Friday, December 29, 2006

Stupid, Stupid, Stupid!

When I go back to school on the 8th, I will be on for 2 days and then I will have 3 days out of the classroom for AB466 math training. I will then have to be out of the classroom for 2 days the following week to finish off the training. I am SO unhappy about this for two reasons. The first reason is because I hate to miss school days for training. It is not easy to write sub plans. The kids are essentially on hold until I return. I hate that. The main reason that I am unhappy though is because the training is SO STUPID!!!! Here is a synopsis of what the training is:

AB466 Training

Participants study all components of the program and learn how each component of the program works together to create a complete, comprehensive program. In addition the participants learn scientific research behind the program as it relates to actual classroom practices.


Why is this dumb? It is dumb because we have been using our curriculum for the past 5 years already. WE KNOW WHAT WE ARE DOING!!! We are also very close to a new adoption as it is. The least they can do is wait for our new adoption when learning about our curriculum might actually be meaningful.

I had to take the AB 466 training about 5 years ago for the language arts program that we currently use. I was really excited about the training prior to the event. I had piloted the new materials and had a good chance to familiraize myself with the program. I was anxious to go and have my questions answered and get more info. I soon found out that I was not going to learn one thing from the training. The trainers told us on the first day that they hadn't even used the materials...can you believe it? As it turned out, I knew much more than the trainers did. I ended up bringing a lot of my own teacher created materials to share with the group. What a waste of time.

This training that is coming up will most likely be a waste of time. Due to the fact that we are a Program Improvement school though, we are forced to take the training. Apparently the lawmakers in California think that we teachers are so useless and unskilled that we need to waste our time this way. We are also losing big chunks of money by having to take this training. It costs a lot of money to train an entire school. Why can't lawmakers see that the money spent is going in the wrong direction? If they want to help children in Program Improvement schools, they should pour money into after school tutoring programs and parent/family education programs.

New Year's Eve

I used to get all excited about New Year's Eve. Back then, it meant getting dressed up, going out and having a fun time with friends.

Now, New Year's Eve is not so exciting anymore. Last year my friend Yolanda and I decided that if we had no better offers, we would go out together and bring the New Year in. We both got all dressed up, went out to dinner at Chevy's and then got tired around 9:30. We both went home around then and I can't even remember if I stayed up to see 2006 roll in.

What are my plans for tomorrow night??? None. I haven't planned on anything. Maybe I will go back to Chevy's with Yola. Maybe I will stay home...who knows.

What exciting things are you doing? Let me live vicariously through you!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Vacation is pure bliss!

Aside from starting my vacation with a cold, I am having a fabulous time doing absolutely nothing. It is great. My morning starts with enjoying my novelas in bed ... yippee! From there I just do whatever suits my fancy. Today, Sabina and I went out to Color Me Mine and then we went on to the Mudroom to have more painting fun! Tomorrow I might go in to school to organize my room for a while but I think that will be fun because I am bringing Ms. Sabi with me. On Friday I am planning a trip to San Jose to the Children's Museum and maybe the BIG MALL!!! I have no New Year's plans as of yet. Anyone know of anything exciting??? Let me know.

I can't believe that I still have one more week after this week. What fun!!!

I am loving my vacation y'all!

Too Much Truth is Painful...

When I became a parent I decided that I needed to be truthful to my daughter and tell her everything that she wanted to know, no hiding stuff. (In an appropriate way, of course) I have kept true to my word. Sabi however is not so happy that I have. Let me explain...

Last Friday night, Sabi asked me where babies came from. Inside I thought "oh man! I don't want to do this!" On the outside however, I kept my composure and matter of factly told her all of the details. She was quiet and then said "You could have tweaked that a little bit for me mom....GROSSS!!! EWWW!!!! Did you have to tell me everything???" All I could do was laugh!

Yesterday, she overheard me talking to my mom about my scheduled mammogram. Later, in private, she asked me what a mammogram was. Again, I told her. She asked "Do you have to, um, take off your, um clothes to do that???" I told her yes. She again said "EWW!" Then she went on to say that being a grown up is gross!

So much for honesty! :-)

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Enchilada Soup

Mom made Enchilada Soup yesterday. It was AWESOME!

YUMMY Enchilada Soup!

Here is the recipe:
1 T. Vegetable oil
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
1/2 cup diced onion
1 clove minced garlic
4 cups chicken broth
1 cup masa harina
3 cups water
1 cup enchilada sauce
1 pound Velveeta, cubed
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
shredded cheese
tortilla chips

Boil chicken in water. When cooked all the way through, drain water and shred. In a large pot, add oil, onions and garlic and sautee. Pour in chicken broth. In a medium bowl combine masa harina with 2 cups water and whick until blended. Add this to the large pot of chicken broth along with remaining water, enchilada sauce, cheese, salt, chili powder and cumin. Bring to a boil and add shredded chicken. Reduce to low heat and simmer for 30 minutes or until thickened.

Garnish with shredded cheese, sliced veggies of your choice and tortilla chips.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

For All of You Teachers Out There!

I just found this Christmas Song on my 2nd Grade Message Board... Enjoy!

