Saturday, April 28, 2007

Art Auction

After having recovered from that field trip, I sauntered into Ann Taylor Loft for something to wear to tonight.

First, Ann Taylor Loft is my new crack. And I spent literally over an hour in there, trying on and trying on and trying on. I needed to find something cute to wear to tonight's soiree, the Art Auction. Let me just say, that if you see me tonight, be impressed. I bought a pair of 2 1/2 inch wedgie heeled shoes that say you don't look like my kid's 5th grade teacher. I also got something to wear with them. OMG - I don't look like myself, which was the plan.

Second, tonight's Art Auction is the huge PTA fund raiser. I have been going to this thing since before I was a teacher at this school - since PrepGirl was a kindergartener. This is where parents and teachers and margaritas and principals mingle freely. Classes do large art projects and many, many people and companies donate services and lots of nice things that we silently bid on. Teachers also donate something to do with a child and the parents get to bid on that - things like going to lunch and or shopping or getting ice cream and stuff like that.

Mixing tequila with teachers and parents is bold. It sealed the deal for me when I was interviewing for my job four years ago, but it can also be your undoing, too. I've seen drunk teachers say too much to parents or other teachers' dates, and I've heard the great story about the drunk fourth grade teacher who took a tablecloth and wore it like a toga. He came out that year, at that party. I don't think he meant to.

Finally, this year, my class has made an amazing art project. The art teacher saw LawyerBoy at a yard sale last year (LAST YEAR IN MAY) and made him buy a hall tree after she strong armed the owners into selling it for $5. "Tell Teachergirl it is for her class' art auction project." So, he bought it, carted it home and stuck it in the garage. Every few weeks, he would ask if he could take it up to school for me and ArtTeacher.

Finally, after big state testing, we used some Sculpey clay and they made bugs and flowers and all kinds of gardeny critters. I baked them and attached them to this white hall tree thing and ArtTeacher potted some lovely plants and they are all over this thing.

Y'all - it looks so good. Finally, my dry spell is broken. Usually, one of the second grade teachers has to buy my project because they are a little dismal. I usually buy hers, too, but this year, we both have something great!!!!!

So, I'm off. In my sassy shoes. To behave in front of parents and my boss. With tequila. Good times.

Labels: , , ,

Friday, April 27, 2007

Fifth Graders, Canoes, Sunshine, Bows and Arrows

Seventy-three fifth graders, including BrownBear, on a beautiful Friday, take the big field trip. No one hurt, lost, or maimed. No one loses an eye, no one falls in the lake, and all but one child was picked up on time. We waited nearly 35 minutes for a girl's grandmother, who told me on the phone, "Well, my daughter told me I had until 6:30." Uh, no; that's when I was going to be popping the top off of a cold one, thank you very much. No attitudes today, except hers.

Friday, April 20, 2007

All Said and Done

Stick a fork in it folks, 'cause it's done. All I need to do Monday is check those answer documents for stray marks - those darned computers can't do their jobs if fifth graders have inadvertently dropped their pencils and made a mark.

I was so tired, I came home and slept for two hours.

I would rather take the tests than proctor them. They wear me out. Stress, you know. I can't wait to get back to teaching.

And next Friday, we're taking the 5th graders on an all day field trip which involves all kinds of outdoor activities - canoeing, archery, zip lines, swimming- it's all fun and games Friday. Just so no one falls out of the canoe.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Super Serious Testing

It never ceases to amaze me that super serious testing isn't taken all that seriously by those being tested. The ones who are super seriously tested are the teachers - and bored beyond earthly comprehension. After all, with the crazy pressure being put on us, we do everything except invoke the Almighty before the gateway tests our students must pass in order to get to the sixth grade.

We are required to count and recount and put the test booklets and answer documents and examiner's manual in a double secret whammy position so that our Assistant Principal doesn't hyperventilate and cause us to stand at her "Table of Shame" while she recounts and matches answer documents to her satisfaction.

Bored doesn't even begin to describe how I've been in that silent room, listening to the tick, tick, tick of my timer, making sure my wall clock matches the time to the second. I have walked circles around the room, making sure those kids are on the right page, on the right question. I have diligently ignored looking at the test questions - why put yourself through that agony? One year, I watched a girl answer questions about the Civil War like she had never heard of the event. She said that Frederick Douglass was a Confederate General. It was all I could do to walk away without hitting her on the back of the head. I swore that I would try to never look at the questions again.

