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Showing posts from 2014

Nesting....

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"Are you nesting?" @Artteach13 asked when she came into my room. "Yep. I guess I am," I replied as I looked over desks full of piles of papers and a full recycling bin. I have been out of sorts for days, it seemed. I couldn't concentrate. Wasn't getting things done. Lessons weren't going right. Home was feeling the same way. I wasn't comfortable in my own home. So what do I do when I feel out of sorts and not myself? I PURGE and ORGANIZE. I don't know what it is, but sometimes life and piles of papers and clutter and boxes and...well, you get the idea... Things  Life. Relationships. Jobs, get out of control. I don't feel like I can share with people So today I am celebrating putting life back in order. Getting rid of the clutter, the unimportant, the "been there, don't want to go back". And as I purge and organize, I create a balance. Just what/who is important to me?  Focus on that. Just focus on that....

Celebrating the Best Monday Ever...

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And the rest of the week wasn't so bad, either.... Celebrate with us! I was out of the classroom both Thursday and Friday last week. And you know how it goes when you are gone for a couple of days. Kids can think the rules  expectations are gone too. So I was a little apprehensive heading to school Monday morning. Imagine my glee when I read the note from my sub telling me how he liked my room and how kids handle the freedom.  What a great way to start a Monday.  It proved that kids can be independent learners. That they can handle the freedom my room allows, even when I'm not there. Did all of them get lots of work done? Nope. But most of them did. Some of them watched videos on their computers and spent a lot of time on Facebook. They talked and messed around JUST LIKE THEY DO WHEN I AM THERE. But they know when the work is due and will have to get it done on their own time.  Then, second hour Monday, at the beginning of Creative Writing, a senior gir

Sometimes...

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Sometimes, in the middle of life there isn't time to  WRITE about the celebration because you are  too busy  LIVING it. You are sharing a  FIRST BIG GAME  with grandkids Sometimes You put your money where your mouth is  and take students on a trip you hope will GIVE THEM VOICE And  Sometimes in the midst of grading chaos and messy houses and the rest of the "I should be doings" You take a weekend  to RELAX to REFUEL to REINVIGORATE yourself Because, even though  there are lots and lots of  "I should be doings" Life is meant to be  ENJOYED and CELEBRATED

Nov 5: My Strength. My Kids.

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I am a yeller. I get after kids daily. I tell them, "I treat each and every one of you like you are my own kids. It's when I stop yelling you have to worry."   What do I "yell" about? Homework. Being mean to classmates. Not caring. Homework. Watching movies in class. Texting. No effort. Homework.   And I yell at kids I really like. Like they were my own kids.  Because they are. My. Kids. And they know it. Because I also tell them that. "You. Are. My. Kid. They call me mom. They tell me they are sorry when they screw up. They don't like it when I'm mad at them. What they don't know is the nights I go home and cry because I think I've failed them. Or the days I say to my principal, "I've never had a kid I couldn't reach. I don't know what to do with this one." They don't know how I worry on Prom Night. They don't know that even after they leave me and go to college or go to work, they are still MY K

Nov 4: The Best Gift

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At first, I knew exactly what I was going to write about. Adam's podium or maybe, the random Christmas ornaments or maybe the pieces of chocolate that kids bring me. It could be notes from parents. But no. It's this To know that they get it. To see them share themselves and our room so openly. To remember where they came from and see where they are now. That is the best gift.

Nov 3 You Can Teach An Old Dog New Tricks

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I am an old teacher. 57 on my last birthday. And I'm pretty proud that I have kept up with all the changes I have seen in my teaching career. Not just kept up but kept ahead of them. I have never uttered the words, "We've done this before." Or "The last time we did this..." Well, OK, maybe I've said it once or twice. We've gone through a lot of curriculum management systems. My students are amazed that I stay pretty current on the latest fads/games/music/etc. I taught junior high for 15 years before coming to the high school I'm older than some of their parents I've had some of their parents, aunts and uncles in class I have a smart phone I have a snapchat and Instagram account I'm better at Twitter than they are I'm "techy" and, again, better at it than many of them I think what amazes them is that because I am so old, I shouldn't know the things I do. I should be content to teach the sa

Celebrating Teaching

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I've been celebrating teaching and JOY in my life for a couple of years now. Concentrating on the good things in my life has changed my attitude in many ways.  I shared out Friday Favorites for awhile, and then Ruth started this lovely little community of celebration .  How much fun is it to spend a few moments with others and celebrating those little moments (and sometimes some big ones!). So this month, I've decided to join a month long "Attitude of Gratitude" blogging challenge . I love that they have questions for every day of the challenge. I looked them over and already have some great ideas for writing (always a good thing!). And on the plus side, it fits right in with Celebration Saturdays and my OLW: A L O H A Because yesterday my husband and I celebrated our youngest son's birthday with him at a Hawkeye football game, I'm going to combine two days in one. I think they go well together.... Nov 1 What are the best aspects of being a tea

