Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Information Overload

I only have one more day of school until I can officially say that I survived a half year of teaching!  Hooray!  J  As my wonderful teammate put it (or sang it, rather), “It’s the final countdown…”  Can you tell that I’m ready for break?!? 
I’m sorry that it’s been so long since my last post.  Life has been stress-FULL (and that’s the understatement of the year – ha)!!!!  Here are some statistics for you:  In the past two weeks, I’ve spent 7 days Dibels benchmark testing all the students in our school.  If you take roughly 600 kids and divide that by 4 (how many people that were available to help with testing), you get the number of students that I tested (about 150 or more).  Multiply that number by 3 (because you have to give each test 3 or 4 times) and you get 450.  450+ tests.  That’s reading the standardized test directions 450 times, listening to the same stories being read 30 times each (5 grade levels (1st-5th), 150 students, 3 stories per test), and having to score and input all that data into the computer.  Not only did I memorize the test directions this time around, but the first three sentences on each passage as well.  Can you say brain-fryage?!?   See- I don’t even know what kind of word that is?  Noun?  Verb?  Adjective?  Adverb?  Point made. 
Besides testing, I have been adjusting to my new first grade reading group (and they have been adjusting to me).  I was lucky enough to still get to teach them during my crazy week of testing, but it made for even more of an interesting week.  I have a wide variety of behaviors in this new group and am finding ways to best handle them so that the maximum amount of learning can take place.  After spending a few days with this group, I quickly realized that I was going to need to come up with a new management system – one with instant gratification.  So… here’s what I came up with: 
I spent two hours after school this week making die-cut shapes for this new behavior management system.  What I decided is that students can earn a sticker every time I catch them doing an exceptional job being on-task, engaged, and ready to learn.  Once they earn 10 stickers, they get to trade their die-cut shape for a HOWL ticket (our school’s positive behavior support (PBS) model).  These HOWL tickets are saved and can be spent on cool prize items.  The students in my class were thrilled when they earned their 10 stickers and were proud to flaunt their completed, sticker-filled die-cut shape.  However, what I quickly realized is that I was going to need a lot of stickers!  And this sparked my need for a trip to the Dollar Store!
Let me just say one thing:  I LOVE the Dollar Store!  You can buy so many neat things for the low, low price of $1!  Amazing- I know!  J  The Dollar Store closest to my apartment has a fabulous selection of teacher supplies (all of which I think I need), so I tend to go a little crazy when I walk down that aisle in the store.  Not to mention the super-duper sticker section!  I ended up spending a total of $42 in my wonderful little trip to buy stickers.  How do you even do that?!?  $42!!!  I feel like that might be a little ridiculous, but I guess that I can justify it and say that I got 42 items for $42.  J  I always end up buying way more than I need.  Next time, I know what aisle I’m going to avoid going down.  Haha. 
Lately I’ve been a bit impulsive… buying things that I don’t need, such as blue and silver crackle nail polish (and yes, I painted my toe nails blue and put the silver crackle over them – and even bought some deep magenta for my fingernails! – I almost never paint my nails, so this is a very rare occasion!!!!), 3 bags of candy for the new candy dish that I bought to put inside my desk drawer (another impulse buy from the Dollar Store – I’ll probably regret this later), and an entire large cheese pizza just for myself (I ate it as I drove home from the Dollar Store – Little Caesars was right next door).  I even styled my hair 10 different ways in the past 10 days, which if you know me at all, I style my hair pretty much the same exact way every single day (I just got a haircut and can’t decide what to do with my hair… I’m trying to figure out a style that works best).  I guess I was just trying to spice things up a bit… Maybe it’s all the stress that I’ve been under. 
On the upside of things, I found my grade book that I thought I misplaced, finished report cards, re-organized my room (both at home and at school), created 4 different binders to help organize the paper catastrophe that kept coming home with me in my teacher bag, and got the vast majority of my Christmas shopping done.  Yeah!  And the best news of all… break is only one day away!!!!  I’m going to miss my kiddos, but I think the break will be refreshing for everyone.  J 
So… on that happy note, I’m going to get ready for my last day of school for the year and get some sleep.  I might even try going to bed before midnight tonight!  Good night!!!!

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