Wednesday, December 15, 2010

2 more days!!!

I'm heading home for Christmas break in two more days!!! :) Can't wait to see my family!!! I have a lot of catching up to do and hugs to give and snuggling to do with my niece. School has been going better since Thanksgiving. I feel like I am actually seeing little glimpses of progress in my kids. We have been doing state testing benchmarks this week and I am in the process of building my entire second semester curriculum to focus on objectives that students typically struggle with in these state tests. The partial curriculum I received in November turned out to be far less rigorous than what these kids need to get caught up to speed. They are very far behind grade level, but I know that if we spend the entire year on addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division, these kids will never have a shot at competing with their higher performing peers for college prep/AP math class in high school. My program director, Dama, has been incredibly helpful in guiding me through this process. I observed a variety of master teachers across the Rio Grande Valley and have been looking at data from some of the best schools in the state and feel a renewed sense of urgency to push my kids into a track that will lead them out of the cycle of low achievement they are currently trapped in. I started unit planning Monday night and I'm already like 12 hours, a four foot stack of books and print-offs, six binders, and multiple pads of sticky notes into the process. Right now, it looks like a tornado hit my bookshelf but my goal is to have most of it cleaned up and organized into seven unit material binders before I leave on Friday. That's going to mean some long hours at work between now and then, but hopefully I can get enough done so that I only have a couple more full days of work to plan my semester after I fly back to Texas. And my two -08 TFA friends were able to get a three bedroom apartment that opens up January 6th so I get to move in with them the week after I get back. Yay! I haven't packed a single thing yet, but I'm going to ignore that thought until after I get back. Well, that's about it for now...I'd better get back to work on my units. Take care and have a very merry Christmas if I don't post or see y'all before the 25th :) Hugs!

These are pics from my classroom yesterday morning. My "morning helpers", a gaggle of girls that like to come to my room before school and do little tasks around the room/art projects I create for them, got a hold of my white board pens and decorated my entire board when I left yesterday to collect my testing materials. The "Word Wonder Wall" has turned into Ms. Hibner's Spanish words to learn wall. The kids put words up and quiz me on them before they erase them and add new ones. I'm learning a lot! The last pic is of my first period kids arriving and eating breakfast before class started.