Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!
What a long day! School was a waste of time today. The kids couldn't focus because they were too excited about Halloween. I was glad when the bell rang.

This evening, I took Sabi to the Mall for a Halloween Dance Party.
My Plum Fairy
We were really looking forward to it. Sadly, it was not at all what we expected. The even was held outside in a small area. It was cold and crowded. The kids ended up eating dinner in the food court and then we headed over to our house to Trick or Treat.

It is dark early now so we started Trick or Treating around 6:00. We went to about 15 houses or so and then called it a night. Sabina had some homework to do so we had to make sure that got done.

The best house we went to was our neighbor's house.
Creepy House
When she decorates for Halloween, she goes ALL OUT!!!
Lots of kids came here
She hasn't decorated in a few years so I was excited to go by and check her out tonight. IT is funny that she did decorate this year because I just wrote about something funny over on Xolo's blog that happened at her house a few years ago when she last decorated.

Here is the story from a few years ago:

I was taking my Sabi and her friend around the block trick or treating. The girls were too scared to stop at my neighbor's house because it was done up in a huge and scary way for Halloween. (music, grave stones, fog, life size witch at the front door) We actually had to cross the street because they didn't want to get too close.

Well, along came 3 or 4 high school boys WAY too old to be trick or treating. They were swearing and being loud and rude. We watched them walk up to the door of the scary looking house. They were talking trash all of the way up to the door about how the decorations weren't scary. Well, they arrived at the front door and started talking about the life size witch. To their surprise, (and mine) the life size witch was our neighbor! She cackled at them and these tough guys screamed so loudly and started to run. It was the funniest thing I have ever seen!!!

Happy Halloween Everyone!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

This one CRACKED me up!

Today was crazy hair day at school. I put my hair up in two pigtails.


Student: "Ms. V., you know who you look like with your hair like that?"

Me: "No, who"

Student: "You know on Mexican TV, the show where they have that is like a pretend school?"

Me: "What?"

Student: "You know, the one where the ladies have their hair like yours and they wear little, tiny skirts and little, tiny tank tops and they pretend that they are students?"

Me: (flabbergasted!) "Oh, yeah, that show"

Student: "So that is what you look like. Well, except you don't have the little, tiny skirt or the little tiny tank top."

I can't remember the name of that show as I have never watched it but I have seen the ad for that show about a gazillion times. I knew exactly what this little girl was talking about. It was all I could do to not laugh when she told me. Too funny...

btw...What is SHE doing watching that show???

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Parent Conferences

Parents conferences have gone well thus far. In all honesty though, I think that I have been overwhelming parents with so much paperwork at conference time that they haven't been able to process everything yet. Here are some of the highlights from the conferences so far:

Parent 1: After being told about the new grading system (more on that here) the parent told me "You mean to tell me that my son has to be above average in order to pass?

Me: "Yes"

Parent 1: "But that doesn't make any sense!"

Me: No it doesn't, does it?"

Parent #2 : This parent was very worried when she saw that her daughter was working below grade level and asked me about the possibility if her daughter having me again next year. (She was already planning on her being retained) I told her that her daughter would most likely not be retained and that our system in the U.S. is different from the system that she is accustomed to in Mexico where if you don't pass the end of year test you don't go on tho the next grade. She was astounded by that information and couldn't believe it.

She then went on to ask me why we don't group kids by classes according to their skill levels. She again, very humbly, told me that in her opinion grouping kids that way would be easier for us to teach and for kids to learn. ( I agree!)
On a lighter note...

ELD Jack 1

Here is a photo of a pumpkin that my ELD class decorated today as a group. Tomorrow we will interactively write a paragraph about how we made our Jack -o-Lantern using transition words. (first, next, then,last) FUN STUFF!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

The Count Down Begins...

I have 8 days left before I track off. I hope that I make it too! This is what is coming in the next 8 days:
1) 20 parent-teacher conferences: Each will be at least 20 minutes long. I have to review our new standards based report card, a parent teacher contract, class work and a special report card for all of my 17 English leaners. (A report on their proficiency in English) I also of course have to save time to answer any questions and concerns the parents might have. I am feeling sorry for the parents right no because I will be bombarding them with too much information as it is.

