How much longer until retirement?

A teacher blogs about reading, writing, knitting, and classroom life.

Is it too late for a New Year’s resolution? February 15, 2009

Filed under: Knitting,reading — Stephanie @ Finances & Fatigues @ 10:13 am
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I added a page today, entitled “Books Read in 2009”.  Around December I read a lot of blogs where people made goals for the number of books they wanted to read.  I thought about doing that, but I do read a lot as it is so I didn’t know how many books to make a goal versus the number I actually read.  So I’m making a list, almost more for myself although anybody is welcome to look.  Apparently this morning I finished number 7, although I don’t honestly know if I have forgotten any.  I went through a phase in January where I read a bunch of Ann Rinaldi books, which are all middle-school aged books about early American history.  They’re really cute, goofily-romantic, and a fun read.  Thus so far these are conquering my list, but I’m curious to see by the end of the year how my list looks.  I’m predicting it will be mostly young adult/juvenile novels since I do read a lot of things I think my students might read or might like.

In other news, knitting is going slowly.  I got up to the cable paneling on Corona, but then G put in some special orders before he goes to Germany in 3 weeks so I’m at the crown of a Raleigh Hills Hat for him.  I want to make him a scarf and matching hat set too, but I haven’t settled on anything manly.  I may just mail it to him there.


Hope, Joy, and Sheer Frustration December 8, 2008

Filed under: reading,Teaching — Stephanie @ Finances & Fatigues @ 5:57 pm
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Hope: My students were well behaved today.  Even H.  Especially H.  How?  On Friday my principal came in and helped me rearrange my classroom (for the third time this year- another story for another day) to separate the 5th and 6th graders.  She felt that the 6th graders were a bad influence on the 5th graders.  H got his own seat and a clipboard.  He was perfectly behaved. After lunch the whole class got a little rowdy, but in general, it was one of the best behaved days in ages.  There is hope after all!

Joy: I just checked out The Invention of Hugo Cabret at the library.  I was eying this book at our school library last week, but a kid took it and I wasn’t about to take it from him- although I was tempted.   This book is really cool in it’s set up.  It’s super thick like a Harry Potter book, but 284 of the pages (according to the jacket) are drawings.  On the pages that do have writing, they aren’t a full page.  I “read” like the first twenty pages at the school library and I was so excited to have found it and I can’t wait to start it!

And the frustration that put an anchor on this whole day…

I’m taking this online class that makes me want to use all sorts of profanity.  In California, teachers have to “clear” their credential.  This too makes me want to use profanity, but I’m trying to focus my anger on this class, which is one of four to clear my credential.  On the website, the assignments are listed in 4 separate places, and none of them match.  On one week in particular nobody could figure out the assignment and a ton of people emailed the instructor, but she took her sweet time (a week) and waited until after it was due to clarify and some people had to do it again.  I am currently failing this class because I didn’t find the rubric for the assignment until a week later and didn’t realize all that I had to do.  Notice my choice in the word “find”, not that I didnt read, or didn’t know, but that I literally couldn’t find it on this maze of a website.  So to pass this class I need to get an excellent score on the next paper. However, I am confused on this as well.  In one place she says it should be between 3-5 pages, but then the sample paper she put up is 13 pages.  The whole ordeal makes me want to yank my hair and scream into a pillow.

But on the bright side, it makes me want to be an internet teacher, because apparently you can assign obscure assignments and not respond to your pupils and still make a paycheck bigger than mine.


Number the Stars December 7, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — Stephanie @ Finances & Fatigues @ 9:34 am
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I just finished reading Number the Stars by Lois Lowry.   My students read this book in their class last year and loved it.  They told me that I had to read it because it was one of the best books ever.  Honestly, I think they pumped it up too much because while I thought it was good, they got my expectations too high and I wasn’t floored as I expected to be.

But then of course, being a teacher and all, I turned it into a learning experience.  I tried to pick apart why they liked it so much to give me some insight on my own book.  So here goes:

1.  There is a good amount of action.

2.  A kid saves the day.

3.  The adults let the kid know some adult secrets, which means the reader knows too.  I don’t think kids can resist knowing adult secrets.

4.  A main theme is friendship, which of course everybody can relate to.

I find this interesting because these are very different from the reasons why I liked the book, which is mostly the historical point of view.  The story is about a little girl living in Denmark during WWII and under German occupation.  Her best friend is Jewish and her family sneaks them away to Sweden.  In all my history classes as a history major, I never heard or read anything about the Danish experience during WWII.

My final conclusions: My students liked the idea of kids getting involved in the action and helping adults and saving the day.  I don’t think these will fit into the current novel I’m working on, but it’s something to keep in mind.  While cultural and historical backgrounds are not as important to kids, adults like it and teachers can always emphasize it if the book is read in class.