Friday, March 30, 2012

Technology...

Is technology always a good thing to have? My answer to this question is NO. I have a friend who recently went unplugged from fb and has seen an increase in the quality in her family life. This made me pause and reflect on my own tech use of fb, cell phone, etc... and I realized that she was right.

When your setting at the table with your family for a meal do you really need to have your phone net to you? NO, it is not necessary. As I am reflecting over my own use, my spouses use, now I am noticing when we go out to dinner, take trips, or I am observing others with their children or special person, many of them are on some type of technology instead of giving 100% of themselves to that moment with their loved one.

Not to mention the increase of negative and improper use of all types of technology... I do not want my children exposed to certain things until they can have a deeper understanding of what they should use technology for and how to use it properly. There are so many young persons using what I consider adult technology that its really sad, because they are exposed to so much more than is appropriate for their age and most do not have the life experiences or maturity to understand and interact appropriately within the technology they use.

So for me and my family we are agreed to the following:

There should be no use of technology of any kind when we are with our children unless it is something that can bring us together as a family. These exceptions would be thing like, but not limited to, Disney, Discovery, or other education sites appropriate for the ages of my sweet girls. We are placing the focus on quality family time and making the most of the time we have with each other, because you never know what your future holds.

We are promoting more outside time with our girls. We have recently started gardening with the girls and Emma really loves it! Both girls enjoy going outside for play time. They are both physical girls and prefer to move around as much as possible. We would prefer for our girls to be active instead of sitting for hours at a time in fornt of a t.v. playing games or watching shows.

I am not saying t.v. is a bad thing, it to can be used to bring a family together for bonding. So we are promoting family movie night, or on weekend mornings watching the girls shows with them and interacting with the educational shows with the girls.

P.S. I am not always tech savvy, I have my share of frustration on things not going right with different types of tech devices. So if you do not see me updating often, its due to the fact that I broke our laptop computer by accidentally kicking it over : (

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Rock the STAAR

I want to share some things that I am truly grateful for as this years testing season descends upon us:

The support that my colleagues give to one another. I am currently teaching 6th grade social studies and reading. This means that my students will take the reading STAAR test next month and currently our 5th graders on campus are taking their STAAR tests today and tomorrow. One of the special things that I love about my job is that I am pared up with a 5th grade teacher we refer to each other as "buddies". So as this time approaches we lift each other up and encourage each others students by having our homeroom students create banners and posters of inspirational sayings and powerful words of motivation. So our posters consisted of sayings like "Rock the STAAR", "Crush the STAAR", "Shoot for the Moon and Land on a STAAR", and many more that my wonderful students created. I wish I would have taken some pictures of all the wonderful posters and banners... maybe I can get some.

A positive approach is a wonderful thing! The administration has taken this approach with the students and staff. We are lifted up by them and in return we lift up or students. Verbal praise is such a small but powerful thing and has such a major impact you see its ripples through the future.  My aministration has confidence in its teachers, faith in our students applying themselves with 100% effort.

Calmness is a wonderful thing to establish and set as the atmosphere approaching this time of year for all individuals involved during testing season. If you remain calm then those around you will remain calm, poised, and have the confidence to succeed where, stress, pressure, and anxiety would have the opposite impact. 

Some things that the committees, kids, teachers, and administration have done to encourage each other for this time are as follows:

Testing teachers are provided lunch by the adminstration
Testing teachers are given treats/snacks by the adminstration
All teachers are allowed to wear bluejeans
All teachers are allowed to wear spirit shirts, motiviational shirts, collegiate shirts during testing
Positive Emails
Verbal Praise
Small Tokens Placed in Mail Boxes
Posters and Banners made for each other
Motivational T-shirts for all



Monday, March 26, 2012

Cirque Du Soleil - Dralion


Ray and I had a weekend away at our house, just the two of us. Sounds weird I know, but if you have not been keeping up we moved away from the wonderful B/CS and are now living in the Houston area. I have loved Cirque Du Soleil since I was in high school in 1998 when I saw my first show Quidam.

   

 Since seeing my first Cirque Du Soleil show in 1998 I have gone on to seen KA, La Nouba, Mystere, O, and now Dralion. So if you are keeping count I have now seen six different Cirque Du Soleil shows and each one was an absolutely wonderful experience! 

Monday, March 19, 2012

St Patrick's Day





The girls celebrated St Patrick's Day at school today. They dressed up and looked super cute!! The teachers loved their outfits. The girls lessons in class today centered around St Patrick's Day and the Irish culture. I love a school that embraces and celebrate all the Holidays.


