Should I Stay or Should I Go…and More Thrilling Questions

I’ve had a lot of my mind recently and for me it’s always best to get it out in one form or another and then I will relax more and stop obsessing over ideas and thoughts.
So, here goes.  Just a heads-up, this may be a bit whiny/20-something-trying-to-figure-things-out, so if you’re not feeling it, steer clear.  In case you couldn’t tell by the title.  🙂

Let’s start with a bit of backstory and just general info on the hagwon (after-school academy system) here in Korea.
First, in it’s most basic sense, it’s an after-school “academy” or school that some kids go to after their regular school day is finished.  I work with elementary-aged kids and their main school day finishes around 1/1:30pm.  They’d go home for a snack or whatever and then off to piano/English/tae kwon do/math/singing/swimming/hapkido/Korean (Yes, extra school to learn Korean…)/Chinese/etc etc.
There are so many of these schools on a single block that it might make your head spin once you realize it.
The hagwons are meant to give kids an extra boost to basically get them better prepared for their future.

Anyway, for the past year or so I was convince that grad school was the next step for me.  I wanted to get a Masters in Education (M.Ed.) or a Masters in TESOL/ESL (Teaching English as a Second Language) had also been an option.  It’s still there, but I’m sort of second-guessing myself.  I enjoy teaching, but I think I’m just getting burnt out…or I dunno.
As we’re an after-school academy, we have a summer break (1 week) and a winter break (1 week) and all federal holidays.  I think it just gets to be a bit much.  I need more me-time or even just time to sort of clear my head and make space for new ideas.
It’s also frustrating because with this system, kids can come essentially whenever they want.  For example, in the same class, I can have kids that come every day (M-F at my school) or some just MWF,, or one girl is TWF.
It just gets very frustrating when you’re trying to teach and kids pop in or randomly go on a week holiday with their family.  I mean, it’s great that they’re going on a break and get family time, but when we learn new words on Monday, use them all week and have a test on Friday, and they show up on Thursday after a few days off–it really makes things tough.
In my younger classes we read two story books a week together and do two corresponding workbooks.  The older kids do one reading book and one workbook because they’re more difficult.  So if Johnny misses the first half of the week, he misses the prime day for new vocab (all day Monday), the introduction of the new story (speaking and reading) and then we have to play catch-up so he’s not just sitting there, and then it throws the pace of the class off.  Classes are two hours long.  I usually also don’t have any warning when a kid will be going on a trip/quit, so it makes it tough to do projects or anything too.
I think the other thing is that since we don’t have an official start date and that kids can sign up and drop in whenever, it makes it hard to plan new ideas.  My boss wants me to do “filler” stuff on Tuesday/Thursday so kids who don’t come on MWF don’t miss anything important.  *pause*  So, as my class is more reading based, I decided to teach basic grammar (nouns/verbs/adjectives/plurals, etc), but when you have a grammar day on Tuesday, and have supplemental worksheets that the kids are working on–what happens when MWF kid comes in on Wednesday and they finish the work quickly?
There’s a lot of copying going on as well, which I hate, but when we do 5 pages in the workbook and one kid misses the reading day and the 5 pages, not sure what else I can do besides pile it on for homework, which is heavily frowned upon.  They already get enough homework, and parents don’t generally approve of their kid doing classwork at home.

I dunno, I feel like I’ve taught nouns/verbs/adjectives to my higher level kids about 5 times now.  I keep getting new kids or kids who weren’t here and then we’re trying to do something that applies them and they have no idea.

Looping back to the grad school thing–I really like teaching, it’s just frustrating that I see these things happening and I’m doing my personal best to get over the humps, but I want training.  I’m not a trained teacher and I think going to school would help me see solutions that I’m not seeing right now.  Granted, the hagwon-structure is fairly unique and at most schools you typically get a roster of kids and it doesn’t change until the end of the year.  They move on and you get a new list the next year.
Another thing is that I have some kids that I’ve had for nearly a year and half now and I think that they’re becoming too comfortable.  I think it would benefit them to have another teacher with another style to continue to push them.  I enjoy my classes and I try and make sure my kids are learning different things and I try and keep it interesting, but I don’t think it’s necessarily helpful to have the same teacher for too long.  You can learn different things from different people.  The kids are kept in my class though because they say they like my class and also because it’s a business.  The kids like me, so the parents want them in the class.  If the parents are happy, they pay money and we stay in business.  It’s not hard to see, but it’s just another little thing.

