Saturday, December 22, 2012

Sandy Hook

No words can describe how horrific this event was.

I try not to think too hard about it; but we need to think about it.

I am sad about the lives lost - especially those whose lives were ahead of them, with bright futures.

Those adults who lost their lives trying to protect innocent children are my heroes.

They gave the ultimate sacrifice to save the lives they nurtured every day.

My thoughts and prayers go out to the entire community.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

I figured it out!

It took me forever, but I finally figured out why I got the batman coffee cup!
The kid's mom mentioned today that he loved my joke, and that's why he got me the coffee cup.

I didn't want to be rude and ask what joke. I tell lots of jokes, sometimes on purpose, but mostly on accident. But I couldn't for the life of me figure out when I had made reference to batman!

Then it hit me. I had told them my favorite corny joke. And he had bought me a batman mug because he wanted me to know he thought my joke was awesome. And I didn't realize it for 2 weeks. What a horribly absent minded teacher I am!

And of course, you're dying to hear the joke, right? OF COURSE YOU ARE!

Q: what did batman say to robin right before they got into the batmobile?

A: "robin, get in the batmobile."

Told you it was corny.

~the absent minded Ms. J

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Drama, a Bad Sub, and Mrs.

Ahh drama. The one thing I don't miss about teaching long term assignments. My fifth graders are very much into drama - boy/girl stuff and friend stuff and fun things like that. I have to keep a very watchful eye at recess and during transitions in class.

Last week I was out of town and had a sub for two days. I came back to a classroom that was totally trashed. It was a mess, and that drives me crazy. She also left me one page of notes which gave me no knowledge of what actually happened.

I guess I have high expectations when it comes to subs?

Oh funny story. It has always been slightly annoying to me when kids call me "Mrs. J" because I'm not married, but I figure it's not their fault if they accidentally mix Ms and Mrs up, especially since most teachers are Mrs and so it's confusing to them.
I'm chagrined to report that I've referred to myself as "Mrs. J" multiple times this week on accident. I have no idea why my brain is processing it that way, but it sure isn't helping reinforce to the kids my official title.

Oh well. Whatever. If they stay out of drama trouble, I guess they can call me Mrs. J if they want to.

Love those kids. So fun! - Mrs. J

Saturday, November 3, 2012

5th grade... for the next 3 months

I have gotten a very cool opportunity to experience a charter school atmosphere for the next three months. Starting Monday, I am a full-time 5th grade teacher. I have 26 students, and they are a lot of fun. I spent the last week with them, shadowing their teacher (how many schools pay for the long term sub to shadow the teacher for a week so the transition is smoother???), and also got to sit in on all the parent-teacher conferences.

I found myself unconsciously comparing charter and typical public schools in my mind. I have promised myself that I will keep an open mind and wait until the end of my time there to make an official judgment. One of the things I have been comparing is the presence of a strict dress code. Yes, it is a uniform school. Students and teachers are required to conform. At some levels, I love it. I get 10-15 minutes extra sleep because I don't have to figure out what I'm wearing, iron, etc. However, I miss being able to wear my personal style.

Here is the dress code, in all of it's specifics and generalities.
-White button-up collared shirt
-Navy blue pants, skirt or dress
-Fire-engine red accents
 -Navy, brown or black shoes (socks must show). No boots or heels

So in some ways, I feel stifled, but not completely. I can still do my hair nice. Accessories are allowed (hooray for belts, scarves and headbands!!).

My class is fun. One kid (whom I have already nicknamed Mr. Messy Desk, or MD) asked if he was my favorite student. Wish I had had the presence of mind to ask if I was his favorite teacher... ~Ms. J

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


Same class as last week. Cute kids, a lot of fun. And always good for a laugh.

Take the twins for example. We'll call them Jack and Jill. The PTA is collecting donations of candy for the Harvest Festival. Jack came to class today, pulled out a bag of Babe Ruths, and said "this is for the festival!"

Fabulous! Thanks, Jack.

An hour or so later, when I told the kids to take out their snack, Jill pulls out a bag of Babe Ruths, and asks the high school helper, "can you help me open this? Mom sent this for my snack."

When I looked over in that direction, I saw Jill with her hands full of Babe Ruths, handing them out to other students (hey, at least she shares in her conniving schemes).

My dear, your mom sent that in for the Harvest Festival - not so you can give the entire class a sugar high!

Kindy - they never cease to amaze me.

Friday, October 12, 2012

2 days of Kindergarten!

Heaven help me. Kindy is exhausting! I did a two day stint in kindy, and boy am I tired! That quad mocha helped, but not completely.

