Category Archives: teacher

The 2020-2021 School Year

We’ve been waiting for the shoe to fall, the ball to drop.

Districts around Orange County have been releasing their plans about the 2020-2021 school year.  Santa Ana announced, Brea announced…others have announced.  It’s a lot like when we heard districts were closing down back in March.

Anaheim Elementary announced they will start the school year with distance learning indefinitely.  However, it appears that the district will expect daily live lesson, daily student check-ins, and true student accountability.

So it seems like they will allow us to actually use Zoom to meet with our students.  But I wonder if I’ll be allowed to work in my classroom.  I know some of my fellow Westmont teachers don’t want to go back because of the hardship with their young children.  But I would love to get out of my house and into my classroom.  It would help my focus so much, and the change of scenery would do me good.  Maybe making it an option to go in a few certain days a week.


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Student Pick Up

It was our turn today, second and fourth grades.  Monday we bagged up all the students’ materials.  Today (Friday) we brought them down to the parking lot.  Second grade was on the side walk in front of the school parking lot, 4th grade was kitty corner, in the parking lot.

We had an Easy Up, but it was cloudy.  Music was playing, and we just hung out and waited for parents and students to drive up to pick up their things.  I say about 18 parents.

It was fun.  Second grade was gloved up and masked up, but not 4th grade.  We never put on gloves, and only wore masks when we gave the bags of stuff to the parents.

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It was an incredible day, proceeded by an incredible day.

Thursday, we had an “emergency, optional” staff meeting.  We were told there would be no more assemblies, no more field trips, no more staff meetings.  No more gatherings larger than class size.  But there was a buzz in the air.  You knew something was up.  I was guessing we would be in school for about 2 more weeks.

Than Friday happened.  Throughout the day 4th grade teachers kept getting emails and watching Facebook posts.  Word spread that other districts were shutting down.  Then somehow, word was spread that we should send the Chromebooks home.  (Yikes!)  The district sent out people to help us cut zip ties on the chargers, and Anne, Ivan, and other school personnel came around to help as well.

Things really were buzzing now.  We tried to keep the students out of the loop for now.  We decided to tell them we were going to let them try taking them home for the weekend.  We thought it would be for a few weeks.  After lunch it was a bit crazy.  I passed out the Chromebooks and wrote down who had which computers.  Then I did a quick lesson so they would know how to email me.  But that’s all.  Then over the intercom the principal came on to tell the kids they were going to take them home for 3 weeks.

The place went crazy.  It was a kid’s dream come true.  I made sure they packed them in their backpacks safely, then walked them out.  It was nuts.  I don’t think anyone was believing what was happening.

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Another Rainy Day

For having 2 rainy days in a row, the students have been on pretty good behavior.  I wasn’t expecting rain today, and since it was Tuesday, I had to make a quick dash to Rubio’s to get lunch.  Kelly went with me, she drove, and we made pretty good time.  Jiji at the end of the day was nice.

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Filed under behavior, classroom, teacher

Pizza Party

My class was the upper grade class that raised the most money for our Pennies for the Cure fundraiser.  That meant we got a pizza party.  The class still went through the lunch line, but then went right back to our classroom, where 2 pepperoni and 1 cheese pizza was waiting for them.  I even got half a sausage and artichoke pizza for myself.

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Drinking Fountains

Here’s my problem.  I’ve just finished some PE, and my class is tired and thirsty.  I sit my class down at the lunch tables near the drinking fountains, and I let a few go at a time to get a drink.  That way they don’t get restless and into trouble while waiting in a long line.

Then another teacher finishes PE and just lets her entire class run over and get a drink.  Now the lines are very long, and my students have to be in the back of a long line.


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Testing, Day 2

It’s day 2 of testing.  In 4th grade its part 2 for the Language Arts portion.  I hate it how it says “English – Language Arts Test,” as if we give any other language tests.


I like to let my kids get their brains awake before we start testing.  I’ve been told light exercise is good for that, so I like to let my kids run a little, and maybe do some stretching before we head up to the classroom.  Then I want to let them get drinks and use the bathroom so they don’t have to worry about that after we start testing.  Once the testing starts, they aren’t allowed to leave their desks or the classroom.

Once we are in the classroom and ready to start, I have them spread their desks out so they are away from everyone.  Now this year I have the biggest class I have ever had, so when they spread out there isn’t a ton of room between every desk.  But at least they are not right next to someone.

