Sunday, March 30, 2014

30/31 Foggy Early Morning Brain


6:00am.
Feet barely moving, one in front of the other.

What am I doing up so early? We don't leave until noon. I have most things packed and ready to go....book, my notebook, information for trip, underwear, pj's...

Well, not really.
I still haven't decided exactly what I will wear when we visit schools.

Black pants both days? Or blue? Or brown?
I only want to take one pair of shoes, and everyone knows you can't wear black, blue or brown shoes with the other colors.

Definitely want tennis shoes on the plane. And for those times when we aren't in school.
COMFORT!

What do I need to download on my iPad?
WAIT. Am I taking my iPad?  After all, I'm taking my computer. What am I thinking? Of course I will take both. Because as sure as I don't, I'll want the other one. Silly, I know, especially since I have an iPhone, but I need my technology with me.

It all goes.

Back to the clothes.

No. Fix another cup of coffee first. Wake up the brain. Maybe a shower will help.

Don't forget to rewrite the sub note with the new plans for freshmen. Maybe I should leave a bit early and double check my room again. Make sure everything is laid out. I did do that on Friday, didn't I?

And I have to remember to download online magazines to the iPad. Won't be able to do that on the plane. Maybe my new album too. Better check that now. And throw the cords for everything in the suitcase.

I wonder what the weather will be in New Hampshire this week? Ugh. A lot like home. Well, at least I'll know how to dress! Now if I could just decide what that will be.....



Maybe I'll fix another cup of coffee....

Saturday, March 29, 2014

29/31 Celebrate



Discover. Play. Build.
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. 

I'm a little late for a Saturday, but I spent today working at the state solo ensemble music contest that our school hosted. It was a terrific day of music, even if I did hear it from outside the door (I was a room chair and and to sit outside and make sure people didn't come in during a performance.).

 I found that being a room chair was a little like coaching. Those nerves show up at the worse times.  So whether they were just nervous in general or they worried about their accompanist showing up on time, I did my best to calm them down. I spent the day repeating, "We're flexible. Don't worry, we'll make time for you." Often the word "breathe" was all I needed to say.

The talent of high school kids always amazes me, and I love to watch them participate in something other than school work. I love that they get these opportunities to perform.

I also celebrated a breakthrough with a student this week (at least I hope it was a breakthrough). Really, it's my biggest celebration of the week.  On Monday I wrote about a melt down I had with a student.  My response to him was unacceptable behavior for me, but, we both apologized and moved on. The next day he came in, presented a really good speech and had his homework done for the other class he has with me.

The last celebration this week is because tomorrow our district's competency based education team that I am a part of flies to New Hampshire to visit a school that is totally competency based. We wanted to see it in action and our principal found the spot for us to visit. I'm really looking forward to seeing what they do and asking questions of those doing it.  Should be a great learning opportunity.  I'm hoping I'll have time to blog about it while we're there, but I just don't know.

It's been a great week. The snow is melting, the temperatures have been decent, maybe spring is really on the way.

Now that's something to celebrate!

Friday, March 28, 2014

28/31 You Only Understand if You Teach Freshmen



We have been reading Romeo and Juliet in English 9.  It can be a tough sell.  The girls think they will like it because it's a love story. The boys think they will hate it because it's a love story.  As John Green says in his Crash Course, "....one off screen sex scene and seven on screen fatalities." Watch the first twenty seconds for this quote. But the rest is quite awesome....



I've talked about the Baz Luhrman version, but we haven't watched any of it. The kids don't really want to. I try not to be biased and there are a lot of things I really like about that version. My kids just can't imagine Romeo and Juliet  with guns and cars. They do like the Zeferelli version.

So here's how it goes. We read out loud. They take turns, reading whatever part they want.I have one boy who loves the Nurse. He's a funny kid, and he does a great job.  Sometimes we get up and act it out. They all love to sword fight! We talk about what happening, examine character motivation, plot devices, figurative language, etc.

And then we watch the movie portion of whatever act we are reading.

This week was Act 3.

It starts with a fight scene. But after that, is the "honeymoon scene".

