January 8, 2011
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I am so pleased with the efforts of one of my favorite students today. IM stayed to sing for the boys home game against Crystal City, and she did a wonderful job. She made a fantastic effort to dress up and even looked stunning in a bright blue with a necklace and just the right amount of eye shadow. But how adorable she looked today is not what impressed me.
IM is such an amazing young lady. She works hard, always wears a smile and keeps an absolutely positive attitude. She never has a cross thing to say and seems to be full of amazing stories and experiences. She shares with me so many positive experiences that I am genuinely jealous of how happy she is at that age. I think I was in limbo when I was in middle school.
At the beginning of this week, IM shared with me her results on the ACT test. She is only in 7th grade! She took the ACT test and scored 15. Wow! I am so happy for her. That may not be the most stunning grade a girl of her age has ever had, but I am impressed. I eked by on an 18 or a 20 when I was in my junior year of high school. Remember that thing about being in limbo? (Well anyway, I barely got into college. I think mom had to talk to the admissions counselor on my behalf. She probably poured her heart out. I am glad she did though.)
IM also stayed to take pictures of both teams. She took pictures of both teams as they played and though she was disappointed with the quality of the pictures she took, IM put her time in and made a fantastic effort. I appreciate that so much. I can't say how important that supportive effort is to a program like our yearbook. Without a class, and with so few really wanting to volunteer their time, IM demonstrated the commitment our publication program lacks. That is more than fantastic. It is amazing.
I woke up at 5:30 today ready for another exciting adventure in the classroom. Students are writing media summaries. We all read Barak Obama's Inaugural Address and I gave students the option of summarizing any of the Inaugural Address delivered by American Presidents. Anyway, just as I was getting my clothes out to shower and get dressed I tossed my breakfast. Yup. It started off as a bad day.
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Then I emailed my lesson plans to school. My wife took a hard copy with her in case there were any problems, but I hoped there wouldn't be. It turns out, there were. When I was typing my lesson plans, I forgot to "save" my final copy and I emailed the unsaved copy. I didn't find out until my wife arrived at school that they didn't get my finished copy. I promptly emailed the right copy, but I feel like a total idiot.
On top of that, my administrators are pressing me for completing a online test about basic computer skills. It was due by Friday. I thought I had it done, but Monday my principal told me it wasn't. Grrrr. I can't access the site at home because my Active X controls and Flash Player are dysfunctional. Grrrr. My CDRW Drive is on the fritz probably because of some stupid virus I picked up, and I can't back-up my files yet so I can't reboot and reinstall software. Grrrrr!
I am so dependent on my li'l computer but....Grrrr!
I discovered one of my postcrossing friends has a Live Journal Account. I read it. She is good. A great writer. I love it. The details, the suspense woven into her fiction. And her nonfiction has an exciting defiant attitude too. I love it. Great writing is always a remedy for bad times.
Well...since I am sick I better make the best of my day. Time to go try to eat something light. I hope it stays down. I really gotta visit this account more!
The downside is that we still have 6 weeks of school left. With 6 weeks still in the oven, the last part of this school year is really going to hurt. MAP Tests, Field Trips, and Assemblies, interrupted the school routine in late February and early March. Now it's going to be hard to convince students to calm down and return to the routine of learning.
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My class is easy. We have the stress of the routine of writing out of the way. Now all we have to do is go through the motions. I have already established the process well enough that we can all do it with our eyes closed. Kids know they have to prewrite, draft, proofread, edit, revise, share, and conference all before they can publish a piece. In fact, a majority are doing the process. There are still a few that refuse to accept the process. There always will be a few.
Tammy came to school last week too. She subbed in the library. That was fun! I think the kids steamrolled her a bit, but she will learn the rules. She didn't know the expectations we had of them, and the kids knew she didn't so, they got away with stuff. I am glad she came in though. The pay is good, and I am proud of her. I hope she enjoyed it enough to sub some more, but this is the roughest time of year to decide to start subbing. I know God is with her, but I don't know if her confidence is.
I read two Powerpuff Girls books this week. I know I should have read more, but it wasn't in the cards. Instead I focused on geocaching, art, and word puzzles. I solved a doozie of a word seek. I know word seeks are probably the least puzzling of all the puzzles out there, but this one was hard. It was a word seek with a twist. All the words were 8 letters long, and none were given in a list. I had to find the words, most in the strangest of places and organized backwards or diagonally. Once I found the words I had to place them in the list. It was tough, because the words were uncommon words like creosote, ladyship, and scallion. I guess it still doesn't sound tough, but it was.
Well I had hoped to go geocaching today, but yesterday's rain kinda dampened that plan. Grrrr. I might still try, but now I have to be more cautious about "where" I cache. Oh well. I guess I'll ride my bike read a real book, make some art and enter my grades. Next weekend better be clearer!
If 2007 taught me nothing else, I learned how important giving and receiving are. I learned that I had to give of myself before I could receive. This is a fairly simple principle that most people are familiar with, but giving of myself means more than ever to me now thanks to a few friends.
