Grad School Chronicles: Week 11

The past week and a half has been rough.  I have been waiting for biopsy results from my doctor.  Yesterday, in the last few minutes of my first class of the day, I got the call from my doctor -- BENIGN!  What a sweet, amazing word to hear after a week of worry, very little sleep, and extreme stress.  (Anyone who has had cancer knows exactly where I am coming from when I speak of the level of worry.)  

Unfortunately, the climate of my first class of the day leaves little room for celebration.  (This is largely due to the location of the class.)  So I sat there, alone and teary, holding in my good news while my classmates scurried about.  We are not allowed to use our phones during class, but I decided to head out into the hallway and take the call anyway.  I went back into the classroom and shot my husband a text with the news.  After I did so, I beat myself up for sending such news in a text message.  I so badly wanted to go back out into the hall and call him, but we are not allowed to be in the hallway without "a buddy".  (Considering I already stepped out alone to accept the call from my doctor, I didn't want to push my luck!)  Quite frankly, this was private news I wanted to share with the people I love before sharing with anyone else.  I also knew what would happen when I finally started to talk about it; the ugly crying would start and it would be impossible to stop.  I could not wait for class to end.  It's moments like this one that make me question whether this is the right graduate program for me.  It also makes me appreciate the type of learning community I created when I worked with adults.  Sigh.

Sun shining through the trees near Ainsworth in Portland, OR.
I finally arrived across town for my second class of the day.  The sun was shining, which has been a rare thing lately in the Pacific Northwest.  As I pulled into my parking spot, I received a text from my oldest son stating he won a college scholarship!  Between my good news, my son's scholarship news, and the sun turned out to be an amazing day.

What are my thoughts for the week?

  • It's funny how one awesome day can make a stressful week so much brighter.
  • Before my second class started, I ended up sharing my good news with one of my favorite classmates.  I am so glad I did!  Her hug was exactly what I needed at the time.
  • I realized when I saw one of my other favorite classmates crying along side me how much of an impact we have on each others lives.  I had not witnessed a spirit of community developing with this particular group of people until that moment.
  • I really need to either A) stop crying in front of people or B) get over my embarrassment of crying in front of other people.
  • I am beyond glad to no longer worry about how I will manage to continue grad school while healing from surgery and treatments!  I am so very ready to keep moving forward.  
  • Two more weeks of this semester to go...and counting.

A-Z Spring Write The Room Activities & Word Wall Cards

It's finally here!  My A-Z Spring Write the Room Activities & Word Wall Cards are ready.  I have a couple of teacher friends using them in their classrooms already (since I do not have a classroom of my own this year due to grad school).  These teachers are loving the way the cards tie directly into their science units.

Click image to preview and purchase this engaging spring packet!

Click image to preview and purchase this engaging spring packet!

This packet includes:
- 20 printable pages
- 26 (A-Z) word wall / pocket chart cards
- 6 additional life cycle/spring-based word wall cards
- Table top word chart (I place them acrylic sign holders!)
- 3 differentiated levels of word recording sheets 
- "My favorite spring word" write, draw & tell- Beginning letter match up
- Syllable count and match- Syllable count and graph
- Spin and spell

Words of Focus:
April, butterfly, caterpillar, dirt, eggs, frog, garden, hatch, insects, June, kite, ladybug, March, nest, oviparous, pupa, quack, rain boots, spring showers, tadpole, up, vernal, worms, equinox, yellow, buzzzz (Additional word cards include: chick, chicken, embryo, froglet, lady bug larva, May)

Classroom Ideas:
Print, cut, laminate, and hang the word wall cards around your classroom . You can post the cards in your writing area, a pocket chart, or hang them around the room (walls, doors, cubbies, backs of shelves, etc.). Students can use them to spell & read each word by pointing with their finger or with a pointer. They can record/write the words on the recording sheets provided in this packet.

My students take great pride in writing and reading key words of the season. I hope your students looooove these activities as much as mine do.

