"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.' "
Jeremiah 29:11

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Show and Tell!

Since I had an idea what to expect this year, and had a good month or so at home, I got crafty so I would have the materials and decorations I needed to start the year off.  I am so excited to have a calendar this year!   A calendar was the one thing I knew I wanted to buy for my classroom, but clearly I didn't stop there.  I also made a fair amount of stuff on the computer.  I had to take advantage of having a printer while in the United States.  And to make it last, I toted all the paper items I had gathered to Lakeshore and laminated them, all 53 feet.  Thanks Kelsey for all the help cutting it out!  Your cutting is so precise and your edges are rounded; mine are not :)  I can tell who cut what!  I've gotten a lot of compliments on how nice my classroom looks from parents and other staff members, but there's a lot of other people who helped make this space inviting.  Books, whiteboards, stickers, posters, even help glueing and cutting things...there's so much I could name, that friends and family have been so generous with.  Many of you who have never even been to my little school, have a piece of you in it.  That makes my heart smile.  Thank you!

a new banner greets us all!
A fresh coat of paint.  My temporary classroom is the window on the far right.
BEFORE:  A blank slate... even if it's temporary, I'm happy I have this room.  I have my own desk this year!  Until I move rooms, that is :(

AFTER:  Much better now that it has some color.

My theme this year is movies.  The clapboard says Miss Hill's class, Now Starring:  and each star has a student's name on it.

I found these cute popcorn cut-outs at Jo-Ann Fabrics (in the US of course) and each student has their own hook to hang their backpack.

I found these name tags at Barnes & Noble!
These oversized ticket cutouts came from Lakeshore
We are lucky to have this great window that even closes.  And this room has overhead lights!
My new fifth grade class!

My 7 fifth  graders (one is absent) are now in sixth grade, with 3 new faces!

I made the "Who Will Pop Up Next" sign and popcorn with each students name inside.  I don't use this all the time, but it is a random way to pick students to run an errand or answer a question.  I have one popcorn container for each grade I teach.

Thanks Mom for the Scientific Method poster set!

"Meet the Cast" of 5th and 6th grade
I made the signs that say English, Math, and Science..

we all signed it, and are accountable!

my hand-made behavior chart.  If you end the day on green, blue, or purple, you earn a sticker on your incentive chart.
Last year my 5th graders came up with the name "Good Times!" for their reward system.  These are the incentive charts where students have a chance to earn a sticker each day.

Target dollar section= prize box!  After each row on the incentive chart is filled up, students earn a small prize, and after the ENTIRE incentive chart is filled the student gets his or her choice from Miss Hill's prize box!

I guess I was so excited about having a classroom calendar that I didn't even take a picture of it.  oops.  It matches the die cut letters that I used to make the signs and also matches the Class Rules poster.

Monday, February 18, 2013

New Beginnings

Probably a lame title for my post, but that's all I got.  Great grammar for an English teacher, no?

It has been a long while since I updated this blog.  I think I have already been back in CR for a month.  Tomorrow starts the third week at school; I know that much.

The school year seemed to get off to a bit of a rough start, but I figure that's a normal thing with the first week of school in any place.  We just had a lot working against us.  I came back excited to see the new classrooms that were to be built over the Summer break, but only saw the same pile of lumber I saw last year.  We got our classroom assignments, and my classroom is so new that it's not even built yet.  The time frame is one month, but that was 3 weeks ago during teacher orientation week... enough money wasn't raised.  The project is projected at $7,000 for 3 new classrooms, and we need about $3,000 more.

Fortunately for me, I still have a roof over my students' heads, but that's not the case for everybody at Futuro Verde.  All of the elementary grades have classrooms, although 3 of us will move once (or if) the new classrooms are built.  The high school grades have to share classrooms until that point, which is difficult.  To have two grades and two teachers teaching two different subjects in one room at one time, is not ideal.  So far the grades that have to share rooms have been having classes outside under the mango trees with a portable white board or either in the lunch room, if other grades are lunching at that time, of course.  

The school was also short 3 teachers, until last week when hiring was finalized.  Everyone has pulled together though and we're doing the best we can with what we have.  I didn't have my 6th grade math series until this past Tuesday.  I got the new text books that I wanted for my students (yay!) because the publisher realized a 6th grade version, but they took a long time to get here from the United States.  We had a week without math books, oh my!

There's other little things, but the important thing is that everything seems to be coming together finally.  The heat here, though, is excruciating.  It is incredibly dry, since last year's rainy season wasn't so rainy.  The school was without water for two days, which was not so good.  We are fortunate enough to have a water tank that fills up as a reserve, but it seems that ran out too.  Fortunately water came back mid-day on Thursday.  Another problem with the heat is the dust.  The school is on a dirt road, because the majority of roads here are dirt.  The dust created by the passing cars and traffic is terrible.  It's like this big red cloud, and I know it can't be healthy for us to breathe this stuff.  I remember it started to get bad at the end of last year, but it is sooo much worse now.  The classrooms have to be wiped down several times throughout the day because of the dust that comes in.  In addition to trying to raise money to build classrooms, there has also been an effort to raise money to put molasses down on the portion of the road in front of the school.  Ideally, it would be paved, but molasses will keep the dirt down and is cheaper in the short term.  We'll pray for a paved road after we can see and breathe.

Anyways, I am happy with my classes and with my [temporary] classroom too.  I brought back many fun things to decorate, and did A LOT of laminating over the break too.  I know it will all have to come off the walls once I get to move to my new classroom, but I wanted my students to feel situated in their space while they are there, however long it may be.

Another exciting thing is that I moved last weekend!  I no longer live with the host family in C√≥bano, because I was ready for a change this year.  I found a house in Montezuma.  It's literally just one room and a bathroom, and then a porch and kitchen, but it's enough for me.  So far I'm happy living by myself.  I did make a large sacrifice when deciding to move:  the luxury of hot water in the shower and the convenience of a washing machine.  I can only have so much, I guess.  It sounds crazy to say that I don't have hot water or a washing machine because my apartment in St. Augustine had everything.  Even a garage where I could park my car.  Now I take a dirty, hot bus.  That's how things change though, because clothes can be hand washed and I've found that hot water is just a luxury that I can live without.  I have what I need.  And there are monkeys in my yard, so that's an added bonus!

I think that's all for now.  My body is yelling at me to let it go to sleep because I hiked the waterfalls with some friends today and then walked up the Montezuma hill.  That means nothing if you have never seen the hill.  Should be called a mountain.  Just a typical Sunday in Montezuma.  ¡Pura Vida!

P.S.  If you feel led to donate to the school’s classroom construction fund, you can help us out online by buying supplies.  Thank you!