Tuesday, May 26, 2009


Life is a little busy right now. We're having a department meeting today to figure out how our loss of one teacher will affect what we do next year, then I pick up the kids, get back to school for the annual teacher/student wiffleball game, then I take my son to t-ball practice, then I go with my hubby to see The Chorus Line tonight. Phew.

Nine more days of school (which is surprising, but not in a bad way!).

_Then_ I might be able to keep up with this thing. Maybe.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Our school levy failed yesterday - 53% to 47% (actually, it was 55% to 45% - edited 5/10). The district had already cut 12 million from the budget, and both teachers and administrators agreed to a 1-year pay freeze. I wonder what will happen now!

I'm thankful that I've been here for 8 years (well, almost - will be 8 years on June 8!) and therefore don't have to worry about my job security (a continuing contract helps some, too). We haven't heard what will happen with possible teacher cuts, but I'm sure our new hires for this year have reason to worry.

Technology was supposed to be a big part of the levy monies, too, so there's another issue up in the air. This district has been so good with supporting the use of technology (especially with the tablet project and our inclusion in the PLP cohort) that I'd hate to see them pull back now.

Stay tuned. . .

Saturday, May 2, 2009

We're heading back to Chicago on Thursday for our second f2f PLP meeting - it's hard to believe that the year is just about over now! I forget how many school days we're actually down to. . . 25? (Which still sounds like a lot because today is May 2nd - we have to go until June 8th because of an extra snow day off!)

Our PLP project is the construction of a wiki: Out of the Box We're hoping that we can get other teachers involved to show how they are thinking "out of the box" in their classrooms!

I met with a few other teachers at school on Wednesday to talk about cell phones in the classroom and how we could utilize them. Face it - all of the kids have them (some are much more visible than others!) so it would be nice if we could actually use them for good. Tonya led the meeting - we talked about texting Chacha and Google, using polling websites (like Polleverywhere) for kids to text into, and we also talked a little bit about how we could "police" the kids and make sure they were using their phones for only the task at hand (not texting their buddy). Hmm.

I like the idea of being able to text the kids with any information that I need them to know - whether a test or quiz date has been changed, a reminder of something they need to study, or even a daily assignment. I don't have unlimited texting on my phone (though it would only be $4.99 a month) so I've been checking out the possibilities of using the web to send out mass e-mails to kids (like setting up groups of classes and doing it that way). I thought I'd found a good free option, Tatango, but then I finally got logged in tonight (after a stupid mistake on my part - duh) and they've changed it from a free service to a subscription service. I'm going to keep looking, but everything else I've seen also involves fees. I'd like to avoid that if possible, even if I end up paying the $5 a month and get unlimited texting on my phone. Oh well - that gives me something to play with this summer!