Getting Ready for Back to School

I have a normal routine that I do to get ready for back to school. This year, not so much!  But I’m okay with that. Life happens, right? That is why we work so hard, so that way when life does happen, we have earned a break without guilt! :)

I’m so glad that I have had the opportunity to spend the summer with friends and family, regardless of the crappy situation. My father starts chemo today and he has to be admitted to the hospital for 3 – 5 days to flush it out of his system to make sure that everything goes okay afterwards. I wish I could be there but I have to get ready! I’m hosting my first Jamberry Nail party TOMORROW. Here is what I got:

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I’m so excited about my nail party! Wahoo! Jamberry has been my little breath of fresh air this summer and my little way of carrying positivity around with me every where I go. Find me on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/janellejams) for more information!

Okay, so I haven’t done a ton to get ready for school, but I did manage to accomplish an important one: shopping! I found this amazing lunch box and food tray!

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Of course, I can’t teach without a cute pair of shoes:

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Can you tell that I’m a Gamecock fan? :) If not, look at these nails that I bought (I can’t wait for football season!):
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I’m getting a second Gamecock one in the mail soon (hopefully today)! There is only one Jam I don’t like, the Clemson one! Yucky! ;) Just kidding, those are cute too! Just don’t expect me to wear them.

 

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#likeagirl

Like a girl.

I have heard this phrase many times. Out of all of those times, I never once heard it said in a positive way. I usually don’t say anything because I think, well, it’s true. But is it really true? NO! Then why do girls (including me) have this mentality that they look goofy running or throwing a ball? Or that they can’t run well or throw a ball well??

There are many reasons why girls feel the way they do. That’s not the purpose of this post though. The purpose is to shed light and know that we can change it. Watch this:

This video hit me hard. It reminded me that I have a unique opportunity to make a difference in the future of the girls I teach. Teaching makes an impact and gives me an opportunity to make an impact on boys and girls, but I definitely have a soft spot in my heart for the tenderness and support that girls need. I realized this soft spot when I saw this video:

Just something to think about.

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Fun and New Stuff

July is a good month. I’m focusing on starting my new job! Wahoo! I’m moving to a school A LOT closer to home. That is one benefit, but more importantly, I feel like it is home and where I am suppose to be. I’m not sure why God led me here, but He did and I’m so excited. I’ll still be teaching pre-algebra to 8th graders, so I can use a lot of my same resources. I’m going working on my unit plans still, but it’s coming a long. I’m hopeful that July will provide some more time for me to focus on them! I love gathering/making resources for my lessons. I’ve typed up my units for the most part in word, but I think I’m going to transfer them to http://www.commoncurriculum.com/. Both lesson plans and long range plans can be added.

Here are some pics:
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July is also a good month because it was one year ago this month that I started this blog. I’m SO glad that I did too!

July is a good month because I decided to join the Jamberry team! Check out the designs and be sure to use me as your independent consultant! http://janellegraham.jamberrynails.net/

Here are my nails, I love them!
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I’m back!….well, sorta!

This post is more like a personal reflection rather than a teaching focused. So skip it if you aren’t interested!

I’m back! I’m back! Well, sorta.  I’m back in spirit and getting back into a routine, but I’m not entirely back yet. Back from what you ask? The first month of my summer has been an experience in good ways and bad.

The good…I’ve spent more time with my family in the last four weeks than I have in a REALLY long time. Actually, I don’t think ever I’ve spent this much time with family, including when we all lived under one roof way back in the day. I’ve seen so many people come together, be supportive, and stay positive when it didn’t seem like their way anything to be positive about.

The bad…I’ve been living out of a suit case for the last four weeks (good thing I have a tendency to over pack!). Not knowing what the future holds has been a struggle!  The worst part of the summer is seeing my father lose his mind literally over night. He has been diagnosed with CNS Lymphoma.  He was in the hospital for  3 weeks. It started in Myrtle Beach when my family was on vacation. We arrived Thursday and had a 5 day beach trip planned! On Friday we went to Broadway at the beach and noticed that my father was little off his game. We didn’t really think much of it, contributing it to him being hard of hearing and getting older (not that 53 is old! He is a youngin’!).  Friday night/Saturday morning we all awoke startled by my father. He was acting very strangely. If it was a stranger, I’d assume he was drunk AND on drugs. Knowing better, we all scrambled and took him to the emergency room.  This is when we learned that he had a brain tumor, which did turn out to be malignant. That first week was hectic. We moved from the Grand Strand hospital to MUSC in Charleston thinking they would do brain surgery to remove it. There we found out that he needed a drain to relieve pressure in the brain and also a biopsy to confirm everything else. The doctors decided surgery wouldn’t be the best option. Instead, my parents will be living here in Charleston, SC to get his treatment. This is a huge shift. Their jobs gone. Their pets gone to family. All comforts of home are gone. The silver lining? My family is together. I’ve been able to support and help my mom and dad. I’ve seen family that I haven’t seen in 10 years!  My aunt (dad’s sister) lives in Charleston…we haven’t seen her in 10 years due to family drama. It has been so good to see everyone come together and not even bring up the petty drama. She opened up her house to my parents to stay for the next six months through out the treatment for the tumor, which is another reason I’m still living out of my suit case. My husband is a rock star and using his amazing skills to finish some construction at her house so they can have their own private little cottage! It’s so cute and coming together FAST! His projected completion date is this coming weekend. So, we are thinking that we will return home this coming weekend. From there we will drive to Charleston to visit on weekends or when needed.

