Sunday, November 23, 2014

What Would You Do?

Bully, bully, bully. Bullies are everywhere it seems these days. In our professional development. In our reading. In our classrooms. They are everywhere, and we are ultra-aware of their presence. We deal with them. We counsel them. We punish them. We intervene on their behalf. We develop policy for the bullies and because of the bullies. And if we’re honest we even find ourselves wanting to bully them, just to show them. So they know it’s not ok.
But then it happens. AN actual bullying event. In your classroom. With your kids. And all the professional development, all the training, all the reading, and all the policies feel useless. And inadequate to deal with what has happened.
The parents become involved. The bully’s parents deny and the victim’s parents cry. And you cry. And feel helpless and lost all over again. How could this happen on your watch? How could you not catch it, prevent it? How can you make it right? Who do you protect the child that was hurt, the parents that are outraged or the now “outted” bully that is still just a child. 
What does the policy say about that? What do the experts know about this child and the life he lives? What do you say to both sets of parents who love their children just the same?
They are both victims. Both products of their environments. One sweet and kind hearted, but in his way so is the other. One given his every wish, and praised each day for his accomplishments. The other so desperate for a friend and understanding he battles his way through every day. One that was given love from day one. The other found his love at the back of a hand.
We never learn what to do for the victims of bullies. We never understand that the bullies are victims too.    

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Knock Knock Who's Still There??

I really want to write, really I do. I think about it all the time. I think I should write this. Or maybe this. Oh I know I’ll write about that. And then I don’t. I don’t know why. Really I don’t I have time. I have ideas (sorta). I just haven’t. I have probably been expelled from the blogging community. But that is ok. I can start over. Sometimes starting over is fun. That’s what I’ll do I’ll begin againagainJ.
Hello my name is Tammy and I teach first nope second grade this year. And all I have to say about that is itttttttssssss harrrrrddddd. Can you hear the whine? I don’t mean it’s hard in the way first grade is hard because there is so much to get through AND teach the kiddos to read. I mean it is hard in the way that the kids areare.areolder? Different? Less lovey? Less needy? Yes that’s it. They just don’t need ME as much L. I KNOW! It is SO hard!
Really I have to say it is kind of refreshing to let them go earlier than you do in first grade. Sometimes. It’s exciting to watch them do more (especially knowing I was part of what got them there). It’s rewarding to have them take the lead on many things.
This month I am giving them their chance at being the teacher. Because you know they ALL want to be the teacher. I have given them a few subjects to choose from to research and “teach.” I have been so impressed! They have done an amazing job. We will be doing it again next month with a few Christmasy topics. It should be fun!

I’ll leave you with a few photos of my room this year. This is another change that I am in love with. I have been in this room before. Ten years ago. I hope I don’t have to move for another ten!

I have learned that the Expo Neon markers make for great writing on my windows. The fire marshal came early this year and was quite picky, so anchor charts are at a minimum, so my windows have become my anchor charts! Those and my super cool blackboard cupboards!

Sorry I’ve been gone so long. I will try to do better!   

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Fifty Reasons to Love the New Season

Joining up with the Two Writing Teachers for the weekly Slice of Life writing challenge. 

It is not easy to pull something over on me. But this weekend my kids pulled it off. They threw a surprise birthday party to end all surprise parties. They had food. They had wine. They had cake. They had my brother and sister in law from Tennessee and my cousin from Arizona along with my closest of family and friends all crammed into my kitchen on Saturday.
It was momentous. I was shocked, surprised and shaken by the outpouring of laughs, love and just flat out fun.
I cannot put into words the amount of love I feel for my kids, my family and the wonderful people I call friends. I am beyond blessed.

A new season has dawned this week. Long gone are the summery shadows on my patio and in its place are drifting leaves and lonesome dragonflies. Like the season this week finds the finality of my forties. Thursday is my fiftieth birthday.
I’m not sure how I feel about that number. If I feel anything about it at all. Many say my life is about over, that my seasons will be coming to an end. Others say my life is just beginning, that the best is yet to come. I say we’ll see.
If this decade is anything like the last I am in for amazing things. In my last decade I watched my children go from the sweetest kids to amazing young adults. I celebrated more than twenty nine years of marriage, graduated two children from high school, one from college (so far), and acquired a new daughter in law.
I have achieved and grieved, loved and lost, learned and languished, and felt jubilation and sorrow. It has been a decade like no other, a season to remember.
But I can’t see what this new one brings!   

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Let There be Voice SOL

I'm linking up with the Two Writing Teachers Weekly Slice of Life. I am late, and I have been gone far too long. But the great thing about this community is that they always welcome you home! 

Today was a good day in Writer’s Workshop! This week we started a study on “voice” and how writers use voice when they write.
We have been doing a Laura Numeroff study in class and she was a great way to kick off the unit on voice.
Yesterday I read Mo Willems Don’t Let Pigeon Drive the Bus to show how voice can make a story. I first copied a few lines from the story on chart paper and read it out loud. I then read the story and we compared the two. This helped them start to understand the importance of voice in writing. 
Today was what really hit home though. I had the kids sit in front of me, but with their backs to me. I told them I was going to read some books and when they recognized the “voice” of the author they should raise their hands.
I started with an easy one “The sun did not shine, it was too wet to play.” Boy did the hands shoot up.
I did the same with Laura Numeroff, Jan Brett, Mo Willems, and more. They LOVED it. And they loved comparing the different authors and their type of voice.
When it was time to “have a go” they were off and running. They each wanted to give their own voices a shot, and did they ever!
It was  good day in second grade today, and I can hardly wait to see what’s in store for tomorrow. 

