Showing posts from 2013


Here I sit in the airport terminal, finally getting ready to board a plane to take us on a trip we've been planning for a very long time. It didn't seem real. Not when we packed and checked our lists a million and one times.  Not when we dropped Chloe off at our son's home. Not even yesterday as we drove down to the motel where we stayed for the night. I'm not sure it's real now. Maybe when I get that lei around my neck.... So this week I'm celebrating      A much needed break from school and life as I know it      No grading      No snow ( a winter storm is heading to Iowa tonight)      I am also celebrating 30 years of marriage to a great guy. It doesn't get better than that.

'Twas the Last Week of the Semester

I actually started this piece on Saturday and had planned it for my Celebration link up. But, as often happens, life gets in the way. So, instead, I share this as my Slice of Life for this week. With apologies to Mr. Moore…. 'Twas the last week of the semester and all through the school Not a lesson was working, not even the cool; The artwork was hung in the hallways with care, Knowing that students soon would see theirs. The children were working on projects with dread While visions of presenting  danced in their heads;  Counselors in their office and principals too Had just settle in for a long week's to do, When down by my room there arose such a clatter, They ran to my room to see what was the matter. Away to the hallway they flew like a flash, Slid around the corner and ran into the trash. The light in my room shone on the desks brand new Gave the luster of working and much stuff to do When what to my wondering ears should I hear But kids in the h

Of Panda Whales and Zebra Bears

3 hour early out day. 20 minute classes. Weird conversations.   Today’s conversation between two of my boys revolves around the movie “Free Willy”. They are talking quietly in their corner. Eventually, they bring me into the conversation. STUDENT 1: Mrs. Day, was Willy confined? Think the title “Free Willy” ME: Yes, STUDENT 2: See, I told you ME: ( continuing ) he was confined and they worked to free him. STUDENT 1: No. He was free…. I continue working. Other students are typing. They continue talking. STUDENT 2: ( has googled “Free Willy” to prove his point. He shows his computer to the other student )   See, I told you. STUDENT 1: Nope, right there says he is free. ME: Actually, I think he’s dead. STUDENT 1: Yea, that means he’s free. STUDENT 2: What kind of whale was he? Like a Panda whale? You know, black and white. ME: (took me a minute )   Yes, we call those killer whales STUDENT 1: (to the other boy) Have you ever seen a

Chloe Writes: Dogboys Have Cooties

Dogboys have cooties. You know that, right? They're loud       They never settle down               And they're down right NOSY What good are they anyway? Dogboys. Ugh... I was so excited to go to my BFF Bella's house last weekend. I would get to spend time with Bella, play with the kids, maybe get a few little snacks from Max :) Battle for the pop tart I raced to the door as soon as we pulled in their driveway. Of course, it took Mom forever to get to the door. Couldn't she just let me in the house and THEN unpack the car? Or just let Dad unpack. Geez. Finally, I ran in the house and stopped dead in my tracks. There was another dog there. A dogboy. Now I love my peopleboys. They like to cuddle and play fetch and run. Sometimes they even share food with me (but only when Mom and Dad aren't watching). But dogboys are gross (well, except for Teddy, my other BFF. But he's family, like Bella, so he doesn't count). Dogboys never leave you a

Celebrate VIII

My friend Ruth has started this Saturday celebration. I find that I am constantly on the lookout for those little bits of JOY that fill my day. If you want to know about this celebration,  check out the page    Ruth created on her blog. #Nerdlution If you haven't succumbed to Twitter pressure and join the nerdlution movement or you really don't know what it is, you should check out this post by Chris Lehman  It explains everything pretty well :) I'm glad I hopped on this bandwagon because it has me working to get back to things that make me happy Writing I've been writing more this week. Rewrote some new lesson plans. Writing out a new curriculum for some kids who have asked to do an independent study with me (Creative Writing 2!) I'm excited for this opportunity. But I've also been writing some fun things for me. I write along with my students, trying my hand at the daily prompts. Scribbling little snippets of things in my notebook. Also wr

There's Something About Wednesdays...

