Posts filed under ‘school’

Professional development, Fun and Geeking out

As a teacher, the bain of my existence has been professional development.  The ongoing struggle is to get the required hours every year. Between regular hours and the “faith formation” hours I have to do because I do work in a Catholic School, it’s just a pain.

The other real challenge for me is that as a tech person, I have a hard time finding relevant professional development.  I hate going to things and finding that there’s absolutely nothing for me.  It just stinks.

So, it was with absolute glee that I found two conferences that satisfied my geek-ness and were actually applicable to my day!

Oh, and the super bestest part? They were both LOCAL. Not kidding. Usually, I end up  travelling hours and hours for things (remember Hotel Tarmac?) .

The first one was a SmartBoard conference a few minutes away from me. I spent the whole day trying out new things for the SmartBoard. I love it. I took workshops that delved into google apps, playing with rich media among other topics. It was also amazing being among like minded people-varied in their skills, but all like minded.

Some people would say that spending a Saturday playing with “work stuff” isn’t a true Saturday.

For me, I was in geek heaven. These touch sensitive boards are so amazing. I even got to show off my elephant like memory when I was asked to answer a “Lord of the Flies” question.

Thanks, Mrs. Moscheo. I did remember that from 9th grade.

Monday and Tuesday of this week were mind blowing. Frankly, my information filled brain is still trying to process it all.

I spent those two days at the Technologies in Education Conference.

I went to 8 sessions.

I met amazing educators, technologists and just really cool people.

I got to hang out with the other Catholic Schools Tech Specialists.

I laughed.

I met Marialice B.F.X. Curran. She is a force of nature. She is amazing. She loves that I have a 3 before me rule.

I spent two days in the company of others who don’t fear technology but rather embrace it. It was refreshing, it was fun.  It was me going all geek.

Especially during the session where we got to see a 3D projector and don the glasses and mess with virtual v8 engines, dinos and learn all about corrosion.

Best thing?

I get to do it all again next year.

Dare I say I’m loving this kind of professional development?


May 20, 2011 at 6:24 pm Leave a comment

It’s all fun and games until someone loses an eye

Work has evened out to the point that I’m actually teaching! Go figure! AND to make matters even more awesome, I’m not hearing all about the old teacher anymore! It only took them 3 weeks….

And school (for now) has evened out to the point that I can actually NOT worry about what’s going on in Isaac’s classroom, and if he’s getting kicked out or not for something insanely stupid. I also don’t have to worry about the teacher being politically correct and deflecting everything about my child to the resource teacher.

So, that leaves me with the other fun and games-the parts of my job that no one warned me about and seemed pretty innocuous at the time of me accepting this new whole shindig.

Staff development.

Yeah. that.

I don’t mind public speaking. Heck, I was on the speech and debate team in high school. I did pretty well, if I do say so myself.

BUT, the whole issue here is when you’re talking technology to a group of teachers, it can go one of two ways-

First-the teachers can be all in. It’s fun, exciting and you get a lot done.


Second-you’ve got a hostile room with no one really knowing what they want out of the session and basically, you’re standing up there getting barbs thrown at you because they don’t want to deal with the technology and moving forward in this new educational venture.

I’m currently dealing with a mix of the two.

I was told that the professional development I was going to be doing was more of a one on one thing…not a whole room thing! EEKERS!!

this is a whole new world for me. I’m slowly getting used to it.

But at least I got to show off what I knew from my visit to Hotel Tarmac.

I think I still have both eyes, so this was fun and games.  Seriously.

I still miss having a classroom. Seriously.

September 24, 2010 at 6:27 pm Leave a comment

Doris the Alpaca and other hilarities

I’m now resigned that we’re into the swing of things. Seriously. I’m getting into the groove (I actually taught today…wow!) and so is Isaac.

This means that the sharing stuff got sent home.

(deeeeeeep inhale and exhale…)

If you’ve been here a while, you all remember the heights of stress sharing caused me last year-trying to fit into these insane categories and prep the kid as he ran out the door.

The first sharing thing was to bring a bear or other stuffed animal to class. Isaac is quite attached to his fuzzy buddies and immediately ruled out three. Patrick (big stuffed puppy), Zamboni (monkey in hockey gear) and Anakin (cheetah-note the geek in training name…).

So, I tell him to just go and grab one. He zips into his room and grabs his stuffed alpaca. Yes, he has a stuffed alpaca. I figured he should know where his yarn that I make him things out of comes from-I love me some alpaca yarn!

So, I ask him what his alpaca’s name is. He tells me the following:


Yes, Doris.

Where in the heck did he get that name? I quickly asked a few people via IM, and no one could come up with any good answers as to where Doris came from. It’s like Fred the Pig. Dunno. It’s just Isaac. I’ve stopped asking.

So, Doris the alpaca went to school with the Shrimper this morning, and is living in room 106 for the duration of the week, with all of the other fuzzy buddies from the first grade.

