siempre a las carreras

I made it throught my first FULL year as a bilingual teacher with no injuries and/or lawsuits and I'm still somewhat sane and have a job for next year! Go me!!!

Monday, June 05, 2006

awwww....sweet summer vacation

I'm so freaking chill right now. It's perfect. I'm not teaching summer school (although I could seriously use the money) because I just needed the break :) I'm relieved b/c right before the year ended I got out of doing the ELL committee chair thing. At first I said I would b/c I'm a rookie and I'm not good at saying no yet, BUT at our last happy hour of the year, my coworkers gave me ammunition to march in there and explain that I just was not going to do it. why is it so hard to say no? and why do they want to stick the rookie teachers with every committee chair position possible? ok, back to useless crap on the internet :) Peace out.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Hay que hacer changuitos

I was reading my friend's blog and she's worried about having a job next year and/or staying on the same grade. They say that as a teacher you'll never be out of a job b/c we always need teachers, but I guess it's not always true. I know that you can always find a job somewhere, but it's not that easy to just move to another grade/school/district.

My district is undergoing some major changes. Sixth grade used to be the last grade in elementary and next year it's goig to be middle school. They're opening 20 new elementary schools to aliviate the overcrowding and reduce bussing students to schools. They're trying to have a "neighborhood school" type of district. My school sits in a very affluent neighborhood and all of our bilingual students are bussed in from apartment complexes. The new boundaries will take a lot of our bilingual students to a new school in their neighborhood. There will still be bilingual students at our school, but not as many. So....can't say where that leaves me. I'm optimistic b/c there are only two bilingual sections in first grade right now, so we'll still need at least one. The other first grade bilingual teacher has been there longer, but has mentioned leaving after this year to be with her kids b/c she lives really far away.

One of the really bright spots this year was when the M-LEP department visited our school to drop into the bilingual classes (LEP is a little behind the times b/c we're trying to use ELL instead). It was five ppl who came into the class to scope out the room. They didn't stay long enough to observe a lesson and I was going over homework anyway. BUT here's the bright spot. They told my principal and VP that my room was an example of what a bilingual classroom should look like :) Whew! I've got to say that it felt really good. I hope that counts for something and they think of me when it comes to next year :)

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

It's been a long,long, long time!

I don't have time to do this any more :( I used to spend hours reading so much stuff about what's going on with everybody else and getting ideas. Recently, I'm just trying to keep up with everything I'm supposed to do. I'm getting used to feeling like I'm never finished. I have to keep telling myself that it's always going to be like that b/c there is ALWAYS something else to do, clean, organize, re-arrange, grade, plan, follow-up, file, etc.

I've realized this week that my kids are making some progress. It doesn't always feel like it but I noticed this week on the the Tejas LEE that a lot of my kids did well enough to start reading at the hardest story (the Tejas LEE is the inventory equivalent of the TPRI in Texas and it has diff. sections on phonics and sight word recognition and reading). At least now I'll have that to say when the principal asks about the kids' progress tomorrow.

The winter break was nice (I know that by now it feels like it was so long ago and we're already counting down to spring break - 7 weeks, by the way). I didn't do anything and it was awesome.

Oh yeah, one thing I'm thankful for: palms to administer the Tejas LEE/TPRI! They make it soooooo much easier, b/c the instructions are there and it automatically jumps you from one section to another instead of having to keep up with the answer sheet for each kid and counting up totals and skipping sections, calculating reading speeds, etc. I can finish in about three days. I think all districts should have this for their teachers (if they stop paying a quarter mil to the superintendents, giving them cars and extra travel-miles stipends to main office personnel who DON'T travel, maybe we'd have more funds). Maybe that's just my school district :p Peace out!

Saturday, September 17, 2005

¿A dónde se van las semanas?

Another week down and one more to go until the end of the six-weeks period.That means it's report card time! Woo-hooo!!! One thing that I underestimated about my old district was the fact that we did report cards on a computer program. So all the basic fields - name, ID, school, teacher, etc. were already filled in. We just filled in grades from a drop-down menu. Here, we get these long BLANK report cards that we have to fill in by hand. I think I'm getting lazier. Well, I think it's just that when you realize that there is an easier way and you've done it that way before, it's more daunting to have to switch now and do it a longer way. I'll just do it this weekend and get it over with so it's not hanging over my head the rest of the week.

¡Felicidades Mexicanos y Centro Americanos por el día de la independencia! Some teachers had papel picado decorations in the hall way and my kids were all ooooing and aaaawing, so I told them we'd be making our own. I didn't buy tissue paper (I was planning on it but I didn't go to the store, so I improvised, but I think it turned out more original this way) I asked them to color pieces of newsprint paper and I showed them how to fold it and cut it and we put it out in the hallway. I have a girl from Honduras and a boy from El Salvador, so we looked at a map to find these countries b/c they're celebrating independence as well. We looked up their flags and read a book about the celebrations and traditions, etc. Anyways, it was fun.