So, tomorrow, we have one more test and then it is finally over. It will be more over for some than others. I heard about the kid who fell asleep on question 27 today. Her teacher had to shake her awake and inform her that the test was still on.

I remember when BrownBear was in 3rd grade - she fainted during the Science test. Her teacher said she looked up and BB had slid onto the floor. I walked by the clinic and there she was; all pale and clammy. That's how I know that these tests are a little too serious for some.

I just want a quarter of that seriousness out of my students this year.

And guess what? I got a new student Wednesday. And we handed her a number 2 pencil and told her good luck and make sure you pass this Math test, because here in the New South, we test you no matter what, and you'll be held back if you don't pass, even if you've never been in this class a day in your academic life.

Welcome South, Brother!

Labels: ,

Monday, April 16, 2007

Orange and Maroon Days

We're all Hokies tomorrow. God bless Virginia Tech. I know kids there and one getting ready to go.


Saturday, April 14, 2007

The Scores Will Be What The Scores Will Be

Super Big Testing starts Monday and our Assistant Principal has been breathing down our necks...well, not really. She talks a big game, but she has left this test prep up to the teachers and then has us sign a document stating that we have viewed the powerpoint and read the examiner's manual and have asked any questions we feel are necessary.

Is that any way to prepare your teachers to give a test that determines the fate of your kids? I don't think so. Maybe I'm wrong, but I would feel a lot better if it were boiled down to a couple of pages of things to remember, instead of a 75 page powerpoint and the 30 page examiner's manual - both written by the Department of Education lawyers.

Our principal said that the scores would be what they would be. Just to calm down and let the kids show what they know. I just hope they remember something.


Thursday, April 12, 2007

Back Up

Amazingly enough, our second acceptance letter floated in on Monday. Now, here in the New South, this school which accepted BrownBear on Monday has a reputation of accepting THE smart kids and the kids whose Daddies build the school libraries and the kids whose Daddies are major college basketball coaches and the kids who have something "unique" about them; like they spent their spring break on the Amazon or they are part of a group of quintuplets. Stuff like that.

BrownBear is, in my opinion, a very smart young lady. But I didn't realize she was in that league. I wonder if they think LawyerBoy is "Super LawyerBoy." I wonder what he told them. I believe, while BrownBear said our spring break was the best she could remember, it was pretty much the same. After all, she's 11. We didn't spend it on the Amazon. More like the St. John's. River. She only has one sister, and that sister is going to their rival school.

This acceptance has me baffled. And while I am proud - super proud is more like it - I just don't see her fitting in. And I'm her mom - I know what's best for her. Or do I?
LawyerBoy is of the mind to send her here - just because. More prestigious, in his LawyerBoy mind. After all, his brother, the ShoeKing, went there and then went on to Harvard. How do you top that? I think I'm sitting in the middle of a little sibling rivalry. Do I actually want to get in the middle of that with my own children? I don't think so.
Talk about trouble with a capital T!

Saturday, April 07, 2007

First Choice

"We're the mighty lions.. we're trouble with a capital T. We're T-R-O-U-B-L-E so you'd better not mess with me."

Finally, our long ordeal is over. The one letter BrownBear was waiting for has arrived; they have "reserved a place for her in next fall's sixth grade class." She is ecstactic as are PrepGirl and LawyerBoy.

Our "back up" letter didn't arrive. What's up with that? The mail? The school? What ever. It was second, anyway.

Labels: ,

Decision Day

As we sit here, on Holy Saturday, I find that it has taken on a new meaning as we await the mailman. He has with him those precious decision letters. Thin - uh oh!!- and thick-hallelujah!! So much riding on his shoulders today. And what if, by some freak of nature ( and don't we have that today?) they don't miraculously appear? What if the post office doesn't deliver those letters we are all anxiously sitting around waiting for? My word, the very pillars of this fine city would implode as no one would know where they were going to sixth grade!!! It would snow on Easter!! (It looks as though it just might.) The waiting is killing me. BrownBear went to spend the night at a friend's house. Smart girl. Ought to get into her first choice, don't you think?

Labels: ,

adopt your own virtual pet!