Welcome to My Blog!

Welcome to my blog! I use my blog as a way to reflect, share, organize, and re-conceptualize my views as an educator. Enjoy and feel free to comment, post, disagree, and share your opinion. The more perspectives, the better!

Friday, April 5, 2013


Our school is really big on setting goals with our students. We have students review their data from each DEA test and set a reading and math goal that will push them forward academically. I am not sure about the academic impact related specifically to their chosen goals, but I have been very pleased with the level of additional investment I have seen with my students who latch on to their goals.

Right now we are 3 weeks away from state testing and as much as it pains me to admit we are in full TCAP review mode. All day. Every day. We have 30 skills to review (15 reading, 15 math) in the 15 days leading up to TCAP. It is pure madness, but my kids are really stepping up their game. All of us are exhausted, but they are pushing through!

Here is an example of our tracker for test review. Students earn a sticker for showing mastery of each skill. The can decorate outside of their tower for showing their best effort (doing optional practice packets, attending tutoring, etc.)

It is really easy to get caught up in the little things---especially this time of year. Fortunately I had a moment that helped to ground me a little bit.

Yesterday one of my hardest working students randomly stopped me in the hallway before lunch and looked at me and asked, "Miss Prinzo, Do you think I care about my goals?"

I am not doing this moment justice, but these are the moments that make my job worth it.

Overheard in the Hallway

This past year I switched from teaching 1st grade to teaching 3rd grade. About 90% of the time I love the switch, but every once in a while I miss the really little ones. Fortunately I am still in the building with them and I get treated to little moments like this...

Two kindergartners were walking back to their classroom from the library. The little girl was quite a few feet ahead of the boy. She stops, looks at him, and says, "Come on, we need to go."

The boy looks at her and says, "Hold on. I just need a little bit of time. I just need a little bit of time with my dragon. I just need to be with my dragon."

You have to respect a man who knows what he needs!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

February Challenge Post 2: Animal Racism

My kids are LOVING black history month and I am LOVING teaching about it. We have been studying black history month mostly through literature. This means more read alouds! My kids have started to  ask more questions about slavery and segregation. Here is an awesome one from today...

"Miss Prinzo, Are animals racist?"

You have to love inquiring minds.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

February Challenge Post 1: What does a day in my life look like?

Instead of creating a New Year's Resolution this year I decided to take on a series of 30 day challenges. My January challenge was to get healthy by eating better and exercising more. I didn't actually exercise and eat perfectly for 30 days, but I did make a conscious effort to make healthy living an important part of my life again. I am to the point that I am ready for my 2nd 30 day challenge. I want to get back into the habit of blogging again. 

My goal is to write at least 30 posts between now and March 4. I have a list of about 15 professional posts I want to write, and then the rest will be stories and reflections about teaching. During these 30 posts I am going to ask the grammar-fairy for forgiveness in advance. My goal is to get the words out fast, make writing a habit, and not get caught up in editing along the way.

So here we go, post 1...

What does a school day look like?

A lot of people have asked me about what a typical day looks like. This question comes up the most when people ask how/ why I spend so much time working. I am going to attempt to outline my day for you..

5:30- Hit the snooze button.
5:35-Hit the snooze button.
5:40-Hit the snooze button.
5:45-Hit the snooze button.
5:50- Drag myself out of bed, get dressed, make lunch, pack up
6:20- Head to school.
6:30- Monday morning treat...Krispy Kreme! Doughnuts and coffee were a much needed morning treat.
6:45- Arrive at school and realize I forgot to turn the heat on in my classroom. Check my email, update my objectives board, clean my desk a little
6:55- Head to the work room to copy guided reading materials, make a copy order
7:30- Organize papers and materials needed for the day, open guided powerpoints, project/ pass out morning work.
7:45- bell rings, morning frenzy (greet students, check folders, help students with previous nights homework, check/ help edit Royal Friendship letters)
8:00- Announcements
8:15- Clean up math centers, begin morning math block
9:05- planning, yes! More copies, explain needs to parent volunteer in English and  broken Spanish, copy materials for Tuesday reading content lesson (yay differentiation), verify gradebook, holy shi** planning is over already?
10:05- pick up students from specials, find out one student threw up and need to call home
10:10- switch with teacher across the hall for differentiated word study. 3 groups, 3 sort introductions, 3 tests (still can't get ahold of sick student's mom...try dad. Dad speaks very little English....tells me to call mom...)
10:40- Morning meeting, Taboo game (post about Taboo )
10:50- Make up reading assessment from Snow day; read to low ELs
11:30- Extra time??? Start Social Studies early. Read-aloud of an African American Folk tale.
12:00- Stamina reading time for student; pull Exceptional Ed student to work on reading.
12:20- Indoor recess..."pay" 5 kids in Cubs Cash as helpers, monitor students, explain that people can be friends even if they do not always play together.
12:35- restroom break
12:41- lunch; eat with table winners
1:11- pick up students, restroom break
1:15- afternoon math block
2:00- Social Studies block (yes! I actually got to Social Studies today!)
2:40- pack up and dismissal
3:05- Say goodbye to last student and check email
3:15- Regie Routman professional development (oops...totally forgot to prepare for this one...)
4:30-5:30-bitch about Regie with a co-worker,collect/organize work turned in today (7 different assignments)
5:30-5:45- pack up/ quick clean up
6:10-7:30- cheer on Lead Academy girls basketball (My roommate coaches...it is their last homegame)
7:45- get home, make dinner, eat, chat with roommates,
9:00-10:15- grade math test given today, they HAVE to be graded tonight so I can do test corrections tomorrow. Finish my wine and decide that the stack of 6 other assignments will have to go on the "to do list" for tomorrow (or let's be honest sometime in the next week...)
10:15- decide my shower can wait, get in bed, check email, respond to a few emails, realize that my self-blogging challenge is already 4 days behind schedule.
11:`5 finish blog post, set alarm, get ready to start all over again.

