I'm baaaaaaack.

Hoarding All the Glitter Since 2001.

23 August 2014

One week down.

Yay, one week of Kindergarten under the bridge.  My class is enormously cute and bright.  I am hoping that my roster is stabilizing, but I suppose that's unlikely until after the ten day count. Also, I like my grade level team, and being at the same school as last year, and my moderately revised classroom set up.  Additionally, I have some nice new dresses to wear, several Donors Choose projects funded and on their way, a rocking new pair of sneakers, and have been able to maintain a strong organizational system FOR AN ENTIRE WEEK.

That's the good.  The bad is that I do not have enough time for everything I need to do.

Most of what I need is time for planning.  We have a new math program and got a big six hours to learn it!  Sadly, the Kindergarten modules apparently aren't complete, so I can't even get a full sense of what they year in math will look like.  (Don't ask about the manipulatives and reproducibles.)  This is particularly important because the math program is set up so that teachers can use materials they have found effective to teach the concepts as they are laid out in the curriculum.  In my case, that means pulling out materials from a couple of programs I find particularly effective.  However, alignment takes time, and I need to see (and read) the modules to do it well.  While we are on a five year plan to fully implement this program, and it certainly has been extensively revised over the past year, I think implementation would be siginificantly eased if teachers had more time to familiarize themselves with the material before jumping into year one.  After all, a five year implementation doesn't mean we can do poorly by the children who are in our classrooms in year one.

Teachers also need to align their ELD instruction to the new state standards, and the district is not providing a new curriculum or updating the in-house lessons available.  Again, thsi is time-consuming work.

We also have a whole new data system, Amplify.  At least as of right now, we will not be receiving or using Amplofy curricula or tablets, which I think is a positive.  However, using the same data program that powered In Bloom is something I wish had been open to more public comment.

So really, the year is off to the usual start: I really love being in the classroom, teaching, collaborating, and all that stuff.  I really dislike some of the District strictures that make it harder for me to feel prepared and effective.

09 August 2014

Summer Reading List?

Is there a Kindergarten student in your household?  Then read this before school starts, and think about how you can help Kindergarten be a place for happy, creative, brilliant young children.

07 August 2014

Advance Planning Scofflaws

In February, it seemed like a totally great idea to apply for an out-of-state professional development taking place the week before I report back to work.  "This will make me be very intentional in how I pack up my classroom in May," I thought.  "And in August, I'll really need to ready the room in an organized way - as opposed to the usual eight thousand projects going at once two week hysteria!"  What an opportunity for learning I could have, even after I returned!

Now that I'm in New York - having failed to mindfully pack up my room for cleaning and to develop strategic organizational skills over the summer - I'm not so sure this was a great plan.

Plus side?  I will be so ready to implement what I'm learning, without forgetting some of it as I would had I done this training in June.  Also, I'm in Manhattan.  With my back to school money.  After a disappointing year in personal style, one that included enforced orthopedic footwear, I will be returning - nay, exceeding! - my earlier heights of fashion.

And should I spend more than I ought, I'm sure some financial institution will be ready to make money by extending credit that will allow me to purchase school supplies.  Not only do we fail to fund schools adequately, private institutions are ready to profit on that failure.  Neat!

However, I did have an idea for a business which would provide a marketplace for teachers to vacation-swap their homes.  Teachers could get reasonably priced accomodations and be assured that their tenants have passed a background check and are unlikely to break their furniture or host wild parties (probably you would want to lock your closet of off-season sale school supplies, though).