I woke up so late today (I'm sure if you knew me, you'd be shocked :p). We went out last night (like on a real date, not just to the movies.) There was mariachis, folklórico and Latin jazz at the Latino cultural center. Después no fuimos a echar unos tacos and they had folklórico there too. For only $20 (for the food) we had a really good night.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Happy Friday...bueno en lo que cabe con el desastre y lo demás

First graders are not too young to look at the newspapers, right? We're going to talk about Katrina today and how we can help (our unit for social studies is citizenship, so I figured this ties in). Of course I'm going to pick what we look at and not just give them the entire newspaper.

Where do the weeks go? No sé, pero ya se me fue otra :) We got into a pretty good groove this week. I think for the most part, the kids have the center rotation down. It's been trial and error trying to group the kids. I've tried putting the more "challenging" kids with some who are pretty dependable. We've been doing science every day (go 1B!). I like the experiments and observations and we do plenty of reading, writing, measuring, etc. while we're at it.

Now I'm going to put together my reading groups and hope that we can get that going next week. I desperately need small groups b/c my kids are at all sorts of levels and I'm noticing where certain ones need more attention. I've realized I'm not the direct teach teacher. It's cool if you are and it works for you and your kids, but in first grade the kids are all over the place. Small groups is definitely the way to go for me.

I hate doing inventory!!! I have to look through all the stuff and check to see if I got the things passed down from the last teacher, what's missing, what's damaged...blah, blah, blah.

Have a good LONG weekend.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Let me put on my starched vest...

as George Lopez would say since I'm the team leader :)

Why am I the team leader? I don't know. I just found out yesterday. I'm new to the school and the other first grade teacher was the team lead last year, so why me? I wanted to say no. Since I'm new I would feel more comfortable if the other teacher was it, BUT I fought the urge. I didn't want to seem like a punk to the principal when he asked. I want him to know I'm motivated and accept challenges like I lied...I mean...stated in my interview ;p This is the only extra thing I'm signed up for right now, so I'll make sure and not get suckered into 20 extra committees and stuff.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Ready or not here they came!

To say this past week was hectic would be an understatement! The first week came and went and I still feel like I haven't even started. I had 25 kids this week! That is a lot of 6 year olds! 16 of the 18 on my roster showed up BUT 8 EXTRA kids showed up the first day! It started to balance out today. It turns out 2 of them were misplaced in my class and they were supposed to be in 2nd and 4th grade. And, no, I had no idea I had a nine year old in my class. He was not much taller than the other ones and the same academically. They just came from another country and their mom misunderstood something on the enrollment card. On Monday I'm tranferring two more to the other bilingual class and I'll have 21.

What's up with the paperwork!!! Parent info, updated enrollment cards, code of conduct, lunch forms,etc. Plus all the new teacher info crap and signing up for email and to access the online curriculum. Plus, my district is one of those who still does paper attendance! I'm surprised for it being such a huge, urban district that they still handle that on paper. In my limited experience (all of 2 other districts) you submitted attendance through a comp. system. Ok, enough with the complaints because everyone goes through that so y'all know what I'm talking about...Ok, one more...the copier is always broken. :) Ok, now I'm done.

My class is a pretty good mix - academically, culturally and personality-wise. I have some TAG (talented and gifted) kids who are writing full paragraphs and some who are still working on putting syllables together. They're from Honduras, El Salvador, Mexico, here, etc. I have some sweethearts who are no trouble at all, the shy ones, the clowns and of course "THE bad one." And by that I mean THE ONE that everyone knows from last year and got in trouble everywhere. Why do I always get the "oh, you have him?" kid? I smell conspiracy :) Anyways. I like the fact that there's tons of manipulatives and dry-erase boards, paper, pencils, crayons, etc. At least I don't have to spend my own money on that. Plus all the kids brought their materials. Of course I had to clean up the mess to find it all, but it's not so bad.

Something cute that happened: I had my TAG kids on the carpet b/c they had missed something while they were gone, and suddenly one of them starts fanning his butt and slowly scooted away from the others. Then I caught the "scent." I didn't say anything, but I just wanted to laugh b/c HE moved away from the smell and left us there :) He's going to be a handful, but he's very bright.

Something scary that happened: My kindergarten cousin (diff. school district) left his school and walked home on the first day. He's 5 and walked down a major street to get to his huge apartment complex. He left when they were on the playground at 10 am and showed up at his doorstep at noon. He didn't go to pre-k so this is his first time in a school and his parents told him that they would pick him up. He told him he left b/c they hadn't shown up yet. His teacher had already called to police to find him. His mom went to raise hell at the school. I feel bad for both sides. I can't imagine as a parent thinking of what could've happened. And I feel for the teacher b/c I know how easy it is to NOT miss a kid when you have 20+ and they wear uniforms. They all blend in.

Anyways...gotta go.