Monday, October 31, 2005

Burning Up

My daughter has been fighting a fever since Friday night. I took her in to see the Dr. yesterday. She was given antibiotics and is continuing with the Motrin. I hate this fever! It is so stressful to watch her burning up and not be able to do anything about it. I also hate watching the clock in between Motrin intervals. I was told that it could take several days for the fever to go away.

How was my mom able to handle the stress of kids being sick? She had three of us! I know that this time next week life will be different. Right now though it is just dreadful.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Smashing Pumpkins

Our beautiful pumpkins are history. I came home yesterday to find the pumpkins that we carved and left in front of the house in a different state than we left them. "Jack" appeared to have been smashed. Upon further inestigation it was clear that Jack had not been stepped on - he caved in! Poor Jack rotted away.
Jack - In happier times.


Jack - On his last day with us:

Sad Jack

Our Kitty Pumpkin was in no better shape.

Drooling Kitty

Kitty pumpkin looked like he was drooling because he had lots of liquidy pumpkin juice coming out of his mouth. He even grew moldy hair in his ears. Our other pumpkin, "Loco" looked great on the outside but on the inside he was full of some nasty mold.

The three pumpkins found their way into the green recyling bin. That is the end of our pumpkins for this year.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

I have been away from my students for 2 days at a workshop. This morning I came back and wanted to discuss Rosa Parks’ life and legacy with the kids. I wanted to tie it in with our writing practice.
Usually, I teach about Rosa Parks around her birthday in February. This year though, with the death of Rosa Parks this week, I chose to do it early. No one really knew who she was. Here is what I got:

-She was a slave
-She was Martin Luther King Jr.’s wife
I read several books and answered questions. Then the kids were asked to write about Rosa Parks. Here is a sampling of what I got: (I kept the spelling and grammar as it was written)

1) Rosa Parks yego muy cansada del trabajo y no la dejaron quedarse con su silla en el autobus porque tenia la piel negra. Ella no quiso dar su silla al hombre y la yevaron a la carcel. Rosa Parks se murio esta semana. La recordamos mucho porque era muy Buena.

2) Rosa Parks was a very nice and brave person. One day Rosa Parks sat on the bus and a white man said stand up and she said no. The bus driver called the police and she got arrested. When she was arrested her husband came to get her out. She had to go to court and pay fourteen dollars. She did not pay it because she didn’t think it was fair to pay. It is important to remember Rosa Parks because she helped to change the bad laws. Rosa Parks died when she was 92 years old on October 24th on Monday. She was a brave lady because she was helping us all to have freedom.
3) Rosa Parks was an old lady. She helped us learned how to be brave and smart. She is not alive anymore. She died.
When we write in class there are always a handful of kids who fight me on it because it is difficult and challenging for them. Today I had no arguments. The kids were so engaged and interested in the topic that I guess they were motivated enough to not argue today.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Guest Blogger - My Auntie!

My Aunt Margie is a wonderful teacher. Here is a letter she drafted to the Los Angeles Times today. Let's see if it gets printed. Remember... you read it here first! :-)
October 26, 2005
Dear Editor of the Times: In your headline, "Study: Parents Not the Key to Pupil Success", you neglected to add the essential ending, “On Standardized Tests”. It is not student success and achievement we measure each May, but success and achievement on fill-in-the-bubble, multiple choice tests. As a veteran teacher, I have learned that student success on annual testing depends as much on student savvy with that form of test taking as on knowledge of subject matter. My first experience with giving such a test was enlightening. I believe in using real-life materials as much as possible in my classroom. Hence, I had always used real money in my math lessons. At test time, I discovered that some students who were able to count money and make change didn’t recognize the little drawings of coins on the test. Other students who wrote well didn’t pick the right bubble showing punctuation. Yet other avid readers weren’t engaged in the short contrived paragraphs and questions.
If I want to know if my students have met learning goals of state standards, I use real assessments. If I want to know how children read, I listen to them read and evaluate their fluency and comprehension. If I want to know how children write, I read and evaluate their writing. If I want to see success and achievement on standardized tests, that is an entirely different matter.
Oh, and parents: You really do matter. Perhaps your role isn’t so important on standardized tests, but your involvement in your child’s whole learning makes a difference in school achievement. More importantly, it makes a huge difference for your child as a life-long learner. As a teacher, I say thank you to parents who encourage and assist their children as real learners.


Margaret Davis
Grace Miller School
La Verne, CA


Yesterday and today I have been away from school at a school leadership workshop. The workshop actually had VERY useful information. The problem was that it had TOO MUCH information.

Really good workshops focus on a few great ideas and lots of practice so that when you go back to class you can apply all of your newly acquired skills. I was presented with so much information that I will go back to school and not be able to change one thing. There was so much thrown at us that I can't even remember what we were taught yesterday.

I almost feel as if I have wasted two whole days away from my needy students. How can I get those days back??? I can't!