You can preview and purchase this packet in my Teachers Pay Teachers store here:

Find more of my seasonal WTR packets HERE!

Happy Spring!

Grad School Chronicles: Week 10

Ten weeks down...and counting! 

I will tell you up front, Pi Day was the highlight of my week.  I am not kidding.  Not at all.  {See image below and cue the seductive music.}

Ooooo...ahhhhhhh!  Gluten free & vegan chocolate coconut cream pie!
One of my amazing classmates stopped by one of Portland's best gluten free / vegan bakeries to pick up this little gem for us to share during math class on Pi Day (March 14).  Oh.  My.  Goodness. Gracious!  It was, and I kid you not when I say this, the best chocolate pie I have ever consumed in my entire life.  Thank goodness for friends who care and share!

Knowing what you now know about my love for chocolate pie, it probably will not surprise you to hear that I hauled my fanny into Weight Watchers yesterday to re-spark my health plan.  What a way to start spring break, eh?  Yep, it was time.  I am officially 7.6 pounds over my goal weight.  I have a feeling the item that is pictured above contributed a tiny bit.  However, I know there is much more to it than that.  A lot has changed in my life since September.  From cancer to grad school...I somehow made it through with only 7.6 extra friends in tow.  In 2002, I lost 80 pounds, and for the most part, I have kept that off over the years.  That might shine some light on the reason it annoys me to no end when I see the scale creep up a bit.  Here's to getting back to a healthier place in life....pie and all!  :)

What are my thoughts for the week?
  1. TGISB!!! (Thank God it's spring break!!!)
  2. There is an awful lot going on in my brain this week.  It's nothing I feel comfortable sharing on the interwebs, but it does help me to have an opportunity to blog positive thoughts about Pi Day to my fellow teaching colleagues! 
  3. For all of the negatives in the world reading and waiting to tear me down, there are positives willing to feed me delicious pie!
  4. Today is cut and color day at the hair salon...YAY!
  5. I am pretty sure grad school + being the mother of two teens = a need for extra strong hair color.   

Grad School Chronicles: Week 9

Week 9 brought change for me.  Big conversations have been happening at home.  Big conversations have been happening with a few of my classmates.  I started physical therapy for the lack of mobility in my knee since my cancer removal surgery.  (As if I wanted to revisit the cancer part of my life.  It seems to keep haunting me.)  I bought a new tiny laptop to drag between home and school.  I bought a portable fan that plugs into the USB port to tame my hot flashes that always seem to occur in the middle of my Curriculum and Instruction for Math class.  (You can see the computer and fan in the picture below...kind of.)  I also got to play with blocks in that class, which has always been one of my favorite ways to teach math.

Week 9's math instruction involved Unifix cubes...and my hot flash fan.  :)
I stepped into my kindergarten mentor teacher's classroom for the first time Friday morning.  She is a hoot.  The kids are adorable.  I am ready to be back in the classroom already - ready, ready, ready!  I have four more weeks of  lecture-based classes before that will happen.  All in due time, right?

What are my thoughts for the week?
What's up with elementary school teachers talking down to early childhood educators?  They act as if we have never stepped foot in the classroom before.  It is beyond insulting.  This is something for me to place on my "what not to do to other teachers" list once I am working with older students.

Grad School Chronicles: Week 8

Week 8 brought teaching a small group lesson to my adult graduate school classmates into play.  I chose to tackle "facts and opinions about frogs" to support a kindergarten writing standard.  It was super fun, and my fake kindergarten age kiddos were excellent with their knowledge and behavior! ha ha

My "mock" classroom for teaching a fact & opinion lesson about frogs.
What are my thoughts for the week?
I love teaching, and being in charge of a small group lesson for my classmates reminded me of that fact.  I miss my classroom.  I miss my students.  The end of the week marked the end of month two of this eleven month graduate program.  Nine months to go and counting.