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Archive for May, 2012

Another Break-In, Sigh.

May 31st, 2012 at 05:43 pm

When I got over to the school today I found out that someone (or some group) had broken in to the various buildings on our campus last night. The main thing we could see that they stole were the tools from the maintenance shed, and a backpack from AL's office (in the media center/computer lab) which they used to carry the tools. AL's desk had been gone through, but other than her bag, nothing else was missing in the library or computer lab that we could tell.

In the 5th grade room's bathroom they'd taken a fire extingquisher and sprayed it, tagged the walls, and left the water running.

One of our maintenance men was able to track the path of the vandals/theives to an abandoned building and actually recovered the tools and a few other items.

The doors which had been forced open (media center door, nurses office, guidance counselor, admin office) locks have all been fixed.

Now we are all a bit worried that the vandals/thieves may come back tonight to get back what they stole and maybe make a mess besides in retaliation.

Sigh ...

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I spent a good portion of this afternoon inventorying and weeding duplicate copies. I think I pulled roughly 150 duplicates, possibly more - just in the E Fiction/Picture book section. There were quite a few books I wasn't familiar with, so one of my goals this summer is to read all the books in that section (roughly 1100) and decide if they are keep worthy or not AND what subjects/topics they'd work well for. (I won't be reading ALL of them, just the ones I'm unfamiliar with - each book shouldn't take more than 8 - 10 minutes to read.)

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The 3rd grade teacher suggested making a transparency of a computer keyboard, and then using an overhead projector to shine it on the tablecloth. Then I could use permanent markers to trace/draw the keyboard. Eventually we'd add iron on appliques for the different letters/symbols to make it more long lasting - but the marker should work for this year to start.Smile

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I spent a lot of time last night working on a wiki for the students to upload their technology projects from summer school to. I'm making it generic (no identifying info) so I can share it here with y'all when it's over and you can see some of their projects. Big Grin

I'm going to make another wiki for them to put their school year projects up on later.

I also found out about a neat web app called fotobabble. Essentially you upload a photo and then you can say something about that photo. They have a new feature where you can link several photos together to create a presentation, or kind of a movie. I was thinking that it would've been great to have had this when I did my biology botany project back in high-school!

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Tomorrow I want to finish up inventory (38% to go!), get my house cleaned (trash, sweep, scrub counters) and then have company for supper! So ... this means I'll probably have to start my day at school before noon ... Big Grin

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More grad school news ... I found out that part of the classes do involve on campus time. The person responding was a bit of nincompoop if I do say so! He told me that I could "learn more about what kind of campus time was involved once I start taking the classes." Really?? Maybe I need to have that information *ahead* of time so I can make an informed decision of whether or not I'm able to take the classes! I haven't responded yet because I'm waiting for me to come up with a pointed, yet polite reply. The pointed part I have no trouble with, it's keeping it polite that is more troublesome (i.e. probably saying "you numbskull" wouldn't be very beneficial.) Big Grin

DOH! Thrift Store Finds :)

May 30th, 2012 at 04:52 pm

This afternoon I had a Bart Simpson moment. DOH! Remember how I was thinking about going for my Graduate Academic Certificate at my alma mater, and I was wondering how I was going to afford it AND a new car? Err... if my alma mater accepts Americorp scholarship money, then I already have enough money for the first two courses!!

Now the thing is that the Americorp scholarship money counts as income (I believe only once you use it) so if I want to keep the savers credit for my taxes this year, I will need to wait til Spring 2013 (i.e. January) to take my first class. (Although they usually have you pay ahead of time ... so not sure how I can make sure that it isn't counted in 2012 income.)

My summer school pay + the scholarship would put me over the limit for the savers credit, and that would be a loss of about $700 (not to mention the higher tax bracket.) But anyway, I need to check with my school tomorrow to see if they accept Americorp funds - if they do - then problem solved! Woo hoo!

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This morning I stopped by our thrift store in town. I picked up a green bedsheet which I plan to use as a green backdrop in videos the kids make. I also picked up a plastic tablecloth which I need to find someone to now draw an oversized computer keyboard on. (The younger students will learn the location of the letters on the keyboard by standing and jumping on the keyboard.) Big Grin

Then I went into G to return library books (gulp! $13 late fine!!!) and stopped at Goodwill. Major score there - 7 different baskets good for books, and an adorable wooden giraffe /basket. Big Grin

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I decided to not take my trip to ABQ this week since I still have a lot to do to get the library in order for the first summer hours checkout (next Wednesday.)
My mom may be coming in on the 14th, so I'm thinking I'll go up on the 13th and do my thing, then pick her up the next day. She'll be on her own most of the 15th since that is our official planning day for summer school, and then I'd take her back on Sunday the 17th. I'll just have to make sure that I have *everything* ready for that Monday before I leave.

