Wednesday, April 1, 2009

tomorrow's my last day with my 4th graders :( julia made them cupcakes (i sort of helped)

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

new blog! check it out for updates on alaska.

Monday, March 30, 2009

today was a really good day. i didn't have to teach anything so i spent my day (when i wasn't talking to or helping any of my kids) applying for jobs and looking for places to live in the cities. i found a bunch of really cool apartments that ALL have pools, fitness centers, and are cat friendly. can't really ask for anything more!!

i just got back from a meeting about alaska and i CAN'T WAIT FOR SATURDAY!!!!!!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

i have figured out the worst thing about being a teacher BBBBBBAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRFFFFF

ew ew ew

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

ps. i really want to apply here:
we made paper today--it was really fun. for my first class there were only 5 kids so it was really easy. the next class had 19 so i had to work with them in different groups. it was pretty chaotic but i think everyone had fun and the kids that weren't making paper were working on their western state project. not everyone had time to make paper so we'll be making more tomorrow.

i have almost no homework anymore. i am able to work on standards at school during prep hours and i have all of my lessons planned for the week. i've been watching a lot of smallville.

a spider walked across my chest last night while i was reading in julia's bed. i had to move back up to my bed. i'm pretty sure i killed the spider but just in case i will be sleeping in my bed the rest of the week.

Monday, March 23, 2009

sorry to my sister for making her worry! i left my phone at school. woops.

today was a good day. i had 5 kids (FIVE!!) for my first social studies lesson. and i was being observed. lolz. we're working on a writing project where each kid gets to write either a journal, a letter to a friend, or a report (as if they were a reporter) pretending that they are in one of the western states. some of them have written some really really good ones! a lot of them haven't even started though.

play practice is going well. i'm glad i am not in charge of it but on the other hand there are many times when i want to jump in and tell some of the kids what to do. i'm very excited for the 4 performances on friday. i will be taping it so that i can show off how great/precious my students are.

we're making paper tomorrow! i hope it works....i tried it tonight with newspaper and it didn't really work. i have regular paper for tomorrow so it should be better. right?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

i have nothing interesting to say. a lot of the girls in my class have a crush on tony. he's one of the other student teachers that goes with me. they always want me to go and tell him that they like him.

lunch today looked soooo disgusting. it was ham patties on a bun. sure it was. i think it was just uncooked hamburger. it was NASTY! luckily i had leftover pizza, cheerios, and white chocolate chips.

i downloaded a bunch of phil collins songs. julia inspired me. i'm listening to them on repeat and it. is. AWESOME!

Monday, March 16, 2009

today was my first day of social studies and writing. i thought it went pretty well even though the content i had to cover today was pretty boring. tomorrow will be better--i made a slideshow of animals and plants that are found in the west. we're also going to talk about weather. today was more about capitals and which states are found in the west.
it was amazing only having to teach for 2 hours! i like to teach, but i also love to watch my kids while someone else is teaching. it is really interesting to see who pays attention and who gets off task.
my class has been working on a play. they are going to perform it next friday and i am so excited! they are so cute when they go through it. only a few of them have their lines memorized and none of them do much acting. but today some of them had their costumes and it was really cute.
on a completely unrelated note, i have been eating a lot lately. i hope i don't get too fat. i figure i'll burn it all off trying to keep warm in alaska--i looked up the average weather for april and may. the average HIGH for april is -6. may is a better-- its 24. the warmest it has EVER been there in may is 46 degrees.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

i forgot to blog yesterday. sorry sue.

i have been observing a lot more now that i am not full time. i still teach a major part of the day, but not all the time anymore. it's been really fun to be able to watch my students. i observed most of the first week but i didn't really know any of them yet. now i notice all kinds of funny things that they do. for example, yesterday one of my students said to the other boys at his table, "i'm not really here today. it's just my soul." he looked so serious when he said it and he didn't know i was listening. i've also noticed a lot of note passing going on. sheila can't see it when she is teaching so i've started to go and take the notes. they get sooooo mad! the notes are usually stupid "how are you?" "i'm fine" "good" but sometimes they say "will you go out with me? circle yes or no.

i have to take a math test on saturday! ish! me no wanna.

today was my third day observing "social studies." the first day they talked all day about dairy. the second day they talked all day about dairy. today she decided to mix it up. they talked about soymilk. they are learning so much about the midwest!!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

today i started observing in the other 4th grade room. i'll be teaching social studies/writing to two different classes. it's all the same kids, though, which is nice because i don't have to get to know anyone knew. in my first class there are only 7 kids because the ESL kids have ESL during that time.