There was something else but I can’t remember what it was at the moment.  I’ll have to circle back when I remember 😀

On a more positive note, I’ve got two things.  First, my cousin is getting married this summer and it just so happens to fall on the tail end of my vacation.  I got the approval for an extra two days of vacation so I can go (!!)–time differences/return flights–and it’s going to be amazing.  I have to miss a lot of stuff related to family and friends’ happenings since I’m abroad, so it’s awesome that I’ll be able to make it for this one.

Second, I’ve posted on Facebook a bit about this, but I’m pretty darn proud of myself with making the gym a habit.  I worked out a lot when I was living in the US, but fell off the wagon/horse when I moved abroad and found it hard to get back at it.  Anyway, I’ve been working out consistently since September and upped it a bit in Jan/Feb.  It’s now so deep into my schedule that I don’t see myself breaking this routine anytime soon.  It’s a great stress reliever and I’m feeling better and healthier for it as well.  It feels great to be back and the gym and I can see that I’m getting stronger too, which I love.

Ah!  The other thing.
My school has a massive English book library (rare for schools in Korea as English books can be expensive) and each book has a corresponding book level (based on the difficulty/amount of words in the book.)  The kids take books home each night, read them and then take a short comprehension test on it the next day.  The results are tracked in the computer and can be pulled up whenever.  Anyway, the parents obviously want to see proof that their kid is moving up in the levels (as do I) and can get upset if their kid’s number isn’t moving.  The thing is that they’re kids.  Not robots.  Some kids learn quickly, some slower than others and sometimes they stagnate.  I’m fairly strict with my student’s book levels (they have a range of three numbers that they can pick from) and they can change when they get a consistent amount of 80-100% on their tests. However, sometimes kids don’t read or they read and they didn’t understand it fully and then they get low scores.  Sometimes they get low scores multiple times in a row so I’d pull their level down a bit and they work back up.  Anyway, just got word that we’re not to put their level down anymore, just push upward.  Which I do 95% of the time, I just don’t want to push up and up and up if the kid doesn’t understand what they’re reading.  In my opinion, it’s ok if they’re at a certain level for a bit as long as they’re generally improving and working hard in class.  No need to rush.  Anyway, I think this one is actually pretty standard in many schools around the world, so there’s likely not much that can be done, just sort of suck it up and make the best of it.

Still thinking on the grad school thing…I just need more money and wisdom.  There are so many places I can go for the Masters–I just want to make sure that I’m doing the right thing as it’s an expensive decision.  I can’t think of anything else I’d rather be than a teacher though, so that might just be what I end up doing.

Oh and the cupcake/cookie thing from the Valentine’s Day post left you hanging, I brought in pink funfetti cupcakes.  No cookies.  🙂

I also have an English/Western manners week-long lesson in the works (Our storybooks/workbooks only last for a three weeks so I usually have an empty week at the end of the month where I’m supposed to create a filler lesson.)  I want to teach basic etiquette and Western-style table manners (including, but not limited to: how to properly hold/cut with a knife and fork–food lesson–yay!)  Just holding off until I finish the packet that I’m making and until I’m a bit less annoyed with kids randomly showing up throughout the week.  I incorporate manners in our daily classroom life (pushing in chairs, helping others, holding doors (struggle), etc. but I wanted to have a full-blown lesson on it.  Plus, I really wanted to do something with table manners.

Happy Tuesday 🙂
Hope you can walk better than I can today.  I did some deadlifts yesterday for the first time–nothing too crazy as I was mainly focusing on arms, but I wanted to give them a go before I left–and my legs are feeling them today.  Shoooooot. 😛

Valentine’s Day Approaches

As a single lady, I don’t really have any reasons to be super excited that Valentine’s Day is coming, but I do love it because holidays are always a fun thing to celebrate in a classroom.