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Today I did a big grocery shop - mainly to finish out the $300 deal on Discover for groceries. I went to Albertson's this time - they were overpriced in some things, but okay on others. I found my Amy's Brown Rice and Veggies ($5.99!!! Arghh!!) and veggie hot dogs ($4.99!!) I didn't have a lot of groceries to get (and my freezer was already pretty full) so I decided to get $50 in Amazon gift cards and 2 $15 gift cards (Starbucks and McDonalds) which I'll use as good behavior prizes for the students. (We'll have an "auction" the last day of the three weeks - I have the 25 posters from the book fair, plus these two cards for auction items. They "earn" Star"bucks" by good behavior, etc.) I was hoping to get 2 or 3 $5 gift cards, but they only had $15, 25, and 50.

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My $8 from Beezag posted today in my Paypal account. Yay! Big Grin

Considering Going for a GAC ... Researching Space

May 28th, 2012 at 03:34 pm

My Alma Mater (for Master's) is now offering a Graduate Academic Certificate in Technology for School Librarians. It consists of 4 courses for a total of 12 credits.

Since I'm no longer a resident of TX, I'd have to pay out of state tuition. So, for one 3 hour course it would cost $2,300. I may or may not be able to get scholarships (if I can get the departmental one, that was around $200 if I remember correctly.)

The GAC would not do anything for me salary wise. The courses do sound interesting and applicable to my current job. I also need to earn so many CEUs to retain my librarian certification.

I'm not sure if I could count this on my taxes since it would not be coursework towards a degree ...

Maybe I could take one course per year?? That would give me 12 credits towards recertification, plus the certification. However, I'm not sure how I could afford this PLUS get a car.

One other wrench in this ... the courses may require some on campus time. I'm not sure if it is like some of the core courses where you were on campus for two or three days, and the remainder of the time online only, or if it is more than that. If it is the latter, than there is no question of whether I can/should do this, if the former ... well ... maybe I could correspond my class time with my vacations to see my mom ...

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The last two days I've finished most of my laundry, and did one load of dishes. Otherwise I've been doing mega research on solar system/space learning activities for summer school. I have found a wealth of resources dealing with science/math/technology but very very few music/art/kinesthetic activities. (This is for mid-school - lower grades have plenty!) I've got to keep these kids *really* busy for 14 full days (4th of July is during the last week of summer school.) The busier they are, the less chance they will be trouble. I also want to make sure they have a lot of fun, while learning of course. Smile

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I haven't called the horse place yet, because I forgot today was a holiday. Oops. Smile The PO is closed as well, so I can't pick up the packages that are there. I ended up not going into school at all today or yesterday (though I spent the majority of these two days ON school stuff!)

OH! I did also spend some of my time yesterday and today practicing the piano. Big Grin I really need to learn the notes in the bass clef again (without using mnemonics to figure them out!!) I ordered some note flashcards and am practicing saying the note name as I play it. Kari's not sure what to make of the noise coming from the piano - she'd never heard it on before yesterday. Blush

Summer! Revamping budget ... again ... Short trip

May 26th, 2012 at 06:53 pm

Yesterday was the last day of school. Yay! Big Grin Wah! Frown I am happy for the break, and the chance to get a lot of projects done in the library on my relaxed schedule (i.e. not at crack of morning), but I am going to miss the teachers who have left for other pastures. They mostly are the ones I hung around with and did things with this past year. Frown

One of the new hires seems like she might be someone I could get along with, so I am somewhat hopeful. (Although she won't be here til August.)

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Today at church we had a guest speaker. He was really good. One quote I especially liked was, "God does not push or pull people, he draws them in." I need to remember that when it comes to various people in my life.

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So ... I have decided to do my budget a little differently. I divided my categories into two sections - The MUSTS and The Fluctuators. Included in the MUSTS is a Car Payment category an EF category and a Roth category. I then created a "loan" of $10,000 for my car. Using my total savings, I "paid" off $2000 of the loan, then subtracted another $2000 (from summer school) and then finally divided the remaining $6000 into 14 payments. This way I will have my car (mostly) funded by September, 2013. (My goal is to purchase my next car in October - end of month/fiscal year - purchase last year's model.)