social studies is 70 minutes long. today all they did was watch a very strange video about a cow that subs for a class and teaches them all about dairy. then we made homemade ice cream. that's all they got accomplished. in SEVENTY minutes. the unit they are working on right now is the midwest. i know wisconsin produces a lot of dairy but i really don't see how watching a horrid video and making some ice cream taught them anything. the ice cream was really tasty though.

i now have 2 cooperating teachers because i still do most things in sheila's room but i am now in social studies for a major part of the day with rhonda. she wanted to meet with me quick at the end of the day to discuss next week since i'll be taking over. when i went to her room she didn't mention anything about what i'll be teaching. she only talked to me about casual friday and how, since i'll be in her room now, i need to think about how i dress on fridays. "I know that a lot of people dress very casually, but they already have jobs. if you do wear jeans you need to dress them up with heels or jewelry." i was really mad. there are teachers at the school that wear sweatpants. SWEATPANTS. and not just on fridays. and she was telling me that i can't even really wear jeans anymore. ugh! i was annoyed.

the rest of the day went really well. it's been so nice to have less to be in charge of. i am able to talk to my students a lot more and am not constantly thinking about the next lesson i need to teach. plus i've had a lot more time to work on my semester projects so that i can get them done before i go to alaska.

Monday, March 9, 2009

today was seminar. it was basically 30 people sitting around and talking to each other about student teaching. that's pretty much what i do all the time so it was no different. we also talked about resumes and applying and other horrible things to make me stress out.

i also had an alaska meeting. we didn't really find out anything new, though. my professor did bring in some pictures from when she was there and they made me even more excited. i keep forgetting that i actually have to do work while i'm there. i feel like i'm just going to be exploring barrow but i'm going to be really busy.

tomorrow's another day. i have hardly anything to teach this week and i'm looking forward to having time to work on my other projects for the semester. blah blah.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

this weekend went by too fast and i got very little sleep. boo. i did get a lot of work done, though; i already have all of my lesson plans done for next week mostly because i have way less to teach. i'm done with full time!! wooooooo!

my birthday was a really good day. it started with being sung to by my carpool friends and ended with phase 10 with julia, lisa, and deja (i had a real kitty in my house! it was awesome!). in between there were many cards and a lot of good food. overall it was one of my better bdays!

tomorrow i have seminar which means i get to sleep in an extra 2 hours! woohoo! but seminar is extremely boring. but i do get to see all my education friends that i haven't seen since the last seminar.

sorry that this isn't very long, but i have laudries to put away. seacrest, out.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

my ebd boy had a terrible day. he swore in spanish at kids, slapped someone, and lied constantly to me and all his other teachers. i'm making him stay in at recess tomorrow.

i gave my math test today and they all did way better except one girl who did worse. frustrating!!

i feel like more must have happened today but i can't remember any of it. today was a loooong day and i don't want to think about it any more.

in other news, tomorrow is my birthday! hannah is buying everyone in the carpool breakfast!! yay! and lisa is coming. we will be consuming lots of cake and ice cream.

also, lost is awesome! i don't how i will be able to wait 2 whole weeks for a new episode!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

i did a lot of yelling today! sheila was out of the room pretty much all day and i don't know if that's why but my kids were out of control today. we played a review game and for my second class i had to stop playing early. i made them sit quietly at their desks and study on their own. i was really dissapointed because up until the last 15 minutes they were doing so well. they were understanding the material and were doing what i asked, but then they started getting restless. i gave them several warnings and then decided they had had enough and made them stop the game. i really really really hope they're ready for the test tomorrow. i want them to do really well. mostly because i just want them to do well in school but also because i am using this test for my project and i want there to be a lot of improvement from the pretest.

we're working on plays this week and today we tried one out all together. i let them pick their parts after we had read through it once. c (a boy) thought it would be hilarious to be mother bear. they all laughed so hard whenever he had a line. they were really cute when they read through it because every so often they would forget and would read the parts in parenthesis. lolz.

for your viewing pleasure, here is a picture of hannah's cooperating teacher. she once had students write something they liked about everyone in the class and two of the comments she received were that she had hair like a sheep and "i like your fro."

