Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Thirty-One Conference

Now this is a Thirty-One Bag :)
The Caffeinated Teacher

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Summer Livin', Lovin' and Learnin'!

Wow...it's been awhile. Oops! I guess I am just very much enjoying my summer knowing full well what and where I will be teaching this fall. I have done NOTHING school related except a little reading (which honestly was all done either before school ended or just after) and I bought fabric at JoAnn's to replace the chevron fabric that might make my kids dizzy. Otherwise, I have done NOTHING for work.

And guess what? I don't care! It's SUMMER. Yes, I know this is when people do all of their planning and whatnot....but for me, that's what August will be for. I have just been enjoying my down time and I'm SO glad I have relaxed and not worried about my job. I'm relaxed and refreshed and that will be very helpful come August when I do allow myself to go back into "School Mode". 

I have, of course, been engaged mostly with my doctoral classes. This past week, The Littles had Horse Day Camp with the YMCA so they were gone daily from 7:30 am - 6 pm. You'd think that would have left me with tons of time to do whatever I wanted, right? HA, so far from the truth. Drama, a pregnancy scare (not me -- that ship has done sailed), running around for The Oldest's orientation at the community college. Whew! Somehow, I still managed to get through all of my assignments, even the one that had me scratching my head for a couple of days going "WTF??" and am still maintaining a 100% in the writing class and a 99.5% in the Ethics class. Yay me! :) Then The Husband had his 25th year class reunion last night. Busy, busy!

This week, The Husband turns 43 and I will be spending my week in Columbus, Ohio at the Thirty-One Conference. I am SO excited about it! I have only ever been away from my entire family alone ONE night in the last 14 years and that was when I dropped The Oldest off at school in West Virginia last August. I've always either been with The Husband or with the kids. The Husband has gone out of town for work stuff lots of times. The only work related trip I've ever made was to the T&L Conference last March but The Husband came with me. So while I'm very much looking forward to the conference, I am a tad nervous of how I'll handle being totally alone in the hotel each night for four nights.

I am leaving Tuesday morning to drive down to Columbus. According to Google Maps, it's about a 5 1/2 hour drive. I will probably leave around 9 am so I can get to the hotel right around check in time. The actual conference doesn't start until Wednesday afternoon for what they call Super Day (an afternoon/evening of guest speakers and other trainings) so I will have almost 24 hours from the time I get to the hotel before I have to be at the conference. That is actually perfect because it'll give me lots of time to work on my part of the group project.

Thursday we began at 10 a.m. and my group has our Awards Dinner so we won't finish until around 9:30. It'll be a LONG day but I'm so, so excited for it. I asked a girl who went to the Denver conference to send me a copy of the store catalog because I am going on a budget and I'm SO glad she did because I have budgeted myself well and will be able to get lots of goodies there. I'm so excited about it.

Friday will be another full day and somewhere in between Thursday night and Friday when our session begins, I need to check in with my group and get all of my stuff turned in for class. Somewhere in there I also have to have time to write my paper that is due Saturday (we have a paper per week for my Ethics class). So basically, I am going to be busting tail the rest of tonight, all day tomorrow and from Tuesday-Wednesday during my alone time in the hotel to get my work done so that I am able to enjoy conference on Thursday and Friday without worrying too much about class stuff.

Once I come home, we'll still be on the move. The Youngest has an appointment with her doctor at the Children's Hospital on Tuesday and then Wednesday she has her surgery to get her tonsils and adenoids out. We will be spending Wednesday night in the hospital. The next day, July 31 (Harry Potter's birthday -- woot!), I have a Thirty-One party with a gal from school. Then of course it's August and its really time to be thinking about Back to School.

Basically, I am totally livin', lovin' and learnin' this summer and probably won't post again for awhile because of being out of town. I'm doing better at reading since I'm using Feedly but I don't comment much because I just don't have time. Things *might* slow down a little for me in August but I doubt it ;)





The Caffeinated Teacher

Monday, July 7, 2014

Online Learning

I have to admit I am loving the online format for my doctorate thus far.

Oddly, it is slower paced than I thought it would be (at least so far but hey, it's been a week). Why do I love it?

1) Everyone has to participate. You get to really hear from everyone instead of having 2-5 people carry the class discussions which often happened to me in my master's classes.

2) So many of our assignments are posted to the discussion board and we are asked to comment and reflect on each other's work. Thus we get to see each other's thoughts and gain a better understanding of our course material.

3) Since so much work is submitted in this way, we also get the benefit of seeing our professor's response to each classmate as well as our own work. I have already learned a lot reading the professor's feedback to other people and it has enhanced my understanding of what our goals are.

4) Assignments are due on specific days but we have a lot of freedom to pace ourselves as we see fit. This will be great for when we have conferences and things of that nature.

I'm really glad I decided to pursue an online format. It's much faster paced than any of the brick and mortar programs I looked into and it is much more concentrated where I want to go professionally. I know it will speed up to the point where I want to kick myself for doing this...but so far, I'm enjoying it.

It has also put my mind on back to school and a few things I definitely want to do differently thus upcoming year. I will be adding all of those tasks to my to do lists.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

'13-'14 Goals Review + Goals for '14-'15

Last summer, Jess at I {heart} Recess hosted a 2013-2014 school year goals linky. Here was mine:


Let me just point out I pretty much failed at THEM ALL, ugh! The only one I did well with was enjoying my students -- as much as they sometimes drove me crazy with their lazy ways, we did have a ton of fun together. I couldn't have asked for more than that. 

