Friday, September 28, 2012

Procrastination Station

How's your week been?  Yes, of course I care.  You're just reading this because I'm so far away.  Maybe not even for that reason.  Maybe you're considering teaching in Alaska?  Think a lot about it!

I've been busy working on my lesson plans for the next few weeks.  I'm also working on sub plans for the first time!  So far, I think it's going to end up being about the size of a Junie B. Jones book.  My goal is to have everything done so I don't have to bring any homework/school related items with me to WI/MN.  So far, I can see that it's going to be a long haul to get a weeks worth of stuff done this early but it will be accomplished.  I just have to make sure that procrastination doesn't take over.

Working ahead isn't easy to do when you're sick either.  I've got a cold that won't go away.  My voice is no longer, unless I whisper, and my nose is driving me crazy.  Everyone that knows me knows that I can't sing to begin with, just imagine what I sound like now.  I would say that I sound like a seal about to be eaten by a bear.  Hopefully my kids are excited and ready to sing today because they're going to be laughing the whole day if I have to sing.

I think the snow is actually starting to stick.  There's not enough to go on a snow-go yet though.  The upside I'm taking note of with the snow is that the sand is no longer swishing though the air into my eyes.  The downside you may ask?  Do I really need to tell you?  It's cold and wet and not fun.

My application for Sally O'Mally was approved!!!!! I get to pick her up at 1:00 a week from today!!!  Oh my gosh, I'm so excited!! I've already ordering a few things where as I will be bringing other things back to AK with me when I return.

It's time to return to the non-procrastination state of mind.

See you soon!
<3 Lauren

Monday, September 24, 2012

Dear Diary

September 24, 2012

Dear Diary,
It snowed today.  Well, last night technically.  What's the difference right?  Nothing.  Nothings different here; oh wait, everything is different in Shishmaref!!!! Ice cream is most certainly not ice cream, shopping online isn't anywhere near as fun as shopping at the store.  I mean, really, online you can see your total but in the store, not finding out until the moment you're spending that much money is part of the fun.  Did I mention the weather?  Maybe that's where I started and got a little side tracked.  Back on the runway.  I agree, getting snow now is better than getting snow in July, unless you live in AU however.  But really, in the states, September 24th, is not okay!!!! 

Well, I'm learning how to drive a stick shift.  The truck belongs to the school, technically.  Anyway, my first time driving, I didn't kill it at all!!!!!! I was so proud!  Then, I drove again the next day and didn't do as well.  In my defense however, I was on hills and i've heard it's much more difficult to drive a stick on a hill.  At least I'm not killing the truck when i'm going 30mph, right?  How about the fact that I need to get used to shifting down when I want to stop instead of just stopping?  I will get used to that eventually, right?  

What does Monday mean to you?  First day of school for the week? Yes, me too.  But it also means, the evening of bright clean clothes!!!!  Wait, I take that back.  It no longer means this more me.  Now, It just means night of clean clothes!!!!  My clothes are no longer bright. Well, at least not bright white.  Mom, how many times have you shown me how to do my laundry?  How many times did I refuse to listen - 1 too many maybe?  Okay, here's what happened.  I wasn't thinking and put my red bed sheets (never been washed) in with my lights.  I think I was just out of room in the dark load.  Anyway, I now own as much pink as I would have wanted when I still wanted to be a ballerina and was called 'Twinkle Toes'.  

Yep, that's my day.  Well, if you don't include children arriving at school 20 minutes prior to school starting, children wanting to go home two minutes after they arrived, and children tearing apart their light up shoes enough that the whole bottom comes off and the electrical box hangs out. 

Hope tomorrow is better.

I wish I was in Hawaii

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Scatter Brained?

Ladies and gentleman, boys and girls, I’d like to welcome you to the update of Lauren over the last week.  Maybe I’ll make it short and sweet, probably not though. 

I’ve given the Snack Shack another try.  My typical Friday night excitement involves a cheeseburger AND fries (with my own BBQ provided) and a chocolate/vanilla milkshake.  Did you notice how I wrote and?  Nope, the capitalization wasn’t an error.  At the Snack Shack, if you say ‘and’ the burger will come with a side of fries; however, if you say ‘with’ the burger will come separately from an entire side order of fries.   What’s the price for this delicious entrée?  $20.00. 

