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Showing posts from June, 2011

Flower Junkie

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I have confession to make. I am a flowering plant junkie in the summer. I hate to see them die at the store, and I can't seem to leave them there. I look at the shriveled up leaves and wilting flowers and think to myself, "I could save that.  Just a little water and fresh dirt, a bigger pot, and it will take off again." And, if they are marked down, all is lost. Many times, I don't even have a place to plant it. And God knows, my poor husband spends hours watering everything when I am gone. This year, a few of them haven't done so well. They are looking pretty sad, as a matter of fact. But still, I have been on a "binge" this week. I've been to the store twice and come home with plants. The first day I was suckered in by the "50% off bedding plants" sign in front of the greenhouse. These plants really look pretty healthy. They are from the greenhouse, after all. A few in the ground, a couple of pots. I was good. But the next day I

Wise Words

"Dare to write the imperfect page." I've been reading a lot of writing blogs and writing texts this week. My favorite right now is Spilling Ink: A Young Writer's Handbook    by Anne Mazer and Ellen Potter . I love this book. It really is written for kids who love to write, but I am finding it great for myself also (by the way, t he web site/blog is pretty awesome too!) As I am reading this morning and wondering what to blog about, I come across these words, "Dare to write the imperfect page." Hmm. How did they know that I agonize over each and every paragraph, sentence, word, comma, period...How did they know that I have unpublished drafts, heck, UNWRITTEN drafts, that I just don't think are worthy? Worthy of what?  My friends?  They don't judge. My blogging friends? They really don't judge.  Myself? There's the problem. I judge. "Dare to write the imperfect page." Maybe I need to reword the quote Dare

One Short Year

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Chloe went into be spayed on Monday. It was a lonely day. In one short year You grabbed ahold of our hearts And did not let go. How did we exist when you weren't here? Without you here I don't need to Hide my flip flops so you don't chew them up. I don't need to Keep the peanut butter and chocolate Off the counter So you can't eat them. Without you here I can leave the bathroom door open. I don't have to worry about What's in the garbage. Without you here I can go to the store without You wanting to go too. I can eat in the living room without You pouting and wanting some. Without you here there is No whining to play. No head in my lap. No puppy dog eyes. Without you here Who will welcome us home With wagging butt and Jumps of Joy? How did we exist without you?

A Brave New World?

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Ruth Ayers has inspired me. A few years ago, before the other five grandkids arrived,  I started a children's book for my granddaughter, Kaylee. It has sat on my laptop all this time. I open it up once in awhile, play with it a little and then close it up. In my recent Web 2.0 class, I worked on some different ways to illustrate it, but, again, closed it up. I've been following Ruth's new blog,  Ruth Ayers Writes . Today's post dealt with fear . Specifically, a character's fear, but this easily transfers to my own. What am I afraid of?  That the story won't be any good?  Rejection?  Being laughed at? So today, I start a new writer's notebook and dust off the story--plus a couple of others that have been running around in my brain.  And I will write... Will I share?  Only time will tell.

Only in Iowa

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photo © 2008 Horia Varlan | more info (via: Wylio ) Life at the lake is always interesting. You never know what you are going to see and yesterday was no exception! I headed into town to pick up a few things, music blaring and my mind going over the list of things I needed to remember, bag of dirt, chicken for lunch, mail a bill...   As I rounded the last curve I noticed two cows walking down the road ahead of me. I wondered what they needed from town! I slowed down and to my right I noticed a couple more loping down a path toward the highway. I stopped the car and watched 12-15 more walk out onto the highway! I began to slowly follow them as they traveled. Several times the lead cow started down into the ditch and I hoped I might get around them. Then I noticed a big truck coming down the road in the other lane. Well, this should be interesting I thought. Wonder what they will do now?   The cows were definitely taking up most of the highway, so the truck pulled over a bit onto t

