Friday, January 31, 2014

Currently February

Holy cow, another month has come and gone. All told, we had 12 days of school in January. Six snow days to make far.

Linking up with Farley!

1. Listening to...Parenthood. I have watched the whole series and am totally caught up, but I loved the first few seasons so much, that I started re-watching them on Netflix during my snow days. So I'm in the middle of season 2 (again) and loving it.

2. Loving....that we booked our vacation to the Smoky Mountains! I posted about it last week in more detail. I love having something fun to look forward to.

3. Thinking....I brought home a stack of College English essays, and since I'll be snowed in tomorrow, I have lots of grading to do.

4. more snow! PLEASE! Four inches today and another 6-8 overnight. Plus another big system coming in next Tuesday. I would like to get out of school before the middle of June, please.

5. Needing....You might think a preference for warm weather is a want. No, sir. Not this winter. It is a NEED for me. I have lived in IL my entire life and am no stranger to cold and snow, but this winter has been brutal, and it's only Feb 1! This weather is gettin' me down.

6. The two truths are....1 and 3. Growing up, I was really into dance and we performed in a few competitions around the country. My favorite stop was in Vegas! We actually placed third once.
In college, I went to Warped Tour twice with my husband (then-boyfriend) to see our favorite band, Motion City Soundtrack. Definitely got kicked in the head in the mosh pit, and it was a "I can now say I did it" type thing, but I have never returned to a mosh pit and never looked back. Yuck.

The fib...I have not backpacked through Europe. Sadly, I have never even been there :(

Who else is getting snowed in this weekend?

Saturday, January 25, 2014

How to make up lost time?

In the month of January, we have been in school a total of 9 days. No, I did not miscount and that isn't a typo. NINE days.

We were supposed to start back January 6, which got pushed back by two snow days. Then we had a four-day weekend last week. Then we had two snow/cold weather days this past week, and will most likely get two more this upcoming week because of wind chills near -35.

I am so tired of seeing this on my commute to work (no, I did not take this pic; it is from a news station I follow on FB).

On top of all of this, we have to do MAP testing, which is a two-day test in English, so if we actually have school this week, two days will be devoted to that.

All of this to say, I am stressed. I have so much to get in, and most likely, my seniors won't have to make up these lost days. They're just gone. Which means I need to consider cutting some things from the curriculum this semester because I don't see how we can get it all done.

I feel so badly for my College English students. We are right in the middle of writing their first essay and every other day we aren't at school. It's so hard to do this with the writing process so disjointed. I keep having to push the due date back, too.

To make matters worse, I was already scheduled to visit a neighboring district this week to observe their technology/1:1 program and am headed to a Common Core assessment workshop on Feb. 5. I feel like I don't even have a job! My husband joked with me on Thursday, our second snow day this week, that I am an unemployed bum lately lol. I feel like it.

Is anyone else experiencing this horrid weather and an extensive amount of snow days? How are you handling it in the classroom? How do you decide what to cut and what to keep?

In happier news, we booked our trip to the Smoky Mtns. this summer, and I am JAZZED. We're staying in a private cabin in the mountains for five days and plan to explore the park and all it has to offer, going on hikes and driving all the back roads. A little time away from the hectic world and a chance to totally unplug will be nice. I can't wait to see this every day:

Our cabin
Beautiful Smoky Mountains
Everyone stay warm and safe in this treacherous winter weather!

Monday, January 20, 2014

A Day in my Life

I am linking up with Where the Wild Things Learn for a Day in my Life linky.

Mine is not as exciting or varied as an elementary teacher. As you can see, I teach the same thing a couple times a day.

We have to be there by 8; I usually stroll in around 7:30. I am most productive in the morning, and I love having first hour prep, so I can work from 7:30 to 9:10 with no interruptions (usually) or kids. It is marvelous.

Our periods are 50 min. long, which never seem long enough (I would love to teach block). I have the first lunch, which seems early, but I am starving by the time 11 rolls around. That's what happens when you eat breakfast at 6 AM!

After school, we have to hang around until 3:30. I sometimes stay longer. I use this time to make sure things are in order for the next day/tidy up and grade papers.

It's all in a day's work :)


Saturday, January 11, 2014

A peek at my week {Jan 12-17}

I'm linking up with Mrs. Laffin for a Peek at my Week.

Well I survived the first days back to work. I was so tired last night, I fell asleep on the couch around 10. On break I was staying up until 1 on the regular. 5:30 AM sure comes fast :/

I want to get back into some content-based posts once the semester gets more in full swing, but until then, just a quick peek at what's going on in my personal and school life this week.

Tomorrow we are meeting some friends for lunch at the winery. They have the BEST food and wine. And isn't it pretty? (Admittedly, it does not look this way in January. Womp womp).

But they have the absolute BEST homemade chili in a bread bowl and a raging fire to sit next to while drinking some vino and chatting. I am very excited. I'm also picking up a pair of boots I ordered two weeks ago because they weren't in my size. I hope they fit so I can wear them to school on Monday.

