Monday, September 1, 2014

How Can it Be September?

Somehow, the calendar has turned to September. 
How did that happen? 
Where did August go? 
Where did the summer go? 

Well, one good thing about a new month is a new Currently! It looks like some people got a head start, since I noticed it's already past 200 links!  

Here goes:


I don't know if it's this bad in all the states, but there are so many horrible attack ads going on these days, I'm absolutely disgusted!  I can't believe the horrible things these politicians say about each other, how could I vote for any of them? They're all mean!

Don't you love 3 day weekends? Of course, I'll be thinking it's Monday all day tomorrow, but it's worth it to have that extra day. (Well needed, since last week was the first week, and we all know how exhausting the first week is!)

I need to get off my behind and go print and prepare some stuff for this upcoming week. But it's so nice to just sit...!

I haven't had a paycheck since mid-June, and I'm hurting big time! I spent waaaaaayyyyyy too much money on my teeth this summer, and I'm hoping my mortgage doesn't bounce! I'm holding my breath!

I still haven't been to Hawaii. I've always wanted to see Greece. Actually, I'd love to visit most of Europe, especially the Mediterranean. Why Colorado? My brother lives there. He's been there several years, and I still haven't visited. It's time. (Except for the money part!)

September has started on a rough note for me. I just found out a friend died in a plane crash today. That's the second loss I've found out about in 24 hours... both friends from community theatre groups I've worked with.

The other sadness in my life concerns some teacher blogger friends of mine who are unable to return to school this fall: teachers in British Columbia are on strike. Please see THIS post on my facebook page to see more about these frustrated teachers.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Lessons from a Grocery Store Chain


This blog post really doesn't have anything to do with education, but it's a hot topic in my area, and there's definitely a lesson or two to be learned!

We have a local grocery store chain that's been in the news a lot lately for the last few weeks. 

Several weeks ago, the CEO, Arthur T. Demoulas was fired by the Board of Directors. They hired some other people. The employees of Market Basket were horrified by this decision, and let the Board know their opinions by protesting. They stood outside their stores with signs, demanding Artie T reinstated as their CEO.


Why? 

Artie T. cared about his employees. He went out of his way to know who they were and show interest in them. He also cared about his customers. He worked hard to keep prices low, despite pressure from the Board of Directors. 

The protests and boycotts lasted 6 weeks. Most of the shelves in the stores were empty, especially produce, meat, and dairy. Loyal customers boycotted, and did their shopping at other grocery stories. The other grocery stores were over priced and over crowded. It affected not only store employees, but customers, suppliers, even stores and services adjacent to the stores felt the loss. The business lost millions of dollars during those 6 weeks.

Late last Wednesday, the Board of Directors finally accepted Artie T's offer pay $1.5 billion dollars for 50.5% of the company.



There were plenty of celebrations! Managers went to their stores in the early hours of the morning to prepare their stores, and sure enough, customers returned! Stores had welcome back signs, smiling employees, balloons, and everyone was just plain happy to be there! (I even saw a facebook post of a conga line of customers, complete with their shopping carts!)


People were buying whatever they could! (Not all the shelves were re-stocked yet, but there were plenty of choices!) 

I didn't get a chance to visit until Saturday. (It was the first week of school, and we all know that teachers are too tired for grocery stores after the first few days!) When I finally visited, I was greeted by balloons, smiling workers, "Welcome Home" signs, and a big crowd of Saturday shoppers. I knew the shelves wouldn't be completely stocked, but I was surprised at how much was available after only being back in business for a couple of days. I really only needed cat food, but I bought several items, especially the store brands... those purchases will help the stores build back those millions of dollars lost in the protest. 

Despite the loss, plus Artie T's $1.5 billion purchase, the low prices are still there! Yes, that's $4.99 for K-cups... they were $7.99 at the "other" store!


The whole purpose of this protest was that employees wanted to work for the good guy. They were protesting the "corporate greed" that had replaced their beloved CPO.

Many people these days are just out to make as much money as they can, and are "in it" only for themselves. Here, we had a person who truly cared about his employees and his customers. They trusted him, and they stood by him.

Loyalty like this is rare in 2014. 

I remember my dad was loyal to certain companies and brands back in the 50s and 60s. He trusted them, and kept returning. That sort of product loyalty doesn't exist any more. 

Perhaps it's because these companies and brands don't work at earning our trust. Perhaps it's because they're just trying to get our money. 

