Tuesday, February 25, 2014

To Tell You The Truth...



To tell you the truth

I wasn't sure I was going to do the Slice of Life challenge this year.  I kept making excuses.

  • My coursework is keeping me very busy, especially setting up my flipped class and website
  • I'm also writing pieces for another blog and I'm not sure I want the stress of writing every day
  • I'm out of the habit of writing
  • I'm not in the mood for writing
  • Speech is keeping me so busy
  • New responsibilities at school are eating up my time
  • blah, blah, blah.blah, blah
but...
  • I still need to write.
  • I still have stories to tell (and so does Chloe)
  • I MUST practice what I teach
HOW
  • can I ask students to write daily when I'm not
  • can I ask students to write three blog posts a week when I'm not
I feel like a hypocrite

So, once again, 

I WILL WRITE

So, I'm getting ready.  I've been pinning lots of blog post prompts to help out on those days when I don't think I have anything to write about (and we all have those).

I've cleaned off my desk one of the bedrooms upstairs so it's more conducive to writing.

I've been making time to write every day.  Many times I'll be writing with my creative students during class. But I've also blocked out time for home.

I've got my new supply of Flair pens

I've got my new writer's notebook ready to go for March. It's a Christmas gift from my oldest son and his family. Goes cute with the bag, too!


So now, all that needs to happen is to turn the page on the calendar!
See you on Saturday!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Celebrate XIX: In Which I Celebrate Snow Days??????





Wow. What a week. 
Two major snowstorms.
One on Monday. One on Thursday, a blizzard that went into Friday.
And it was conferences week.
And we only had two days of school.




But there were things to

Discover. Play. Build.


My friend Ruth Ayres has created a wonderful spot for sharing moments from your week. She even has  a page to give you all the details you need to know about sharing your own celebrations. So head  on over and see what everyone else is celebrating. 




1. Well timed days off
We only had ONE snow day because we had Monday off for President's Day, so while other schools missed the day, we were already home! Because of conferences, Friday was a compensation day, so, again, we had the day off. Only Thursday ended up being a snow day. WooHoo!  We have six days as it is to make up. We didn't need anymore!

2. Technology to the rescue
Our next speech contest is next Saturday. Missing all these days really hurts us. BUT, since we are a one to one school, all our kids have computers and most of them have internet.  I've been practicing with some students via Facetime on our Macs.  We set up a time through the Facebook page and PRESTO, rehearsal time!

3.  Hints of Spring
Even though we are buried under tons of snow, the other day as I walked from my car to the school I noticed something important. THE SUN FELT WARM ON MY FACE.  There was snow and the air was chilly, but the sun had warmth to it and that is something to cheer about.

So, there you are. A few of my things to celebrate this week.  Be sure to hop on over to Ruth's blog and share yours!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Celebrating a Little Late (But Celebrating, Nonetheless)

Discover. Play. Build.


My friend Ruth Ayres has created a wonderful spot for sharing moments from your week. She even has  a page to give you all the details you need to know about sharing your own celebrations. So head  on over and see what everyone else is celebrating. 

 Reasons I'm late to the Celebration Link Up:

1. Stomach flu since Tuesday afternoon ( I didn't slice either). 
2. State Contest Week for speech
3. A rough day at contest
4. Tired
5. Grading
6. Procrastination
7. Couldn't find the celebrations

And then I started to think

And they were there

Those celebrations were hiding out, waiting for me to be ready to appreciate them.....

This week I wrote letters of recommendations for several of my senior speech kids. And this gave me a couple of things to celebrate. The first, kids who asked me back in the fall to write theirs.  So nice to write letters when there really is no deadline. And the second, well, first I have to be honest.

As many high school teachers will tell, I keep copies of all the letters I write. And every year, when a kid asks me to write a letter, I think about what former student they are most like. I use that letter as a template for the new one.  Of course, I add personal info about the student, personal connections, etc, but the form tends to be the same.  And with each letter I wrote, I began thinking about these students and our years together. Each and every one of them holds a special place in my heart. It was fun looking back at the growth they have had.

Friday, I wrote a letter for a student who is so unique, that there was no letter to fall back on. I had to start from scratch. And no letter will do her justice. I wanted to send video of her dancing with abandon during a "Don't Be Boring" Friday in Drama class. I wanted to send the brochure she wrote in Creative Writing about her ideal school. I wanted them to listen to her tell stories. And the whole time I wrote, I heard this song in my head:



As I said before, Saturday was a rough day at contest. I felt like I had failed the kids. It was hard for me to be positive when I got home, hard to find positives. But again, there were there

  • singing boys on the bus ride down
  • parents who drive down to see their kid perform for 5 or 10 minutes
  • students supporting each other
  • great attitudes
  • The "let's move on to individual" attitude
  • Seeing growth from one year to the next
  • A student who will be a leader next year, although he doesn't know it now
So, you see, even when it seems like you had a crappy week and there was nothing to celebrate, there really is. You just have to peel away the crap and look.

Aloha!


Saturday, February 1, 2014

Celebrate 16:

Discover. Play. Build.

My friend Ruth Ayres has created a wonderful spot for sharing moments from your week. She even has  a page to give you all the details you need to know about sharing your own celebrations. So head  on over and see what everyone else is celebrating. 

What a crazy week. Contest last Saturday. Two cold days. Trying to figure out just where all my classes are at......

But there is a lot to celebrate today!

1. SPEECH KIDS!

Here's a few of them, waiting on the last results of the day. The day didn't go quite as well as I had hoped, but we are taking four groups to state competition next Saturday and that is something to cheer about. But what I really celebrate is this. In this picture are a football player, a couple of cheerleaders, some 4-H kids, choir kids, band kids, weird kids and popular kids. What do they all have in common? They are SPEECH KIDS!  I love that this activity brings them all together as a team. They are all so supportive of each other. And the older kids show the younger kids what it means to be a SPEECH KID. We even had a couple of alumni show up during the afternoon just to say hi!  

Tradition continues.

2.  A LITTLE RECOGNITION When we finally got back to school on Wednesday this week, we found out that a "local" TV station (from sixty miles away) was coming to interview my "flippingfamily" group about our classrooms. They were supposed to come last week, but weather got in the way of that. I wished I had thought about the possibility of them coming. If I had, I might have worn something a little more professional. But here I am wearing my new speech shirt in celebration of Saturday :)  

Anyway, there was a lot of talk amongst us about this interview. There was a general feeling of uncomfortableness. You know how teachers are. They don't like when the center of attention is on them. What we do is for and about the kids, not us. But what I kept in mind was this: for years our high school and it's teachers didn't have a great reputation, even with the district staff. And at times, that reputation was deserved. But it isn't now. With new leadership, great things are happening. In order to change our reputation, we have to put ourselves out there. We have to share what's good.

3. Romeo and Juliet Time to share with my freshmen. I have always taught Romeo and Juliet at the end of the year, but the last couple of years I just felt like I was really rushing through it, so I decided to move it up this year and really spend time with it. Of course, Mother Nature is trying to disrupt us as much as possible, but we are finally starting to read. Yesterday we made paper swords and read through scene 1. All I can say is--it's a good thing we used PAPER swords! I definitely practiced living Aloha during these classes :)



So there you have it. A few of my celebrations this week. 

Until next week