The last couple of weeks I been been focused on writing report cards. I have been:
Assessing my students’ writing and reading.
Flipping through my students’ portfolios to determine their level of skill in Math, Science, and Social Studies.
Refining comments and inputting them into the reporting system.
Spending many hours in front of the computer.
And now they are done! I have submitted them for revision and next week I will make corrections, sign, copy and place them in envelopes. The end of the school year is almost here! Certainly something to smile about as I look forward to relaxing and recharging.
It is currently report card “season” as teachers begin to complete the assessment of students for the term, and work on generating the sheets of paper that will be sent home at the end of the school year. As always, this time begins with the decision on what comments to use in the report card that will encapsulate the learning that has taken place in the classroom.
Currently I am thankful for the people that I work with. Together we are working on creating appropriate and relevant comments that reflect the programme we have taught this year. Next week will see us working together to determine the levels of our students’ French writing. As we refine our comments and determine the level of our students’ work, I am grateful to have colleagues this year with whom I can collaborate.
What have you been grateful for this week? Share your post in the comments below.
Smells are an integral part of our lives, aren’t they? Think about the smells we experience each day. The aroma of freshly brewed coffee; the scent of orange zest as you peel away the skin from the flesh. The smell of rain as the water pounds the earth; the bouquet of blossoms on newly-leaved trees.
Smell helps to form part of our memories too. Whenever I catch the whiff of Old Spice after shave, I think of my dad. I see in my mind’s eye his smile and hear his voice. I think back to the times we went out as a family while I was growing up. I think of family get-togethers, and the sense of fun many of these gatherings had. I remember laughter, eating, and plenty of dancing and singing.
Smells make us think of the not so good times as well. I remember the feeling of nausea certain smells would encourage when I was pregnant. Smells that meant nothing before the changes my body was experiencing. Walking past dumpsters do not always encourage pleasant memories. I remember a few years back when the city workers were on strike. The stench of refuse filled the air in many places. It was a hot summer and I could not wait for an agreement to be reached between the city and the workers’ union.
Yes, smells are an integral part of our lives. And right now the delicious smell of roast chicken is permeating the air. I think we will enjoy our dinner tonight!
What are your favourite smells? And what memories do they hold for you?
Most of the children in my class are crazy about Pokemon and it is a craze that is not abating. No matter what we talk about, they link it to Pokemon: oral, writing, even Math and Science. I have a boy in my class who focuses on his work and completes it ahead of his classmates. And his reward? He gets to play with his Pokemon figurines. On Monday, his ‘game’ was to create a survey and ask the members of the class what their favourite figurine was.
I could not help but smile when I saw him putting into practice what I had explored with him (tallying and doing a survey). My smile grew even wider at the end of the day when he offered his Pokemon some birthday cake brought in by a classmate.
The best part of the day was seeing my student happily work and play with his Pokemon nearby. It is always a treat to see a child who is self-motivated to work on his activities.
Remember I told you at the beginning of the year that I was going to count calories using the Lose it! app? I has been a month now that I have been logging every morsel that I eat into my daily record. I have been diligent about the tracking – noting down every drink, every meal, and every snack.
I am sure you are wondering whether tracking my caloric input has affected my weight. I can tell you that it hasn’t. The needle on the scale hasn’t budged and I still weigh the same as I did 5 weeks ago when I began recording the number of calories that I consume.
The tracking has made me think about my food and whether I am ‘allowed’ to eat it or not. Personally I feel that I have become even more focused on my eating – and not always in a good way. I found myself measuring my cereal, the milk I use, and even the butter I spread on my toast. It does take out the joy of preparing a meal. I could get used to measuring my meals – but doing so is not working for me.
Tracking my caloric intake has also been difficult at times. Many of my meals are cooked from scratch and how do I figure out what the calories are of a serving of fried rice? Or homemade vegetable soup? I found this to be a little frustrating.
Tracking calories, however, has reinforced that natural, whole foods do have less calories than the prepackaged foods that are made by bulk in factories. Thus it is better to focus on eating whole fruit and vegetables as opposed to the snacks and foods that are laden with sugar and so easy to enjoy.
To count or not to count? My decision is not to count. After the discipline of tracking for a month (remember that my word of the year is discipline?), I have decided that I need to find another way of changing my eating habits.
If we were having coffee, I would greet you on yet another overcast day. According to the news, in January we had only 16 days of seeing the sun. Very dreary! I am hoping that we get to see more sunshine during the month of February. This morning, however, does not look too promising.
Last weekend I woke up on Saturday sneezing which, unfortunately, turned into a cold. Today I am still dealing with a stuffy nose. I did not feel well enough to go to Zumba on Monday night, and on Thursday I still was carrying tissues around with me. I am hoping that tomorrow I will be able to pick up my exercise routine again. I missed moving to the music – though I did not miss going out into the cold in the evenings!
The last week was quite frigid. The children came in from recess with red cheeks – and I am sure my cheeks were just as cold! I had quite a few children absent during the week due to illness – on one day I had 15 children in my class. It was a very laid back day for me. 🙂
I have to tell you that this week was the second week of my crochet club at school. I still cannot believe how many children have registered. It is hard to say no to any child who wants to join as they are so keen. I saw a couple of the older girls the day before my group sessions at lunchtime and helped them a little with the stitches (sc). It was so nice to see them helping others at the Friday lunchtime session. Soon they will all understand what to do and we will all be crocheting the time away!
