Saturday, December 31, 2011

I'm a fan...

I don't think there is a way for me to adequately express my excitement about today's activity!  My sister and I are big "Army Wives" fans.  She found it on Netflix and nagged me until I started watching it.  Well, we took a trip to see where they film the show!  They weren't filming today but I'm sure we are going to go back once they are!

This may seem kinda dumb but I put our pictures with the pictures from the real show so you could see.  First, a picture of the administration building where General Holden works...
Next, we saw Claudia Joy's house with fake vines!
 And the pergola outside her house.
 It's hard to see, but in this picture there are lots of ropes and pulleys...our guess is that is part of the camera and lights stuff.
Then, THIS WAS THE COOLEST PART, we were driving really slowly through the area, and a man was working in one of the houses marked with the Army Wives yellow tape.  He waved at us, we waved back, and then he waved us toward him!  We GOT TO GO INSIDE!  I was just a little excited and accidentally drove over a sprinkler, so sorry Army Wives outside set designer!  Well, this house hasn't been used on the inside yet because it is being restored.  He said that on the next season, this will be the general's house.  It was gorgeous.  Here are some pictures of it. First, the upstairs balcony (that had been staged at one point for AW.) Next, a view of the beautiful front door and a view from the upstairs curved staircase.  And last from the end of the walk.

Suffice it to say that if I had my camera there would be a LOT more pictures but these are from Kelly's iPhone!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Mission impossible?

All I wanted to do today was find two things:  a plastic organizing thingy and tokens.  If you're a teacher that doesn't sound strange at all!  I got this idea to help me not go crazy with my class.  There are two main problems I have with them:  they don't. stop. talking. and they are always wanting more and more rewards and fun things given to them.  I guess I was spoiled for the past 3 years because I looped with my class. They were awesome and we were truly a family.  It seemed like they really cared about me and I was CRAZY about them.  They were intrinsically motivated, attentive, and all around awesome.

Enter this year's class.  I had a fabulous classroom economy set up, alternative seating (beanbags and lapboards), choice assignments, etc.  I was forgetting one main thing when I planned all those things...these kids were a NEW group!  They were not coming to me ready for all of those totally awesome things that I worked hard to get ready.  I had been warned about this rising group but I figured I could get them under control once they got into my class.

So the first month was a total disaster.  I modeled and demonstrated and taught my expectations like crazy, but it didn't work.  The kids couldn't handle it, even though I think they really wanted to.  I took everything away and went to a total old school discipline system.  You earned rewards if you didn't get in any trouble, and if you did get in trouble you earned silent lunch, no recess, phone call home, etc. 

THAT didn't work either! In the process I was getting so burned out.  My kids who were good started  thinking their rewards weren't enough. "Is this all we get?"  Ungrateful kids are just so not cool.  Then, even the kids I thought I could count on started to be disrespectful and talkative.  I never thought I'd be this teacher...but I was totally the teacher who hated her job and didn't want to go to work.  It's a vicious cycle, because I'm sure the kids can tell and then they don't try their best.

I still don't have the answer.  Christmas break came just in time.  I feel so rejuvenated and ready...well, not really ready, but less dreading going back. 

So back to the original topic:  my two shopping items.  I am going to set up a token system with my class.  Well, if I can find tokens! I went to 4 stores, found the organizing container but no tokens.  I may end up using these flat glass marbles that I already have at school.  I will just have to write the kids' numbers on them very quickly when I get to school on Tuesday!

Basically, all the kids have 10 tokens with their number on it.  When they do something great, you put one of their tokens in a bag.  Then, whenever you need a helper or have an occasion where you need to pick someone, you chose from the bag.  I think this will emphasize doing great things and not emphasize a physical reward that the kids are expecting all the time.  At the end of the week I can pull a number of tokens and give out rewards, but I may not because I can just see the tears if certain kids' numbers don't get pulled.

I'm just brainstorming, but here are some things I want to start implementing/teaching on Tuesday:
  • the token system
  • new expectation posters for different times of the day (arrival, teaching time, working time, transition times)
  • gratefulness (HOW DO I TEACH THIS? :) )
  • maximizing my time (pull a small group even if I have just 10 minutes before the next thing)
 I'll be sure to update with how it actually goes!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

New year and other topics

Did you notice the new blog design? For those of you (2 of you) who read this in a reader you should check out what the actual blog looks like! I was bored last night.