I have a million crazy things kinders say, but I'll limit it to two funny stories.

Tuesday, a kid brought a cricket to share. I told him to keep the lid on the Tupperware, but when you're 5, you sometimes forget. Anyway, he took the lid off, and I watched in horror as the cricket jumped out of the Tupperware, seeking freedom. I quickly considered my options.
1- let the cricket dwell in the classroom for as long as his life lasted (not something I relished)
2- hope the kids caught the cricket
3- squish the cricket and cause major trauma for 28 five-year-olds
4- try to catch it myself *shudder*

Thankfully, as I was grabbing a tin pail to put over the cricket, the little boy caught him and put him back in the Tupperware. Whew! Disaster averted!

Wednesday, I had a very interesting surprise. As we were getting their backpacks and coats put away, a little one grabs something out of their backpack and says to me, "LOOK!"

It was a couple pairs of underwear.

Me: oh, put those back in your backpack, sweetie (trying to be calm and not succeeding - they didn't tell me these things in teacher school!)

Student: they're for accidents!

Glad to know you didn't just decide to bring underwear to school for show and tell.

-"Teacher" (because in kindergarten, they cannot remember a sub's name)

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

6th, 9/27

I love subbing for sixth grade at the middle school level.

1st reason: one lesson, five periods. I literally teach the same thing five times. Nice and simple.

2nd reason: I get to see the kids I subbed for last year at the same middle school. They are all so tall now! And they came and gave me big hugs - it was so nice to see them!

3rd reason: I love sixth graders. They crack me up. I never know what they are going to do.

Case in point.

At each table group there is a bin for red correcting pens. A student took one of the red pens apart, and was doodling with it during whole group time. Then he got frustrated because it wasn't writing, so he proceeded to blow the ink out of the pen onto his notebook (and consequently his desk, pencil and hands). Then he broke the pen and threw it across the room.

All of this was done and I didn't notice. I'm amazed I didn't see any of this.

Anyway, I walked back there and saw what was going on. At this point he had red ink all over his hands. I looked at him and inside my head was thinking "I honestly have no idea what to do or say about this."
So you know what I said?

"Well, I guess I caught you red-handed."

Sixth graders. Gotta love 'em.

-Ms. J

Saturday, September 22, 2012

3rd, 9/19

I got a very important call! It was to sub for the teacher who has half of my class from last year! My babies! (ok, not babies, really, as they are now 3rd graders)

So I got to spend time with some awesome 3rd graders! They are really sweet kids, and have grown up a lot over the summer. I was extremely impressed with how they handled themselves in the absence of their teacher. It makes me very happy - and to think I helped with that a little! This class was completely different than the class I took over in May - polar opposites, in fact. So stinking' proud of them.

And they were happy to see me, too! I am definitely close to my quota of hugs for the week! I could hear my students telling their classmates (the ones who were not in my class last year) "she was OUR teacher last year!" awwww!

Of course, subbing for former students is a funny thing, and very unique. I didn't have to spend time establishing ground rules, or explaining my expectations- they already knew them. And at one point, I looked at a kid who was being disruptive, and just asked, "Do I need to email your mom?"

Ha! What other sub can do that????

-Ms. J

Thursday, September 13, 2012


Yesterday I volunteered at the school I worked at last year. When subbing is slow, it's good to get out and volunteer to get your face out there. It's a great way to market yourself, and also a really fun way to spend the day! (Plus, I see my students from last year in the halls and get plenty of hugs and "I miss you" and "Where have you been???")

I was in a 4/5 blend classroom for the day. It was a ton of fun! I know I will enjoy subbing for this class - the kids are full of personality!

At some point during the day, the teacher mentioned that she is 51. This was quite the news announcement to those kids - there were many kids amazed she was that old (she looks much younger).

One kid just kept talking about how she didn't look older than 40. Finally, he said, "well, you might look 43 but no more than that!" Then he said (much to my amusement):

"You're like a 51 year old woman with a 43 year old body!"

Hahaha what a compliment! Ya gotta love 4th graders trying to flatter their teachers!

-Ms. J

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

What's in the bag?

A sub bag is an essential part of being a successful sub. While most of the stuff may not be used all the time, it's helpful to have these things on hand, just in case.

Here is a pictorial guide to what I deem important enough to put in the bag. Usually the bag stays in the car and I simply take the bare necessities, but the bag is there in case I need it!
The bag lives in the car, by the way. It's important for those last minute calls.

What's in the bag!

A fun logical thinking test. I like to pull it out for classes that I really enjoy, when we have a few spare minutes. I usually tell them that they cannot go on to the next grade if they don't get 100% - you'd be amazed at how many kids believe me!

