Visiting My Blog Before 2012 Ends

I decided to visit my blog after, what has been, many moons. And why? Because I got perturbed by comments a few “tweeters” made to me on Twitter about how a kindergarten class I work with shouldn’t tweet if the classroom teacher doesn’t blog or doesn’t have her own account and PLN.

I’ve been on Twitter for almost five years. I have a PLN and I (haha) blog when I have something I want to write about. I’m the one who is introducing the kinder class (teacher) to Twitter and I’m doing it in what I think is a thoughtful, sensible manner.  I want the children to experience “writing” for an audience that exceeds the boundaries with which they are familiar.

I’m no Twitter  connoisseur, but I’m also no Twitter dummy.  I believe there  are different ways to introduce folks to the Twitterverse.  The teachers I work with do want to open Twitter accounts, and I look forward to introducing them to wonderful educators they can follow.

And, it is my hope that our class’s Twitter account, once it’s up and running, will be a successful one.


Embarrassing! Plus random thoughts

It has been over a year since I last wrote anything on this blog.  How embarrassing.

Before I had a blog I was brimming with things I wanted to write.  After I got the blog, I had already read many other educators’ blogs and then decided I had nothing that meaningful and/or thought-provoking to say.

I don’t know why I draw a blank when I open this blog.  I love to write, but right now I have writer’s block.  Maybe I need to go to bed.  In my bed the thoughts flow.  Let me think on this.

I’m looking forward to going to the Save Our Schools conference on next Thursday and Friday.   I have my SOS t-shirt.  (When it came in the mail, my husband said, “Not another t-shirt.”  I’m going to make a beautiful quilt out of my zillions of t-shirts as soon as I retire and learn how to quilt.)

Last year at this time I was stuck on my couch with a badly broken ankle.  Today, it is still not right, but at least I can walk, so I look forward to participating in the activities geared toward letting the “powers that be” know we educators are taking back our profession from those who think they know what needs to be done to improve our schools.

And now I am off to read one of the books I just had to buy from Borders when I found out they were closing.  I did not need to buy nary a book, as I have enough unread books in my house to keep me reading every day for the rest of this year.   I am sad to see these stores close, as there is something special about browsing through a bookstore, especially a Borders’ bookstore.  I will miss the teacher sales.  I will miss sitting on the little stepstools reading excerpts from books.  I will miss the drinks from the cafe.  I will miss reading the magazines and looking at all the bargain items.  I will miss seeing the big white letters on the outside of the building.  Yes, I am mourning their closing.

Final Class Project–Podcast

I took a podcasting class.  I wanted to learn how to do this so I can do some podcasts with my students.  I wanted them to participate in my final class project, but there was too much going on, so my husband participated.  It needs a lot of work, but for a first podcast to share with my students, it’s not too bad.  I will get better at this.  I look forward to doing a podcast with my students or letting them do their own podcast.   Podcast #1  Feedback welcome.

Just musings…

I’m learning about podcasts in the online class I’m taking.  I’m looking forward to doing many podcasts with my students.  Before I get to that point I have to finish the classwork for the class which ends this weekend.  I have a lot on my plate.  Being a procrastinator doesn’t help either.

Thanksgiving has just passed.  It was a wonderful break.  I’m thankful to be a teacher and thankful to have a job.  So many of my relatives have lost their jobs in this recession.

My neighbor’s twin daughters are helping me prepare little booklets (in Spanish) for my students to read.  I’m thankful for their help.  If I had the money, I’d hire a secretary to help me with paperwork, etc. so I could concentrate on teaching.

There’s so much to do and not enough time.

Student behavior issues continue to affect quality teaching time.  I must find an effective and positive way to deal with this.  Nothing I’ve tried has worked so far.

I’m going to attach my very first “practice” podcast which has nothing to do with school.  It’s about food,

Robin’s Smoothie Podcast

What’s A Teacher To Do?

Last night, unable to sleep, I said in my mind exactly what I wanted to say in this post.  Of course I can’t remember.  It’s been a long time since I’ve blogged, but I desperately need some feedback.

