Monday, March 30, 2009

Teaching With Technology

As of right now, I am scheduled to lead a session of staff development this summer on using a TI Navigator in the math classroom. This is an awesome piece of technology for math classes that connects the class through the students' calculators that are hooked up to wireless hubs that is ultimately linked to my computer. I really like using them in class and students for the most part love them. I can send quizzes to student on the calculator and then when I collect them on my computer, the program automatically grades it for me. This is quite handy for easy skills checks in class! We also have a feature called Quick Poll where I can send questions to the class and they answer on the calculators so that the class can see everyone's answers (kind of like the CPS systems). The best part is the Activity Center where the students have individual controls on their calculator- so they can control a point or a graph and manipulate it all while other students are doing the same thing and everything is projected onto the screen at once. Today we used this in class for the first time in a while since I have been gone for 3 months on maternity leave. One of my students actually said 'I have missed using these things!' I was so excited to hear that! I really think they enjoy doing something different and like using their calculators to keep them engaged in class.

So this brings me to my point of today's posting. The head of math who asked me to help in presenting this session told me she expected this to be a beginner session because there are Navigators unopened in boxes on all campuses. Now, I can't say I am surprised, but it is disappointing that we have such great teaching tools (and REALLY expensive teaching tools at that!) just sitting in boxes and not being used. I totally understand that it takes a while to learn the program and you can't just jump in and start using it. However, like with anything else, it takes a little bit of practice and then you can catch on pretty quickly. I am still learning the ins and outs, but this is my third year to have one in my classroom and I just try to add a little more each year. I wonder how many other departments have great resources available to teachers that aren't being used. Again, teachers need to work on branching out of their comfort zone to really reach students on a new level which include learning and using new technologies! This can only help keep students engaged in the lessons and help them reach success in class. Just think- even if a teacher used the Navigator once a 6 weeks (or any piece of technology), that is better than nothing! Then the next year they could try to use it once a month....even if a student gets that exposure to that technology 9 times that year, it could make a huge difference in that year for them!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Single Parent for the Week

Brad is out of town all week on business, so I am playing Single Parent! It is actually much easier than I thought it was going to be. John of course has been on his best behavior and has been really easy to put to sleep. I have been singing to him at night so maybe he realizes my voice is so bad that he would rather sleep than continue to hear me sing. Whatever works... Although I could physically be a single parent and would survive, I would never want to be in that situtation! I don't know how people do it for years at a time!

Of course, I miss Brad tons. I have been busy at home without him there since I am usually quite spoiled. He usually cooks dinner while I nurse John, feeds the cat at night, puts John to sleep after bath time and then gets him dressed in the morning so I can get ready. So I don't have much time this week to sit around and dwell on missing Brad, but it is certainly much more fun to be with him! He always makes me laugh and I love being around him. I am looking forward to Friday night when he gets home (well, more like Saturday morning since he will get home really late on Friday!) We only have a couple days left to do our March Date Night (heading out to a coffee shop!) and I am looking forward to that as well!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Our Baby Boy is Growing Up!

So, John is almost 4 months now. Well, he is almost 16 weeks, but not quite 4 calendar months which is always confusing! In the last two weeks he has just acquired so many new skills! He will reach for toys that I hold out to him and then of course shoves it directly into his mouth. He talks ALL THE TIME! He is still on the verge of laughing and is kind of tickelish. The big event is that he can roll from his back to his stomach now. Brad found him on his stomach in the crib about a week ago and John was not a happy camper. He really didn't like waking up on his tummy. However, in just the last day or two, he has been rolling on his stomach more in the crib which makes it more challenging for him to fall asleep. But, it was so much fun to watch him today because he was playing with a toy on his mat at a Mom's Group meeting and all of a sudden he just rolled over onto his stomach. He seemed to really like looking around at other people and at at the other babies. (Who could blame is probably boring looking at the ceiling all the time!) After a little while he got a little fussy so I put him on his back again, but he kept rolling over! It was so cute and I was so mad I didn't have my camera with me!! I did get a picture of him yesterday of when he rolled over at the end of his nap. (No, I don't let him sleep on his stomach!)

John also has a new cousin, Bella. She came home from the hospital on Wednesday! I got to visit her yesterday and hold her for the first time. She is SO light compared to John and super cute. John is getting over a cold so he didn't get to visit Bella so hopefully next weekend they can finally meet.
Well, that is about all for now. John seems like he is about to wake up so I had better get prepared!!!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Back to Work

This week marks the end of my maternity leave. I start back to work on Wednesday although John starts daycare tomorrow. I have a feeling that John will adjust much easier than I will! Thankfully I only have to work for three days and then have another week off for Spring Break.