And that's the part of the movie that always gets the biggest reaction--sometimes from me.  I love to sit back and watch how they deal with it, even when they know it's coming.

Today's groups were no different. They giggled. They closed their eyes. They commented about what was going on onscreen. And they giggled some more.

One girl took a picture on her phone of what was onscreen.

Silly.

And you only understand this if you teach Freshman English....





Thursday, March 27, 2014

27/31 Maybe Tomorrow Will Be Better



I keep starting this blog post

and then 

I delete everything I type

Nothing seems to go anywhere

Words don't come

Fingers seem to be typing nonsense.

There are no school stories, no grandkid stories, no Chloe stories

I'm sure they are there somewhere

But they are certainly hiding tonight


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

26/31 Totally Acceptable


He enters the room with a slight bounce in his step, 
the start of a grin on his face.

"Are you ready?"
I ask.

"Well, kind of."
I can see the discomfort
the unease
the nerves
racing throughout his body.

"Great!" 
I'm trying to send him 
the confidence
he needs
to speak today.

The others enter the room
chatting,
laughing,
wondering
what will happen today.

Will he be ready?
Will he refuse?
Will there be another
Blow-up?

With his hoodie as his
shield
and his headphones
as his talisman,
he walks to the front of the room.

He stands at the podium,
nervous,
but he begins.
At first 
I wonder if he
will ever
look up.

And then he does.
He's got this.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

25/31 100 Words, 100 Days



I  joined in on #engchat last night because Kelly Gallagher and Penny Kittle were hosting (seriously. I was in teacher of writer's heaven).  It was a great conversation.

There was talk of how teachers share writing. Lots of us write with and in front of our students. There were also a couple of shout outs for Two Writing Teachers!

At one point, Kelly Gallagher asked what percentage of English teachers we thought wrote.

Based on my department of four, I said 25%. Many of the participants guessed lower than I did.

That still shocks me.

At some point, someone said they and their students were doing a 100 words in 100 days challenge.  Kittle liked it. She thought everyone participating in the chat should commit to the challenge.

And, at the end of the chat, Meenoo Rami tweeted

So, of course, with those three supporting it, I committed myself to it. Much easier than NaNoWriMo, which I have failed at each time I've tried.

100 Words, 100 Days.


I can let off fireworks when I'm done!  I don't know if I'll share every day, but I'm going to write every day. 100 words seems doable, don't you think?  

Monday, March 24, 2014

24/31 Totally Unacceptable



I blew up today.

At a kid, with more anger issues than I have ever dealt with. He didn't have an assignment done that he had plenty of class time to do. And then, when he wasn't ready on Friday, I gave him over the weekend. Today, he still wasn't ready. The consequence was that he was to stay with me after school and get it done. He knew that Friday. Today, I got all the excuses why he couldn't. Today, I got all the ways he was going to get around the system. Today, I blew up.

I said the one thing I shouldn't have said.

I screamed, "I'm done."

At least I was in the office where other students couldn't hear me.

I can't remember being more unprofessional in my life. I'm embarrassed about it.  I'm sad about it. I'm still frustrated. Blowing up did no good whatsoever. And it certainly didn't help the student.

Was I right to be frustrated.
Yes.

Have I given this student everything he needs, every opportunity to get the work done.
Yes.

Should I have reacted like I did.
Absolutely not.
It was totally unacceptable.

I apologized to several people, the student first and foremost.

But I can never take back those words, even if I didn't mean them.

Because I am most certainly not done….

Sunday, March 23, 2014

23/31 Chloe's Weekly Celebrations



Discover. Play. Build.
My friend Sam's mom let's everybody share their good stuff on her blog on Saturday's. She even has  a page to give you all the details you need to know about sharing your own celebrations. I hope she will let me share mine!


Every week my mom writes about all the good things that happen to her. Well, today, I need to write about mine!

All last week some of my kids were here. It was so fun.  I never had to stay home alone.  Angelina and Boston played with me, hugged me, made sure I got fed AND it was nice enough that Dad, the kids and I got to take a couple of walks!  I love going for walks. It's fun to smell where my friends have been!  One day we even stopped and talked to the neighbor dogs!