I am a 6th-grade foreign language teacher.  I teach an Introduction to Spanish.  I’ve been doing this a short time.  (Before that I was a reading teacher, a language arts specialist, and a third-grade teacher).

I teach in a very large school district which is divided into clusters which are divided into pyramids.  There are three pyramids in my cluster.  Some pyramids have 6th grade in the middle school and some have it in the elementary school.  My pyramid has 6th grade in the elementary school–there is one high school, one middle school and six elementary schools in my pyramid.

Our pyramid just got our International Baccalaureate (IB) certification for the middle years.  This means students must take a foreign language in 6th grade.  Before we got our final certification, I taught an Introduction to Foreign Languages (Spanish, French, German and Latin).  This was nice.  It gave the students a taste of each of the languages (offered in our pyramid) and a better idea of which language they might like to pursue.  When the IB people came down from NY; however, they said we must start teaching “a” language in 6th grade.  At five of our elementary schools Spanish is the only language available, and at the other Chinese.

Teaching 6th-grade foreign lang. in the elem. school is difficult what with the elementary schedule.  I only see my students twice a week for 45 minutes.  I must go into their classrooms, as there is no space for me to have my own classroom.

I teach between ten and 12 classes at two schools–varies from year to year (used to be three schools and 13-15 classes).  Last year one of my schools had seven 6th-grade classes and the other had three.  I go to each school every day.  At my smaller school my average class looked like the following (and probably will this coming year, too):  Half the class doesn’t speak any Spanish even though they’re surrounded by classmates who are speaking it among themselves, and 1/2 the class are native Spanish speakers.  Of that half, a few are fluent (reading, writing, speaking), the rest speak, but don’t read or write well, or else, the expressive skills are just so, so.

As I mentioned above, I teach an Introduction to Spanish.  I want to do a much better job at meeting the needs of all my students, but I ask you, how do I do this successfully?  I know grouping is important, but there’s more I need to do.

I want to use technology more.  How?  At one school, there is one SmartBoard to share between seven classes.  At the other school, there might be four 6th grades this year, which means one class won’t have a SmartBoard.  At the big school, each class has five slow laptops.  At the small school there’s a mobile lab that has to be shared with all the 6th-grade classes and (maybe even the 5th-grade) classes.

I’m getting overwhelmed just thinking about all I have to and want to do.

Does anyone have suggestions, comments, etc. for me.  I am open to any and all…and I thank you in advance.

My Poem

It’s Poetry Month.  I love poetry, especially children’s poetry.  When I was a little girl my father used to sit me and my siblings on the floor and recite and read poetry to us.  Now I share my love of poetry with my students.  In my school, I used to read or recite poetry on the news show.  Many of the students and teachers enjoyed it.  I referred to myself as “The Poetry Lady.”  The kindergarteners and first-graders would see me in the halls and say “Ooh, there’s the Poetry Lady, hi Poetry Lady.”  They’d also tell me what they thought of the poem I shared on any particular day.  One precocious five-year old would tell me, “I just loved the poem you did today.”  Many of the teachers, custodians, cafeteria workers, etc. would say the same.  Teachers would tell me their students paid attention when “The Poetry Lady” was on the news show.  At one school, the librarian told me that as a result of me sharing poetry on the news show, poetry books, that at one time hardly ever left the shelves, were being checked out on a regular basis.  That made me happy. 

Now, like I said above I would read and recite poetry.  I felt I was never profound enough to be a poet.  I would dabble at writing poems, but they never made it past the draft stage.  Well, I decided to follow up on the suggestion of fellow Twitterer “budtheteacher” and write a poem for Poetry Month.  So here it is. . .



When I was a little girl

I had to eat


I hated asparagus.

When I saw them

on my plate

my stomach would roll.

“Eat all your asparagus,” my mother would say.

“Do I have to,” I’d cry.