Perhaps employers and companies should work a little harder at earning our trust and our loyalty.

What do you think?



Friday, August 29, 2014

Five Reasons I Don't Like the First Week of School



As much as I love my job, I don't love the first week. Yes, after 37 "first weeks", I'm still not happy with the first week. Why?  Well, here are some reasons:


I don't like when I don't know the kids! I don't know their likes and dislikes. I can't remember which kids enjoy hockey and which kids have cats. I don't know the talents of these little guys yet! The best part of the job is the kiddos, and I don't know them yet!

 

They don't know my expectations. They don't know my sense of humor yet. They don't know my little hints. (Like when I make little kissing sounds, meaning they need to sit all the way down!) They don't know the meaning of my little sayings yet. ("Put your nose and toes to the door.") In fact, we haven't actually established the rules yet. That makes a difference, but we can't do it all in a couple of days!

Teachers know the meaning of "first week" tired! I've come home from school every day this week barely able to walk. I've neglected this blog all week. I've had tons of ideas, but I'm not able to sit upright and type.  I can't even think through how to organize a post!


I've had a whole lot of pictures I wanted to take this week! I did actually manage to take some pictures on the first day for our wall display. (Those actually came out real cute.) But I didn't get any pictures of the kids DOING anything! Of course, that's actually because I was too BUSY with the kids! They really aren't very independent yet, so I have to do a whole lot of "hovering" to make sure they're doing what they're supposed to be doing. I'm hoping this gets better, since I'm going to have to start running records next week! 


Believe it or not, this is quite a disappointment! Our local grocery store chain has been involved in a boycott for the last 6 weeks. The boycott caused a lot of people to be out of work or lose money. Most of us had to go to more expensive grocery stores, which were overcrowded because of the boycott. It was awful for so many people. Finally this week, the corporate big guys came to a decision and everyone is back at work.

They have been back in business for a couple of days, and people who have been to the stores have said they are the happiest places around! Workers are smiling, laughing, singing, thanking and hugging customers. Customers are smiling, hugging managers, and I even saw a facebook video of customers doing a conga line through one of the stores with their shopping carts! 

And I'm too tired to shop tonight. I'll be there in the morning!

Be sure to stop by Doodle Bugs for Five for Friday!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Five for Last Chance Friday

It's another Five for Friday, and it's been quite the week! I've been in school all week, trying to get my classroom ready. Today was the last chance to work in the room, since Monday and Tuesday are meetings, Tuesday night is "Meet and Greet the Teachers", and Wednesday is the official first day. 


I had posted HERE about how my sunny classroom made all the tape stick to my furniture, and I posted HERE about the process to get all that tape off my furniture. That was where a good chunk of my week went!

Besides cleaning off all the tape, I had to scrub the desks to get them ready for the kiddos. I just can't imagine them coming to school with "permadirt" from the kids the year before. The white boards also needed a scrubbing. You could actually see where the kids had written word from last year, and it just wouldn't wash off. I finally took a Magic Eraser and bleach spray, and now they are ready for new students. 

Another time consumer was running off and putting together the Writer's Workshop folders for the year and preparing the writing materials. Writer's Workshop is a big part of my classroom, and I'm always thrilled with the writing skills the children come with from first grade. Then they develop even better writing skills in second grade!

All the materials I use are found in this set:

and can be found HERE.

Here's a closer look at the collection:

Preparing the folders includes running off most of the resources, some in different colors, punching holes, and putting them into the folders. I also made a variety of 5 page booklets for them to get started, with different kinds of lined paper, and different colors for covers. We're ready to start Writer's Workshop on Day 1!


The week was mostly working on school stuff, but not all... on Thursday I drove down to Boston to get my daughter (she needed o do some serious New Hampshire shopping). After an awesome job parellel parking (on the left, no less!) we walked to this very cool Asian Shabu restaurant. Shabu means "hot pot". They actually have a boiling pot of broth on the table, and you cook the meat and the veggies yourself right there at the table. It was not only delicious, but it was totally fun!

I overslept this morning, then rushed into school for the final last chance on the room. I finished putting up decorations, sorted and labeled supplies, ran off papers, put the last few things away, and finally put the nametags on the desks. I'm as ready as I'm ever going to be, except for a few things I have to put together this weekend.

