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Yes... we are in for the long haul. Five whole months with only spring break and a few three day weekends for good measure. 

So...


Spring semester is the semester that we teach life science which is my favorite topic. We get to plant seeds, propagate plants from root cuttings, learn about composting, raise tadpoles, and hatch butterfly larvae and chicken eggs. Woohoo!! What's not to love about that, right?

But...

It's also field trip time (last year's field trip I was on the phone to a parent before we even walked through the zoo entrance), field day time (uck... poke me in the eye with a sharp object please), general spring fever (children and teachers), and that dreaded four letter word season. TESTing. 

Okay that's a seven letter word, but in my book the words 'test' + 'data' = 'suck'. And, those are all four letter words.

Check this out:

Photo courtesy of Katie Brower, Florida Unschoolers; Share via TimberNook Miami

I came across this little jewel a few days ago, and couldn't help but be amazed at the difference in the expectations we have for our little ones now. I personally think that this report card from 1954 is genius. Why? Because these are basic life skills that our little ones need. I have second graders that have difficulty with quite a few of these skills. Our educational system has become so focused on getting our children "college ready" (barf) that they are missing so much of these meaningful and developmentally appropriate learning activities.

I have to stop for a minute and tell you that when I sat down to type this blog post, I was actually planning to write about concept sorts. I have completely veered off course, but that's how it goes when you get on a roll. In fact, typing the above paragraph has gotten my blood boiling a bit, so I'm going to go get a cup of coffee.


I'm back. I really did go get some coffee. I also ate a grilled cheese sandwich and chatted with my son a bit about acne control and shaving. 

Anyways, back to what I was discussing. It's just my opinion that if we helped our little ones accomplish these very basic life skills then they will be so much more successful when they enter first grade. Is there room for more on the 1954 kinder report card? Of course there is. I just happen to see so many kiddos beginning school with a deficit. For whatever reason, they aren't ready even for kindergarten and yet we want them "college ready".

It just seems that we are putting the cart before the horse if you know what I mean.

Isn't it common sense that if we can get these little people developmentally (not to mention socially) ready then we teachers can actually...I don't know....teach? I mean, wouldn't the time spent with our students be more meaningful and productive in the long run?

Now, I realize that there are all sorts of societal issues that drive educational reform. I know that this isn't 1954, and I know that there are many sides (some quite valid) to this issue. 

But, something must give. 

Teachers deserve it, and more importantly...

our children deserve it.



I'd love to hear your feedback..

Y'all have a great weekend!
Hello blog. It's been a while.

You know, technology is a wonderful thing. Take the smart phone... it keeps us connected with the outside world. Everyday. All the time. 24-7 you could say.

One of the most helpful features of the smartphone is also one of the simplest... the alarm clock. I prefer a calm alarm, like peaceful birds chirping. On the other hand, after spending a number of years in the Marine Corps, my spouse enjoys a blaring rendition of reveille. It's awful.

I use my alarm throughout the day to keep on track. When it goes off at 8:25, my students pipe up to tell me to take attendance. Later the chirping  alerts us to switch classes, go to specials, etc... Since I rely on these alarms so heavily, I carry the phone with me most of the day.

Well...


About a month or so ago during rotation, I naturally had my phone clutched in my hand along with my class clipboard. Now let me tell you, I have three different sections that I teach each day, and each class has a minimum of two "fit throwers". And I mean tantrums. Well the resident tantrumee (is that a word?) from the incoming class was throwing a wall-eyed fit and refused to get out of his seat and line up. His teacher is a first year teacher, didn't quite know what to do, and was looking to me for help.

I had already dealt with difficult children that morning and was in no mood for nonsense.

I walked to his seat and began to fuss at him. What I really wanted to say to him could have gotten me into big trouble, and I'll be honest with you... I considered what I could get away with. But, cooler heads prevailed...thank the Lord.

He eventually got up, quit crying, and we walked out into the hallway. Right at about that time one of my coworkers (we'll call him Mr. S.) came running down the hall waving his hands at me in the air... He came up to me and whispered in my ear that I was live on Facebook!!!

Somehow I had managed to push all of the right buttons without even knowing it, and Mr. S's phone started transmitting all the wailing coming from my little friend. There was no video because the camera was covered, but still... I quickly closed all my apps, and Mr. S suggested that I put a screen lock on my phone, which I did.

Thank you Mr. S.

I hope you enjoyed my cautionary (and very true) tale. The moral of the story...use your technology for good...and use a screen lock!

Y'all have a great weekend!

It's amazing how I start each summer exhausted and end it ready to get back to school.

This year...not so much. I had a horrible school year last year. I won't go into details, but suffice it to say that if I had won the lotto, I would have been out of there quick, fast, and in a hurry.
I've spent my summer just relaxing. No vacations...just home and family. But summer doesn't last forever, and I have to go back in two weeks. I can't have a replay of last school year. I don't deserve it and the kids don't deserve it. So what am I going to do differently?

1. Work on ME: I intend to do my ding-dang-darndest to avoid power struggles with children. When you get so pissed that you feel your blood pressure rise...no bueno. Deep breaths...in through your nose, out through your mouth... proactive, not reactive.