I’m planning on turning Friday into a mini-party–still working out logistics–but I’m going to bake Funfetti cupcakes with pink icing and I want to make these cookies:

Yummy!  😀

And maybe some of these too–I could put together some cookie bags like I did for Christmas.  😀  We’ll see.

I also want to have them make Valentine’s cards for each other as it’s a cultural experience and it’s not something that’s done here.

Valentine’s Day in Korea is when the girls give chocolates/candy to the boys and a month later on March 14, White Day, the guys return the favor.  Apparently there’s also Black Day the following month (April 14) and that’s for the single people.

You’re supposed to go to the restaurants and order jjajjangmyeong, which is a cold, black bean and noodle dish.  You’re then essentially upping your chances to meet other single people in hopes that you won’t be single the next time it rolls around.

My goal with the treats and Valentine’s party is to make a fun party out of it.  I want them to be able to enjoy the holiday in another way.  I like opening their eyes to different things.
For example, a girl was reading a book about apple picking and there were yellow apples in the book and she thought it was funny.  In Korea, we have one type of red apples and SOMETIMES green apples (and the world goes crazy when they are here), but there aren’t any yellow apples.  I explained to the girl that there are yellow apples too and she thought I was joking, but I pulled up an American grocery store on Google and she was amazed by all the apples.  Not just one kind of red…but a lot of red, green and yes, yellow apples.
I try to also include other countries into the mix also.  I don’t want it to be all about America, but also about other places that I’ve experienced.  I like to pass on as many cultural things as possible to open their minds a bit.

With Valentine’s Day, I want them to know that it can be celebrated any way you want, but especially including your firends and family into the mixture.  It’s not only for boyfriends/girlfriends.  I hear so much about being “lonely”/”don’t want to be lonely”/”Aren’t you lonely” from the older people (my age) that it’d be nice to diffuse some of that before it gets going.

Let’s see…oh!  We watched Matilda the past two movie days (Only about 30 minutes each time)–and usually I don’t do two movies in a row because there are so many out there, but they LOVED Matilda, so we continued on a bit more with it.  (One of my girls in the class found the book in our library and I encouraged her to take it home and try it out.  It’s well above her reading level but she loved the movie and she seemed excited to have it, especially knowing that there wasn’t a rush and she wouldn’t have a test over it.
Ah yes, the point…if you’ve seen the movie or read the book you know there’s a horrible principal called Miss Trunchbull, and later in the movie it lets on that she’s superstitious and afraid of spooky/ghosty things.
This lead to a segway about superstition. A massive word for them, but I talked about it anyway.  We talked about good luck and bad luck and what things people are superstitious about in Korea.  They didn’t know the word superstitious in Korean (I translated it, but they don’t know it yet in their language, but they knew bad luck).  We also talked about how superstitions (or things that are bad luck) can be different in each country.
For example, in Korea, the number 4 is considered to be bad luck, as is writing someone’s name in red ink (symbolizes death),  I talked about some that we have in the US (walking under ladders, #13, black cats) and helped them understand why Miss Trunchbull was freaking out when there was a black cat near her in the movie.

Whew.  A bit long-winded tonight.
We had the movie day on Friday, but I made a note to talk with them about it because they seemed confused as to why this big strong lady was afraid of cats.  One boy just thought she didn’t like cats…but it was a good learning experience.

_________________________________________
More on Korean superstitions herehere and here!!
The first link is a good one and talks about ‘fan death’.  😛

_________________________________________
Anyway, I’m eagerly awaiting for a package from my mom with the two Titanic books that I ordered off Amazon for my Titanic-obsessed student.  I want to see his face when he gets them so bad.  It’s going to be beautiful.

Valentine’s Day is going to be snack-time (cupcakes and cookies–bagged candy can be pricey and I love baking, so baked goods it is!) and they’re going to make Valentine’s for each other and their parents.
We have two hours…so that should be enough time…right?

The Little Things

So, this week has been pretty good so far.

