Wednesday, August 24, 2016

We are off and running here! All of our teachers are full time. This year we have quite a few new students between our JH/HS grades. I also just heard yesterday that one of our students who graduated last year will be playing football at OU! He got his uniform yesterday! Of course, he won't get any playing time this year, but that gives him a whole year to grow and improve. Look out next year! We're not OU fans at our house, but I'm so proud of this student and his potential. We're a very small school, so news like this is huge! It's been an exciting start! I'm getting new curriculum for my elementary lessons this year. I can't wait to start using it. I found some great bundles on TPT. Since testing is so different this year I'll have more time to spend in that building. I'm hoping for a longer, more consistent schedule. The kids have already been asking when I get to start lessons in their classrooms. I will also get to start having lessons with the 7th/8th graders. I've never had time for these two grades, so that it also exciting to me. We're going to be doing some career exploration to start.

The temperatures are cooler already here, which makes me sad. I think we're going to close the pool this week. That is the final sign summer is over. I love the pool. It's my favorite thing to do in the summer - float and read. The pool and I have a date nearly every day. I return to school August 1st each year and work quite a ways from home. That means my pool time is restricted to Saturdays if I'm home. Since the weather has been cooler, I haven't been in it on those days in a while. The forecast for the next couple of weeks is the same so, we made the decision to close it. Therefore, I'm sad, really sad, to see summer go. But, new things come with the new season.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Wow! It is been a very long time since I've blogged! I have been encouraged by some counselors on my Instagram feed to get back in the game. Today is my first official day back. The administrative team and secretaries are back today, teachers next Monday and students a few days later. Where did the summer go? I have been doing lots of reading and thinking about ways to improve my service to the students. I am going to try and start a class lesson weekly or bi-weekly with the junior high students. I am still thinking of a way to get information to the high school students. They don't come in much and they need to for scholarship info. and career goals. Today has mostly been going through the incoming senior transcripts to make sure credits are what they're supposed to be and then wrapping up things that happened over the summer. I had a great summer with family and friends. Hopefully you all did as well. It's going to be a great year.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

September news

August has passed and now, September is about to follow suit. It was a great month. I started my elementary lessons the week after Grandparents' Day, which is the week we celebrate that day with different elementary grades inviting grandparents to eat on different days and everyone doing special projects to decorate our cafeteria. Our school also hosts a book fair during that week. I thought I'd add to it by starting lessons, too! :D The first lesson is always a meet the counselor type lesson. The early elementary grades get to see Mrs. Potatohead as me. The older grades get to see various pictures and play a game. I realized mid-lesson that I really need to update my pictures! This year the game was a jeopardy style game on the smartboard reviewing some of the things I mentioned, plus some extra school related questions. The kids loved it. Last week was also celebrated Constitution Day. The JH/HS history and social studies classes made some great posters to decorate our hallways along with what was done in class.
I love the bill of rights for our school that students came up with. There is a place for everyone to sign, which was cut off in the picture. My next lessons in the elementary I will be using "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day' and "The Rainbow Fish". My book club for 7th gr. girls is rocking right along and I'm starting one for boys as soon as the books come in. We have been in school just over a month now and our first College Week of the year is going on this week. Kids have been answering trivia questions daily and getting prizes. At the end of the week the college representative from that school will be here. I already have two Career Cafes scheduled for October and plan on getting more together soon.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Starting the new year!

It has been a great start to the new year. We have lost some students to other schools, yet gained others that are going to fit in very well. I am looking at getting some new curriculum for my PK-6 lessons. I used my favorite last year with every grade. I'll be starting my book club with seventh grade girls soon and the first lunch bunch is about a week away. I wanted to share pictures of my beginning of the year bulletin boards. the elementary board is from Pinterest. One of our MS students helped me with it and I think it turned out great. The MS/HS board is from a book I have called, "Counseling on the Walls". There are many bulletin board themes in it and varying grade levels. It comes with a CD to print things out. I have only used it a couple of times, but so far I found it to be a great resource! I hope everyone has (or had) a great start to the 2015-16 school year. Just remember we're only a few weeks away from Labor Day (break).

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Testing Season That Never Ends

This has been the longest testing season ever! It's the last week of online testing. We already had our regular testing schedule and this week was saved for any students absent on those regular testing days. Well, little did I know that some of those absent during regular days would also be absent during the 'make up' days. Tonight is 8th grade graduation. I managed to finish the morning testing session in time to be a part of the rehearsal. Friday is our senior graduation. I hope to not still be testing by then so that I can go over for rehearsal for that, too. I don't have a huge part of either ceremony. For the 8th grade I figure out the valedictorian and salutatorian, figure out the 7th grade escorts, order diploma covers, get the names for the diplomas and proof the speeches all ahead of time. Then during the ceremony I read the names off so the principal can hand diplomas out, shake their hands and pose for a picture. Senior graduation is very similar. This year I am reading off the scholarship information because the superintendent is not going to be in attendance. The principal asked if I wanted to be on stage or off. I chose off. However, there are steps and I can see myself tripping while going up or down them. I may rethink that. I am 45 minutes away from school, so tonight and senior graduation night will be long nights since I don't go home in between. Next week for awards assembly, it will be the same. Even though we have less than two weeks left, I made bulletin boards for both buildings.
I love how both of them turned out. I am so proud of our elementary staff. They won a $40,000 technology grant that will put six iPads in every classroom and provide a new buzzer system for the academic team. That building received an award in Washington, D.C. last year as a Blue Ribbon Certified School (or something like that). Their accomplishments are nothing of my doing or contribution, I am so proud of them and to say I work here and with them. Soon it will be summer break and flip flop season. I have several books to read this summer, most for school. I won a gift card to Half Price Books recently. I can't wait to use it to find more. I forget how excited I get about books until I go to the bookstore and see them all. I hope everyone has a restful summer break.

