Monday, April 30, 2012

Z is for Ziploc

Ziploc bags are a necessity in Kindergarten if not all elementary school classes. We use them for everything. Currently, I have a few dead moths in a snack size ziploc to take to school for my students to examine! We are learning about caterpillars, butterflies, and moths.  Earlier today, I had my students sort through some magnetic lowercase letters and when they finished, they put them in ziploc bags!  For Mother's Day, our students are making earrings. They are beading them onto straight head pins and I am placing them on earring wires.  After they've put the earrings on some construction paper, they fold it up and put them in a teeny ziploc bag!  I will try to get some pics of some of their earrings just so you can see. After today, I'll be able to go back to blogging about my life but I'm going to miss the randomness of A to Z blogging.


Sunday, April 29, 2012

Y is for Yoga

This school year, my students and I have been doing certain yoga poses. I got this book last school year and decided to try it out this year.  The kids love it.  We have yet to get through the whole book. In fact we are only in the G's!  I better get a move on or we won't get through all of them.  After we learned a whole bunch, I printed out the names of all the different poses and stuck them on popsicle sticks so when we're going to transition that's what we do.  Or if they have the wiggles we'll do some yoga poses.


X is for X

As a teacher of young children who are learning how to read and becoming familiar with spelling patterns and what not, it dawned on me that for X, I could discuss the different sounds that X possesses.  Were you aware that X actually has two three sounds? At the beginning of words,  X makes the /z/ sound like in Xenon and Xenia.   The other two sounds that X makes is /ks/ as in wax, tax, mix, fox, sexton, or crux and /gz/ as in exit or auxiliary.  The /ks/ sound is more common and more widely used.  I didn't even realize that X could say /gz/ until I started working as a tutor.  The owner of the center I worked at had been working on a spelling rule book for most of her adult life and one of the rules had to do with the various sounds X could make! If you take a look at all the words I have used that contain x, you just might be able to figure out when X makes certain sounds. Although I did give away when it makes the /z/ sound. Good luck figuring out the tricks. :)


P.S. Pardon the lateness of this post. Somehow I got pink eye again on Friday. It has mostly cleared up as of today (I think).

Thursday, April 26, 2012

W is for Waiting

You would think that since I'm a knitter and I work with children, I should be good at waiting, right? HA. Actually it depends on the situation.  For example, if the hubs is going in for a hospital procedure, then I come well-prepared with a bag of stuff (magazines, knitting, snacks, water, and a book).  If the wait is an unexpected one and I am ill-prepared, it can go either way.  I am not one who will play with my phone.  I don't even access the internet on my phone and this is by choice!  What makes the waiting worse is typically annoying people waiting around me, bad perfume/cologne (I'm allergic), smoking (if it's open air), and hunger.  I need to start carrying knitting in my bag again like I used to. That way I always have something to do if I have to sit around and wait.


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

V is for Vitamins

I am a mostly regular vitamin popper.  I am only mostly regular because I don't remember to always take them (because they must be taken with food).  I take a calcium-magnesium with vitamin d,
a multi,
and an omega 3 and fish oil supplement.

My body feels a difference when I haven't taken any of them (because usually I just stop altogether!).  I used to take my multi and the cal-mag after lunch (right before our read aloud) and the children would marvel at me taking my vitamins in one big gulp.  I know it is advised that you don't take all your vitamins at once (at least that's what they said on Oprah!) but I don't often have breakfast. Plus what I eat for breakfast might not be considered a meal (i.e. banana).  The hubs and I tend to eat dinner later than we should (usually after 7, sometimes 9!) and I don't like taking vitamins that late (after 9) because then I have to get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom! Do you take vitamins? Which ones?


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

U is for Unusual

It is unusual that I am actually sort of caught up on emails right now! Now if only I could catch up on the blogs I am currently subscribed to as well as peruse some new blogs from the A to Z challenge!


Monday, April 23, 2012

T is for Taurus!