Colored dot stickers. I am thinking they will be fun for creating groups or teams.

Granola bars. Necessary for those mornings when I get a call and run out of the house without time to eat breakfast or pack a lunch (the doctor says I need to stop skipping meals!)

Angry Birds coloring pages. I don't foresee any opportunities to use these, but ya never know!

The absolute most important thing in the bag - this goes everywhere with me! Miss Nelson is Missing is the book I read to every class K-5 the first time I have them. It is a great way to establish myself as an authority figure. I read it, then tell the kids "I can be a teacher like Miss Nelson (nice), or a teacher like Ms. Swamp (mean). It's up to you."

Stickers are another must-have, when subbing K-3. Such a good incentive!

Thumb drives with lesson plans and activities, just in case there are no lesson plans.

Sticki-notes. Useful for exit slips, notes, etc.

My special/favorite pens - PaperMate Flairs - and my "cool" pen - very popular with the littles.

My middle school/half day behavior plan - if I catch someone with good behavior, I give them a ticket. At the end of the period (or our time together), we have a drawing for a piece of candy.
Of course, there are a couple things not shown, such as candy, my iPad, and a camera! And I always have business cards ready to hand out and leave with teachers!

And there I am - ready for a new school year!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Fun craft!

So I filled in for a week at a Summer Lunch program for a friend who's having babies soon :) it was a lot of fun!

It was also really hot, so I decided to give the kids a fun craft they could make and then have a water fight! This is the funnest/most fun craft ever!

Sponge balls - I bought all the supplies for 35 kids for less than $10.

I bought 7 packages of 10 sponges at the Dollar Tree

Cut each sponge into 3 long strips (I didn't do this one - a helper cut it)

Select 5 strips to make your ball. Bundle them together in one hand

A package of rubber bands ($0.59 at target). Take a rubber band and wrap it around the middle of the bundle of sponges

Add two buckets from the Dollar Tree, and you have a fun craft for a hot day for less than $10!

Monday, August 20, 2012

A Great American Grandma

Meet Candie (name changed for privacy), a fine upstanding member of society. She is one of those people that I am proud to say I know. This is a tribute to her.

Candie is a grandma. She has some grand kids that mean the world to her. She volunteers at their school all the time. Last year, she started volunteering at another elementary school during the summer lunch program. This is how I met her. She volunteers a couple times a week, serving lunch to kids through the summer lunch program. Every summer, she goes out and buys up the supplies for 2 students - unknown to her. She buys backpacks, calculators, paper, pencils - everything that is on the school supply list. She doesn't buy the cheap stuff, either - the supply list called for a "simple calculator" for a fifth grader, and she could have bought a cheapo calculator for $3. Instead, she spent $11.95 on a calculator she knew would be good. This year, she also bought some copy paper for her grandkids' elementary school, because they always run out. The total cost for her generosity: $200. When I asked her about it, she replied, "There is such a need. And I can do it. As long as I can do it, I will."

I thought she was talking about money when she said that, and I was inspired by this sweet, stylish grandma. I found out today that she just found out she has breast cancer. She starts treatment right away. So she wasn't talking about money when she said "as long as I can do it, I will," - she was talking about ability.

Candie, I will be praying for you during this new chapter of your life. Just know that in the short time I have known you, you have impacted me with your selflessness, generosity and dedication to the children of America. You are a truly great American, and I'm proud to say that I know you! You don't simply expect others to do a great work - you get in and do it yourself!

Readers, I encourage you to let Candie inspire you to do good somewhere in your community - volunteer at a school, donate school supplies to a child in need (contact the school counselor for ideas), or make dinner for a family in need. Change can come to your community - we don't need new policies, laws or speeches - the great Americans among us (like Candie) are planting the seeds of change close to you, and simply need someone (like you) to help water them.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

A Lesson in Binary

One of the kids I taught this last year as a sub was extremely intelligent. Math nerd, deluxe edition. It's the true nerds that take that label as a compliment. His binder was deluxe nerd, also. It was covered with nerdy stickers and sayings. My favorite said this:

"There are l0 kinds of people in the world. Those who understand binary, and those who don't."

I laugh so hard every time I think about that binder! I cannot imagine the blank stares the other 6th graders gave that binder as they tried to figure that saying out. "How can there be 10 kinds of people and only list 2 kinds of people?" hahahahaha!

