Monday, December 31, 2007

Hip Hop Celebrity - Updated

Sabi's Hip Hop class is being taped live this morning for a local news show. We have to be there at 6:30 am for a live taping at 7:00 and then again a 8:00.

Here is the link to a video from the taping this morning.

Stained glass cookies

Stained glass cookies
Originally uploaded by msabcmom
Yesterday I made stained glass cookies. I was inspired by Chef Paz who made some recently.

The cookies are are procedurally fairly simple to make. You make a sugar cookie recipe, cut out shapes in the middle and then fill the cutouts with crushed hard candy. When the cookies cool, you have a sugar cookie with a hard candy center. The cookies and pretty to look at and tasty too.
Stained Glass Cookie

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Random Act of Kindness

My grandmother called me today after she went to church to check in. She said that after church was over she and a friend decided to go out to eat lunch at a nearby restaurant. When it came time to pay for the meal they were informed that their meals were covered by "that couple over there!" My grandmother said that she and her friend looked over at the young couple and didn't recognize them. Perplexed, they got up to leave and thank the couple but by the time they made it to the table, the couple was gone. My grandmother still doesn't know who did this for her but left with good holiday spirit as well as a full stomach!!!

That story made my day.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

I'm Spicy!

I saw this link over on Xolo's site. Go on...try it... it will spice up your life!

Your Score: Saffron

You scored 75% intoxication, 50% hotness, 75% complexity, and 25% craziness!

You are Saffron!

Those other spices have nothing on you! You're warm, smart, and you make people feel really good (and with no side-effects!). You can be difficult to get to know and require a lot of those who try, but you're so totally worth it. *Sigh*

Link: The Which Spice Are You Test written by jodiesattva on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the The Dating Persona Test

Second Night of Hanukkah

Another busy day. I haven't made it home yet. I'm at a tech class now and playing around!

Photo: Second Night of Hanukkah
by: Hotzeplotz

Video: Swinging Dreidel by Kenny Ellis.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Happy Hanukkah!

Happy Hanukkah!
Today was so busy and I thought Sabi and I would never make it home to celebrate Hanukkah. We finally got home around 7:30. My mom was busy with adjunct duty at school so we were expecting to not celebrate the first night with her. Miraculously, my mom got out early and came home at the same time we did. That was our Hanukkah miracle! We ended up having enough time to light the candles, watch them burn and even play dreidel!

Chag Sameach!!!

Gelt Melts by The Leevees

Gelt melts
Gelt melts
Gelt melts

Just because it looks like funny money
In your pocket it's chocolate runny
Heat's the enemy, it's not your friend
Golden coins melting in your hand

Everyone knows chicks love chocolate
Fires them up like a bottle rocket
Rip the tin off right away
I think you know what we're trying to say

You gotta get it while you can
'Cause it won't last long
We don't claim to understand
But we're not wrong
And your good thing will be gone

Gelt melts
Gelt melts
Gelt melts

Don't throw it at your baby brother
Better run now, here comes your mother
Comin' at you with a wooden spoon
Still covered with her chicken soup

Grandma's couch with the plastic coating
Fifty coins later, stomach's bloating
If goys can eat a chocolate bunny
Why can't we eat chocolate money?

You gotta get it while you can
'Cause it won't last long
We don't claim to have the answer
In this song
But your good thing will be gone

Gelt melts
Gelt melts
Gelt melts
Gelt melts

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Wax On? Wax Off?

Happy Hanukkah

I collect Hanukkiah's. (Hanukkah menorah's) I didn't mean to collect them but little by little, the collection grew. It is beautiful to see all of the hanukkiah's together when they are lit. The one thing I don't like dealing with though is the wax. In an attempt to save money on candles (I need a lot since I have so many hanukkiah's) I bought cheap candles instead of the dripless kind. WRONG MOVE! The wax build up was so bad. I used tons of hot water and spent a long time cleaning the wax off of the hanukkiah's since I like the surfaces to be clean and spotless.

Last year I heard someone say that they don't remove the wax from their hanukkiah because the wax is a reminder of Hanukkah's past. That was a new concept for me. It would be a lot easier to live that cleaning... I don't think I could handle it though.

If you celebrate Hannukah, tell me, do you leave the wax on or off? Inquiring minds want to know!!!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Hanukkah's Coming...

Hanukkah is coming soon...December 4th. Here's a clip of Sabina playing s'vivon (dreidel in Hebrew) last year.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

What I Love About Fall

The crisp, cool weather.

The changing colors of leaves on the trees. (and ground)

The need to wear a light coat or jacket.

Listening to the wind blow through the leaves .

Driving around town with leaves falling from the trees like rain.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Flat Stanley Blog

I started a Flat Stanley Blog to track the adventures of our dear friend around the globe. Check it out here: Room38is great.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Guess Who???

Guess who only has one more day of Intersession?

Guess who will officially be on vacation at 2:00 tomorrow?

Guess who is looking forward to not being on a schedule?

Guess who is going to just hang out and "chill?"


Saturday, November 03, 2007

3 de noviembre


November 3rd, Panama's Independence Day

With English translation on the bottom...


I have a bully in my room. He is just plain mean to the rest of the kids in my room. He pushes, hits, says mean things to others and lies about it all. When he is confronted about his behavior by an adult, he cries very convincingly and blames it on the other kid.

I have tried all kinds of things with this boy. I have done class meetings trying to focus on good behavior, being kind, etc. I haven't focused on the bully, just talked/problem solved about these topics as a group. I have also contracted with him, talked to the counselor and his grandma, hi caretaker. All of these have been useless.

The bully's behavior has been escalating. He has chosen one victim in particular to harass, another boy in my class. He threatens that he will get him in trouble and he uses him as a punching bag regularly. The victim is obviously scared to come to school and is beginning to hate school.

On Monday, the bully was finally suspended. What a peaceful day that was. The next day he came back with a vengeance and found his victim. He blamed him for his suspension and started to verbally harass him again. I immediately sent him to the office. It was our last day of school so he wasn't suspended but he also didn't return to class. What a nightmare.

After school, I went to talk to the victim's mom. She has been so amazing through this entire process. While she is concerned and protective of her son, she also is concerned for the bully. I told her about the day's happenings and she told me that the day before, the day that the bully was suspended, her son came home so happy because the bully was not at school. He of course didn't know the real reason why the bully was absent so he drew his own conclusions. Right before bedtime he told his mom that he wanted her to help him pray to G-d to make sure that the bully didn't come back to school. The mom responded by saying that she would pray to G-d but that she would instead ask G-d to help the bully to be happy and able to play well with her son and all of the other children at school. She told her son that all children have to go to school, even the children who have problems. What a nice response.

As for the bully, yes, he has lots of problems. He lives with Grandma because his mom is in prison and he dad checks in when he feels like it. He is left alone with video games and tv because grandma can't be bothered. I hate to call home when he misbehaves because I know that he will get a huge beating.

I have requested that the bully receive counseling services. I have also asked to have the bully removed from my room and placed in another classroom so that the boy being victimized doesn't have to live in fear.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Flat Stanley Update

Our Flat Stanley's have all been sent out. Many friends and family members volunteered to host our story book character. THANKS!

