 a ticket for the privilege of buying my ticket onine! We are going to get there 1/2 hour before the movie starts. Hopefully that will be enough time. I can't wait....

Friday, November 18, 2005

Little Bro!

Ruben -  2nd Grade Class Visit

Nebur talking to my class several years ago about what being a lawyer is all about.
My brother Nebur is a really good guy. Today I had time to reflect about the many good things he has done for me, members in my family and our friends. He has really come through for us.

Thanks little brother. You ROCK!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Last Day

Today was the last day of Intersession. Intersession is a remedial type of class that we teach during our off track time. This time it was only 8 days long. The kids come at 8:30 and leave at noon. In November I usually review all of our previously learned concepts. We reviewed compound words, mulitple meaning words, synonyms, antonyms, sentence formation and the very hard 2 digit addition with regrouping. I can proudly say that all of the kids who came for intersession - all 15 of them, have mastered 2 digit addition with regrouping. YEAH!

This Intersession I wove the theme of Thanksgiving into our curriculum. We also read the book Thanksgiving on Thursday together. I bought 15 books to use for this class out of the Scholastic book order last month. As a special treat, today as we wrapped up the story, I told the kids that they could keep the books. They were thrilled! I have a feeling that for most of the kids, it is probably their very first chapter book.

Turkey Patch

Today we also did an art project. We made I'm Thankful For.... Turkeys. First we talked about what it meant to be thankful. Then we brainstormed ideas about what the kids were thankful for. I had to steer some of them away from answers such as "my new X-Box game" etc! Then the kids got six feathers. They had to write 6 complete and well written sentences on their feathers. After that, they cut out and decorated their turkeys. Then they decided to make some of theirs Native American Turkeys or Pilgrim Turkeys. (notice their hats!)

While I am glad to be done with intersession and ready to start my VERY short vacation, I am going to miss seeing the kids every day. I have such a WONDERFUL group of sweet and hardworking kids. I absolutely love my group of kids this year and don't want to even think about them leaving me in June.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Civic Duty

I am done with Jury Duty. There were two cases up for jury selection today. One in the AM and one in the PM. The AM case was resolved by 9:30 but we had to hang out and see if they could get the PM one started earlier. We waited until 11:15 or so. We were then told to go to lunch and come back at 1:15. At 2:11 we were told that the PM case had also been settled and we were free to go. What a LONG day! I spent the day reading my new book by Al Franken: The Truth: With Jokes and listening to my iPod. I heard the complete Alejandro Fernandez musical collection in honor of the concert that I will be missing tonight in Panamá.

Looking around at my fellow potential jurors I kept thinking of my dad. He would have labled most of them as "gentusa!" There were definitely some scary folks hanging out down there with me.

I have to say that I am glad that we were dismissed. I will officially start my vacation on Thursday and I really don't want to spend my very short vacation on jury duty.

There was a good thing that came out of this day - I got to spend time with my little brother Nebur. I met him at his office and we had a nice lunch together. Well, we had a nice time together - the food made me sick and the place smelled. (but that is another story...) Thanks for lunch little bro! :-)

Monday, November 14, 2005

Dumb,Stupid Luck!

Why is it that I NEVER win the lottery but I ALWAYS win the Jury Duty call? I am going in tomorrow! I had to get a sub to teach my intersession class (thanks Laurie!) and am going to have to miss out on $100 for a day of teaching. I will also have to drive to Turkey Town twice tomorrow as I will have to drop off Sabi and then go back to pick her up since the Courthouse in in MoTown. Blah!

More on this situation as the story devlops...stay tuned!


Alejandro Fernandez is performing tomorrow night in Panamá. He will be in Amador at the Figali Convention Center. How I WISH I could be there. Boo-hoo! How I wish that I would have know ahead of time. I might have tried to take my trip to Panamá now and work that into my schedule.

Try it!

I took the Color Quiz this morning. I attached the results. Some of it was true and some of it was a bunch of garbage.

Your Existing Situation:
Readily participates in things affording excitement or stimulation. Wants to feel exhilarated.
Your Stress Sources:
Wants to overcome a feeling of emptiness and of separation from others. Believes that life still has far more to offer and that she may miss her share of experiences if she fails to make the best use of every opportunity. She therefore pursues her objectives with a fierce intensity and commits herself deeply and readily. Feels herself to be completely competent in any field in which she engages, and can sometimes be considered by others to be interfering or meddlesome.
Your Restrained Characteristics:
Believes that she is not receiving her share--that she is neither properly understood nor adequately appreciated. Feels that she is being compelled to conform, and close relationships leave her without any sense of emotional involvement.
Feels cut off and unhappy because of the difficulty in achieving the essential degree of cooperation and harmony which she desires.
Circumstances force her to compromise and to forgo some pleasures for the time being.
Your Desired Objective
Needs a change in her circumstances or in her relationships which will permit relief from stress. Seeking a solution which will open up new and better possibilities and allow hopes to be fulfilled.
Your Actual Problem
The fear that she may be prevented from achieving the things she wants leads her into a relentless search for satisfaction in the pursuit of illusory or meaningless activities.
Your Actual Problem #2
Feels restricted and prevented from progressing; seeking a solution which will remove these limitations.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

I'm the Professional - Take My Word On It!