He is still doing really well and growing like crazy. I am just amazed at the little things he is learning to do- like holding his new toys! He is on the verge of reaching for them- this morning he moved his hand about an inch to grab his toy which is a big improvement!

I spent yesterday looking online and reading about blogs and uses for the classroom. Of course that got me to brainstorming and I am excited to try to use new things with my class. It might take a little while though to really get a good activity or lesson planned out and then I just have to hope I can get my class into the computer lab! I also read about what it means to 'truly blog' and apparently I am not doing it correctly! (nor are some of the other people who I follow!) And if you know me, I have to follow the rules! So, hopefully as I get more into this, I can be a true blogger and not look like a total idiot on these things. Ahhh, learning new things....

Sunday, March 1, 2009

A Day in the Life of John

Here is a typical day as a 3 month old...

7 am: Wake up with some poop caked onto my butt. Mom has to scrub it off with a wipe while I squirm on the changing table. I give her a couple good smiles before I start to fuss because I am hungry! I haven't eaten in about 10 hours since I sleep all night long now!

7:15 am: First feeding of the day! I am so excited that I attack Mom's pretty hard and she let's out a little cry, trying to pry my mouth open. I am stronger than her though and she gets used to it after a minute or two. After about 10 or 15 minutes Mom stops to burp me which I HATE so of course I need to cry and tense up my whole body so that I am standing on her lap while she tries to get out a burp by pounding on my back. Finally she wins out, although if I am lucky, some milk comes up too and gets all over her lap! Switch sides and repeat process.

7:45 am: Done eating. Start smiling and cooing while playing with Mom.

8:00 am: Pee in diaper.

8:15 am: Get diaper changed and Mom tries to get me to sleep. Should I cry really hard today or just fall asleep quickly since I am tired? Tough decision.

8:30 am: Finally asleep. Decided to cry just a little to make Mom feel good about the day. I will work up to crying later in the day!

9:15 am: Start grunting and making noises as if I am waking up. Do this just as Mom is falling asleep since she thinks that she has another 30 minutes until I get up. Fooled her!

9:50 am: Wake up for real and get diaper changed. Throw Mom for another loop and poop all over changing table and curtains! The cover needed to be washed anyways and I didn't care for the curtains all that much.

10:00 am: Have a second breakfast. Don't feel like crying during burping this time.

10:20 am: Smile. Coo. Tummy Time.

11:00 am: Diaper change. Mom changes me into 'real clothes' instead of the pajamas that I have been in all night long. FINALLY!!!!

11:15 am: Mom tries to rock me to sleep, but that never works. She finally just puts me in the crib until I get sleepy and start crying. I wait just long enough for her to walk to the living room and as soon as she sits down, I cry. I have learned to time it perfectly!

11:30 am: Asleep!!! But I did throw in the 'sleep in Mom's arms and cry when she puts me in the crib' routine a couple times for good measure. She loves when I do that!

12:30 pm: Start to wake up. Mom comes in and changes my diaper yet again. I pee A LOT! I start cooing, smiling and talking to Mom and then screaching. She thinks it is cute!

12:45 pm: Lunch time!

1:15 pm: Poop big time in diaper! It is loud enough to wake up Gracie the cat who ignores me all day long. It also is really stinky.

1:30 pm: Get dipaer changed again. The Mom loads me up in the stroller and we take a walk. It is nice being outside although I just stare at Mom the whole time I am awake. After about 15 minutes, I fall asleep. Spend the rest of this nap in the car seat which is way better than sleeping in my crib.

4:00 pm: Wake up, Mom changes diaper, start screaching again since I am learning how to make noises instead of cry, I eat an early dinner.

4:45 pm: Finally Dad comes home so I have someone else to play with. I love Mom, but all day long I have to look at her silly face! Dad plays with me for a little while before I get swing time. I fall asleep.

6:30 pm: Wake up. If I time it right, Mom and Dad will still be eating dinner so I get to interrupt that. Get my diaper changed and then have my second dinner!

7:30 pm: Dad tries to put on my pj's and do our night time routine. Our night time routine goes the same way every night: lullabyes or Dad reads a book, quiet time in Dad's arms with pacifier, then I start to scream my head off b/c I don't want to sleep, fall asleep on Dad's lap, wake up when he puts me in the crib and cry, fall asleep in Dad's arms again, cry when he puts me in the crib, Dad gets frustrated so Mom has to take over and she rocks me to sleep and puts me in the crib. Usually by now I am tired of this little game and just stay asleep. I mean, I have been going at it for TWO HOURS! I must get my beauty rest!

10:30 pm: Give a little 'wake up fake out' where I start to make noises that I am hungry at the same time Mom starts pumping. But I give her a break and go back to sleep until the morning.

Man, it is good to be a baby! :)