2) A Class Performance: 6 Kids will perform an adaptation of Henry and Mudge and the Starry Night and 7 will perform and adaptation of Frog and Toad Together. THe remaining 7 will do a Fall poetry reading.

3) Carnival: My grade level will be working 3 booths. This is occuring on the very last day that we track off. Who wants to work then?

4) A Buy Back Day - On SATURDAY too! :-(

5) Halloween Party: This should be fun and easy but I have to prepare the house for it!!!

6) Halloween: Sabina and her friends will meet at the mall for a Halloween dance celebration and then go out in the neighborhood to trick or treat.

Did I mention that Halloween is on a school day and that we track off on the following day? Two crazy kid days....Help!

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Friday, October 20, 2006

Corn Maze

The Maze

Last night Sabi and I met up with friends at the Funworks Corn Maze. We had a blast. First we ate and the kids played arcade games. Then we got lost in the HUGE maze.

Which Way do we go???

After about and hour of wandering we asked one of the maze workers to show us out. That maze was crazy!

Sabi and Kelly

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Important Info

This week my student teacher and I realized that not only do some of our students not know how to spell their last names, they don't even KNOW their last names! On top of that...they don't know important stuff like their birthdate, address and phone number.

How can this be? I had Sabi learn this info at 3 years old. I made up some hokey song with all of that info, she learned it and I felt better about her safety. It is EASY to do!

One of our class assignments for this coming week will be to study all of the above mentioned important personal info. I will turn it into a quiz for each student. I will keep giving the kids the test until they memorize and master ALL of that info. I can't let that just go untaught and unmastered. It is too important.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Thanks Circle K!

Today I was suffering from a sweet tooth. I decided to treat my serious situation on my lunch break with a quick trip to Circle K. When I walked in to the store, I was greeted by all of the employees. Actually, I was ribbed by them. I used to be a frequent coffee purchasing, morning customer. I think I haven't been there in over a year.

The manager rung me up and asked if I was still a teacher. I said yes. He then asked how many students I have. I told him 20. He then told me to hang on and he went in his office to grab something. The "something" that he had for me was a big box of flourescent Circle K pencils that say "Because we care about your education." Wow! I told him that pencils were like gold in a classroom!

When I got back to class, I shared the pencils and story with my students. They were thrilled! We then went straight into an Interactive Writing lesson and wrote a letter of thanks to Circle K.

Yay pencils! Yay Circle K!

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Is this acceptable to you?

Last night we dined at one of our favorite places to eat, The Macaroni Grill. Sabi was thoroughly enjoying the Kids Menu and all of the activities and jokes that were in it. Here is one of the jokes from the menu:

Q: Why does the Mexican weather report make you hungry?

A: It's "chili" today, Hot Tamale!

What do YOU think of this joke?

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Grades Suck!

I am currently in the process of completing report cards for my students. I have to grade them on a 1-5 system that is equivalent to the end of year scoring on the state exam.

1=Far Below Basic
2=Below Basic

Here is the catch...the only two grades that are acceptable, or passing are a 4 or a 5. With NCLB you CAN'T BE AVERAGE! YOU HAVE TO BE ABOVE AVERAGE!!!

I have a BUNCH of kids who are hard working, average students. Their work is what is considered grade level average in the 70-79% range. Now, with this new report card, I have to mark them as not being at grade level. It sucks!

I am NOT looking forward to parent conferences. I can only imagine how the parents will react. Ugh!

Friday, October 13, 2006

Happy Birthday Lil Lobo!

Happy Birthday Lil Lobo!

My baby brother is turning 28 tomorrow. Wow...

Happy Birthday little bro!

Kids Say the Darnedest Things!

Student: "Ms. V. I can't wait to get home!"

Me: "Why?"

Student: "My cousins are there."

Me: "Oh, are they visiting from somewhere?"

Student: "Yeah, from Idaho."

Me: "Really! Will they be visiting for a long time?"

Student: "Yeah...my aunt is going to stay until she gets her feet back on."
(back on her feet)

Thursday, October 12, 2006

A New Twist to Columbus Day Teaching

Teaching Tolerance Magazine put out a CD/Song book a few years ago FOR FREE! One of the songs in the book is a song about Columbus. It is a much different perspective than what has been taught in schools in the past. See the lyrics here.

