7 Random Things I Have In My House....Because I'm a Teacher

7 Things I find at my house in the summer that don't surprise me because I'm a teacher:

1) Part of a protractor. Not a whole protractor. Nope just the stick thing that you use to line up the angle.

2) Hall passes. Written out, blank...no matter - at least I'm prepared to allow myself (and others- think of the power!) to go down the hall in my house for the next 2 months. 

3)  Water bottles. At least 10. Sprinkled through out my house. In random purses. On random shelves. It's a bad habit I bring home - you never know when you'll need water at school! To drink, to water a plant with, to wash the chalkboard. 

4) Clothes stored in random purses. Um hello I just spilled coffee all over my dress. 
Wait what was that tearing noise? Why is my back pocket of my cords flapping around?
But unlike in normal jobs where you might get away with hiding in your office all day as a teacher there is no way you could pull that off. Hence the extra clothes stored in purses. Going through the purses in the summer is like shopping except the clothes all look vaguely familiar and smell a little musty.

5) Extra rulers. And tape measures. And glue sticks. And rolls of tape. And construction paper. When's the last time you used a glue stick at home? Your 8th grade Spanish collage, you said? Never mind, you never know when a (fresh! Unused! Still sticky!) glue stick  might be needed!

6) Packs of unsharpened pencils hidden in random drawers. Old habits die hard. At school, you're obviously hiding them from the pencil eaters (honestly where else does a box of pencils go in one week? The kids must be eating them - which brings me to a brilliant idea I have - put tracking devices on pencils and then at the end of the year kids can write stories "The Adventure of Mr. Pencil"). Anywho tho at home your obviously hiding them from yourself because you spend too much time with kids and pick up their pencil losing habits (just not their pencil eating ones I hope).

7) Blank lunch detentions. Again see number 2. How hall passes and lunch detentions migrate home I have no clue. 

What other random teacher related objects do have around your house?


Teacher Survival Kit

So next year I will be switching schools. I'm not sure exactly what I'll have in terms of storage space but these past two years I've been very lucky having an office area and a classroom. Since I'll be working in a special ed room next year I don't think I'll have quite that much space. Which brings me to: what should I bring in, necessary items, for my "survival" kit?

1) Dry instant coffee that can be made with just water and heated in the microwave. Emergency situations only and must be drank before 12 or else Ms. Katie will be up till 2 am.

2)  My own mug. I'm a little germ wary and while I know I'm sure they'll have an "extra" mug for me, don't tell me someone didn't use it first.

3) Hand lotion and Chapstick. I am a lotion freak. (Little secret: I have been putting night cream on since I was 14! Yea I love having soft skin). 

4) My sharpies! I created my first Sharpie container as a junior in college and have maintained one ever since! They are awesome for everything: labeling, making signs, making posters, creating colorful worksheets at the spur of the moment. I know they're not the most non toxic and smell free but they are precise, neat, dry fast, and last a long time.

5) Lint brush and Static Guard. I added these to my desk this past year after an awkward day with a staticky lint attracting skirt. I never used them once (probably because I wisely never wore that awkward but adorable black and white checked wrap around skirt again). 

This is an ongoing list I'll be updating throughout the summer as I think of new items. Let me know what's in your survival kit!


Five For Friday

I have tentatively decided that I will be running a marathon in October. Holy Guacamole - What did I just say? Yes, you’re right, translated from Runnerish to English that means “I am pretty much admitting I’m insane!”

I get the nervous heeby jeebys just thinking about it. But! This is something I’ve wanted to do for a while and my sister made up some rule that you have to run 26(.2) before your 26. Which means I have two years to go. Why not now?

Well, a lot of reasons. But there will always be reasons why not. All you need to find is one reason why. Here’s my reason why: Why not?

No, really. What else am I doing? I run a lot. Why not aim it towards something constructive?