P.S. if you don't get it, just know you're in the second group of people

-Ms. J

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Tutoring perks

Just another perk of being a teacher :)
Green kitkat from Japan. Yummy!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

2nd Grade Writing

I wish I had made a copy of this writing Work Sample a student in my class wrote. He has such a great voice in writing, and his writing is always hilarious! I took a picture of part of his writing, but wish I had the whole story to share. The writing prompt was to write about what makes one animal special. He wrote about 3 different animals: birds, snails and "spiters". Here is verbatim what he wrote about snails: "A snall can moov like a slow frog, iksept that it is a snall not a frog. It uses its boogers to moov. Yuck!" When writing about "spiters" he said that spiders catch their dinner in their webs, and that is gross, but its dinner for the spider, so "Yay for the spiter!" Every time I read that, I just laugh so hard! Love it! ~Ms. J

Monday, June 18, 2012

Unemployed.... Again!

I'm unemployed again! And I'm really happy about it! This school year was crazy, and I'm glad to be out for a breather!

This summer, I am tutoring, teaching a 5 year old how to read, and helping a friend who is pregnant with twins out with the summer program she runs!

Plus, it's vacay time - which means I am outta here for a few days in July. Woot woot!

And I'm applying for several jobs - some of which are in OCSD, which is by far my favorite school district. I hope I get a job there someday!


Thursday, June 14, 2012

Last day!

Today was the last day of school. It was a very weird day. We did some writing, and reading, then set out for a party. I misjudged time (majorly) and ended the party fifteen minutes earlier than I should have. So we ended up playing Silent Ball (their fave) for the last few minutes.

I said goodbyes, and cried a little. They cried a little. There were lots of hugs. And then they left.

I'm still amazed it's over. 6 weeks ago, I walked into the room thinking 6 weeks was a long time, and that we would get a lot done. I left today wishing I had had more time with them... And yet at the same time, so happy it was the last day, and way proud of what we accomplished.

Here are a few things we accomplished:

- our quiet record was 24 minutes, 46 seconds. That's working silently, no talking, etc.
- walking in the halls (ok, simple skill, but they needed a lot of work on that)
- classroom compliments (when other staff members would compliment them): 38
- speeches. They all wrote a speech and gave it.
- behavior improved
- we logged almost 150 hours on IXL (a math practice website) - that includes class time and at home

We have a teacher work day tomorrow. I'll go in, finish up report cards, etc, and then turn my keys in. I'll miss it there...

And now I'm going home and going to bed. I am sooo tired!

- Ms. J

Tuesday, June 5, 2012


7 days of school left!

Report cards!
Placement stuff!
End of the year party!
I can't take it! I am so tired, and I have a million things to do and grade and take care of...

Summer cannot get here fast enough

Friday, May 18, 2012

Aww, they're really great kids

My class cracks me up so much sometimes. Lately, they walk right up to me while I am teaching, and interrupt me. I keep telling them to stop, but they don't. So today, I said "I need a big sign that I can hold up that says 'don't talk to me.'"
I got a ton of signs, handmade by students. One says "don't talk to me." Another says "go away, techer werking." And yet another says "be qiet please."

Ahhh second graders. Gotta love em.

I caught myself going old school yesterday. I was asking a boy why he did something, and he said that someone told him to. Guess what I said?? "if he told you to jump off a bridge, would you do it??" my teaching partner happened to stick his head in the room right then, and said, "yes, he would." I cracked up - there went the discipline-minded moment there!

My students already have me figured out... A girl saw my coffee on my desk today, and said "oh good, you have coffee today - you'll be happy today!"
-Ms. J

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Whatever happened to the bathroom pass?

When I first took my class, they did not have bathroom passes, so I made some out of CDs and yarn.

Yesterday, one of the boys took the boys bathroom pass and went to the bathroom with his bathroom buddy (I cannot trust half the boys in my class to go the bathroom by themselves, so they have to have buddies). They came back and his buddy said "Ms. J, he dumped the pass into the toilet."

He had dumped the pass into the toilet, then dried it off and brought it back to class... Like he expected anyone else to use it after that! I had him throw it away.

My new motto is "expect the unexpected." nothing is ever a typical day in 2nd grade!

-Ms. J

Friday, May 11, 2012

2nd grade-isms

Ok, so I totally love my class, even though they are little stinkers sometimes. However, hooray! I am seeing some major progress - on Tuesday, when I started teaching them, they could only sit still and work for about 7 minutes. Today, they did DEAR/Read to Self/SSR (silent reading) for 20 minutes! They are also walking in the hallways so much better now, and we have gotten some classroom routines established. They still have their crazy moments, where I hope and pray no one will walk in and see what they are doing, but it's getting better.

