Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Learning Doesn't Have To Stop

Here's the best thing about being in a 1to1 environment

Learning Doesn't Have to Stop!
Take a minute.

Think about it.

No snow days. Or cold days. No heat days. Or fog days. (We've had them all!)

Start up the computer, send out a message, and class is in session.

Learning Doesn't Have to Stop!

In creative writing, all they need is on the website (or will be once I finish this post). With schoology and remind101,  it's easy to communicate with students.  

And then there is email.

Learning Doesn't Have to Stop!

For quite a bit of this day, I've been communicating with one of my senior Creative Writing 2 students. I read her blog posts and did a website check. She's doing an amazing job. A requirement of the class is that students blog three times a week. She is using weebly to house her work, but she was putting all posts on a standard page.

I emailed her that on weebly there is a blog page. I told her I would show her tomorrow how to set it up.

Here's her response

And so, we have communicated all day about her work. I read and commented online, I sent her templates to create magazine layouts for her informational piece, and we've discussed the drawbacks of the firewall on the student computers.

Learning Didn't Stop

Gotta love a snow day.....

A little something to brighten a cold winter day.....


Saturday, January 25, 2014

Practicing Aloha

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. 

The week of speech contest is always a bit frantic, and this week has been no exception. Weather has brought it's own special problems this January. Seems we've been out of school as much as we've been in school. Trying to keep things going is a challenge. I've been managing things pretty well, but today I kind of let the stress get to me. I hate that. I sometimes forgot to "Live Aloha"

So, celebrating the good things....

1. Here's to my former co-coach, who took over improv rehearsal Tuesday when an emergency dental procedure kept me from being able to go to rehearsal.

2. Here's to one of the bravest kids I know this year. A sophomore girl who didn't blink an eye when I asked if she could take over a part in our Reader's Theatre group on Saturday because someone else was academically ineligible. She took the script, highlighted her part, made sure she got the cuts we made. She came after school and practiced the scenes she was in like a pro.  My words to her after school, "No matter what happens tomorrow, it will have nothing to do with you. You stepped up and gave the rest of the kids a chance to perform. I'm really very grateful for that."  I hope she believes me.

3. And here's to the rest of the group, who rallied around her. Who told her not to worry, they'd take care of her. And they will. This same group, practiced on their own Wednesday when I was at a state meeting. 

4. Here's to the improv group who also lost a member (same kid). They took it in stride (although I hear they "beat" him with their choir folders when they saw him in that class). They tried it on their own and then decided they need another person. So they took one of alternates and worked a bit after school with him and promised more practice time tomorrow.

5. And the real celebration--my kids. My kids who go out for speech, not for the accolades, not for the ratings, but for the fun, camaraderie, and experience. 

Now that's something to celebrate.


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Black Tears

They call this "Black Tears".

In reality, it small amounts of oil still leaking from the Arizona years after she was sunk at Pearl Harbor.

I shouldn't have been surprised at the tears. Mine had been welling up all morning. Why should the Arizona not share her tears with us as we strolled above her?

You think you know. You think you are going to see a war memorial. You know you will see names and ships. You think you know.

I take lots of pictures, but above the Arizona, I just couldn't. It seemed wrong somehow. So I listened to the voices tell me about that day.

And I cried.

Visiting Pearl Harbor was a powerful experience. If you go, spend the $7.00 and take the audio tour. Listening to the story, hearing the voices of survivors, seeing the ship....I still can't wrap my head around it or share it. I don't have the words. 

But trust me, you should do it.....

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Time to Celebrate

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 yor own celebrations. So head  on over and see what everyone else is celebrating. Normally, I would give you a link to her site and the exact page, but I am writing this from my iPhone and haven't figured out how to do that yet from the blogger app:)

This week I'm celebrating...

My new iPhone 5c. It took along time to convinced my husband that a smartphone was worth the added expense and then that we needed two cell phones. It didn't take long for him to decide he liked all the iPhone could do, especially getting directions when we were a little lost or getting the road conditions while traveling. Right now he got himself a tracfone, but I have a feeling that by this time next year, he'll have his own iPhone. 