Mouse Story on a Foggy Day

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Our house was built in the late 1800's. It's an old farmhouse, now sitting in the middle of town. Nothing fancy, just old. And with old comes lots of little places in the foundation where those cute creepy,gross  little mice get in. Since our cat died several years ago, mice have been a problem in the fall ( and sometimes in the winter ). Chloe has never been a mouser. Squirrels. Rabbits. Cats. Anything outside she can chase is fair game (she caught the foot of a rabbit the other day). But mice?  Nope. I think she just watches them run across the kitchen floor, if she sees them at all. And because of Chloe, the non-mousing dog, we have to rely on non-poisonous means to get rid of mice. Our brother-in-law, an exterminator, gave us a type of trap last year but we can't remember how to set it. So glue traps it is. Now, we seem to have very smart mice. They avoided the glue traps easily. Would go right around it, them--or maybe over them...  Obsessively   Diligent

5 Pics/1 Story: A Collaborative Effort

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You know me and Twitter.  I love it. Follow great people. Try new ideas I find there. That's what this post is about. It's full of links, so I hope you have the patience to check them out! Two Iowa educators, Erin Olson and Leslie Pralle Keehn , who now work for one of the education agencies in our state, have started a Connecting Creativity Series . I'll let you check it out. There is a new activity every month, and I use these as a way to connect my students to students in other parts of the state. This month's "assignment" is a 5 Photo Story . This one excited me because my Creative Writing students and I already do this in collaboration with our art teacher and her digital camera class.  This post will share how we go about creating this activity and even meet some common core standards ! STEP 1A (and beyond. Will try to have her write about what she does in class) @Artteach13 talks with her students about telling stories with pictures. They need

Celebrate

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Sometimes, when I sit at the computer and get ready to write my celebrations, it's hard to think of what to write. Either I have too many Or I don't feel anything is worthy. And sometimes, I let dumb things block the celebrations. This is one of those weeks. But as I sit here, snuggled in a blanket, schoolwork spread around me, coffee in hand, waiting for the football game to start, lots of celebrations come flooding into my head Our IT department. I can't imagine how hard their job is. 2 people and LOTS of devices. We are a 1 to 1 district. Every student in kindergarten through 12th grade have a device of some kind. Keeping everyone up and running is a tough job. I have an amazing principal. Even when I don't handle things in the best way, he's got my back. He has totally changed the culture at our high school by being a role model and leader. I am so blessed to work with him. I'm home. You all know I LOVE the lake, our friends there, the pea

Forgetting Aloha: Anger

I could feel it welling up Anger Tears (Damn it all. Why do I cry when I'm angry?) A semi-unprofessional email for which I will apologize tomorrow But it got the job done Why does it have to go this far Why do I have to get angry Why do I have to ask three times for Something Which should have been done a month ago Tired of being part of the Red-Headed step-child building (I apologize for those I've offended with that remark) Even now hours later I'm still angry I had to take it this far

Celebrating Student Voice

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After two days of state testing in Language, I explained to my #Crazy8s (8th graders taking 9th grade English) that we would be starting a personal narrative unit. They moaned. LOUDLY. At 13 they are sick and tired of personal narratives. I get it, but now what? I know they are right. It's the go-to writing piece for everyone. I hate being lazy. My excuse is that I wanted to plan a new unit for them and doing something familiar would make that easier for me. Shame on me. Truth is. These are REALLY smart kids. Smarter than most I've had in advanced classes before and I'm struggling to challenge them, yet keep things fun. So this weekend, our last at the lake, I am scrambling for new ideas.  (Any ideas appreciated) But I'm still celebrating. The fact that 13 year olds speak up and let me know this is not an engaging lesson is GOOD. It's their education. They should speak up. So I'll keep thinking. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I Forgot

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So caught up in the teaching of genres,       in the teaching of the how and why and what I forgot to make writing fun. But they reminded me today That everything doesn't have to be       perfect         or polished           or even finished. They reminded me of how important sharing is       Even if it's just a silly little piece         or one great line           or a title that says it all.    . I forgot       the hook         the engagement           the fun. But they reminded me.

