Saturday, June 14, 2014

With a Little Help from My Friends

Although I can scarcely believe it myself, I am now on summer vacation. Pinch me because it just doesn't seem real to me. A week down already and I haven't even gotten through the acceptance phase. At this rate we'll be back in school by the time I realize I'm free. What a buzz kill that will be.

The picture above is my classroom packed up and shoved into and on top of the shelving in my classroom. This will be the true test of whether or not my contact papered filing cabinet survives the move out into the hall and back when my carpets are cleaned. Honestly, I don't know why they bother because it looks to me like the carpeting in my room is from the 60s. For those of you who weren't around then, we call the 60s "The Olden Days."

I am hereby declaring this summer to remain free of school work. I will not, I repeat, will not go into school in July to start organizing and setting things up. It wouldn't be a problem, I suppose, if I were able to attend to my housewifely and motherly duties in my house simultaneously, but alas, that is not part of my skill set. My house is in a serious state of neglect, and I am determined to make it better. It will not be perfectly clean and decrapified, because I am a realist and other people live with me, but it will be better by the time I trot back into my classroom in August. That's right, August.

I shared this on Instagram a couple weeks ago, and I got some requests to share them on the blog, so I decided to do a quick post on how I thank my awesome Teacher Aides. When I moved to the middle school I lost out on the opportunity to benefit from the abundance of Student Teachers we had at my school. I really missed that, but then sometime last year I learned that I could have eighth graders as Teacher Aides. Immediately, I started trolling for potential victims. I started with one aide at the end of last year, then I had two for the first semester of this year.

And then this last semester I had seven. That's right, seven!  I'm such a Teacher Aide hog. But do you know what? Seven is my lucky number. It's the sweet spot for this math teacher. I didn't have any problems keeping those sweet kids busy and let me tell you, they worked their fannies off. True that.

I was worried that they might start feeling like Cinderella, what with the mountains of stuff I had for them to do, so I started bribing rewarding them for all their hard work.

I started by shopping for little treats. That was fun, let me tell you. At Easter I was all "I have to get chocolate Easter bunnies for my Teacher Aides!" Every time I turned around I was finding new treats for my Sweet Peeps.

Next I premade a bunch of little thank you notes to tape or staple to the treats. I decided that they would always have a treat waiting for them on Mondays when they came in. Monday is such a hard day, this was going to be the bright spot in their day, and in turn, mine as well.

Last, I tucked the treats in this little drawer each Monday so they wouldn't be out in the open, tempting my students. The whole system worked out pretty well, so I plan to repeat it next year.

This is what I did for an end of the year gift and it was super easy to put together. I bought a microwave popcorn bucket and filled it with movie theater sized candy. Then I wrapped the whole shebang in a cellophane bag, tied a ribbon on it, and attached the card with a movie theater gift card glued onto the back.

These small basket gift bags from Michael's are the perfect size for this gift.

I used Kate Hadfield's Movie Night digi kit to put the cards together. It's one of my favorite digi kits and I really, really like her stuff.

This last picture has nothing to do with my awesome Teacher Aides, but it doesn't really warrant a post of its own. The Bunnery Sergeant has been an unwilling participant in the sharing of his doggie bed with Jo Jo.

As you can see, Jo Jo is not the least bit intimidated by His Doggityness, and she is quite comfortable oozing her ample girth all over his bed. I'd like to be able to tell you that she only looks large on account of perspective, but I don't want to lie, she's a pretty healthy girl. More to love and all that.

Poor Gunny Bun Bun, on top of this embarrassing mistreatment, had his little biscuit butt handed to him on a platter by a couple of Boxers a few days ago. He got a wild hair and decided to run for it when I carelessly left the garage door open. I would have chased him myself, but it would be like the Bionic Man in slow motion chasing the Road Runner. Futile.

Instead, Zoe Bug got the honors. She was tee-icked off when she got back.

"Why was I the only one chasing him?! I looked back and Dad turned around and started walking back home. He turned around. What's up with that?!!!" She was all blowing snot and indignant, she was a sight to behold.

It's times like this that remind me how much I love her sweet little heart.

Anyway, when Zoe Bug caught up to Barnacle Brains, he was getting his biscuit butt kicked by a couple of Boxers and yelping and whining. Thankfully the Boxers' owners pulled them off, and Zoe was able to walk him back home with his tail between his legs. For the last couple of days he's been limping around the house like a decrepit old man.

We're all "And did you learn your lesson, Mr. Poochy Pants? Chasing out of here like you know where you're going. Just remember, it's a great big world out there Mr. Naughty Pants."

He totally knows what we're talking about too because he has the good sense to look ashamed of himself.

However, don't ever let anyone tell you that Labs are intelligent. In his world, every day is a new day, if you know what I mean.