1. On Monday, one of the ladies at the front desk mentioned that my second class would be combined with another teacher’s class because they weren’t able to find a sub to cover the class.  (They’re more lenient with this because this other person is technically filling in for our co-owner who is in England currently with a bunch of students until February/March).
Anyway, I was given about 40 minutes notice, which is more time than I’m used to for such announcements…so although it was a bit challenging (and crowded) getting everything covered for two different courses in the same allotted time–got it done and felt pretty good about it after.
My second class is my favorite class because they’re quick-learners and they’re pretty friendly kids, so they would have been my ideal choice class to have anyone else be merged with had I a choice anyway.  So, convenient that it worked out that way.
Also that it fell on a Monday which is when we introduce new vocabulary, that was also nice.  Mondays are the easiest to sort of cram things in.  We just had to move the class fairly quickly.  Less chatting and more…military style, I guess you could say.  Finish one thing and quickly on to the next so the other class could get their vocabulary in as well.

2. I have a favorite coffee shop that’s near my school–mainly because the owner is super nice and also because the coffee isn’t horrendously over-priced.  The owner also speaks English which is a HUGE plus (and very, VERY rare.)  He also gives me free biscuits for my coffee and sometimes throws in a free cookie because I visit often.
Anyway, I’ve tried at other places to get a cafe mocha with an extra shot of espresso…and failed at it.  If you’ve been in Korea for any length of time (not sure about in Seoul), but having an order modified is unheard of.  Essentially impossible.  You order what is on the menu and that’s that.  Don’t like pickles?  Tough.  Want some extra cheese on that burger?  Too bad.  So, what typically would happen when  I’d order an extra espresso shot would be that I’d get the mocha AND an espresso shot.  Not in the same cup.  Tried translating and miming and it just ends in confusion.
Anyway, so I decided randomly to try it out today at my favorite place and he was confused at first but because he speaks English he was able to pass it on to the barista.  ANNNNND perfection.  That one little thing made my day.  haha
I think most coffee drinks come with about one shot of espresso in it here (two in the US) because I can barely taste the coffee when I’m drinking it.  Not so, today.  I’m wondering if my students noticed my extra energy today, haha. 🙂

3. My first (the rowdy bunch) class are also learning the ways of my room and starting to settle down a bit.  We’ve still got a ways to go, but there hasn’t been any yelling or ripping of things off the walls since that last incident.  Also, they’re getting pretty good about coming in and getting their work out, which feels pretty great, if I do say so myself.  😀

The only not so good thing is that I worked out before work today and my right knee feels like it’s in a vice.  It started toward the end of work today but headed to bed now so hopefully it’ll be good to go before tomorrow.  Might take some ibuprofen or something before bed.

Oh, also, I’m madly in love with Sam Smith.  That is all.  😀

Here’s a video to start/continue/end your day.

Being in a Classroom is Not Always Rainbows and Sunshine

Had a helluva day today.  (Helluva looks like some sort of hillbilly word…)

Anyway, I’m working on…er…training my youngest kids (first class) to the ways of the classroom (and how to not run around like psychos when I’m not in the classroom).  I had forgotten how far my other kids have come.  My other kids know to come in, take out their homework and talk nicely until class begins.  This first class…shooooot….I have my work cut out for me.

Our school (and most of these after school programs) are essentially a smaller space with classrooms cut into it.  It’s not like a full-size school or anything.  Anyway, we had a teacher’s meeting today at 1:30 and classes start at 2.  The kids started arriving around 2 or so, and were easily the loudest in the school.  The front desk girl (across from my room) didn’t seem to be doing anything about the kids running amok, so I ended up leaving the meeting early to corral them and get them on task.  One kid was running around and tore the decorations off my classroom door.  Not like we can really do much to them, because it’s a business as well as a school.
Anyway, I didn’t yell, but I used a very loud, stern voice and got them all sitting nicely in their seats with their homework our and waiting for class to begin. Quite quickly, I might add. I’ve trained my last two classes to where I could be late/walk out of the room for x reason/work at my desk/etc. and they’re self-sufficient.  This first class needs to have every breath monitored it seems.