Sing to the tune of Winter Wonderland

Children scream, they're not listenin'
When they go, we don't miss em,
In all of this pain, we try to stay sane,
Workin' in an elementary school.

Christmas comes, they're excited,
Though our nerves, they've ignited,
They're off of the walls,
They run in the halls,
Workin' in an elementary school.

In the lunchroom we can hear them yellin'
And we know that they are really wound.
Someone hits, the other says, "I'm tellin'"
And that is when our heads begin to pound.

Pretty soon we'll be restin'
Cause our nerves, they've been testin'
We're happy it's clear
It just comes once a year
Christmas in an Elementary school.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Monday, December 18, 2006

Happy Hanukkah!

Classroom Brr!

This morning I walked in my classroom and started my morning routine. (Turn on the lights, turn on the computer and check the lesson plans. I turned the light switch on and then I pushedd the start button on the computer. It was about then that I realized that it was FREEZING cold in my room. I went straight over to the wall unit to see what was going on. The unit was not working. Then I looked realized that my lights and computer were not on. Apparently, someone thought it would be really funny to turn off the power to my classroom. I teach in a portable and due to fire safety regulations, there must be an accessible, unlocked switch to turn all power off in the classroom on the outside. This means that anyone can turn off the power to my room at any time! Anyway, my neighbor teacher restored my power but was unable to restore the heat to my room. The heating unit was off for so long that it froze. It was 30 degrees in the room!!!!!

The principal moved us to a nearby, vacant room. We were in the vacant room for 2 and a half hours. That was no fun because the heater in that room worked but not very well. It was also no fun to have to go back and forth for materials all morning long.

After morning recess we came back to our room. It was nice to be back "home" but I still haven't warmed up yet. I can't wait to get home and take a scalding hot bath. I am frozen down to my bones!!!!!!!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Monday, December 11, 2006

Countdown to Hanukkah...4 Days...

Today we are changing up the genre of music - Enjoy!!! (Ha!)

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Hanukkah Countdown...5 more days!

I have been to several big name stores this weekend looking for some Hanukkah items. I don't really have to have anything new for Hanukkah but I always like to add a new Hanukkiah to my collection each year. NONE of the stores I went to with the exception of Bed, Bath and Beyond carried any Hanukkah items. To make matters worse, Many of the employees looked at me as if I were speaking a foreign language when I asked where their Hanukkah section was. Where is all of the Hanukkah stuff??? I guess that I will have to trek back out to Berkeley to indulge myself.

Today's holiday spirit video is one of Sabina practicing the song "Chanukah."

Hanukkah Countdown...6 more days

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Solo Day

Today was Solo Day. Sabi played very well. The song that she played was the Chorus from Judah Macabbeus.

To see the video, click HERE!
Two notes about this video:

1) I need to use a tripod if I am to continue taking videos with my camera.

2) I need to find a better place to "capture the moment"...it would be nice to remove all of the backs of people's heads as possible!!!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Happy 90th!

Grandmother
Today, my amazing grandmother turns 90. Wow! She is in wonderful health and in very good shape. Last weekend the entire family celebrated her birthday together with her on the day after Thanksgiving. Today, we will take her out to the McHenry Mansion for "A Dickens Christmas" mansion tour. After that, we will come back to our house for some warm soup and check out some old family slides.

Happy Birthday Grandmother! May you have many more to come!!!!

Friday, December 01, 2006

TGIF!

I love Fridays.

Fridays mornings are teacher treat days. Different teachers take turns bringing in food for the entire staff. We all meet up in the lounge before we start the day and eat a bunch of goodies.

Fridays are fun teaching days. We wrap up and review what we have learned during the week. Fridays are almost always test days. (spelling, dictation, vocabulary, story tests, AR and sometimes, math tests) I know that sounds like a lot but it really isn't that bad. My students really love tests too. (go figure!) To add to our Friday fun, we also have music class on this day. On Friday afternoons, we end the week off on a fun note. We either spend the last 30 minutes of the day playing academic games or we watch a movie based on something related to our curriculum. Today, we saw a Reading Rainbow episode based on a story on Chinatown since we just finished reading about Chinatown in our textbook.


My favorite part about Fridays though is lunchtime. After I drop off my second graders I run back to my class and quickly eat my lunch. Then I eagerly await the arrival of my former students, now big and bad third graders, to come and help me collate and staple homework packets for my students for the following week. I really miss these former students of mine. They were so much fun, they have such a great sense of humor and really loved learning. They were probably the best group of kids I have taught thus far.

Anyway, today as we were working I asked my weekly question: "So, what are you learning about this week in third grade?" They then told me about the academics of the week. Then I went on to ask "Is third grade a lot harder than second grade?" One of the boys told me "not really, everything is easy for me." (He isn't lying either - he is SO gifted!) Then he remembered a particularly challenging moment of the week and said "Except yesterday. Yesterday we learned something new and it really made me think too hard. I got a headache Ms. V. I had to think too hard." I smiled at him and said "That is great! We haven't done our job if we don't make you think hard while you are at school."

He went right back at me with "Well, then all of you teachers aren't doing your jobs very well because yesterday was the only day I ever had to think in all of my time in school!"

Kids say the darndest things!