Thursday, February 20, 2014

Plugging along

Haven't blogged much.  Doesn't seem like there's much to blog about.  We have been busy plugging away at our lives.  It's busy, but a good busy.

So here's some updates on us in case you keep up with the Bilberrys:

Jeff-     Jeff has started the next round of classes that will count towards his Certifiied Financial Planner's license.  This means late nights at work.  But the good news is he will be done in a year and half and then he will get another pay bump and the opportunity to make partner in his firm at some point.  We're excited about this next step.  Jeff spent 6 months without an assistant and has finally found the right person for the job.  It was a stressful 6 months for him without the extra help.  It's nice to see that set back gone.

Kadyn-Kadyn is doing great in school.  She seems to finally have settled into her new school and doesn't seem to have issues with finding friends anymore.  That is always stressful for this Mama.  Nothing worse than hearing your child tearfully say she is having trouble making friends and knowing you can't really do anything for her other than give her some advice, pray for her, and love her through it.

Brennan- B is going through some sort of phase right now.  Let's just say she is testing her boundaries with a little defiance and has shown and incredible stubborn streak that drives us parents a little nutty.  Her teachers adore her because she is a "chatty Kathy."  It cracks them up.  On the other hand, she has tried her hand at being a "sassy pants" to her teachers on occasion.  This baffled Jeff and I.  We have never received anything but praises about our kids' behavior.  Needless to say, we knew she was testing things at home, just were surprised to hear she was trying a few things at school too.  I have zero tolerance for bad reports from school, so we have acted promptly.  Sure hoping this doesn't become a more frequent occurrence.  Three times is three too many in my book.

Me-  I have put soooo much effort into winning my 5th and 6th graders over to me and music.  I have spent tons of time seeking out inspiring material to use in class and researching different ways to manage their behavior that is effective. It is a tough age.  Above all else they need to know I care about them. This has really helped a lot. I can honestly say I have all but a handful on board.  That handful is the same handful that give ALL their teachers trouble so I'm not taking it personally.  I have started a reward system for days they do great called classroom dojo.  The program helps me track their behavior and give them points for good choices or takes away points for bad choices.  I can run a class report at the end of class to see how they did overall.  After so many classes of a score of 90% or better they earn a reward.  It really has been incredible how well the kids have responded to this.
     Probably the most exciting news is that I was given a sum of $3000 to use in my classroom.  I've been told by the other teachers to spend every penny because I will probably never get this opportunity for the rest of my career.  Pretty rare.  I was totally shocked.  So....I bought a lot of stuff to help me learn how to do this choir thing (remember my experience is primarily instrumental), then I bought a classroom set of ukuleles.  Words can't even express how exciting this is to me.  I'm really want to inspire the kids.  I also want to help them get better at singing.  The number of kids that sing out of tune is astounding. A real challenge for me.  How great that I can teach them an instrument that they can sing along with.  I get to do both!!!!  One teacher said when she started Ukes her non singers suddenly became singers.  I bought one for myself and have already begun learning it.  It is a blast!!!

Well that's about it.  We have had 17 or so snow days.  I can't remember exactly, they are all blurring together now.  So I will be working into June.  Booo!  AND....there is snow in the forecast for next week.  Geese!  I really shouldn't complain because I'm so thankful that our school plays it safe and I never have to worry about making my commute on slick roads.  Slick roads and these crazy hills don't mix!

Hope my readers are all healthy and living life to the fullest.  We are so blessed and happy around here!