I told one of my colleagues that it seems like when they are having a terrible time, and going crazy, and I'm having to raise my voice... That is when I have a parent in the classroom... But when they are being little angels, that's when the principal walks in to see how things are going. Such is life...

Some things that have happened so far this week:

1- I got tired of a boy leaving his seat, so I told him "Superglue yourself to that chair!" Guess what he did? He got a glue stick and glued his chair, and was about to sit on it when I saw what he was doing. It was so hilarious, but I managed to keep from laughing.

2- one of the other teachers thought I was "like 12" my first day.

3- a parent witnessed a dogpile by the backpacks... That was one of those "raising my voice, trying to get their attention" moments.

4- a boy came back from the bathroom, 10 minutes after he left. I asked him "What were you doing in the bathroom, besides going to the bathroom?" his response: "blowing bubbles..." it's amazing what kids can do with soap and no supervision.

5- yesterday, I walked next door during clean up time, and asked the other 2nd grade teacher, Mr. H., to make a random clean group check with licorice. Then I walked back into class, and said "wow, look at these desks that aren't clean... I wonder what Mr. H would say if he came in and saw this classroom." right as I said that, he came in the door. The kids were totally freaked out by that lol.

If anyone wants to come help me clean up my classroom and get ready for the rest of the year, let me know! I will put you to work!

-Ms. J, 2nd grade teacher

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Writing my own sub plans

I am technically no longer a sub!
I am now writing my own sub plans - which means I am planning everything, and teaching everything. As of today, I am a full time classroom teacher. I have taken a 2nd grade class, and will be with them through the end of the school year. They are a super sweet group of 29, and I am excited about the growth they are going to experience. They are going to need a lot of work - they are sweet, but they are a handful! I guess when I prayed for a challenge, I should have been more specific! :) just kidding. I've already started to fall in love with them.
I am sure I will have some funny stories to share about my class, and I will try to post on occasion, but these next couple weeks are going to be insane, as I get used to all the changes in my life right now.
I am exhausted already, just thinking about all the work I am going to have in the next five weeks... Report cards! Student placement! End of the year stuff! Ack!

-Ms. J, 2nd grade teacher

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

2nd/3rd, 5/1

Today, a third grader told me, "you should try Proactive."

Apparently, the ridiculously huge third eye that appeared overnight on my forehead is more noticeable than I had promised myself...

-Ms. "Proactive" J

Monday, April 30, 2012

2nd, 4/30

Today, I snapped. I got so annoyed with the kids sharpening pencils (its a constant incident in this class) that I told them I would sharpen all their pencils for tomorrow. That was one of the most un-smart things I've done. The class' electric pencil sharpener doesn't work, so I had to use the old-school, cranking kind. This sharpener is probably as old as the school, and the handle doesn't have a good cushion anymore. It also doesn't sharpen unless one cranks it very hard and fast.

I can't use my right thumb and index finger - the blisters hurt too much.

-Ms. J

Friday, April 27, 2012

2nd, 4/27

This was such a God thing. I cannot take any credit for this.
I subbed for a 2nd grade teacher, whose class I am in regularly. I also sub for the other 2nd grade teacher often, so I know all the second graders every well. Which came in handy.

We had a field trip. A walking field trip. That's right, we walked a half mile or so to a nearby park to plant trees. I knew about it beforehand, and thought "No big deal, the other second grade teacher will be there and will know what's going on."

I got to the school to find out the other second grade teacher was out sick. So both second grades had a sub. And the other sub had never been in that classroom.

Thankfully, it was a 2/3 grade field trip, so the third grade teachers were there, but they don't know the kids very well, so I was very thankful I knew all the kids, and (more importantly) the kids all knew me, and were used to me being in charge of them.

I was also very thankful for the parent volunteers who were there. They helped out so much.

The kids were sooo good! They made me so proud of them. And there were no major injuries (a miracle in itself!).

Still amazed,
-Ms. J

5th, 4/20 and 4/25

Same fifth grade class I've had several times. Love the class, and they love me.

On 4/20, they walked in the class and cheered when they saw me. I sometimes wonder if I'm just a big softie, and that's why they love me so much... Or maybe it's the candy... Hmmm...
It was my brothers birthday, and he was out of town. So I told the kids about it, got him on speakerphone, and they sang happy birthday (cha cha cha) to him. It was very fun, and I was glad they enjoyed it so much.

On 4/25, two boys crawled up the stairs on the way back to class... Yes crawled! I could not believe it - especially since they had just spent half their recess in because of their antics that morning!

It's amazing how one or two kids can make your otherwise amazing class seem like an unruly group.

I still love them, though.

