Monday, February 23, 2009

Where did last week go?? and a Birthday shoutout

If you follow me on Twitter my title will sound familiar to you.

I looked at the calendar the other day and said wait . . . it can't already be Tuesday. And then a couple of days later I looked again and said wait . . . if it is Friday, where did Wednesday and Thursday go??

Needless to say my new job is keeping me really busy.

I am having a Pampered Chef party on Thursday so this week I am going to have to say no to the TV when it calls my name and actually clean up this mess I call a house.

What was I thinking when I said I wanted to have a party?? I just couldn't resist the siren song of all of those new products in the catalog as they chanted Buy me - buy me. Since I am not independently wealthy, a party is the only way to go.

Jimmy was a huge help in getting the kitchen done yesterday. What would I do without you babe??

My awesome mom has also volunteered to come over and help me get the house into shape. Thanks Mom!

On a related note, today is my mom's birthday!

Happy Birthday Mom! We love you!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

I'm still alive . . . I promise

I'm sorry for the week with no post. I know all of my readers (all 7 of you! :) were worried about me! I am feeling better - finally. I still have a little bit of a sore throat, congestion, and am coughing some but not nearly as bad as at the beginning of the week. (After typing that sentence, I'm thinking maybe I'm not feeling as well as I thought I was!)

Here's a bunch of random updates since it's been a week since I've posted:

Garrett won in his school's science fair and will proceed to the District Science Fair.

Meagan won in her school's science fair and will process to the District Science Fair.

Garrett scored a goal in his basketball game last week.

On Monday night I went to bed at 6:30 and for the most part slept all the way through until Tuesday morning until it was time to go to work.

I did not miss a day of work this week thanks to taking ibuprofen and Tylenol pretty much constantly. (Excuse me while I go have my liver and kidney function checked.)

I have not done the Wii Fit in over a week due to feeling like crap.

I have used BOXES of tissues this week.

I skipped dinner a few night due to everything tasting funny. I think it is all related to the sinus issues I was having. Unfortunately, I replaced dinner with ice cream a few times.

My wonderful husband has kept our household going while I've been going to bed early all week.

I did stay up late on Thursday night so I could watch Grey's Anatomy/Private Practice crossover. I thought they did a good job with it. Jimmy tells me that Izzy and George and possibly the Chief are not returning next year. I am not sure how I feel about this.

At work I held my first meeting with the principal, a parent, and the counselor to explain testing to the parent. It went well.

I also learned how to do testing to determine if a child is dyslexic or not.

I have remembered how much of a dork I am. I love testing kids to determine their strengths and weaknesses. Thanks Dr. C!

My wonderful husband celebrated his birthday on Friday the 13th! Jimmy I love you so much. I don't know what I would do without you!

I know that there is more that I wanted to say but right now I can't think of anything else. I plan on posting more on some of the topics. I have pictures I want to post but I can't find my camera cord right now. Did anyone see where I put it???

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Not this again . . .

I'm sick.

I have a sore throat and I can't breathe through my nose.

I have such a bad sinus headache that even my teeth hurt.

It all started last week. I got that familiar feeling that I was getting sick. I couldn't find my allergy medication so it got worse as the week went on.

Sitting at the kickball field today for team tryouts only made things worse. (The wind was gusting up to 40 miles an hour and dirt was flying everywhere.)

I have tried allergy medication, sinus headache medication, motril, hot tea, hot soup, using my Neti pot (gross but actully works) and I still feel crappy.

It is worse when I lay down. I look stupid sitting around with my mouth hanging open because I can't breathe.

Hopefully it will run its course soon.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Settling into my new job

For the last two weeks I have been having classes and have gotten into a routine.

In the mornings I see 28 kids, ages kinder to second grade. I have 5 classes with six kids in each class. (Well one class only has four kids but I need to find two more kids to pull in. The class was full but then two kids checked out of our school.)

I see each group for 30 minutes and I have five minutes between each group to walk around and find my next group of students.

All of those classes take place from 8:15 - 11:00.

At 11:00 I pull in fourth grade students for testing. I am doing IRI's on them. An IRI is an Individual Reading Inventory. It is a test that can be used to find a student's strengths and weaknesses as a reader. It also finds the reader's various reading levels. Once I finish testing them I will start working with a group of them on their weaknesses.

I have lunch around 12:00.

At 12:35 I go into a third grade classroom to work with kids who are struggling with various aspects of reading. The third graders are getting ready to take the Reading TAKS test on March 3rd. If a child does not pass this test they will not be promoted to fourth grade.

They are given two more opportunities to pass the test, but once a child has failed the test, self esteem issues and test anxiety usually set in and make it even worse for a child who probably already struggles in reading. This is why the TAKS test is referred to as a High Stakes test.

At 1:30 I pick up a group of students for my dyslexia group. I use a program called Language! with these students that so far, I really like.

At 2:30 I have my conference period. This is when I gather all of my materials for the next day, make copies, return e-mails, have meetings, you name it and it gets crammed into this 45 minutes of the day!

At 3:15 the bell rings. Since I no longer have a class of my own I do not tutor regularly. I do step in and tutor for other teachers when they are absent or have to leave early. If I do not tutor, I continue to prepare for the next day, week, etc.

I also coach DI, which stands for Destination Imagination, at least one day a week after school. Our big competition is coming up in March so we will also be meeting on Saturdays to get prepared for that. The kids are having a good time and have really learned a lot. Regardless of how they do at competition, we have had a great year in DI!

I created my own lesson plan format to keep track of all of my groups and what we are going in each group. I also have to document skills the children are succeeding at and skills that the children are still struggling with. If students are struggling with a skill, I then have to find an alternate activity and reteach that skill. The results of that activity also have to be documented.

All of this is due to R.T.I. which is short for Response to Intervention. R.T.I. is difficult to explain. Basically, every child who struggles needs to be identified. A plan needs to be created for each child and that child's progress is monitored as they work through that plan. (See what I mean about being difficult to explain??)

Wow, this turned into a really long entry. Sorry about that!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Best Christmas Present EVER!

I work with the best people in the world. Seriously. When I went to work there 10 years ago (in the middle of the school year) everyone welcomed me with open arms.

Our school secretary is the nicest, most kind hearted person you will ever meet.

She spoils my kids rotten! Even Meagan, who no longer goes to my school.

Before Garrett started kindergarten he knew he could always count on Ms. M. for a treat and a carton of chocolate milk.

Ms. M. bought the Garrett this gift for Christmas. It a full of little sticks and marbles that are magnetized.

Even though it was Garrett's gift, both kids have played with it non-stop since he opened it.

Garrett makes letters with the sticks, reins for his Webkinz reindeer, a racetrack for his car to follow - you name it and he's made it.
He practices patterning, his colors, counting, and he doesn't even know it!
Thank you so much Ms. M! We love you!
(She bought Meagan a really cute purse but I can't find the picture I took of it right now. Oops!)