Sunday, May 24, 2015

"Reading Journey"

I’ve reached that age…… know..the one where you think to yourself……

I look better with a tan..It might hide “stuff”

I shouldn’t be in the sun at all - I’m too old!!!!

Usually I just get whatever tan I get from mowing or sitting on the back deck with a good book.  You must remember - I grew up in the days where everybody used baby oil and iodine!!!!!!  I love to be in the sunshine, soaking up some rays!!!!  So today, I enjoyed time on the back deck reading…………

Letters/Questionnaires from STUDENTS!!!!
Yep.  Still in teacher mode.

Here’s what I learned.

Here’s what amazed me.

Here’s what dazzled me.

Here’s what inspired me for next year!!!!!

Question 1:  What are you most proud of this year in regards to language arts?

Answer:  How much I read this year. 

Question 4:  What was the most challenging part of language arts this year?

Answer:  Reading and the book projects.

Question 6:  What helped you learn the most this year in language arts?

Answer:  Interactive Notebooks was the # 1 answer.  Reading novels was the # 2 answer!!!!!

AS A RESULT…………This READING JOURNEY that I made last year and tried my darndest to stick to will be revamped and reused and required!!!!

As I write in every student’s yearbook……..

Keep Reading!!!

Click HERE for more information!!!!

Friday, May 22, 2015

A Reason To Carry On

2014-2015 was one of the worst years of my teaching career.  But I won’t go into that!!!!

 However, on the very last day……..yesterday……..the last day with students……….it turned into a blessing and a life-changing moment.

We haven’t had any time outside this year.  Our schedules prohibited our exercise time for the first time in years.  The kids handled it pretty well after the first few months of groaning and moaning.   On the very last full day of school - yesterday- we took them outside to play and visit and simply hang out.  Of course, when you give them freedom, they tend to gather right under your matter the age - I teach 8th grade, BTW.

We four teachers were sitting closely together with students sitting around making airplanes and flying them off the bleachers onto the football field.  It was a bittersweet afternoon.  We were all happy to be out in the sunshine with no more worries of tests and grades and projects and report cards.  It was also melancholy to know that in a few short hours, they would be leaving middle school forever.  Simply put - it was a rollercoaster of emotions for all of us. 

One of our sweet girls who had worked so hard all year long and was such a great student looked up at us and said, “I’m going to miss you guys.  You are great teachers.”
Sweet words. 
Kind words. 
Thoughtful words. 
Appreciated words. 

But I took it a step further and asked this newbie high-schooler, “What makes a teacher great in your opinion?”

Without hesitation or consideration, she said…….

“You loved us like your own.”

Powerful words. 

From the mouths of babes…………a reason to carry on.  

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Fun, Food, and Figurative Language: Happy Mother's Day

Fun, Food, and Figurative Language: Happy Mother's Day: My sister bought us a Blu-ray player for Christmas.  It was a blessing because Netflix was responsible for my sanity during the 473 ...

Happy Mother's Day

My sister bought us a Blu-ray player for Christmas.  It was a blessing because Netflix was responsible for my sanity during the 473 days off from school due to snow.  One of the series that has hooked us is Blue Bloods.  It has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that Tom Selleck was hanging on my wall as a teenager.  It has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that Tom Selleck has not changed ONE BIT since he was hanging on my wall as a teenager.  It has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that although Danny Wahlburg is better looking and a better actor, there is just some kind of Bad Boy thing about Donnie.  I just absolutely love this show -  its morals and values, its premise, its message, its style of the Sunday family dinners, its Irish desire for a good glass of wine after a hard day of fighting for what is right, and particularly its love of God. 

So for Mother’s Day today, we sat down to continue our quest to watch all episodes of Blue Bloods before we turn 100.  We are on Season 2, episode 14.  By the end of this episode, Billy and I are both in tears because of the Mother’s Day message of this random episode we were meant to watch.

Erin Reagan is struggling as a single mother to raise her rebellious and fiery daughter.  She is constantly coming to daddy Frank for wisdom and guidance.  One evening she shows up with a container of “brown bread from mom’s recipe” and daddy Frank points out that mom never wrote it down.  She proceeds to inform him she did it from memory.  She butters the bread and takes a bite.  You expect there to be a moment of description from Erin and Frank about the delicious taste of the bread and how much it reminded them of mom/wife.  Nope.  It tastes terrible.  Really bad.  Not right………….and in the words of Erin, “Something’s missing.”

Billy’s mom had a recipe for Oatmeal cookies.  His sister has the recipe and gave him a copy.  We have made these cookies so many times.  They are delicious.  They are so good warm out of the oven.  I can eat a minimum of 14 at one time, and I know this fact because it has been tested.   Sometimes I make them.  Sometimes Billy makes them.  No matter the chef, he has stated every time……..that something is just not right…….something is missing.

We both have lost our mothers.  We went to the gravesides to pay our respects, to remember our moms, and to say “Happy Mother’s Day” to them.  I put roses on my mom’s and grandmother’s graves.  I smiled at memories that flooded my mind.  I laughed SO HARD at my dad as we drove him through Big Stone Gap and Norton trying to take him down memory road only to find out that the roads have been moved.  My sister and I told stories about our mom - stories that dad had never heard.  Stories about my mom that I tell my own kids and even my students.  We laughed over a brunch at The Flippin Egg (that’s a restaurant, folks).  But here’s what I learned.  Something was missing. 

Moms are tough on us.  They can make our life beautiful.  They can make our life hell.  They can be there when we need them and make us mad for just being there.  They have radar that boggles the minds of scientists.  They have a look that can penetrate Kevlar.  They have a touch that is so gentle as they rub Vick’s Vapor Rub on your chest.  They have a soothing breath as they blow on the cut knee as they apply Mercurochrome and a Band-Aid.  They have the gift of a bartender as they mix a “hot toddy” when you are 14 and suffering through the worst period cramps known to woman.  They have a temper that can’t be controlled when they appear at school to verify that you didn’t cheat on a test and demand to take the same test to prove they helped you study.  During church when you aren’t paying attention, they have a grip on the back-of-the-arm fat that would bring Arnold Schwarzenegger to his knees.  They have the job of instilling in you the love of the Lord, the knowledge of right from wrong, and the gift of having love in your heart.  Here’s something that I know, that Billy knows, and that the Reagans on Blue Bloods know………

when moms are gone, 

something sure is missing.

Happy Mother’s Day