Tuesday, September 30, 2014

A day in the life of this working mama

Time to get up and feed the baby...bright and early
Leaving the house at 6:15am means the neighborhood is still dark and my lovies are inside asleep
6:50am means a pretty decent parking spot and watching the sun rise over the mountains
10:55am just got out of a meeting and finally able to sit down for a snack - taught two straight hours (geometry and algebra 2) followed by scheduling meeting and posteval conference
Necessary evil - 11:30am and I'm using my 30minutes for lunch to pump in the nurse's office.
2:23pm and the school day's over but I need to stick around for extra help *fingers crossed no kids show up*
My favorite part of the day: picking the nugget up from daycare.  I got there at 3:20 but he was still napping so I ran to Target to pick up some things.  Without fail he wakes up 5 minutes after I leave - every time!
Home by 4:15 so time to wash the bottles and pump parts while rocking out to "today's alternative" on pandora with the nugget hanging in his high chair.
After playtime in Tripp's room we took a break to cut his nails with the only distraction that works, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.
Not feeling too swift and the hubs is at a beer event tonight so it's soup and crusty bread for dinner - sharing with the nugget of course.

7pm means we start our bedtime routine - tubby time
A little light evening reading with Tripp's favorite book
It's lights out for the nugget and he's officially asleep in his crib by 7:45pm.  I head downstairs just as the hubs gets home for some snuggle time on the couch before passing out at 9:30.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Interactive Achievement - onTRAC testing

This year, much like every year, the district has rolled out a new program for us to use to help with the new Common Core Standards, PARCC testing, and SGOs.  Normally I spend my time in the in-service groaning about the new "resource", daydreaming about other things I wish I could use in class, and thinking about how this is a one and done kind of thing...this year's in-service was different.  We were introduced to a company called Interactive Achievement and their program, onTRAC.  And I've got to say...this program is actually REALLY helpful.

It has an assessment library that includes thousands of questions that are all linked to the common core.  On the first day of school I created a pre-assessment for my Geometry and Algebra 2 classes.  I was able to use questions from the 7th and 8th grade common core intertwined with Algebra 1 review from the 9-12 common core and some stuff that I haven't officially taught yet.

The thing about this program that I really like, as a special ed teacher, is that it's done on the computer.  This has been incredibly helpful for preparing my students for the PARCC exam, which will be taken on the computer.  Students are not used to taking tests this way and have no clue how to navigate the additional things like the pop up calculator, scrap paper, and highlighting tools so this is great practice for them.  The other great thing is that I can see what question each student is on so I know who is wasting time and who is actually working.
I also love that it breaks down each question by standard for easy reporting and so I can target my students' weak areas.  I was able to use the data from their pretests (which were AWFUL) to determine where to begin for the school year.  I could figure out what skill I needed to target first before jumping into the curriculum.

I must say that this is one new initiative that I'm VERY happy our school is implementing.  I hope that we can use more programs like this that actually make the teacher's life easier and not just another thing to have to do in order to be considered "highly effective".

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Stitch Fix Review #2

Oh man.  I was so excited for my third stitch fix box to arrive.  My last box was a total hit and I've already worn 3 of the pieces multiple times (including the blue shirt that was the only piece I wasn't thrilled with...it's become a staple of my summer wardrobe).  I could not wait to open up the box.  Before even unwrapping the garments I was a little disappointed with the size of the box.  It wasn't as big as my previous two boxes had been...I got nervous.  When I opened the styling notes I noticed that Allison was my stylist again.  SCORE! She styled my last box and I absolutely loved it.  Well...here we go and you'll quickly see the outcome of this box.

Pixley Monet Mini Facet Bib Necklace - $38
Three Dots Cammy Stripe Boat Neck Cotton Tank - $44
Margaret M High Waisted Cropped Trouser - $98

OK.  So this picture features three of the five pieces in my box.  I wasn't thrilled to receive a necklace (and promptly changed that in my style profile so that I no longer receive accessories) because I'm actually allergic to most metals and break out from 90% of the jewelry I own unless it's platinum baby!  The tank top fit nicely but I couldn't justify spending that much money on a cotton tank especially when I own one very similar to this.  I was afraid the trousers wouldn't fit as they didn't have any zippers and were just pull on but they actually fit nicely.  I'm just not a fan of cropped pants.  I'm 5'8" which is relatively tall for most women and feel like cropped pants look like they're too short and not designed to be that way.

Daniel Rainn Divinity Eyelet Detail Pleat Front Blouse - $68

This shirt was an epic fail.  I don't know if you can tell from the picture but it is HUGE.  There were at least 2" in additional material on both sides in the armpit.

Andrew Marc Kadine Rugby Striped Fit & Flare Dress - $138

I actually really liked this dress.  It fit me well and has pockets, but the price is ridiculous for what it is and I already have a dress that looks just like it that I wore to a wedding in May.

Merchandise Total: $386
Buy All Discounted Total: $274.50

So it is with great sadness that I will be sending back the entire box without purchasing anything and losing my $20 styling fee.

Better luck next time?

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Classroom Makeover Part 1

First off, let me start this post with some background information.  I've been teaching at KHS for 6 years now.  When I first started out I was sharing a classroom with Bea, an English teacher.  We were in a bright and beautiful brand new classroom with orange walls and turquoise accents.  It was bright and cheerful and had built in closets and everything was shiny and new.  Flash forward a year and I was relocated to what we have dubbed "The Ghetto Room".  Logistically it made more sense because most of my classes were in that room and my new roommate was the other Special Ed math teacher (Wendy)....however, the room was one of the oldest in the building and it showed!  Well two years later and many many many garbage cans full of old materials, this is what the room looked like.

Yup, those are chalk boards!!  I went from beautiful new white boards only --- to chalk! UGH!

This was our little supply area....as you can see, it's a disaster.

And here's my desk....a bit more organized, but still not very pleasant.

Wendy and I refer to our room as "The Ghetto Room" because the first row of lights only work sometimes and their switch is opposite of the other two sets of lights.  Our heater is missing a panel and usually sounds like it's about to explode.  The smartboard randomly turns off...Now, I should also state that I teach in a very affluent area and our district is actually one of the top 10% in the state.  It's really just that we are in the oldest classroom in the building.  We also refer to our room as "The Island of Misfit Toys" because other teachers tend to send their students to us for some unknown reason or kids are constantly stopping by on their way to the nurse/main office/gym and for the most part we welcome them with open arms.

Our room is slowly transforming into something more appealing.  Every year I ask for another piece to make the puzzle a little nicer.  Two years ago it was a large black wardrobe so that we could finally hang our coats up in the winter (yea...being the oldest room in the building means no storage WHATSOEVER).  Last year we got a huge bulletin board for the front of the room to start posting important information, class contracts, etc.  And this year...we're moving up in the world and getting a whiteboard!!!!  

Once our whiteboard is hung, I'll take updated photos and give you a better tour.  We still have the ugly old desks (I was told there isn't money in the budget for new ones) and our lights still don't work 100% of the time...but it's coming along.