Sometimes I think Angelina is my favorite because she gives me lots of hugs and likes to cuddle with me. But sometimes Boston is because he likes to play fetch and run.  I like it best, though, when they both play with me.

They have a little brother, Hayden, that didn't get to stay with them.  He's little and had to go home with his mom and dad.  I like to play with him too and, sometimes, he shares his food with me!

Then, we had to take the kids home and I was kind of sad, but guess what!  I got to stay at their house for two nights and play with all of them and TEDDY.  Teddy is one of my best friends.  We have a good time when we get together. Today, while everyone was gone, we even had a picnic!  We had chocolate pudding and applesauce on my blanket. It was awesome! I don't think our moms and dads were too happy, though. Teddy's dad seemed kind of mad, but we didn't get into too much trouble.

It was such a good week.

I'm sure going to miss them all .....



Saturday, March 22, 2014

22/31 Celebrating



Discover. Play. Build.
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. Time with grandkids.
One of things I enjoy the most is time with our grandkids---along---without their parents.  Don't get me wrong, I love their parents, but it's way more fun without them.  We get to enjoy the kids, learn what they like, see their silliness, start their silliness, get lots of cuddle time. And with six grandkids, I like when we just have a couple at a time. Again, just better.

This week my husband and I had the 8 year old twins of our oldest son staying with us.  They were on spring break and mom and dad had no one to watch them.  Semi-retired grandpa to the rescue! Having two young kids in the house definitely changed up our old people routine a bit, but it was fun!

2. Time with mom
We dropped the kids and Chloe off at my sons and headed to a local casino/resort where we will spend a couple of nights with my mom.  Because of speech season and weather, it's been awhile since we've been together, so this will be fun. My son and his family will come out this afternoon to visit with "Grandma Pat" and swim, so it will be a mini family reunion, of sorts.

3. Excellence Rewarded
Also this week, I found out that one of my speech students was selected as an All-State performer. That's exciting news for our team. Thousands of kids across the state perform at Individual districts each year. To be chosen by at least two of your state judges as an outstanding performer is amazing. The kids look forward to a day off from school to go down to the All-State festival and watch their teammate and a few hundred others perform.  I like that they see excellence in action. My kids come back excited to start back up again.

4. Parents and Administration
I won't be able to go with my team to All-State because I will be in New Hampshire visiting a competency based education school (more on that later in the week). A parent, who is also a staff member, volunteered to chaperone the kids down to the festival. I am so grateful for her and the others who stepped up. I'm grateful that the administration team in our district works together and supports all staff and students, not just the ones in their building.  This means my kids won't have to miss out on this great opportunity.

And, that's it for this week.  What did you celebrate?

Thursday, March 20, 2014

20/31 Things I've Learned from the Wicked Witch

Kids always laugh when they walk into my room. People always know what to get me for gifts.  I am a Wicked Witch fan.  I have cute little signs and coffee mugs with silly little sayings. I even have a flying monkey. One student said to me this year, "So, you like witches or something?"

Not really.

I like one witch.

I have always wanted to play the Wicked Witch in The Wizard of Oz (I'd love to be Elphana in Wicked, but I can't sing a lick).

But just because I can't be her, doesn't mean I haven't learned from her.


1. Speak up and tell people what you want and need. You won't always get it right away, but your voice needs to be heard! I know. The Wicked Witch was eventually melted, but it doesn't mean she wasn't right to speak up. The ruby slippers belonged to her sister, by rights they were hers!





2. Surround yourself with people who support you. Sometimes, it feels like you have no one in your corner.  It's nice to have friends who have your back! And don't forget to share your appreciation with them...






3. Get to know people before you judge them, and don't base your judgements on what others say.  If Dorothy, Glinda and the others had just taken time to get to know Elphaba, maybe they wouldn't have jumped to so many conclusions. In The Wizard of Oz they didn't even know her name! They took one look at that green skin and decided she was evil. Glinda's line about only bad witches being ugly didn't help matters. Everyone just took her word as gospel. Think for yourself!




4. Understand that everyone has a back story and that story matters. And that story affects who they are. Remember this with family, friends, students, people you just met.