One they are spread out, I pass out the pencils, and then the test booklets and answer documents.  Obviously, it’s important that they get THEIR same answer document, but because there are different versions of the test, it’s important that they get their same testing booklet as well.

Once those are passed out, I read the directions exactly like the Directions for Administration tells me to.  They actually have boxes that say, “Say….”  You are only aloud to say what those boxes say; no more, no less.

Then I let them begin.  They end up getting from about 9:20 till 11:10 (that is our recess).  If they need more time they are escorted to another room where they finish.  I know – that means they don’t get their recess.  It’s a bummer, but I don’t know of any other way.  Throughout the state, they are not allowed to talk with students during the test, in the classroom or outside of it, where they might talk about the test and give away answers.  If you let people who were not done with the test out for recess with those who are finished, there is potential there for cheating.

After recess, we spend the day doing things that are not so rigorous, and we do some math review as well.  Those who did not finish before recess stay in the room they were brought to and stay there until they are done.

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It’s that time of the year again.  Easy on the lesson plans, tough on the nerves; State testing.  We spend the entire year getting ready for it.  We practice for it.  I know many students are stressed about it.  I know a lot of teachers are.

I typically have my students spread their desks out while testing.  This year I was thinking they didn’t do a very good job this year.  They’re all still packed in tight.  Then I remembered the 5 extra students I have this year.  That’s why they are still packed in tight, even when they spread out.

In years passed I’ve given each of my students a roll of Smarties, as a treat, while they are testing.  I like to think it gives them a little break from the test.  This year our district said no mints, no gum, no candies.  Nothing that could give them an unfair advantage.  Really??  I miss snacking on those Smarties.

I find testing to be tiring, for me and my students.  The teachers are told not to be sitting at their desks while the students are testing.  Walk around, monitor, check to make sure students are not skipping questions or answering in the wrong section.  I just find it tiring walking up and down the aisles all morning.

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Teacher Appreciation Day

Normally we don’t get a lot of action on Teacher Appreciation Day, at least not from our parents.  However, the PTA and our school administration always does something to show their gratitude!  This year our P and VP gave us lunch out on our patio on Wednesday, with the food from some taco truck.  It was great!  We also got an hour long lunch, so it was nice to sit out in the sunlight, and have plenty of time to eat and chat.

Our PTA gave us a breakfast on Friday.  We had donuts, bagels, fruit, coffee, and juice.  It was very nice.

Picking up the students that morning, there were a lot of students with flowers and other gifts for their teachers.  It was nice.  I received about 8 flowers, and about 4 gifts, not including the 2 gifts I got Wednesday from students.  Apparently, the Auto-Call called the parents Thursday night and let them know it was Teacher Appreciation Day.  That was nice.

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The Space Shuttle Comes to School

The Endeavor Space shuttle was being flown from Florida to LAX, and it’s last leg of the trip took it right over Anaheim.  We were told to expect it anywhere from 11:30 to 12:30, and it was said to be flying low to let people a good look.

After watching it take off live in the morning, I was excited about having the class see it fly over in the afternoon.  The general consensus from the teachers was to get the kids out out by 11:45, so most of us did.  Now, what do you do with 35 students out on the field, with about 15 other classes of 35 waiting out there as well?

I saw Mrs.  Carver brought out some flash cards, so I borrowed some, and we played a round of “Around the World” with them.  But that took forever, so we just played the one round.  So then I just let the students talk amongst themselves.

It was getting hot out there.  I noticed when we were going out there, that Price School had some classes out there, but as we were coming out, they went back in.  I started wondering if we had missed the whole thing.  I notice some classes were moving to what little shade there was on the field, right against the southern fence.  So eventually, I moved my class there.

A teacher’s husband was watching the process on TV, so he was sending updates to her.  My in-laws just texted me that it had landed at LAX, when all of a sudden I hear some kids start screaming.  I looked over to the northwest and saw the gigantic 747 with the shuttle on top of it just coming into view over the trees.  It looked huge!

The kids went wild!  It looked sooo cool!  It was flying nice and low, so we got a good look at it.  I put my hands in the air and just yelled (I’m not sure why, it just felt right).  Then I tried to video it with are camera.  It turned out that I didn’t really get a good shot of it.  The sun was making it so I couldn’t see the viewfinder.  So when I went to a wide view, it was too small.  But it was cool hearing the kids scream with excitement.  I don’t know why, but they all seemed to run after it and follow it.

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