Wednesday, August 20, 2014

On Ch-changes

The new school year started after a whirlwind summer.  I had a lot of Professional Development scheduled over the summer: Common Core, AVID, and Professional Learning Communities (PLC).  I also spent a great deal of my free days over at my friend Jeanne's house, learning how to quilt.  Typing that sentence instantly aged me about 15 years.  I had a bunch of old t-shirts and wanted to make a t-shirt quilt, so I'd always have the memories. So, I learned, and it came out awesomely.

The PLC conference was in Seattle, which is my favorite city in the country.  I have always dreamed of living there, but never really had the guts to pick up and move.  After being there this summer, and realizing how at home I felt (I am not someone who enjoys being in unfamiliar places), I knew it was time to make it a reality.  My bestie Erick also loves the PNW, so in the spring, we're going to start applying for jobs and we hope to move next summer.  I have family there and I'm excited about this new chapter of my life.  The only truly hard part will be being so far away from my parents and brothers and my two adorable nephews.  My brother Matt and his fiancĂ©, KJ had a baby boy this summer.  He was born 8 weeks premature and is still in the NICU, but he should be coming home soon!  His name s Gavin and he's adorable.
Baby Gavin Ryan, about two weeks old!

Baby Bradley Hayes (who just turned 1 and learned to walk!)

I'll be back soon to vent about this new school year (yes, already!).

Monday, June 23, 2014


Over Spring Break, I went to Washington DC for 4 days and NYC for about a day and a half with 16 eighth graders from my school, and 22 eighth graders from two other local middle schools.  We were up before 6am every day, and did not return to the hotel until about 9:30 each night.  To say we were exhausted at the end of each day is an understatement.  But, we saw amazing things, had a lot of fun, (some) experienced snow for the first time, and we walked a total of 42.42 miles in total.  I live tweeted the experience, which you can see below!.  It was strong in the beginning, but then in the middle I had no time, and then at the end I tweeted more.  You can clearly see as we were getting closer to leaving, I was getting annoyed with things that were not annoying me in the beginning of the trip haha. All in all, it was something I'll never forget.  I am so glad I was afforded the opportunity to go and it was great to be able to bond even more with some of my incredible students.

Monday, June 16, 2014

On Getting Back on the Horse

I haven't blogged in a really long time.  The last half of the year was insane. I had things I wanted to blog about and didn't have the time to give it the attention it deserved, so I put it off.  Then more and more things happened that I wanted to blog about and I started to feel buried by all of these blog posts I hadn't written.  I decided to just take one thing at a time and decide not to care if it isn't in chronological order.  So, here we go...

It's summer break, but I haven't really started yet.  School got out on June 6th and I haven't stopped working.  I've had Common Core workshops and now I'm in an AVID Critical Reading workshop.  However, after tomorrow, I will be officially on break! Whatever that means.  I'm still going to spend the summer writing lessons, reading novels for class, and figuring out Unit Plans.  And writing grants so I can get much needed things for my classroom.  A teacher's work is never done.  Speaking of which, I came across this cool article on Facebook and it could not be more on point.

The point of this post was not to talk about summer.  The point was to talk about the class gift I gave to my 8th grade AVID students.  I wish I could have done this for every single one of my students, but it would have taken me more time and cost more money than I had.  So, I did this for the 8th grade AVID kids because we were are an #AVIDfamily.

I printed out a list of every single kid in the class and made enough copies so that everyone in the class had one.  They were tasked to think long and hard about everyone in our #AVID family and write down two words/phrases to describe each person.  I collected the lists and then typed each student's words into a site similar to Wordle, but compatible with Mac.  (For those of you who don't know, Wordle is a word-cloud generator. )  The words that appear most frequently, are shown the biggest.  So, in order to get the kid's name to appear really large in the middle, I had to type their name and then copy and paste it a few zillion times.

I printed each word cloud in color and framed it.  (8.5x11 frames at the Dollar Tree! Holla!).  On the last day, I handed them out.  The kids were genuinely touched and appreciative of their gifts, but I felt that it in no way showed my gratitude for everything they had given me that year.  It was truly the best year of my teaching career and I will never forget that #AVIDfamily and all of the memories we shared.

Here is what the word clouds looked like:

And, the best #AVIDfamily ever:

I did not realize that the kid in front (who I have in Leadership class) snuck into the front, holding up his yearbook.  Lol.
Also, if you need proof that my 8th grade AVID kids are the best on the planet, check out this AVID Recruitment Video they made.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

On Valentine's Day

I know people hate on V-Day and I do hate being single on this mushy holiday, but I also am a very nostalgic person and like giving those little valentines to my friends at work. There's something fun about taking a day to do something a little extra for those you love, be they significant other, family, or friend. This year I was blessed by goodies from some very thoughtful students. 

Every year, I say I'm going to give valentines to every single one of my kids. At 150+ students, this is no small undertaking. I usually get busy or put it off until it's too late and it doesn't get done. This year, I made it happen! And I even attached candy to them!
Thank God for Target's dollar spot!

We also had a dance that evening. Here's a cute pic of G and I:

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Things you might overhear in my classroom

Student: Ms. Theobald, did you Rickroll your students yesterday? We could hear it through the walls 5th period. 
Me: Yes. Yes I did. 

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Sh!t My Students Say

During Leadership, we were talking about the activities for the upcoming rally.  We always have a competition between grade levels, where we play part of a song, then turn it off, and the class has to finish it.  We joked about giving the 6th graders something really silly like "Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes."

Then Ruben says, "I always mess up that song.  It's the knees and toes part that gets me."

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

People I Can't Stand

I feel like this type of post may turn into a regular thing---like Sh!t My Kids Say.  Because there are a lot of people I can't stand.  Today, I'll be talking about teachers who can't handle issues in their classroom on their own, so they blame someone else.

In my 8th Grade Honors English class, we are reading To Kill A Mockingbird.  Approximately 7 of those kids have to go to the high school 1st period to take Geometry, and then come to school.  So, those kids are super smart.  At least I think they are.  I didn't take Geometry until I was a junior in high school!  Anyway, that's beside the point.

Tonight, I received an email from my principal that told me to talk to my students about reading To Kill A Mockingbird during other classes.  Attached to the email was the the forwarded message from the Geometry teacher.  She said something along the lines of giving a final warning today and that if she sees kids reading it in class, she would confiscate it.  She was tired of kids reading and making notes during her time.

I had a snarky reply ready, but it's not my principal that I'm irritated with.  I'm irritated with the Geometry teacher.  Don't "tell on me" to my boss about something that you can't handle in your own classroom! Deal with it yourself.  Take their books for the period and give them back at the end of class.  Confiscating their To Kill A Mockingbird books would be the equivalent of me confiscating their Geometry books.  We aren't using our textbook right now.  Those are their textbooks!  This is the second time this year that I've had to "talk" to my students about something because another teacher couldn't handle their own shit and complained about myself or my own class.  The first time it was because a teacher complained that I let my kids snack in class (they always cleaned up after themselves) and it was "causing a problem" in their class.  Which, to me, means that they couldn't handle the situation on their own. I have 5 preps (meaning I teach five SEPARATE kinds of classes---5 separate lesson plans each day), I'm the department chair, a support provider (mentor teacher) for a newer teacher, on the positive behavior reinforcement team, am the only teacher who goes to the kids' sports games.  I'm a good teacher.  Leave me alone and let me do my job!