PB and J

Peanut Butter Peanut Butter and Jelly The world's most perfect food combination Smooth and creamy When spread on warm toast When washed down with hot, black coffee Perfection A pool of melted butter Swirls into the peanut butter Which gently holds the jelly on top. Paired with hot chocolate The perfect Sunday night supper Soothing Made by Grandma A grandkid pleaser Satisfaction

Just Read

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" One third of high school graduates never read another book for the rest of their lives. Forty two percent of college graduates never read another book after college. Eighty percent of U.S. families did not buy or read a book last year."   Jenkins Group Our classroom library Yesterday I posted that quote and a link to a blog post entitled "Time to Get Angry About Reading"  on my Facebook page. It sparked a lot of response--mostly surprise by adult friends that people aren't reading ( I seem to surround myself with people who do read). But a former student posted that he probably won't read after his Freshman HONORS program because there are too many other things for him to do. Whatever reading he will do will be interesting things he finds on the internet.  YIKES! But I know what I think is the cause of the problem. We teach reading to death. We kill whatever spark there is in a student by analyzing and comparing and talking and writing and l

The Grouchy Dwarf

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I have a pouty dog this morning.  You see, I won't let her wake up the kids to play.  It's 6:30am.  I don't want the grandkids up yet--truth be told, I don't want Chloe up yet. I don't want to be up yet! But, up we are. By 7:00, T is up...the grouchy one. And always the first kid to get up at the lake. I make him lay down for awhile longer, but soon, he comes out asking for breakfast.  And thus begins the morning conversations that I love. One of T's favorite things to do is look at all the pictures sitting out of last summer. Lately, he has noticed that he looks grouchy in all the pictures we have of him at the lake. It's not that I don't try to get pictures of him smiling, but last summer, he hated having his picture taken, so he is definitely in a snit in most of them.  For example. here is one taken at his uncle's wedding. T points this one out a lot. I don't even remember what was making him grouchy, but I couldn't resist taking t

New Roles for Teachers and Students

My Web 2.0 class has been discussing how technology has been changing the way we teach. It is fostering great discussions.   I have felt for a long time that the teacher’s role in the classroom should be to get out of the way. Although that is easier said than done. The first time students went to another student for help with poetry, I thought to myself, "What am I? Chopped Liver?"  And I am a teacher who loves independent learners. I believe teachers should be a guide in students’ learning path, not the driving force. Teachers should be someone to help them navigate their way through problems. Most importantly, teachers should allow students to fail at times.  The greatest inventions came from failure.  Many of our students only look at how many they get right, not how they arrived at the solution. I know in my own learning, those things I learned on my own (making web sites, for example) I felt a great deal of pride and satisfaction in, even if everything wasn’t perfect.

I Cannot Write Today...

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photo © 2010 Julie Jordan Scott | more info (via: Wylio ) I cannot write today, Chloe is begging and begging to play. The cat won't eat, My husband didn't sleep, I cannot write today. My pen exploded, the internet's down, there's laundry to do and flowers to water. I cannot write today. There's a fly in the room, It's raining outside, I really need to vacuum And dust bunnies are taking over. I cannot write today. No one reads it anyways, and I have nothing important to say. Who wants to read about a silly fluffy dog or the grandkids latest conversation. I cannot write today. But here's the real excuse-- I have too much to say. Too many jumbled thoughts Trying to escape through my fingers. I need to let them slip One By One Onto my paper. I need to write today.