5. Believe in yourself. Live for yourself. Don't listen to the gossip and those who talk behind your back.
Don't let the haters bring you down. Move forward in your life.

Defy Gravity.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

19/31 March Madness In Perspective



I love college basketball.  For me, the best part of football season is that it brings basketball season closer. I watch LOTS of games, read posts on CBS, ESPN, Sports Illustrated, etc.  I talk with my sons and kids at school about games all the time. I'm pretty sure that there are boys who will tell their kids the best way to get Mrs. Day off topic in class was to bring up college hoops.

Particularly, my Iowa Hawkeyes.

It's no secret in the sports world that my Hawks took a nose dive at the end of the season. Like many others, I was often vocal in my opinion what was "wrong", what needed to be done, and why they lost another game they shouldn't have.

But then something happened that put the game into perspective.

Our coach, Fran McCaffrey, has four kids. His 13-year-old, Patrick, has a tumor on his thyroid that was discovered in early March.  They couldn't determine if the tumor was malignant or benign. Surgery to remove the tumor was scheduled for today, March 19th.  They will have to test it.

Sunday, known as Selection Sunday to college basketball fans, the Hawkeyes made the tournament as a play-in team, meaning they have to win to get in the field of 64. There was grumbling among some Hawk fans about the end of the season slide and how that "ruined" any seeding they had a chance at.

Grumbling,.

Until the news began getting around that Patrick's surgery was scheduled the same day as that game. Coach McCaffrey would, of course, be with his son. He flew with the team Monday to Dayton, Ohio where the game would be played, flew home Tuesday night to be with his family today. IF all went well, he would fly back to Dayton after surgery.



And suddenly, the game didn't matter.

Suddenly, it became "just a game" in the greater scheme of things and Hawk fans rallied around the coach and his family. Today, there have been tweets and Facebook posts from people everywhere. Opposing coaches, NBA players, sports writers and fans. There was even a hashtag  #teampat   all in support of a young man most don't know.  

Updates this afternoon let us know that Patrick's surgery went well. He is in good spirits (and my guess is, told his dad to go coach and get a win)

But, I won't watch tonight's game with the same attitude that I usually do. Tonight, I'll hug the grandkids who are staying with us, thankful they are healthy and thankful the rest are too. Tonight, I'll watch a game. And no matter the outcome, it won't be as important as the outcome of the tests on a young man's tumor.



Tuesday, March 18, 2014

18/31 Change



Because I'm old (as my young school family loves to remind me), I've been through a lot of change, particularly in education. Living in Iowa, I've written standards and benchmarks THREE times, only to have the Iowa Core come into existence.

I've had four superintendents
Five principals
Worked in two buildings
Taught thousands of kids
Worked through more curriculum changes than I care to count

Here's what I've learned

CHANGE IS HARD WORK

Change is dirty,
chaotic,
frustrating,
aggravating,
annoying,
inconvenient,

Change is "throw my hands in the air and I quit" kind of work.

Change is hard.

Hard.

But necessary.

And the least of your problems is the internet doesn't work.

Sometimes, people's ideas are ridiculous.
Sometimes, they think mine are.

Sometimes we disagree.
Sometimes there are too many voices trying to be heard.

Sometimes people think they know more than I do
and they try to get everyone to agree with them.

And sometimes in the midst of the chaos and the dirty work
and the frustration
are glimmers of what you want
and where you will be.

Sometimes an open mind,
a picture of what you believe helps you
get to the promised land.

Sometimes you have to listen to find the
heart of the change.

And then, who cares if the internet doesn't work.


Monday, March 17, 2014

17/31 Things I Love

Today is my birthday. And every year that I have written in the challenge, I have written a list of some kind. First, I wrote about the things I had learned.

Then I wrote about things I just didn't understand

Oops. Last year I wrote about missing the grandkids....

This year, in the spirit of Aloha, I'm listing things I love. I found the idea here.  I've been working on it in my writer's notebook, hoping to create a scrapbook page one of these years, but thought I'd share the list here.