Today I found myself senselessly arguing with someone on the impact the NCLB (No Child Left Behind) has made on schools, teachers, kids, parents etc...


Here is the problem:
The person I was speaking to is not an educator. He is a business man. I will call him Mr X. He has no clue about the "real world" of education. He just knows what he has heard on the radio and TV, or what others have told him. To be fair, he is a well educated and well read person. He actually is a pretty nice guy too.

Well This is Actually How it Happened:
I was talking to a parent of a child in school. Mr. X overheard our conversation and invited himself in on our conversation and started trying to explaing NCLB to me. TO ME!!! PLEASE!!!

My Issues With Mr. X:
1) First of all - don't just jump into my conversations!
2) Don't try and tell me, someone in the field, what is going on in my field.
3) I am a professional - I am an educator - I know what I am doing and saying. If I say something is happening a certain way take my word on it.

Issue #3 really burns me up. I think that a lot of my frustration with Mr. X was because he didn't really take what I said at face value. This happens a lot with teachers I think. So many people pass judgments on us because from where they are standing there are always easy solutions to the problems in education. I have to also admit that I get most irritated at business men and women (actually no business women have ever pissed me off but I am trying to be gender neutral here!) who think that they can solve the problems in education like they do in business. It is not the same!

We teachers (most of us at least) work very hard each and every day. In addition to our class time duties, we take work home, go to a lot of professional development on a regular basis, read many professional journals and theory manuals to keep current and strive to be the best we can be. I would bet that we put in just as many or even more hours than other professionals do. I know that from the outside it looks like we have the cushiest job ever. However, we really do work just as hard as other professionals.

Maybe I have turned this post into a somewhat incoherent rant. What is my bottom line?
Respect me and other teachers as the professionals that we are.

We really do know what we are talking about.

Take our word on it!

Jury Duty

I have been summoned for Jury Duty on Tuesday. I HATE serving on Jury Duty! I belive in the system but don't want to be called up anymore. I have already served on two juries. The first one involved two brothers who beat each other up and the second involved a man who beat up his wife. How depressing!
I am hoping (praying) that I will not be called in. If I am called on , I am hoping that it will be for a highly publicized case that indirectly involves me because it directly impacted my place of work and my daughter's school. That would mean that I would be dismissed from the case. (At least it gives me a pretty good darn chance of getting dismissed)
Why is it that I talk to people who have never been summoned for Jury Duty and I get called in every 2 years to the day almost???
Cross your fingers for me!

Wednesday, November 09, 2005


I went to the gym tonight. It has been a LONG time since my last workout session. So much time had passed that I had been kicked out of the FitLinxx system. I had to go find one of the trainers and ask them to put me back in the system. How embarrassing! "Um, hi, I haven't been here in about 2 months. Would you please get me current with the machines?" Then of course I had to hear all of the Where were you ,Is everything ok, What took you so long to come back questions. GROAN!

I was pleasantly surprised to see that in my absence all of the treadmills had been replaced with some new state of the art Cybex treadmills (1o, I think) that are directly linked to the FitLinxx program. Two new eliptical machines also made their debut at the gym since my last visit. YIPPEE! I had fun on both of these machines going for 20 minutes on each. I will have to work on getting my times up on both but that was a nice start for my comeback.

There is now a new class for kids at the gym. Sabi started her class today. She is taking tumbling. She thinks it is fun and loves it. It is free for members - I love it!!!

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Election Day Thoughts and Observations

Equality in Voting?
I was in two different Polling Stations today. One of them was at the school (a very, very low income neighborhood) that I work at and the other one was at my polling place. ( a high end middle class to wealthy neighborhood)
When I went to my polling place, my ballot went through a scantron machine. I don't remember this fancy contraption at the polling place at my school. Is it possible that every polling place is not the same? If so...why? I hope that I am rembering incorrectly.

From the Mouths of Babes:
One of my Intersession kids walked in this morning and right away he came over to me and eagerly asked "Ms.___, have you voted today?" I told him that I hadn't but that I would as soon as I was done working for the day. I asked him if his parents had voted and he told me sadly that they were not allowed to vote because they "don't have papers." He then excitedly told me how much he wished that he could vote. He said that his plans are to get his own "papers" so that when he turns 18 he can go out and vote. I LOVE IT!!! I just know that I am going to remember this little boy every election day to come. By the way, this kid is so darn smart that I may even end up voting for him in an election one day. I can't wait!

Future Voters of America:
At our morning break, I walked my students down to the Polling Place and asked the ladies running the show there if my students could walk around and see a Live Polling Place in Action. Not only did they allow us in but they ever so kindly explained the entire process of coming in to vote in a very informative way for my students. These ladies were so sweet and warm. On our way out they gave my "Jr. Voters" an "I Have Voted" sticker. The kids were so proud. We then went out to the playground where they bragged about going to the "place where grown ups get to vote" and recounted their experiences as many times as the other kids would let them.