Web 2.0 Day 1

I'm taking a Web 2.0 class this week. Eight hours a day for four days. After one day, it's kicking my butt. My mind is spinning like a top, and I love it.  Really, when I signed up to take the class, I thought it might be a "throw-away" class. You know, the ones you take that are incredibly easy, don't require much brain power, but get you those credits to renew your license.  I should have known better, though, considering who is teaching the class! The class is a nice mix of grade levels, abilities, ages, experience teaching and reasons for taking the class ("I need the credit so I can renew my license for the last time" received applause!). It is full of ideas and resources needed to teach students in the 21st century. And full of questions. And full of problems. Some questions and problems we won't be able to solve, but they make for great discussions. A question/problem posed by an elementary teacher today was how do we justify using these t

Gramma

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Hear that? No? You don't hear anything? It's silence. No more, Gramma, I'm hungry. Gramma, can I have some cereal? Gramma, can we go to the swings? and Gramma, can we play on the beach?" Echo In the summer breeze. Reflections of Six little heads with Great big smiles Appear in the waves lapping onto shore. Gramma... What? I love you.

Lake Life, Chloe Style

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Life is tough for a lake dog.  There is a lot to accomplish every day--sometimes, 24  hours just isn't enough time in the day! The day starts as soon as the sun really begins shining through the bedroom window. Usually about 6:00AM.  First job of the day is to be the alarm clock, since no such thing exists at the lake.  Really, sleep in??? You're wasting the best part of the day. Once she is up, it's time to go outside. She says it is to go to the bathroom, but it is really the perfect time to finish digging that hole in the front yard.  Someone keeps filling the hole in, so it is a never-ending job. Once we have had our coffee and written the blog post, it is time for our walk. Really, I think she would read forever if I didn't make her go every day. Geez!  There is always a lot of things happening on these walks. I have to be very watchful and protective in this unfamiliar territory. I stick very close to her because you never know what might jump out from the bus

Summer Morning

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Sitting at supper with a group of friends last night, one turned to me and said, "So, Mrs. Day, what are you going to do tomorrow?" I didn't have an answer or a plan. The possibilities of a summer day in June are endless. I sit here gazing at the lake, drinking coffee with Chloe at my feet and think, "What to do, what to do?" I could finish organizing the closets and cupboards in the trailer--goodness knows I need to get that finished. I could blow up the water toys and see what holds air and what doesn't. Grandkids are coming this week, so it also needs to be done. I could finish my book,          do some laundry,                 walk Chloe,                        go swimming,                               golf ...or, I could sit here and stare at the lake. I think I'll go get another cup of coffee.

A Sweet Awakening

The light begins creeping through the window much too early most mornings. As I turn over, a puppy kiss and a cold wet nose poke me awake. Much too early on a summer morning at the lake. I pat the bed and up she jumps. It's really all Chloe wants--to be able to get in bed with me and sleep in comfort a little bit longer.  Thus, begins our day. A half an hour or so later, we are up. Well, I try. First, I have to convince Chloe it is time to get up. She turns her head and looks at me--a questioning look in her eyes, "Are you sure?" "Move, Chloe." A thump of the tail... "Chloe, down."  Oops, wrong command. She lays her head down and looks at me. "I'm already down" she seems to say. "Chloe, off."  Right command, ignored by the fluff ball at my feet. I give her a little push to the edge of the bed and she finally begins her scootch off the bed.  First the front paws, oh, so slowly. Then come the back paws, one at a time.

The Month of May

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Whew--May was a busy month! 1. Began the countdown to the end of the year!  WooHoo! 2. Cleaned out file cabinets and cupboards in my classroom--now if I could just get motivated to do it at home! 3. Moved into the new trailer at the lake. 4. Spent every weekend at the lake. 5. Golfed twice. 6. Fished--well, I helped. 7. Celebrated grandson's 4th birthday 8. Cancer Survivor/Memory walk at school 9. Won 1/9th of a $500 jackpot at the casino 10. Continued the school countdown 11. Listened to the hopes and dreams of sophomores in their "graduation" speeches. 12. Celebrated with those who got their jobs back. 13. Commiserated with those who didn't. 14. Cried when my principal resigned. 15. Ran the heater at the lake, then the air conditioner, then the heater again. 16. Went to oldest son's for dinner and time with grandkids. 17. Watched grandkids swim in the lake. 18. Had lots of "rocking grandbabies" time. 19. Urged several students to &