I don't know what it is, but there's just something about Wednesdays. It's the day of the week I am the most tired, both mentally and physically. I just can't get motivated. And yesterday, a two hour late start didn't help the situation. An extra cup of coffee, snuggling a little longer with Chloe, fog that stayed around all day, all contributed to the tiredness  laziness. Even my kids felt it yesterday. "Can we just read all hour, Mrs. Day?  You know it's the perfect day for it." So, of course we did. Because it was the perfect day for finding a comfy spot and settling in. What did this mean for my #nerdlution?  Welllllllllll........ I didn't walk as much as I should. I didn't write. I thought about it. Does that count as prewriting? Did I fail. No. I also promised myself when I committed to this I would be kind to myself. That I wouldn't let this consume me. So, I just jump back into it today. But do I feel guilty?  Jus

For the Girls

I write about boys in my room a lot. Especially those SSB's . I think it's because I'm the mom of two boys and grandma to four more. But, I do love those girls. When our first grandchild was born, I couldn't wait to buy everything in pink. I envisioned Barbie dolls and baby dolls, dress up clothes and dance costumes.  I couldn't wait for the giggles and hair ribbons, tea parties and shopping. And I got all that. And then I started teaching high school. I see too many girls who sit back and giggle and think it's cute to be stupid (Y es. I know that's not a nice word. But no other word will do. Really. You should see some really smart girls be dumb just so a boy will like them). I see girls who screech and giggle over a bug or pretend they are grossed out when it comes to dissection in Biology. Then they let the big, strong cute boy do all the work. Arrrrrggggghhhhhhh. And then I read Ruth's post about one of her daughters . I loved it! I lov


One of the best things about Twitter is listening to  following other people's conversations. And the other night, a good one began And you know what happens when a conversation like this gets going? A #nerdlution ! Basically, you are supposed to decide to create a habit---read more, write more, exercise more, something more--for fifty days. Katherine had a blog post up the next day , as did others. I knew I would do it immediately. Who doesn't need a good challenge? The only thing that has kept me committing is deciding exactly what I would do. Colby Sharp is writing every day, Chris Lehman is doing push-ups. Michelle over at  One Grateful Teacher  is working on reading and writing and walking! Crazy woman:) I admit, at first I thought like Michelle. I would do it all. And then I woke up.  Truth is, I'll be leaving for Hawaii in 20 days. It's the end of the semester, the beginning of a new one, rehearsals and speech contests. I need to be realisti

Celebrate VII

My friend Ruth has started this Saturday celebration. I find that I am constantly on the lookout for those little bits of JOY that fill my day. If you want to know about this celebration,  check out the page    Ruth created on her blog. 1. Unexpected Time Sunday night I checked Twitter before going to bed. Our superintendent tweeted this: An email from my principal let me know that, while staff had to report to school in the morning, we would not have students. A little tingle of excitement went through me. A day at school with no kids? Would we just "get to work"? Heaven knows I had plenty to do! And Monday morning, that's exactly what happened. While we had to be at school, there were no kids, meetings or busy work. How many teachers could use a day to just get caught up? I was a machine. Everything on my to-do list was completed by 4:15. I went home with NOTHING TO DO :)  (only a teacher would appreciate that statement). Now granted, it onl

Choosing JOY

Today seems like the day to reflect on my OLW: JOY.  I have chosen all year to focus on the little things in life that bring me JOY. Grandkid giggles, Chloe and her silliness, lightbulb moments in my students' lives, friends, family, life. But, this is nothing new to me. I've tried to do this for many years. Was it easy? Nope. Was my life perfect? Nope. But you have to choose to be happy. When I chose to be a 23-year-old single mom, I knew it would be hard (granted, I didn't know how hard), but I found those people who supported me and loved me. I focused on a baby who needed me to give him a good life. But, wow. There was no money. There were times I wondered if I could handle it all. I could have sat back and chose helplessness and bitterness. And then, the love of family and friends would show me I had a lot to be happy about, things to celebrate. JOY. So, I worked jobs for little money, subbed when I could, made do with what I had. Christmas's looked

The Quiet of the Morning

I have first hour prep this year and, at first, I didn't think I would like it. But I've come to appreciate this start to my day. No bell signals Students move by instinct  to where they need to go The hum of the furnace  in the background as I drink coffee  and plan my day. They enter quietly. "Can I work in your comfy chairs?" "Sure. thanks for asking." Another enters. "Morning, Mrs. Day. I've changed my story again." "What are you writing about now?" We conference. She works. I work. The hum of the furnace and the clicking of keys accompany  the quiet of my morning.

