Sunday, April 17, 2011

7 School Days, One Week until TAKS

"You should never teach to the test." This is all you hear throughout college, but reality is, everyone does. This year is even a little more important because of the changeover with TAKS and STAAR. The scores we get this year will last for a couple years due to implementing the new test. And as much as I'm trying not to freak out, I will be celebrating when that day is over. The dot race is coming along very well and the students are so into it, I can barely keep up with them. I am spending allllll of my time grading their objectives. I have students that have already completed 150 problems in one week! Here is what the board looks like now (as you can tell, most students are on their 3rd check point, anyone dot who is ahead of the group is working ahead of the pace):
I have "Super Six" posters crammed everywhere in my room!!

This weekend was an awesome, jam-packed weekend. It is always nice to have things take your mind off school for a little bit. Especially last weekend with being in San Antonio with students, I was SO ready for a couple days off. Friday night I had the awesome opportunity to try my hand at painting. If anyone knows anything about my family, you know that Caroline is the artist. I am notoriously known for being terrible at drawing anything, even stick figures; but, my good friend Mindi wanted to go and I couldn't pass up the opportunity. We painted a beautiful peacock, and while mine looks a little more like a duck with abstract colors around it, I am proudly hanging it in my room!! 
Then on Saturday it was the Lindstrom family's last big prom!! Last high school dance my parents will ever have to go through. Last awkward pinning the boutonniere pictures. Last official prom poses. Caroline probably was the most gorgeous person on the earth that night, although I might be a little biased. She was in "chill mode" all day and then we got her ready at the house. It was so nice not to have to go anywhere for hair or make-up! Between older sisters and Hannah's friend that was home with her, we accomplished it all. I felt like a very proud older sister and was happy to be a part of everything!
Lil Bit and me

So pretty!

Lil Bit and her date, Kyle
So after all that exciting-ness, I also got the privilege to accompany Hannah (and her friend Kim from Baylor) to the Warrior Dash today! If you do not know about Warrior Dash, it's this crazy 3 mile race that includes: swimming through ponds, climbing over cargo nets, jumping over fire, and swimming through a mud pit with barb wire. There are other "obstacles" too, I just can't remember them all. Their race time started at 3:30. We parked at the Texas Motor Speedway and rode a shuttle to the park. They got checked in, put their numbers on, and got in line. People dress in costumes and its really funny just to watch everyone that is there. After they started and we (Kristen, my dad, and me) cheered them on, we went to the mud pit/finish line to wait for them. The time went by pretty fast as we watched people belly flop/dive/front flip into the mud pit.... We waited for their bright blue and screamed insanely loud when we saw them! They did great and go incredibly dirty. Kristen and I decided that we're going to do it next year; we just need to start training now yesterday. If you want to see pictures go to Hannah's facebook; my dad got some good ones!

So overall I spent most of my weekend being a supportive sister, but it was awesome and I had a fantastic time at everything! Time to re-focus on my 125 other little darlings and support them for another school week!

Monday, April 11, 2011

153 down, 34 to Go

I love blogging. I love reading other people's blogs and I love staying connected. There are sometimes when I read other blogs that I think my blog is so boring, and all I do is talk about my classroom. But when I really started thinking about it, people write about their passions. Currently in my life I don't have a husband; I don't have a child; I don't even have a dog. Currently in my life my passion is my career. This will be the only time in my life that I can devote 100% of myself to my students. So within all of this, I've come to the conclusion that I'm ok with the fact that I only write about my classroom.

Here is my newest project - my TAKS review unit!! I bribed Caroline to paint a racetrack for me with the Rangers "T" in the middle to create my TAKS Dot Race! I really wanted to challenge my accelerated students to be engaged during our TAKS review. I know my kids are smart and we're aiming for commended rather than just passing the test, so I knew they'd need a little more motivation than just good grades. So, I emailed  someone in PR for the Rangers and got them to send me whatever they could! If my students can complete 3 laps/12 packets/240 problems/writing 60 of their own problems all in two school weeks they will we receive a Ranger sticker!! That probably sounds like nothing, but they were so excited when I told them about everything today. They will receive a reward for each lap they complete: Lap 1 - candy, Lap 2 - homework pass, Lap 3 - sticker, homework pass #2, and candy! I'll keep you updated on how it goes.

 This weekend I was the faculty sponsor for my Math Team's state competition in San Antonio. These are seriously the best kids in the entire school. Friday night was a crazy night of silence; they completed practice tests for almost 2 hours. Then this was them in the hotel lobby Saturday morning playing scrabble!! It really was a fun experience getting to hang out with them outside of a school setting. It was a long weekend where I spent 10 hours on Saturday in one room grading, but it was still fun. If you have about an hour I can fill you in on more details like parking tickets, broken legs, car fires, coaley/cooleyville tx, elevators, new volume song, and bowling. The good thing is all of our students are back at home! 

The best part of the entire weekend though was getting to see my family in Waco! One thing I've discovered through high school and college is that there are not quite as many families who are as close as mine! Lunch at Food for Thought in Waco made my whole week!


Monday, April 4, 2011

This is why, this is why, this is why I teach...

I couldn't help but sing the "this is why I'm hot" song when I was typing my title.. So a couple more "this is why-s" got added. :) Hope that made some sense.

Anyway, I have figured out that there are some days throughout the school year where at the end of the day you literally want to ring someone's neck - nothing went right, the lesson was boring, and the kids were annoying. Then you have the exact opposite days, where one simple statement can remind you why you put up with the other 186 days of the year. Last week I got an email from a parent that did exactly this. One of my students, who has struggled all year, got a 96 on their last test. I put her in the optional TAKS tutoring hoping it would help her gain some strength in some areas. This last test really made me feel like my decision was the right one, so I emailed their parents to let them know how proud I was of the test score! The parents emailed me back with such encouraging words that I couldn't help but smile. 
"Let's keep on pushing her to her potential! She probably needs more music videos to inspire her.... your video was awesome and I am so thrilled that there are a few select teachers that will do amazing things to connect with the students. You make a HUGE impact and I appreciate you! More importantly, [the student] is very inspired by you!"
 All I need is a simple reminder that these kids look up to me and if I can make one difference in one student, then my year is successful.