If we were having coffee, I would tell you the corrections to my report cards have been done – there were just a few typos. Now they need to be signed, copied, and placed in envelopes. I have made appointments to start seeing parents next week. I would like to get the interviews done over the next couple of weeks so that I do not have to stay late on a Thursday night and miss my Zumba class.
If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I am now going to make some crepes for my children for lunch. They have been asking me to make some for a couple of weeks now and I have finally mixed the batter. It has been standing for an hour and is now ready to be cooked. Enjoy your week. Hope it is not too grey!
If we were having coffee, I would greet you with a smile on my face. My report cards are done! Completed on Friday afternoon after school, a week and two weekends before they are due! And I am happy to say that I did not work on them over the weekend at home. Sitting down in front of the computer and focusing helped a lot to get them done this quickly. Now I intend to contact the parents I need to see and spread out the meetings so that they are not all done at once.
If we were having coffee, I would tell you that during the past week I had to take a day off as a headache turned into a migraine. I spent the day in my darkened bedroom and slept a little. It was worth taking time off as I felt so much better the next day. (So much better that I finished those report cards 🙂 !)
If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I started my crochet club at school. Friday was the first session – and I was surprised at how many children showed up. More children came to sign up during the lunch session, and others asked me for forms. It was quite a challenge helping them learn to cast on and do chain stitches. Luckily my former ECE wants to learn as well and, after quickly showing her, she helped me to help the children. A few of the children ‘got it’ and many realised that it is not as easy as they thought. I encouraged them not to give up. I hope that they do not and that they come to the next session.
If we were having coffee, I would tell you that yesterday my husband made a lovely dinner for us to celebrate the start of the Chinese New Year. My nephew came over to celebrate with us and we had a lovely evening eating and chatting. If you celebrate the start of the lunar calendar, I wish you a wonderful Year of the Rooster.
This week for their Show & Tell, I have asked my students to share with the class their favourite singer and song. I expected the presentation on Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber; the surprise came when one of my students shared a David Bowie album.
Looking at the album cover, I was taken back to my adolescence. One of my cousins loved Bowie’s music and would often play his songs and enact his music. We never got to see the musician live, but we spent many hours imagining we were on stage with him.
My cousin loved Space Oddity
But my favourite was Let’s Dance
I have many pleasant memories dancing to David Bowie’s music under the warmth of the South African sun. And my cousin? He is still a fan of Bowie’s music.
What is the name of your favourite David Bowie song?
If we were having coffee, I would welcome you in from the wind. We have had lovely weather during the past two days – it has almost been Spring-like. The wind, however, is picking up and I can hear it howling outside of my window. I am sure that the wind will bring with it lower temperatures.
If we were having coffee, I would tell you that on Monday to Thursday we had indoor recess at school. The children could not go out to play because the fields were layered with ice. Keeping children inside for four days in a row is not a fun experience! They need the time to go outside, run around, and breathe in fresh air. As I passed the school this morning, I noticed that the ice had melted. Yipee! The fields may be muddy but at least the children can go out to play.
If we were having coffee, I would tell you that Friday was a PA day: the children did not go to school; and the teachers had the opportunity to begin working on the report cards. I entered the school at 8:30am and closed the door to my classroom at 4:30pm. The long day was worth it.
The lack of interruptions enabled me to finish my assessment of my students’ work; and to complete 85% of the report cards. I felt a sense of satisfaction as I walked home. Because I completed so much of the work on Friday, my stress level to the approaching deadline is not too high. I know that if a do a little everyday, my work will soon be done.
If we were having coffee I would tell you that on Saturday morning I made my way to Michaels, a craft store that stocks a wide range of yarn (wool). I was armed with a list of names and searched for crochet hooks and yarn to make scarves.
I am to start a crochet club at school next Friday. I have 12 children who have signed up so far, and others who have shown interest. The first project is a scarf which the children will wear with pride when they are done. I am hoping that I can get them to love crochet as much as I do. I am pleased to say that there are some boys who have joined. 🙂
On the way back from Michaels, I stopped off at the library to hand in my books… and I could not resist going in to browse for reading matter. I decided to pick up a few titles of some authors whose books I have previously enjoyed.
If we were having coffee, I would tell you to have a good week. And remember to do something for yourself.
When 23 December came around, I was exhausted and had been counting the days, then hours, until the Winter break. The final preparations for Christmas were a bit rushed but it all came together nicely. Christmas day dawned and all was quiet in our home. Now that my daughters are teens, the day begins a little later than in the past. I enjoyed the moments of quiet before everyone was awake. I prepared a little brunch and then woke up my family. I enjoyed the sense of togetherness as we all sat around the table, chatting and laughing.
The sense of family continued for the rest of the day and spilled into the next two. Christmas day we exchanged gifts, participated in conversation, shared meals, and watched a movie.
The day after Christmas is traditionally a shopping day – and that we did together. The day after my family continues spending time together to celebrate my birthday. As always, we shared a meal together and then we went to see a movie – Rogue One, the latest Star Wars episode. This was my choice as I am a Star Wars fan – and have been since I saw The Return of the Jedi in the cinema with my great aunt.
The greatest gift to me during this period is the family time we have. I treasure it as I know it will not always be thus. My children will one day have their partners and the family dynamic will change.
After the New year, I visited the library – a must during any break I have. I came home with seven books and plenty to read during some downtime.
The first week of 2017, I spent my mornings sitting on the sofa enjoying the words that had been penned by some of my favourite authors.
During the past two weeks I have been grateful for the Winter break. I had family time, read a lot, and relaxed plenty. I am now ready to tackle the next school term.