Why no pictures? Because they kicked us out of the building at 4:00! I was racing around trying to get things done. 

What did I do next? I came home, took a shower, and crashed on the couch for 2 hours. Boy, was I tired!

Be sure to stop by Doodle Bugs for more Five for Friday!



Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Wordless Wednesday


I'm linking up with Wordless Wednesday at Sugar and Spice!  

In the spirit of "wordless", I'm going to show you pictures!

I don't know about you, but I've already spent some money at the TpT Back to School Boost sale, and I'll probably end up spending more before the sale ends at midnight. (I'm becoming quite the Clip Art addict!)

Now back to "wordless"...

Here are a few things available during the Boost sale... 
all pictures are links!













See you at the sale!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Getting the Tape Off!



If you've been following my blog or my facebook page, you'll know I've had a little crisis with tape! Since people were in our classrooms this summer for summer school, we had to tape everything up so the people using our room wouldn't get into our stuff. Well, I happen to be in a very sunny classroom, (which is usually good!) but all that tape just baked away this summer, and the tape wouldn't come off!

I had lots of fabulous advice on removing the tape, and went into my classroom yesterday armed for battle!



I bought a spray bottle of "Goo Gone", a set of plastic scrapers, extra scrubbing sponges, and Dawn dish detergent. Why Dawn? Because it's extra good at cutting grease, and the Goo Gone is VERY greasy!


I sprayed all the places with stuck tape on Monday. I gave everything a good soaking with the Goo Gone. Unfortunately, it's drippy and runny, so it was all over the floor, which made those newly waxed floors super slippery, but I survived.


When I came in on Tuesday, I took my little plastic scrapers, and most of the tape came right up! You can probably tell the desk is rather shiny, because of the greasy Goo Gone. It took a lot of Dawn to get rid of that slippery mess!


After a good scrubbing, a quick second coat of Goo Gone to get rid of the sticky residue under the tape, and a good washing with Dawn, I was very happy!


I got all the little spots around the room, and feel like I'm caught up on the tape disaster!


I also did a whole lot of  other cleaning. Even though we cleaned the desks before summer pretty well, they were pretty disgusting after summer school, so they needed a full scrubbing. (It's hard to tell in this picture, but they were filthy!)  I had to pull out the magic eraser to do these desks!


I've got a few more days of work in my classroom before I'll be ready for those kiddos next Wednesday, but after all that cleaning, I think I deserve some shopping!  There's a BOOST sale at Teachers Pay Teachers, and my sales cart is already packed! This sale is for the benefit of people like me who weren't quite ready to shop at the first Back to School sale a couple of weeks ago... I'm ready now!

Of course, if you already shopped at the last one, I'm sure it wouldn't hurt to pick up a few more things for those kiddos!




Monday, August 18, 2014

Brain Breaks are Essential for Learning!


Brain research tells us that movement is an important part of learning. Research also tells us that children can only pay attention for about as many minutes as their age, plus or minus two minutes. That means that my second graders can pay attention at max, about 9 minutes. That also means some of my little ones can only hold it together for 5 minutes! (Yep, that sounds about right!)

There are so many types of brain breaks!  Some involve a lot of movement, enough to get your heart racing. Others include just a quick stretch and breath. Still others are just a break from the routine, without movement at all. It's important to use all sorts of brain breaks in the classroom!

You're in luck! I have quite a collection of brain breaks on my Brain Break Pinterest page!

If you aren't familiar with Go Noodle, it's time you checked it out!


Just go to gonoodle.com and set up a free account! Then enjoy! Each little video is totally fun, different, and wakes those kids up so they'll be ready for the next part of your lesson. Seriously, I can't say enough great stuff about Go Noodle. And... did I mention it was free?


Here's a brain break freebie to help you start the year. Click HERE to download 12 different Brain Breaks with a back to school theme!


Brain Breaks help the kiddos learn their sight words with this game! The brain breaks are shuffled right into the deck of words and phrases for them! They love those brain breaks so much, this became the most popular game in the classroom! This one is made up of Fry's first hundred words, but I have several sets of these, including a Bundle. You can find this game HERE.

It works with Math, too! Here are a whole set of addition and subtraction facts for the kiddos to learn, with a research based sequential order for learning. It includes a gameboard for practice and... brain breaks! You can download it HERE.

I'm linking up with other Brain Break Bloggers for the Brain Break Blitz! Click the image to see the linky!



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