Monday, March 2, 2009

i'm watching arrested development. i can not decide who my favorite is. probably gob, but tobias, buster, and lucille are also perfect. it's the mrs. featherbottom episode.

school went well today. my kids were good (at least until pretty much the end of the day). we're working on reader's theater this week so i'm basically having them read through different fairy tale scripts during guided reading. they love plays and they love fairy tales so they are enjoying it so far.

math went well too. today was our last day of new material before the test. we worked on input/outputs. most of them caught on right away--i just had a few who got really frustrated but i was able to work with them one-on-one and i think they started to get it. we have a review day tomorrow so they'll be able to practice even more. they've actually already taken the test because i gave them a pretest. one of my semester projects is to show how students have improved on a certain unit. we have to give a pretest, teach a unit, and then give the test. we then have to show how each student did and whether or not they improved. blah blah blah.

my birthday is on thursday!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

because it seems to be the cool thing to do

click the picture to see the full version

Thursday, February 26, 2009

julia thinks my blog needs more pictures. "it's so dark!" she says. ok. i will give my fans what they want.

today we had an early dismissal.

the drive home was SCARY but fun. i was glad i wasn't alone because i would have been even more scared. and, aside from my 3 carpool buddies, i had hanson to keep me company.

i finally have my appetite back! i've eaten many bunny cheese crackers and lots of chocolate. and we just ordered pizza! i hope the delivery guy doesn't go in the ditch on the way.

i hope that the weather clears up so that i can go to the cities tomorrow! i will cry if i don't see my favorite little sammy!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

today was a lot better than yesterday. i felt sick for most of the day but my lessons went really well and my kids were a lot better behaved. i still have one student who doesn't want to do anything. he doesn't care about school and doesn't have anyone at home who does either. tomorrow there is a chance for a snow day. i'm hoping for just an early dismissal so that i can still count it as a day towards my required hours of student teaching. plus if i wake up to check if there is school i won't be able to get back to sleep anyway. its almost lost time so seacrest, out.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

i had a sub today. he basically got paid to sit around and do nothing but read his book. "it's like 24. i can't put it down!" shut up.

my kids were out of control today. i had to yell at so many of them. they were tattling like crazy and talking and moving all around the room.

a lot of my kids call me ms. brackmen, ms. brackens, ms. brackerman, or mrs. bracken.

on another negative note, i feel like crap. i have hardly eaten anything today and i was ready for bed at about 7 this morning. i am hoping to be asleep by 830 tonight--we'll see how that goes.

i actually do have one good thing to say--my carpool enjoyed my playlist!! i even discovered someone to bring to the next hanson concert so that i don't have to drag julu there with me! she'll be so pleased!!

LOST TOMORROW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, February 23, 2009

today was my first day of full time teaching. it went pretty well. i ran out of stuff to teach for reading but it ended up being fine. in math my first lesson was ok, but there was a lot i wanted to fix. luckily i get to teach math twice. the next lesson (which is to the low math class) went a lot better. that group of kids is a lot easier to work with. they are nicer and they try harder. the other group seems to think they are too good for school or something. also, i had to give a pretest for a project i have to do this semester. in the first math class one of the girls--who has been a problem for me since i've been here--was getting so mad and frustrated. i kept telling her it wasn't graded, that it is totally ok to guess, that i would never expect her to know all the answers, but she just got crabbier and crabbier.

i had to give out some checks today. for some reason, all the kids in the school have been acting up. when i talked to the other student teachers they all said that today was not a good day behavior wise so i know it isn't just my students. at first i felt bad that i was giving them checks but all three of them really did deserve it. plus, the first check is only a warning. getting it sure made S (my problem student that i talked about earlier) and A very mad at me. by the end of the day they seemed to have forgotten all about it, though.

after school i spent a long time getting a math game ready for tomorrow. i don't know how fun it will be, but most of my students are pretty competitive so i think they'll enjoy it.

tomorrow sheila will be gone and there will be a sub in my room all day. barf.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

this weekend went by way too fast. yesterday i went up to school and worked on lesson plans all day. i was the only one in the computer lab for most of the time so i was able to get a lot done but of course not enough. i've been doing more today. i'm trying to get my whole week ready so that i can work on my 2 semester projects during the week.