I am going off track in a few days so I will see if I can make a new website to track Flat Stanley's travels. In the meantime, check out Shelli's FLICKR to see Flat Stanley in Brooklyn and Guusje's blog to see Flat Stanley's amazing adventures with her. He has been getting around!

Here are some other places on Flat Stanley's itinerary:

Outside of the U.S.
The Cayman Islands

In the U.S.
All over California
New York
and more... (I just can't remember them all right now!)

Monday, October 22, 2007

I've Been Robbed (Again!)

Remember when this happened? Here is more on that event.

Well, it happened again. I walked in my room this morning to find that my newest computer was stolen. Interestingly enough, all of the cables were left behind as well as the printer, older computer, laptop, document camera and projector. The only other missing items are some CD's from my ELD program and my Core reading program.

The school will be replacing my old computer and CD's. As for who robbed us, I don't know but it looks very shady. My windows have metal rods in the frame to keep people from opening the flimsy windows from the outside. They can only be opened from the inside. Guess what? The rods were out. The alarm didn't go off either. That means that the theft was an inside job. The only other people who have access to my room are the night custodians otherwise known as Team Cleaning. This group of people changes from day to day. There are always different people in and out of the room. Too suspicious for me...

What to do?

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Happy Birthday Little Brother!

Aaron's Birthday

Aaron 20 some years ago....


Two weeks ago was National Custodian's Day. To celebrate that day, my class, and the rest of the second grade classes wrote a letter to our custodian, Mr. Bobb. I made up a template where the kids could draw a picture as well as write about 5-6 lines about our custodian. When all of the letters were done, I bound them into a book and the kids presented it to Mr. Bobb that afternoon.

This week Mr. Bobb found me and told me how much he appreciated the book. He said that he took it home and read it with his wife and they had the most wonderful time reading the letters. These were his comments:

"The kids wrote such hard words. They weren't spelled correctly but they really tried their best to write really hard words like appreciate." (spelled uprishayt)

"The letters made me feel so good. They gave me great hope for the future."

"I told my wife that when I die, I want these letters read at my funeral."

Mr. Bobb was so moved by the book. I am glad that the kids were able to express their gratitude for our wonderful custodian. I am also touched that he found the book to be so meaningful.

Friday, October 12, 2007


Around 1:30 this afternoon one of my students told me that one of our classmates would be moving on Monday. I went over to talk to the boy in question and he didn't want to talk in front of his friends. I then walked outside with him and asked him and he burst into uncontrollable tears and grabbed on to me and said "I don't want to move Ms. V." After he and I both wiped our tears away I left him, and the class with my student teacher and I went to the office to investigate. The secretary checked her inbox and found a memo from a secretary at a school across town and sure enough, this young man was leaving and today would be his last day.

By the time I made it back to class we had about 30 minutes left with our soon to be gone friend. Right before the kids went home I told the class and asked them to say some nice things about him. I also assured him that we would write and I would try to visit him at his new school. He smiled. When the bell rang, he just hung out for a while and then when I told him that I would walk him to the after school program he started bawling again. He was so sad! He cried, I cried, my student teacher cried. What a mess. When I took him to the after school program, I had to tell them what the deal was and they too started to cry.

Why on earth would a parent move a child and not tell the teacher? The one and only time I saw this mother was earlier this year when her son broke his arm and she came to pick him up. That is it! I have had no other communication with her. Her son is such a fabulously wonderful, sweet and caring young man. He at least deserved the chance for a proper good bye from all of his friends and teachers. I am going to miss him greatly. I hope that his new teacher will see appreciate him as much as we do.

Monday, October 01, 2007

You Tube Blogging

Two of the blogs I read posted great You Tube clips. I had to post them as well!
One Semester of Spanish Love Song:

I saw this over on Chuchería and had to post it as well!


The Mom: (Via Shelli at Hydrangeas Are Pretty)

Flat Stanley Host Families Wanted!

Hello all!

My class is doing a Flat Stanley Project. We read the Flat Stanley book and are now writing to "host families" for Flat Stanley. The host families would need to receive Stanley and then write about their adventures with them. When Flat Stanley's visit is over with the host families, he can be sent back to our class for a geography lesson. So far, we have the following places covered in the U.S: California: Riverside, Laguna Beach, La Verne; Texas: Houston, Fort Worth, New York: New York; Massachusetts: Holbrook; Arkansas: Midway. We also have a few Flat Stanley's traveling to Panama City, Panama, the United Kingdom and possibly Japan.

We have a few more spots left. Would you be able to help us out? It would be great if we could cover all of the continents!

Let me know!!!

Saturday, September 29, 2007


Vocabulary: Plethora
Everyday I spend about 10 minutes with my second graders working on a new vocabulary word of the day. The kids have a vocabulary journal. For each new word they write the definition, a synonym and antonym for the word, draw a picture and then use the word in a sentence. The words we have learned so far are commotion, elated, exuberant, lovely, fiction and plethora. I take the words from any of the core texts, from our read aloud stories or I will just open the dictionary to a random page and find a word. In the process, students learn new vocabulary but they also learn 3 other 2nd grade standards, synonyms, antonyms and dictionary skills.

I have been encouraging the students to use their new words right away so that they can incorporate them into their everyday vocabulary. I have also put out a little incentive for the kids. I told them that if they used the words in their journals and also when speaking to us at school, I might give them little tickets. (Tickets are placed in a jar and then at the end of the day I pull several and the kids pulled gets small treats)

The kids were of course very motivated to get treats. This week I have heard and seen LOTS of very simple sentences using our new words. That was rewarding to see. The most impressive use of newly learned vocabulary came yesterday from one of my students. Ramon is a tiny little boy who is still at the very beginning stage of English Development. He is limited in his abilities in English. We were in a kind of chaotic part of the day, during a transition, and he turned to me and said : "Ms. V., there is a plethora of commotion in our classroom!" It was so sweet, cute and wonderful that I just wanted to bend over and kiss him! I opted to congratulate him on his good use of vocabulary and of course, give him several tickets!

Monday, September 17, 2007

One of the Reasons I Love Teaching...

Today something wonderfully sweet happened that reminded me of one of the reasons that I love being a teacher.

I teach ELD (English Language Development) in a rotation with the rest of my second grade colleagues. Our students are divided up by proficiency level in English. My group is the beginners. Many times these kids are the newcomers. This year's class however was not comprised of newcomers though. The kids all speak basic enough playground English to get by but really struggle. Today, I got my first newcomer of the year.

"Karina" came to class somewhat nervous. She was confused because she didn't understand the whole rotation thing. I usually only speak in English during ELD time but today, I made an exception since I didn't want to stress Karina out even more. I conducted the lesson in English first and then in Spanish. That was quite a task for me since the lesson was on condensation. I didn't know the academic language in Spanish for condensation but I could explain the process. While Karina was nervous, she really jumped right on in repeated many phrases and got some English content vocabulary correct as well. Throughout the lesson I kept walking past her desk dropping off lots of positive praise or setting her up with kids seated next to her to play with her at recess and lunch. She smiled at me but didn't say much. Even though we didn't have much reciprocal communication I just had a good feeling about this girl. I was a bit sad that my homeroom class was full because I would love to have her in my room. When the rotation was over I told her how happy I was to meet her and that I would see her tomorrow.

