Monday, August 24, 2009

We now return to our regularly scheduled program

Well, friends we have arrived.
The first day of school. Always interesting. 19 kids, 9 boys and 10 girls, which is a nice change because I am always boy-heavy. I collected them from the court, brought them to the door and told them where to go and what to do. We spent 20 minutes putting our school supplies away and then went to music. We came back, and to be honest with you, I have no idea what we did for the next 2 hours. But we were busy, we were sharing, we were motivated to fill out our "All about Me" paper. No one cried, no one yelled, and one of the kids (now known as Bug-Catcher- you will see why soon) was able to identify Vivaldi's Four Season's as it played. I have hope. Maybe.
We went to lunch, we came back and as I was getting ready to pass out folders a HUGE cockroach crawled out of the folders. I mean big. This thing was a good 3 inches long! THAT WAS JUST IT'S BODY! I do not do well with bugs, and these suckers make my skin crawl. Of course, I did not see the cockroach until one of the kids...very quietly.... said "Mrs. Lewis, there is a giant cockroach on the folders" I screamed and threw them down while at the same time managing to fly across the room. It was at that moment that Bug-Catcher said "I'll get it!" He valiantly ran up, squished it and as we all watched he lifted it up by it's antennae and said "Bye-bye cucaracha!" and threw it out the door. Today, he is my hero. And the Bug Catcher for the rest of the year!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Drum roll....... please.

When I walked into my classroom last Tuesday, it looked like this:

a sad, sorry mess. The first thing I did was try to move a bookcase. And it collapsed and broke. Then I reached into my desk, only to discover (15 minutes later) that a blue ink pad had been set in it's side and slowly dripped all summer. On to plastic. So it never dried. But that was the 15 minutes later when I looked at my hands, discovered they were blue but had touched other things, including my pants. My hands are still blue. After 3 and a half days, various meetings, glue, tape, scissors, staples, duct tape, standing on chairs, cleaning everything in sight and the help of a wonderful custodian who is my serious new best friend, it looks like this:

The saddest part of all this is that I wanted to take pictures, because my room will never, ever be this sparkling, shiny, glossy or clean ever again. Notice how the floor literally shines. Friends, it is a thing of beauty. I lay on the floor today just because it was clean. It will never be this good again.

Anyway, while laying on the floor I realized that I have worked solidly. So hard for 3 days. So tired and literally aching, but despite it all, I am ready for "Meet the Teacher" morning tomorrow. (Which is really stupid, btw. Did you ever "Meet the Teacher"? No. You showed up the first day, met her and your parents went to "Back To School" night. I vote we go old school.) Now, here is the kicker. Although the room is physically ready, I realized in a true state of total panic that have made no plans at all. None. No homework, no math, no social studies, no science. NOTHING. Usually I can skate by the first few days with test/procedures/etc, but we don't have that this year. So in my panic induced state I ran to my computer and started furiously ordering spelling, grammar, math, science..... however...... when I tried to actually place the order ( we have the weird system where you send your pdf's to a central "copy center" and they send it back to you at school) my computer would not let me! AAARRGGGGHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This is going to be a very interesting year.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

This is just bizzare.

Watch this. It is real. It is strange, and it is awesome!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

4 days

That's all I have. 4 days left. 4 days until the sweating and grunting begins. Yes, folks, it's time to head back to school. Time to set up a room for 23 (or 24, or 25) individuals I have never met. Time to spend 3 1/2 days on ladders with staplers ( no idea where that is, btw), duct tape, hammers and assorted other tools required to make my room a homey, inviting environment where little minds can absorb 4th grade knowledge only to spit it out again in March for the FCAT. The best part is it all has to be done by Friday morning for "Meet the Teacher" morning when the masses descend, and I have to look presentable. This also has to be squeezed in between the meetings we need to have (I have already counted 3) and the general running around to gather all your stuff from last year. I am further helped by the fact that I thought I was going to move my room, and packed EVERYTHING!! When I was not moved, the most expedient thing was to shove it all on shelves and in drawers so I could be out on time. Got rid of a lot of stuff, but the rest of it is a mess. My desk is a horror.
This year, I managed to leave on June 10th and not step foot on campus until the dreaded 18th. Unusual for me, as I tend to be in at least the week before just to get organized. This year, nope. Nothing. I REFUSE!!! I have been very obstinate this summer, and although I have been collecting supplies since July, I refuse to go into teacher mode. Which is why, come Tuesday at 7:30 am, when I walk through that door, it will totally bite me in the ass. Man....I am screwed.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Take Me out to the Ball Game.......

So I am back in NY this week after being gone. Florida for 9 days and then back here because of a wedding in Mystic CT to attend. One of the things we did last Thursday was attend a Brooklyn Cyclones game. Now I have already espoused my love of minor league baseball here: But I have never been to a Brooklyn Cyclones game. They are an offshoot of the Mets and the stadium is built on the site of the old "Steeplechase Park" which was one of the very first amusement parks to be built on Coney Island over 100 years ago. This is an image of the park during it's heyday. The very tall structure on the right is the famous "Parachute Jump" You can also see the "Wonder Wheel" to the left.
This park played a huge role in the history of Coney Island, and as a tribute to that history (and because it achieved Landmark Status) the stadium of the Cyclones was built around the now-defunct structure of the "Parachute Jump"
In fact, from the seats at the stadium, you can also see the "Wonder Wheel", which is still in operation as well as the Island-defining "Cyclone" roller coaster, one of the only wooden roller coasters left in the US. You can actually heart the screams of the people as they take that first dangerous drop. The stadium is beautiful and the crowd is not to be forgotten. Seats are all close to the action, and everyone seems to know everyone else. There are families, couples, teenagers, every kind of person seems to be there. They even have cheerleaders. At a baseball game.
I particularly enjoyed the man sitting behind me who told (screamed) to the umpire (after a horrendous call) that he was "too stupid to live", he should "get glasses" and "throw yourself out of the game". I loved that you could get not only an original Nathan's Famous hot dog, but, depending on your stomach, a knish, dumplings and an array of Kosher treats. I would LOVE to know what other ball park has that kind of variety! This is a view of
what the ball park looks like today. In the distance is a view of an endless stretch of ocean. Coney Island and the image we hold of it may be gone, but this ballpark goes a long was to holding onto the Coney Island magic we all wish were still around.