They seemed to understand the gist of what I was getting at when they were scolded at the beginning.  Keep in mind, I have to break down the sentences to almost bare bones because that first class also has a very low English level.
The Korean teachers at my school scold in a very…nursy way.  Essentially “Ok children, please don’t do that.”
Anyway, I feel like I should record it for my own interests…I want to be able to show a before and after between now and in two months time.

Anyway, that’s probably why I decided to finally crack open this bottle of wine I’ve had in my apartment.

I do appreciate a good challenge,but I’ve got my work cut out for me with this bunch.


Also, I had a glorious reunion with my gym yesterday.  My muscles have been feeling it today and I feel like an old woman when I try and go down stairs.  Either way, it’s nice.
I know you’re supposed keep working out when you’re sore (slowly) but after today I just came home, watched House of Cards (my current Netflix obsession–did I mention that I just got Netflix?!  It’s amazing.) and ate Froot Loops.  Basically…being an adult.  haha.  In my own defense (not like it’s needed, but hey), I had every intention of making this baked mushroom chicken dish.
Back on the ol’ horse tomorrow.

Life So Far in 2015 (and bits about my trip home)

I’m back in Korea and settling back into daily life here.  I’m actually pretty happy because I’m doing a nice job of kicking jet lag in the teeth.  Thankfully in most part due to work, heh.  The first night I slept about 4 hours even though I was exhausted…(1 car trip to the airport in LA, 3 flights, an overnight sleep in the airport, a 2.5 hour bus ride from the airport and a taxi ride to my house). Yeahhhh…that makes for a very sleepy me.
Work has also been keeping me busy, especially that first day.  The first day I not only was on 4 hours of sleep, but we started our new term (new students, updating the classroom, clearing out stuff from any old students) and catching myself up from what the sub did while I was away.  We also just got our student rosters on the first day of classes (typical hagwon-style).  Then my classes, which are back-to-back.  So, by the end, I was completely wiped out.  I finish now around 8:30, but I stayed til 9:30 entering grades from the tests they took while I was away and updating my classroom for the new classes/students.

Yesterday was much better. I don’t mind staying late if it’s going to help make things run more smoothly for the following days.  Also, I bought two maps off Amazon while I was in the US–one world map and one map of the US.  They’re actually pretty big, which I was expecting to an extent, but I was still a bit shocked at the size when I opened them up.  I’m really happy with them now that they have a place in the room though.  I also took down our Christmas decorations yesterday.
Combined with doing laundry, unpacking, making meals and meeting a friend for brunch…my past two days have been crazy.  It’s also rough with new students because you begin again with everything, so I realized I took for granted how much my kids had learned and I’m working on teaching our routine to my newest bunch in my beginner class.  It’s a good opportunity to tweak things, but also exhausting when you need to explain everything again. My last bunch were (are–just in my next level class) fairly self-sufficient and now I’m going to be working on those skills with the new kiddos.

I’ve heard that jet lag goes away more quickly when you travel in one direction rather than the other, and it looks like it might be east–>west.  🙂  I was kept pretty busy at home too and I didn’t adjust any faster, I was just exhausted.  I know you’re supposed to ease yourself back into the time change–keep active and adjust your lifestyle to the new one–but go slowly at first…but life doesn’t always allow for that.  I’m just keeping an eye out for signs of illness now.

Anyway, so home was great…maybe a bit *too* great because coming back was a bit rough.  My mom took off work for most of my time at home and she helped me a ton by taking me to and from various places and treating me to meals at my favorite places.  I ate tons of great food, went shopping (and spent too much money…oops…), reunited with friends and got to spend my first Christmas at home since my last in 2011.
I bought my second cousin (we need a better term for that–this one sounds awkward) Jordan a personalized book from iseeme.com.  They have so many cute books there and the prices are reasonable.  Since I’ve ordered two (another for my friend’s nephew here in Korea) I get all sorts of discount codes in my email too.  My Korean friend said that she could tell it was a “Western-style” book because it encouraged kids to be whatever they wanted, and not only a doctor or scientist.

