Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Sisters, 1976

This is a picture of us—
Nine and three before
Death knocked
On our door and took away
The one focused on us.

This is us bonding in love. And comfort.
And Patience.
Before we knew we’d need it.

This is life before we were
Defined by careers,
Computer identities,
Love—and love lost.

This is where we belong—
side by side.
On a new sled in the middle of winter.

This is a picture of us.
In the harshest of elements—

Monday, August 13, 2007

180 days and counting....

Today kicked off a new school year for me. I love teaching. I keep complaining and saying I need to do something different, or I need changes in my life, or I need a better job with better benefits and a better salary, but the truth is I love the classroom. It fills so many needs for me. It's my comfort zone, my mission field, my challenge in life, my good times, my bad times. It's the place I see a dozen smiles a day and hear a dozen curse words. It's the place I see the hardest workers in the world, and the place I encounter the laziest. It's the place that makes me feel like I'm ahead in life, and the place that puts me behind in life. It makes me cry; it makes me joyous; it makes me less judgemental; it makes me appreciate.

It defines me.

I've been working on my syllabus, rearranging my classroom, putting up bulletin boards, deciding what to wear, and organizing my thoughts for the first few days of classes. It's a big job, and gets bigger every year I teach (And I thought the longer I taught the easier my job would become...WRONG...definitely not in the technology age!) But what a great time in history to be a teacher!

So as I started thinking about this year, this cartoon always come to mind. I've searched for it online, but couldn't find it to I"ll just write it for you.

One student, with backpack in tow is talking to a lawyer.
"I want to sue my teacher for stupidity," he explains.
The lawyer replies, "Your teacher is stupid?"
"No," says the student, "I am."

I've gone to tables this year rather than chairs. I've been asking for the last four years and this year I just finally did...the age-old adage "it's easier to ask forgiveness than permission" seems to still work. So, with the new furniture and new look of my classroom will come a new phrase..."GREAT NEWS! There's lots of room for learning in here today!" :)

In my cooperative learning groups this year I'm going to focus on remembering three things:
First...individual written work
Second...bring that individual work to a small group....then come to a consensus within the group
Third....take that to large group discussion...thus mediation/arbitration
Then...moving further...we might use this to solve a problem....???

I read Marzano and Kendall's new book "The New Taxonomy of Educational Objectives" last week and I want to keep in mind that students can interact four grade levels higher than their reading level.

I hope this year my classroom is going to be one Giant Metacognitive Organism....Thinking, Reading, Discussing!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Prince Charming on a Lily Pad

The pool has been fixed. After much delay, a lot of money, a lot of time, and a lot of elbow grease by Dad, Kory, and Caron, there is water in the pool and people to enjoy it.

My last official day off for the next 10 months was today. So Caron and I spent the afternoon lazing around on rafts, enjoying a cool, refreshing drink, and sneaking off for an afternoon oreo blast from Sonic.

I occasionally did some watering the plants around the water garden. And it was here I found this adorable prince charming floating on a lily pad. He wasn't about to budge. He stayed there through the rain showers of the plant watering, and he stayed there long enough for Caron to get out of the pool, see him, go inside the house for the camera, and come back to snap some pictures. What a cutie. He just wouldn't let me catch him to try out that kissing theory. Too bad. I think he might be the one. It's hard to come by someone who just sits around and does nothing and says nothing. hehe.

Now that the day is winding down, I've enjoyed dinner just after the sunset on the deck and relaxed in the little bit of coolness the summer evening has provided. And now that I'm not coaching volleyball, I'm hoping to have many more of these over the next three weeks or so before the pool officially shuts down and summer officially ends.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

ALL... I want for Christmas...

is a Lady Taser. Yes! It's true, ladies. You can get your very own pink Lady Taser this year. I am impressed by this and putting it on my list well in advance. I mean, any taser is good. But to have a Lady Taser...oh the things I could do.

Thanks to The Salchow Spot for finding this article. :) I stole it from her.