Thursday, December 10, 2009

Cookies Galore

Whew--so busy! I haven't even been able to touch my blog in a week, and even now I should be going to bed. I'll make this a quick entry.

I stayed up late grading the rest of my response to literature essays on Saturday night, so it has been refreshing this week having that burden lifted. But it is almost the end of the semester, which means lots of deadlines to meet. Next week is our last week of school before Christmas break, so Benchmartks and report cards are quickly approaching. This week was a lot of fun though--we're doing a whole unit based on Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol." Tomorrow is our "Jingle Bell Rock" dance, and as usual, I'll be chaperoning.

This week me and one other teacher were chosen to attend a six day GATE (Gifted and Talented Education) certification conference. I couldn't be more thrilled. GATE certification is an add-on to a teaching credential that makes a teacher that much more valuable. Having this certification means that I will actually know how to teach GATE students, which would be very useful to me considering I've been doing it for a year-and-a-half now with no prior guidance.

The downfall to the whole thing is that several teachers put in for the GATE training, and three of the teachers who were not chosen have more seniority than me. One of them, Niecy, is a good friend of mine, and she was really upset--not at me, but at what she described as blatant favoritism. Ultimately she brought her complaint to our union reps. She was very sincere through the whole process. I told her from the very beginning that I completely understood her perspective, and if her pursuing this issue meant my losing my slot, I could live with that.

Yesterday, Niecy told me that she had given it some thought and decided not to file a grievance with the union, after all. She said that she needed to pick her battles, and this was one she decided to let go. I don't know if it's because she and I are such good friends, or if she just lost steam over the issue, but I still feel bad about the situation. She's an awesome teacher and deserves to go. Of course, in spite of myself, I'm still thrilled that I'm going.

So February is the big month. I'm excited, but will have to do six days of subbing plans (it's every Monday and Tuesday) for three weeks. Plus my being absent for six days is going to put my classroom into chaos. I just hope I get a good sub. Either way, it's worth it.

Next week my students are doing a cookie recipe exchange. I gave them each a recipe card, and they have to come up with a recipe that appeals to them and bake cookies for the class. They are bringing one cookie for each student (and for me), so each student will wind up with over thirty different cookies (to be taken home to share with their families). I'm compiling all of their recipe cards to create a class recipe book. I'm going to send the book to our district printshop, and have one made for each student. Some of these kids have never baked cookies from scratch before, and they are SO excited. Today they were sharing the recipes that they wanted to do, and they're pretty much baking everything from gummy worm cookies to Russian Tea cookies. I've never done this activity with students before, so I'm hoping it goes well. But at the minimum, at least I'll get to take home a LOT of cookies--102 if every student participates! Merry Christmas to me!