School-wise, we are kicking off our banned book project in English III. They are choosing a book to read this quarter that has been banned or challenged in the past. Then fourth quarter, we are reading Fahrenheit 451 and discussing government censorship, censorship in schools, and all that fun stuff. 

To cap it off, they'll have to write an argumentative essay arguing for or against banning the book they read third quarter. They just chose books yesterday and blogged about why they chose them.

Which leads me to something else--I am trying out a Weebly blog for all my classes this semester. Some classes have weekly blogs to post; others may be a little less frequent. But I am posting prompts related to what we're doing in class and having them respond to the prompt and to each other to get some online and out-of-class convos going on between students. So far, so good, but it's only been two days, so we'll see!

In College English, we're seeing if we can define what "good" writing is and covering some of the important basics quickly. I made up a game in Power Point called "Plagiarism or Not?" so we'll play that and then get started learning about how to write summaries of critical articles! Fun stuff!

Well, we are off to see Her tonight--that movie with Joaquin Phoenix where he basically falls in love with a Siri-like person. It looks kind of weird, but I love weird/off-beat/Indie movies, so I'm excited! Have a great rest of your weekend :)

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Getting back to the grind

Well, our semester was supposed to begin yesterday, but we got two snow/cold weather days because of the horrible conditions here.

This is what it looked like on Sunday while it was blizzarding (I decided that can be a verb because I say so). I stayed warm inside with my coffee.

I am so glad they canceled because roads here are AWFUL, and I have to commute on country two-lane back roads. The wind chills also approached -45 in the morning. 45 BELOW ZERO. This is not real life, is it? I need spring.

What did I do over my break? A whole lot of relaxing, which was awesome.
I read 1.5 books on my brand new Kindle Paperwhite: I finished Where'd You Go, Bernadette? which was a fun and light-hearted read, and now I'm 30% done with Tell the Wolves I'm Home (and I am actually precisely 30% through because my Kindle tells you what percentage of the book you have read!)

My husband and I binge-watched the first two seasons of Homeland and now we're trying to find some place online that we can watch season 3.

I spent a few days at Barnes & Noble, drinking coffee and reading magazines/piddling around online.

I took down our indoor Christmas decorations (outdoor ones are still up because of the polar vortex that decided to visit this weekend).

I planned a trip to the Smoky Mountains for us this June! We haven't officially booked the cabin yet, becasue we have to make sure my husband can officially take that vacation week. But we found the one we want, and here's a picture of the awesomeness that is a secluded cabin in the Smokies:

Break has been awesome and exactly what I needed. But......we all have to go back to work sometime, am I right?

So that means I have to drag myself out of bed for the first time tomorrow at 5:30 AM, put on real clothes, actually do my make-up, and go be productive and actually do some work.

Being a grown-up is no fun sometimes.

My poor dog is going to be so sad because we have been buddies for the past two and a half weeks.

Because of the unexpected snow days, I had to re-finagle some of my plans this week, but that's OK. It's a lot easier to do when you haven't even started yet. We have semester-long classes, so I have mostly new students this semester and two classes I did not teach last semester. I have pretty much everything prepped for this week because I got it done before break; I just have to run some copies in the morning, which is why I LOVE having first hour prep!

Tomorrow is pretty much course overview day/talk about the syllabus, etc. Thursday I'm pre-testing in all my classes. So the real content doesn't get started until Friday. Then we are blessed with a weekend already!

Then next week is a four-day week with a half day inservice on Friday, then we are blessed with a 3.5 day weekend. So all in all, it should be a nice way of easing myself back into work mode.

How is the semester kicking off for all of you who have already gone back? Anyone else freezing like we are here?

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

January Currently

Happy 2014, everyone! We rang in the new year on the couch with some board games, cuddled up with our dog. Just the kind of low-key night I love.

I'm linking up with Farley for the January currently! dog is a great guard dog, but barks at everything! She has been my alarm clock over break.

Loving....I got a new Kindle Paperwhite for Christmas from my in-laws! I did have a Nook Tablet for awhile. I didn't like how it felt like I was staring at a computer screen, and the glare was so bad, that I could not read it on the beach on vacation last summer. So the Paperwhite it is, and I am loving how lightweight it is! I also got a blanket from Barnes & Noble that has book quotes on it and it is super soft.

Thinking....2013 was not a great year, and I am hoping 2014 brings us much more happiness and good times.

Wanting....They are forecasting 3-5" of snow for today. Frankly, I am over snow and winter weather once it's past Christmas. I am now ready for spring. K thanks.

Needing....Today the decorations start coming down. It is always a kind of sad day, but I am also looking forward to getting my house back and nice and clean.

Tradition....The last two years it's just been my husband and me for Christmas Eve/Day. On Christmas Eve night, we pack in the car (with the dog), bring coffee, listen to Christmas tunes and drive around the neighborhoods looking at all the Christmas lights. It is a favorite memory of mine.