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The nurse at our school, Mary, is a talented craftsman. She creates using so many things. One of her most amazing gifts however involves a needle and thread. She created the most amazing Father Christmas costume I have ever seen. Tammy and I helped pick out the material and she made it into a full length coat. It includes this beautiful sash with real fur (my brother will never forgive me), velvet piping along all the seams and sleeves, velvet lined pockets, leather fasteners and a satin bag and cap. I love the design and together we created the most unique holiday cheer bringer I have ever seen.
Of course I embarked on this mission with Mary so I could give of myself in a different way. Christmas 2007 I visited a nursing home in Kansas City. My family was full of cheer, warmth and the season was full of more magic than I have ever seen.
I have also learned the magic of giving from my friends at ATCards.com. Each time I create a new piece of art and display it, a few of my true friends there comment on it, and make it even more special by encouraging me to make more. We trade art through the mail all the time and I am reeling just trying to archive and organize my little diversions. Throughout 2007 I recieved over 500 Artist Trading Cards. They came from people of all ages and depicted a variety of subjects, styles and talents. They also came from around the world. Probably the best gift of all is that each piece was made with the heart and mind of a different person, each someone I love, just for being there.
BookCrossing is another endeavor where I have found giving is so much fun. Recieving books is a blast too, but giving them. Imagining the smiles of strangers as they capture a wild release or the twinkling eyes of a fellow bookcrosser as they tear open a RABCK. I have learned with books the best experience to have is to share them. Jo Ann Schomburg, my mentor and friend in teaching has taught me much more about giving than I ever expected. She is retiriing this year, but she has made my adventures with books so much more than they ever have been! I am in pursuit of a reading specialist certification and a masters degree in teaching in the elementary school.
Jo Ann encourages me every day. My fellow bookcrossers encourage me everyday too because the books that surround me are gifts from them or possible opportunities to make a new friend, and connect with another reader.
I could go on about how my wife gives so much of herself, my mom has sacrificed everything (including a dream house), and my colleagues have helped me in so many ways, but my heart is full. I wouldn't be able to show true gratitude without one last example of the power of giving and recieving. Children are the most generous people in the world.
Children any age, though I currently work with teens, want to give of themselves. They are eager to show us what they can do, happy to spend time just talkiing to us, asking questions or telling stories. Children demonstrate every day that the one thing you can give is yourself. They crave love, and affection. They seek approval. They embrace opportunity and they admire creativity. I am blessed with a profession that requires me to give and recieve every day. I am blessed with an ear, and a voice that I can share with children. I am blessed to have the greatest gift of all, the love of other people. Children are the most precious people because their love and affection is pure, genuine and real.
I guess my message for this whole rambling is that I can't wait to give more of myself this year. The rewards are going to be even greater!
I am learning to walk again.
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This sounds funny because I am not in rehab. I have not been injured. I teach on my feet for 8 hours a day 9 months of the year. I go up and down steps all the time and I ride a bicycle without training wheels or other special devices.
I am learning to walk with God again. I have always been a Christian. I have always been a good citizen. I have also always been a sinner. Nothing can save me from that. But my life is changing. I can feel it.
Gluttony and selfishness and greed have been my muses for the last 10 years. Sure I have done good in the past decade. I have taught 9 generations of students to write, speak, read and create. I have inspired countless good deeds and have made a million people smile a thousand times. But I have not lived happily.
I am learning to live happily again. God has always been with me. I am beginning to share my life with him again. Bookcrossing, Artist Trading Cards, PostCrossing, Geocaching, and Letterboxing have helped me forget my sins. I am now reaching out to the world again.
This is my prayer:
I pray that God help me learn to take great steps in my life. I pray that God show me the way to live. I pray that God leads me in his steps so I can teach others to walk too. It's been too long since I have walked with you, oh Lord. I have missed you! Thank you for always being with me. I know you love me and it is time for me to love you as much!
I am not a pious preacher. I am a happy Christian. Please find my musings and diversions and see them as my expression of life! I am truely blessed!
Last night was fun. This is my first year as a Salvation Army Bell Ringer. I'm really good at it. My wife and I volunteered for the gig to put a little charity into our holidays. So far, we've ignored all our responsibilities to do it. But it is a real blessing!
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So anyway, it was Gabe's weekend to visit. He agreed to stand out there with us and he came in full dress uniform. Gabe is a civil war reenactor. He was dressed in officer's gear, but really looked the part. I loved that he stayed with me despite how cold it was. While I rang and he kept me company, Tammy ran about taking care of miscellaneous errands.
So I am still new to live Journal. I found a bookcrosser's journal and decided to update my journal today. I also added her as a Live Journal friend. If you are reading this rooshill, hey there. Bookcrossing is my obsession still.
I still don't have all the great gadgets and gizmos most of my online friends have, but this stuff really is fun! I will learn it and make Live Journal my outlet.