I am a Taurus.  A double Taurus in fact (which apparently makes me more stubborn than most).  I am a Taurus through and through.  As a teenager, I was very into horoscopes (and so was my best friend, a Leo).  It wasn't until later in life I learned I was a double Taurus.  I love that my birthstone is an emerald and green is one of my favorite colors.  Everyone (even strangers) says I am so patient (which I actually dislike hearing!)  The throat is supposed to be a weak spot for us and guess what? Sore throats are the worst for me. I've even had laryngitis a few times (not fun at all!!).  I don't think I could have been born any other sign. :)


Sunday, April 22, 2012

Me Time

Whew. This blogging A to Z has taken over my blog! And a few other things have taken over my life so it's been okay that the A to Z has done that. I can now officially announce that tutoring has ended as of this past Thursday. More free time! I can be home before 4pm again in time to catch a little bit of the Nate show (haha) and just in time for Dr. Oz. :)
We had a field trip to the Monterey Bay Aquarium.  For some of my students it was their first time there ever! We got off to a rough start and ended later than intended but the children had fun. I got to walk through without any students! It was awesome. Here are some pics I got to take.
 a baby leopard shark (just like the ones I saw when I was at Elkhorn Slough!)
 one of my favorite exhibits, the aviary.
 my next favorite exhibit, the jellyfish!
 these are upside down jellyfish
 another favorite, an eel. :)
 this guy lived with the eel!
 everyone's favorite, the penguins
And of course, Nemo and Dory, always a kid crowd pleaser!

While I have been a to z'ing, I have been busy knitting. I just finished a shawl (no pics yet). It is waiting to be blocked. I am also in between a shawl and a cowl.
 the shawl
the cowl

Neither one is an easy project. The shawl that I actually completed was actually pretty easy which is probably why I finished that before either of these two!

We will begin our state testing this week. How to entertain about 75 Kindergarten-1st graders, I am soon to find out.  I can't believe the end of the year is already here! I intend to get cracking on my narratives now so I'm not complaining about them in June!

Happy Earth Day!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

S is for Stubborn

This characteristic of mine is one that I own and I own it well.  It actually comes in handy as a teacher.  I'm not a pushover.  Crocodile tears don't even work or puppy dog eyes. Sorry, Charlie.  I have always had to have things go my way particularly while growing up.  I remember when we had to go to Sizzler   and I was adamant about not going in there. I refused to eat there. When everyone else got out of the car to go into the restaurant. I stayed in the car and just waited.  I don't remember why I refused to eat there.  It eventually went out of business (the one here in town).  The hubs and I actually walked by it while we were doing laundry. Our laundromat is right next door to the former Sizzler.  As we walked by I told him that it was the "infamous" Sizzler. He said he thought that it used to be a Sizzler.  I guess the exterior still screams out Sizzler.
Being so stubborn, I am insistent that I can give each of my student's a backbone so nobody is capable of walking all over them.  I don't want to send up wimpy 1st graders!  For some it is harder to discover their inner strength and some just don't have it. It's sad.   


Friday, April 20, 2012

R is for Rest & Relaxation

It has been a long week. Enough said. See you for tomorrow's post!


Thursday, April 19, 2012

Q is for Quarters

Being an apartment dweller, quarters are a necessity for doing laundry.  It will be a difficult transition once we buy a house and purchase our own washer and dryer. I've grown accustomed to being able to do multiple loads at a time!  Aside from using quarters for laundry, I have been collecting the state quarters since they first came out.  I am missing Alabama (not sure which one else).  For sure I am missing a few of the US territories that were released in 2009.  Then I learned in 2010, a whole new series was being released!
In Kindergarten, the children are introduced to all the various coins from 1 cent up to 25 cents.  Vending machines have made it possible for a majority of my students to know what a quarter is. It cracks me up. They're fuzzy on the penny, dime, and the nickel but show them a quarter? Ha. They know what it is and how much it is worth.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

P is for Piano

My parents bought a piano when I was a kid.  Nobody knew how to play the damn thing.  Both my siblings were too young to learn so the burden fell upon me.  All the other Filipino kids were taking piano, why not make me do it too? I think I was in the 5th grade.  My teacher came maybe twice a week? I did okay in the beginning but it wasn't something I enjoyed.  I didn't play for very long though.  At my first recital, I made a mistake (there's that word again!). I had to play Moonlight Sonata. I can't remember what my mistake was but I do remember saying to the audience that I wasn't done yet (to which they chuckled) and then I finished up the performance.  Oh yeah, and it was just my mom and I that went.  My next recital was supposed to be a Christmas-y one. I had learned how to play "White Christmas." For those of you that have been following my blog for a while, you know what winners my parents are. (rolling my eyes) Well, they didn't even take me to my recital.  It was on a week night.  They had more important things to do. You know, like watch tv.  I eventually stopped taking lessons.  I think my teacher ended up moving back to the Philippines or something. I was relieved.  Nobody else after me ever took a lesson.  I'm lucky in that I can still (mostly) read notes.  Do I regret not really learning how to play the piano? Sure I do.  But I wasn't enjoying it one bit.  I didn't even want to learn how to play.  Lesson learned:  If I ever have children, I will not force them to learn how to play an instrument just because everyone else is doing it.