Then I changed my EF goal to $2500, subtracted the amount I have right now in my BOFA account, and divided the remainder by 6.

Next I figured out how much I'd need to send to my ROTH each month to have $1800 sent by December, and divided that by 6.

After allocating money to the other MUSTS, the remainder goes into an unbudgeted slush fund which will be used to fund the Fluctuators. At the end of each month (by the 2nd) half of anything left in the slush fund will go to the car payment category.

I am going to treat the car "loan" as a real loan (minus interest). If I *really* had a loan, I'd be throwing everything I had at it till it was paid off ... so I'm hoping that same strategy will work here. Smile

Will see. Big Grin

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I've bought two Groupons recently - one for a 2 hour horseback ride and one for a Trolley tour of ABQ. In total, they cost $26. My grandma when she learned of these purchases and that I was planning on doing it in one day, insisted on sending me money to make it an overnight stay and a relaxing trip.

So ... I need to call the horse ranch to make sure, but I am thinking of going out Thursday morning for the horseback ride, maybe take in a museum or see if I can find the ABC (Adventist Book Center which sells vege meat products), spend the night at a hotel, do the trolley ride Friday morning (late!) do a Costco run and come back home. My Grandma gave me enough money for a nice hotel AND a meal out, so I might do California Pizza Kitchen again. Smile While there I'll also probably stop at the Apple store and pick up a second battery charger for my phone (I have one, but think I better get a second one for the train trip.)

I think it'll make for a nice short vacation. Smile

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I saw Men in Black 3 on Friday with several of the outgoing teachers. It was awesome! Love me some Will Smith. Big Grin Big Grin I paid for one of the teachers tickets (we bought them online just in case of it being sold out like Hunger Games and Avengers were.) Discover is paying 5% on movies ... so I was more than happy to help her out. (She paid me back in cash later.)

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Tomorrow I am going to have a day of major house cleaning. Laundry, dishes, sweeping, scrubbing, etc. My house needs it badly, plus I invited a couple from church to dinner on Friday night!! (They had me over for lunch a couple Sabbaths ago.)

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Oh! I filled up on gas yesterday for only $3.52 gallon!! That was nearly $.20 cheaper than in T! Sweet!

Tired - two days to go!

May 23rd, 2012 at 06:17 pm

What a busy week this has been so far, and the next two days will be equally busy, if not more so.

I had a lot of help in the library this week - a few 3rd graders on Monday, then 6th graders on Tuesday and today. While not all of my helpers were exactly helpful, the vast majority of them were - what would have taken me two - three weeks to do on my own, is now mostly done. (Namely, inventory - but also we are removing all the grade level labels from the books. I attempted using my label blade on a couple of books - ended up slicing my hand and tearing the spine of several books. So am using the circle sticky dots instead to cover the grade label.)

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Monday night we had a social for one of the interviewees. Before going to the social, I took Kari over to the Title 1 teachers home where we ate supper. The purpose was to see if her cat and Kari would get along. We left them alone together while we were at the social. Big mistake. When we got back we found Kari still in her kennel, having soiled herself (both.) Title 1 teacher gave me a wet rag to wipe her off with - Kari escaped from my arms and hid under the couch. Therein ensued 30 - 35 minutes of me trying every trick in the book to get her out - and Title 1 teacher getting badly scratched/bitten by her cat. (She got an tetnus shot and is on antibiotics.)

So ... needless to say, I won't be watching her cat this summer.

Tuesday night we had a farewell dinner at Applebee's for the teacher's who are leaving. :sob: We were quite a motley crew - only 2 of us had anything alcoholic to drink, but I imagine people around us thought we were all sipping toddy's.

This afternoon I had to sit through a training on child sex abuse. Ugh and double ugh. There was nothing new in the training - but at least I have it done now so I fulfilled that requirement for another two years. What I really was annoyed by was the evaluation form that asked "What did you find useful today?" My honest answer would be - Absolutely nothing. However my name was on it, so I made something up. Then another question asked about what we thought of our presenter ... the nicest thing I could think of to say was "he's friendly." Boring, repetitive, monotonous, etc., didn't seem like good things to put down!

Tomorrow we have our field day in the morning. I'm in charge of leading the Kinders around to the different stations. It's going to be fun, but HOT!

After school I'm going to ABQ with AL so I can take advantage of the book sale at the Sch olas tic ware house. We might make a couple other stops too, but I'm hoping to not make too long of a day of it.

Friday is essentially mass and goodbyes. Then I might try to finish the inventory. I essentially only have the older kids non-fiction left now.

