Friday, June 29, 2007


I'm off to Philly for a week long....conference? meeting? Hmm....I keep calling it a conference, but I'm not sure that's exactly what it is. Here's what has to say about where I'm going and what I'm doing:
Delegates will gather June 30 through July 5 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the Association's 145th Annual Meeting and 86th Representative Assembly.
The National Education Association Representative Assembly (RA) is NEA's highest decision-making body. With over 9,000 delegates, it is also the world's largest democratic, deliberative body.
The RA is convened every July during the Annual Meeting. The first two days are devoted to discussions, conferences, and exhibits—but the highlight is the Representative Assembly itself. During this important event, delegates debate issues that impact American public education, elect top officers, and set policy for the 3.2 million-member Association.
Over 9,000 delegates that are setting policy for 3.2 million members. Crazy, right? Almost makes me feel special!
So, I'm off for a week....I'm sure I'll come back with lots of stories about how amazing and powerful and awe inspiring it was to sit in a room filled with educators and discuss issues near and dear to my heart. Right now though, I'm just dreading waking up at 3 am to get to where I need to go!


1. Where is your cell phone? purse

2. Relationship? Exponential

3. Your hair? Trimmed

4. Work? Teacher

5. Your sister? Intelligent

6. Your favorite thing? Reading

7. Your dream last night? Nope

8. Your favorite drink? Wine

9. Your dream car? None

10. The room you're in? Red

11. Your shoes? Red

12. Your fears? Controllable

13. What do you want to be in 10 years? Happy

14. Who did you hang out with this weekend? Family

15. What are you not good at? Lying

16. Muffin? Lemon Poppy

17. Wish list item? Puppy

18. Where you grew up? CT

19. The last thing you did? Read

20. What are you wearing? Shorts

21. What are you not wearing? Earrings

22. Your pet? Rambunctious

23. Your computer? Laptop

24. Your life? Busy

25. Your mood? Content

26. Missing? Russ

27. What are you thinking about? Friends

28. Your car? Old

29. Your kitchen? (Almost) finished

30. Your summer? Beginning

31. Your favorite color? Yellow

32. Last time you laughed? Today

33. Last time you cried? Yesterday

34. School? Daily

35. Love? Gloriously

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Sixth day without students, second day of summer vacation

School has been over for six days now....and today marks my second official day of summer vacation. The professional development is over, the curriculum work is done (for now at least) and the day stretches before me with nothing to do and nowhere to be.

Yesterday was much the same, and it ended up being exactly what I want my summer to be....what I have been craving for the last several months. I woke up at the deliciously late hour of 7:30 (OK, OK, I know that is not so very late, but keep in mind I've been waking up at 5:00 for school every day) and lazed around in bed watching a movie. I had some bizarre desire to see Garden State or even Elizabethtown but discovered I didn't own either of these movies (a situation I intend to remedy) so I ended up watching Casino Royale. Not so bad. Mindless action with a few romantic encounters thrown in for good measure. I drank two cups of tea and even ate breakfast in bed.....
Then I headed to my mom's house to eat lunch with her and spend a few hours lazing by the pool. Where I finally began reading again. It's been so long since I read a book for pleasure that I almost forgot how much I loved it. Sad really. I have a few new favorite authors, Anna Quindlen, Anita Shreve....and it was glorious to lie in the sun and read.
I returned home and my perfect day continued with some gardening.... planting parsley, pulling weeds.....then I managed to make a yummy dinner (turkey picatta and saffron rice, one of our favorites) and drink some white wine while watching So You Think You Can Dance. I ended my day with a workout and some more time spent reading.

I can definitely get used to this.....

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

One more day.....

Believe it or not, the year is (almost) over. One more day and that is it. Another year ended, another group of students sent off to lead their lives and follow their futures.

The last few days have been a frenetic flurry of activities: finishing report cards, coordinating end of year gifts, planning parties, contacting parents, entering data into our data base, administering and scoring those last assessments....I fall asleep with a to-do list running through my head and wake up with three more things added to it in the morning.