2. Reach out to THEM: How? Character education. I've always had mixed feelings about character education. Maybe I'm old school, but it has always been my belief that this should be taught at home. But the reality is that many kids aren't being taught to be polite and respectful by their parents. I remember last summer I read a fantastic blog post by Sarah Plumatillo, and I thought that it sounded great. But...I didn't implement it. This year I'm going to...From day #1.  Yes, this is a product, but it is also a program,  and as is the case with all programs, the results lie in the fidelity of the implementation. No, I do not know Sarah and she has no idea that I'm sharing/promoting her post.  What really struck me about her post is her compassion for her kids and her passion about helping her kids be better. By making our kiddos better aren't we making.ourselves better. I encourage you to read her post regardless of what type of character education you may (or may not be using). It's worth the time.

So, my question for you is: What are you going to do differently this year? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Have a great week!


My poor neglected blog. I haven't done much of anything at all with it. No. I haven't done anything with it. In a long time. I've had ideas. I've taken pictures. I've come home thinking about it. And then....I'm T-I-R-E-D. Seriously, I came home last night and went to bed. At 7:00!!
Thank goodness I only have nine days left!!! That's right! NINE DAYS!
Okay, on to fun stuff.
Kelly from An Apple for the Teacher has organized a giveaway for a $25 TpT gift card. What perfect timing! Especially, if you need something to keep the little angels engaged during these last few days/weeks. 

Rules: Use the Rafflecopter form to enter daily. Giveaway ends 5/28/16 and is open worldwide. Winner will be notified via email.

Have fun, Good Luck, and....
Y'all have a great week!

Greetings, Greetings, Greetings!! Why am I so happy? Because spring has sprung! I LOVE springtime and just about everything about it (except stormy weather...I live in tornado alley). In my humble opinion, Texas has the most beautiful springtime anywhere!  It's warming up in my neck of the woods, the trees are blossoming, the bullfrogs are croaking, and the first bluebonnets are appearing along the roadsides...makes me downright giddy!


Today I'm teaming up with Kim from Elementary Antics for an fun blog hop: Springing into Learning! I teach second grade science and math, and this time of year we are planting and observing seeds, taking cuttings of house plants to learn about roots, observing the tadpoles in the aquarium, and exploring measurement.

So... I'm sharing a fun measurement freebie:


Before we  start working with this activity set, we spend some time actually measuring common objects around the class like markers, staplers, clipboards, etc... to help build a little schema about measurement and how long certain objects are. This helps them to be able to make reasonable  estimations.


Then, I place these picture cards around the room. The kiddos rotate from picture to picture and estimate the length of each image. Then they measure the images in either inches or centimeters depending on which unit of measurement that you're currently learning about.



This is a simple, but effective way to help children learn about estimating measurement. I like to tell my kids that when we look at something and estimate its length or width we are "eyeballing" it. For some reason that helps them to understand what we are doing. Of course, I teach them the word estimate and the concept of "about", but they seem to like "eyeballing"!

You can get this freebie here!

Have a wonderful weekend!



Happy Saturday Friends! I thought I'd share with you the latest development from my school, which I think is awesome. His name is Gus, and he is a therapy-dog in training!


Gus is a five year old Golden Doodle (it is a breed...I asked), that belongs to one of our school counselors. Jill and her family got Gus specifically because of his breed. Because he is part poodle, his hair is just that: hair. Not fur. So this makes him an allergy friendly pet for her children, one of whom has animal dander allergies. Gus is super friendly and very, very sweet (and well-behaved!).

Jill and Gus are currently in training to become a super-duper, counselor/therapy-dog, tag-team-duo. I think it is fabulous that she is willing to share her beloved family pet with the children at our school. Right now, Gus just comes to school once a week to become familiar with the building and to get the children used to seeing him, but he doesn't actually interact with kids. He and Jill will continue their training over the summer, and next school year, Gus will be on campus once or twice a week working with children. Jill explained some of the details with me, and I took notes. But...I left my notebook on my desk at work. I don't want to misstate any details, so let me just say how cool I think it is that next school year Jill and Gus will be working with and changing the lives of kids.

Jill and Gus showing how smart and well-behaved he is!
Isn't his little vest cute?

Click here to see a video that Jill and Gus made for our kiddos!

Y'all have a great week!


Happy Thursday to you!! Today I'm joining up with Brooke from Countless Smart Cookies for a fun blog hop. There are over forty blogs participating, so get comfy...you're in for a fun ride!


The theme for this blog hop is "Lucky to be a Teacher". You know, when you are in the thick of a rough school year, it is hard to think about why we are lucky to be teachers. I often feel like it is one step forward and two steps back. And...it's hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

So, I've been thinking. Why am I lucky to be a teacher? The main reason is the human aspect...the bonds and connections that I have made with both students and fellow teachers. I've reached a point in my career that I am seeing former students as adults and even beginning to see some of those students' own children in my school. That is really something! I also work with a wonderful group of really supportive and fun teachers, and they are a huge part of the reason that I keep coming back each year!

To celebrate being a lucky teacher, be sure to enter the giveaway below. Some teachers are offering specific prizes and others are offering a winners choice (ME) from their stores!


Have fun!


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