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

O is for Orchid

Last March, the hubs and I got an orchid.  It was one of the centerpieces at my coworker's daughter's baptism/2nd birthday celebration.  It's still alive!!  In the above pic, those are some of the buds that popped up back in December.  I can't even remember how many orchids I have had but this one has survived the longest. The first one I ever had was a pretty green one that I brought to LA to live.  I have reason to believe my ex-roommate's karma killed it. lol. Sigh. Most of the buds have already opened. And guess what? There are a few more. I just wish they weren't all on the same branch.  It has become quite top heavy.  I want to move it into a bigger pot but I also don't want to mess with it.  It's survived this long, you know? Yay for our orchid!


Monday, April 16, 2012

N is for Neglectful

That's me. I have noticed in the last few months that I have been quite neglectful of many things-particularly keeping up with blogs, responding to emails, keeping up with reading magazines, and even keeping up with friends.  I blame it on tutoring after school three days a week.  I have less time to unwind after a long day at school.  Also I guess I have begun to take a more focused approach to life. Rather than multi-task until I can't multi-task anymore, I do less at a time.  I do still fall victim to starting one project and then another but I do eventually finish them.  I thought I'd be able to catch up during my spring vacation. That didn't happen. I caught up on my magazines and I caught up on some blog posts but I'm behind again.  Things are going to pick back up again too with the end of the year fast approaching. Maybe I just need to make peace with being behind on stuff. I don't know.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

M is for Mistakes

The above pic that I found is so true!  My a to z posts often don't come to me until late in the evening.  Occasionally I will do a pre-post but yesterday's topic came to me as I was undoing row upon row of incorrect knitting.  As a knitter, I have made countless mistakes.  In the beginning, you don't really notice them.  As you become more skilled, you learn how to cover up for them.  Eventually (I think) you get to the point where you realize that you and possibly other knitters are the only ones that will even notice the mistake(s). The particular project I was working on last night was one I couldn't cover up.  I had to undo all those rows.  If I kept going, the particular motif that I was working on wouldn't have worked.  I haven't picked up that shawl since I undid about 3 or 4 rows of work (at a rate of 230+ stitches per row).  I am working on an easier and more forgiving shawl.  Though I do intend to finish the aforementioned shawl before the evening is over.  
As a teacher, I make many mistakes. I don't make a big deal when my students make a mistake either. As I have learned, every mistake is a learning experience.  Had I not ever made a mistake as a knitter, I might not know how to deal with them now.  Children need to see that it's okay to not be perfect.  Growing up, I was supposed to be perfect. For a while I was.  Then I outgrew that need to be perfect (and started working with children). So embrace your mistakes, they make you who you are.    


Friday, April 13, 2012

L is for Library

I can't even remember the first time I ever went to the library.  I think my sister had already been born so maybe I was in the 4th or 5th grade.  I spent my summers devouring books and joining the summer book clubs at what was my local library (which is currently undergoing renovations). I was there the last day before the demolition began and I even got to dig up some dirt!  Back in the day, it was just called Santa Lucia Library. It wasn't until years later (try early 90s where everyone was renaming things after Cesar Chavez!) that it got a name change.
When I moved away, I can't say that I used the particular libraries in whatever place I was living in at the time as much as I used the one pictured above.  Oh but I did go to the Daly City library.
I was a preschool teacher by then and found a wealth of books to bring back to my classroom.  I did frequent the college libraries when I was an undergrad-mostly the Berkeley ones (since it had all the journals I needed for certain projects!).  I became familiar with the main branch in downtown Berkeley too. 
In LA, there were two branches that my sister, and the hubs used to frequent. The Palms branch which was close to our apartment 
and the Venice branch
which at the time had just been remodeled so it was our favorite of the two! Boy had libraries gotten fancy in the years we weren't using them. When we got back into using them, we learned that you could check out dvds! The LA branches had a great selection too. For a second there, we started rethinking our netflix memberships!
Now the hubs and I are back in my hometown, and this is our local library:
See that statue? It's Steinbeck himself. Do you know what he used to say (or so I was once told)? He didn't ever want to have a statue in front of the library cos then all the birds would crap on him. Haha. My first job ever, was at the above library. I was a library page.  My sister was a library page too! 
Now that I am a Kindergarten teacher, I have been using this library like one who goes through tissue toilet paper.  In fact, I think I even checked out 50 books once (the limit for teachers) recently and I was proud of myself. :) While we were away loving our LA libraries, the libraries here almost disappeared.  It's a miracle that all three are still open (one undergoing a HUGE renovation!) and can I tell you everytime I go (which is practically every other day) it is always full. I love that it's open on Sundays too.  Love your library!!