And there you have it, my day outlined. It is kind of crazy how much more aware of time I am since I started teaching. It is almost obsessive, but 100% necessary. My days during the week are super routine, but thanks to my students, can be totally different. I easily make over 1000 decisions each day and finish each day feeling like I have just finished spinning in circles as fast as I can. I usually add more to my "to do list" than take things off.  Some days I love it, and some days I hate it. Love it, or hate it, I  am grateful for the experience. I am grateful to get to live with my wonderful roomates. I am grateful to have an amazing teaching trio. More than anything, I am grateful for the opportunity to teach and learn with my students. 16 hours, 1000 decisions, and a glass of wine later, I am choosing to be grateful. Good night!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


A quick story that happened on Friday:

We have this behavior management system at school called PBS (Positive Behavior Support) that centers around recognizing students who are doing the right thing rather than focusing on the students who are misbehaving. I am not completely bought into it, but it seems to work for most of my kids. Part of the system is that we reward students with “Cubs Cash” that they can trade in for prizes, special privileges, etc.  On Friday’s I have a Cub’s Cash store that students can “buy” from with Cub’s Cash.  Well one of my students, A, had apparently been saving his Cubs Cash (80 tickets!) and wanted to buy two toy dinosaurs.

To give you a little background on A, he is one of my sweetest, most eager, yet academically lowest students. He is a refugee from Thailand. His mom left A’s older brother and dad in Thailand to bring  A and his little brother here. They came here with absolutely nothing. Mom understands no English and now that their transition aid is running out, it is clear that they are barely making ends meet. To make matters worse, I recently learned that A had Malaria when he was about 5 years old. The medical care they had in Thailand through the clinic was very poor and he had it on and off for a year. Mom told us that she had to completely re-train A to eat, walk, go to the restroom, everything. We suspect that he has some developmental delays and language acquisition issues as a result of his Malaria left untreated for so long.  

Anyway, I told him that he could only buy one thing, which has always been the store rule. Instead of buying one of the dinosaurs he just kind of walked away with his head down. I wasn’t really paying attention, but when I caught up with what had happened I asked him why he didn’t just buy one dinosaur.  He told me (in a lot less words…he has very little English) that he was saving so he and his little brother could play together. I am not even kidding you; it took everything that I had not to burst into tears.  (And yes, I let him buy both dinosaurs). 

Most kids his age would never have even considered buying something for a sibling. To make the story even more special, I had a few students in the room who witnessed it. Another student, S, asked me why I let him get two things. When I explained to her and the students that were there what it meant to be a refugee, and that A doesn't have toys at home like most kids; they just nodded their heads and moved on. 

Times like these are the reason that I really like working with my population of students. They have so much more empathy and understanding of each other’s challenges than other kids their age (I am sure more than I did myself).  It is hard to explain, but they really just “get it.” There are some things you can try to teach, but I don’t think I could ever teach the type of empathy, support, and compassion that my students have for each other. It truly is amazing.

Friday, November 16, 2012


My students invented a new vocabulary word today.

Jancing: the act of dancing and jumping.

Jancing is what happens when you try to say dancing and jumping and one word comes out.

Imagine 8 3rd grades breaking out into a 3 minute jance party.

Happy Friday

One woman

Every Friday I eat lunch with my table winners. I usually get them settled and then take a minute or two to get myself settled and prepped for math before joining my students. Today I had the pleasure of overhearing the following comment...

D: "I wish there was only one women in the world."

(In my head) "Sweetheart that will all change in a couple of years.."

D: "Yeah, then we could all just date her."

(me) hiding my laughter with a coughing fit.