Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Master Bath, Part VI

It's been almost a month since I've updated the blog on the Master bathroom progress--so here you go :)

From the bedroom door looking into the room--Dave finished removing the horrid word paneling from the house.

The junk pile grew (and was taken to the dump)

Brenda came over and helped Dave finalize the new subfloor. Dave taught her how to use the nail gun! The floor and walls are completely insulated which should dramatically increase the warmth in this room! After a successful inspection of insulation and (new) rough plumbing, David came over and helped Dave hang drywall on the ceiling. I wouldn't say that they had fun... but it was fun to watch them. David using his head to hold up the drywall I even "got" to help at one point...The sitting room area is completely drywalled now and the door is temperary in place.

Coming soon (hopefully by May 15th):

  1. Toliet useable in bathroom
  2. Taping/mudding drywall
  3. Bedroom walls cleaned, cracks fixed
  4. Walls textured in sitting room and bedroom
  5. Door installed completely
  6. Bedroom and sitting room painted

Coming in the nearer future:

  1. Drywall in bathroom
  2. Shower stall prepared

Uggghh--Teacher Rant ahead

Week two of testing has begun--my testing group (10th and 11th graders that I don't know) is wonderful and has not caused any issues.

My students are a bit more squirmy than normal, but other than fifth period's normal hoodlums, no major problems.

The real problem today?

The cranky teachers who feel the need to complain about everything, including the unreliability and waste of time of testing. The ones who want to say that they are a great teacher and their test scores don't matter because it isn't an accurate test. Everywhere I went today on campus, this cranky complainingness (a made up word for you Nicole) followed me. The one who told me at lunch that my "trust in the system truly scared" him and I was "naive" to believe that my students scores would improve it I worked hard.

I said, "oh well" and left the staff lounge (I know, it was my fault for being in there; however, I have had no prep today and really needed to get copies made and didn't feel like standing in line this morning).

I haven't stopped stewing over this (two hours later), but there is no point in bringing up my thoughts to these types of teachers. Here is what I wanted to say, but didn't (mom, I'm trying to practice choosing my battles):
  • You're just complaining because your test scores suck and you don't know how to make them better.
  • You've never been taught how to use the scores to improve your day-to-day instruction, thus you see them as numbers with no importance.
  • Because you've never been taught, and I have, my scores are higher than yours and this threatens you.
  • You need to figure out that even if you don't like multiple choice tests, they are and will continue to be used as a major part of the education system. And buddy, sooner than you realize, you'll be seriously judged upon them. Who am I kidding, you're already judged on them and that is why you're complaining in the first place.
  • You like to complain.

Of course, this mentality fills the education world and of course, it is another one of those things I'd like to change as an administrator.

Friday, April 16, 2010


Four of my five eleventh graders have finally passed the CAHSEE!
Woo Hoo!
In order to reward their hard work, each student was given one of these three inch tall "super cheesy plastic trophies" (address levels work for a lot of projects). We also celebrated with giant cookies!
Although they are so totally worthless plastic prizes, the kiddos were so excited. After taking and failing the test three times, they were pretty proud of themselves for passing and officially getting to be part of the Class of 2011. I gave them out during second period and later, during lunch, I saw one of the kiddos with her friends showing off the trophy.
The fifth student, who did not pass, increased her score by 48 points. She is only 8 points away from passing. Although she was really upset (to the point of tears), we had an encouraging conversation and looked at her giant improvement and the small jump she needs to make by May. She has only been living in the US and speaking English for three years; that said, she works incredibly hard and is self-motivated. Needless to say, her tears broke my heart and I have another four weeks to help her pass.
Teachers--I found these beauties at Alin's in a pack of 8 for $2.99.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Bribery and Competition Works Wonders

FYI--If you're not a teacher or don't really care about a genius CST prep program, feel free to scan down and look at my bright classroom walls and move on.
The CSTs are coming and my students are prepared. In order to prove it and do some "fun" review, the annual team competition has started. This genius plan was not my complete creatiovAlthough the chart above makes the system look pretty complicated, the game is pretty simple.
Some of the basics:
  1. Each class has eight teams
  2. Each team is made up of four students of all levels (one high, one low, and two middles--based on last years CST scores and modified based on the semester final and class grades).
  3. Each team works together to answer released CST questions in a packet.
  4. From the state website, I took all the released questions and broke it down into five packets.
  5. Teams are encouraged to talk about WHY they chose each answer, holding mini debated when they disagree with each other on a question's answer.
  6. After a set time (2 minutes per question), we show our answers one at a time and I mark down which groups get the questions right/wrong.
  7. If more than two groups get the question wrong, as a class we go over the answer choices and volunteers can answer proving questions (ie: who can tell me why answer a is a better choice than answer c? who can tell me the defintion of ambiguity?)
  8. As soon as we grade the packet, we start the next packet and the cycle continues for seven school days.

Why do my burnt out ninth graders (who have taken CSTs every year since kindergarden) want to participate in this competition??

Bribery and Competition (period)

Bribery is the most important aspect: There are some pretty kick butt prizes!

  • class party
  • pizza party
  • breakfast with me
  • a super cool team who gets to come to all three

Competition is the second most important aspect for all people, let alone ninth graders and more specifically ninth grade BOYS (who tend to be more difficult):

  • Everything they do well earns them points.
  • Their points help the class as a whole and their team as a whole (up and down and across on that big chart).
  • If they have the most points in their period or in the team, they get stars.
  • Stars get them the "big" pizza prize.
  • Also, the team that gets the most questions right, gets to come to everything!
  • Their scores, points, and stars are posted instantly and updated daily. All I have to do it walk over and give one team a point and everyone copies that team (positive recognition works people!)

