Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Democracy in Action?

My kids come to school in all different ways - car, bus, walking.  Some of them ride their bikes and some of them ride their skateboards or RipSticks.  The problem is that they come down to the after school program with their method of transportation in hand and think it's a toy they and their friends can play on.  We're big on safety in my program - I don't even let my kids do cartwheels or hang upside down on the monkey bars, so I definitely have a problem with kids riding on moving things.  I've told them over and over that they can't do it, and I went so far yesterday and today as to actually take their boards away from them until they leave to go home.

Today, the kids decided to take action.  They consulted the Preamble to the Constitution and the Bill of Rights (cleverly located in their school agendas) and they all got together and signed a petition asking me to let them play with their stuff.  They were respectful about it at first, and we talked about how these rules apply to what the Government can and can't take away from you versus what the school or Ms. Wendy can and can't take away.  I even used the example that we have the right to bear arms, but that doesn't mean we can bring guns to school.  The were a little insistent that they had rights, but I had to shut them down with a firm, "No."  I was proud of them for trying to get involved and get the rules changed in a respectful way instead of just complaining and whining, but I couldn't capitulate.

Speaking of the government, I've been trying to decide the best way to handle a "Mock Election" lesson.  I think I'm going to do like we did when I was in 2nd grade (The year Clinton was elected, go ahead and do that math) and have the election be on books/authors.  Each grade was given a choice of 3 authors, and the classes campaigned for these authors and then voted on election day.  I remember my class was in charge of campaigning for Marc Brown, but I went against my 'party' and voted for Dr. Seuss.

Problem is, I don't have a classroom, so I have no place to hang up campaign posters.  I have only one class of 22 kids, not 3 or even 6 classes so as to get a wide spread of votes.  Some of my kids are advanced enough to get into Harry Potter, while some still prefer picture books.  Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

What are you going to do in your class for election day?

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Birthday and Remembering

Eleven Years Ago,

I was sitting in English class - my first class of the day with one of my favorite high school teachers.  The day was going normally, but then she got a phone call from her husband.  She didn't usually take calls during class, so we were curious.  As we watched, her face began to fall.  She told him she loved him, hung up, and then turned on the TV.  We watched, horrified, as the planes went into the towers.  I had just been to NYC for the first time 5 months ago, and I was still deep in my infatuation for the city.  I knew right away that things were going to be different.  I threw a hissy fit in my 2nd period class (gym) because the coaches wanted us to dress out and walk the track like everything was normal.  Why didn't they understand?  All I wanted to do was go to a place I felt safe (most definitely NOT gym) and watch the news and try to understand what was happening.  I wanted to go home, hug my mom and grandma and watch the TV, knowing that this event was to my generation what the Challenger explosion or the Kennedy Assassination was to others.  Did I mention that it was my 16th birthday?

One Year Ago,

I was student teaching, in a 5th grade classroom.  None of them were old enough to remember a world before this had happened.  I told them that story, and I showed them a book I put together in the aftermath of this - I took a red folder and some lined paper and I asked my classmates to write down how they were feeling.  I felt like I needed to document this for future generations, just what regular students felt.  Perhaps I missed a calling as a reporter.  Either way, it felt good to bring it out, 10 years later to open up a little bit of the past for a new generation.


I subbed in 3rd grade.  Because I was subbing for the Math and Science teacher, I didn't get to read books like "September 12" or "Fireboat" to my kids.  But I'm glad to know that these kids have resources if they want to know what happened.  For one day, besides July 4th, these kids have a deeper understanding of what heroes really look like, and are proud to be Americans.