To be fair also, I wrote these goals when I thought I was going to be teaching something other than what I ended up teaching. Not that it makes it any better but still. It's my excuse and I'm sticking to it :)


As they say, however, leave the past in the past...and I'm moving forward with goals for the upcoming year instead. (Might have to print them out so I won't forget!)

http://iheartrecess.blogspot.com/2014/07/back-to-school-goalsreflect-set-new.html


Personal: I tend to get to school between 7-7:10 a.m. so there is no reason for me to stay at work beyond 4 p.m. (the exception is Mondays as we have our staff meetings and they go until 5).

Organization: When packing up my room for the summer, I organized things in bins and baskets and I want to maintain that organization. I swear this past year was my least organized ever and that is not how I roll.

Planning: Since we have gone to curriculum maps, I really want to set up my planning by unit so that I can prepare what I need by unit rather than by week, this is especially essential with math because of the way we are teaching it now.

Professional: I tend to say "yes" too much and now that I am working on my doctorate too and will be busy as heck just with that...I am not going to serve on all of the committees I have in the past. I am going to do Social Committee (which I have done for 3 years already) and *maybe* PBIS. Anything else? Nope. 

Students: One reason I love Thirty-One so much is because of the motto of Celebrate, Encourage and Reward. I think this is definitely something I want to bring into my classroom - every child deserves to be celebrated, encouraged and rewarded. I know this will be especially true this coming year since we will have some challenging friends in our classes.

Motto: This is the same motto I used last year but I have to remember that when I let certain people make me angry, I am giving them control of me. I am going to do my best to make sure that doesn't happen this year.



The Caffeinated Teacher

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Independence Eve + Happy 4th!

I have been really getting into Twitter lately. Not so much because I have a lot to say but because I follow a ton of education-related Tweeters (seriously what DO you call someone who uses Twitter? A Twit just doesn't sound very nice lol) as well as some writing ones since I dabble in my not-so-spare time.

Amazingly, since going to the Teaching and Learning Conference in March, I have found my people on Twitter. I mean, seriously. I am constantly amazed at the things I read there and I mean that is such a good way. People who say exactly the things I am thinking but am not sure how to say it as eloquently as they do. 

Today as I was reading - and you can probably guess the two biggest things I've seen lately are Common Core and Hobby Lobby related - and I retweeted a couple of things that had already been retweeted. About an hour or so later, I get an notification that Ghadi followed me. lol Now obviously that is not possible but in cyberspace, I guess anything is. It was just funny to see that name pop up in my notifications. I guess you have made it as a Twit (again, lol), when Ghadi follows you ;)

That said, on this Independence Eve (a fun hashtag I got from Twitter today), I want to wish you and yours a happy and safe holiday. If you are traveling, be sure you take a lot of Thirty-One with you (and if you don't have enough Thirty-One, you can order some more right here!) and have a safe trip. 

We are heading up to our cabin for the weekend. We aren't leaving until Friday morning because The Husband had to work late today (he is on call this week). Instead of taking two cars and wasting gas, we decided to just all go together tomorrow instead. The little community we are in up there does their own fireworks show right on the lake and it is very fun. (Well, last year was also very scary because one of the shoots holding up the fireworks tipped and shot the fireworks at the playground...and there were kids there. That was not cool at all.) 

I will be studying my hiney off over the holiday as well so that I can stay caught up (and get a little ahead) on my classes since I have a trip coming up in a couple of weeks. 

Be safe!





The Caffeinated Teacher

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Currently July

http://ohboy3rdgrade.blogspot.com/2014/06/july-currently.html


Pretty self explanatory this month :)

The Oldest just started her online summer class yesterday. She is so offended that I have work due on Friday. A holiday. I tried to patiently explain that this is the real world and when you only have 7.5 weeks for a course, you don't get "holidays". She just doesn't get it. I don't mind actually because we aren't doing anything on the 4th except maybe having a bonfire at the cabin. The real party is Saturday night. So I have to get everything done by noon on Saturday so I can party Saturday night and not worry about the inevitable hangover.


The Caffeinated Teacher

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Goodbye Summer (and personal life)!

You can tell I've been excited about starting my doctorate by the fact that it is 6:51 AM on a SUNDAY and I am not only awake but actually coherent. Apparently, my brain was ready for some stimulation. (Brain and I will be having a discussion later about the whole "sleeping in on Sunday" thing -- meaning, I'm not supposed to wake up before 8:30! Ugh!)

Anywho, since I woke up so darn early and it IS the 29th...I figured I'd peek at the syllabi for my doctoral classes. Whoa. 

Goodbye summer! It was nice knowing ya! 

Seriously, it seems like a lot of work (okay, it IS a lot of work) because I just looked at everything today and my head is spinning a little. Alas, it will be okay. Those calendars/checklist makers I posted about yesterday are about to become overloaded. (So basically what I'm saying is, if Google Calendar dies today, it's my fault for overloading it haha!)

This is the number one reason why I wanted to start this program in the summer -- to be able to gauge how much time I am actually spending on the courses when I don't have to teach myself. This way once school begins and I'm really into the thick of things, I know how much time I need to devote to grad school as well because I'll have already done it. 

That said...it is a bit overwhelming to see it all typed out. I guess the beauty (and downfall) of an online program is that everything is posted at the same time and you just go in and do the week's assignments in that particular week. But to see it ALL there at once can make you want to curl up in a corner and cry a little. 

Cool thing is, we will do a book study in our course and two of the books were published right here where I live. That's kind of neat, I think. 

If I don't post for a week (or 8) it's because I'm drowning in doctoral studies. :) I'm sure I will be around but just in case, you'll know why!

I'm off to fill my calendars and hopefully not destroy the Internet :D




The Caffeinated Teacher