Saturday, December 15, 2007

25 Days to Make a Difference

I just read Laura's blog 25 Days to Make a Difference. Very inspiring. Let's see how many ways I've tried to make a difference since Thanksgiving time and then if I try harder between now and Christmas will I make it to 25?

1. Bought pre packaged food for food bank at Hannaford's Grocery Store
2. Bought my Christmas cards through Roswell Park to support cancer patients
3. Sent $100 donation to my daughter's Food and Nutrition class to help buy supplies for rolls and bread to be donated to the Rescue Mission/Food Bank
4. Sent donation to Roswell Park
5. Feed the birds a variety of food-corn, peanuts, suet and a variety of seeds
Hmmm not as many as I had thought...I'll have to think about this.
6. Played the rice game tonight and sent the link to both my children and if it's not blocked by our school filter I'll add it to my school web page.
7. Bought jeans and socks for a needy child and wrapped it up
8. Bought gloves for the mitten/glove tree at work
New additions from Sun/Mon
9. Went to and clicked on each of the tags.

10. Went to the high school Christmas concert even though my daughter quit the orchestra this year.
11. My husband snow blew the end of the neighbor's driveway.
12 My daughter donated 1000 grains of rice. I donated 700.
13. My daughter spent most of Sunday baking-bread for dinner and a gift for me to give as well as Christmas cookies that she will give to her physical therapist on her final day this week and I'll give to coworkers.
14. Today I made a donation to a student whose mother passed away this week from cancer.

15. I chaperoned a concert and I ran off fun Christmas sheets for the students to do while waiting to go on stage.
16. Tried to give blood but iron count a little too low but my son was able to give.
17. My son made 5 loaves of beer bread. 4 of them will be given as gifts.
18. Wrote notes of appreciation to two people I work with.
19. When I wanted to write sub plans for the first day after vacation and teachers and students stopped in and said I need help with..... I just smiled and said let me see if I can help. The plans will get done over vacation and I'll email them to a coworker.
20. I'm at a new building this year and the secretary has made me feel very welcome and has helped me out many times. I wrote her a thank you note today and gave her a Christmas present that I would have loved to have kept for myself!
I'm finishing this post up Dec. 28 with the last few things I did before Christmas but with getting ready to go out of state for the holidays where I know have limited access to the internet I just didn't have time to finish this list.
21. The last week before vacation I showed my second trough fifth graders screen shots of Laura's site and told them about Laura. I added a blog to my own site where the kids could write their own ways of making a difference and gave them a chance to answer Laura's questions as well.
22. I also showed several of my classes the site and gave them time to win rice.
23. When traffic was backed up at an intersection because a school bus making frequent stops, I let several cars go through the stop sign and cut in front of me.
24. My husband and I planned and made Christmas Eve dinner for his family in Iowa.
25. I helped with the Christmas dinner dishes and clean up as much as my husband's family would let me.

Well, I think if I try hard and brainstorm with my kids I'll make it to 25 by Christmas.
Next year I'll have to give this some thought on how to use it with my students. If the 700+ students each did 25 good deeds that would certainly make an impact on our small rural NY community.

Friday, December 7, 2007


Tonight's plans were to stay home, crank the Christmas music and wrap presents and start working on Christmas cards. But instead once my husband and daughter left for a hockey game I collapsed on the coach with the lap top and spent the evening browsing more wikis/blogs. Tonight I was checking out Cool Cat Teacher and reading her post to Newbies. (Notice I have links and tags now.) I also followed a link to a teacher in China. From there I went to and played around making a character to stick on my blog for awhile. Before I knew it the family was home and I hadn't moved. It leads me to wonder if the people that have these wonderful sites with so many great resources have spouses and children. If they do how do they manage it all? I saw the Cool Cat Teacher had Sink Refections as a recommended reading. I never read the book but I have read the Fly Lady's web site and followed her system in the past. I still get the daily emails. Maybe I should try getting back on that track and maybe that would help.