What’s the farthest you’ve traveled from your friends and family?  How long were you gone?  How close were you to them to begin with?  Being in AK when most of your friends and family are in WI or MN is tough.  I wasn’t really sure how much I wanted to say on here with people I don’t known reading this possibly.  Then I thought about it and realized that I was more concerned with the people I do know reading it.  Then, I considered cancelling the whole blog idea.  Obviously, I kept thinking about it and ended up sticking with it.

Being up here makes staying in contact with friends and family harder than expected.  It’s not like I don’t get to talk to them, it’s just not the same.  A friend and I are having a conversation online about how difficult it is that being so far from everyone.  Yes, we’ve made new friends but they’re not the same kinds of friends we have back home.  I’ve been told that that’s what happens as you grow up but should friends still be friends no matter how old?  

When I was at home and something happened I was at least surrounded by people I was fully comfortable with.  I was able to express myself however I felt the need and it didn’t matter.   It’s not that I can’t express myself in AK, because I can, it just isn’t the same because I’ve only known the people here for two months.  I’m not trying to hide my real self from them, it just happens sometimes. 

Do you recall that exciting news about me considering getting a kitten?  Well, my dream is getting closer to coming true!!! I’m actually going home to WI for a few days and plan on getting Sally O’Malley while I’m down there. I faxed in my application to adopt her and as soon as it’s through the process the humane society will call me to get things stared.  I’m so excited to have Sally O’Malley to cuddle with.  She’s a playful little one too! 

Since I’m getting Sally O’Malley so soon, she will already be here when Shayla comes!!! That’s right, she’s coming the first week of November!! Shayla, are you reading this?  I hope you’re getting excited.  Make sure to bring warm clothes because we’ve already had snow here.  The snow didn’t stick but eventually, it will, it’s a realization I must come to terms with.  Although, if it’s going to continue to get colder and colder, we dang well better have snow to make things look pretty. 

School has been a little crazy.  I’ve got lots of testing (beginning of the year stuff) to get done by the end of the month.  Recently, the kids in my class didn’t have school for the day because we did a hardcore cleaning.  All of the teachers in the room, 3 and 4 year old teachers, used Clorox wipes to sanitize every square inch of the room.  The toys that were far to tedious to clean with wipes, we used a Clorox/water solution.  Due to doing this hardcore cleaning, my learning lab necklaces needed to be cleaned.  Well, the way I made them didn’t allow for them to be cleaned easily.  I ended up throwing them away and making new ones completely.  This took such a long time because I braided lanyard and created necklaces this way for easy cleaning in the future. 

I’m also getting closer to making the combined classroom feel like my own.  As well as doing this, I’m working on figuring out the set up for my future classroom when it actually is my own.  What gives me the inspiration to do this? Some of my toys came!!! I ordered some things for my classroom and things are starting to arrive.  So far I’ve gotten my weather/calendar pocket chart, 2 magnetic whiteboard erasers, a staple remover (which I recently learned is magnetic too!!!!) and my kid ice packs.  What’s a kid ice pack?  It’s not just smaller in size but they’re animals!! J  What child gets hurt and wants something to make it feel better?  All of them, right?  Here’s my plan.  If I have these cute ice packs available for injuries then if a child won’t stop crying or actually needs an ice pack, I can provide one.  Even if an ice pack isn’t needed, I see a placebo effect in the future. The only downside to these that I see so far is that they’re so cute the kids might say they’re hurt and need one even when they’re not.  I guess I’ll figure out how that’s going to work when the time comes.  Now, I just need to wait for the rest of my toys to come; I will try to be patient. 

A bunch of the teachers are having a big dinner tonight and I’ve got stuff to get done beforehand so I’m going to head on out.  Hope all of my readers are doing well and maybe I’ll see you soon.  

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Long Time No Update.

I really need to get wi-fi at home so I can update you more easily. 