-Ms. J

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

To cross or not to cross...

That is the question facing hundreds of subs right now. Gresham-Barlow and Parkrose School Districts are going on strike starting next week. Well, that is to say, the teachers are. And so the districts are asking all the subs on their list "Will you cross the picket line?"

It could be a dilemma for some subs. After all, the pay is $250 a day (about $90 more than typical sub days - how often do teachers get time-and-a-half?!?!) That part is tempting.

But then, when you start thinking about how rotten strikers could treat subs crossing, it isn't enough money. Strikers, yes, even teachers, have been known to cause plenty of trouble for those willing to cross the line. And they won't forget who crossed.

Then, the union starts calling all the subs, and putting pressure on them to not cross that line. Peer pressure at its finest. All they ask is if you plan on crossing the line. But one has a feeling they have a list of sub names and are putting smiley faces next to those who say they won't, and big, red Xs next to those who say they will.

Those subs who dare to cross should probably save every penny of that money, since they won't be subbing anytime soon after this.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Title 1 Reading, 4/12-4/13

I subbed for a title 1 reading teacher Thursday and Friday. It was a great experience, and I enjoyed working with those super sweet kids, and the great IAs. I usually don't get a chance to sit down with small groups and work with individuals like I did, so it was a welcome change from the slightly chaotic 30+ student classrooms I usually sub in.

Friday was interesting, since it seemed to be national sassy day. I had a small group of kindergarteners. I instructed a girl to do something, to which she replied, "I know! My brain knows EVERYTHING!" another girl says "oh yeah?? Then what's 30+30?" (obviously an impossibly hard math question to a kinder). The first girl promptly responded "101!"

My last group of the day was sixth graders. On Thursday, several of them had not filled out their reading logs, and I told them if they brought them in on Friday, I would bring something special for them. I brought in candy on Friday, and they all brought in completed reading logs.
At the end of the group time, one of the boys asked "Ms. J, will you be here on Monday?" I said, "No. Will you miss me?"
He said, "I'll miss your candy!"

I love sixth graders.

3rd, 4/11

I got called in at the last minute for a 3rd grade. Apparently, they had a sub who got sick at the last minute. I had sympathy for the whole situation - I had to call in sick as a sub one time.
I got to the school at about 9am. They were a great group of kids. We had a good day.
Sometimes, the things that happen to subs are not necessarily funny, but just so random that it is hilarious.
I was teaching social studies, and we were studying maps. All of a sudden, one of the boys burst out singing the "Dora the Explorer" theme song. It was so random and hilarious! The worst part of it was that I had the song stuck in my head the rest of the day.

-Ms. J

Monday, April 9, 2012

Aesop and subfinder rant

I am not a violent or negative person. However, sometimes aesop and subfinder (the two major sub placement systems in this region of the world) drive me absolutely insane!
For those of you who have not subbed or used these systems, there are many similarities. One, they are both automated systems, and randomly call subs who are available for jobs. Subs can search for jobs via the internet and phone. When using the phone, there are certain numbers to press to accept or decline a job, repeat a job posting, or skip it and come back to it later.
Subfinder allows teachers to request subs using the sub request number. When they input the number, subfinder will call the sub and the sub can accept or decline the job. Aesop does not allow teachers to request subs - instead, if a teacher wants a specific sub, they should call the sub personally, and then assign them to the job.
Aesop also does not allow for subs to cancel a job. If a sub double books themselves (as sometimes happens), or they accept a job and then get the flu, they have to call the district office to cancel the job. Subfinder allows subs to cancel a job up to an hour before the job starts. So if you wake up with the flu at 5am, you don't have to wait til the district office opens at 7:30 to call and tell them you can't do the job that starts at 7:30am.
I don't like either system, because of the confusion of it all. Some school districts use Aesop, but most use subfinder. I don't like Aesop because of the whole "won't let me cancel a job I accidentally accepted" thing, but there are benefits of Aesop. Aesop allows you to bundle your different school district accounts. That means that if you sub for school district A and school district B, and they both use Aesop, a job that you have on May 20 in district A will show up as a no work day for district B. meaning you can't double book yourself, and district B won't call you for a last minute job on May 20.
Subfinder doesn't do that. I sub for 4 different school districts which use subfinder. For each district, I have a different pin number and a different sub request number. I also have to manually go into each separate subfinder account to make myself unavailable for May 20 if I am already booked for that day. Which is a really annoying thing to do.