On a totally different note I love the noise of busy students working together on various projects. That sure beats trying to get everyone to stay in their seats and finish assignments on their own quietly. I just wish I had them longer than 40 minutes every six days. By the time you take off the time it takes them to log on and off I have them less than 35 minutes. Some days we don't get too far.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Goals con't

Well, I'm finally back to work after attending NYSCATE and then the Thanksgiving break. It was an energizing yet relaxing week off. I went back with new plans to make the work more meaningful and to get the kids doing some work together. I'll let you know in a week or two how that's going. I feel much better about letting go of the constant grading and stressing about that issue. I talked to one of my principals today, I go back and forth between two elementary buildings, and told him I felt everyone should be getting a three if they are coming to class and at least trying and by observing the students I'll see those who are proficient and rise to the top and deserve a 4. He agreed. I feel like a great weight has been lifted off my shoulders just letting that issue go. Ahhh.... feels good. So, instead of grading tonight. I spent a couple of hours searching for appropriate websites for the 4th and 5th graders to use for research projects. I want to begin using a wikki to post student work but the pbwiki is denied by our filter. I'll try some others one of these days but I have a feeling I'll get the same result. At least I'm on the right committees now to try and get some changes made!

Sunday, November 18, 2007


I just read, in my new Google reader, a post about writing down your goals and reading them at least once a day. By doing this people stay focused on the outcome and are more likely to achieve the goal. I think that's something I need to work on for my new position as elementary tech teacher. I need to figure out where I want to go. I have skills that I have to teach and make sure they are mastered at certain grade levels but the rest is up to me. So, just what is it I want to do with these young minds? I want them engaged in meaningful tasks. What does this mean? What does it look like? Especially when I only have them 40 (closer to 30-35 depending on if they get to the room on time and how long it takes to get logged on to and off the computers)minutes once every 6 days. Well, I want them reading and writing for authentic reasons. I'm trying to go along with what they're learning in the classroom but being in two buildings and having 6 classes of each grade level believe it or not we're not all on the same page all the time so that's not an easy task. Perhaps I should not worry about that and come up with my own plan and go from there. I did a newspaper type project with one fifth grade class-yes I did remember to start small-that went well. I do need to reflect on that soon and write down what went well and what I need to improve on for the next attempt. But anyway I started with a great group of kids that are well behaved and eager to work and learn-I know because I had many of them in second grade and they are just one of those special groups of kids. So that really helped the project. But I know the kids selecting their jobs and what they wanted to write about made it exciting for the kids and kept them very focused every day. I need to come up with more of those type of activities and maybe start the class with a mini lesson on a skill I need to make sure they're working on and then let them work. Ok, so my first goal to write down-this is going on my Google Toolbar where I'll see it every night-is:1. Make the work we do in class meaningful and authentic.


Well, 3 workshops in a row with no break is almost too much! Today was disappointing. I didn't come away with any real helpful information. I should have left the second presentation and gone to something else. But when there's only 3 other people in the room that's hard to do-I was wishing I wasn't so polite! The third session was a sales pitch which I knew going in. I was hoping to win something. Silly me I should know better. Oh well...hopefully tomorrow's sessions will be better.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Well it's almost midnight. I better get some sleep so I'm ready for tomorrow's conferences. I've been checking out sites all night. I'm so glad I finally found out how to use delicious. It led me to blogs by kindergarten teachers. Finding these sites will help me figure out how to use them with my tech classes. A few ideas I'm contemplating are posting the 5th graders news articles on a wiki and doing that with another class in Jan. Starting a wiki with the first graders when they begin their Jan Brett author study is another idea. The fifth grades are going to begin a presidential project next month. Posting their slide shows (maybe done on Google tools?) or other material on line will be an option. I've just got to make sure I don't take on more than I can handle all at once! I need to start out small and grow so I don't frustrate myself or the classroom teacher.

First Day of NYSCATE Web2.0 with David Jakes

Well, I've been at NYSCATE for 4.5 hours and I'm feeling overwhelmed with all the new information but excited about the new possibilities. So far I've set up a gmail account and reader account and am using this blogger account for the first time. David has a great point that I need to live this before I ask the kids to do it. Hmmmm does this mean I'll be spending even more time on line? One of the frustrating parts of my new job as elementary computer teacher is the time I'm spending grading their work. I will definitely be rethinking that! I need to make the work more authentic while teaching the skills that I have to teach. The other time factor is the lesson plans. I know that will be better next year once I have the first year under my belt. Well, time to move on to developing a wikki and evoca account.....