Saturday, February 1, 2014

February Currently

I'm joining the Currently bandwagon this month! 

Listening: The Bridge School is a non-profit organization in California
 for children with severe speech and physical impairments.  One of their main fundraisers is a benefit concert put on every October that draws huge name musicians.  The songs are all acoustic and amazing.  I have yet to find one that I don't love.  They have the benefits recorded and available on iTunes. I think I pretty much have them all! The good news is that if you buy them from iTunes, the school gets the revenue.  Nice to know that.

Loving:  The day it was announced this week that the Newbery Medal winner for 2014 was Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures by Kate DiCamillo I picked up a copy.  You can't go wrong with a Kate DiCamillo book!  To be honest, I don't keep up with current kid's lit as much as I should (spoiler for 2 truths and a fib!) and didn't even know this book was out.  I still have a bit to go, but so far it is very good.  I can see how it would engage young readers right from the start.  When I finish, I will post a review.

Thinking:  In the next few months, my district will ask to fill out forms to request a change in or keep our teaching positions.  There's no guarantee it will be honored, but it is a chance to ask for a change.  I really, really miss having a homeroom.  I miss having one set of kids to work with all day long.  I feel like I have more control over their instruction and achievement than I do as a push-in teacher visiting different classes each period.  However, there are definite perks to my current position that I enjoy very much.  There are so many other factors I choose not to discuss on my blog that go into this decision.  Suffice to say, at this point, I'm not sure what I want to do.  Half of me wants to go back to being a homeroom teacher, half of me is willing to continue on as is.  What to do? What to do?

Wanting: Time! Time! Time!  I'm still working on the heroes literacy unit and could seriously use more time to finish it up. 

Needing: Magic Tree House just published in January a great biography collection on heroes.  It is perfect for the heroes unit and I'm just waiting for them to arrive.  I ordered one for myself to preview and loved it.  Now it's just a matter of wanting that time to create all the literacy work to go along with it.

2 Truths and a Fib:  Well, by now you know the fib is that I keep up with all the current children's lit that comes out.  I try, but there are these pesky things like planning, teaching, family, and having a life that get in the way! :-) However, in an effort to be better about that, I'm reading Flora and Ulysses.  I also picked up a copy of the 2014 Caldecott winner Locomotive.  A lovely picture book that is definitely for the older crowd.  Not so much a young kid picture book if you know what I mean. 

When it come to the truths, I do LOVE snow days and I do miss my plan book.  Snow days are like getting an unexpected gift.  Having said that, we have four built in to our school calendar.  If we use more than the four they start to take back other vacation days.  So far, we've used three and there's more snow in the forecast.  I'll take one more, but then that's it! 

And as for my plan book, our district is in the process of switching all plans to digital.  We have this year to do either paper or digital, but next year we will all be required to use a special computer program for our lesson plans.  No more paper books.  I've actually been doing mine on the computer for a few years now, but this program they want us to use has an entirely different format. Also, instead of turning in plan books for review, we have to post our plans in a designated file each week for review.  Oh, technology! Sometimes I just can't decide if you make my life easier or harder!

I found these pictures on my phone last week and meant to put them on the blog. 
I had to get my car inspected and laughed when I saw my new inspection sticker. 
This is a picture of my old inspection sticker from the inside of my car.
It has looked the same for years. 
 This year, someone decided to change things up a bit. 
Here's the back of my new inspection sticker.
Proof from the state of New Jersey that you are never too old for picture books!


  1. Love your inspection sticker! What a way to get the point across! I've done my lesson plans on paper and digitally. The digital program wasn't bad to use, it had its pros and cons just like anything else. I'm using paper plans right now. It's easy and I have a good template to work from. I'm lucky that I don't have to turn them in though! Good luck!

    An Apple a Day in First Grade

  2. Wow! I do my lesson plans on the computer, but it is PPT. I don't know how I would like doing them in a certain format. Currently, we don't turn our lesson plans in for review, but I imagine it is in the near future!

    Mrs. Pauley’s Kindergarten

    1. Amanda, I can't believe you don't have to turn your plans in for review. That is so different from what I have to do. Over the past 16 years, I've had to turn mine in for review once a month, then a few years later it became twice a month, now they must be posted in a file on a staff site every week in advance. Isn't it crazy how different things can be depending on where you teach?! :-)

  3. Found you on the Currently linky! I have never done my lesson plans by hand, but I really wish that I could. I prefer writing plans like that by hand any day!
    Also, clever inspection sticker! :)

    Sarah Beth
    Miss White's Classroom

  4. EWWWW. I like my "old school" plan book! I have not moved over to computers in that area. I'm tech in everything else… Our grades, report cards, etc are all digital.
    My Principal announces if he's going to check our plans…by contract, we have to have our plans done a week in advance.
    I put in for a change next school year, doubt it will be honored.
    Anchored in 3rd Grade

    1. It makes me smile to see that most of the comments above are mostly about plan books. I think our plan books are so personal to us. It is probably true that no two people keep the same plan book in style, format, or content. In my own school I see some teachers like to read their plans vertically and others horizontally. Others do a day on a single page and yet some have their plans separated subject with the weeks math on one page, reading on another, etc. I wish admin would realize that a plan book is a document that should primarily be designed by the teacher as the teacher is the one that has to use it on a daily basis. It is so frustrating to be told you have to conform to a certain template. Ughhh