Oh my goodness, what have I been up to these days? 
Horrible Movie Night was Friday and we didn't watch a horrible movie.  We ended up watching 'Gran Torino'.  I wasn’t expecting to like it, but I did.  I know, it wasn’t a chick flick or a horror movie and I loved it!  In addition to Horrible Movie Night it was also Snack Shack Night!!!!

What’s Snack Shack?  It’s the restaurant with no dine in area and no drive though window, basically isn’t an expensive, fast food place. For $19, I got a cheeseburger, 4 mozzarella sticks (NO MARANARA, I might add) and a chocolate milkshake.  Who likes chocolate milkshakes better than me?  Name anyone, anyone at all.  Errrr.  Wrong answer.  The correct answer is nobody.  Now you’re getting it, I like chocolate milkshakes a lot, okay, so I like chocolate in general a lot.  Anyway, the milkshake from Snack Shack was good but it was actually a bit too chocolaty for me and for those of you who know me, that doesn’t happen often.  I don’t think I will be getting a cheeseburger from there again either.  Over time, my preferences on how I enjoy having my meat cooked have changed.  I still do not want to see blood coming out of my burger, but no, I don’t want it burnt to a crisp.  Want to guess what I’m going to tell you next?  My cheeseburger was almost burnt to a crisp. I’m sure many people enjoy having their food prepared this way; it’s just not for me anymore. 

Over the course of the rest of the weekend I spent most of my time at the school working on lesson plans and preparing for this week.  I’m currently caught up though the end of next week but my intention, in all honesty, it to type everything into GOLD (my lesson plan website base) until the end of September, by the end of this weekend.  Did that make any sense at all?  I really don’t feel like figuring out how to rephrase that so go ahead and ponder it a while if it didn’t click right away for you.

Monday, Monday, Monday. Ummm..I know it’s not a good idea to use ‘ummm’ in a paper, okay, or language in general but I’m going to anyway; so sue me (cliché intended).   I had my first Monday with students this week!  I have to split my kids in half (I enjoy doing this vertically so they can still hop around and I can still see at least part of their faces) because otherwise the ratio of students to teacher goes over.  I cannot have more than 10 students at a time with me being the only teacher in the classroom.  Take a guess how many kids showed up for school.  Come on, take a guess.  I know you don’t want to, do it anyway.  Peer pressure getting to you?  I had 2 kids!  Yes, you read that right! 2!!!  I have a feeling that this happened because typically I have students from 12:30-4 but on Mondays I have students from 8:30-12.  I hope that next week I will have more children bright and early to start the week off right. 
Today (Tuesday) I had 15 of my 17 kids in class.  The theme this week is ‘How Do You Feel?” 

We spent lots of time talking about how we felt today and matching emotion names with looks on faces.  We’re going to do something similar tomorrow; hopefully it goes well.  In addition to playing games having to do with emotions, we also did some hands on math.  We made ‘Shape Pizza’.  Want to do this at home?  You will need play dough and cut outs of shapes such as circles, squares and triangles.  All you need to do is put some shapes on the pizza (play dough) and count how many shapes there are.  I also expanded the activity by counting individual shapes, identifying shapes, identifying colors, adding to get the total number of shapes, and visualizing the number of shapes using fingers as well.  Did you know a teacher could do that?  Yes, I do intend on getting the point across to you that I’m not just a ‘babysitter’.  I know that’s what you (or most of you) were thinking. 

Here’s a small update for all of you readers out there.  I’m not going to go into detail but I will give you the jist of it.  Pam, my ECE (Early Childhood Education) principal came to visit with me Monday afternoon-Wednesday morning.  She observed my class all day Tuesday and told me that she’s very pleased with what she saw!! In addition to watching me teach she is also making herself available to me if I need anything else, ie.  Getting funding for anything in my room that I feel I may need.  So far, it seems as though I am in a great position to have Pam by my side. 

Pam isn’t the only one who has come to visit me this week.  I also recently learned that I have a mentor (being my 1st year teaching) who’s name is Bev.  She got here today so I haven’t had much of a chance to spend with her so far.
We (myself and the rest of the new teachers) did get to have dinner with Bev.  Bev brought dinner to us!  We had whole wheat spaghetti, sauce, bread, salad (with dressing balsamic vinaigrette dressing!!!) and dessert.  Yes, the dessert was chocolate.  I will learn more about what Bev will be helping me with when I meet with her tomorrow after school. 

