Monday, September 7, 2015

All About Me

Every year, I ask students to do an "About Me" book. We do a page each day, and the pages are laminated and bound and put in a basket to share.  And the kids LOVE sharing their books and learning about each other. I learn a lot about them too...who their families are, what's important to them, what their hobbies and talents are. And I always begin by showing them a sample book about me.  But my book is from a few years ago, and I realize that as the years pass, I change. The events in my life change me little by little, hopefully for the better. So here is the "about me" of 2015:)
This is my 35th fall school picture. I do not get a choice in this and it is what it is:) I wish I could edit the wrinkles.
This was my 22nd first day of teaching and my 18th first day with my lovely assistant.

Let's see...if I were filling in the blanks of my autobiography, it would start like this:
My name is Alicia.
I am 46 years old.
I have  0 brothers and sisters.
I live with my husband and two daughters and one crazy, stinky dog.

One of my favorite places is the NC coast. It isn't my absolute top choice of places to be, but it is pretty close to the top of my list.
 My girls are my heart and soul and my favorite sound in the whole world is the harmony they make when they sing together.

 This one is the younger one and she inspires me to keep my attitude in check. Diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes during her sixth grade year, she never once complained, never asked "why me?", never seems to get discouraged, even with 8 finger sticks a day to monitor blood sugar and 4 shots a day, battling lows and highs and the crazy comments people make (her favorite- "My grandma has diabetes.") because they just don't understand. Bottom line is she inspires me because no matter what comes at her, she deals with it constructively and always with a sense of humor.

 This is the older one. This is what she looks like now, on her first day of college. I know, because I took this picture. I might have just had to drive up to see her for a very important reason. Like going to dinner. And because I had a hard time getting through the weekend looking at that clean, empty bedroom. And the empty spot on the couch.

And although I realize she is ready to be on her own, and independent, and incredibly smart, I still see her like this. On her first day of kindergarten. When she was also independent and smart. And she adamantly said "You're not going to follow me are you Mommy?... because I know where it is." I was lucky to get this picture. Sigh. Time goes incredibly fast in retrospect, so my advice to parents of young children would be to APPRECIATE EVERY MOMENT. Even when you're busy.  Just make the time, because it passes way too quickly.
And then there is this girl. This is the doleful,"please play with me" face.
And this is the "I've trained you well" face. This silly dog makes us laugh every day.

Things that make me happy... hiking for sure. Spending time in the mountains, being near or in  water, breathing fresh air, enjoying sunshine...I am definitely an outdoorsy person.  Not to be confused with athletic.  That, I am definitely not.

I recently did the Color Run in Charlotte, with these two teacher friends. THAT was fun. And I want to do another one. This was taken in front of the happy wall and it made me happy to be there. Because it was really close to the finish line.  And that made me happy:)

This also makes me happy, because it is where I spend 80% of my summer.  I drive an old car so I can have this and it is worth it to me (although my husband thought I was crazy).  I think of it as my own private lagoon and I can think of few things I like better than sitting out there listening to music, hanging out with friends, or reading.

 Which brings me to this. I will read ANYWHERE. If a person can be a book addict, I am one.

"Read the best books first, or you may not have a chance to read them all."~ Henry David Thoreau

This is my escape during the school year. After spending the week indoors in fluorescent lighting and block walls, I recharge in nature. Preferably on a mountain top.

Which brings me to how I spend my weekdays. I will not say my job is easy. It is a challenge on the best of days. But I am incredibly blessed EVERY day because of the company with whom  I have the pleasure of spending time. My class this year has already stolen my heart.
My girls told me this bulletin board was creepy. As in "Really? You Wished for them, and Poof, they appeared?" I thought it was sweet.  And I am a victim of Pinterest, after all:) I did wish for them...I wished for a really sweet class, and I got one!  (and I did change it already, but that's beside the point.)
And there is something about first graders and new shoes that make the beginning of a new school year seem more exciting.  Of course when are new shoes not exciting? Now if they could tie their own, I'd be especially happy.
Who has heard of "Fancy Nancy"? She is a children's book character who likes to use a lot of "fancy" words. and French words. We are keeping track of them and trying to use them in conversation. Words like "Dazzling", and "crestfallen".  Our first word was "collywobbles". Mainly because that's what I never fail to feel on the first day. I think I have high anxiety. I tend to worry a little. Sometimes a lot. I've covered that in another post.

 So every year, on the first day of school, for the benefit of those who might also have collywobbles, we make this:  Jitter Juice... We make a big batch, we write the recipe, we read the story, we write  about our own jitters, etc.  Only this year, on our first day of school, the county superintendent visited our classroom with three board of education members as we were making labels for cups. It was highly educational. My jitters might have gone up a notch or twelve.

And then there are the "Kissing Hand" cookies. I know you know this story, so I won't summarize. I make these cookies every year, only this year I used different dough and they came out of the oven looking like giant baseball gloves, so I had to improvise.  There's a good word. One I use a lot:)

 And then there was the bus safety day. We have 17 car riders. Sometimes 18. These children are excited about bus safety evacuation drills, let me tell you. When you don't GET to ride a bus, it's incredibly awesome to sit on a hot bus and hear all about new bus signals and what to do if a bus turns over, and how to get out safely, and how to stay in one's seat, etc. As a reward for watching two safety videos and being fantastic listeners, we made bus cookies:) Another fact about me. I will use any excuse to eat cookies.

Fun Fridays...woohoo!! These sweeties have racked up the gold tags because they are serious about their Fun Friday free time! This one is the science center and it has been the number one pick for two weeks in a row. (That's a milk experiment, in case you're wondering:)
 The teacher center...the whiteboard...ohmiword. It's a little embarrassing, because little girls like to pretend to be me and Mrs. Mitchum. And it cracks me up to hear them imitating the things I say...

 The writing center...
 The Lego center...

 THIS one was priceless. I dragged out the CASSETTE tapes with books for the listening center. (And yes we have ipads and new headsets, but this is a little history of technology lesson too:) I have a whole collection of books with cassettes..and an ancient (probably 1975 model) tape player with four headphones. This little guy held up the tape and said "WHAT IS THIS?!) And when he learned what it did, this was the look he gave. As I said, priceless.

 Fun Friday also includes ice cream. Did I mention that this class is precious?? And I do feel lucky to spend my days with them.


 A random day in Letterland.. doing live spelling with props.
 The prize for cleaning up the centers and not leaving me with it on Friday afternoon...Color Changing Straws. I'll pick a healthier alternative next week:) This one did the trick though!
 Here was a prize I found on my desk during Fun Friday... first little girl- "Mrs. Raby, I made you some flowers."
Second little girl - "Mrs. Raby, I made you some poop." (giggle giggle) Gotta love 'em.
 Can't wait to share next week's fun. We will be continuing a camping theme, then County Fair throughout September. Stay tuned:)
I guess my "All About ME" is mostly about the people around me who make my life rewarding. These little sweeties keep me laughing, keep me thinking, keep me busy, and keep me young:)


  1. I LOVE it!!! Thank you so much for sharing your "About Me" and a glimpse of some days for these precious ones!!!

  2. Hi Mrs. Raby,

    I happened to chance upon your blog and found it very interesting!

    We have recently launched a science app that uses augmented reality to enhance classroom teaching. The app has 3D models for kindergarten to grade 12. I thought you might want to check it out and may be review it on your blog, if possible.

    It is a paid app(with a few models free) but in case you are interested in trying it out I will be happy to provide you with a free copy.

    The link to the app is: 



    You can also search for the app on the app store as 'Augmenter'.

    Do let me know if you would be interested. I am really Looking forward to your response.

    happy teaching!