Celebration 2. The new blog that my school family and I have started. As part of our professional learning time, we have started a blog to reflect and share information on our flip class journey. Check it out if you would like over at flippingfamily. blogspot.com. We've written our intro posts and a couple of others, so things are getting started.

Celebration 3: We also got a nice write up from our district. I'll see if I can figure out how to link that later:). Let's see if I've got it now
 Woohoo. Except it doesn't link. Hmmmmm

Celebration 4: my creative writing 2 class is coming along. They have blogs up and running  we have connected with another small class accross the state, and the drafts of their first genre has been handed in. I think I will find lots of reading and writing joy as this group continues through the semester. 

Well, that about does it for this week. Hope you all found the fun and the joy in your week. Be sure to celebrate and share it with the world over at ruthayreswrites.blogspot.com


Tuesday, January 14, 2014

I Didn't Know I Wanted to Go.....

The thing is, I didn't know I wanted to go to Hawaii.

My grandpa used to tell us that everyone should go to Hawaii at least once in their lives. I thought that was sweet, but I didn't know I wanted to go.

When my sister-in-law and her husband called and asked if we wanted to go with them, I said yes. I was excited about it, but I didn't know I wanted to.

We planned and saved for two years. We had mid-winter get togethers with computers and books and recommendations from friends. But I still didn't know....

And then we landed.....

And suddenly, I knew I wanted to go to Hawaii.

I was so excited at the airport!  Did you know that just about everything in Hawaii is open air?  Even the airport? There might be roofs on buildings, but there are big open windows so you can feel the air as you walk....

Since we went through a travel agency, we were met at the airport by Curtis, our representative. He gave us our leis, took our picture, helped us with luggage and finding our shuttle. Note to self: always use a travel agency when booking a big trip. Even the ride to our hotel was magical. Everywhere we looked there were flowers and palm trees. And it was warm! Chilly to Hawaiians, though. Cool is relative.

We stayed at Outrigger on the Beach on Waikiki which was beautiful. They were all decked out in their holiday finest. It was hard to remember it was Christmas. The first night, we dumped our baggage in the room well, the bellmen did and we headed to get something to eat. It had been a long day and the breakfast Greg and I ate in snowy Des Moines was long gone.

Luckily, the hotel had two great restaurants to choose from. We chose the Hula Grill based on the fact we didn't have to wait an hour to get a table!  The first meal started a tradition--Mahi Mahi and Mai Tais. You can't get more Hawaiian than that!  I am not a fish eater--heck, I'm not a very adventurous eater. I tried many things in Hawaii that I would not have eaten at home.

We were only on Oahu for a couple of days, so we didn't expect this when we work up in the morning and headed out to the lanai for coffee  my favorite part of every day in Hawaii: coffee on the lanai. Sounds exotic, doesn't it?  WE COULD SEE THE OCEAN FROM THE LANAI!  I know, not a lot, but we were happy just to see a peek.....

My number 1 rule when traveling is DON'T DO THE TIMESHARE MEAL. Greg's rule is DO the timeshare meal. He won.  

But this was just supposed to be to let us know about activities on Oahu.

And it was....kind of....
       And the breakfast was free...and cold
But we did eat an orchid.... I felt like Euell Gibbons, former Grape Nuts spokesman, "Many parts are edible...."
And we did get our tickets for Pearl Harbor.....so worth it.....

to be continued
The view from 3/4 of the way up Diamondhead.  

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Celebrate XIII: Family, Food, And Back to School

Discover. Play. Build.

Ahhhh, it feels good to be back.....

This week, I am celebrating

1. Family.  We arrived back on the mainland on January 1. Our boys came for our family Christmas the night of the 3rd and stayed the weekend. I worked the 3rd. Good thing the Aloha spirit was with me. It got me through worrying about everything being perfect when they arrived. I put at the forefront that it was most important we were together and enjoying each other. On Saturday we had a Hawaiian Luau dinner: Kalua pork, Hawaiian baked beans, Mai Tais, but my potato salad, because some traditions can't be changed! We played games, enjoyed the kids and each other, and ate well!