Monday, April 20, 2015

TESTING, TESTING, 123 TESTING

Wow, I can't believe where we are in the school year! We are in our 2nd week of end of year achievement testing. Everything I do for the elementary (through 5th grade) is behind the scenes. I order, affix labels, inventory, separate documents and compile boxes with tests, security sheets, class roll, pencils and scratch paper; I take it all back in and send it off when everything is finished. The teachers do all the testing unless there is an absence and the student needs a test made up at a time when others are unavailable. The elementary prepares the schedule. For the middle school and high school it's a little different. I do all the same as above, plus I make the schedule and help administrate everything. EV-ER-Y-THING! From the first week in April through the 2nd week in May, I am in a computer lab, morning to lunch then after lunch to end of the day, administering tests. Ugh. I don't get to go to classrooms for elementary lessons or do much of anything else. We don't test on Mondays. That helps since I still have administrative duties and senior scholarships, transcripts, ACT reports, etc. to do. On one hand, testing seasons makes for some pretty mundane days. After all, the testing script has to be read to every group of testers. I should have it memorized by now. After the script is read and students begin, of course, everyone knows, you watch the kids. While I don't recommend playing on phones or doing some handy work (such as crocheting or knitting), watching a movie on a tablet or anything similar, I do find it ok to read. I get so much reading done. Sometimes I research vacation and have it all planned by the time the season is finished, then we're ready to book about the time school is out. We don't take vacation until late July, but it's all taken care of by the end of May when I do this. Sometimes I just catch up on things I've wanted to read for a while. That is the case this year. I have getting so much Bible time, reading much more than my usual 3-4 chapters at each setting. I've also been reading "How to Hug a Porcupine".
I've been wanting to read this book for a while and wished I'd known about it when my own daughter was that middle school/pre-teen age. I've just gotten in to it and already have found it so good. I highly recommend it. I have other books that I plan on reading later, in the pool, during the summer. I thought about next week how we will be turning the calendar from April to May and how much I enjoy that one calendar turn. However, I realized I enjoy the turn from May to June oh so much more since I officially start summer break at the end of the day on May 29th.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

SPRING BREAK

I just came off of spring break. It was wonderful to have the time to relax. If you knew me personally, you'd know I'm all about my grand baby, who is now 22 months old. We see him almost daily and we willingly change plans if something comes up and a sitter backs out of some evening or weekend plans with them. Well, surprise, surprise, I didn't watch him during the day at all throughout the week of spring break. We maintained our evening 1 1/2 hr. time, but I didn't even mention anything about the day time. I knew if I watched him once, it would lead to two or three days. I knew if I watched him at all I wouldn't get things done around the house that I intended. These were things that had been needing done for months, such as clean the craft room, wipe down the walls (cobwebs and dust collect on the texture of the walls, who knew). There were more tasks throughout the week, but I need not to bore you with my activities around the house. The entire first semester we took trips during every holiday or long weekend. This time at home was greatly needed as was the time without my grand baby to get things done. I think things are now in good shape to get by until summer break.

I plan on doing one, maybe two more college week type activities before school is over. I've started a girls' group with three elementary girls. We are using the G.I.R.L.S. book. It is really a great resource, though on the expensive side. Before the week is up, I will have scheduled the online testing sessions for our spring tests. We begin retakes next week. On one hand I dread testing season every year. It takes me away from classroom lessons, adds to my already incredibly busy schedule and fills my office with boxes. I have 30 boxes sitting in my small office right now. Sad thing is, at least 12 of those boxes had 1 book or 5-10 sheets of paper in them and were filled the rest of the way fill bubble wrap. I still don't understand why, being a small school, they couldn't combine some of the contents of the boxes so that there are fewer or just reduce the number of test manuals. I am the only DTC, I think one manual to use and one as a spare are plenty, instead we get 12. However, on the other hand, I look forward to testing, because I get a lot of reading done during that time. Since I'm in the room with students working on computers and it's a small group, after reading directions and between walking around, I read, a lot. It also means once testing is over, school is just about 2 weeks from being over as well. So, I'm looking on the bright side. Testing is going to go smoothly and I can almost see the end of things for the 2014-15 school year!