Thursday, April 12, 2012

K is for Karaoke

I had to dig deep for that one. I couldn't do Kindergarten or Knitting (my two favorite K's) since I already cornered the A to Z market on those two last year. Sigh. What a dummy.
I have not ever done karaoke.  I have gone with friends and watched as they sang up on stage in front of others but I have yet to partake in the singing! If I remember correctly, I even went to Japan at a time when karaoke was just getting big and I still did not try it out. It's just not me.  I have only ever been three times total.  The most recent time was when I went down to SoCal for some professional development with a few teachers from my school. Would you believe I was tempted to actually give it a go (with two of my coworkers)?? But the wait was too long. We even entertained the idea of going back to the hotel and when everyone else was asleep we would just drive back there. haha. We left the karaoke place at midnight!
The second time I ever went to karaoke was on a blind date that an ex-coworker set me up on. Thank goodness two of my friends (guys) ended up tagging along.  That probably wasn't the smartest of ideas but I at least had a good time.  Oh and the friend who set me up on this boring date also went along and she loves karaoke. In fact, it might've been her idea! He didn't sing either. He just liked to watch other people sing.  I can't remember what we did afterwards.  I do remember having conversations with my two guy friends that came along and how they knew the guy was completely not my type.


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

J is for Jokes

I am not at a joke teller.  I am horrible at remembering them (particularly the punch lines).  I don't even try.  Though I married someone who does like to tell jokes as well as hear them. Fortunately for him, my teaching partner is a joke afficionado as well. Is it a male thing? I don't know many women who tell jokes but maybe that's just my own experience. Are you a joke teller? Do you have a good one to share with me?


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

I is for Ice Cream

I love, love, love ice cream.  Growing up, I remember always begging to get a scoop of mint n' chip whenever we would go to the Rite-Aid. Then I discovered bubble gum. It is still a favorite of mine but it isn't the same like when I was a kid.  Nowadays it is pink (instead of the classic blue!) and it isn't gumballs. It's more like chicklets. I went to the Philippines for the first time as a 5 and a half year old and do you know what I would always get? A drumstick (still a favorite of mine!).  The ice cream man didn't ever come around my neighborhood but when I moved back home for a time or visited, I noticed that now there was an ice cream man coming around.  There was even a paleta man!  Nowadays, some of them have their carts attached to bikes and have an awning and everything.
In any case, much of the ice cream I ate while growing up was stuff bought at the grocery store. Lots of store brand ice cream and some dreyer's ice cream.  I remember at one point, the dreyer's mint n' chip ice cream had chocolate chips that were in the shape of seeds. This one time, I remember saving them all up in this little blue chest. I'm guessing I ate them all eventually but I can't remember.  I didn't ever like sundaes or banana splits. I was a purist. Just give me ice cream on a cone-preferably a green cone. I didn't particularly like the sugar cones when I was a kid (who knows what was wrong with me!).
Nowadays, I've gotten pickier about my ice cream. Ohh, we have had mochi coming out of our ears but my favorite brand of ice cream? Hands down is Breyers. In the freezer right now, there's got to be at least three different cartons of Breyers ice cream. Have you had the peach?? It's to die for (and I typically don't even like canned peaches or fruit cups!). I also love strawberry (there are REAL strawberry chunks in there!). Breyers is tops with me because the ingredients are so basic.  I think what did it was watching Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution in LA.