Monday, October 24, 2005

Concert Tickets

Andrea Bocelli tickets just went on sale today for a show in Fresno on December 11th. The cheapest tickets are going for $55. What the heck? I remember going to see some concerts way back in the college days. Al B. Sure, and New Edition and Rob Base one time and then Bobby Brown, BBD and Karen White another time. I don't think I paid more than $30 each time.

I just about had a fit paying the $60 to go and see Alejandro Fernandez, Marc Anthony and Chayanne in concert this past August. I probably wouldn't have done it if I hadn't been guilted into it either. I guess that it also helped that I am a bit infatuated with that gorgeous man too! (A.Fernandez, not Marc Anthony...PLEASE!) I am SO glad that I went but come on... who has the money to do this on a regular basis.

I absolutely LOVE Andrea Bocelli but I will have to pass on the concert tickets. I think I will just get all of my Andrea Bocelli CD's out on December 11th, get a nice hot cup of coffee and a good book and hang out on the couch with a good book.

My Favorite Subject

I have been thinking about something for a while now that I have been wanting to post. I want to write about one of the subjects that I teach - ELD. (English Language Development) I don't have the time to write now because I am off to take the little one to gymnastics class.

I have a question for all of you other teachers out there in blogland: Are you teaching ELD at your schools? In California it is a requirement that all kids who are English Learners receive ELD instruction on a daily basis. I know however that it isn't happening.

I will write more about this FAVORITE subject of mine later this week.


Saturday, October 22, 2005


Today was ok - not the great day I thought it would be but not the worst either.
Breakfast: We went to breakfast with my brother Nebur. Mimi's was the location. I don't really enjoy eating breakfast foods. But I do enjoy getting a chance to hang out with him.
The best thing about breakfast: Working together as a family to help Sabina find all of the items on the Kid's Menu picture on the Find It picture part of the Menu.
The worst thing about breakfast: The corned beef hash - YUCK. Don't eat this nasty stuff ever!

Sabina and Jack

Pumpkin Patch: We went to a pumpkin patch close by. The corn maze was in bad shape. The corn had been run down by kids who have chosen not to take the path. It was so bad that yellow caution tape had been taped around the original path so people knew the right way to go. Pitiful!

Corn Maze

I went to take my daughter on a pony ride after that. The ponies were very cute. There were 6 ponies all hitched up to a contraption that went around in circles. My daughter loved the pony ride but I couldn't help but feel sorry for the ponies . What a dismal life - walking around in circles all day long and having kids jump on your backs. Poor things.

Birthday Party: We went to a birthday party for a little brother of my daughter's friend. It was held at Gym Stars. The kids go there for gymnastics class already so it was an extra fun treat to go there for a party. The party set up was great. The kids had the entire gym to themselves. There were 4 party facilitators to run the party. There were about 15 kids and about 20 adults. The kids ate pizza, of course, and the parents dined on Indian food catered from a local restaurant - YUMMY. I am considering this location for Sabina for next year.

What I didn't like about the party (and all other kid birthday parties): the socialization. I HATE, HATE, HATE meeting other parents and mingling with some of the ones that I know from the party circuit. Eventually I always get asked about what my husband does or some other relationship question. Then I have to say that I am not married, etc... I get two responses from this.

1) I get the direct and personal questions: Does her dad ever see her? How come you are not with her dad anymore? How do you manage to do everything by yourself etc...

2) I get smiled at and then ignored as if I have some sort of disease. Really people, singledom is not catching!

Being single sucks sometimes. Heck - it is not cool a lot of the times.

The party was not a total wash though. The kids had a blast, as they should.

On the way home I stopped by Starbucks and got my standard Venti, nonfat, sugar free vanilla latte. Yummy! Life is not all that bad...

Friday, October 21, 2005

Odds and Ends

Parent Conferences:
I am DONE!!!!!!!!!
I had to reschedule one of the conferences several times. Today I had one for a student of mine who is frequently absent. As usual, he was absent today. I called the mom at lunch time to remind her of our meeting. (since she bailed on me several times already)
I said "I am just making sure that I will be seeing you this afternoon."
She said "oh...but ___________ is absent today."
I then said "yes, but that doesn't mean that you don't have to come, right?"
She said "oh, ok - I will be there." And she DID come. YES!!!

Today during my very last parent conference I had a parent ask me about appropriate websites and computer programs for her daughter to use at home to reinforce learned skills. I almost passed out! In my 12 years of teaching, I have NEVER been asked this question. Almost no one in our school's neighborhood has a computer. Yeah for progress!!! I didn't have a ready made list but I took the mom over to my computer and went down my list of favorites and had a list ready in no time!

Weekend Plans:
Not much - Just how I like it. I think I will take my daughter to the pumpkin patch. We will go through the hay maze, find a pumpkin, go for a hay ride and eat some apples. Maybe we will even make some applesauce. It will be a good mommy and daughter bonding day.
Hooray for weekends!!!

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Spelling and Journals

Every day my students write in their journals. The kids write great stuff in there. I don't know who has more fun: the kids when they write or me when I read. I have been meaning to write some of the cute stuff they write so I won't forget it. One of the interestingly spelled words that I came across this trimester was this:
I read, and re-read that over and over and then I got it. The little girl who wrote it was trying to tell me about her big sister's quinceañera coming up. The way she spelled it made perfect sense. That is how it sounds phonetically!