Saturday, September 6, 2014

All Kinds of Wonderful!

I have had all kinds of wonderful happening in my life in the few months and I have been all kinds of too busy to writeon here.
It all started about two weeks before school started. The buzz was there was only going to be enough students to make one first grade class (according to the powers that be that is), to me 27 first graders is too many for one class, but I don’t get to make the deciding so there we were. One first grade. Two first grade teachers.
So since I was the one that had asked to go to second grade in the spring (even though I was told no, no way) I was on my way to second grade. Two weeks before school started. In a different room.
So one weekend my mother in law, my kids and my hubby and myself went to the school and moved alllllll my things from one end of the building to the other. To my new old room. I have been in this room before when I taught second grade ten years ago. That year, 2004, the current second grade teacher was student teaching. The kids I had that year were in my Pre-K class, my first grade class, and I had them again for second grade. They are seniors in high school this year. I had a milestone birthday and the other second grade teacher passed away suddenly before the end of the school year. It was a memorable year to say the least.
Thanks to my mother in law and my kids my room was moved, cleaned and painted all before Monday. Here are a few after shots. It was drab, boring brown to begin with. 

We have been in school a full three weeks now and I have to say it’s been tough. The first few days I was a little lost. These kids KNOW.SO. MUCH. I know you think that’s a good thing but really it.was.hard. I’m used to my darlings NEEDING me. I mean really in first grade they NEED you for EVERYTHING. But these kids don’t need ME. Not really. They already know how to read (thanks great first grade teachers uhhh hum), they can already spell, and add, and think. It’s like “why am I here?” “What do I do?”
But then I had a long talk with myself and decided, really? Why did you want to come to second grade? To do MORE of course! So that’s where I started. With building more into writing workshop. It was AMAZING I tell you! They can read and add and spell but they can also WRITE! I LOVE LOVE LOVE it. I have already had kids publish and share. And it’s only the third week of school. I feel so inspired and ready for more.
So yes I am still adjusting to my whirlwind move and adjusting to not being needed quite as much (they do need me some thankfully) but I am also so excited to see how far I can travel on this path to MORE with these amazing second grade kiddos!
Just one small note of more bragging on my own kids. My daughter is in her third year at OSU and on her way to becoming a teacher. She text me the other day to tell me she absolutely loves her education classes and believes she has found her calling (I of course knew this all alongJ). And just this past week she told me she was starting a blog! REALLY?? After all the teasing she has given me about mine?? We kicked around a few names and came up with “Haphazardly Hadley.” It is the perfect fit for her. You can read her first post here, and if you have a moment please welcome her to this wonderful blogging community. I am so proud of her.
My son and daughter in law have settled into their new home and jobs. My daughter in law started a new position at a company in Tulsa last week and loves it. They have been coming every weekend to help Donnie with his new shop/building he has been building. I cannot even express how grateful I am for them. We finally got the wedding pictures and I can’t stop looking at them. Disclaimer wedding photo bomb to begin...
 Mother son dance.

 As Deanna is coming down the isle. Tears even though they'd already had a first look. Love.
 First dance.
 As we were getting ready to walk down the isle.
 Bride and groom and parents.
 The entire wedding guests.
 First dance.
 My favorite baseball moms from the good ol days!
 The 75 jars of jelly my mom and I made!
 Our table. Donnie and Kanten made the flower boxes.
Hugging his dad. Tears from everyone. 

I tell you life is good and I can’t begin to put into words of how truly blessed I feel.
Have a wonderful weekend y’all!

Friday, August 1, 2014

A Revamping and Turmoil

It is AUGUST people! I can’t believe July is out the door. I don’t know why I can’t believe it. It happens this way every year, July 4th rolls around and BAM summer is gone. Over. Finished. Nothing but a memory. It’s sadsville I tell ya.
And now here it is August 1st and I’ve been in my room one time. ONE TIME! I am usually the one sitting back saying “well you should have come sooner.” But not this year. This year I will be one of the late nighters trying to stuff things where they don’t belong. I can see the tears now.
Why am I this way this year you ask? Well it could be that the wedding wore me out (and we are STILL waiting on pictures). It could be that I am living in lazy-land. It might be that I’m in denial. OR it could be that I STILL don’t know for sure what grade I’ll be teaching.
Yep you read that right. School starts in twenty days and I still don’t know for sure if I will be teaching first grade again, if I will be teaching second grade, or if I will be doing a first second split! WHAT??? Yep a first second split. I don’t even know HOW to teach a 1-2 split!! How is that possible? How does it work? Please if you have insight enlighten me, cause I have a sneaky feeling that is where my year is heading. HELP!
SO I haven’t been completely unproductive this summer. I have made a few new things, and revamped a few others. This week I overhauled my first of school assessment book. If you own it you can go and re-download it here. If you want to see how I use them you can read about them here. And if you’d like a copy of your own leave a comment and I’ll send it to a few of ya.

Wish me luck next week I should know after Tuesday what my year will look like LTurmoil. Every year. Just once I’d like to try CALM J  

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

July Currently Alllllready (insert whine)

Just a quick post to link up with Farley and her monthly currently. I am off to Tulsa today to spend some time shopping with the girls and dinner with the kids. I hate to see July it always means summer as I know it is almost over :( 
I will return to comment on at least 3 but I have to say my favorite part of currently is scrolling through the blogs that link up and reading the new names. I have found some great blogs with some fun names!
I’m off to T town and thinking cheesecake may be in my near future!
Have a great day y’all!  And don't forget to link up with Farley