This morning, I got a call from subfinder for a teacher who had requested me. Somehow I accidentally declined it. It was a half day, which would have worked out wonderfully for me since I had to go to the doctor this afternoon. Alas, once you decline the job, it goes to the next sub, and it was gone forever.
Then, I got a call from Aesop. It was a half day in the afternoon for today, which didn't work with my doctor plans. Somehow I hit the wrong button and accepted it. Remember how Aesop doesn't allow for cancellations? Thankfully I was able to call and cancel it.

When I get a full time job, I definitely won't miss this part of subbing. Oy what a headache those systems are!

Friday, April 6, 2012

A special treat just for me...

I found this under one of the desks today after school today. I think someone figured I would want this after school for a tasty snack.

Yep. It's applesauce. Splattered all over the floor and the textbooks underneath the desk.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Hallelujah! Spring Break!

Fifth grade today. There was a two hour delay because of the snow. It's the last day of school before spring break.

Can you picture it in your mind?

4 hours, 2 referrals.

Yeah, I'm awesome like that.

TGISB (thank God it's spring break) - Ms. J

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

2nd, 3/21

Today I did a half day in 2nd grade. They were a fun little group of 15 (I know, right?).

As they were getting ready to go out to recess, one of the girls was explaining to another girl why she needed a coat.

"it's cold outside, and if you don't wear a coat, you will get ammonia"

Hahahahahahahahaha! Love it.

Spring break is next week! -Ms. J

Monday, March 19, 2012

After school fire drill

Fifteen minutes ago, the school had a fire drill. This happened ten minutes after school was out for the day. So I trudged out to the field, along with one student of mine who hadn't been picked up yet.

I thought about taking roll, but decided it wasn't necessary.

Ms. J, the tired one (spring break is next week - hallelujah!)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Happy Pi Day!

Today, we celebrate a very important day for mathematics. Pi Day!

Yes, I admit to being a total nerd. Let's get that out of the way right now.

I volunteered in my mentor's classroom for today. She teaches 6th grade math and science. We had a lot of fun planning for today. Thanks to a generous donation, we were able to serve all 130 students pie. We also had fun t-shirts that my mom helped me make! They say Team Pi, and we wore them all day. Some of the kids were jealous... Who wouldn't be? We looked fabulous!!!!

(this would be where I would put an awesome picture of the shirts, but I can't upload pictures via my iPad... Ahhh technology)

Just use your imagination.

Ms. J (aka princess Pi)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

3rd, 3/12-13

I had a really great third grade class yesterday and today. They are really awesome kids.
Today was a two hour delay (yeah - snow in march) and I was expecting them to all be super crazy, but they were really good.

One of the kids (see previous post) has been asking me repeatedly about if I'm going to be a teacher next year (apparently, subs aren't teachers lol). He asked again yesterday. I told him, "I don't know, it depends on if I get a job next year." he told me "just be a teacher assistant like you were last year" (aka student teacher).

Yeah. Cuz I want to work for free again? Ha!

Monday, March 12, 2012


Ickiest cold ever. I don't know which of the 500 kids I taught last week to blame it on...

Friday, March 9, 2012

4/5 Friday

Today I learned a very important lesson about attendance. Don't let it leave your sight for a minute, or someone (like a naughty kid) might take attendance for you, and then everything will be totally confused, and parents will be freaking out because their kid is marked absent when they are really at school.

Yeah. Nuff said.

By the way, these white chocolate m&ms are really good

Ms. J

Thursday, March 8, 2012

6th grade, math/science

Yesterday I subbed for a dear friend of mine who teaches 6th grade math and science at a middle school. I sub for her often, and she has some awesome students. There's always a funny story to share after a day with those kids.

During science, she left me a video to show the kids (I just hit play and don't watch). It was about current and static electricity, and is narrated by a girl that was probably 12 at the time of the recording (I'm guessing this video is at least 10 years old). Anyway, after second period, one of the kids stayed after to tell me "that girl in the video is very attractive." I wish you could have seen this kids face. It was absolutely priceless. I tried so hard not to die laughing.

In fourth period, one of the boys took his shoes off to try to get static electricity to work for him by shuffling his feet on the carpet. The other kids at his table group were not happy - they were like, "ms. J his feet stink so bad!" I walked over and told him to put his shoes back on, and cracked a window. The temptation to bust out laughing was strong, but you'll be happy to know I was stronger than the temptation!

I sent a disruptive kid out to the hall for a minute, then went out to talk to him. I explained why his behavior was unacceptable, and he looked like he was paying attention, etc. when I finished what I was saying, he looked at me and said "Ms. J, did you know one eye is greener than the other, and the other eye is bluer than the other?" So apparently, my little talk did nothing for him except help him figure out I have goofy-colored eyes. Sigh. Such is life...

