Wednesday, March 30, 2011

AMLP: Photomobile

Last year I participated in the Sketchbook Project, a massive international art project created by the wonderful folks at the Art house Co-op. Today I signed up for another of their creations...A Million Little Pictures. Instead of a sketchbook, this time the Co-op sends out disposable cameras. These cameras are equipped with a flash and 27 frames of film. Upon choosing a theme, participants can interpret that theme using photographs and, after sending them back to the Co-op, watch them travel the country on the Photomobile tour. Afterwards those photos are housed in the Art House Co-op's permanent collection in Brooklyn, NY. As if I weren't busy enough and didn't have a billion other art projects started, but I've been on vacation for 4 days and had an itch to start something new! Actually, these projects are fun and pretty low-key while still being part of an international art community. Can't wait for my camera to arrive! My theme is "Creating a World". There's still a little time left to sign up. Go check it out! Here are some photos from last year's project.

(I'm irritated that blogger completely disregards my spacing and paragraphing. This computer doesn't have Writer so the format is leaves much to be desired. Grrrr!)

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Spring Break! Yay!

My sorely needed vacation started today! What did I do?  Slept most of it, a few chores, and then dinner and a movie.  It was the best day ever.  The first day of vacation is always the best day ever with all the days off still ahead.  Hoping to catch up on sleep, projects, maybe some cleaning, and basically try to get my mojo back!  Yippee! 

Monday, March 21, 2011

Hugs Make It Worth It

Over the last couple of weeks I have been just a shell of a person.  I’m not sure if being sick knocked me on my butt and made me lose all motivation, or if it’s because I’ve had it up to here with my students and am so burnt out.  It’s probably a combination of both and the fact that spring break is 4 days away doesn’t help in the least.  Regardless, I’m out people. 

Last week seemed to take forever to get through.  Crazy kids, after school classes, and meetings every day were enough to send me right over the edge.  Wednesday afternoon when school was over, I  worked with some kids who are in our after school class.  I met with one of my own students who also attended the class.  She has spent the year really struggling in reading.  Just that afternoon she took a reading test that tested her current reading level.  I pulled her to the side to discuss her results.  I was so excited to tell her that she had moved up 1/2 of a grade level which is really quite an improvement.  I lifted my hand to give her a high-five.  She looked at me a moment and then wrapped her arms around me and gave me a big hug.  I hugged her back feeling both so proud of her, but also even more excited that she was so proud of herself. 

I so needed that.  With the behavior problems that we deal with on a regular basis, and the parents who don’t give a s#!% it can be real hard to feel like you have made even the slightest bit of difference.  Last week I felt that way for a few moments.  Those few moments may just get me through this week.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

I Just Called…To Say…I Don’t Really Want To Talk On the Phone

This week, Mama Kat asks, “You have an hour to kill on the telephone…who do you call and why?”

The short answer to that would be my friend Jill who moved a million miles away about 8 years ago because she and I can talk forever.

The long answer to that would be no one. As much as I like to talk, which is a lot, I don’t like talking on the phone all that much.

As a teenager, I had a pink telephone in my room and I was always on it. My dad would often pick up the line from downstairs and have to tell me to get off of it.

Since then, things have changed, and I now put off phone calls because talking on the phone is the last thing I want to do. I much prefer face-to-face chatting, email, facebook, even texting to talking on the phone.

I’m not quite sure if it’s a multitasking thing. I’m the queen of multitasking except when I’m on the phone. I’ve tried to do other things while talking on the phone except driving which I am able to do but am no longer allowed, but I always end up laughing at something not funny or asking a question that has nothing to do with what the person is talking about. Maybe I find talking on the phone a waste of time since I can’t do other things during a call.

It could also be that I talk ALL DAY LONG at work, so really the last thing I want to do is talk when I’m not working. But then again, I’ll talk your ear off if I’m with you. So who knows why? But just know…If I don’t call it’s because I prefer to talk to you via another means.

On another note…Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Hope you get to have a nice cold beer or several to celebrate. Don’t expect a phone call from me though.


Monday, March 14, 2011

Inject it Into the Rectal Cavity

I wasn’t going to post about teachers as my first post back after recovering from being really sick.  However, it seems a day doesn’t go by without some asinine thing that is said about or done to the teachers.  Today was no exception, and I can’t help but comment.

This afternoon we received an email from the California Teachers’ Association.  This email was sent to inform us about a couple of bills that CTA is opposed to.  Now I know some people out there are thinking, “Oh, here we go again.  A bunch of teachers complaining about something new they are being asked to do.  They only work part time and make a bazillion dollars…what are they complaining about?”