Saturday, March 17, 2012

Spring Fever

Abigail provided us with a soundtrack while we worked

Emma contemplating the use of her new tools

Emma says, "I can do this!"
First she helped even out the soil

Then she helped bring the plants over to be planted
Abby was tired of the music, so she entertained us with her acrobatic jumping

I was happy to spend this time with Ray and the girls!

Emma adding soil to the pots

More music by Abby to cap it all off
Today as a family we cleaned up Nana and Poppa's backyard a bit. We also picked out and planted some beautiful flowers. The girls really enjoyed their time outside with us since that is something that has not occurred often due to the wet weather.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Making Time for Family Time






Celebrating our girls with some special family time. Dada came home from work to take his girls shopping and out to eat. We went to the mall and found the girls some outfits that were on sale with additional 40% and 20% off of the sale price. Then we went out to eat at Tortugas and had some tasty Mexican food. Then home to some play time, bath time, and prayers. We had a really nice outing and plan to do something special with the girls one day a week.

Emma and Cousin Perla Play Date





It has been nice living closer to family so that my little girls can play with their cousins more often. So Emma got to play with her cousin Perla while Abigail got to play with Perla's little brother who is 4 months old. We look forward to more play dates and adventures with the cousins together.

Gift Exchange with the Peeples





It took us a while to get together this time, so we had a multiple event gift exchange. So what you see is us celebrating Christmas, Jason's birthday, T's birthday, Cesily's birthday, and my birthday.  We hope that things start to settle down for both of our families so that we can actually find the time to get together more often. This will also be one of our last memories in our house in Bryan.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Emma Elizabeth 2 years 8 months old









Emma is a very happy little girl. She takes after her Dada in some aspects with being care free, laid back more than not, but does have some of my OCD tendencies.  She likes her toys in a certain order, she likes her crayons to be in a particular spot when she is coloring. Emma is also a neat and tidy little girls. She picks up after herself, likes doing chores, and really does enjoy being a helper in all things.

She is currently potty training and doing wonderful. We have been doing this with the assistance of her school and we found that she prefers reading a book when on the potty. We are really excited that we have made such wonderful progress in this areas without having to give  "treats" which can lead to and unhealthy association with food.

Emma is also speaking in sentences, using her manners almost 100% of the time, and she is singing more and more new songs every day. Currently her favorite singer is Adele and she will breakout in song anytime she hears her on the radio. She loves playing with any and all toys that make sounds. She enjoys any musical instrument she can get her hand on, and loves dancing to the music.

We are getting in gear and starting to organize and select items for her 3rd birthday party. I find it so awsome, but also hard to really believe that in four short months I will have a 3 year old little girl. Emma has started to really enjoy playing dress up with her Nana. She puts on jewelery, tiaras, necklaces, and really enjoys wearing it around the house. So with all of this, the changes going on in her life, and our current interest with reading we have found the perfect party theme Fancy Nancy! Nana and I are super excited about this party theme and I am sure we will go overboard in decor, accessories, etc... as we get ready for Emma's big day.

We are currently looking into school districts to see the best district to live in to give our girls a wonderful public school education. We have also started to look into dance classes as well as other activities like sports for both girls. We have found several competitive dance studios and even some that will take a 2 year old who is not 100% potty trained (this is a very special find). We hope to give the girls every opportunity to try different things so they can have a plethora of choices as they get older.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Prayer is Powerful

I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you will receive it, and you will. 
Mark 11:24

I have always been a person who has held fast to prayer and as I have experienced different events in my life I have reached out to others asking for them to pray for me or my family. I find peace when I am able to pray about what is going on in my life. I feel comforted in the fact that I can lay my worries in God's hands and he will aid me and guide me through the toughest issues that I face. So I hope the you find comfort in this post and believe in Mark 11:24 for I have proof that you will receive what you ask for in prayer. Feel free to contact me to pray for you, for someone you know, or something you are going through. I would like to do for others, what has been done for me multiple times, SUPPORT through prayer.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

10 Things I Love About My New Job


 
These things are in no particular order, they are just wonderful things that I appreciate.
 
The District Calendar - 
I love working for a district that has breaks at the appropriate times. I am so excited to have a 4 day Easter Break, we have the Friday before off and the Monday after off. I will be able to really enjoy myself and create those special memories for my family.
 
Blue Jeans -
I know that many places have casual Friday and you are allowed to wear jeans. Well, what I really appreciate is the fact they allow us to wear jeans on practice testing days. At previous places of employment you had to dress super professional or they had different ways you could PAY to wear jeans. These were fundraisers for various reasons, thus resulting in you sticking out like a sore thumb if you did not participate. Here they have options other than purchasing, which I appreciate.
 