i should be sleeping by now. i have to drive tomorrow so i have to get up even earlier than normal. i don't want to miss the end of the oscars though. i'm really hoping milk will win but i guess it'd be okay if slumdog won.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

today was a crappy day. it started out great, though. the kids played "hot seat" which is basically taboo except there aren't any words you can't say. i made it on my smart board. one kid sat in the front with their back to the board which had a vocab word on it. the other kids called out words to get the person in the hot seat to guess it. they had a lot of fun with it. then after that game they were supposed to write sentences using possessive nouns. it sucked. they had had an indoor recess so they were loud and antsy. i got really frustrated. when they went to art i talked to sheila and she said it was just how they would have acted with her, too so i really shouldn't be too worried about it. it was still an exhausting day. plus ted and tony had to meet with their teachers after school so we didn't leave until 445.

but then we (julia, katie, alanna, and I) went to ruttles and i had a yummy veggie burger.

tomorrow is friday!!!!!!!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

woooo lost! i can't wait for next week--that episode is going to be awesome!!

school went well today. i made a jeopardy game for spelling/vocab and my kids had a lot of fun. i really need to work on getting them to be quieter, though.
tomorrow we are playing a few more games to practice spelling and possessive nouns.

oh, we got a new girl today. she was very shy at first but a few of the other girls gave her a tour of the school and throughout the day she started to open up. there are some really nice kids in my class and they were very eager to get to know her which was great.

i start full time teaching next week!!!! this weekend is going to be very busy with lesson planning, etc. i hope i can get a lot done!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Today was my first day of actual teaching. I spent a long time planning so I felt really prepared today. S even told me she was impressed by how organized I was (she is extrememly organized!!). My lessons went well--I did reading stations, a spelling pretest, and previewing a mystery story that they will be working on. Since I'm still not teaching math I took that time to work on the smart board. I made a jeopardy game, some sentences with typos that they will fix, and a game kind of like taboo. We're going to be doing them all this week. I love smart boards!!

I got all of my valentine's from last week today. Lots of yummy candy (that Julia ate most of) and some cute cards.

I made a girl named S really mad today. She had one of those stupid paper fortune tellers and was distracting some of the other kids so I told her she had to put it away. She didn't so I took it from her. I gave it back to her later but she was still mad at me. All the kids are supposed to high five me before they leave but she stormed off. She gets up at 4 every morning to go to day care so I am used to her getting crabby at the end of the day so I wasn't that suprised by her reaction. She'll be over it by tomorrow.

Monday, February 16, 2009


I saw Hache today. It was very weird. She looked the exact same.

I didn't have school today. Instead we had a workshop. It was actually way more interesting than I thought it would be. I learned about "Daily 5" which is basically using centers for reading. Then I had "Smart Boards." Smart boards are pretty much the coolest things ever--I hope I have one in my classroom next year. If not, I am stealing one from someone else. I'm going to try to use S's as much as possible in my lessons so that I get used to them. The next workshop was "Math Centers." Sheila was one of the presenters so I already knew a lot of the stuff she was talking about but it was still interesting. Then we had lunch. Hannah and I ate in a 1st grade classroom all by ourselves because all the teachers went out to eat but we had brought our own food. I brought left over cous-cous made by Angie and Katie. It was sooooo good!

After lunch I had "Library Resources." It was split up into three parts. One of them was on links to use to enhance your classroom. Two of the links were the best. sites. ever. is an awesome site that lets you search for pictures. I've spent a lot of time looking at pictures from Barrow. The other cool site was It makes pictures out of words. I've spent a lot of time on that too. After the workshop there was a staff meeting. It was actually pretty interesting even though not of it mattered to me.

It was a long day--I've been finalizing my plans for this week. I think the rest of the week I can start working more on my portfolio project that is a semester-long project.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Because Julia wants me to...

On Friday I didn't go to Gaylord. We had a seminar on campus. It was basically 7 hours of listening to everyone's experience so far. It was nice to see everyone again but still kind of pointless. I had a meeting about Alaska during lunch and am getting sooooo excited!!
This weekend I went out to eat a lot and did a lot of homework. Coldstone now has cupcakes. They are amazing. And cheap. And pretty! I'm almost ready to finalize my ideas for lessons this week and write my lesson plans. I just have a workshop tomorrow so I don't have anything due. Tomorrow will be another busy lesson plan day.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

I get to sleep in (no class till 8:30!!) tomorrow

I'm starting to feel a lot more comfortable with my kids but I'm still nervous about officially starting to teach next week. I'll be in charge of the whole day except for math--but S teachers math twice for 70 minutes each time so really its a lot of time I don't have to worry about.