Coinciding perfectly was an article in Runner’s World (best.magazine.ever. Well, tied with Glamour) about training for a marathon and how you need to start training May 26th for an October 11th marathon. What did you say? It’s already June 13th? Oh well. I’ll just skip the first four weeks of the plan. Then instead of running the prescribed workouts for each day (track workouts? Who actually does track workouts?) I’ll just run the mileage for that week. I think this is pretty much a foolproof plan that is guaranteed to be successful.  

But! To hint at what’s to come, I went on a 10 mile run last Saturday.  See how pretty the trail was?


 Then I went to Stop and Shop to pick up some Gatorade and ice cream (post run eats of the champs) and I nearly fainted at the self-checkout. I was literally kneeling in front of the register reaching up with my long arms to scan my credit card, trying not to pass out, with black spots in front of my eyes, my stomach gurgling, and my heart racing. The worker in charge of the self-checkouts nicely ignored me.

It’s all good. (I think I was dehydrated by the way – word to the wise – drink your liquids gradually during the run instead of guzzling them afterwards).
Let’s Luau the night away.
I love my school because we have school wide Luau’s in the courtyard at night. Okay, it’s technically a dance, but we get to wear flowers in our hair without getting any weird looks.
The dance is tonight so I won’t be able to post any lovely pictures until next week. Unfortunately it looks like it is going to rain so it was moved from being outside in the courtyard to being inside. 

Today is pay day, which is always exciting in its own right, but I also am getting paid for Club RAP. Club RAP is where we teach students to write and record original rap music and I got paid twice a week for ten weeks to help them. Wait. Kidding. Club RAP is an acronym (of course) that stands for Reaching Academic Potential and was essentially a homework club with built in points and rewards.  I was assigned four students for the duration of the club and acted as their tutor with the ultimate goal of raising their grades. Three of my students successfully raised their grades but the fourth, I realized (too late) was a social butterfly. I think he focused better at home then with me after school as horrible as that sounds. Lesson learned! Moving on….I’m also getting paid for helping out with the track meets today. Yea! 

I bought a longboard. Yes, as in a skateboard.
And, yes, I have no clue how to ride it. But it’s now on my summer bucket list. 

And an update on my classroom cleaning:
Here is a drawer on Monday before I started cleaning
And it here it is after: 
Wait….how did it get clean so fast and where id all the stuff go? Oh, right:

Let's just say cleaning is slow going
Happy Friday! Four more days left till summer officially starts (or I guess, till school officially ends)!


Clean Up, Clean Up, Everybody Do Your Share

It’s the end of the school year, and I can count on my hands the number of days left. Which means one thing: my desk drawers are back to haunt me. It’s as scary as it sounds. I like to use my desk drawers as a receptacle for, well, everything.

For example: A student gives me two green notecards as a Christmas gift? In the desk they go. I get a thank you note for helping out with Unified Theater? Into the drawer you go. I eat a fortune cookie? Oh, hello, fortune here is your new home.

You would think that I would have mainly teacher-y things in my desk. And I do. I have sticky note pads, passes for students, Common Core ELA resources, articles I was given to read, SBAC binders…

…but I also have a lot of personal items. Like afore mentioned thank you cards, Chapstick, sandals, purses, … (hey you never know when you’ll need a pair of hot pink sandals!), board games, jewelry students have made me, food, … really it’s like a miniature composite of my life.

Last year I just ignored it all. Hey, I was coming back to the same desk and the same classroom. NBD. If I didn’t wear the sandals last year (at all), then surely I’ll wear them this year (I have yet, to ever, wear the sandals. Because, you know, I generally come to work ALREADY wearing shoes. Shocking I know).

This year, unfortunately my position was cut (but no worries! I still have a job for next year! Well, as long as the budget gets voted in soon), which means I’ll have a different job next year, hopefully in the same school, maybe in a different school in the same district. This also means I HAVE to clean out my desk.

I actually (cringe) have two desks.

Since I work in reading and math, I have my math desk in the math resource room, but I also have a reading classroom with another desk.  