Then, as I scanned the sheet further, I noticed the sharing for the last week of the month. Investigating my name.

Seems harmless, right?

In this house, NOT SO MUCH.

Isaac has to ask us some specific questions about how he got his name, ect.

Well, umm…yeah. About that…

Let’s roll this time machine back about 6 years to us naming this darling Shrimp.

Isaac was one of the few names we could agree on. We liked the meaning (Hebrew for Laughter) and it was a name no one in the family had. He wasn’t named after anyone, for anything or given a name with a family history to live up to. He could make his own history.

So, as we were visiting my darling parents for the holidays, we were chatting about names and we brought up that we were very close to naming the baby Isaac.

My dad went on and on and on and on about the Biblical significance and this and that, when we stopped him dead in his tracks and said :

“No, not the Biblical Isaac-it’s Isaac Hayes-you know, Chef, from South Park.”

The spitting of the soda through noses ensued.

So, now, family legend is the South Park story.

We don’t mind people thinking it was Isaac Hayes for a bunch of reasons-amazing musician, activist, ect. But come on-how am I going to explain this to a first grader?

Dying to know how I’m going to handle this interview…

Let’s watch the hilarity ensue.

It will totally go in the history books of our family as one of the oddest moments ever.

September 14, 2010 at 1:06 pm Leave a comment

Getting ready

Now that I’m back from Hotel Tarmac and the two day SMARTboard training, which kicked some serious butt by the way, life can get back to abnormal, as in getting ready for the new school year.

I’ve been spending lots of time both at home and at the new school trying to get everything set up. Not having my own classroom is both a blessing and a curse for me. First, all of the stuff I’d normally have in my own classroom has to get stashed here at the house. There’s just NOT the room for it in my office.  Second, I’m trying t go through the files and things that were left and figure out the organizational structure.

At least there’s one good thing about this-the office wasn’t left in disarray as were the previous classrooms I’ve inhabited. There’s lots of stuff for me to go through and lots of stuff to think about doing.

I’ve also been put in charge of the website as well as the email servers for the school. There’s so much to do to update and get things ready. I’ve been strapped to the laptop for hours over the past 3 days trying to get it all done.

It’s been such a different kind of getting ready than I’m used to. It’s really hard to not spend my time in the week or two leading up to school decorating and planning and checking and chatting and catching up, as well as finding out all of the summer scuttlebutt.

Oh, I am still finding out the scuttlebutt from the old school, and it’s always fun and choice. I think the way I left and the way that I chose my replacement was as good as it gets. I know who my kids (who I still adore deeply) have and I like that person very, very much.

I’ve already introduced a bunch of my students to the new teacher and we have BOTH promised them that I’ll be around. I”m only shooting 30 minutes in the other direction. It’s not a big huge dealio.

I’m also getting Isaac ready. This has been a bit more of a challenge. First, we had to get all of the school supplies. The list wasn’t bad this year, and there were no specific brands (like the crayola glue sticks of last year) to slow down the supply hunt. I actually outfitted Isaac with his supplies for under $30.00. Thank you huge school supply sales at large national chains. Yay!

We didn’t have the backpack fiasco of this year or anything go wrong with Isaac’s bed (thank the heavens above) but we did have a mild version of  Pencil box fiasco.

Here’s what happened, and this is all my fault. Seriously.

I was out school shopping and one of the items on Isaac’s list was a pencil box (plastic), and I didn’t have the list with me. Yeah, I know. Smart move there. I thought I grabbed it…but nope.  So, I figured as long as it wasn’t a pouch (that I remembered) a metal box would do JUST FINE. This is the most perfect Isaac pencil box in the WORLD. Seriously. Red car on it? All him.

Yeah, that was until I got home and noticed there was a specific request for a plastic one. Nice move there.

So, I did what all panicked parents do. Email the teacher. I wasn’t expecting to hear back quickly, and I wasn’t worried, as a pencil box is the easiest thing to come by. I even picked  a plastic one up so I could have it in case. Hey-it was a dollar. Not a big deal.

She mailed back that the metal box was fine. (phew!) I got myself out of that small fiasco. Yesh.

Lesson? Next time-BRING THE LIST!

Then, to add to our getting ready, we have a trip to Shriner’s scheduled on Tuesday to get Isaac’s new AFOs.  Who knows how long we’ll be there for, who knows what kind of adjustments we’ll need to make on them. I just know that we won’t be able to miss Isaac in these suckers. Same pattern as last time-Fly and Drive (but with a yellow background) and red velcro. I can’t wait to see the way they do these at Shriner’s. They told me they were a bit different, but I’m not sure.

Soo, here we go. A new year for all of us involved and a few more “getting ready” things to do before 2 of us get out the door on September 7th for our first day of school!

August 29, 2010 at 3:18 pm Leave a comment

Is it really that time?