Things I Love

1. Max's twinkling eyes  
2. Kaylee's giggles
3. Tony's sense of humor
4. Boston's questions
5. Angelina's soft blue eyes
6. Hayden's grins
7. Conferencing with students
8. Speech rehearsals
9. Informal chats with kids
10. Morning hugs
11. Passion
12. Live Music
13. Big Books
14. Sandbar
15. Sunset Cruises
16. Snow crocus
17. SAINT PATRICK'S DAY
18. Surprise flowers
19. Chloe sleeping on the couch
20. Chloe greeting me when I get home
21. Sunday mornings at the lake
22. Twitter chats during inservice
23. Snow days
24. Rainy days at the lake
25. Giving little gifts 
26. 3 hour early out days
27. Hot chocolate and peanut butter toast
28. Sunny days and frosty drinks
29. Floating on the lake
30. Shorts and a sweatshirt
31. PJ days
32. Riding the roller coaster every summer
33. Outdoor concerts at the park
34. American Idol
35. Purple Pens
36. Brown Pens
37. New books in smiley faced boxes
38. When my boys come home
39. Perfect birthday gifts
40. And the people who pick them out
41. Professional conferences
42. Low humidity
43. Books that make me think
44. Books that make me cry
45. Books that make me laugh
46. The Nadas (my summer band!)
47. Sunrise over the mountains
48. Sunset over water
49. Hawaiian rain
50. Iowa Ed Chat  #iaedchat
51. Monday mornings at the lake
52. Morning coffee anytime
53. A glass of really good red wine
54. My peach sangria
55. My school family
56. My semi-retired husband
57. Cinnamon crispies

To be continued.....

Sunday, March 16, 2014

16/31 For My Seniors



Senior girls--didn't get one with the boys  :(

I sit in classrooms
Not my own
And watch you,
Students of mine,
Hold the attention of a room.

I marvel 
At the growth,
the maturity,
the composure, 
I see in you today.

It wasn't so long ago
I comforted,
I consoled,
I reassured,
And dared you to 
Give it one more try.

Here you are.
All grown up.
Handling your own nerves.
Knowing what I will say
Even without hearing it.

And behind you,
Watching you,
Wanting to be you
Are those who will 
Follow
In your footsteps.


The next generation.

Thank you for showing them the way



Saturday, March 15, 2014

15/31 Celebrate This!



Discover. Play. Build.
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. 


It's been a good week---a long one, but a good one.

1. It's my last week of speech practice this year. State is today. As much as I love my speech kids and the work we do, I'm always happy to see it end.  No more 10 hour days at school! Now I can rest up and think about next year.

2. Our districts public relations person came on Thursday and interviewed me and several of the kids about the speech program. It's great to get a little recognition for what we do.

3. Twice this week I've shared pictures of my classroom with people on Twitter. There's some buzz going on about creative spaces in high schools. I love my collaborative desks and the ability we have to write on them with dry erase markers.  Great for sketching out ideas. The comfy chairs and bean bags are the favorite places to sit when working. Think I'm going to have to get rid of one chair at the end of the year though (if it makes it to the end of the year....)  I've created a Pinterest board of the seating and spaces in our high school if you are interested.

4. It's the end of 3rd quarter. Wow.  We're heading into the final lap!

5. Snow has been melting!  The streets are no longer ice covered. Chloe and I can walk again!

And how was your week?


Friday, March 14, 2014

14/31 It's a Dog's Life


Today I want to be Chloe.

As I am trying to get up the energy to get to school, Chloe lay snoring on the couch (yep. Snoring.) She had her head on the pillow, a blanket under her to stay warm and I thought to myself, "I want to be Chloe. What a life."

If I were Chloe
I wouldn't have to set the alarm
I'd just wait for someone to
Speak to me softly as I wake up
They'd let me outside,
Wait for my bark
And then give me a
TREAT
when I came back in.

I'd do lay on the couch
With my head on the pillow
and
Snuggle in the blanket
I drift back off to sleep
Without a care in the world
Waking only when someone else got up

I'd only have a few jobs
to wait for the mailman
and bark at him to leave our yard
Watch for the neighbors to come home
and bark at them to come and play
Keep the squirrels and rabbits at bay
And
Play

I'd play when I wanted
Sleep when I needed
And always know I was loved.