Today was cleaning day. Oh, the cleaning. You know the Tazmanian devil? The one from the cartoons that creates a whirlwind while grunting in a gutteral language? That's about what it was like in my classroom today, except the background music was provided by my students' Ipods. Oh yeah, and there were twenty three tazmanian devils. We cleaned and dumped and scrubbed and danced and sang all at once. Quite amazing actually-- especially when my classroom mysteriously turned into some crazy musical with four of my girls doing a coordinated line dance with twirls and everything while singing along to Cotton Eyed Joe. I looked around for cameras convinced I had landed in some School of Rock type show. Although, an hour and a half into it, with my headache growing steadily worse, I decided it was time to stop and have some quiet reading time. (Of course, my headache was getting steadily worse because of the number of times I needed to answer the question "What do we keep at school? Can I bring this home?" Despite telling them- repeatedly- what needed to stay and writing it in big red letters on the board: PENCIL, WRITERS NOTEBOOK, BOOK TO READ. Simple, right? Apparently not. I think I should have tallied how many times a student approached me, it might have been a world record of some sort.) Needless to say, my room was a bit of a disaster and actually looks a little as if a tornado really had struck it. Even more shocking is I left it in that state when I walked out the door to attend our staff party. Ah well. We have one more day after all.....

I did get my class gift today. I got seriously lucky this year: no smelly lotions, mugs or hideous jewlery. I received a beautiful album filled with letters my students wrote me. And gift certificates-- American Express Gift Certificates. Like I said: seriously lucky this year! Those gift certificates are totally going to justify the massage I was thinking about getting. I deserve it after all. I just spent a year with twenty three third graders!
One more day.....

Friday, June 15, 2007

Four days....

Even though it doesn't feel like it lately here in chilly CT, summer really is just around the corner. Or rather, summer vacation. We are at the point in the year where pretty much everything is done, and teachers have the same conversation every morning in the hall:
"What are you doing in math today? Anything good?"
"I was thinking multiplication bingo, but maybe we'll just skip that and illustrate our published books for an hour instead. Third graders can color for an hour, right?"
"Sure they can.....what should I do? Forget it, I'm going to watch a movie!"

That's right folks, anyone who thinks REAL learning is taking place at this point in the year is sadly mistaken. (Which is why, incidentally, snow days should not be added on to the end of the year. You don't actually make up the learning that you miss in the winter. You just have to babysit an extra few days when you'd so much rather be at the beach.)
I did manage to impress a colleague when I told her that my students were still doing book clubs. Some of them are still publishing their poetry anthologies too. She couldn't believe I was still teaching curriculum and even asked in a rather awed voice, how are you doing that?!

Four days and counting--and two of those are half days!.....the To-Do list is shrinking, although not nearly quickly enough for my liking. The students energy level is growing and the teachers are desperately trying to maintain some semblance of control these last days.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Just one reason why I'm counting

It's like they've forgotten things that I've already talked about thousands of times before. Here's an example:

Me: Everyone put your science packet in your green science folder. (They've had this folder all year long and they have put things in it for science all year long!)
Me: OK, put your work in your science folder.
Me: Once your work is in your green science folder, line up for P.E.

A student, waving his science packet in his hand, with his green science folder open on his desk: Mrs. S, where do I put this?

Me: AAAAAAUUUUUUGGGGGHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (O.K., I didn't actually scream, but I wanted to!)

Wednesday, June 06, 2007


10 days!
Yes, I really am counting....I am also desperately trying NOT to think about everything I have to do before those ten days are up. Believe it or not, I still have assessments to administer (not because I'm a slacker and waited to the last minute mind you, but because my district decided that it was a fantastic idea to administer FOUR math fluency tests that have to be administered, scored and entered into our database), poetry books to publish (that's typical), files to organize (reading AND writing AND math AND cumulative folders), report cards to give (they are all getting Very Goods I decided), room parent gifts to create, parties to organize and attend.....the list continues but like I said, I'm trying not to think about it.