Depending on how long that takes me, I may try to take in MIB3 (Mr. Smith!!) Although I'll probably wait til Sunday.

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I've gotten some interest in the summer library hours - not a whole lot, but some. So I'm hopeful that I won't end up sitting in the library for 4 hours with no one showing up. Big Grin

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Ooo boy - we sure are having some wind here today! I hope my water heater doesn't blow out!

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I cashed in my Beezag points yesterday. Now I'm back to just over 100 points. Smile

One Week and a Raise! Good Visit w/New Principal

May 18th, 2012 at 10:32 pm

Thursday night was our 8th grade graduation. I had to sit up front on the side because as a specials teacher who works with the 8th graders, I had to give a medal. I didn't realize that I would not only be up front, but would be stepping up on a stage. Note to self: wear a long skirt or dress next year!

Today was my last day of media center classes for this school year. In a way it feels really weird/sad, but in another way it is kind of a relief. I'll have a break of a month (from teaching classes at least) before summer school starts.

I was showing the kids today the abcya site with the animation app (3rd) and one of my 4th grade boys made an Angry Birds animation! I've been showing the app to all my classes this week, as a kind of fun end of year tech project, and have been simply amazed at how quickly they figured it out and how creative their projects were.

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Today our new principal talked to me about next year and brought me my contract. I'm getting a raise of 1 %!! Totally unexpected. Apparently they give everyone a 1% raise every year - had no idea.

I'm definitely getting an aide next year, although probably only for 20 hours a week. Better than nothing.

I also talked to the principal about having summer library hours/checkout one evening a week. She liked that idea (after making sure I knew it would be volunteer hours.) Smile

Some other points I raised with her:

Having a technology club/book club on after school activities days. (Again, was reminded that it would be volunteer hours.) Big Grin

Having a library focus group - have students from several different grades to discuss new book purchases, make recommendations, etc. She suggested I do it at lunch time once a month. Sounds good to me!

Scrapping K - 12 power and replacing with online databases. She was good with this idea as long as K12Power hadn't already been renewed. (She agreed with my assesment that it was useless - said previous computer teacher wanted something to have the kids login and be kept busy for 30 minutes while she texted. --well, principal didn't quite say the texting part, but I know that from other sources ...--)

Having a keyboarding specific class 20 minutes 2-3x week for 3rd, 4th and 5th during the first quarter. (Common Core standards expect a 4th grader to be able to comfortably type a one page document in one sitting. Typing class once a week for 7 or 8 weeks isn't going to cut it.) Principal thought it was a good idea, but will need to check with teacher's schedules.

Making 1st and 2nd grade 1 hour classes, and extending 3rd - 8th to 1hr 15 min. Principal was okay with this, but again needed to check scheduling.

Discussed need for major overhaul of non-fiction. Principal suggested that we have the fundraising efforts for one month go towards the renovation of our non-fiction section. Woo hoo! (She hadn't realized there was no library budget and didn't seem too surprised when I casually mentioned my "pocket" budget.)

Discussed the many blind spots in the library. Principal had the idea of installing something like a video baby monitor in the worst area.

Discussed me taking teachers on a tour of library/website during pre-school week. I've tried to make teachers aware of the resources we have, but it's kind of like pulling teeth with some of them ...

Discussed computer lab arrangement. Told principal that I didn't like the way it was arranged either, but I'd been told that the configuration was the only possible way to fit 25 computers in that space. Then I also told her that my big dream was to get some kind of grant to totally renovate and redesign the entire media center (to make better use of the space and get rid of the blind spots!)

--Forgot to talk about playaways ... probably best I forgot, because I think I kind of overwhelmed her. I just had been saving up all of these ideas/thoughts ...

I also asked her how she felt I was doing. She told me that she thought I had a pretty good start and was going in the right direction. Smile That made me feel pretty good. Big Grin

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OH! Before I forget! I had visitors today from a program called Reader to Reader. They donate publisher's seconds to needy schools. I was told about them by the reporter who was here a few weeks ago. They brought a suitcase full of books! Big Grin Big Grin I showed them around our library and we talked about what books we already had, and what books/topics were very popular, as well as our majorly outdated non-fiction. They said they'd be sending some more books our way sometime in July! Woo hoo! Later on I was talking to SrN (our current principal) and she told someone who was there that I was great at finding free book resources. Big Grin Big Grin