On the Birthday note, my kids made me feel so special.  One child's mom brought me flowers.  A few made/wrote me cards.  One even made me cookies!  They swarmed me in a giant hug as soon as I walked into the gym.  One of my girls made me feel so great and she doesn't even know that she did it.   Three of my 2nd grade girls, normally BFFs, were arguing on our way back from the playground.  I was at the front of the line, so I only heard part of the conversation, but I heard a 3rd grade girl tell them that they needed to work out their differences.  She said to them, "Ms. Wendy will always be here to solve your problems.  Talk to each other, talk to Ms. Wendy."  I wanted to cry, it felt so nice to hear that she felt she could (and others should) depend on me.  After a full day of subbing AND the afterschool program, with another full day of subbing AND the afterschool program awaiting me tomorrow, it helps with the exhaustion to be reaffirmed that I am doing a good job.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

September Currently

Listening - I've been watching all the seasons of Friends in order since summer started.  I'm at the end of Season 9 and I don't know what I'll watch after it's over.  Hopefully I'll be too busy substituting to care.

Loving - Meal Planning.  Today I made a calendar and planned out all the meals I'm going to cook for dinner for the next week.  Breakfast is usually something from the microwave, and sandwiches/Lean Cuisines are fine for lunch, but dinner is where I usually fall victim to restaurants/fast food.  I kept it super vague so that I didn't feel locked into something I didn't feel like, but this way I know what I need to buy from the grocery store.  I'm gonna try to cook a little more - maybe try one new recipe every month.

Thinking - I'm back at the job I held during college, and it's starting to feel like I've outgrown it.  My boss agrees - she says she doesn't want me to leave but that she can tell I've moved on.  If I can get enough sub jobs just at my school, then maybe next semester I'll open myself up to a few more schools and substitute every day instead of working the after-school job.

Wanting - a haircut and mani/pedi.  If I had enough money for one luxury service to be provided every day, I'd realistically choose a chef to make me dinner every night, but in my dreams I'd pick someone to wash and style my hair every day.  For someone whose always been tender-headed, I love having a trained professional mess with my hair every day.  After spending a year and a half growing my hair long enough for Locks of Love, I now relish regular haircuts and I crave them.  The mani/pedi just goes with a day of pampering.

Needing - a way to work out.  Now that I'm not in school I don't have free access to a fancy-shmancy Rec center.  I could get an alumni membership, but the idea of trying to find a parking space on campus JUST to work out sounds very unappealing.  I also don't live at a student apartment complex packed with amenities like a work-out room.  I don't have the money for any sort of gym membership, so I'm thinking about walking the track around the playground after work, but soon it will start getting dark earlier.

Favorite things - my bestie Brittan gave me a present with a ton of fun stuff, including the Girl Scout Cookie flavored Lip Smackers that I have been coveting but have been too proud to buy myself.  There's Thin Mint, Trefoil, and Samoa.  I've also loved waking up early enough in the mornings to enjoy a cup of coffee.  It's really a peaceful ritual.  Pretty soon there will be a crisp fall breeze in the air and I can enjoy my coffee (with pumpkin spice creamer) on the back patio in my flannel jammies.  I can't wait!

Link Up! 

Saturday, September 1, 2012

First Week

Well, I survived the first week.  Only 35 more to go.  I'm working after school, so I only get my kids for 2-3 hours instead of all day.  I got back on the sub list, and after I turn in a transcript showing that I graduated, I can get on a higher pay rate. Some highs and lows:

High - I LOVED seeing all my kids again.  The amount of hugs I've gotten has been astronomical.
Low - I'm already having trouble with a kid who assumes he gets to follow a different set of rules than anyone else.
High - I already got asked to sub, the teacher said, "We all need subs but I wanted to call early to make sure I got you."
Low - Have a new kid with ADHD, trying hard to have patience with him.  Any tips or tricks would e appreciated.  I think I'm going to give him some sort of "Fidget" so he's not constantly talking over me.
High - Had a parent tell me their kid was so glad to get me as their ESD teacher this year.
High - the daily affection I get from my little boy with Downs.  I missed the way that kid hugs you and latches on like a monkey =)

How was your first week back?  Anyone who doesn't start until after Labor Day?