Leanne Nalani

{September 13, 2014}   Learning Experiences

Once again I’m posting about once a week. It’s been so busy I just haven’t been able to keep up with much, so I apologize. I love reading everyone’s blogs and writing some of my own posts. When life settles down I’ll get back into things.



My desk. The toys have been something new I’m learning for the younger children.

This week was the first full week of school and it was full of learning experiences. I have some truly amazing colleagues, especially the para who works with me in our classroom and another para who works with certain kids around the school. Our principal is of a caliber I’ve never seen before. He is always around the school with a big smile on his face. Yesterday he came in the room as he was passing by just to say hello and chat with one of our little 2nd graders who was calming himself with a breathing ball after having a melt down.


I’m learning how to work with children who have autism and how to support their teachers. This year I have three children with autism and I have already learned a lot. That is a new one for me and the learning curve has been pretty large due to the quick responses required in terms of creating and providing visual schedules and calming strategies and also responding to the regular meltdowns our first grader has daily because the poor little dude has no para support in his regular classroom.

I learned how to figure out a schedule to see 18 groups of kids for social time, reading, writing, and math throughout the day. It’s quite an organizational puzzle!

I am learning how to respond to irrational end-of-the-world melt downs and have discovered that the tears don’t scare me. This is mostly because I know they aren’t true tears, so I can calmly talk to them or work through calming strategies with them. I only have a couple young students who behave like this about tiny little things and I’m figuring out ways to calm them and work with them.

As for the rest of the students, they are amazing! 3rd-5th grade are all so much fun. They are all very happy kids and have been positive, cooperative, and flexible. I’m just learning all the curriculums available because all of it is new. My para loves teaching math and since I’m not a fan of math, we set it up so she teaches it. I focus mostly on reading which is my specialty and have a couple of writing groups and of course my fun little morning social group.


This week was Mike’s birthday and our California friend just moved back to WA! We had a double celebration at The Ram.


This is one of their 100 calories alcoholic drinks. Meh.


I ate soooo much food. I had two drinks including this “purple viper” and I ate everything.


This is probably more a look of fear than anything. Somehow our friend managed to eat this entire plate! I’m just glad it wasn’t me.


As of last Saturday, I had lost 4 pounds in 2 weeks. I’ve been doing a combination of intuitive eating and tracking on MFP. I have been really happy about the results! Everything was going so well until we went out to that dinner on Wednesday. Then it kind of went downhill.

Mike was at a pre-wedding-karaoke-celebration for his sister on Thursday so I ordered a bacon stuffed crust pizza at home while working all night. I was pretty stressed out. The good news is that I could only manage to eat 3 pieces and not the whole pizza.

Friday was the rehearsal dinner and there was a lot of Mexican food and chocolate cake. I also had my first student birthday cupcake earlier in the day. :/

Today I am feeling pretty bloated. I haven’t exercised since Wednesday morning so that doesn’t help! I’ve been feeling too gross in the mornings and somewhat uneasy in the evenings. We have a wedding at noon so I better see if I can find something to wear.

Tomorrow we are celebrating Mike’s birthday with my family by hanging out and watching the Seahawks game. Its a weekend full of celebrations and food. Oh my!


*What do you do when you have 3-4 days in a row of big events and lots of food in your face all the time?

{September 5, 2014}   Weekly Updates

Where did the time go? Too many things have happened and blogging has taken a back seat for a bit. Sorry!

Last Weekend

Saturday, Sunday, and Monday were full of good times with people.

On Saturday my best friend and her boyfriend came over for a game night. We had originally invited probably about 9 people and somehow most people ended up dropping out. Whatever, we had tons of fun just the four of us. We played Last Night on Earth and then many rounds of Cards Against Humanity. Mike made caramel corn and we had a bunch of other snacks all night.





Cards Against Humanity

On Sunday our friends from Montana were in town so they came over and we had an afternoon of Magic.


Yup. We’re geeks.

On Labor Day we went to a meet & greet evening at my new principal’s house. It was a beautiful day and there were a ton of people there! We all brought our families so there were many spouses and kids. Several of us newbies tended to hang out near each other but we also branched out to meet other staff members. I was pretty anxious and there were so many people crowded around that I just stuck to a couple glasses of wine and skipped eating any food for dinner. When we got home I made a bowl of oatmeal with dried cherries and PB2. It was so satisfying!



Food and exercise have just existed these last couple weeks. Not a lot of thinking has been involved in any of it. I prepare my breakfast/lunches, I exercise every morning at 6;30am, and I track my intake. I’ve been doing well on calories if you look at MFP. The choices aren’t the healthiest but the overall daily calories are fine. The only thing is that I haven’t bothered to weigh myself. I have no idea how much I weigh. I feel pretty good and my clothes fit, at least! The best part is that I’ve been so preoccupied with work that cravings have been non-existent most of the time. Maybe one of these days I’ll get my act together and see where I’m at. Last time I checked I was aiming to lose 10-15 pounds.


The First Week of School!

School started this week. Yay! It’s been 9 years since I’ve worked with elementary kids, so I’ve been waiting to jump in and get things started! As the resource room teacher, the first three days have been devoted to classroom/curriculum prep and student observations. We won’t be teaching kids until maybe the middle of next week. Until then, I’ve been trying very hard to have strong communication skills with staff so they know what to expect. This year there are 3 students with autism in my pull-out program. I’ve been teaching resource room in secondary since 2005 and have worked with very few students on the spectrum, so this is a valuable learning experience for me.

It’s been a good start to the week. Wednesday was DAY 1 and the first thing I noticed was a bottle of lovely apple-scented hand soap from Bath & Body Works with a card from a fellow new staff member.


One of the first things to go on my teacher board.

This morning the principal called new staff members in to the library and told us how well received we’ve been. It was nice to hear that. Then he so graciously gifted us with Starbucks gift cards!

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The Starbucks just down the road is going to be dangerous!

Today was a somewhat stressful day. Being Day 3 of school, the teachers are starting to note their concerns and bringing them to me. I’ve been doing some problem solving when it comes to student behavior concerns because that is always the first thing that will pop up on anyone’s radar. I’m just hoping to do the right thing and make the best choices on behalf of the kids. Other than that, the classroom is just about ready!

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That letter poster was a pain to put together but it was worth it!


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Gotta have a number line.


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My para’s corner plus some punctuation.


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Hall passes.


*How was your week?

*What would you buy with a Starbucks gift card?

et cetera