Wednesday, November 30, 2005
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
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
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
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
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
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!
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
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!!!
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
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
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
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...
GO AND SEE THE MOVIE!!!
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:
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
Thanks little brother. You ROCK!
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
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.
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
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
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.
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
WHY DID I ENGAGE IN THIS CONVERSATION????
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!
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 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
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.
Monday, November 07, 2005
Sunday, November 06, 2005
Teachers: As I have mentioned before, Sabi has a great teacher. I don't really remember how my teacher was. My mom has told me though that my teacher thought something was wrong with me becasue I coudn't decode. (I couldn't say take words apart by their letter sounds. ie: I coudn't see the word cat and say c-a-t) I was tested by the psychologist at the school and she informed my mom that I not only could read but that I could read very well. Did it really matter that I didn't know letter sounds in isolation when I was a good reader?
Uniforms: Thank goodness for uniforms. Did you really check out that ugly sweater/shirt I was wearing? It was a one piece 70's creation! I love the way my daughter and all kids look in their uniforms. My daughter argues with me about not wearing a uniform to school when we are shopping but when it comes to casual Fridays at school she always wants to wear her uniform even though she doesn't have to!
Grades: Sabi has received very good grades. She is working above grade level in several areas. The area that she needs to improve upon is penmanship. Me? I did the bare minimum. I was an underacheiver at the time. I was so underachieveing that my 3rd grade teacher told my mom not to expect too much from me in the future. (But that's another story...)
Teeth: Sabi has thus far lost only 1 tooth! From my messed up looking teeth, I must have lost several that year and the year before.
Language: I spoke English. I knew a little bit of Spanish but not anywhere enough to be able to hold down a conversation with anyone. Sabi on the other hand is quite bilingual. She is in a dual immersion Spanish program at her school. The majority of the academic day is held in Spanish. She is fluent in both oral and written Spanish. Hooray!
Thursday, November 03, 2005
Today is Panamá's Independence Day.
I will be going into Sabi's classroom to share this special day with her friends. Here is a picture of her last year in her Basquiña dancing to Al Tambor.
Here is a picture of me in my Pollera when I was about 8 0r 9 years old:
Here is a picture of me in the junior high years dressed as a Kuna Indian, one of the several native indian tribes in Panamá.
Lots of love to all my Panamanian friends and family here and in Panamá.