Thursday, March 28, 2013

An Update + Working Out

I've gotten a lot of subbing under my belt since I last posted.  I've fallen "in like" with a new school, but I still miss my old school terribly.  This month is going to be crazy - I have not 1 but 2 district job fairs, plus the job fair at my university (which I didn't go to last year).  I've updated my resume, written a generic, me-based cover letter that I think sums me up pretty well, and I bought the fancy paper to print out copies on.  I've impressed and gotten the notice of the principal this new school.  I've also been hard at work creating a few new products for my TPT store.

Let me tell you, I am doing a lot of "on the job learning" with creating this stuff.  My first couple of products, I just made things and put them up.  Now I'm working with new fonts, borders, and clip art, and having to keep track of the ToU for these, because I want to make sure that the awesome people (who are so much more talented at graphic design than I am) get the credit for the work they did.  I can have great ideas for days, but these people help me make my ideas look pretty and stand out.  I'm not trying to be a Deanna Jump or an Amy Lemons, where my sales function as nearly a 2nd income, but I have always been a person that likes to create, and if even one other person likes what I created, then I feel happy.  Here's a link to my store if you'd like see what I've been making.

On a non-education related front, I joined a gym.  I've never been happy with the way I look, and my health is, of course, important, but the tipping point for me was noticing how little energy I've had.  I honestly think it started setting in when I stopped working at the after-school program.  I was getting energy from those kids every day, and using it to play with them and watch over them.  Now that my kid-time is limited to a classroom, I've been downright sluggish.  I got a great deal (ALWAYS mention you're a teacher), and paid for 3 months with the 4th one being free.  I used my own money, which so far has served as a great motivation to go.  I figure after 4 months, I'll see where I'm at, if I'm happy in this gym or if I need something bigger.

Y'all, this gym is tiny.  Like, 4 treadmills tiny.  It's 24 hour access, and there aren't a lot of members so I don't have to wait to use machines, but there is a lot it doesn't have.  What it does have is one of every weight machine that I know how to use, 3 choices for cardio (treadmill, elliptical, bike), and a clientele that keeps to themselves.  You don't come to this gym to socialize, you come to work.

I'm in my 4th month of being a member, and I've stuck to my goal of working out 3 days a week, except for the week of spring break when I wasn't in town.  Really, I don't have any goals other than that.  Get there - do something, that's where I'm at right now.  I didn't even take any beginning measurements or weight, because the only result I'm looking for now is more energy.  When I notice that, I'll start working on my physique.

I bought a journal to keep track of what workouts I do, because I'm worried that if I lock myself into a rigid schedule (Day one is upper body, day 2 is lower body, etc...) then I'll burn out faster.  I want as much freedom as possible, but I also want to know where I'm having success and where I need to work more.

 So, that's an update on my life right now - any advice for a new gym go-er?  Experiences you've had at job fairs?  Talk to me, people!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Feedback needed

After spending a wonderful week in Kindergarten and seeing what some of my fellow teachers had to offer, I was struck by the idea of using graphs.  I remember very clearly that reading and understanding a graph is one of the first grade math assessments, because I administered that assessment to the first grade class I was student teaching in.  The TEKS is:

§111.3. Grade 1
(b)  Knowledge and skills
(8)  Data analysis. The student applies mathematical process standards to organize data to make it useful for interpreting information and solving problems. The student is expected to:
(A)  collect, sort, and organize data in up to three categories using models/representations such as tally marks or T-charts;
(B)  use data to create picture and bar-type graphs; and
(C)  draw conclusions and generate and answer questions using information from picture and bar-type graphs.

On a vertical alignment, TEKS 8 is the same for Kindergarten, but with pictographs only:

(8)  Data analysis. The student applies mathematical process standards to collect and organize data to make it useful for interpreting information. The student is expected to:
(A)  collect, sort, and organize data into two or three categories;
(B)  use data to create real-object and picture graphs; and
(C)  draw conclusions from real-object and picture graphs.

So I thought I'd create a Graph Pack with a graph for every month of the year.  Some are specifically themed for that month, some are not.  The problem is that a class in TX can be as large as 22 students.  Now in Kindergarten, the largest I've seen is about 19.  In first grade, I've seen up to 21.  If I make a graph that says "How many friends are here today" and the class tracks it over every school day for the week, that's a graph with 23 rows (22 plus day of the week) and 5 columns, making it hard to fit on a single sheet of paper with the title included.  However, it's more convenient to print off and display a single piece of paper.

To that end, I've put a free sample on TpT.  It features the "How many friends are here today graph" in both 1 page and 2 page formats, where the graph is on one page and the title is on another, with a unifying design.  Please download this product and let me know what you think.  Not EVERY graph in my graph pack needs to be on two pages (because how often are your 22 kindergarteners going to vote on the same thing?) but at least 2 of them might.

Here's the link to the product: