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!