So, I have this friend.  Her name is Shayla.  She’s working on getting my kitty for me!!!! The kitty I want lives in Menomonie but I love her so much she better be good at traveling.  Shayla is working on finding a way to get Sally O’Malley (the kitty) to AK to live with me.  There are a few ways that are being considered at this time.  My current favorite however involves Shayla coming to visit me too!!!! Yep!! That’s right, she might come!!! If you’d like to come with Shayla to visit me, just say the word and I’ll sleep on the floor…that way you can have my bed.  Why would I give up my bed you may ask?  I’ll tell you.  If you’re going to travel to Bush Alaska and use the honey bucket, you should be able to sleep in a bed.

Sleeping in a bed, being nice and warm, would be a great thing considering there was frost on the ground on September 11!!!!  Really? September?  I’m not used to this!  Guess I’m going to have to be since we’re supposed to be getting snow soon. 

Okay, I just looked at the clock and it’s not the weekend so I should be heading to bed.  Oh wait, that’s a lie.  I should have been asleep hours ago.  Goodnight world; I will talk to (see you?) you all soon!!

<3 Lauren

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Treasure Box!!!

Here's my treasure box for good behaviors!

The dark brown spots are where the box is taped together.  It's not as noticeable on the box, just the pictures.  I made the box out of a brown box, masking tape, and a ritz cracker box.  I painted the box with brown, black, and yellow Crayola paint :)
Stencils, pencils, hopping frogs, sticky frogs, play dough, mini pens, pencil grips, eraser shapes, mini slinkies finger monster puppets, bouncy balls, shape notepads, and sparkle rings.

Thanks Jon!!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Take The Plunge!

This was going to be posted last night but the internet wasn’t working…stupid weather. 

Oh, the early hours of the morning came too fast today.  I got up and laid in bed for a while, but eventually got up and headed to the church basement.  I got as much ready as I could for today.  I will be adding water to the sand/water table tomorrow.  There’s no running water in the church so I will have to transport the water down there.  I will also be rearranging the room a little bit.  I set up the dramatic play area on one end of the room in attempt to keep the kids out of another area.  This didn’t seem to work.  Instead, the kids like to hide behind the dramatic play items because then I can’t see them from the carpet.  Due to this, I’m trading spaces with the sand/water table and the dramatic play area. 

Here’s the big part of the day.  I did the ‘Polar Plunge’!!  Okay, so it wasn’t the real thing but it was similar.  A bunch of us, teachers, took the Honda with the trailer and went over to the arctic circle.  We took our before picture and then ran into the water.  The whole time I was running into the water, I was thinking about swimming with Nessie in Scotland.  Once I got further out however, all I could think about was how cold the water was.  I swallowed the nasty salt water and got up the courage to dunk my head.  Even though I found the courage, I didn’t have a choice.  We had all agreed that we were going underwater; if we didn’t, the plunge didn’t qualify.  After I went underwater, the water did seem nicer. I was further out in the water, with Nick.  Everyone else was headed back to shore but we were enjoying the excitement.  Nick and I took pictures in the water, I of him, and him of me.  Then what happened?  The wave came.  The big, big wave, that really wasn’t that big, but it was for how cold it was outside.  Anyway, I went under and it turned me around.  I came back up and was trying to gain my balance back and there was Nick, at a loss of words.  Take a guess why?  Giving up so soon?  You don’t need to think hard about this one.  Half the top of the suit came off.  Yep, I was just ‘hanging out’ bahahahahhaha. Eventually, the loss of words was no longer and I took care of the top.  The best way I could come up with to get him back was to tell him to wipe the snot off of his face:  I know, it doesn’t even come close.  Well, after the plunge, I got to drive the Honda back!!!! Yep, that’s still an exciting thing for me. 