Wednesday, October 19, 2005


I successfully did 8 parent conferences today. All went well. I only have 7 more to go...

Tuesday, October 18, 2005


I have two more weeks to go until I track off of school. I have TOO much to do. I have to finish up 15 more parent conferences, write up an evaluation of my student teacher, be evaluated by my administrator, prepare for a sub for a two day workshop I will be going to, file report cards and progress reports, do reading assessments on all of my students, organize and follow through with a class fall presentation for parents etc......

It will not be over then. I will then start teaching Intersession. This is a summer school type of class for kids who are performing below grade level. It is a 9 day class. In addition to all of my other "to do's", I have to plan and prep for that. WHY do I always sign up for this craziness??? I must be nuts. Actually, I am a single mom - every little bit helps!

Why don't teachers get paid more? We do a LOT of work. A LOT OF WORK!!!

It has been a long day...can you tell???

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Sunday Morning

Today Sabina and her Bubbe (grandma) had a very good violin practice. I enjoyed listening to the music while practicing taking some shots with my new camera. Here they are:

Silly Pose:

October 2005 008

Serious Pose:

October 2005 010

Partners in Crime:

October 2005 011

You may wonder why I call these two partners in crime. Well...yesterday these two innocent looking ladies told me that they were going for a walk. They also told me that they were going to start walking everyday for a minimum of 20 minutes. Sabina and her grandma took off on their walk. I went to pick them up in the car about 20 minutes later since we were on our way to a dinner. I found them walking not far away form the house with a bag from the grocery store. I asked what was in the bag and they said "candy!" I of course had to give them a hard time about making a point to do something healthy and ending up at the store eating candy! Sabina then told me about all the plans that she had for future walks including stopping by to get hot chocolate one day during the walks! Oy vay!

Saturday, October 15, 2005

New Camera

I bought a new camera today to replace the stolen one. It is another Sony but it is much smaller than the old one. It is amazing how small cameras can be made. I opened it up and started playing with it after Sabi went to bed. I had no model to take pictures of so I had to snap pictures of my cat. The pictures are not so interesting - Sagwa was taking one of his many naps!

Sleepy Sagwa

Robbery Update

Bad News:
Nothing has happened yet as far as finding out who broke into and stole from my classroom.

Good News:
The school will be replacing all of the things that belonged to the school - laptop, jump drive, printer.

More Bad News:
The school will not be replacing any of my personal items that were stolen. I am on my way to Best Buy today to get a new digital camera. I can't live without one...

Friday, October 14, 2005

Thank Goodness!!!

This week I went to my daughter's parent-teacher conference. It was SO awesome. Her teacher really knew her stuff. I was presented with excellent work samples and very detailed assessments in both reading and in math. The teacher told me that my daughter was excelling academically but also told me some very important areas of needed focus for my daughter such as penmanship, working independently and slowing down when completing assignments to ensure correct answers instead of making careless mistakes.

I felt SO good after the meeting. I still do and two days have passed! I know that my daughter is being serviced appropriately at her level. What is even more important though is that I believe that this teacher truly appreciates my daughter for who she is and what she brings to the classroom. What a change from last year...!!!

Thank goodness for good teachers! :-)

Thursday, October 06, 2005

You Gotta Love It!

Caption malfunction? I don't think so!!!

I just found this photo online. I wish I could credit the source but I don't even remember which blog it came from. Thanks whoever you are out there in Blogland for this smile of the day!

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

I've been robbed

I came in to work this morning and something was not right. I am suffering from some sort of cold so I am walking around in a fog. That being said something was not right in the classroom. I then noticed what it was. My room was a mess. Things were tossed all over the place. The library was filled with books tossed all over the floor. My desk drawers were all open. Cabinets were open and the alarm wire was pulled out of the door. Papers were thrown all over the flooor in all parts of the room.

What was stolen: a laptop, a laptop bag with my jump drive and external floppy drive, a fridge, a printer, a digital camera, a brand new DVD/VCR still in the box that was waiting to be installed, my lesson plan book, teacher editions of class texts, a set of math tests that hadn't been corrected yet, all of my students progress reports. I am most concerned about student information that is lost as well as any personal information of mine that may have been taken.

My students had to put up with a messy room and district personnel and a police officer coming in and out of the room today during their instructional time.

Who does this kind of stuff??? Why???

Saturday, October 01, 2005


I bought my daughter a new computer game. It is actually an old game - Lemmings. I installed it for her and while doing so told her how I used to play the game with her uncles when I was younger. After the game was installed, I told her that I would play one game first so I could show her how the game is played.

My poor daughter NEVER got to play tonight. That "one" game turned into 45 minutes of Lemmings nostalgia and Lemmings fever. Then it was bedtime. (for her at least) I am going to install Lemmings on my computer right now. I hope I get to bed sometime before midnight...

They sure don't make games like they used to!