Saturday, January 24, 2015

Celebrating Speech and the Alumni

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I started a poem on the bus to contest today, thinking it would be my celebration. It was cozy and warm and full of love for my speech kids.

We had a great day. Good performances. Half of the groups are moving on to state competition.

Great day.

As always, I posted pictures on our Facebook page

When we first started the Facebook page, it was private and only the current students could join it. Once they graduated, I would delete them.

And then I quit that. I decided to leave graduates part of the group because, really, they are still part of us. They are our foundation. And I like that they will post comments supporting those who are still there even if they don't know who some of them are.

And tonight, as I was sitting here telling my husband what a great day we had and how much I love my speech kids. And how proud of them I am. And all the great moments we had. I received this Facebook message from an alumni

I cried. 

Honestly, as I write this, I still am.

Because as teachers, we always want to know that we made a difference. That we mattered. 

And this message from alumni proves that, somehow, I did. I mattered.

How can I not celebrate that?

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Wednesday Words.... Be Water

I have returned to these words over and over since I found them. I leave them up on my computer. I have them posted by my desk and the bulletin board at home. They speak to me of balance. They speak to me of the two sides of me. They calm and inspire me.

Be Water.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015



That's how I'm trying to start second semester.

In looking back at last semester, I feel like I rushed many things in my classes. I ran lessons according to the calendar and not according to my kids. I was so worried about getting though each unit, units that I knew so well, that I forgot it was the first time students were going through them.

And, of course, because we are 1:1, I forgot that some of my kids still need me to walk them through setting up their digital portfolios. Some are unsure of themselves when it comes to new websites and software. Even though I assure them they won't break anything, they need reassurance that they are doing things correctly, at least for awhile.


Last week's cold days helped me do that.

Before Christmas, I had two weeks to a month of lessons planned out for my kids. Some were tried and true. Some were tweaked. Some were brand-spanking new. And they were planned down to the minute (well, not really, but almost).

But you know what happens when you miss school. It messes up "the best laid plans".

And (thankfully) those cold days reminded me that just because I've got all these great lessons planned, I don't have to have this one done by Monday and the next one by the following Friday. And really. Does it matter if we do one less writing piece or one less speech?

Cold days also reminded me that I love time to sit and think about what I'm going to do next, and sometimes, my kids need that too.


Sunday, January 11, 2015

Celebrating Snow Days

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You'd think after Christmas break I wouldn't be thankful for a couple of snow days, but I am!  I realized after going to work on Monday, that I really didn't have any me time during break. I was either getting ready to go somewhere or getting ready for people to come here. I baked and cooked and wrapped and cleaned by way through break. In fact, the boys went home last Friday morning as I went to work.

I watched the weather with interest and anticipation Tuesday night. It was going to be cold. I mean REALLY cold. 30 to 40 degrees below zero wind chills COLD. Sure enough, we missed the day on Wednesday.

So did I do the relaxing me time activities I had imagined? Nope. I took down Christmas decorations. But it's OK. Things are organized!


I did take out time Wednesday for a little #snowdaychat with other members of my Iowa PLN. We chatted about 21st century snow days and how we could keep the learning going even when kids are at home.

It stayed REALLY cold and the wind was blowing and howling, which gave us blizzard conditions, so Thursday was another day at home. I decided it was going to be a day for me. And it was! I read Legend by Marie Lu, I putzed around the house, took a nap, and was generally lazy.

It was good to get back to school on Friday.

And this coming week looks good for full days of school. So, I'll celebrate that too!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015


Clearly, the mice are trying to gaslight me.

Each time it gets REALLY cold, they leave me their calling card.

Now the last time they showed up, was the day the boys and their families were coming to celebrate Christmas. On Tuesday, I open the towel drawer to grab a dish rag and there it is--the calling card. Now, if you have followed the mouse story, you know I want to throw each and every towel and dishrag out. But I don't. I take them to the laundry and wash them in HOT water and bleach. 

I go on with my chores.

I open the silverware drawer to grab a spoon.

Another calling card.

I wash all the silverware. I wrap it all in a plastic bag. I clean and disinfect EVERYTHING in the kitchen.

And honestly, I'm afraid to open any drawers.

Fast forward a couple of days. Everyone has left and finally, I can put out the traps again. Trying to be smarter than the mice, I put a dab of peanut butter in the middle of each trap. I put one in the towel drawer and one in the silverware drawer (I am positive I put one in the silverware drawer. Really. I am)

Sunday morning, as I read the paper, I heard a noise from the kitchen. A slight scrapping noise.
Cool  I think. Got a mouse.

I tell my husband, because as you all know, it says in our marriage contract that I do vomit, messy diapers, etc and he takes care of the creepy crawleys and dead things. This should qualify as both.

The mouse, of course, is still alive when he checks.

We leave it to die alone. 

Tuesday, I come home from school and, not thinking, pull open the silverware drawer. No glue trap. Great. We must have caught another one and Greg took care of them both. Now, being smarter than the mice, I am not going to put anything back in the drawer yet. I am going to put a couple more traps out. 

I open the towel drawer to put the trap in it.
GREG HAS NOT TAKEN CARE OF THE MOUSE IN THE DRAWER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So why is the other drawer empty?

I put a trap in it.

This morning, as I leave for school, I hear a mouse in the silverware drawer. It is obviously having a struggle with the trap. I leave a note for Greg to check the drawer.

I get home from rehearsal and, NO, I do not check the drawers.   

He calls. "I'm almost done at work," he says, "I'm going to run and grab more glue traps. By the way, there was no trap in the silverware drawer this morning."

I cannot find the words. "BBbbbuuuutttt. You should have heard it. I know there was one there. And I know I put a trap in there."

"Well, it wasn't there when I checked."

"Where the hell are those traps!!!!!!"

to be continued...

Saturday, January 3, 2015

ALOHA (Good-bye and Hello)

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I tried to live it, embrace it, keep it.
It was an amazing word. I hate to give it up (I probably will always to Live Aloha), but a new word keeps popping up in my life.

I don't like it. It doesn't have the emotional ties that Aloha did. It doesn't bring me JOY.

But it keeps nudging me.

It whispers in my ear.

It wakes me up at night.

I think my new word started coming after hounding me when my husband and I took Chloe and explored South Dakota this past summer. We had so much fun. We did what we wanted, when we wanted, where we wanted.

Then, we had a couple of fun weekends.  One in November with our Hawaii traveling companions and one the first weekend of December with lake friends. Great times with our favorite people.

And I kept thinking, we should do this more often. We could do this on long weekends during the school year. Or even normal weekends. Why don't we take off and explore more often? 

But I know why.

It's me.

There's always so much I need to work on for school. Papers to grade. Lessons to plan. Drafts to read and respond to.

And school was the same way. Get through that curriculum. On to the next speech, genre of writing, short story or book. Rehearsals. Rehearsals. Rehearsals. I seemed to forget the fun.

What was happening to me? I was even having trouble finding things to celebrate!

So, I did what I always do whenever I am discombobulated. I organized and purged. And wrote a post about it. I had conversations with others about school life and home life.

And my one little word showed up
Not as "sexy" as Aloha, but definitely what I need in my life right now.

I love this. Wish I knew who to credit.

3/17 I'm So Lucky

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