I got to see her sooner than that. Karina came by a couple hours later during math time for a Spanish version of our math text. She came with a classmate again. The classmate handed me the note from her teacher asking for the book. I then turned to Karina, smiled and asked how her day was going. Karina then walked over to me and gave me the BIGGEST hug and just smiled at me and said she was fine. That just melted me.

As a child, I went to 6 different elementary schools and 3 different junior high schools. I know what it is like to be the new kid. I really do everything I can to make kids feel safe and comfortable when they are new. That enormous hug from Karina told me that she was thankful for my help and that I did my job well. I couldn't help but get teary eyed.

I love my job!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Techology Meets Room 38!

I found out on Friday morning that I "won" an Elmo (digital document camera) and a projector for my classroom. I was so excited. I spent the morning trying to set it up and by math time I was rolling. It is so, so awesome. Gone are the days of overheads...I don't need them. I simply place whatever I want to show the students under the camera and it shows up...amazing!

On Friday I also signed up for a Technology in the Classroom course. The class is about podcasting with your students. My big project for the course will be designing two lessons based around podcasting. It sounds like a lot of fun.

Teachers: Have you podcasted with your class before? If so...what did you podcast about?

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Al Otro Lado

Today while browsing through movies at Hollywood Video I cam across the movie Al Otro Lado. I have seen this movie advertised for what seems like more than a year on Univision, Telemundo and Telefutura. I broke down and decided to watch it to see what all of the hype was. I am so glad that I did.

This movie is such a touching story of immigration and the story of the people who are left behind, mostyly through the eyes of children. Al Otro Lado follows 3 different children, one in Mexico, one in Cuba and the last in Morocco. I don't want to give more of the movie away but just want to recommend it to all. I really enjoyed it and am glad that I finally broke down and watched it.

Dirt and Worms

Dirt and Worms
Every year, in my ELD class I teach a farming/plant unit. It is a lot of fun. The academic focus of the unit is food vocabulary and basic sentence formation, both written and oral. It is a fun unit packed with lots of songs and chants as well as good fiction and non fiction paired readings in the texts. My favorite (and the kids' favorite) song is Dirt Made My Lunch by the Banana Slug String Band. On the last day of the unit I make Dirt and Worms with the kids. It is so much fun.

I bring in a bag of ground up Oreo's and tell the kids that I brought a sample of dirt from my house for an experiment. (I don't let them in on the fact that the "dirt" is really Oreo's) I pass the bag around for them to feel. Then we discuss all of the foods we eat and how they one way or the other come from the ground. Then I ask them that if food comes from the ground, then we should be able to eat dirt, right? They of course all say "no!" I then go on to say how I think they are right but my dirt is very clean. I then open up the bag and use a spoon to scoop up some "dirt" and eat a spoonful. They all groan and say "ewww!!!" I tell them that it is really quite tasty and ask for volunteers to taste my dirt. After about the 3rd volunteer it comes out that it is really cookies.

At this point, I pass out a recipe for Dirt and Worms. (I have to get to the standards somehow, right?) We read it, and plan out how we will prepare our snack. Then I pass out the ingredients and the kids "cook!" It is great fun and always fun to watch the kids. They always end up with chocolate pudding faces. How cute!

Dirt and Worms:
1 cup of chocolate pudding
2 teaspoons of ground Oreo's
2 Gummi Worms

1. Take cover off of pudding.
2. Mix in Oreo's.
3. Add worms.


Viva Mexico

el 16 de septiembre

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Monday, September 10, 2007

Parent Support

For the most part, my class is pretty good. Academically, this class is higher than most. Behaviorally, they are pretty decent. I have some squirrelly and talkative kids but nothing too serious. I do have one special needs kid who does take some time and special intervention, but for the most part, he is easy to deal with as well.

That being said, I do have the need to talk to parents from time to time regarding behavioral issues. I like to tell parents right away when there is a problem so that it can be dealt with and eliminated. (as mush as possible!) I try to catch parents as they pick up their kids or call as soon as school is over. The parents are usually very receptive, a bit embarrassed and very supportive.

This year I have two incidents with parents that have bothered me. Last week I had to talk to a parent about very rude behavior by her son towards my student teacher and to me. After several defiant comments and behaviors I told the boy that he would need to apologize or he would have to lose his recess and discuss his behavior with me. The boy refused and then went on to cry for a good 20 minutes and tantrum for an hour after that. I was able to miraculously get him back on track and his afternoon was fabulous. When I talked to his mom about it and asked for her help in this matter she said that he never behaves like this at home and that it must be me!!! I agreed that it must be me. I went on to tell her that I must be the only one making him accountable for his behavior and that I would continue to do just that with her son. (I know that is bold of me but come on, someone had to tell this lady that!) Once I told her that she went on to say well, he didn't sleep well the night before and that was why he acted like that. We went several rounds like this and I just told her that no matter what, her son will not be allowed to be rude and disrespectful to anyone at school, period. She said nothing. She wasn't upset with me at all but she just didn't understand that she needed to take this serious and work with her son on this.

Today, I had to talk with a different parent about her son's extreme disruptiveness in class. This boy talks out too much and often blurts out answers to show off what he knows and not let others answer. I had to stop class several times today and take the boy outside to have a talk with him. When I explained this to mom she said that it was because he had a fever on Friday. What??? I told her that his behavior had nothing to do with a fever and he is expected to follow all of the rules. Mom then turned to me and asked if I had seen a bracelet that belonged to her son. I was lost. She then went on to say that he lost it in my class. This lady could care less that her son was misbehaving in class!!! To make matters worse, she did all of this in front of her son sending him the message that it wasn't important to behave.

How frustrating!!!

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Staff Development

Yesterday we had a district wide Buy Back Day. It was not so good. It was the first time in my 13 years with the district that we had a district wide day, Prek-12 including all support staff. The idea to have everyone together was a good idea. The idea to present a one size fits all professional development day didn't work out so well.

Here is a run down of the day:

8-10: Motivational Speaker on Universal Achievement:
We had to sit on bleachers in the gym. ( butt still hurts!) The acoustics were bad. The parts that I could hear addressed self esteem and how to make kids feel good about themselves. (Gee...I never would have known how to do that!) To make matters worse, the man never smiled and he kind of screamed/barked when he spoke. That wasn't so good for my self esteem!

10:00 - 11:30: Direct Instruction:
The presenters were fabulous BUT 4 of the schools in our district have had intensive training in this so it was a complete waste of our time.

11:30 - 12:00:Lunch
Lunch was provided so that they could keep us hostage. The food was free but it was horrible.

12:00 - 1:30 : English Learners
Hmm...the majority of the population at my school and 4 other school in town is comprised of English Learners. This is all we do. We have had intensive training in this are as well. We could have taught this class!

1:30 - 2:30: Meet with school sites to go over the day.
This was actually the best part of the day. For as much as some of my staff members can get on my nerves, after being around other teachers in the district I found a new appreciation in the teachers I work with.

One of the breakout sessions that I didn't go to was also a flop. A technology workshop that was held in the computer lab failed because the teachers couldn't use the computers in the lab!!! They had to watch the presenter's screen and write down all of the instructions on how to access and use the different websites shown. Ha!

