It's going to be a very long day for me, today. I have been awake since 3:30AM, and didn't go to bed until almost 11PM. I have no idea why I woke up, or why I couldn't go back to sleep.. but after laying in bed for an hour listening to the rain, I decided it was time to get up.
It's another wet, rainy day. The temperature isn't cold, but it's cool. I'm sitting on the patio, listening to the rain coming down, and realizing that there's a few holes in the roof that I need to get fixed. I'm noticing a few drips of rain coming through on to the patio. They're no big deal, but something I should add to the to-do list to eventually fix.
Yesterday was a good day. I got a lot of work done, and I even cooked dinner. A rare treat, that's for sure. Hubby wanted me to make shepherd's pie, and I did. It was good. I don't cook very often at all, but it's nice to be in the kitchen every now and then. It got me thinking about Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Thanksgiving is the holiday I always cook. Hubby takes care of the turkey, but I prepare all the "fixings". It's crazy to think that there's only a little over a month until it'll be time to cook up my Thanksgiving favorites. Roasted potatoes, dressing, green bean casserole, veggies, and pies are always on the menu to go along with the turkey, and my mouth is watering just thinking about it.
I've also been thinking a lot about Christmas. It'll be the very first Christmas since Hubby and I have been together that we stay home for Christmas. In fact, there's only been one other time in my entire life that I didn't have Christmas with my parents. That's when I lived in Texas, some 12 years ago.
The tradition has always been Christmas Eve at P-Momma's, Christmas morning at our house, and Christmas Day at my parents. This year will be different. Once the presents are all opened, there'll be no running around trying to get ready or getting stuff packed for the night away. Instead, the kids will open their gifts, I'll start thinking about cooking Christmas dinner, and we'll spend the day at home. Together. Just Hubby, the kids, and myself.
I've started thinking about some new traditions that I want to start this year. The first thing being Christmas baking. I always bake at Christmas, but we never really get to enjoy the fruits of my labor because we always rush off and leave the baked goods behind. This year, I want to make fudge, cookies, and pies for Christmas Day. I want it to be something the kids and I do together. Then, while dinner is cooking, I want us all to try out all the new toys and games and spend the day just having fun and enjoying each other's company. We can play with the new toys, play video games, eat a big Christmas dinner, and then all settle in for a relaxing Christmas movie while I probably take a nap.
My mind sure does wander when it's raining, huh?
Yesterday afternoon, I sat down to work on some school work. It's hard to believe that this Wednesday will be the last class for this particular class. My first Master's Degree class will be over by the end of this week. I have a individual presentation I have to give Wednesday night and write up two article reviews. I spent some time, yesterday, doing my research for my project and finding the articles I will review. I got a good start on the paper I need for my project, and I just have to finish writing it and making a short PowerPoint to go with it. I'm hoping to get that all knocked out today and tomorrow. I always feel better once I have a topic picked out, so the rest is just writing. I don't have much problem with that.
Last night, I decided to start over on the baby blanket I'm making for the third time. I decided the one I'd been making was too big, and I needed something a little more "baby sized". I started fiddling around with some new pattern ideas, and I think I've finally found the one I like. I got a good start on it, last night, and I'm hoping that I'll have it finished by the end of next weekend. That'll give me time to make the baby hat and mittens that I plan on making to go with the blanket before the baby shower. Even though they're not specifically what my teacher friend ordered, I think they'll be a good shower gift and then I can focus on making the items she wants before the baby gets here in December.
This week, I've decided to do my career focus on teaching. I have a few kids that showed interest in wanting to be a teacher, and I figure with this week and the short week next week, teaching would be a good career to focus on. It also gives me some more time to prepare some longer range plans for other careers. Tomorrow our class has a field trip, and next week we're only at school for three days, so teaching is a good career to work with. I don't have to dress up, yet I can still make the week fun for the kiddos.
I figure the best way to incorporate teaching as the career focus is by having the kids do some of the teaching, have them do some grading, have them write up some plans, and let them get a feel for what goes on behind the scenes of a teacher. Being that we're starting our division unit this week, I figure a great way to throw them in to that is by giving them some grade averages to calculate. I mean, OK teachers don't really have to do the math anymore, but it's good for the kids to know what grade averaging entails. It'll also help them understand how their own grade point average is figured.
I plan on focusing them on a project that has them picking something they'd like to teach to the rest of the class. It doesn't really have to be "school focused", but they'll pick something that interests them, do a little research on it, and then teach the rest of the class how to do it or what it's all about. So, for example, they might want to teach on how to do a card trick, how to draw a picture, or teach the class about Pokemon. They'll have to write up a lesson plan, listing the objective, materials, and activity the class will be doing and then implement the plan with the class.
All in all, I think it'll be a fun week, and my hope is that they see how much goes in to teaching. That it's not just standing in front of the class and teaching from a book. That there's a lot of planning, self-monitoring, and adjustment involved. Of course, I also want them to see how much fun teaching can be, and how much of an impact teachers have on students.
My grade level members have made a lot of comments, lately, about departmentalizing. Apparently, it was what they did before I came along, and they're big fans of it. It's actually what my individual project and presentation is about. While I definitely see some pros to the whole departmentalization thing, I'm not a fan and it actually scares me to think that it might happen to our grade level. The main reason? Because I won't get to do fun projects like I'm doing right now with my class. I won't build the bond I have with my kiddos. I won't get to integrate learning across subjects. And I won't be able to see the individual growth that each of my students are making in their social and motivational aspects.
I've read so much about how departmentalization can increase student performance because each teacher becomes a "pro" in their specific subject. And I've read how important departmentalization is for preparing students for junior high and high school. Well, that's great. But, I also know that I have 16 kids this year that are increasing their performance, are enjoying the learning process, and are bonding with me. They'll get their preparation for high school in junior high. If they need more preparation, then 5th and 6th grade can think about it. I don't have to be a pro in a specific subject area in order to do that. The kids are learning math, they're reading, they're learning science, and I've seen an amazing amount of growth in the two short months we've been in school. It shouldn't be about test scores, it should be about what's best for the kids. And, my personal opinion is that kids in 4th grade and lower need stability that's provided from their teacher. They need the bond that's created in order for them to love school, build excitement about what's going to come in the later grades, and adapt accordingly. If we start making elementary school feel like junior high and high school, then what will they have to look forward to? It'll be the same ol' hum drum for their entire school lives. I know that many of my kids look forward to the time they'll get to switch classes, but it's not right now. Right now, they seem perfectly content with staying with me all day, learning with me, and being apart of our classroom family.
I don't know. It's been playing on my mind a lot, and I just had to get that out there.
Which, I realized I've got a lot out there today...and I probably need to wrap it up. I mean, is anyone even reading this anymore? It's a long one, today, that's for sure.
OK, have a great Monday, everyone!