Saturday, July 20, 2013

Summer Vacation??

Yeah, I know, I have not posted in a while. 

I have been busy. 

Very busy. 

School will begin in just a few short weeks.  I have been in the classroom setting up, preparing lesson plans, organizing my materials, attending training sessions, attending meetings, sharing my knowledge with fellow teachers, setting up DonorsChoose projects and Adopt a Classroom know how it goes.

So, here we are, another summer is over for us teachers.  Everyone always thinks that teachers have it from 8-3, weekends and summers off.

Hardee har har

Those of you who know me know that I spend many extra hours at school each week, preparing and tweaking lessons, grading papers, cleaning up and staying on top of matters.  Recycling is also part of what I do. 

I spend weekends looking for ways to spice up the next week's lessons, or reviewing what has to be repeated because the students need some additional help. 

I spend ONE month...June, doing what I like in the summer, then it is back to the books.  This year I have new standards and a new reading series to keep me occupied. 

So, I currently have 3 DonorsChoose projects set up, they are available if anyone wants to check them out here:

I also discovered that Adopt a Classroom has a project page now.  I set up my first project:

So, if you are interested in making a donation to education, or know someone (or a big organization!!), pass the word along.  Or as we said a few years ago:  Can you spare the cost of a cup of coffee? 

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Summer Vacation Days 26 through 45

Yes, it has been too long since I updated my life here.  I have no truly good reason, other than a bit of laziness and a lot of busyness!!!

Every day I have managed to accomplish a much needed task here at home.  So, this blog will be a simple rundown of what has occurred as opposed to a day by day description.

On Tuesday, Marilyn, Janice and I typically meet to quilt and talk.  It is always great fun and followed by lunch and other errands. We have met twice since I last wrote.  I managed to finish all of the Car Club placemats that will be used as door prizes next year.  I also finished two sets of placemats that will stay here, one set for myself and one for my mother in law. Here are mine on the dining room table.

I have also finished a number of clothing repairs and some left over bibs from last year's craft show.  It is nice to cross items off of my quilt 'to do' list!  (it is very long!!!)  I have also spent some time cutting out rectangles for a really nice log cabin quilt variation.  I bought the quilt kit at least 3 years ago at the Paducah Quilt show.

During the week of the 18th, Whitney and I attended Energy Camp!  It is sponsored by the Tennessee Department of Energy and Conservation.  It cost us nothing to attend!  (free is always good).  We went to Pickwick Landing State Park and stayed at the Inn there. 
During Energy Camp, we learned all about how to teach and present energy science to classes.  Since I teach Reading, I was interested in locating reading resources and discovering ways to 'spark' their interest in their reading.  Since Energy is part of everyone's life, it is a 'real world' experience for the students to read about.  We spent 4 days conducting experiments, playing  energy games, sharing ideas and learning.  I was pleased that I was able to answer a number of energy related questions, even though I do not actually teach the subject!  I guess the wizard did give me a brain! 
Thursday of that week, we had our field trip, we went to the natural gas powered plant in Brownsville TN. 

We had the opportunity to tour the facility, learn how the natural gas is used to create electricity that is used throughout this region.  We also visited the Cowan House in Atwood, TN.  It is a house that was built to be completely Solar Powered.  They actually 'sell' electricity back to the TVA every year.  They have no electric bills at all as their panels create enough electricity to power everything they need.
 There are two houses, one is larger than the other and a bit more elaborate.  It is amazing that their homes  can be completely sustained by the sun!
Our last day was spent watching a fun skit performed by other teachers and then using our $400 mini grant to purchase supplies for our classrooms.  Whitney and I combined our money; we managed to purchase a number of magazines and books as well as some fantastic Science supplies, experiments and models.  This will be a fun lesson to teach!

Since my return from Energy Camp, I have spent one day each week tackling a cleaning project here in the house.  Since Vince and I tend to clutter up any flat surface, our countertop, desk, couches and chairs tend to gather items.  The wooden countertop was the first surface to be attacked and I am pleased to report that even now, over a week later, it is still clear!
The Kitchen has clear counters every night and after each meal as well.  

I tackled the desk area as well, I had a pile of papers to file that dated back 6 months!  YIKES!!  So, now that area is clear, the desk is clear (Except for the new teachers books I just brought home this week) I can actually work at my desk without having to move a pile to the floor.  

The upstairs couches and chairs are also clear.  They tend to gather items that are going somewhere else, like the garage or to my vehicle.  Also, we tend to put our bags down when we come home and they stay there.  
In fact, when Vince returned from his work shift, he put his bags on the clean wooden counter and I told him he needed to empty it out and put it away!  He did!  

I have taken out the recycling, moved items to the garage and sorted out those items, and I have managed to sell a number of unwanted items from the house.   I finished my Thank you notes to my friends and family who attended Rob and Isabel's party in NJ. 

I have also repaired the bathroom ceiling (water leak several years ago left the joint tape hanging down in two places).  Vince wanted to leave it alone as he plans to sand the texture off the ceiling and repaint it, after he finishes the master bedroom closet and bathroom renovations.  sigh.  I did not want to live with that mess any longer, so I repaired the mess and painted it over with Kilz.  It looks so much better and I feel GREAT! 

My new quilt hanger as arrived and Whitney will be over the end of this week to help me hang it.  It will cover the unsightly window area in the great room.  (another project yet started and unfinished).  

Vince has completed the next stage of the extension, we are waiting on the Airconditioning/Heating technicians to install that unit and the duct work, then he can have the sheetrock hung.  YAY!  

Did I mention we finally purchased new living room furniture?  YES!  The old blue couches that were sagging and had no support (Sort of like sitting in a hole) are gone, gifted away to a young mother to be.  I now am the proud owner of a lovely chocolate brown sectional, with a chaise on one side for Vince to lie on and another extended area for me.  It is soft yet supportive and wonderful!  
I have not truly tackled the bathroom floor yet.  I laid the tiles down to see if I liked it and I DO!  Next is finding center and getting them glued down.  

I have visited my classroom a few times (I know, it is too early!!), just to think.  I asked my principal if I could move my recycling station out of my classroom and into the workroom to make more room in my classroom and he agreed.  Monday, I moved my shelving units into the workroom and set up some collection boxes.  I made a sign to provide some instruction to others as the last issue I need is a mess in there!  

Monday, I also had the opportunity to play with some of my new reading series components!  What fun!  I am excited about beginning the lesson plans.  Since it is now officially July, I can begin working on school matters.  

Today, however, I am having lunch with my dear Graduate School Chum, Cherie.  We have an annual luncheon to catch up on our lives.  Having spent nearly every day together during our Master program, it is amazing we can only manage to get together once a year!

Luckily, we are both attending next week's Common Core training in Savannah.  More learning, more fun!