Here is what is being brought to the table…
The bill would allow non-medical school personnel to administer Diastat by injecting the medicine into the rectal cavity of a student. The drug is designed to treat epileptic seizures, and the bill could result in teachers and other non-medical school personnel administering Diastat in their classrooms during instructional hours.

CTA believes this is a way for government to get around funding school nurses who are the ones actually trained for this type of medical assistance. 

Currently, in addition to the core curriculum teachers teach (reading, writing, math, social studies, science, art, PE, computers), and the “raising the kids because so many parents don’t do it” instruction (drug education, anti-bullying, social skills classes, etc), which by the way the number of hours we are required to teach these things now add up to more hours than the actual hours we are in school.  So in addition to that, we classroom teachers often deal with minor medical issues (paper cuts, vomiting, wetting the pants, nose bleeds, slivers, and other small things that a band aid or wet rag and disinfectant can take care of).  Injecting a dose of medicine into a student’s rectal cavity is crossing that line of minor medical issues.  Ummm, that’s pretty major!  Teachers seem to be blamed for everything these days….can you even imagine if we are responsible for this and something goes wrong? 

Of course, a child in need of medical assistance, needs to be treated immediately, and if that were the reason behind this bill, it might be received better.  As of now, teachers are not allowed to keep medicine in their rooms, and school nurses and their assistants are responsible for keeping track and dosing this medication.  This hasn’t caused treatment to suffer, but all of a sudden, when the state is broke, they decide to put this medical responsibility onto the teachers. 

I promise, my next teacher post will be what I don’t like about teacher unions, but in this case I do tend to agree with ours.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Teachers and Wall Street

I know, I know!  I have been putting such little effort into my blogs recently.   I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it in the last 4 posts but I’ve been really sick.  I had planned on posting my own thoughts about all the demoralizing talk about teachers over the last week due to everything going on in Wisconsin, but I haven’t had the energy even to breathe let alone write a blog post.

Jon Stewart seems like the only one out there who is supporting teachers and trying to bring to light how asinine it is to use the “their job is easy” rhetoric in order to cut our salary and benefits.  I appreciate his words, and they’re funny to boot!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Oh, It’s the Teachers’ Fault that the Country is Broke? Good to Know!

The craziness going on in Wisconsin has been on my mind a lot lately. I do have some of my own issues with the teachers’ union (which I will post about at a later time), but what really frustrates me are the nasty things that are being said about teachers as a group as this whole thing goes down. I haven’t had the energy to coherently form my thoughts on this issue so instead I’m going to leave it to my favorite “newsman” Jon Stewart to do it for me…

It’s about 5 minutes long, but worth a watch.


My current pet peeve!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss!

Today is the 107th birthday of Theodore Seuss Geisel (aka Dr. Seuss), the author of so many wonderful children’s books.

theodorseuss Usually I am in a celebrating mood on March 2, but not so much today. Every year during the week of March 2, the NEA promotes a national reading event called Read Across America(RAA) that coincides with Dr. Seuss’s birthday. For the past 8 years I have put on that event at my school. It’s such a fun week with people from the community coming in and reading their favorite Dr. Seuss books to groups of kids, classrooms participating in activities and contests, and just a general excitement about reading. Students and (most) teachers alike enjoy the week so much. Over this last month I’ve spent almost every waking moment that I wasn’t teaching preparing for it. RAA started Monday. And have I been enjoying it with my kids? Ummm, NO because I’ve been home sick for 2.5 of the 3 days thus far (and at school sick for 0.5 days of it). It’s so hard to miss a day or more of teaching, but missing this week makes me so sad I want to cry or maybe the crying is from the excruciating pain emitting from my throat. Not only did I put my heart and soul into putting on this event, in our current system of high-stakes testing we aren’t allowed to have a heck of lot of fun in school these days. This week was it!

My dear friend and fellow RAA planner Jill who I hate because she moved across the country knows I’ve been ill during RAA and email ed me this cute poem she found in her local paper. Thanks Jilly!

Happy birthday to you, Seuss!
You cat in a hat!
If I ran the zoo
I would bring it to you
along with two fish
and a dozen large Sneetches
to have ice cream and cake
on our fine sandy beaches
with your books about eyeses
and noses and feetses.
We would give you some presents!
Some wrappings! Some boxes!
We'd invite Horton, Thidwick
and Foxes in Soxes!
We would serve many treats
such as green eggs and ham
with Cindy Lou Who's
homemade strawberry jam.
The Lorax would swim
in the ocean with jellies,
while the Grinch would wear
flip-flops and gather pink shellies.
We know you are gone,
but your birthday's still very
much fun to observe
at the Norfolk Library.
Or anywhere, really, for a girl or a boy
with places to go, and life to enjoy.
-Michelle Washington

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss!!!