Sunday, October 28, 2012

My Classroom

Welcome to Mrs. Dimock's 6th grade class! Here are a few pictures of my classroom so you can get an idea of where I am everyday.
Every day we do reading work stations, where half the class does one reading/ writing activity and the other half does something else and then they switch.  This is how I keep track.

Job Chart! It's hard to see, but Table 3 is "Captain Planet."  They are in charge of taking care of the recycling and encouraging their classmates to recycle because no one does here.

This is the class agreement that they came up with and signed at the bottom.  It still needs to be tweaked a little bit, but they are pretty proud of it. 

I know homework is one word and this bugs me every time I see it, but there were no more little w's. I need to cut that w down so it does bug me anymore.  This is where I list their homework every week and where they can get extra copies if they weren't here.

This is the writing center where all the writing supplies are and all the helpful writing information is.

They love writing book reviews, so when they are finished with something early, they can grab a book review paper and fill it out to be put on the wall.

"Books are the plane, and the train, and the road.  They are the destination, and the journey." This is the reading center.

This is the reading center/ classroom library.  There are still boxes of books that need to be organized.

Here is another view.  It is pretty disorganized right now.
I will post more pictures of my classroom later on. 

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Arizona State Fair

Griffey is here now in Arizona and we have been keeping busy going to the library, many parks, and just last weekend, the Arizona State Fair!
I had free tickets from my school, so all we paid for was a hot dog that we shared and $5 in rides.  I tried to be cheap and luckily Griffey is so easy-going that he didn't mind skipping the fair treats and just getting a 79 cent slurpee from the gas station after we left.
We did all the free stuff too, including the NFL training camp, where we got to wear armbands and throw footballs through holes and race eachother on Wii balance boards.
 We also went in a free exhibit that was a huge tent filled with butterflies.  They gave us q-tips that we dipped in nectar and then we walked around and got to scoop up butterflies and hold them.  You rub the nectar on their feet and they hop onto the q-tip because they eat with their feet, I guess.  Griffey thought it was hilarious when they would all fly around in front of him and especially when one landed on me.

 I took a picture of this clown ride because it was supposed to be genuinely fun and happy but it looks terrifying.  I am not afraid of clowns, but after seeing this ride, I understand why people are.
 For his one ride, Griffey chose to go on the giant slide.  He has always loved these giant slides and knew from the second he saw it that he wanted to use his tickets on it.  We walked around anyway just in case to make sure he chose what he wanted to do most.

 There was a large petting zoo with sheep, goats, llamas, kangaroos, donkeys, and pigs walking around. (The kangaroo seemed out of place.)
 I love Griffey's face here because I can hear the sound that goes along with that face, "ohhohhoohhhhhhh)" something like that.
It was a fun evening and we stopped at circle K for drinks on the way home to complete the evening.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Big Changes

It has been a while since I have written a blog post because I have been so busy!

In August, I finished up my master's program and took on the full-time job of finding a full-time job.  I spent the mornings and early afternoons looking for jobs and filling out applications and spent the afternoons and evenings playing with Griffey and Adam, mainly Griffey because Adam has been in school almost nonstop throughout the summer and into the fall.

I had a few interviews in Oregon, but there were not many job opportunities and the jobs that were posted in Oregon were mainly looking for teachers with actual teaching experience and not just student teaching experience.  I was frustrated with the lack of jobs in Oregon, but was willing to be a sub in Lane County and get a lame night job to make up for not having a full-time job.  Then I found out that Eugene 4J, the main school district in the area was not accepting new subs because they didn't need anymore. lame, i know.  So, I would only be able to sub in Springfield and surrounding school districts.  I kept going back and forth between being okay with subbing a little and having a minimum wage night job because I would gain a lot of experience and see how a lot of different teachers do their thing, and not being okay with subbing because I went through a lot of work and years to get my degree and I wanted my own classroom way more than I wanted to sub.  I finally decided that I would rather accomplish my goal of being a classroom teacher with my own class and broaden my job search outside of Oregon than stay in my hometown just because that is what I know best.

It was very scary and uncomfortable to realize I could be moving outside of Oregon, but it didn't actually seem like a real option until I had two job interviews for schools in Arizona in the end of September, followed by two job offers on the same day of that week.  I ultimately decided to take a 6th grade teaching position at a school in downtown Phoenix over the other job which was a 5th/6th grade combined class in a small Arizona town called Bouse.

I had my job interview on Wednesday, got the offer on Friday, packed on Sunday, and left on Monday.  Luckily, I didn't have to make the 20-hour drive with the U-haul pulling the car by myself; my uncle Scott came with me and actually drove the whole way.  We stopped overnight twice and spent a few hours driving through LA before taking the 60 over to Arizona.

We stopped at a rest area around midnight in the middle of nowhere as we came into Arizona.  When I got out of the car, it finally hit me that I was moving here and I switched over from roadtrip mode to 'time to figure out how to set up my life in a strange state' mode.  At that rest area in the middle of the night, it was way too warm and there were way too many bugs as big as my palm buzzing around.  As we approached Phoenix, I woke up and was instantly trying to make my plan of attack. Scott said we were in Phoenix, but it still took a good 25 minutes to get to near where I would be living, so I was instantly overwhelmed with the size of the city.  I took note of where the Target was, just in case, then I saw another, then another, and another.  The city just kept on growing.

We stayed with Scott's wife, Carrey's, aunt and uncle from Thursday, when we arrived, until Monday, when Scott flew home.  In that time, they helped me unload my u-haul into a storage unit, I found out where the church was a found a potential babysitter for Griffey, Scott and I toured as much as we could all over the Phoenix area, I took a picture in front of my school, and we ate In-N-Out and Chik-Fil-A multiple times.  Luckily Scott knows the Phoenix area really well because when he left on Monday, I felt pretty confident get around the areas that I needed to.

On Monday, I went in to the district office and filled out paperwork, which I continued to for a few more days that week, and then I brought Scott to the Mesa Airport and drove home, by myself, in a new city, with a new job.

Griffey and Adam stayed in Eugene while I get settle in Phoenix because I wanted to make sure I had a handle on my job and had the necessities unpacked and ready before Griffey came here.  Adam brought Griffey out two weeks later.  Adam only stayed from Friday-Monday before he had to go back to Eugene to finish up his last term of school.  He will be done in December and will come to Phoenix after that.

Griffey has been here for two weeks now and we are getting into a rythym finally. We are staying with my friend Michelle, who I met in my Master's program at the UofO, and her boyfriend, Matt.  We will stay here until we find a place in November or December.

We found a babysitter for Griffey who lives a few houses away from the school I work at.  Her name is Anita and she has watched many of the teacher's kids for many years.  She currently watches Griffey and a four-year-old boy who goes to preschool at my school.  Every morning she walks Griffey and Junior to my school, drops Junior off at his class, and brings Griffey by to see me during my prep time.  Next week, Griffey will start preschool there also, so she will drop them both off and pick them up and watch Griffey until I get done in the afternoon.  It has been working out really well so far and Griffey has been learning a little Spanish from Anita because she speaks mainly Spanish.

There have been a lot of changes in the past month, but our family has always been confident in knowing that this is what we were supposed to do.  Every step of the way, we have been assisted and comforted, from having a place to stay, to having someone to come here with me, everything has been falling into place for us to be here in Phoenix. 

And for everyone back in Eugene, don't worry, we moved here with the understanding that we would be back there in 1-3 years and that is still the plan.