I was talking to another parent the other day and asked her if she’d gotten all of the list because one of the supply stores was having a kick butt sale on the plastic pocket folders we needed for the fall. She said that she didn’t do any of the shopping until right before Labor Day, because it meant the end of the summer. Me, I don’t consider my summer done until I start getting MY classroom in order.

Well, guess what. Summer is almost done. I’ve started looking at materials and things for my office door. Just because I won’t have a classroom anymore doesn’t mean that I can’t have a stylin’ door.

Oh, wait. I haven’t told y’all about this, huh?

Last time I checked in on the job front was in June, and I was informed that my position at the cute school I’d been at for 2 years would no longer exist. I was offered the  new position, but I didn’t want it. I picked my replacement (yep, I did…) but before I did that, she tipped me off that another school was looking for a tech teacher.

ooh. really?

So, I flew my resume to the principal (that was May) and I never heard anything, despite calls from both my principal and the person who had tipped me off to the job (she was the tech director for the area).

I also applied a lot of other places and had one of the WORST interviews I’ve been on in a LONG time go down. That’s another post, though. Wow. It was…well, again, that’s another post.

And I waited. And I waited. and I didn’t hear anything until July. That’s when I got the oddest phone call.  The principal of the school I had flown my resume off too in May wanted to meet me, oh, the next day. So, I tweaked my schedule and went out to the school to meet her and do what I thought would be an interview.

Turned out to be a “hey-let’s meet before you start!”

Yeah. It was a few minutes of questioning, a building tour and “I’ll mail your contract after Father signs it. Here’s what your salary is.”

What? Seriously?

So, I walked out with a job in hand, but I wasn’t going to post anything until I had the contract in my hot little hand and had the specifics of my days and things.

So, let’s answer the big questions here-

1) Are you back in a Catholic school?

Yep. Just instead of going in one direction, I’m driving in the other.

2) Is this the same job you had?

Yes and No. I don’t have my own classroom anymore. I’m bummed but not bummed at the same time. Instead of having 27 desktops, the school has 50 laptops on 2 25 laptop carts. I get to bring them into the classroom and actually work straight from them. They’re wireless and each has a pair of headphones, so there will be no “Mrs. F, the broken record” saying “Umm..VOLUME people…” I’m also maintaining the website, as well as helping to facilitate the LEGO NEXT Mindstorms Robotics team. Should be interesting there….

Oh, and I get 3 days of work, not just 2! Woohoo!

3) What about game geeking?

Yeah. That. Trying NOT to go back, but debating on doing it just for the holidays so I can pick up Rock Band 3 and some peripherals  for a decent price. Otherwise, I really don’t want to go back and deal with the wackjobs that invade…

But that’s about it. So, in a few weeks, I’m back into the groove of running around teaching and being generally weird. Oh, and I KNOW I’ll have some killer answers on quizzes, tests and things! Woohoo

August 19, 2010 at 9:52 am 1 comment

Summer School and the Newly Minted First grade response

So, the summer of activities continues. We’ve finished with swim lessons, park camp and VBS-and moved on to Summer Literacy at school.

Since today was day 1 of summer literacy, we dragged Isaac out of bed and then brought him to “camp.” There, I found the following:
1. I can’t walk him to his classroom. The teachers come out and get the kids and then bring them out at the end of the day.
2. The kids are grouped by the grade the just finished rather than the grade they are entering. This caused a NICE uproar with my child.

yeah. I was thrilled with both of those. I was super thrilled with the second one. Isaac was NOT a happy camper. I got the ticked off response as only he can do. Whine petulantly and then when I call him on it, walk away with the hangdog look.

What bugged me the most about this morning was that there were a few parents who embodied the “suburban snob” that I have come to loathe and refuse to get myself sucked into being.

Apparently in years past, there was busing for this program. This year, due to budget constraints, there was no busing. BUT, there is busing for the 12 month students. These are the kids who are in need of school services 12 months out of the year per their IEPs. These are kids who don’t qualify for the low key summer literacy program because they need a smidge more than this.

This mom was complaining to the high heavens that her kids deserved busing and how she was going to have to get a 3 year old out the door to drop the kids off. Umm…hello? Your 2 other kids are getting 4 days a week of 3 hour a day instruction for free. There’s a maximum of 10 kids in each class. AND there’s a teacher aide in each! Suck up and deal. Driving your kids isn’t the worst thing in the world.

But Isaac came home and was ok with the entire thing. He was exhausted from the weeks prior, so he came home and crashed.

So, we’ll see how this goes. 3 weeks…and then we’re all done…

July 26, 2010 at 1:57 pm 2 comments

I know, I know! It’s quiet here!

It’s the end of the school year. I’m procrastinating getting grades and tech cards (computer report cards) done.

There are some cool things up around here, and you’ll just need to hang on until next week for the first of those cool things…Trust me.

So, sorry about the silence…

It’s just the sound of me procrastinating and having to rush to get it all done!

I’ll be back on Friday…

June 22, 2010 at 5:51 am Leave a comment

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