Here is my biggest complaint of the day.
Why would the district want to invest so much money on a day for us teachers that was not educational for many of us? I realize that it is difficult to find something that is just right for all of us with the needs that we have at our respective campuses. However, isn't that what we teachers do in our classrooms? We differentiate our instruction to meet the needs of our learners. The district could have done so much more with their money for us. They could have taken us to a new educational plane by introducing something new to us or deepening our knowledge of something that is already familiar to us. What a wasted day.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

2 Lessons I didn't plan on teaching

I work hard at lesson planning for my class. I don't use them so much throughout the week but the actual act of planning for the week helps guide my instruction.

Here are two items that I didn't pack into my weekly lesson plans but I had to run with because the need came up.

1) Fingers do not belong in noses. If your nose itches grab a kleenex and handle that situation. If necessary, wash with soap and water afterwards.

2) If you find that you need to go to the bathroom or that you have a funny gassy feeling in your tummy, go to the bathroom or ask to step outside for a few moments, don't let it go in class.

I know...EWWW...gross! Let me tell you, it has been a stinky funky place in my room these last few days.

Unlike the items in my daily lesson plans, these two necessary lessons were not based on the California Teaching Standards for second grade. They are however crucial to the cleanliness and sanity of my well being and that of the rest of the kids in my class. Let's hope that I get
100 % proficiency in these areas and I don't have to go back and re-teach. (crossing my fingers!)

Green With Envy!

Alejandro Fernandez 091
Today I went to see a friend of mine at school and brag about my AMAZING seat at the Alejandro Fernandez concert. After I told her about my experience at the Sacramento concert I asked her how the Fresno performance was that she went to. She just smiled and then told me that when they arrived at the concert she saw an old friend of hers driving up. It turns out that he works for Corona and was promoting the concert. She got to go backstage, meet A.F., take pictures with him, talk with him, hug him and get kissed by him, twice! Oh yeah...A.F.'s photographer was there and he took pictures of them to add to his website.

That is what I get for bragging!

It Has Been So Hot

It's been so hot around here that when I checked today's forecast and saw that it is for 90 degrees, I giggled with glee. Yeah, it is still hot but 90 is a whole different thing than 100-103.


Monday, September 03, 2007

I think it is pretty close...

I found this link over at Hydrangea's are Pretty. Thanks Shelli!

How to Win a Fight With a Conservative is the ultimate survival guide for political arguments

My Liberal Identity:

You are a Peace Patroller, also known as an anti-war liberal or neo-hippie. You believe in putting an end to American imperial conquest, stopping wars that have already been lost, and supporting our troops by bringing them home.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Alejandro Fernandez Concert

Last night I went to the AF concert. It was incredible. I liked it so much more than the last one. He sang well, was funny and of course, he looked great! Next time I want to take my mom and Sabina. The whole time I was there I was thinking about how much they would have enjoyed it.

One of the highlights of the concert was that I got to meet Susana from The Journey Continues. I was so excited that I forgot to take a picture!!! Oh time!

Here are some concert pics:
The new look:
Alejandro Fernandez 030
Another shot:
Alejandro Fernandez 017

Best of all: Vestido de Charro
Alejandro Fernandez - Viento a Favor Tour September 31, 2007 ARCO ARENA

Saturday, August 25, 2007

All About Teaching

Igot this from Dree at Chalkdust. Happy Back to School to all of you teachers!!!

I am a good teacher because... I treat my students as individuals. I really try to do what is right for each student. It really burns me up when I see other teachers force their styles on their studnets even if it doesn't work for the child.

If I weren’t a teacher, I would be... a children’s librarian OR a children's bookstore owner. I love books and reading and love to share that joy with others. (I used to think I wanted to be a chef but after watching all of the chef reality shows on tv I realized that I am much too picky of an eater to have that job!)

My teaching style is... energetic, comical, flexible, compassionate, fun, and sometimes noisy.

My classroom is... my other home. Sometimes it can get a little disorderly but I can tell you where anything is at anytime. I fell that it is homey and inviting for me and my students.

My lesson plans are... lesson plans??? Just kidding... My lesson plans are a loose guide of what I teach. They help me to set a focus for the week, month and year but are not fine tuned. The state standards guide my lesson plans and I throw in the CORE texts when they align to the standards. (you would be surprised at how much they are not aligned.)

One of my teaching goals is... to turn my students who are disinterested in school into disciplined and focused learners. This can be very tricky when they don't have the support at home. My other goal is to make my students lovers of books.

The toughest part of teaching is... I can't control many elements that I would like to be able to control. One of these items is silly mandates from NCLB and testing demands. Another big one is home environments. I have to remember that I can only focus on the areas that I can control and not let the other areas eat me up.

The thing I love most about teaching is... the smile on a student's face when they "get it" when I teach something. I also love the genuine appreciation that the students give me. That is priceless.

A common misconception about teaching is... ( I am stealing this answer from Dree because she nailed it on the head!) that anyone can do it. I’d gladly hand over my classroom and all its responsibilities for one day to any non-teacher, just to see what would happen. Another misconception is that teachers get nights, weekends, and summers off. Some people don’t realize the long days and late nights we have with things like Open House and Back to School Night and parent conferences. And they don’t know that we spend our nights writing lesson plans and grading papers and worrying about the one student who doesn’t quite seem to be on level with the rest of the class.

The most important thing I’ve learned since I started teaching is... I have great power over students and I need to use it wisely. Students, for the most part, worship and mimic their teachers. Whatever I do and say is watched carefully by students. If I say I like or don't like something, the students adopt that idea too. I want my students to become independent thinkers so I really try to foster that by not giving my opinions and trying to help students form their own thoughts and learn how to express them.

Happy Teaching All!!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Nine is Fine!

Sabi will be nine tomorrow morning. Time has flown!


Kelly and Sabina - Nov 1998

Kelly and Sabi

Monday, August 20, 2007

So Much For Trying to Make A Connection

This school year I wanted to start the year out right. When I opened the door in the morning to let the kids in, I shook everyone's hands. When the kids went home, I had them shake my hands as well. I really liked the tone that it set. The kids knew that I respected them and they were learning a new way to show respect for me and other adults. The eye and hand contact were so important.

Well, that is over now. I am now trying to recover from a nasty virus. I have been sick since Wednesday. My attempt at connecting with my students drove me straight to getting sick despite my efforts to wash my hands after every hand shaking event.

I will have to think of something just as good but with no body contact!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Sabi's New School

Sabi will be starting a new school tomorrow. So far I am happy about everything regarding her new school with the exception of the dress code. There are no uniforms at her new school...YIKES!

I have been shopping here and there all summer long trying to find decent clothing for her to wear to school. Aside from the fact that she is a hard girl to fit, the clothes out there are just plain trashy!!! It is hard to find pants with out words or butterflies on the butt and shirts that are solid or print without sassy sayings on them or without cleavage!

Anyway...tomorrow is the big day. Sabina will come with me to school and then pick up the bus at my school to go to her school. The thought of taking the bus excites her to no end!

Fourth grade ... where did my baby go???

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

First Day of School

Today was pretty good as far as first days go. The kids were ok and my new student teacher seems great.

The best part of though came about 2 hours after school. I was walking down one of the school hallways in front of the after school tutoring program. One of my new students was being picked up by her dad. She peeked over at me, gave me a HUGE smile and waved. She then turned to her dad and said in a most proud voice...'that's MY teacher!"

That was pretty cool!