After swimming I showered at school, where there’s plumbing!  After that, do you want to take a guess what I did?  No?  Are you sick of guessing?  I’ll tell you.  I dropped my stuff off at home then headed back to school to work on more stuff. 
Even though I was sick of working on stuff for the day, I still accomplished a couple things.  I completed my calendar for birthdays, got my job chart figured out, and determined the order I’m going to use for the math activity cards (the cards are mandatory).  My new favorite school related task though is this:  shopping for my classroom!!!!! I got to look through all of the magazines and decide what I want for my classroom.  Of course, the list will have to be approved, but I did find some pretty sweet things! As I was looking though each of the magazines, I was thinking about when I have my own room. There are only so many things we have at the little school and everything needs to be shared.  Both the 3 and 4 year old classes use the same general curriculum so the themes are the same.  This means, each week, the dramatic play, science, math, blocks, art, sand/water table, etc will need to be about the same set up.  Due to this, we need how many of each thing do you think?  Exactly, I found some things that could work in both rooms, but mine mostly.  I mean, if you were finding things for your classroom, would you buy something that wouldn’t work for you?  I’ll list a few things that I put on my list for my classroom:  an easel (whiteboard/magnetic), alphabet activity balls, multicultural crayons, finger paint, magnetic letters, music CD’s, an organizer for me, a bug sorting kit, a weather board, and geo boards.  Don’t know what geo boards are?  Don’t worry, I’ll tell ‘ya!  They’re typically square boards that have peg like sticks sticking out of them so rubber bands can be wrapped around them.  These are used for children when they’re working on geometry mostly, but they’re really fun to just make rubber band pictures with too. 

I think I’m getting sick so I’m going to hit the hay.  The warmth of my blankets and pillows should help the monstrous headache I’ve got. 

<3 Stay well!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

How much is that kitten in the window?

I woke up this morning to work on more school related items; what else would I want to wake up for, right?  I got up after a long time of laying in bed and reminding myself of how much I didn't want to go to school.  Eventually, I made it to the ECE building and got right to work.  I found some books to put in our class library, found my math curriculum that I have to teach and found the behavior practice guides I will be using on a daily basis from now on. 

The math curriculum I will be using is called "Numbers Plus".  Here's what I know about it so far:  the box looks cool and the inside is organized (only because I did it).  One of my goals for tomorrow though is to get everything figured out regarding the pretty box. 

The behavior practice guides I found are laid out for me so they're much easier to understand.  I'm not suggesting that things that aren't laid out are too difficult, but sometimes, things should just be easy.  

I tried to continue working on the GOLD lesson plans I need to submit but the page I need to do this on isn't working for (or with) me.  I attempted to sign in and it said 'License Expired.  Your license is expired.  Please see a supervisor for further details.'  Really!!???!!?!?  This isn't what I wanted to see right now.  I just wanted to get my work done before Monday so I could lay in bed all day and do nothing but watch movies.  No, typically I can't do this on Mondays, but this Monday is Labor Day!!! I sure hope GOLD is working by tomorrow.  

Let's see, what else did I do today?  I watched the 'Big Bang Theory' and only have 4 episodes left of season 4 which means I'm all caught up!!! Well, kind of.  Amy (my roommate...and the one who got me into the show) only has though season 4 at this time, season 5 is being ordered via Amazon, soon!  I'm looking forward to the next season already. No, I take that back.  Rewrite...I'm getting antsy for the next season already.  Much better.  

I was at another teacher's house and we were talking about how she loves coming home to her dogs after a long day at work and it got me thinking.  No, I'm not planning on getting a dog.  I am however considering getting a kitten (or a cat about a year old).  I want to be able to come home to a kitten/cat and cuddle with it and know that it will be there.  The idea of having a cute little critter roaming my house seems so nice.  I'm looking online for a cute little guy to join the Shish community.  

I was hoping to get a critter from Nome because that's much closer, but Anchorage will do too.  A certain someone (echkemmm) decided that the kitten I want would die on the plane due to anxiety before arriving to AK, from WI.  Can that really happen?  Instead of counting on a 'kitten to die' I'm checking out Anchorage.  

I'll keep you posted on the kitten front, maybe some other stuff too.