New Year's Eve is really not a big deal to me.  Most of the time I'd rather stay home and go to bed at a somewhat normal time.  Last year, I went to a party at a friend's but was actually home by midnight. That's the way I roll.  I usually don't make resolutions but this year I've been inspired to make some goals.  I was reading this blog and loved his ideas.  So here are mine.They are more specific and task oriented by design. (By the way, Kelly, I wrote these in my planner!)

  1. Decorate and paint the laundry room.
  2. Decorate and paint my bathroom.
  3. Begin a new classroom management plan so that I can go less crazy. (I already picked one out. More on this later.)
  4. Blog 
  5. Clean the garage and paint the inside wall.
  6. Lose lbsssss (and go to the gym).
  7. Fix up my lighthouse picture frame so that it better matches my living room colors.
  8. Finish my current Beth Moore Bible study and at least one other one.
  9. Save $$ each month for a new car.
  10. Use more green/homemade cleaning stuff.
These are specific so that I can actually check them off when they happen!  And I do have a # in mind for #6 but I thought I would keep that to myself.

In other news, "The Bachelor" is coming on Monday!!  If you have time for a laugh you should check out Knox McCoy's take on the girls.  They are all pretty disappointing at this point.  What is really interesting is that McCoy rates each girls' hotness and I happen to disagree with him on many of his opinions.  But I guess I'm not a guy so what do I know about girls and their hotness?

Next, I really like this little graphic.

from smbc
And finally, I leave you with this cute little picture I took last night.  Isn't it cool how the whole lamp is glowing?

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

In which I illustrate my nerdiness

The strep throat is on its way out and so I had the ability to actually get up and out of the house today! And it is so sad, because I had so much fun on my outing.  First I went to Best Buy and bought a nifty cable to connect my computer to my new TV! So now I can watch Netflix (i.e. Army Wives) on my new TV!  Next I went to Wal-Mart and the experience was so nice! (I know, weird huh!) It was quiet, people were smiling, and I found everything I wanted.  I bought the things to make homemade detergent and also bought a bunch of Christmas wrapping paper that was 50% off.

So now that I shared that totally unnecessary information, let me share more!  Once I got home I hooked up the nifty cable and I even took a picture of it so that I could show it on my blog. (NERD)
So, in case you couldn't imagine it, there's my computer on the bottom, and the same picture is up there on the TV screen! 

Next I made the detergent which I am SO excited about!  Here are the ingredients.  Then I had to grate the bars of soap (it looked like cheese!) and then mix it all together. It smells great. I also bought a very fancy glass canister at Wal-Mart to store it in.  

Can you see that small scoop there?  That's how much you need to use for each load.  In other words, this is going to last FOREVER! I just added it up - it was $15.87.  It's supposed to last a year, and if that's true I'll be saving a lot! I usually spend at least $10 every couple of months.  So there you go!

I also bought a small bottle of "Seal Gray" paint that I'm going to test in my bathroom. I would really like to find a pretty gray color to paint in there, so we'll see if this is the right one!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

My long lost blog

So for some reason I'm in the mood to start blogging again!  It really is a cool way to get out your thoughts and save your memories of a season that may not be so memorable.  I'm going to try a challenge:  30 days of blogging with no skips!  Let's see how far I get!

So for my first blog of this challenge I'd like to share the transformation that happened in my house today.  Of course I didn't think to take a picture of the before, but here is my old TV:

 Excuse the dust.  Now this was a NICE TV, in my opinion.  Big, nice picture, and it was given to me for free!  But, for Christmas, I got a new TV!  This was a total surprise because I didn't even think of asking for a new TV.  I was happy with my old one.  However, I was VERY excited when I saw this one!

(Let's hear it for closed captioning!!) Doesn't that look nice! It is so skinny and light and the picture is crazy good.  I can't believe it.  Now I can go to Best Buy and get a wireless connection to my computer and I can watch Netflix on it!  (My old TV was too old to have the right connections to do that.)

Another thing I am doing tonight is filling out my new agenda from Kelly!

Isn't it pretty? 

These are the kinds of things you do when you have strep throat on your Christmas break! I hope tomorrow I feel better and can actually get out of the house!