Happy New Year

Happy New Year to all those teachers heading back to school in the next few weeks! Unlike the rest of the world we celebrate New Years in August/September as the Back to School sales start and the kids start making their way back into the building.

I went back today for my first meeting. We have two more days of meetings then the kids come in next week. I can't believe my summer is over already. This is certainly going to be an active year. We were making the master schedule today and I just can't believe how much free time I'm not going to have. At the moment, my classroom is a MESS! They are constructing a bathroom and an office next door to me and apparently have been storing plumbing supplies in my classroom for the past two months. So, hopefully those things will get moved tomorrow and I can start to get my act together.

I don't usually have a theme for my classroom but, I do decorate with some fun things that make me smile. The kids enjoy the decorations. I don't ever like to push Fall because I LOVE Summer! I love everything about it. The exciting addition to my classroom decor this year is a blue and creme tote bag pencil holder my mom purchased for me in Cape Cod. (It looks exactly like my beach bag!) I'll be able to keep a bit of Summer with me all year long. This year I am going with mostly math decor because I am teaching five math classes. I bought a shiny new border and I'll figure out what the board is going to say over the coming days. Last year it simply said, "You can do math!" While I don't think I have any of the same students this year, I don't think I want to look at the same board for another whole year. If you have any suggestions for a phrase, please don't hesitate to comment.

Before school starts, one of my frustrations has always been finding a plan book I'm happy with. In previous years, I have used some of the old school plain ones. Last year, I actually used a student planner. But, after much searching, I've given up. This year, I made my own using Microsoft Word. I'll just print out the pages and fill them in as I see fit. (Hopefully, I'll keep this up. There is something to be said for having them all in front of you from the beginning.) I'm not one for typing my plans because I feel like it takes too long. Also, I enjoy editing them and making changes through the days, weeks, and months. I also make notes for the following year so, I know what I can do better. This year I am hoping to find a seasoned middle school math teacher to help me along my way. Although this will be my 7th academic year, I have never taught middle school math before so, I want to make sure I'm doing it well. Also, this year I have a Smartboard in my classroom. This is another wonderful tool but, I have to learn how to use it. I have so much to learn while having so much to teach!

As we approach the beginning of school, I always have trouble sleeping. I am anxious and excited to see what each day brings. I love my job and I love seeing the kids. I just need to find some way to get some rest. The funny thing is I know that most of the teachers in my building have the same problem. Frequently, we meet on Facebook on these sleepless nights and chat about what we are excited for the next day. Our staff is like one big family and we have been separated for most of the summer. It will be wonderful to sit together at one big table tomorrow and enjoy our breakfast, just like we always do. Obviously things will be different this year since we have a middle school opening, one of our teachers was diagnosed with cancer, and the building renovations aren't done yet. But, we are resilient and we will make due with what we have.

I can't wait to see what this year will bring!

Hurricane Irene

So then, while we have the opportunity, let us do good to all...
Galatians 6:9a

At 7:30 this morning we woke up our landlady to show her the water coming through the back windows, ceiling, and wall. Graciously she rushed downstairs to see that we were alright. Quickly she helped us use garbage bags to collect the water and offered to take our soaked towels to be washed and dried. We had two large, black garbage bags full of towels and she washed and folded all of them. 

We had been hanging them in the bathroom, off other door frames and chairs, and using the outdoor "mini" clothesline to dry them once the rain and winds stopped. We are so fortunate to have her to wash the towels for us since we don't have a washer/dryer and I would have had to take all of the to the laundromat a few blocks away. Don't let anyone kid you, wet towels are heavy! 

Interestingly while I was out hanging the towels in the front yard, there were several doves that flew over. The hubby pointed out that at the end of Noah's ark a raven and dove were sent out to see if the flood waters subsided. 

We are pleased that we have escaped this storm relatively unscathed. When the lights went out early on in the storm, we decided to pack a "go bag" and pick everything up off the floor that would absorb water. I spent some time in Galveston after Hurricane Ike with my friends Jenn and Tim so, unfortunately I kind of knew what we should move/pick up before the water came in. We didn't lose any personal property. 

We have many friends on the island who did not fair as well as we did. My parents still don't have power and presently have a 35' tree resting on power lines in the backyard. A friend has several feet of water in her basement. She is particularly frustrated because she had this happen earlier in March. Hopefully, things get better for everyone soon. 

Here are some photos of our setup at the moment: 

The guest bedroom
 Our bedroom

 The first bubble
 The bubble broke. The landlady decided garbage bags were the way to go.

 The bubble in our bedroom broke. I believe that is plaster not drywall.

 After the rain stopped

Good Morning Irene

It is 5 AM. I fell asleep for a few hours. We've lost power once. But ConEd did a fabulous job of getting the power back on super quickly. We are under a tornado watch. We made it through one tornado warning ending at 4:15 PM. We have some water coming in through the back windows in the master bedroom and second bedroom. We are camping in the living room. We are doing OK. I may have to invite the Channel 4 News staff to our next family function because I have had them on nonstop and in my opinion they are doing an excellent job of providing the facts without too much song and dance. I may have to switch to Fox 5 for some laughs once we make it through the brunt of the craziness. Our neighborhood is famous at the moment because 495 is closed between our exits. As the hubby declared, "Clearly we aren't going anywhere." At this point, I would have my doubts about the Blueberry being able to make it through these winds.

Clearly they should have taught disaster preparedness in precana. Some of the reasons to get married...
1) You have someone to weather the storm with
2) You have towels to soak up the water
3) You have an air mattress to sleep on when you can't sleep in your bedroom

Love one another

I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.
John 13:34

We are waiting for the arrival of Hurricane Irene. I believe we are as prepared as we can be. I only wish our landlady would take in all of her stuff that is on the outside of our property because I do not want it flying into our giant picture window. In the event that it does, we have moved most of our belongings away from the window and will continue to move things away as the day goes on. It looks like by the time Hurricane Irene gets here it will be a category 1 hurricane. The biggest issue is that they are unsure as to whether the center of the hurricane will be super close to us bringing high winds. So, we are here and we are hanging in there. 

NYC keeps saying to open your home to those that are evacuated from their home so that the shelters don't get overcrowded. We have posted on Facebook that we are not in an evacuation area so, family and friends on Long Island and Staten Island can come to stay with us. We have plenty of resources so, my hope is those relatives of mine that are "staying with their homes" would be willing to come here. At some point your life is more important than your property. 

The Nassau County Supervisor is calling for "Common sense from the Nassau County residents." Please leave when they tell you to. Gov. Christie told the NJ shore residents to "Get the h-e-double hockey sticks off the beach." Mayor Bloomberg has said, "If you don't evacuate you may die." Clearly the government employees are tense about what is happening. I would think that you should heed their warnings and do what you need to to comply with their directions. 

We are expecting the storm tonight between midnight and noon tomorrow. We are expecting flooding and high winds. Guess we won't be sleeping much tonight. 

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