Celebrate VI: A Week of Professional JOY

My friend Ruth has started this Saturday celebration. I find that I am constantly on the lookout for those little bits of JOY that fill my day. If you want to know about this celebration,  check out the page  Ruth created on her blog. Professional Learning Tuesday I spent in Des Moines with not only staff from my district, but teams from 9 other districts in Iowa learning about Competency Based Education . All ten teams were awarded a grant to study and develop competencies for the state of Iowa.. It's a one year commitment, with no mandate to implement. It's really a group that will study and learn together. Some of the teams have actually begun CBE in their districts. Others, like ours are just in the investigating stages. I'm looking forward to this learning. I've always wanted learning to be more concrete. For learning to wrap around students' passions. CBE will hopefully fulfill those wants! Professional Development Wednesday was an inservice day

Celebrate: Week 5

So loving that Ruth has started this Saturday celebration. I find that I am constantly on the lookout for those little bits of JOY that fill my day. If you want to know about this celebration, check out the page Ruth created on her blog. 1. SPEECH HAS STARTED!   Since the first day of school, kids have asked, "When's speech start?" I almost should start a count down calendar :)  But this week, I started improv practices. It's good to be back. We all have a blast and laugh all the time. We are so loud some nights that others come down to check out what's going on.  I love these kids. 2. STUDENT VOICES I participated in a great chat Tuesday run by high school and college students. I was so inspired by what young people are capable of. 3. SHOPPING   Hubby and I are on our way to do a little shopping. Some for Christmas, but mostly for Hawaii!  Only 35 days! Hope you all had an amazingly joyful week!


#stuvoice is a movement and a chat I've been lurking around for awhile now. The hashtag began in the last year and is gaining momentum. Monday night, an Iowa student (not one of mine. I haven't met Jack--yet) who was co-moderating invited me to join in. So, of course, I did (you know how mucu I love Twitter chats!).  Jack and Ian are both Iowa students from different parts of the state. They join in ed chats, attend edcamps, and share their voices through blogs that they write on their own time. How cool is that? I have followed both of them for a few months and find that they challenge my thinking at times and I love that. Together, they organized the Iowa Student Learning Institute  that took place last month (I swear, I'm getting a group together to go next year). Zak and Clement are college students. I think it was Zak who started the #stuvoice movement, but Clement has joined the cause as the "Director of Community Engagement" (I love that title)

Three Books

Oscar Wilde, an Irish writer and poet , supposedly once said, "Books, I fancy, may be conveniently divided into three classes: 1. Books to read 2. Books to reread 3. Books not to read at all."   Make your own list. Add a few books to each category and explain your thinking. Requirements for this post: 150 word minimum two books for each category an explanation for each book why it belongs in that category picture(s) Spell-check, edited I asked my freshmen to write the above post for their blog this week. I thought it only fair that I write it also. I think it will be harder for me to narrow down my choices than it will be for my ninth graders :) Books to Read: This is my longest list because I have so many books on my TBR list. Here are the two that I think right now top the list: I have a huge author crush on Maggie Stiefvater. I just love the way she writes. While this book is sitting on my desk, I haven't started it yet because


Like this idea? Head over to  Ruth's blog  and read some more. Better yet, share your own celebrations there, or on  Facebook  or tweet it out using the hashtag #celebrationlu  No matter what, celebrate what you do! Good conferences with parents tops the list this week. Yes, there are such things.  In high school, parents don't always feel the need to come to conferences, although we have an online scheduler that allows them to create their own schedule at the times that are convenient for them. Still, we don't get all of them  ( like maybe a fourth of them) . But the ones we do get are interested in their child's education and it usually shows in the child. I even had a couple say to me "She's kind of a perfectionist. It's good for her to struggle once in awhile." I found that so refreshing ( Who are we kidding? I was jumping up and down with JOY) . So many parents are only after the "A" and they forget about the learning.


I taught junior high for 15 years. I was young, a new teacher, and full of enthusiasm. If there was a committee, I joined it. If it needed to be done, I did it. When I transferred to the high school, I quit doing anything. I was burnt out. Tired of being the go to girl. A big part of not wanting to be involved was feeling like I was involved in a dog and pony show. No one really took what I thought seriously. I was just a teacher, after all. Three years with my current principal has convinced me to throw my hat back in the ring. This year I volunteered to be on the 7-12 Academic Building Leadership Team (BLT). Tonight, my principal just made me smile and wish I had many more years to teach. We've been talking about the classes we offer, whether they have to be leveled by grade or if we could open many of them up and let kids take them when they want. It was brought up that some areas need to be leveled. There are just some classes you need to take before others. We all agre

Family JOY

Celebrate your world this week at It's a great place to share all those little moments of JOY that happen during the week. It's been a crazy world this week, but there were plenty moments of JOY finding their way into my world and most of it revolved around family. 1. Last week both of our sons and their families came for the weekend. Everyone being together is one of my biggest JOYs. There were so many little moments.... Just like old times, the boys had to play a little basketball. It wasn't long before their kids joined in the fun. Even Grandpa got in the act at one point! It was a Pinterest weekend, so my daughter-in-law brought things the kids could do too. They made bats and wrote little skits to perform. After that was cookie baking time. Everyone got to help with that (really, my daughter-in-law should be an elementary school teacher--patience of a saint!) Found a little time to go to the park a couple block