I’m so glad that I have summer off to help where I can, but it’s been hard to get out a routine. I miss my routine! I miss my summer planning that I always do…I feel so behind!  I have a new job to get ready for!!!! :) So, I’m slowly getting back into a routine.  Fresh start of the month makes me feel ready for a fresh start!

So here is to a new chapter in my life and adding in some new routines! :)

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Summer so Far…

I had lots planned for this summer. Vacation. Relaxation. Blog. Craft. Lesson planning. Conference. More vaction. More relaxing. My brother’s wedding. Etc…

I am a planner. I LOVE it. It makes me feel more confident and better at what I’m doing. I had a pretty awesome plan for this summer. Sometimes things don’t turn out exactly like you plan. I struggle with this!

Last weekend my plan changed. While on a family vacation in Myrtle Beach, my husband, my mom, and myself rushed my father to the emergency room. After several tests, they found a brain tumor. They transferred us to MUSC in Charleston. This may not be what I planned, but I am so thankful that I was with my mom when we found out and also have the ability to be with her through this because I have summer vacation. This all has come to a big shock and a lot of things are up in the air right now with what is going on. We are staying positive and know that this is all in God’s hands.

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I love this blog and teaching, but right now I need to focus on my family. So there will probably be no posts for a little while. Things will get better and I’ll be back soon!

Vacation!

I often get scolded or smirked at when I refer to my summer vacation as a teacher. It can be irritating when someone makes a smart comment about how easy it is to be a teacher because we get the summer off. I’d be happy to trade jobs for a week so people can see how easy teaching is not! Most teachers I know work more in 10 months than others do in 12!

Anyway…I thought I make a quick post about how I am enjoying my vacation, of course it is math and teaching related:

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Maybe I have a poor sense of humor but these two memes got me rolling!  Hope you enjoy them too.

Cheers to rest, relaxation, and recouperation!

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This is {one reason} Why I Teach

I don’t care what anyone says. Middle school rocks!  I often get “You teach middle school?? Bless your heart!” Shame on them! They don’t know what they are missing!  These are some of the sweetest, caring, and fun children I know!  There are MANY reasons why I teach middle school. This is one of them:

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This letter from a student was super sweet! It made me feel awesome! :)  The student who gave it to me cried and gave me a hug at the end of the day!

Tomorrow is class day, the last day of school for 8th graders (Friday is the official last day of school for 6th and 7th grade).  Class day is like a mix between a graduation and awards day. We give LOTS of awards, hear speeches, and show a slide show of events from the school year.  Of course there are always lots of tears too, but I’m not going to admit that to the kids. I’m SO going to miss this class. I know we aren’t suppose to have favorites, but this is my FAVORITE homeroom that I’ve ever had. That is really saying something because I always have the best homeroom!  I told them that I expect them to keep in touch and let me know all the wonderful things they accomplish in high school, college, and life.

One student today asked me if I was going to cry tomorrow.  My response: “How can I cry and be sad when I know you are growing up and are going to accomplish wonderful things! To know that I’ve got an opportunity to see some of those awesome things has been a blessing!”   Of course I will have some tears tomorrow, but they will be tears of joy and happiness for these kiddos!

 

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Connect the Dots – Great Game for Problem Solving and Strategy

My school is one of the few who are in class on Memorial day. Out of my 130 students, only about 40 came to school. It was nice to be able to combine classes with my teammates and have extra planning/packing. However, what do you do on a day like this?!

I choose to do a game: connect the dots.

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I think was an excellent problem solving and strategy learning opportunity for them.

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I meant to have a Connect the Dots Tournament and create a bracket! However, the game board was way to big! Oops! The kids had fun, but playing one round took the whole 50 minute class period even for those that stayed on task the whole time!

Happy Memorial Day! A huge thank you to all the past, present, and future military men and women who serve our country, specially those that have lost their life while serving.  Also, thank you to the family members of these servicemen.

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Checking for Math Vocabulary Misunderstandings

As my classes finished their 20 pointed star projects, I had students create a crossword puzzle for math vocabulary that they learned this year. This was tough for them because their textbooks were already colllected, but this is a good thing for me because I got to see what vocabulary stood out to them and they could remember on their own.  The cross word puzzle was created on regular graph paper and the clues were written on notebook paper. Students were required to make a blank one and an answer key.

This student made me laugh but then cry because I’m not sure if it was a misspelling for if this is what she really thought about slope….

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“RICE over run” as her clue for slope is definitely not a correct mathematical definition.  It made me smile though by picturing a bowl of rice on top of a graph.

This shows the importance of students writing and communicating their knowledge through writing so we can check for these misunderstandings!

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Stellated Icosahedron {20 Pointed Star} Variations

So my students are wrapping up another successful year of the 20 pointed star project. I thought I’d share a picture of the ‘variations’ that I allow some students to make if time materials allow.

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Both look pretty cool, but the one on the left requires smaller straws for the middle part of the project. Other than that, it is the same project. It is pretty cool to hear their conversations about how to create it.

Favorite project ever.

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