Monday, August 06, 2007

Now...I Can Breathe!

This past week has really been rough with school prep. Why must I always insist on rearranging my room each year? My room gets worse before it gets better when I do this. I spent almost the entire week and weekend at school redoing the room, cleaning and trying to do a bit of prep. When I left school yesterday I felt ok but not great about the room.

Today, my student teacher came. She helped me with the final touches on the room. Luckily I made a check off list on the board and as we started crossing off completed tasks, I was feeling much better about life. At the end of our list the custodial crew came in and took away the mounds of garbage that I had accumulated and vacuumed. Bless them! My room looked great with those final touches.

As far as prep goes, I haven't looked at the CORE curriculum yet but I do have the first several days planned out. I also have my Parent Handbook ready (recently updated) for Back to School Night which will be on Wednesday!

I was so impressed with myself and my student teacher. We left school around 3:30 today and I was elated to be leaving at that time. I felt a bit giddy when I looked at the parking lot and I saw almost all of my colleagues were still there working hard to prepare for our first day tomorrow and I was happily jumping in my car. Oh...what a feeling!!!

This evening I spent about an hour here and there getting some last minute stuff done but I really had a super family night. My mom prepared a great dinner and we all just sat around hanging out with each other. Who could ask for more?

I feel so relieved of stress right now...relaxed and ready to greet the new school year.


Sunday, August 05, 2007

Busy MOnth

School starts on Tuesday. My room is still not ready. I have bulletin boards to do and messes to clean up. On top of that, I have to do some planning and prep for Back to School night which happens on Wednesday. To add to the school stress, I have to get some extra prep done because will have a student teacher.

Outside of school, I am trying to focus on planning for Sabi's birthday party. Since she is going to start a new school this year this year I thought it would be nice to plan a party that all of her new classmates could attend. The party is in 3 weeks so I have to get busy!

The highlights of this month will be:
1) My dad's visit.
2) Going to Monterey next weekend.
3) A Big birthday bash for my brother, aunt, and dad next week
4) Sabi's 9th b-day
5) A Bar Mitzvah

and to finish off the month with a bang...

6) Going to the Alejandro Fernandez concert!

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Shameless Sabi Plug

Sabi wants ideas for stories to write about on her blog.

She also wrote a Harry Potter Review.

Check it out!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

HP 7...the end...No Spoilers Here

I finished book this morning around 10:00.

I thought that I would be really sad at reading this last in the series of HP books but as it turns out, I am not sad. JK Rowling has left me completely satisfied. The book was wonderful. It was a bit more difficult to read for me in the sense that I really had to think while reading this time. I also think that it was written at a higher level of difficulty, not your usual fiction easy read. Yes, there were some tragedies but I think those could not have been avoided. The story and all of its many elements were neatly wrapped up. I think one more book might be overkill.

I am left feeling fulfilled and eager to re-read the book out loud with Sabina to help her along the way so she too can enjoy this last book and so that I can get a deeper meaning out of the book.

What a great read!

Friday, July 20, 2007


So tonight is the big Harry Potter night. This morning Sabi was looking all over the house for her Gryfindor tie. We looked everywhere trying to find that darn tie for her Hermione Granger outfit. I remembered that we put it away somewhere safe but couldn't recall where that somewhere safe was. Then it hit me...the Halloween closet. We ran to the closet and there it was!!!

After we got the outfit settled we went out on the town to find a wand. We found a great wand at Barnes and Noble. Sabi was flicking it all over town afterwards.

For lunch we went to La Morenita. Sabi went outside of her food zone (chicken nuggets) and LOVED her burrito de queso y frijoles. Wow! I had a good caldo de res con arroz. Yum!

After that we returned home and tried to get in some sleep since we will be up LATE tonight at the HP party.

Tomorrow (or whenever I finish the book) I will post pics of the party.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Cookie Monsters

More Cookies
This month has been cookie month around our house. We have made several batches of cookies to bring to different events. They are yummy.

The recipe for the cookies I got from a friend. She told me that the recipe comes right off of Wilton cookie cutters. I visited the website but I can't find this recipe listed in their recipe box. It appears to be a cross between the sugar cookie and shortbread recipe. I am still crediting Wilton for this recipe though until proven otherwise.
I like this recipe because it is easy to make and use. You simply mix the ingredients and then roll, cut and bake. There is no need to refrigerate the dough. My twist on the recipe is to add lemon juice to the mix to give a better taste to the cookies.
Cookies - unfrosted
Once the cookies have cooled, I use two different types of icingss to frost the cookies. The icings I get at the cake decorating store. One of them is a glaze. The glaze can be poured over the cookies. It is very liquidy and it coats the cookie almost on its own. The second icing is a drizzle. The drizzle I pour into a disposable pastry bag and then pipe over the ccokie in the patterns I like. After the icings dry, I then use the fun colored icings from the grocery store that come in tiny tubes to add the final detailed, colored touches to the cookies.

Here is the recipe. Enjoy!
Smily Face
Wilton Roll Out Cookies
1 cup butter 1 cup sugar
1 large egg 1 tsp. vanilla
2 tsp. baking powder 3 cups flour
lemon juice - about 1 tablespoon or so

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix butter and sugar. Beat in egg, lemon juice and vanilla. Mix in baking powder and flour, adding in one cup of flour at a time. The dough will be stiff. (If the dough gets too stiff, add one teaspoon at a time) Roll dough and cut with cookie cutters. Bake until lightly browned

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Friday, July 13, 2007

38 is great!

Happy B-Day to me! Thank you Uncle Alan and Sabi for my concert a few weeks earlier!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

How to Excite a Teacher...

A SALE on school supplies!!!

WE teachers spend a HUGE amount of money on school supplies each year. Back to School time can be the worst time of the year. Most primary teachers purchase pencil boxes and all of the goodies to fill the pencil boxes in addition to other BTS items such as books, borders, etc.

Target has been wonderful with their BTS $1 Spot sales. I went by Target on this weekend and picked up some pocket charts, bathroom passes and a few other items all for $10. I was pretty proud of that.

Today, I beat that deal. Staples had an AMAZING sale, the 1 cent sale. Seriously, the items cost 1 cent! I bought 25 pencil boxes, 60 2 pocket folders, 3 cases of pencils and 6 pencil sharpeners. I almost passed out when the cashier told me, "that will be 99 cents!" My jaw dropped on the ground, I think because she then said "I know, I am robbing you blind!" 99 cents...WOW! I was almost too embarrassed to ask for change from a $5 bill! The cashier was so friendly and pleasant and reminded me to come back for Teacher Appreciation Day where teachers will get presents as they walk through the door!

As soon as I got in my car, I called every teacher friend I know. After all, when you spot a deal, you have to share.

Sunday, July 08, 2007


Go see the movie!

8 Things About Me

I have seen this meme around a lot lately. Here is my installment:

1) I am SO excited about the Harry Potter movie and book release this month. Sabi, my mom and I have been re-reading the books and will have a movie marathon in preparation. We will wait until my birthday on Friday to see the movie so that we will miss some of the crowd on Wednesday's release date. I will be taking Sabi to the Midnight Potter Fest at Border's and that thrills me just to think about it. It will be her first, and last, Potter Fest. How exciting for her. (And me!)