2. Being back at school.  I missed my kids. Plain and simple. I couldn't wait and get back to see them and find out about their break. Some had tweeted me over break, but not nearly enough. And some of them needed to get back too. Gotta love this tweet:

3. Short Weeks: I know this sounds contradictory, but I was sooooo thankful for a "cold" day on Monday and a late start on Tuesday. As much as I missed my kids, I needed Monday to get things cleaned up from the weekend and to just sit!  By Friday, I was out of steam, but Mother Nature helped me out and sent some freezing rain. Not a lot, just enough for a two hour early out. I didn't waste that time. I went home and finished writing up my plans for my new class--

4. Creative Writing 2!  It started with one senior boy who needed another class in his schedule but found nothing he was interested in. "Wish you had another Creative Writing class, Mrs. Day." I have done Creative Writing 2 as an independent study before, so I thought, "Why not?" .  And then I got the idea that the whole course could be an multi-genre project. I jotted down ideas, expectations, etc and then---invited more kids to join it. Now there are five. All self-motivated writers. I can't wait to begin. This week they created their online portfolio and will be ready to start writing next week. I hope to share some of their writing as we move through the semester, so keep an eye out for them!

5. Hawaii.  I know I haven't shared much about our trip yet. I just can't seem to find the words. I've wrapped this vacation  experience life changing event (see, I don't even know what to call it)--I've wrapped it around me like a cocoon and am trying to keep living it. I'm sure the stories will come. It's just taking me a while to process.

In the meantime, 

Thursday, January 2, 2014

One Little Word


My OLW for 2013. It chose me in the midst of family Christmas chaos.
     Dogs were barking
       Kids were giggling
         Adults were cheering on favorite teams
And it all made me happy


I vowed to find little moments of JOY in every day.

And I did. And I shared them.  Sometimes as Friday Favorites. This year, when Ruth started her #celebrationlu on Saturdays, I began sharing there.

What I discovered was that because I looked for JOY it was everywhere. A wonderful thing to discover. And because I spent this past year looking for it, I'm sure I'll continue. JOY will continue to be a part of my life.
This year's OLW was alluding me.
But I trusted it would find me, just as JOY did.

And last week, as I basked in the sun on the island of Maui, it did just that.

Throughout our trip we remarked on the people of the islands....

  • their happiness with what they have
  • their willingness to go out of their way for you
  • the way they prioritize things
  • their pride in their state
When we drove the Road to Hana (the whole thing!), one of the guidebooks reminded us to keep our Aloha spirit while driving this road. It wasn't a place to hurry or be impatient. The CD reminded us to slow down, to not forget to put the camera down and enjoy the beauty around us.

When we first landed on the islands, Aloha was a word used to say hello and good-bye. But I gained so much from traveling there. It's the only vacation I didn't come home exhausted from, the only one where I had tears in my eyes as I had to leave. Hawaii left its mark on my heart. I needed to bring it home with me.

There's a spirit to Aloha that I think you have to find (kind of like looking for JOY). I think it means to appreciate what you have and share with others. It means to be content and in the now, not worrying about what you cannot change. 

And then I looked it up when I began writing this post. I found a great definition for Aloha and why it should be taught to kids! I really liked this section:

  • A, ala, watchful, alertness 
  • L, lokahi, working with unity 
  • O, oia'i'o, truthful honesty 
  • H, ha'aha'a, humility 
  • A, ahonui, patient perseverance

It seemed to say everything I had been looking for! Here was everything I discovered on the islands. It was the Hawaii I needed to bring home with me and make a part of my life. 


The word and the spirit I will bring to my life in 2014.

Want to know more about One Little Word? Check out Ali Edwards site. She's the one who got me started on this. You don't have to join the workshop, but she gives a great explanation of One Little Word!

3/17 I'm So Lucky

  I'm so lucky to have a birthday on St. Patrick's Day☘️ Everyone likes to celebrate my birthday (even if they don't like green ...