Speaking of math, it was my favorite part of the day today. They are working on division right now. S does timed tests which I really don't like but I do think it makes them really work hard to learn the multiplication and division facts. The two math classes are split by ability. In the first class they almost all pass the tests every time. In the second class I think there are only 3 or 4 who have passed everyday. They get to play a lot of fun games to learn them though. That's mostly what I do with the kids while S works with a small group. Today D--one of my favorite kids--got in trouble during recess which is right before math. He is EBD so he has a really hard time of cooling down on his own. S asked if he wanted to practice his 2s in division since he still hadn't passed them. He said yes so she asked if he wanted her to help him or if he wanted Miss Bracken. He chose me!! And after we practiced he passed!!! A little girl named T didn't pass her 2s though and she was really sad and started to cry. She has a twin sister who is in the high math class and has done well on her division tests so I think that might have something to do with it. S said that if T wanted she could retry the test in a little while after practicing some more with me. So I worked with her and then she passed too! I think that both D and T know how to do division they just can't do it very fast and aren't good under pressure.

Another good part of my day was when I was walking back to the classroom after bringing my kids to art. A little kindergarten boy passed me and I said hi and he ran up and hugged me. He was missing a bunch of teeth and couldn't talk very well. It was really cute.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


I'm tired so I'm not going to write much. Today was another good day. L bought me a pop today; it was really cute. They are doing division in math and I am so jealous. They played around the world and I wanted to call out the answer everytime--especially when they took forever. The best part of the day was "Kick Back and Read." I got to read too and then I wrote a summary of what I read on the board. I'm reading "The Pushcart War." So far not much has happened but the kids seemed to be interested in it.

Lost was pretty good, mostly because Charlotte died.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Today was another good day. I joined a carpool of 3 other student teachers from Gustavus. We've had a bunch of classes together so it'll be fun. The only problem is that their teachers get to school early and mine gets there right on time (or a little late) so I have to wait out in the hall for her. Today there was a little girl from the other 4th grade class that I could talk to, though.

Today was D's golden birthday. He is slowly becoming one of my favorite kids. S told me that at his old school he got in all kinds of trouble for threatening and hitting teacher, but she's had no problems with him at all. I think he's a really sweet kid. Since it was his birthday he brought everyone in the class a donut. He is probably the smallest kid in the class. It was so cute to see him carrying a huge box. He could barely see over it. He was so excited that it was his birthday. He got some little presents from S (a free assignment, a pencil, maybe something else) and we sang him Happy Birthday. There also is a postal service within the school and he got a few letters today which was cute.

I got to start teaching a little today. I didn't write any lessons or anything but I helped with one of the guided reading stations, I read the class a chapter from "Shiloh Returns" and I worked with some individual kids who were gone yesterday. We also did stations in math and I was able to walk around and play games with the kids. I also was in charge of filling the class "Me Box." I took it home last night and filled it with things about me. I put a few pictures, a cat book, my movie and concert tickets, and one of my cutmolas in it. In all the pictures they first guessed that Julia was me. Barf. One of the boys asked if my nephew was a boy or a girl. LOLZ! They LOVED my cutmola. They had art later in the day and made me promise to bring it with to show the art teacher. I did and she was doing them with her 6th graders and so she asked if she could borrow it to show them. woooooo. I've never met anyone who has heard of them but she also went to Gustavus and she knew my art teacher from here really well so I think she probably learned about them the same way that I did.

Time for trivia. Bracken, Out.

P.S. P told me I was really cool. Oh, and A is obsessed with me. She wasn't here yesterday so I went up to her right away to talk and the rest of the day she kept asking me for help or telling me to sit by her.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Day One

Today was my first day of student teaching. I got lost twice on the way there but still managed to get there right as my cooperating teacher S got there. Speaking of S, she is really nice and seems to be a really good teacher. All of the other teachers make fun of her for being too organized but it is very helpful for me.

Some of the highlights of the day:
  • a boy named L bought me a cookie at lunch
  • we got to visit the public library and it was awesome
  • someone said it felt like April out and S said she wished it was. D said he didn't want it to be April because then Miss Bracken would be gone.
  • by the end of the day I had all their names memorized
  • I bonded with a girl named L over our love of cats. P told me she used to have a cat named Smokey. He was a boy.

Lowlight of the day:

  • my sandwhich was disgusting

Tomorrow I am going to start working more with the kids. Today I basically just observed without getting involved but from now on I'll be helping with small groups and starting next Tuesday I will be teaching everything except math and the week after that I will be teaching full time.