2) I collect cookie cutters. I especially love copper cookie cutters. They rock! Last weekend I made some sugar cookies (Wilton recipe) and decorated them with a cookie glaze and decorative frosting. I have been dreaming about those yummy cookies. I did think about taking pictures and posting them but we ate them too fast! I will be making more next weekend so I will try and contain myself long enough to snap a few shots.

3) I need to exercise more. I hate to exercise but I know it is the best thing for me. The thing is, I really don't mind it as long as I have someone to workout with. I am a social person and I need the motivation of someone else there to help me along.

4) I went back to WW and I have lost 5 lbs thus far! (probably would have been more if I hadn't eaten those sugar cookies!)

5) This one everyone know but I am a fan of this guy. He is going to be in concert in Fresno in September. I need to get tickets... Who wants to go?

6) A new school year starts in 3 weeks. I have done something COMPLETELY out of character for me this summer. I have not been in my room to prep yet. Usually I am back at school the next Monday after we leave to clean up and I spend my entire vacation time cleaning and prepping. This summer I just couldn't get myself to go in yet. Twice last week I got in my car ready to go in and I just couldn't do it.

7) I think roundabouts on streets are stupid. My city is putting them in all over the place and I try to avoid those areas as much as possible. They are accidents waiting to happen.

8) My favorite summer dish comes from the Farmer's Market. Here is the recipe:
Ear of corn Basil - chopped
Small Red onion chopped or sliced Tomatoes - chopped or sliced
Olive oil and Red Wine Vinegar to taste Salt to taste

I Schiacciata Roll
Cut the kernels off of the ear of corn. Add the kernels and the rest of the ingredients in a bowl. Mix.

Enjoy salad with your schicciata. The two are a perfect compliment. I will try and take a picture of it next week. It is my Saturday morning meal!

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Wallflower Girl

One of the people I went to HS with was a girl named "E." E was a wallflower girl. She was as timid as a mouse. I was probably one of her best friends and she had a hard time just hanging out and loosening up around me. I run into E about 3-4 times a year. Well, I really don't run into her, I see her and try to avoid her. Let me explain...

When I think of my friendship with E in HS, I am at first inclined to say that we were very good friends. We called each other and hung out together pretty regularly at some point or time during the school day. When I try to think about even more details of our friendship though I am at a loss. E was the girl who looked like she had a ROUGH home life. She seemed like someone who was either raised by a single mom or and abused mom, most likely the latter. She was always a bit nervous and walked around like she was walking on eggshells. I don't know that any of this is true , I am just making assumptions based on her behavior. The sad thing though is that I was supposed to be her friend. Why didn't I know what was going on and why didn't I try to see if I could help? I wonder if I even realized that there might be problems in her home life when I was her friend, way back in HS. Now, as a teacher, I am very tuned into those signs now, I didn't know any of that then. After HS, I lost contact with E. She didn't call me and I didn't call sad.

As I mentioned before, E lives in town and I see her every now and then. She looks even worse than she did in HS. We are the same age but E looks like she has at least 15 years on me. By her appearance, she still looks timid and scared of her own shadow. I can't really quite describe her facial expression but it looks about 30 seconds away from a meltdown or a hard cry. I wonder if she has followed into her mom's footsteps? I saw E this morning on my way to to the Farmer's Market. She was walking in her lost manner holding a baby no more than a year old in her arms. I couldn't help but wonder if this baby was going to follow in E's nervous footsteps as well.

So why don't I talk to E? I probably should but I don't know what I would say to her. I think that seeing me might embarrass her. I would love to just give her a hug because she looks like she REALLY, REALLY needs one. I don't feel like I have that familiarity with her anymore though. I was tempted to stop today and try to break the ice by informing her of the coming reunion. I then remembered that the reunion costs $50 to go and she just didn't look like she had $50 to spend so frivolously.

I know that I might be totally wrong about E. She could be a very happy individual. I don't know. All I know is that she has been on my mind today. I hope that she is doing well. If she isn't, I hope that she can find some peace and happiness.

Reunion Musings

My 20th year high school reunion is coming up in August. I have decided to go. Upon making this decision, I started to think about the people who might show up. I am really not too excited to see very many people. High school was not necessarily a great time for me. It wasn't unpleasant, it was just awkward. My brother has many friends who he still talks to and hangs out with from his HS days. I only have one, Lisie. I don't include her in that group though since she left my HS in her soph year. She has been my friend since jr. h.s - 22 years...WOW!

In HS, I had interesting groups of friends. I was in the advanced classes, so I hung out with the "smarties." I never felt smart enough though so I didn't really feel like I belonged. Around my sophomore year, I got tired of the smarties and I asked to move to regular Social Studies. (I stayed in adv. English because that was just too interesting for me!) When I went to regular SS, I started to hang out with the jocks and cheerleaders. I also didn't feel like I belonged there because I knew that I wasn't cool enough. The third group I hung out with throughout HS was the wallflower group. These girls were nice, but simple. I don't mean this in a negative way. They were quiet, dressed in plain clothes and never stood out in a crowd for anything. I really didn't feel like I belonged with this group either. They were nice, they treated me well, but they weren't go getters or risk takers. I felt a bit stifled with them.

I moved in and out of these 3 groups and I felt like I was 3 different people depending on which group I was with. I had no peer pressure to do this, I guess I just felt that I had to be this way for some reason.

I went to my 15th year reunion and it was weird. The social groups were all represented and guess what? They sat in their separate mingling! I cruised by each group for a few minutes and then decided to leave.

So, why am I going back to the 20th reunion? I don't know. I think I want to see what people are up to and I am not busy that night!

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Not that I Am Promoting Greasy Foods But...

Wendy's Kid's Meal now comes with books on CD instead of a toy. The 4 listening library books are The Magic Tree House: Dinosaurs Before Dark, Geronimo Stilton: The Curse of the Cheese Pyramid, Arthur's Mystery Envelope and Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed.

I know that the food is unhealthy...every once in a while is ok though, right? Especially if it comes with a book on CD,

It's all in the name

I just went online and saw my new class list for the coming school year. I will have a Damian and a Giovani. know what this usually means....

I might need therapy!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Loving Life

Vacation is wonderful. I have had no schedule and that suits me perfectly. Sabi, my mom and I have been enjoying leisurely time around the house doing whatever suits us. Last night we spent the evening on our newly fixed up patio (thanks to Uncle Alan!) playing Spellbound and Scrabble.

Today my plan includes clean up and then possibly painting my bedroom. We will most likely go to the gym and swim because it will be HOT today.

Tomorrow we will be in Berkeley celebrating Inter-Dependence Day with NSP at Tilden park. I hope it is cooler there than it is here.

Happy First week of July to all!

Monday, July 02, 2007

That sounds about right!

72%How Addicted to Blogging Are You?

I found this over on Literanista's site. How addicted are you???

Gender Roles

On the last day of school I showed the movie March of the Penguins to my class. I wanted to make sure they understood the movie so at different times throughout the movie, I paused to ask comprehension questions and make sure they were grasping the content.

When we got to the part where the daddy penguins are the ones who primarily care for the eggs, I checked for understanding. Here is how it went:

Me: "Who takes care of the baby penguin?"

Kid 1: "The daddy!"

Kid 2: "The daddy? What about the mommy?"

