Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Life lessons

Today, I could have written either book, The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day or That's Good; That's Bad.


First, I woke up early, only to leave late, Then on the way to work, the serpentine belt on the truck spiraled off and around multiple apparatus' under the hood.(That's bad) The good thing was it was just around the corner from the car mechanics shop. I frantically called my hubby several times to no avail because he was no where near his cell. I tried calling others, who also were asleep in the house I call home. No one answered. (That's bad) Frustrated, late and hot, I called my daughter that lives around the corner from me, she answered  right away. She jumped out of bed, grabbed my sweet grand daughter and was on her way to help me (she is a blessing!) Waiting, I successfully untangled the belt from the engine- yep, all by myself! The car shop opened in an hour and  it was going to get looked at. So, my sweet rescuers took me in to work. Yeah, I made it!
While there, I had missed quite a bit of the "getting started" information on a new Math Intervention program we are required to use this school year. So, I anxiously looked over the handouts and got caught up as best I could. Then another anomaly, my Windows Surface would not log on to either the district WiFi or any internet connection. I checked and played with every possible setting... nothing. (That was very bad)  Seeing my forlorn face, a kind lady offered her technology and I was off and running. (That's good)
At lunch time, I was happy there were several fast food places within walking distance. I called the shop, they hadn't even started looking at the truck yet. I thought about the mornings events and realized I was up against a struggle. Would I cave and cry, or persevere and fight on?
Those of you that know me, know I don't give up that easy. So, after the days work, that was scheduled and paid me till 4:00, they let us leave early knowing we had presentations to work on, which they gave us the hour pay to do at home. (That was a miracle!) Off to the shop hubby and I go. Still nothing! The office lady said she "can't find the parts." (That's bad) We rode to the nearest two auto parts stores, and found them all within an hour! (That's good) Again we leave the truck with the mechanic with parts in hand, and zip off to pick up my working daughter. On the way, hobbies truck begins to overheat! (That's bad) Water pouring from the water pump, we pray and hope we make it to pick up the waiting child. Filling the radiator with as much water as it could hold before attempting to go home, despair and frustration begins to try to take hold. We make it home, knowing tomorrow will be another car repair day. The mechanic that still has my truck did not hold to his half hearted promise to have it finished by 6:00pm. So again, we daringly take hubby's truck to go feed the horses. (could have been bad) As we begin to get back into the truck, a friend at the barn asked us if we wanted to borrow her car for a day or two. (Blessing!) I am so thankful and grateful that I can not even express it!
So, lesson of the day -when you have one of those days, just keep plugging along the best you can, and you will end up blessed in ways you may not expect.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

CowgirlTeacher4: Spinning to Second Set of STAAR

CowgirlTeacher4: Spinning to Second Set of STAAR: It has been a harried first week of review! Since Writing STAAR has come and gone, we have more time to go over Math and Reading skills. We ...

Spinning to Second Set of STAAR

It has been a harried first week of review! Since Writing STAAR has come and gone, we have more time to go over Math and Reading skills. We have one week left before these two tests. I have created PowerPoint problem solving questions for students to practice problem solving skills on white boards. Some questions are being made into a Math in Minutes Marathon foldable.

Using the same foldable method, our team is reviewing skills for Reading as well. Also utilizing PowerPoint presentations, I made some slides as close reads, in which when printed students fill in the blanks and glue into their Reading Round Up foldable. It really is turning out quite nicely. (If I do say so myself.) The students seem to enjoy it. After the short mini-lesson review, they practice that particular skill.

In order to break up the fun review time, I invited my friend Tilly to come to my class to teach them sign language. She is an expert in ASL, and she has a heart of gold! The students had learned about the song "Follow the Drinking Gourd" when we finished up a study on Texas and the Civil War. Having looked up the song on YouTube, the students asked for several days if they could hear it. Before long they were singing it on the playground! It was adorable! Especially because the song is not the typical modern music kids listen to these days. Then, as fate would have it, they wanted to perform the song for the school talent show! That is where my dear friend came in. She came up to the school and taught the students the sign language for the song. They tried out for the talent show on Thursday. We won't find out until May 2nd if they are in. Hoping for the best - these kiddos are so excited!

Below is a link Tilly made for the students to practice. I can not thank her enough for putting it together in a short time to help the students perform.

Follow the Drinking Gourd in ASL by Tilly

Have a great week!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Getting ready for the Writing STAAR test!

Hey y'all,
I know everyone has been as busy as I have since Spring Break. My 4th grade team is amazing! We have put together a wonderful "Writing Under the STAARS Camp" for our students. Camp lasts for 3 straight days! It includes writing an essay per day, two expository and one narrative. We then correlated the editing passages with their lowest performing student expectation according to TX TEKS. It also includes mini-lessons about how to finish under the pressure of a timed test. I am really excited to have camp this year.

Here is a picture of what "camp" has looked like in years past.

Writing Camp 2010

The students know what they need to know, now if they will do what they need to do! It's gonna be a fun, exhausting, and hopefully successful week!

Sunday, January 12, 2014


Getting ready for benchmarks next week, I'm thinking about how much stress this puts on students. At our school, students know that lack of passing with the minimum required percentage, will result in their enrollment into RTI &/or Extended day. I am really feeling their pain today as I type this. Although I have used computers, laptops, ipads, I just got a windows surface. Can I operate it? Not very well yet! So, how is this related? This is how our kiddos feel, like they have the tools to complete the task, but have not perfected their skills just yet. So, my question is, how do we keep these kids from feeling the pressure? How do I keep myself from not feeling the pressure that a 9-10 year olds performance is my evaluation? However, I'll save that later question for another day :) How are you keeping kids from wigging out at benchmarks or testing? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

CowgirlTeacher4: Getting Back into the Swing of It All

CowgirlTeacher4: Getting Back into the Swing of It All: Howdy all! Just wanted to touch base after all the holiday fuss...its been great hanging out with all my family during the past few weeks. ...

Getting Back into the Swing of It All

Howdy all!
Just wanted to touch base after all the holiday fuss...its been great hanging out with all my family during the past few weeks. It was difficult to get back into the swing of getting up and out the door early in the morning.
It has been fun to reacquaint myself with my kiddos in class. How did you refresh your connections with your students? I used 3 statements to prompt them:  Explain to me something you did on the break. Tell me something you got for Christmas that your really excited about, and describe one goal you have for 2014. This turned out to be a great way to get reacquainted and allowed students to share about their break and themselves.

We are hitting the ground running now that STAAR season is almost upon us. I have a great team of ladies that are so hard working, innovative, willing to try new things and enthusiastic! I am blessed to call them my teammates and friends. We have decided to try a new format - stations for all subjects! It is quite an endeavor! It has allowed us to begin to focus on students' needs, have structure, and differentiated groups. It has been such fun to see students excited about learning! It is basically a workshop type model. Is anyone else doing something like this other than Reading/Writing workshop?
Anyone doing it for Math, Science and Social Studies? I'd love to hear how it is going for you and what types of things your implementing to help students be successful.
Thanks for your input!