Monday, April 16, 2012

I'm Pulling My Hair Out (and it's only Monday)!!!!

***WARNING - this is a long post, but there is a freebie at the end!
So this week, our 3rd-6th graders have FCAT (which means high stakes standardized test for those of you who don't live in Florida).  I know, you're thinking, "You teach first grade, what do you care?" Well, because our specials teachers are helping to test small groups, that means we don't get our regular specials time.  Which means we are locked up required to stay in our classrooms ALL MORNING!!  Usually, we have specials at 10:45 which gives our firsties a good break.  Nope, not this week.

I quickly realized this morning that I was going to have to join BA (Baldies Anonymous...or it could stand for Boiling Blood Pressure Anonymous...or would that be BBPA?).  Anyway, today it seemed like the kids were doing the exact opposite of what I was asking them to do.  And it wasn't just my bad challenging kids either.  Some of it was my good kids that ALWAYS listen.  For example, we were making a map of Florida (well, really just using symbols to  mark some important cities in Florida) and the map we used just had Florida on it, no boundary lines.  We've done this for a couple of years and when we go to color in the water around Florida, the kids always color above the state.  So, we always have them extend the boundary so they are drawing the Eastern edge of the US.  One of my really good boys, Georgie (names have been changed to protect the guilty innocent), draws a line down, tracing the coast of Florida.  I politely tell him, "No, honey, go up to the top of your paper."  He again draws a line down the coast of Florida.  I get a map of the US out and show him where we're talking about and what line we have to draw.  He again draws down the page.  REALLY???  By this time, I realize it's all downhill.  I yell politely explain again that he needs to go UP to the TOP of the paper (emphasizing the important words - see, teaching test taking skills already).  Finally, he draws a line UP!!! 

After this, we finally make it to lunch.  We could not get out of that classroom fast enough.  Now, I'm lucky enough this year to have a lunch time that overlaps my daughter's by about 10 minutes.  So every Monday we eat outside for those 10 minutes so I can hear about her day.  I'm looking soooo forward to this today, not only because I wanted to hear how she thought her FCAT was going, but also because I just needed to be a mom right then and not a teacher (if you know what I mean).  So I'm taking our lunches out and I set them down on the wooden picnic table to grab something else (some of you know where this is headed) and when I go to pick them up, I get a HUGE splinter UNDER MY FINGERNAIL!!!   OUCH, OUCH, OUCH!!!!!  Well, she's not out there yet, so I see the PE teacher sitting at a table and ask her to look out for my daughter and let her know I'm in the clinic.  I go to see the nurse to ask her to pull it out and we end up spending 15 minutes digging under my fingernail to try to get the splinter out.  Now, y'all are teachers, so you can do the math.  We get 25 minutes for lunch.  By the time I drop the kids off, get my lunch ready, get a 3 inch splinter under my fingernail, and then spend 15 minutes trying to dig it out....well, you know.  I had just enough time to tell my daughter I love her and then I had to pick my kids up.  Which left me trying to eat my lean cuisine as I am walking down the hallway.

Math didn't get any better.  Let's just say my daughter told me after school that as they were walking by my classroom to go back from their lunch, they could hear me yelling politely reviewing all of the rules of our room.   Recess then began at 1:30 - recess which is really my planning period this week due to FCAT - and no, we didn't get there until 1:45.  Recess is over at 1:55, so you know what my planning time was like today. 

After recess, we went to practice our play on the stage.  Now, we've been practicing this play for like a month.  We go live next Tuesday.  Apparently, today, NO ONE could remember when they needed to come to the mike to say their lines.  There must have been some kind of crazy force field around the stage that made all of the kids forget where they needed to be and when.  We're doing this play with 2 other first grade classes, so I was happy to see that it wasn't just my kids who were off in space today. 

It was so rough today, that right at 3:15 when the teachers could leave, I told my kids to grab their scooters and we took a walk to the park.  Luckily, we live in a really small town and it's only about a 10 minute walk to the park.  It was so nice. No one was there and I was able to sit and enjoy the peace and quiet and decompress. 

When we got back to school, my mind was a little clearer, and I was able to focus on what I needed to get done.  I've noticed lately that my kids are forgetting how to do missing addend problems and those problems that ask "How many more?" or "How many fewer?".  So, I created this worksheet to give them some extra practice.  It has a frog theme because our story this week is a Frog and Toad story. 

For those of you who read my warning and skipped right down here to the freebie, I don't blame 'ya!  For those of you who really read my rantings, thank you!  That's why I love y'all!
Frog-Tastic Word Problems

Thanks, guys for letting me vent.  Sometimes, you just gotta get it out.  Hopefully, tomorrow will be better...


  1. Oh, Kristy. I feel your pain! I hope the day is better tomorrow!!! I get a new student tomorrow so I guess I will be reviewing all the rules as well. :-)