I want to be Chloe.


Wait a minute here. Who is she kidding?  She thinks I have it easy?  Let me tell you a little something…

It's true
I don't have to set an alarm
But I also have no choice when to 
Get Up
If she's up, I have to get up
I go outside and
IT'S COLD OUT THERE
I may bark to let them know to
LET ME BACK IN
IT'S COLD OUT HERE
But sometimes it takes awhile,
So I bark some more
And then I get in trouble for barking too much.

There's just no pleasing some people.

It's true 
I go back to sleep on the couch
(But, I DO NOT snore)
It's not like anyone's going to play with me
At that hour of the day.
And sometimes, it's really early for me.
She doesn't know how late Dad and I 
Stay up 
Sometimes.

Shhhh. Don't tell!

It's true
I bark at the mailman
(there's just something not right about him)
and the squirrel and rabbits and birds
(don't they know this is my territory?)
And those neighbor kids look fun.
I should be able to go over and play once in awhile
AND
They have dogs too.  Can't I go play with them?

I don't get to play all day
'Cause there is no one home 
to play with
I don't get to sleep all day
'Cause there are things to take care of 
I miss my mom and dad when they are gone
Sometimes, I'm afraid they won't come back
I'm afraid they don't know how much 
I love them. 

I wish I was a people too.









Thursday, March 13, 2014

13/31 Hello There



i am a high school teacher
i keep student work I really like to share with new students
i wish i was more organized
i love teaching writing
i dance during the summer at concerts in the park
i sing at the top of my lungs in the car when i'm alone
i think education needs to be completely overhauled
i really wish it would get nicer outside 
i need more hours in the day
i should deep clean my house
i can walk Chloe after school next week
i like my students
i make lots and lots of lists in my quest to be organized
i always get stuck on the ending.....



Originally came from this blog  http://the-girl-who-chased-the-moon.tumblr.com/


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

12/31 What I Want Learning to Look LIke




I’ve spent the day at our state collaborative meeting for Competency Based Education.  (#IaCompEd in case you want to follow along). The work is hard. The work is chaotic. The work is important.  

It is frustrating at times. Sometimes I just want to yell, "JUST TELL ME WHAT YOU WANT ME TO DO!" 

But I don't really want that. I want to put my two cents in and make it count. 

It requires a lot. There are over 100 people putting their two cents in and sometimes it doesn't make sense. We don't always agree (shocking in education, I know).

“Brain-melting”, as one district team puts it.

A tweet from another participant, who's an associate superintendent, got me thinking



I love this. It got me thinking about what I really wanted to see in education.  It comes from my core belief about learning, and it's what gets me coming back to this collaborative group monthly.

  •   I want student learning to mesh together. Nothing I learn is in isolation. Everything connects…is interdependent. Student learning should be the same way.
  •       Students need to find their passions interests and learn through those passions interests
  •      Teachers are really coaches, helping students with practice
  • ·      Skills/competencies can be learned anywhere, not in a specific “classroom”, with a specific teacher, who teaches in isolation

How would this look?
  • ·      Open concept school layout. No classrooms. How about  “learning studios”? Work where you are comfortable, with whom you are comfortable, even when you are comfortable.
  • ·      When a student needs help, find the person to coach them while working on the competency
  • ·      Class time?  Open. Learning doesn’t happen in 45 minute blocks of time. Sometimes I spend all day on a piece of writing. Having to stop after 45 minutes interrupts the flow of thought. 
  • ·      No more grade levels. How about Phase 1, Phase 2, Phase 3, Phase 4 (thanks Libby Schwade). Work through the competencies. Finish a phase and move on
 

I know this looks and sounds crazy. I know that there are many questions. I know there are many issues to be addressed.  I know, I know, I know.  But,  if you don’t know what you want learning to look like, how do you get there?

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

11/31 8:15 on a School Day




A prompt that I often do with Creative Writing is from a song called "10:15 on a Saturday Night" by The Cure.   I found the original idea on Writing Fix. I decided to take that idea today and see where it lead....