These stories are just part of why I absolutely love sixth grade - they are such fun! I told my dad I need a soundproof side room that I can just walk into for a second, laugh my head off, then come right back to class... Ahh, that would be nice.

Today I subbed for a teacher who has a student teacher from Portland State right now. So guess what I did? Not a whole lot! The student teacher did most of the teaching, I was just there for crowd control and helping out, etc. Pretty sweet deal... Though I did miss actually teaching.

-Ms. J

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Music, 3/6

So I was called at 7:45 yesterday to sub for a music teacher. School starts at 8:30 and I barely made it as the bell rang. My first class was at 8:40, and this was the first time I have ever subbed where there were no plans of any kind, and no time to figure out what to do.

I know lots of the kids at that school, and I taught some of their siblings in sixth grade last year. It was fun to see all of them - even if it was a crazy day!

I asked one of the kids "hows your brother doing?" (taught his older brother last year in sixth grade)
this 3rd grader's response? "He's failing."
"Yeah, he's getting Bs" (love it)

I still have a headache from the first grade classes where I made the mistake of letting them play with the cowbells and cymbals...

I got one of the best compliments ever yesterday! A third grader asked me "Ms. J, are you going to teach fourth grade next year??" aww.....

-Ms. J

Friday, March 2, 2012

2nd, 3/1-2

Whew. I did a two day stint in a second grade classroom. I sub in this classroom a lot, and I am always amazed at how crazy second grade can be.

Yesterday, a little girl was having a rough day, and I finally asked her "what can we do to make sure you have a good rest of the day?" she looked at me and said "let me take a nap?" poor thing.

Today was the 100th day of school, Dr. Seuss day, and picture day! Wow... I'm sure you can imagine how crazy that was.

L and I have a student that we both see regularly. On Wednesday, I subbed in this girl's school, and taught her class for social studies rotation. They were super talky during that time, so I had to give some of the kids yellow cards. When Leah saw her on Thursday, she told L "Ms. J is a mean teacher."

Hahahahaha I have arrived, ladies and gentlemen!

The mean one, Ms. J

Thursday, March 1, 2012

5th grade, 2/29

I spent yesterday with 5th graders. Love this class - really wish the teacher would give the class to me - I would almost work for free!

We were reading about an explorer who kept a journal, and they had to answer some questions from the book. One of the questions was "do you think it's a good idea to keep a journal?" one of the boys responded to that question with this answer:

"yes,it's good to keep a journal so you can sell it someday for a lot of money."

:) Ms. J

Friday, February 24, 2012

2nd grade, 2/23-24

Second grade yesterday and today. Same class. They're cute kids.

Yesterday, I was reading a little girl's writing, and she had written something totally inappropriate (in fact, I was wondering WHERE she had learned THAT), until she read it to me. Then I figured out that she meant something completely different (totally appropriate), she just couldn't spell it. (I would have blogged exactly what she wrote, but it was pretty bad).

I need to work on my 2nd grade decoding skills, apparently.

Today, roses were delivered to me in the classroom (total surprise to me). The kids were sooo excited! As I unwrapped the big box, they were jumping around, saying "WE GOT FLOWERS!!! WE GOT FLOWERS!" It was super cute, the way they kept walking over to smell them. The best part of it was that the card was signed "guess who" and they were thinking their teacher had sent them to us.

You gotta love how 2nd graders don't even think "Ms. J, is it from a BOY???"

-Ms. J

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

1st grade, 2/22

Today I taught first grade. It's not necessarily my favorite grade, because they are so young. I like my older classes much better. But it was a great class and they were super sweet. One of the girls told me she wished I was their teacher all the time. Awwww.

As I took the kids out to recess this morning, I heard one of the girls say to one of her friends, "let's go chase some boys.... AND girls!"

She's definitely an equal opportunity chaser.

-Ms. J.

Friday, February 17, 2012

5th grade, 2/16

Yesterday, I subbed in a 5th grade classroom. It was a repeat appearance, and the group is a ton of fun. I had some of their siblings last year, so it's an interesting experience. Makes me miss my kids from last year.

During reading, the story mentioned someone saying "don't fall in" to a river. I'm sure you can imagine the response that got...

During math, the kids were working on a coordinate graph project, and it was ok for them to be talking quietly as they worked. One of the kids told me "if my aunt was the sub, no one would be talking." I thought perhaps he was saying I'm not a good sub, allowing the kids to talk. So I asked, "oh, so your aunt is a teacher, huh?" he replied,

"No, she's just really grouchy."

Gotta love it.

- Ms. J