*related to the above --- We had this donor couple visiting our campus this week. The wife couldn't get over how much I smile (get really tired of hearing that, but sometimes it works in my favor.) She and her husband are avid readers. They both fell in love with the kids and our school - I let her do the final storytime with my K class :*(. She absolutely loved it (and I think they enjoyed it too.) Before she left she told me that she and her husband want to make a donation to the library, and then she handed me a $20 bill as a start. Seeeweet! I don't know how much they plan on donating, but if it is a goodly amount, then I'd like to use some of it to get a second magazine rack to put my small graphic novels in. I just haven't been able to bring myself to spend nearly $200 on one when that money could bring more books ... but if I don't have a good way to display the books, what good does it do, right? Smile

Last night I was figuring out the dollar amount of books that I added to our library this year. Combining my contributions, the money gifts from mom's friend, and book fair proceeds (from 2 book fairs), it came out to around $4,000. In all, I think that totaled around 450 books + another 200 or so books that were donated last year and have been slowly added, and then another 40 books that were donated to us from a school in Chicago (they did a one for one promotion at their bookfair and used the money to buy us books off the wishlist I sent.)

Sailed Over the Net to the Busses!

May 14th, 2012 at 04:46 pm

This afternoon we had our annual volleyball game - teachers vs. mid-school girls. The last time I played volleyball ... at least 20+ years ago. Smile

5 of the mid-school boys wore tutus and acted as cheerleaders (for us) - they also were allowed to play on our side if one of wanted a break.

I played for almost two full rotations. Which means I served the volleyball. Hence my title. Smile On my very first serve, I not only hit it over the net (very close to the left edge), but it sailed out to where the busses were parked. My next two serves were much more accurate.. Smile

Oh yeah, the teachers won. 30 to 26. Big Grin

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A few weeks ago I bought this climbing castle thing that hangs from a door. It was $20, and I thought it might be a good alternative to some of those cat climbers that start at $20 for maybe two levels. I hung it on the door to my office (since that is where I spend my most time.) Kari has taken to it more and more. Right now she is sound asleep in the top layer. Smile This is a picture of her earlier this afternoon - she stayed like that for a good 20 minutes or more. Smile


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No spending today (though I got the first book from my weekend spending.) Big Grin

Budget Thoughts and A Funny Thing

May 13th, 2012 at 08:18 pm

So ... as I look at my spending and at where I'm spending, I've come to the realization that I'm stressing myself out trying to make sure I don't overspend in any one particular category. Namely, groceries, but there are other places too. It may be going down a dangerous road here, but I've decided to change up my budget strategy. From this point forward I'm going to put into certain categories the amount that I'd like to shoot for (i.e. groceries), and then of course the fixed categories would have the exact amount. Most other categories will be left empty. Money not allocated to fixed categories or categories such as groceries will go into a general savings fund. I've decided to stop distinguishing my savings categories, and lump them all into one pile. So, that means all my rainy day savings as well as other savings will go into the same pot. At the end of the month if there's anything left in the categories that I put in a "target" amount of funds, that money will be swept into the general savings fund.

I'll still record what I actually spend in multiple categories, I just won't have a specific amount of funds allocated to all of them.

This weekend I spent nearly $500 on books for school/library. I bought 6 sets of 6 books for the summer school kids to use in novel studies, a bunch of space related books/activity guides, some professional resources to help with Common Core, and 36 Hi/Lo books. The Hi/Lo books probably could have (should have) waited, but the others I felt I needed to go ahead with ordering. The average cost of the books is about $8 (mainly thanks to one $26 book, otherwise the average would've been closer to $7 per book.) Oh, this was after the $25 in AGC's. Smile The Hi/Lo books all were part of the 4-3 promotion, so I actually got 6 of them for free (I thought I was going to get 8 free ... not sure why I didn't.) So, generally speaking I got around $650 worth of books for less than $500 (after 4-3 promotion, AGC's, buying good condition used copies ..)

I sometimes wonder if my overarching need to buy books for the library is partly a backlash from the years and years and years where I bought only one or two books a year for myself. Now I have a good excuse to buy books - right? Smile

Part of these thoughts stem from my dad asking me yesterday how much I had saved for my car - and I had to tell him "~$500" and he laughed at me. Frown So I amended what I said to say that altogether in savings I have a good bit more - just not called car savings. Truth be told though, if I needed to replace my car next week, I'd be scraping money together from every piggy hole and couch cushion that wasn't allocated for mandatory expenses ...

So between how much I've been stressing out about my spending, and my realization that no matter what I may call my various savings categories, they all would be spent for one thing if necessary ... I came up with this idea. I figure I'll try it for a few months and see if it helps me to curb my spending better, or if it makes it worse. I can always go back to my other way of doing it if it makes it worse.