Me: "The mommy has to go for a long, cold walk and get food."

Kid 2: "Oh, so it is kind of like she had to go out and get the groceries?"

Me: "Yeah, I guess you could say that."

This was of course funny but it struck me as interesting as well. The student who made the grocery store comment is the brightest of the bunch in the class. She is very independent and is a great thinker. Her tone and mannerisms were not what I expected from her. She was thrown by the role reversal and was not ok until she rationalized why the mommy would not be with the baby. It was too far of a stretch for her.


Saturday, June 30, 2007

Last night we went to Border's for another Harry Potter night. Last night's activity was making a Marauder's Map/ I was so surprised to hear Sabi and the other kids talking about their predictions for Book 7. They shocked me because they remembered things that I didn't and had great ideas. I must be getting old...

The clerk who was running the activity had the coolest Sorting Hat. I want one. She also had a Time Turner - WAY Cool!!!

21 more days...
We can't wait!

Sunday, June 24, 2007


I have 5 more days to go with my current group of students. Some years I am sad to see the kids leave and others, I can't wait to shut the door and get a fresh group. This year, I can't decide how I feel. I am am somewhat in between.

This group has been challenging but fun at the same time. There are some very sweet and hard working students in my room. One student in particular just amazes me. She came in pretty low and with very limited English. She has worked herself as hard as possible and is not at grade level, in English. She ROCKS! (That is her favorite phrase.)

Other students just suck the life out of me. Overall, I have a young group. Age really makes a difference in second grade. I had so many students who started as 6 year olds! Because of this, I had to deal with a lot of immaturity - tattle telling, silly spats, not self motivated and in need of lots of material rewards. I have 3 students who also challenge me with their behavior. One in particular that exhausts me just by thinking about her.

This last week will be filled with lots of activity. Monday we are in class with centers all day long. Tuesday is field trip day to the park. Wednesday is a Read In. Thursday is Field Day and Friday, a minimum day will be spent doing our favorite things - a student request day. The students get to do what they want - their favorite games, centers and art actvities.

5 more days...

Sabina's meme

Sabina wrote out her own meme. I found it on her page and decided to do it too. Who do I!!!


Like to laugh
Love coffee
Yes! I am doing another meme!

Favorite Color:Orange
Favorite Authors:J.K.Rowling, Richard Patterson, Jonathan Kellerman, Janet Evanovich, Harper Lee
Favorite Book: To Kill a Mockingbird
Favorite Book Series: Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series, Harry Potter
Favorite Animal: Cat
Favorite Saying: "
Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." - Dr. Seuss

"Where did you get your name? My parents named me after their landlady, Mrs. Kelly.
Who from your family lives in your hometown Mom, Ruben, Grandmother and my Bina!

Monday, June 18, 2007

New Week, New Perspective

In my last post I complained about how bad it is at school. Today, life was much better. The kids were fine and we made it through the day just fine. It probably didn't hurt that I told them that if they were good they could participate in a paint activity in the afternoon. I started a color investigation unit with the students. I taught them primary colors and secondary colors. We made a color wheel and we mixed colors. It was fun. I wish I had taken pictures of it.

After art, we went out to recess/P.E. I spent some time talking to a fellow teacher who is suffering this week as I was last week. It was so bad that she cried when she vented with me. She told me that she would be ok and that she realizes that things get crazy at the end of the year but it was just too overwhelming her today. I can totally sympathize.

On a side note, Sabina came to school with me today to help out. She was excited to learn that I was going to have her run a Scrabble Jr. center. She got everything all set up and was raring to go. After the 3rd rotation, she came over to my table and looked pretty ragged. I asked what was going on and she said "these kids are driving me crazy, I don't know how you do it!" All I could do was hug her and kiss her forehead. I know the pain!!! :-)

Friday, June 15, 2007

I'm Dying Here Folks

School is hell right now.

The kids are still restless. Every five minutes (or less) I have someone running up to me to say "Ms. V so and so ___________" etc. Tattle- tale patrol is killing me. I can't take it. It is so bad right now. The only way to avoid conflict right now is to keep the kids entertained. In order for that to happen I have to be on my toes running non stop from one activity to the next with no breathing room in between. I am exhausted by 9:00 am!

The kids were so nutty today that I finally broke down this afternoon and told kids to work out their problems for themselves...OUTSIDE. I told them to come right back in when they resolved their problems and wrote out a plan of action or an agreement between themselves. Did I mention that it was 102 today? Have I also mentioned that I have no shade in front of my room? Damn if those kids didn't work out their problems like Dr. Phil himself.

10 more days...

Testing and the end of the School Year

I have always disliked that we test our students on the state test WAY before the end of the school year. My two biggest complaints are that the students haven't even had time to learn all of the material that they will be tested on and the time that we have after the test is WAY too long

The state test supposedly measures what the child has learned that year. However, it is given about 80% of the way through the year. Next year the window will change to the 85% of the year but it is still problematic. It really isn't fair to students and teachers. In second grade for example, division and multiplication come at the end of the year mathematically. There is good reasoning behind this too. Children have to be developmentally ready for this and really need to have a good foundation in addition and subtraction. I always end up cramming in these two subjects right before the test. Why? The kids really aren't ready for it but I just don't feel that it is fair to let them take a test and not been given the chance to practice the material, or at least have seen the material ahead of time.

The time we have after the testing window is painfully long. We finished testing around the 20th or so of May. We are in school until June 29th. That is a month and a half that we could have had to extend our teaching cycle in preparation for the test. It is NUTS!

I guess that the one thing I have to be happy for is that my grade, second, will no longer be testing students! Thank goodness for small favors!!!

Thursday, June 14, 2007


1) 11 days left of school

2) 101 - today's projected temperature

3) 1-0 Score of yesterday's Gold Cup game - rats!

Monday, June 11, 2007

Gold Cup Continued

Ok...the Cuba Panama game was a tie.

The next game I am watching is on Wednesday night. Panama is playing Mexico. I am still rooting for Panama. Who do YOU think will win?

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Garden Ballads

What is it with love songs and ballads? I heard two oldies but goodies today that made me ponder this question. What do you think?

Example A: En El Jardin - Alejandro Fernandez y Gloria Estefan

Example B: The Secret Garden - Quincy Jones featuring Al B. Sure, James Ingram, El DeBarge and Barry White

End of the Year Restlessness

When I went to pick up my students after lunch yesterday I knew instantly that something was wrong because half of the class ran from the line to tell me about several incidents of fighting between the classmates. I hate when that happens. I told the kids to get back in line and we would deal with it when we returned to class.

One of the incidents involved a student who supposedly hit two other classmates. When we debriefed, it turns out that she bumped into the other kids in line and really didn't maliciously hit her peers. That was easy!

The other incident was different. There was some name calling between two boys. I wanted to handle their incident in private, outside. When we got outside I asked the boys what happened. Here is a recap of that scenario:

Boy 1: "Ms. V. he said that I was a Cheerio."

Me: What?

Boy 2: "I didn't say that you look like a Cheerio. I said that you looked like one when you were a baby!"

Me: "What? A Cheerio? What is this Cheerio phrase ... what does it mean? Is it some new word that is supposed to mean something mean...tell me about this Cheerio word."

Boy 2: "It's just a joke?"

Me: "What? A joke?"