Super Supportive Colleagues -
The people I am blessed to work with have welcomed me with open arms from the very first day I stepped onto this campus. They are friendly, approachable, and seek me out to see if I need anything. I never have to go out of my way to ask for help or feel like I can't ask for help because I know that we support each other. We share with each other all things for the good of everyone.
 
Technology -
I have a wonderful Dell computer, Elmo, and Promethean Board, not to mention the district has purchased specific software that have games designed for students to enhance their academic skills in Math and Reading. There is also a plethora of teacher links for us to use as resources for teaching and designing lesson plans.
 
Eduphoria/GradeSpeed -
I appreciate the fact that I have the same software programs to use here that I used at my old job. I am also grateful for the fact that I do not have to take paper attendance every day or turn in multiple sets of attendance pink and green sheets at the end of each grading period. I have a wonderful attendance clerk who brings me my papers to sign off on at the end of each grading period. Instead of having six 6 weeks, we have four 9 weeks for our grading period. I am getting used to this, but it seems to be a good thing so far.
 
Fun Friday -
Students have the opportunity to earn outside/play time at the end of the week each week. This gives students something to earn, look forward to, and have a goal to reach each week. This helps with behavior management school wide. This gives teachers a bit of power to help persuade a student to do the right thing instead of having to buy treats/rewards or constantly have to remind them of the consequences of not doing the right thing.
 
Dismissal -
Students are dismissed in four groups and walked to their exit and monitored by the teachers and administration. All students are gone from campus through all modes of transportation, bus, car, or walking by 4:15. This allows for a quick dismissal and you do not have to worry about kids staying late in your room due to dismissal issues.
 
Duty -
I only have one duty each day and it is at the end of the day when I walk students down to catch their buses. It lasts for a total of 15 minutes and sometimes when the buses are really running smoothly it ends early!! This happens more times than not and all teachers really enjoy this. I love having my mornings dedicated to me and allowing me to get things done.
 
Trust/Freedom/Respect -
However you want to phrase it, I am trusted to do my job. I am respected as a teacher, as a professional, and as an equal to all members of my campus, no matter what position, title, or education they have. I do not have to worry about cliques, groups, or not being someone's favorite in order to gain the respect and professionalism due me because of my own education, efforts, and integrity.
 
Pay is Great -
Although i will never believe that a teacher is paid what they are worth no matter the district or program the district implements through grants or other various funding, I will say it has been really nice to get a pay raise and not have to have all the extra demands and strains placed on you from other methods of "incentives" for getting extra money besides what you earn with your contract. I know that some will argue that a teacher should get money based off of their scores for student performance, but I will say unless you have the expereince I have with such programs reserve your arguments until you do.  
 
These are things that I have found to enjoy at my new school and I look forward to all of the experiences to come. I have gained much knowledge from my previous jobs and have many wonderful memories I will cherish. I made many friends for life and got to teach some of the greatest students in the world. I am open and welcoming to all of the things my new job and district has to offer as I bring with me the experience and knowledge from those previous experiences.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Abigail Grace at 10 Months





Our Abigail Grace turned  10 months old today!  It has been a hectic month.  She has been sick for most of the month with colds, sinus infections, and ear infections.  She also has had to adjust to her new surroundings in Baytown and starting a new day care.  Overall though, she is her normal, happy self.  She started crawling  a few weeks ago, and now she is trying to go anywhere she can.   She is also pulling herself up already, so we think the crawling stage will quickly turn to the walking stage like it did for Emma.  Abby is 31 inches long and 24 lb. 8 oz., which is still the high ninetieth percentile for both!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Late Nights...

When the ones you love are sick, you do all manner of things in the late hours of the night. For me I am posting updates on our website, posting updates on fb, and researching the best methods on how to help them. Now it seems our Abigail Grace is having some sinus issues and they resulted from a cold. She is experiencing some nasty drainage, green buggies, and a cough. How I wish I could have super kids who never get sick, but doctors and experienced parents say that all these colds, viruses, etc... that they are exposed to as babies and toddlers helps to prevent serious sickness later in their lives.

How I wish at times like these I could be a stay at home mom and not have to send them to day care. But even then they would miss out on socialization, structure, routine, memory making events like parties, and let not forget the germs that result in the reason why I am up at this hour. But hey you can look at from a positive perspective I am creating some memories, while my daughter as doctors say is building up her autoimmune system.

Friday, March 2, 2012

An Old Gaelic Blessing

May the road rise to meet you. May the wind be always at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face. May the rains fall softly upon your fields. Until we meet again, may God hold you in the hollow of His hand.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Brandie's New Classroom







I made the curtain you see in the window from ribbon!! I love it and my students love it as well. It has also given me some ideas on decorating for the girls when we get into our own house again.