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Today I wasn't quite dressed for outside viewing when someone knocked on my door. It was my neighbors - they'd found a medium sized white dog wandering the neighborhood and thought they recognized it - they just weren't sure who's it was. I knew it immediately - our nurse's dog. So after identifying it (I was in bare feet and holey shorts) I went inside and put some jeans on and called our nurse. No answer. I tried a couple other numbers and couldn't get in touch with her. So finally I decided to chance taking the dog inside with Kari. At first Kari was all bushy tailed and hackles, but then she realized that the dog wasn't going to hurt her and became somewhat comfortable and curious. Finally our nurse saw she had missed calls from a TX number and figured it was me, then came and got her dog. Big Grin

This gives me hope that Kari will do okay, and possibly even do well, with our Title 1 teachers cat this summer. We'll see I guess. Smile

The Wild Things Gnashing Their Teeth :(

May 8th, 2012 at 04:15 pm

Today I got the sad news that the author of "Where the Wild Things Are" died. I hadn't planned on reading his book to the students today, but changed my plans in order to honor his memory. It was really interesting to me that as soon as I mentioned why we were reading his book, that the students became completely and totally silent. I don't know that I've heard any of the groups be quite that silent for any book I've read to them.

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It was also really interesting to me today working with my 7th graders. They are divided into a boys and a girls section. The boys section completed their assignment (editing a html website) with 10 - 15 minutes to spare - and did a good job. The girls section is going to have to keep working on it next week. None of them finished it. (This was our second week working on the assignment.) I'm not totally sure what this says, but I'm thinking it says something about the differences in the workings of the mind of a 7th grade boys/girls mind. Figuring out the code language and how to manipulate it just seemed to come more easily to the boys.

I hadn't noticed the same difference with the 8th graders.

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We are down to our last 7 or 8 yearbooks. (8 if I sell one of the 4 complementary ones.) I am SO ready for them to be completely sold.

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AL told me today that the father of one of our 7th graders who is currently in ISS for the remainder of the year asked her why the computer teacher (me) was teaching kids how to manipulate phones and get into the parents phone service websites. Whoa!! AL let him know that that was NOT being taught - that the kids weren't even allowed to have cell phones on campus and besides that - how'd we know how to get into the parent's phone websites??? Is it any wonder this kid is in ISS?? But seriously, any kid who gets their hands on a phone that can read relatively well (or even not) will figure out pretty much anything there is to figure out about it in a short time - no teaching required. Smile

Unexpected Afternoon

May 7th, 2012 at 09:09 pm

This morning while talking to AL, I became quite worried about her. She'd posted something on FB on Friday that had me wondering what was going on, and then speaking with her this morning I got a clearer picture of what it was. So ... I told her I had to go into G again this afternoon to drop off some paperwork I'd forgotten to complete, and was she interested in maybe going bowling and get something to eat? She told me she'd think about it...

So after school was out today I asked her if she wanted to go with me .. and she agreed! Smile We dropped off my paperwork (for summer school) and then made it over to the bowling place in time to bowl one game before they closed. (I got a 74, she got a 56. Pro Bowlers we are not. Smile ) Then we ate at a local eatery that has great veggie burgers.

We had a *long* talk. To put it simply, I am *still* very worried about her. What she is going through I have no real experience in. I felt all I could do was be there to listen. Those of you who praying folk, I would greatly appreciate it if you could keep AL in your prayers. Specifically she needs to know that she is worth the fight, and that not everyone is going to break her trust.

I spent around $9 at the bowling alley for her and I, and she treated me for supper. I'm really glad that I made the offer, and that she accepted it, even though it made me blow through the remainder of my entertainment budget for the month. However, I have a feeling that I'll be doing some more of that this month ... goodbye dinners for teachers leaving, etc. This is a time to say I think that people are worth more than financial goals.

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I've gotta share! Today I read "Press Here" to my K, 3rd and 4th grade classes. K and 4th both seemed to LOVE it. 3rd was a bit meh on it. I can hardly wait to see the reactions of my 1st and 2nd graders tomorrow. It truly is a FUN book. Big Grin

Interesting Proposition and MAD RDJ Love :)

May 6th, 2012 at 07:29 pm

I got an email today from the Title 1 teacher. She's going to be gone for 2 months this summer and has decided she doesn't want to take her cat with her. So she knows I'll be here most of the summer. She asked me if I'd let her cat live with me while she is gone, and in the meantime she'd let me have use of her car. Her car is maybe 4 years old??