Thankfully I don’t use my reading desk as much as my math desk but it still is used. Which means it still needs to be cleaned: of vintage school t-shirts, loose staples, unopened packs of pens, more Expo markers then I know what to do with (including a coveted yellow one), random items that were left behind when I inherited the desk (such as clear calculators for assistive tech use and a collection of dead electronic thesauruses), students reading files from the last two years . A nice assortment.

And that’s not mentioning my book collection.

About two weeks ago another para offered some cardboard boxes to box up my reading books. I nodded and smiled but inside I was tearing up. No! I refuse!

The math specialist (one of my bosses) kindly offered to let me keep the books (boxed up) in the reading room, which technically is actually a math room. Yes, not sure I understand all the logistics of room ownership either. But, regardless, I at least have a space to store the books and don’t have to lug them all home. Because I kind of maybe have taken up that space at home with…clothes…and more books.

I also have decorations. Those will be easiest to clean up. I’ll just take them down and throw them out (or recycle them). A lot of them are sun faded (my bulletin boards for some reason are positioned directly across from the windows allowing for maximum sun fade).

My method of choice is to do a little bit each day, and to do it when I’m alone.

I don’t know about you, but cleaning when I’m around other people drives me wild because

1) I feel like there critiquing my cleaning methods, because…
2) I tend to make a bigger mess before making it actually organized
3) I need the space to make the mess and having others around infringes on that physical and (mainly) mental space.

So for the next nine days, my goal is to do SOMETHING each day. Whether it’s organizing a drawer, taking down a bulletin board, or boxing up a box of books, something will be needed to be done that way on the last day I can relax and enjoy the last day.


Five For Friday: Finally!

These past three weeks have been so busy. Many good things, many fun things, many active things. But busy! Pheww! I think the only reason I'm even able to write this is because I had a rare cup of coffee this morning. 

First, SBAC testing is officially OVER today! YEA!! Granted it ended about four weeks ago but that's okay! I'm sharing my excitement now!  I also have to give a shout out to all the students who were in my computer lab - they did a truly awesome job working hard and keeping positive attitudes.
This was me on the last day of testing. And if you can't read my fabulous bracelet, it says "SBAC Survivor".

Second, I went on TWO lovely field trips in the past three weeks!

The first one, was to  CAMPY, a math conference for precocious middle students with a group of fantastic kiddos learned about binary code, making magic cards (above) and learning about unit rates and proportions (that may or may not have involved making ice cream!). I went to CAMPY last year with a group of students, and although last year was really good, this year was a lot better with it being less crowded and there being more engaging sessions.

If your a Connecticut teacher involved in math (or even the other STEM areas), I highly recommend it. Its aimed at middle school students and there were fourth graders to eighth graders present.

The second field trip was to Six Flags! I helped chaperone the annual chorus and band trip there and had a lot of fun - although I almost died on Bizarro (i'm not kidding, people!) and it rained the last hour. 

See how tall that is and how thin the track is?  I'm getting nauseous just looking at it. 

I'm officially in the middle of my last Master's class! It is awesome to be so close to finishing but it's also stressful - the class is only 6 weeks long so I have about 2 assignments due a week, and 2 discussions. Thankfully it's online so I can squeeze in the work whenever I have time. 

I've been running consistently again! It helps that last week my sister and I had a 30 mile challenge which I lost (she ran thirty miles before I did!) but I managed to run the 30 miles by squeezing in a nice 4 miler Saturday night. This week our challenge was to run a faster 1K time. A 1K is about .6 of a mile and it seemed liked an easy feat, except my current record is 4:04 and when I calculated it out, it meant I would have to run at a 6:33 pace or faster to beat that time which seemed a little insane. I'm also blaming the fact that I've been running thirty mile weeks for about a month now. I'm tired! 

I actually ran on a track! I HATE running on tracks. Granted it was two loops tops before I started running on a trail in the woods.

I also helped out at two track meets, running (as in administering, not actually running) the long jump and triple jump event. It was awesome working with high schoolers and they were super helpful as they guided me through learning about an event I didn't even know existed (triple jump? Really? Who invented that event is my question).


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