Then I’d sit

and pull those limp asparagus apart

one string at a time

And I’d dangle

each string down my throat

and try

to swallow it

and hope

I didn’t taste it.


It took me









But guess what?


Now that I’m an adult

I eat asparagus


I like them.

Crunchy, of course!


Using this blog

I started this blog because of an online class I am taking.  I plan to continue using this blog.  I like having it.  I have even put a link to it on my Twitter profile, so I have to make it a habit to blog on a regular basis.

I have learned a lot from the class “Web 2.0.”  Unfortunately, I didn’t finish all my assignments so I will probably not get credit for the class.

I will finish the unfinished work, it just won’t be finished on time. I’ve been a terrible procrastinator all my life.  I keep saying I’m going to do better, but so far. . . The older I get, the worst I get. Ai…


I keep saying to myself, “I wish I had had wikis and blogs, etc. when I was a third-grade teacher.  Oh, the things we would have/could have done!”

I have all kinds of ideas for how I could use wikis.  I know I’m supposed to be thinking about how I could use them in an educational setting, but I’m thinking about how I can use them personally with my extended family and with my closest friends.

My mother’s and father’s families are huge.  On my mother’s side of the family we have been doing a lot of geneaology work.  The older members of our family who knew a lot of history from the 1800s are dead or very old.  It would be great to get their stories on a wiki.  As different relatives and friends garnered more information they could just add it to the wiki pages.  If someone didn’t know all the details of a story or was a bit off, others could correct it.  We could talk about our wiki pages at our family reunions we hold each year.  This year will be reunion #54.  I’m amazed that our family has had reunions for 54 years!

How do we determine/monitor veracity when it comes to wikis?  I don’t know a “short sweet” answer to this.  What is the point of using a wiki for information if you constantly have to find some other resource to verify the information?


Podcasts and Videostreaming

First, I didn’t realize podcasting and videostreaming have been going full force since 2005 even before that.  I feel so out of the loop.  I was in the “business world” before I became a teacher and at that time I felt I was up on the latest in technology.  After I became a teacher I felt I lost that edge.  Why aren’t educators “up on the latest” innovations where technology is concerned?

I was surprised to learn that podcasts have been going strong since 2005 and online since before then.

I listened to quite a few podcasts and videostreams.  I learned more about the Japanese-American internment during WWII from someone who experienced it, I learned about a technique I can use with the Smartboard,  and one educator’s idea of how to make lessons interesting.  I also learned about some child prodigies.

I have used united streaming and I like being able to pull up video clips to share with my students.  I have to use other teachers’ passwords because I was told (by a teacher) that I can’t get a password for united streaming unless I take some type of class.  I don’t have time to do that, so I use others’ passwords (which can be a headache at times).  One thing I don’t like about the united streaming is, to me, it is not easy to find the video clips I am looking for.  One time I searched and searched for a clip a colleague had recommended.  Unfortunately, she hadn’t given me the link and I was not able to reach her.  I know I spent over two hours trying to find it.  I was so frustrated at the time I had wasted, I didn’t know what to do.  I did, in the process, though, find other video clips I could use in the future.

I would love for my students to do podcasts.  I wish I had known about them when I was a regular classroom teacher.  I would have definitely done them with my third graders.  Now, time is a big issue.  I only see my students twice a week for 45 minutes each time.  Having to go to two schools each day is taxing.

Hello world!

Welcome to me.  I must remember my password.  I have so many in my head.

I’ll have to think about becoming an Edublogs Supporter.  Let’s see how I do with my “edublogging.”

I have looked at some of the helpful introductory videos, but I have yet to read through  the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) or stop by The Edublogs Forums to chat with other edubloggers.

I get so much e-mail I have to decide whether or not to subscribe to the “brilliant free publication, The Edublogger,” which is jammed with helpful tips, ideas and more.

I like Edublogs but I don’t know, at this time, if I want to be able to simply create, administer, control and manage hundreds of student and teacher blogs at my school or college, so, maybe later I’ll check out Edublogs Campus… it’s like Edublogs in a box.