Hmmm.... I *really* like the idea of having the use of a newer car for two months. It would give my car another two months of leeway/life. I'd have a working radio and cigarette lighter (for charging my phone). I wouldn't have to worry about breaking down on the road ...

The other side of course is liability issues ... If I got into a fender bender in my car (like in Dec.) I could let the non-safety issues go. However, if it happened in her car, I'd have to pay to get it fixed. I'm also not quite sure how the insurance issue would work. Would I need a certified letter from her stating I have permission to drive her car???

The other issue is the cats ... it might be a good test to see if Kari could get along with another cat. It also could show me if some of her behavior issues could be alleviated by another cat ... without me having taken on the lifetime responsibility of a second cat. One issue though is that Title 1 teacher's cat is an indoor/outdoor cat. I would not care for Kari to get that idea in her head .. at all. I also just don't like the idea of an indoor/outdoor cat ... dirt, bugs, etc.

What do y'all think?

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Today I went to see Avengers with RDJ. Love, love, love Mr. Downey. Big Grin Big Grin It was an ensemble movie, but he kicked butt the most. Big Grin Several of the people with our group were not the most ... savvy movie goers. The husband of one of our teachers seems like he may have some hearing loss - no concept of a whisper. Then ... not one, not two, but THREE of our groups cell phones went off during the movie --- AND they were answered!!! ARGHH!!!

I saw this in 3D. Wow! I hated paying the extra $2 for it, but in the end, it was well worth it. I'll probably go the extra dollars for MIB 3 too. I have just enough left in my entertainment budget for one more 3D movie this month.

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After the movie I went to Walmart. I bought color ink (having 2nd - 6th grade make Mother's Day cards - need lots of color ink.) I also bought this hanging climbing tower for Kari - will see how that goes. Smile I bought a second pair of the sandals I bought last time, as well as another pair of a different more fancier type sandal. Then I bought a few groceries too. (I was going to get more sweet potatoes, but the selection was abysmal.)

In all, I spent $99 (groceries, shoes, Kari, etc.) and $45 on ink. I *think* everything will count towards the $300 in May for Discover groceries (Walmart.) If it does, then I'm well on my way. Smile

Interviewed :)

May 3rd, 2012 at 07:24 pm

Today for SrN's mass the reporter from the local paper showed up. After everyone went outside and heard the announcement from SrN of who the new principal is, I got pulled from the crowd. The reporter asked me a few questions - I told her I'd only been there a year and there were several people who probably could give her a better perspective. So I introduced her to those people, then she asked me for a couple of students. I pulled over our 8th grade student of the year (who happens to be SrN's neighbor) and another 8th grader (who'd been at the school since she was 3.) They both handled themselves pretty well for being interviewed. Smile

The story will come out on Monday - I can hardly wait to see what got used and what didn't. She told me that she had way more material than she could use, so I may or may not be quoted. Big Grin If I am, then it'll be my first time quoted in a real paper. My brother beat me to it though by a few weeks. (He's quoted in an article on some media convention or something ... can't remember exactly what.)

--

Exactly 15 days left of school. 3 of the days are half-days. Tomorrow I should be getting a bunch of new books in from Amazon - all of them will only have the opportunity to be checked out once at most this year - but at least they'll have that chance. Big Grin

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The newspaper lady told me about this group that does book donations to needy organizations/schools. They donate publisher's seconds. I looked them up and was impressed to see that they actually check your library's catalog *before* sending books to make sure there is no duplication. Yes!!

I also found out that they do donations of e-readers!! So ... I wrote an email to them telling them a little about our school and that our non-fiction section is sorely outdated (especially in light of Common Core coming up here fast) and that I'd love to get e-readers into the kids hands that didn't require wi-fi. We'll see what happens ... Big Grin

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I cashed out for my 5th AGC from Swagbucks today. I have enough left for the first 1 1/2 cards in June. I need to find some good high SB offers that are inexpensive/free. Smile

I'm up to 6,300+ points in Beezag. So probably will be able to cash out in another few weeks.

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Several of us teachers are going to see the Avengers this weekend. I can hardly wait!!

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Today was payday. This is a month of 3 paychecks. The first two paychecks go to June, and the 3rd paycheck goes directly to my EF. After last month's piddly savings, that is something I can really cheer about!