8:15 on a school day
Silent
Peaceful
The only sounds are
the buzz from the classroom
next door and
the tapping of my
computer keys
Restful
Productive


12:15 on a school day
Quiet class
Working hard
or looking like it
Some days
buzzing
Some days chatting
Always polite and
respectful

3:15 on a school day
Buzzing
Loud
Locker doors slamming
friends yelling
Plans being made
Scurrying
Hurrying
Home

4:15 on a school day
Ahhhhhhhhh

Monday, March 10, 2014

10/31 What Can I Do Besides Teach?




Back on the first day of March, I read a post that has had me thinking and jotting things in my notebook ever since. It was Susan at Underconstruction. In her post, she wrote that as a young teacher, she went to a temp agency one summer to find a job. The man asked her, "What can you do besides teach?" At the time, she didn't think she could do anything else. Now she says she would answer that she can do anything because she teaches.

Anyway, this slice got me thinking.

What can I do besides teach?  This is exactly the kind of things I like to write--lists that answer a question. Much like my authority lists that I have students write....

So here it is, my list of things I can do besides teach....


I can WRITE:
blog posts
news articles
directions
book reviews
tweets
Facebook posts
emails
letters of recommendation

I can LISTEN to:
questions
concerns 
speeches 
stories
problems
nonsense
music
laughter
crying

I can TALK about:
politics
education
dogs
TV
books
nonsense

  • I can rearrange furniture
  • I can bake
  • I can hang up on telemarketers
  • I can paint trailers and rooms in homes
  • I can take pictures
  • I can play with dogs
  • I can babysit grandkids
  • I can use sarcasm effectively
  • I am a master shopper
I'm feeling pretty good about this right now.  But I know I will add to the list. How about you? What can you do besides teach?




Sunday, March 9, 2014

9/31 Someone Forgot to Tell the Whales



It didn't feel like Christmas
     shorts
       flip flops
         shirt sleeves
All these are summer things

Our first full day on Maui was Christmas Day. We had decided before we went that we would need to do something special on Christmas because we knew we'd miss our families and traditions. 

A dinner cruise on the ocean seemed to fit the bill.



They told us it might be chilly, to bring a sweater or light jacket. Trust me, to hardy midwesterners, used to below zero wind chills, it was a beautiful night.


A gorgeous sunset painted the sky and the ocean with brilliant colors. Everywhere I looked, the oranges and reds transformed the view around us.
It was peaceful, relaxing, an amazing part of our trip. It didn't seem like it could get any better....



And then someone saw the whales....

December is very early in the whale season in Hawaii, which runs from mid-January through mid-March.  Everyone said we may not see any, they'd be hard to find. 



Someone forgot to tell the whales.



We saw whales every time we were on the ocean (and dolphins too), but these were our first. 

Our Christmas Whales


Saturday, March 8, 2014

8/31 History Making Celebration

Discover. Play. Build.
 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. Our Girl's Basketball team made the state tournament this year.  They played their first game Tuesday morning in Des Moines, about three hours from where we live.  We didn't have school so everyone could go down and cheer them on. I think most of the town did! The team has only gone to state three other times and they never won a first round game. This team did! While they lost their next game, they have nothing to be ashamed of. They play tonight for third place.  Go Cadets!



photo by Tanya Riehle (art teacher extraordinaire)


2. The best thing about these girls---they are not just athletes. They are great students, they volunteer, they are involved in choir, they're respectful, they work hard for the things they want and they are extremely supportive of each other. They are truly role models for all kids coming up behind them.

photo by Tanya Riehle (art teacher extraordinaire)


3. Also a shout out to the student section. They were awesome.

photo by Tanya Riehle (art teacher extraordinaire)


4. Celebrating school family again.  We had a family trip on Tuesday and rode down to Des Moines together. A day of laughter and cheering on the basketball team was just what I needed in the midst of the never-ending winter.  Here's most of us. We're missing "oldest child", who was taking pictures for the school and the "youngest" (who knows where he was). But it's a nice picture of the rest of us.


5. We have a school Facebook page, which celebrates everything that goes on in our district. Feel free to check it out!

Join the fun of the March Slice of Life Challenge at Two Writing Teachers