Celebrate

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This past week was Homecoming week in our district.  A week not only celebrated at our high school, but with our elementary and junior high as well. It is a crazy week of dressing up, selfie contests and and anticipation. For some it is easy to see negative behaviors and wasted class time, but for most of us, IT IS FUN. Three little words that are so powerful.   I love you.  I've been saying them a lot this week--to students.  And I've been hearing those words a lot this week--from students. Kids drop in to talk, " Love you , Mrs. Day." " Love you , too" As I thought about it one night this week, it just made me smile.  Today, as I was looking through my quote board on Pinterest, I found this: My students and I are creating quite the little community. We have a few "family" members who need to shape up, but most of us are taking care of each other in the classroom.  We're not perfect. Sometimes we lose our patience with oth

Celebrate: Letting It Go

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Take a moment out of your day and CELEBRATE with us at Ruth Ayers Writes. It's a great place to share! Last weekend, instead of heading to the lake, my husband and I headed to small town a few miles from my hometown. For the first time since I was in elementary school (well, at least the first one I could get to since then) my mom's family had a family reunion. All of her living siblings and their kids showed up (well, the ones who live in state. We missed the California cousins.) .  It was amazing. It was fun. It brought me back to who I am and where I'm from. It was the first, but it won't be the last. The first two of four generations gathering together ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Every semester in Drama, the first assignment is "Don't Be Boring". Kids can do anything they want in class and there is only one requirement...Don't Be Boring.  They are scared, nervous, and swear this is the worst assi

The Blame Game

It seems so easy for some to put the total blame for a student's failure squarely on the shoulders of the student.  And, sometimes, that's exactly where the blame should be. But most times, there is plenty of blame to go around. And sometimes, we need to start with the teacher. Back when I was in seventh grade (and I rode a dinosaur to school), I was required to take Home Economics--one semester of sewing, one semester of cooking (only girls, no boys). I can remember being so excited to take these classes.  Especially sewing. No one in my family sewed and I thought it would be cool to learn. Oh, I could thread a needle, I made lots of embroidered dish towels. But this class would get us at a sewing machine. We were going to sew our own clothes! I soon hated going to class. You see, the teacher stood in front of the class, told us what to do and then stepped back. If she helped anyone, it was the girls who already knew a little of what they were doing. Girls who had pe

Celebrating Students

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118 students. 5 preps. This has been the smoothest, happiest start to a school year I can remember. I think I've said that before. But I come home every day loving my students more than I did the day before. It helps I've had most of them in class before. We all know what to expect. They know I expect them to work hard, to think hard, to take charge. I know that they are kids and that won't always happen. We adjust. And when you love them, they love you back. And how can your day not be better when you receive all that love? It's not that there aren't negative things going on. There are. Some personal. Some professional. Some both. I'm choosing to ignore the negative. Choosing to focus on my kids and the community we are creating.  It's a safe, comfortable place. A place where kids can come and honestly say, "I don't get it." And no one will ridicule them. Or tell them to read it again. Or ignore them. We are reading Fahren

Celebrate #Hashtags

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Join the celebration over at Ruth's  blog. You'll be glad you did! Here I sit on Saturday morning, doing exactly what I dreamed about all week... drinking more that one cup of coffee watching The Today Show snuggled in a blanket on a chilly Iowa morning writing about celebrating my week And this was one amazing wonderful week. I don't really know why the start of this school year has gone so smoothly, why I'm enjoying the start of this year more than years past, but I am. Seems like I am celebrating daily! My favorite celebrations came in hashtags this week... #CWFierce I try to come up with hashtags for each class. As I tweet out what we are doing in class, I have a hashtag we can use. It's mostly for our class, but parents catch on and so do other teachers.  #CWFierce is the hashtag we came up with for Creative Writing. It's been quite active this week as we wrote 6 Word Memoirs and Twitter Memoirs this week in preparation for Ex

Celebrate! A New School Year!

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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.  This was my tweet at the end of the day on Thursday.  It was an amazing day. I had so much fun with kids. Since I am now teaching mostly upper classmen, I know almost everyone who comes to class. I didn't have to spend a lot of time learning names, so we could get right down to the business at hand. I started off each class with a seating arrangement activity (we'll do this for the first five days of school).  I don't usually have seating charts in my classes, but I want to make sure that kids have a chance to interact with everyone in the class early on in the semester. They tend to get stuck in the same spots all semester!  High schoolers are definitely creatures of habit, so forcing them to sit with others, even fo

Celebrating Summer

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Although I haven't been writing much this summer, it doesn't mean I haven't been celebrating! This has been a summer of family and friends and not be quite so connected.  Many Saturdays have found us with a cabin full of grandkids.  Our oldest son and his family moved to the lakes area this summer, so now we are all close together. It's been a blast! And Chloe has become quite spoiled with all the attention and activity.  I'm afraid she will have kid withdrawal this winter. Another great thing to celebrate...quality time with my hubby. Now that he is semi-retired, he is spending a lot of time at the lake with me. We made an impromptu trip to South Dakota and Mount Rushmore, a place I had never been. We had a great trip and are already thinking of where we could go next year. This week I spent time with friends...golfing, shopping, lunch and just staring at sunsets, marveling at how lucky we are. I have been told more than once by one friend that