Monday, April 9, 2012

H is for Here

Here I am week 2 of blogging from A to Z and week 2 of my spring vacation!  I can't believe I have to go back to work next week.  I've been feeling a tad guilty.  I should really start working on my spring narratives because I have the time to work on them now.  Those of you that have been following my blog for a while know that at my school, we don't utilize "typical" report cards.  We don't even really give letter grades (except for middle school I believe).  We have to craft reports on each individual child.  In Kindergarten, the key areas are social and emotional development, mathematical thinking, and language arts.  The math part is easy. It's the social and emotional that requires more thought and care.  I think I just might try to start them before this week is up.
I have been here knitting away.  Had I been in my usual knitting mode, I would've had at least 2 projects completed by now. Ha. The hubs was on spring break too so that has prevented me from knitting, reading, keeping up with blogs, etc.  This week he has a couple of doctor appts and class so maybe I'll be able to get some things done. I have caught up on all my magazine reading which was an amazing feat. I got a free subscription to Newsweek and had been behind since the first issue (try January something). Now I'm ahead of the game! yahoo!!  If only it could remain this way.


Sunday, April 8, 2012

G is for Grrrr and Goop

I had every intention of typing up my G post yesterday (when I was supposed to) but the strangest thing happened.  My eyes both started burning and itching SO badly that I just could not keep them open any longer and I had to turn my computer off and just lay (miserably) in bed. Miserably because I'm SO behind on checking out all the other A to Z participants' blogs!
The hubs had me wear part of my sleeping mask so that I could keep the one eye that was really bothering me closed.  When I opened it, it was like there was sticky gooey goopy stuff on the inside of my eyeball making it feel weird to even blink. It was gross (ha).
I've decided it must be the mascara I used when we went to Seder. It was the same mascara I used a few weeks back and after that time, I got pink eye! So it is now in the trash. Oh well. I really liked that mascara too.
Fortunately, I still had the antibiotic drops that my friend so graciously let me use for the time being. So last night I gave myself a couple of drops and earlier today I gave myself one more drop. That oughta do it. (I hope!)


Friday, April 6, 2012

F is for Feast

The hubs and I just returned from having Seder over at our friends' house.  It was the first time either of us had ever been to a Seder. We are so stuffed!  Aside from all the ritualistic stuff (the four glasses of wine--we had mini glasses, the matzah, and the sandwiches) there was a lot of yummy stuff. There was gefilte fish, matzo ball soup (of course), brisket roasted with potatoes and carrots, and a cake with what seemed like lemon curd and seasoned strawberries.  The ritual part was done via the 30 Minute Seder.  I believe we started around 6 and didn't finish completely until about 9:30. Is that typical?  Are they usually longer than that? In any case, I love me some brisket and I am still full!


Thursday, April 5, 2012

E is for Education

That there is my class space. I don't say room because I share a HUGE room with the other Kindergarten class! It wasn't until I began working at my current school that I began to truly see the relationship between theory and practice and how the interaction of the political world upon both really affects everyone involved.  It is a charter school and the founder is a very impassioned woman (who I can now call friend).  We have had many discussions about how teaching is done at our school and the whys.  I get what she wants to happen because of the school.  I get her thinking. I get her theory.  She has been trying to empower me into speaking up. (Think Revenge of The Sith after the battle between Obi Wan and Anakin and Obi Wan yells out, "You were the chosen one.") I tend to be on the quiet side during staff meetings-but our meetings don't involve theory or why we're doing what we do.  It's more about how doing recess before lunch has affected our students and what the plan is for the next enrichment event, not exactly the arena for theoretical discussions behind why it is important to let children come up with their own solutions (for example).
Education is suffering.  That shouldn't be news to anyone.  Everyone is losing out. It is currently a lose-lose situation.  Kindergarteners are expected to know how to read by the end of the school year!! When you were in Kindergarten, were you reading by the year's end?  Of course some of you were. But there are many that don't even have one inkling of interest in letters or learning their sounds for that matter.  Unfortunately, most schools have to shove this stuff down the kids' throats.  My school doesn't fall within that bracket.  We still do things only if they are developmentally appropriate. But, if a child is going to attempt to transfer to another school, it is usually advised that the parents wait until after 2nd grade.  I guess by that point, a student from our school will be performing just like any other 2nd grader.
Sure the government wants its citizens to be able to compete with the rest of the world but what about being a kid?  The pendulum is swinging much too quickly if you ask me.