Order the CD/Songbook for FREE here.

Christopher Columbus Day Thoughts

I found this old SNL skit that touched on the subject of Christopher Columbus Day. It is funny! The video is kind of grainy and the Columbus Day part is at the very end but it is well worth the wait!
Posted By:jeff

Get this video and more at MySpace.com

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The New Blogger

I am LOVING the new Beta Blogger. It is SO much easier to post and add things to your blog. I can also add labels to my posts and I can write private posts or set up passwords for my semi-private posts. How cool is that???

I am working on my "new blog look." Sabi's blog has had a face lift too!

Just what I needed... something else to keep me glued to the computer!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

More Tales From the Classroom...

One of my students is on a Daily Report. Daily Reports are for kids who need daily communication with parents due to behavioral challenges. Today, Daily Report student had an exceptionally amazing day. When school was over, she went behind my desk, found my daily report notebook and walked it over to me with a HUGE grin on her face. She knew that she would be getting a good note. This was our conversation:

"Teacher, you forgot to write my note. What are you going to write?"

I said "I don't know. What do YOU think I should write?"

She said "You should say _____ is a cute girl. She is very beautiful and her clothes are pretty too. She was the best kid in the whole of our school today. The end."

I said "What about if I say " ________ behaved wonderfully in class and at recess today. She completed all of her work on time, was respectful of herself and others and was a very good citizen. Good work ______!"

She said "I guess that is ok."

She took her note and walked out. About 30 seconds later she ran back, gave me a hug and said "Ms. V, you are the cutest teacher in the whole school!"

I love days like these!

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Good Bye Rabbi Graudenz

Rabbi Graudenz

Yesterday morning, my Rabbi passed away. He has not actually been my Rabbi for many years since he retired a while back. I will always think of him as "my Rabbi" though. Rabbi Graudenz was such a wonderful man. He was the Rabbi at my synagogue when my family started our journey with Judaism. He never once pushed us or pressured us to convert. Instead, he embraced us as part of his family as if we had been there from the beginning. We shared many good times with Rabbi G.

Rabbi Graudenz left Modesto a few years back to live closer to his daughter. He developed Alzheimer's. My family and I kept talking about going up to visit Rabbi G but we never got around to it. On Wednesday afternoon I found out that Rabbi G had been admitted to the hospital with pneumonia. I knew that we had to leave at that moment to see him. When my brother and I arrived at the hospital, the Rabbi was not able to recognize us or interact with us. I was able to hold his hand though and feel some sort of connection. Then an amazing thing happened. Another friend from my synagogue was there. He started singing "David Melekh." The Rabbi joined in. I couldn't believe it. It was that familiar scratchy but vibrant voice from the past. I was singing once again with my Rabbi! During my visit, the Rabbi somehow sang a few more songs here and there. It was incredible. I am so happy to have had those last few moments with him.

He will be missed.

More on Rabbi Graudenz
here. (From Nebur's blog)

Friday, October 06, 2006

And now... A Public Health Announcement

We have been studying about Germs, Nutrition and Health this past month. One of my students was so inspired about the topic of germs that she went home and wrote up a little essay. I typed it up exactly as it was written.
Grems Story by AV

1rst Paragragh
Grems are everywhere. Grems are on the world. They can be even on you! Mucus is in youre moth, throt and in youre nose. Mucus caches grems. Mucus is sticky to catch grems.

2nd Paragragh
Befor you eat, wash youre hands. Because you have grems on youre hands. And plus use liquid soap to wash youre hands. The bare soup has a jerms on the bake.

3rd Paragragh
Grems are even in the bathroom. And in youre baby brothers and sisters diper. And in slober. If you wash your hands all the time you are healthy. Are you learning about germs?

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Summer is OVER!

We went from hot weather to cool weather here in the valley in a flash. One day it was sunny and warm and the very next day - very cool! It was like it came out of nowhere. We had some rain too.

We had several events that we had to attend this weekend that required dressing up. I had to dig around in my closet to find my cold weather clothes. I went to do the same with Sabi and everything that I pulled out was too small. EVERYTHING! I ended up sending the poor child in a fancy pink sleeveless dress with a too tight white sweater and too small sandals with her toes hanging out.

As Dragon says "Time to go shopping!"