This one here.
The books are super cute and great quality.  If you’re poking around the site and debating ordering, I’m 100% satisfied with the books and will use them again if the need arises.  🙂

Next I went to Los Angeles to visit some friends and be a tourist 🙂  I’ve never been to the west coast, so that was pretty cool too.  I had a day flight, so I got to see some of the scenery from down below and the deserts were pretty awesome…Nevada, I’m guessing.  Maybe I’ll have to look at that giant map in my classroom, heh.
I spent 5 days there and saw most of the main touristy things there…and maybe fell a bit in love with California…
  
Walk of Fame                                                       Hollywood Sign!

Cool shopping center in Hollywood–This is one of the best locations to view the Hollywood sign (at least from where I saw anyway).  They have a hiking trail sort of by it, but you can’t get to the actual sign itself (saves it from vandalism etc.)

Venice Beach–It was a rainy and oddly chilly day in December, so there weren’t many people out.  The beach has a bike trail which I thought was awesome.  It’d be nice to be able to run/bike etc on the beach without having the sand flying in your face (and minus all the extra effort of running on sand).

Introduced to the gloriousness of deep-fried Oreos…


Venice Beach

Santa Monica Pier

I also went to In-and-Out, which everyone recommended I do while on the West Coast.  Overall another great (and delicious) trip.  For New Years, I went to my host-friend’s friend’s place and we had a party there.  It was basically a big bbq.  Anyway, that was cool too.

I thiiiink I’m all updated…I still need to upload those journal pics from my Japan trip, but my journal is at the gym and I don’t start up again there until Monday (wanted to get re-acclimated here and not need to worry about missing gym time on top of everything else).
I’ll take updated classroom pics when I get there today now that everything is all caught up.

Random Junk on My Mind:
**I got a new laptop battery and my laptop now lasts hours instead of 30 minutes when unplugged from the wall (hurrah!)
**Wishing my brain would stop with the decorating ideas for my apartment–trying to save for post-Korea (and maybe Budapest…)
**Signed up for ultimate frisbee again in the spring
**Munch-a-Saurus is back in my life (my hamster)
**PENPAL LETTERS made it to the US…finally…after like a month, sheesh.  That’s longer than a care package.  Such a huge relief though.  I think I’m still waiting on one more envelope (1 of 4), but all the letters are pretty much finished by the sounds of it and headed back this way.  We just changed classes around, so it could get interesting, but still relieved that they’ve made it over.

**Also must finish report cards by Friday…already ready for the weekend, but thankfully it’s Wednesday…
**I brought back a ton of stuff for my students too–Pixie Stix, Warheads (sour candy), maps, Mr. Sketch scented markers (which they’re amazed by… 🙂 ), Crayola crayons and colored pencils (Crayola wax crayons are about $10/box here) and a Magnetic Poetry kit.  I got my kit when it was on sale for Christmas though 🙂  We just put it out yesterday and it might be a bit hard, but better than the ABC letters that were up previously.  I’ll give them a few months and report back 🙂

*BREAKFAST IDEAS?–Any chefs out there?  We have like 4 kinds of cereal here and I’m getting burnt out with my oatmeal.  Help 😦  I’ve been doing combinations of fruit, yogurt and oatmeal, but looking for something else.  I was thinking of doing more eggs but they’re always too brown and dry and that puts me off making them.  (Plus, more mess to clean up.)  Fruit is expensive here btw.
Thinking about these breakfast cups...easy, healthy, quick and minimal mess.

Another doozy of a post.

Nervous…

Feeling a bit anxious/nervous because none of the penpal letters have made it to their recipients in the US yet.  I have 3 different envelopes out and still waiting on all three of them.  I sent them 2 weeks ago, so I’m not sure why they’re taking this long.  They’re just letters 😦  There are about 50-70 students waiting on these letters…c’mon postal service, c’mon! 😦

Smooth Sailing!

My students were in beast-mode today…some finished their workbooks on their first book today, which was great. Others are getting close and everyone should hopefully be finished by Friday.  Minus my oldest student…he’s still powering through his workbook though.  Giving a good effort and we had some 1-1 time today, so that was good.