Some "working" pictures for you during team time.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Can you tell Spring Break is over?

The posts have totally stopped :)

I haven't had a great week at work, but I'm determined to see the positives. On that note, I have a few cute stories to tell you about my kiddos.

My CAHSEE students (as I've talked about before here) are a joy. A pure joy. Amazingly enough, I look forward to this period and don't really want them to leave when the period is over. They are unique individuals with great personalities, personal dreams, and a lack of self-esteem. They range from 14-17 years old, freshman through seniors.

Over the course of the past ten weeks, we're read four novels (I know this is against the rules, don't tell the novel-police), planned 40 body paragraphs, written four essays, read the newspaper front cover to back cover, and significantly improved in many areas!

Anyway, the real thing I wanted to tell you is that on the Friday before break, they participated in an egg hunt (like my 7th grade kids did last year and my 9th graders did the day before). They worked together pretty fast and had about fifteen minutes left of class.

Maggie, 11th grader, decided that we should play "heads up, seven up" and proceeded to convince all the other kids to play. Her "convincing" took about 20 seconds. They proceeded to set the rules for play (only 3 people were up, instead of 7) and play! They were so stinkin' cute. It made my day.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Easter at the Bennetts

Mom and Dad
(yes, Dad has a broken arm... yes, he broke it while golfing, but that is a whole different post)
Melissa, me, and Mom
(yes, Mom is showing off her new tiny body)
The Easter Bunny
(yes, Reese let me put this on her and ran around the backyard a cute as a bunny)
Easter Bunny left a few presents for each of us
(no, we are not too old for the Easter Bunny to come and yes, he even brings my parents presents)

Friday, April 9, 2010

Kick Butt Graduate!

Yesterday was a beautiful evening to celebrate Dave's hard work! The warm 78 degree weather was perfect for our walk in downtown to the Riverside Municipal Auditorium.
We found a full row of seats towards the back, but right by the center isle
(where they walked in and out).
Kay, Mom, Dad, Desiree and I started the evening together and Melissa joined us when she got off from her first 12-hour shift at the hospital.
Dave in the entry processional
Little did we know, Dave was getting a "few" awards. First, he was given the Quarter Project Award for his 115 page capstone project (didn't go on stage this time). The second time his name was called (picture above), he went onto the stage to receive a Alpha Beta Kappa National Honors Society pin and acceptance certificate.
The third time, he was awarded the Valedictorian Award for the Bachelors of Science, Information Systems Security program (two pictures below).
This award came with fancy metalian and plaque.
The fourth time Dave climbed the stairs he was actually getting his
Bachelors of Science diploma (well, empty diploma folder)
Dave on the exit processional! Excited to be "grad-ma-cated" (his joke, not mine).
Although his main party is next Sunday (if you accidently didn't get an invitation and you want to come, feel free), we had a mini-party with cheesecake and a grad bobble-head!
The proud grad with all his awards and highest honors cords!
Dave and Mom laughing!
The proud wife!
The proud family

Lifetime Member

At Weight Watchers, once you reach your goal weight you enter the "maintenance" phase for six weeks. At the end of this, you are rewarded with a "lifetime" gold key. This means that you can attend meetings for the rest of your lifetime for free (well, as long as you stay below or within two lbs of your goal weight)!

As you know and read about here, here and here, I declared goal seven weeks ago. Last Wednesday, I celebrated becoming WW's newest lifetime member!

This wonderful person is my WW leader, Donna. She is the best leader there is (and I'm not just saying that to be nice, literally I've seen good, bad, and horrible leaders over the past three years) and has been a part of my journey since July 2007 when I started WW. She made me cry during the meeting as she introduced me to the group and I made her cry in return with my thanks!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Easter Eggs

Melissa and I dyed Easter eggs on Saturday for the sake of tradition. Although we are "kinda old" to do something like this, we love it. This year we ended up having two dye kits because we never communicated that we were going to do it; mom bought one and I picked up one "just in case."
Getting all the bowls laid out, measuring vingear and water...
Even Dave and Reese participated
Some of the final products (we made 22 eggs in all)
Egg salad sandwiches, here we come!

Today is the Day

Dave graduates from ITT Technical Institute with his Bachelors of Science in Information Systems Security! The brainiac is graduating with a 3.999 GPA (darn B+ in Algebra II the summer we got married).Again, thanks to Brenda Flowers we have some stellar photographs to share with the world.
some humor for the big day

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Dropped off the face of blogging

Sorry folks.

I have a lot to share with you and some pretty awesome photo stories, but I haven't felt the need/desire to sit down and actually do it. The guilt is setting in (thus, this post), yet it isn't enough guilt to make me want to DO something about it.

For now, here is a list of the possible blog posts I should be blogging about in no particular order:

  1. Progress on the master bath project
  2. Becoming a lifetime member of WW
  3. Melissa's job and moving into my house
  4. School and funny kiddo stories
  5. Easter
  6. MA program coming to a close
  7. Spring Break
  8. Dave's graduation
  9. Impromptu visit with Grandma T and Grandpa

for now because every blog needs a picture,

enjoy a picture of Reese (as a bunny) and I from Easter morning