Boy 2: "Yeah, it is supposed to be funny?"

Me: "Really, funny, huh? Do I look like I am amused? Does your best friend look like he is laughing?

Boy 2: "Um, no"

Me: "I think that you should really think about the things you say to others. Words can be very hurtful. You should also remember that good friends are hard to come by and you need to treat your friends with the utmost respect. Now let's go back inside and I hope that you can figure out how to rework your friendship."

We then went on to take a math test. After Boy 2 finished his test he asked if he could have a piece of paper to write an apology letter. I of course said yes. He returned about 5 minutes letter with one of the sweetest apology letters ever. I was so shocked to see the letter because this boy hates to write. I guess that he had good motivation though in wanting to make peace with his buddy.

By the time we went to P.E. the boys were friends again.

Such is life in second grade when you are getting towards the end of the school year.

15 more days to go....

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Blast From the Past

Today a tall High Schooler came by to see me after school. He said "Remember me Ms. V?" I did not but didn't want to tell him no. I paused for a minute trying to remember. He then took off his hat and rearranged his hair and it hit me...Jorge!!!

I didn't recognize jorge at first because not only has he transformed into a tall man, (ok..almost a man) but he was dressed so differently. The Jorge I remembered was a perfectly dressed, uniform wearing kid. He always had his hair combed and his clothing was immaculate down to the tucked in and buttoned all the way up, crisp, white shirt. Today he was sporting Dickies and an oversized t-shirt. (not tucked in btw)

What didn't change about Jorge was his great sense of humor and his kindness. He came to give me a hug and tell me he was doing well.

What a treat!!!

Monday, June 04, 2007

Breaking News - F.Y.I.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is opening earlier than scheduled. It is now scheduled to open on July 11.

Who wants to go see it with me???

That's all folks!

Friday, June 01, 2007

Random Notes

1) The internet is SO cool. Today I received an e-mail from a former exchange student from England that stayed with us when I was in high school. She found me via the internet a few years ago but then we lost e-mail addresses and fell out of contact again. I tried to find her again on the internet but no luck. She reconnected with me by pure luck. She was apparently reading random blogs and ran across my brother's blog. Through his blog, she found me and voila! Our British friend is engaged and will wed in Greece in October. How cool. Congratulations long lost friend!

2) My baby is now a third grade graduate and will start 4th grade in the fall. I took a half day off from school this afternoon and picked her up and celebrated her great report card and successful year at Dairy Queen. YUM!
Sabi's Treat!

3) Shelli over at Hydrangeas Are Pretty made my day yesterday when she reported that a Harry Potter Theme Park will be built and ready to go in the summer of 2009. WHOOPEE!!!

4) 39 Days until my birthday AND the opening of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix! I get excited every time I check out the trailer. Yay!

5) I am still in love with XM radio. BBC news and CNN en espanol are awesome. I have also been enjoying the 80's and 90's rap/hip-hop hits. This is quite embarrassing for Sabina. She shrivels up in her seat and tries to hide when I get carried away and start dancing in my seat to tunes from Kid-n-Play, De La Soul, Run DMC and others. Too funny!

Monday, May 28, 2007

Ice Cream Recipes

Does anyone have any ice cream recipes that they would like to share? Do you have any "light" recipes? Do you know if I can substitute Splenda instead of sugar or a low fat cream in the recipes and have it turn out halfway decent?

Coming to an End

The school year is coming to an end.

Sabi has 3 days left as a third grader. This means that I will have a soon to be fourth grader round the house. She is growing up so fast! I have talked about doing a California Mission Tour with my mom and Sabina to help better understand what she will be learning in fourth grade. As of yet, we have not visited one. I need to map out those missions and get on it! Any ideas???

I still have 24 days left but it will be over before I know it. We have Open House in a week, an Art Show, a Science Fair, Field Day, an awards assembly and more to pack in to that short time.

Summer is here!

Friday, May 25, 2007

SOOOOOOOOO Ready for the Weekend

Today was rotten.

The kids were fidgety all morning long. It was like watching a pot boil knowing that sometime soon, the lid would come off and madness would flow all over.

After lunch, the kids got a bad case of "potty-itis." EVERYONE needed to go to the bathroom. I started out by telling them no but then they started in with the potty-dance and I sent them one by one just in case. (I didn't want any accidents in the room!) The last two boys I sent within 5 minuted of each other. I staggered their departure from the room thinking that this way they wouldn't overlap and play in the bathroom. WRONG!

When they didn't return 10 minutes later, I gathered up my class and went on a trip to find these little guys. Guess where they were? They were whooping it up in the bathroom flushing and re-flushing the toilets to make them overflow. Let me tell you, I was MAD!

I marched them up to the office but the principals weren't there. I then sent my boys to a 6th grade teacher for counseling. When they returned, they had to call their parents in front of me and tell them what happened. After school, I walked them over to meet our custodian who had to clean up after them.

I covered all of the bases but I am still enraged. Why? After all I did with these boys, they had not one word or look of remorse. They were sorry that they were caught but I am sure that they will try it again. No respect.

It is such a good thing that I have a 3 day weekend becauseI need a break.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

A Field Trip I Can Enjoy!

Normally, when I hear the words "field trip" I cringe. I hate the responsibility, the money collection, the prep and the anxiety. I also hate the big, yellow, bumpy, uncomfortable school bus.

So why am I so happy? Tomorrow I am accompanying Sabi's class on a field trip to the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco. I am taking a personal day away from my classroom and going as a parent volunteer. Whoopee!!! I will have a total of 4 kids to watch over and explore this cool museum with. To make life sweeter, I am not going to ride along in the bus...I am driving in my new, comfy, XM radio equipped car! Life is grand.


Saturday, May 12, 2007

Happy Mother's Day!!!

My aunt sent me a great e-mail today. I copied it and pasted it below in honor of Mother's Day.

Happy Mother's Day to all and let there be peace on earth!


In honor of Mothers' Day, here is Julia Ward Howe's proclamation. Julia was a suffragist, abolitionist, Unitarian, pacifist, advocate for prison reform and children's welfare, and writer of The Battle Hymn of the Republic. She pushed for a Mother's Day for Peace, now more the domain of Hallmark cards. Happy Mother's Day to my wonderful women friends and peacemakers.

--Aunt Margie

Mother's Day Proclamation - 1870

Julia Ward Howe

Arise then...women of this day!
Arise, all women who have hearts!
Whether your baptism be of water or of tears!
Say firmly:
"We will not have questions answered by irrelevant agencies,
Our husbands will not come to us, reeking with carnage,
For caresses and applause.
Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn
All that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.
We, the women of one country,
Will be too tender of those of another country
To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs."

From the voice of a devastated Earth a voice goes up with
Our own. It says: "Disarm! Disarm!
The sword of murder is not the balance of justice."
Blood does not wipe our dishonor,
Nor violence indicate possession.
As men have often forsaken the plough and the anvil
At the summons of war,
Let women now leave all that may be left of home
For a great and earnest day of counsel.
Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.
Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means
Whereby the great human family can live in peace...
Each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar,
But of God -
In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask
That a general congress of women without limit of nationality,
May be appointed and held at someplace deemed most convenient
And the earliest period consistent with its objects,
To promote the alliance of the different nationalities,
The amicable settlement of international questions,
The great and general interests of peace.