To clarify,the students have to read a book (depends on their grade level, not ability level) and answer the chapter questions (2 pages for each with pictures) at the back of the book.  Then, we’ll work on a packet that sort-of goes with their book as well.  The questions are directly related and the packet is 4-ish pages that is basically like “write 4 words that you learned from this book and draw a picture.”  It’s just a general packet that goes with most non-fiction books.  From what I’ve seen anyway.
That is part of a competition (the packet).  The questions are more time-consuming, and I think some other teachers are skipping the questions and just going straight to the packets.  I’m not sure, but that’s what it sounded like.
Anyway, I must be that tough teacher then, lol.  The one I always dreaded because I’m making them do the questions.  I think it’s better because it checks their reading and it should make the packets easier.  Which we should get to on Friday.  Woot!  Go! Go!

Thennnn, next week we have another book (same structure) for fiction next week.  These books seem easier (vocabulary and size) so they should be able to push through them a bit quicker than the books from this week.  There also seem to be less questions and there are more of the ‘circle the correct answer’ variety.
The non-fiction questions have them writing their own answers, doing wordsearch puzzles, circling the correct answer, matching…etc.  It’s really good, just time consuming.

Anyway, I’m thinking we should be finished by mid next week with everything and I’m thrilled about it.
I’m going to stick in their regular class workbooks as well, so we can get caught up there too.

Our term is ending the last week in January (when the sub is here) and we’ll start a new term when I get back on Monday, so everything that can be finished should essentially be finished by that date.  IE: should be finished by next Friday so I don’t push anything time-critical onto the sub’s shoulders.  She’ll only have a 4-day week as well, so I don’t want it to be stressful for her, or for me to have to worry about things getting finished on time.

So, it looks like that is on track as well.  After today, I can’t even tell you how good it feels to have everything coming together.  I only have 4 kids in my last class and they’re all nearly finished.  One girl was finished and 2 of the boys were doing really well towards the end of class.  One had like 2 chapters left (what I have been assigning for homework) and another had 3 but seemed eager to finish.  Then, I have the oldest student…which…has a ways to go.   The first three should finish up tomorrow and the oldest is MWF, so we’ll see how things went for him when he’s back on Friday.
I think we should be able to knock out the packet tomorrow and then be completely finished with the non-fiction book by Friday.  Take our weekly test and perform their powerpoint presentations (also going on in the background these days) on Friday, finish their regular class workbook tomorrow and Friday.  Bada-bing, bada-boom!  If all goes according to plan, everything will be finished on Friday.
Ahhhh, feeling good.

My plan for class for next Friday (my last day before vacation) is to do what I mentioned a few weeks (days?) ago.  I’m going to have a holiday-cookie baking “contest” with the first two classes.  Give them each a recipe and put them into teams then have them work to make their cookies.  So, they’ll be baking cookies, take their weekly spelling test and have their Friday movie.  Sounds like a fun last day before break 😀 I’m hoping to send some cookies home with them (likely to be eaten on the bus or on the stairs going down to the bus…) with a recipe book and Christmas music CD (no lyrics or fancy bag this time, just a CD).  The older kids will help me use up a crap-ton of graham crackers that I have in my pantry, and we’ll make gingerbread houses.

Sooooo yeah, busy busy!  But I like that it feels that we’re getting a lot done.  It feels very productive and I loooove it.  I’m a huge project-y person and I love the feeling when a project is finished.
I’m also waiting to hear back from the teachers in the US to see if they’ve received the penpal letters yet…they should be there by now…If I don’t hear anything by Friday then I’ll send a message over to check-in.

WHEW.

Anyway, ramble ramble.

Rearranged the reading area because my books were taken down to the library
BEFORE
CAM03645CAM03646

AFTER (as of Tuesday)
CAM03759 CAM03761

Moved the bookshelf over and now it’s used for extra classroom supplies (tissues, glue sticks, paper, plates, colored pencils, etc.)  and the seating area is bigger.  I sent the puzzle down to the library and the magnet board with ABC magnets is back in action.  I also got 2 more pillows from the dollar store (6 now).  I honestly pay more in time than in money.  It’s only a bit per month that I put in, but I think the kids enjoy our room so it makes it worth it.
I’m planning on doing some sort of canopy/tent thing in this area after break as well.  For the…children? 😀 haha

Goodnight!