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I read a really interesting article in the latest Smithsonian magazine (one of many subscriptions donors send our school ...) about how the education system works in Finland. It almost made me want to move to Finland ... but then I realized I'd have to learn and become fluent in both Finnish and Swedish .... so, nope, that's not going to happen. Smile

Spring Performance, Book Fair Money, Goals/Dreams

May 2nd, 2012 at 06:14 pm

Last night the school kids had their spring performance/tribute to SrN. SrN has been principal here for 19 years and is now retiring. It went really, really well. AL videoed it (she had to borrow a 4gb card from me to put in the video camera - the video camera was one that was donated to the Media center last semester.)

SrN is from the order of Sisters of Notre Dame - so each class performed a skit, song, dance from a country SND is located in. The gym was standing room only (and that was with the kids in areas outside the main seating area.)

Tomorrow we're having a special mass for SrN. We may even have a newspaper journalist there! There will definitely be a story in Monday's paper.

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Last night at the performance one of the mission staff talked to me and asked me what I wanted them to do with the book fair money. It was still sitting in the safe. Ooops. I thought when they paid the Sch invoice that they'd deposited it ...

So this afternoon I went over and helped count the money and got the receipt for it.

I've pretty much spent all of our profit. I bought 9 books from LBE (a company that sends you preview boxes of books, then you send back whatever you're not going to buy) and 15 books from PB (a high-interest/ low reading level series I was told was really popular and NOT obvious), and then today SrN used the school cc to purchase 53 books from Amazon. Big Grin I've had that list ready to go for several weeks - it looks a good bit different than it did the first time I put it together. Big Grin

I really wanted to get another magazine rack like we have for displaying the small graphic novels. But all the ones I've found are in the $150 - $200 range. I can buy way too many books for that amount ... I wish there was a Craigslist for our area ...

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I've seen the posts about 5 year plans/goals ... for me, it's easier to formulate financial/professional goals than personal goals. I seem to be able to achieve the first two much better than the last. Sigh.(Most of my personal goals I'd like to make I have no control over whatsoever ... and so see no point to putting them down.)

So ...

Financial:
1. Have a new completely paid off car. (2012 model+)
2. Have an EF of 15k+
3. Have 2k+ in car replacement fund (add 1k per year)
3. Have gone on, or be in the process of making plans for a fully paid for European cruise/land tour.
4. Max out ROTH contributions.

Professional:
1. Renew my librarian license
2. Have an article published in a librarian publication
3. Obtain a grant to completely renovate and redesign the media center

April Spending

May 2nd, 2012 at 05:17 pm

Expenses:

Offering: 20
Tithe: 150
Groceries: 256.65
Restaurants: 14.42
Phone/Internet: 128.93
Hulu+ - 7.99
Household: 19.95
Prescriptions: 24.63
Miscellaneous: 83.85
Kari: 32.96
Library: 49.40
Entertainment: 1.38
Summer Travel: 186.00
Gas: 118.25
Auto Repairs/Maint: 331.01

Savings/Goals:
ROTH: 100.00
EF: 121.30 ... 1900/5000 goal
Replace Car: 190 ... 690/5000 goal
iPhone: 15 ... 90 / 200 goal

Expenses:

Groceries --- Am I ever going to manage to get this back under control? Part of the expense was the trip into Albuqurque, but most of it was extra trips to the nearby mom and pop store. I'm planning on not doing any grocery trips until I use up everything in my freezer - except maybe to get fruit. Then I'll get Walmart cards with a monthly allotment on them ...
see if that helps any....

Restaurants - within budget limits

Phone/Internet -- w/i limits

Hulu +: I decided to try it this month and put Netflix on hold. I'm debating whether I want to keep it or not along with Netflix - or if I'll just keep it during the regular seasons of shows, then have only Netflix during the summer...

Household - bought a fan, old one stopped working

Prescriptions: keeps going up every time I refill it. Ugh.

Miscelaneous: fingerprinting fee, website domain renewals, etc.

Kari: - food and toys

Library: books, what else? :roll eyes:

Entertainment: a song download

Summer Travel: Bought train tickets!!

Gas: Spent more than usual on gas this month, mostly due to Albuquerque trip. Starting May with almost a full tank.

Auto Repairs - replaced all 4 tires

Savings:

When I look at the amount I put into my EF this month, I want to cringe. However, a good portion of what might have otherwise gone into it, went to replacing the tires on my car. So ... it's not
really too bad overall. (My main focus right now is my EF. Money I'm gifted by my dad is going directly towards my car fund. That's why I didn't use money from that for the tires.)

Extra Money:
$25 in AGC from Swagbucks (spent on books for Library)
$50 AGC from Mypoints (spent on books for library)