Showing posts from 2017

pray. - The Scrap of Hope

"Just think of all the good times. That is what we have to do. Our family has been through more than most. There has to be some kind of reason. You have been right by my side through it all. Thank you for being so strong. Do not tear up today. Be happy. You deserve it."

Those are the words my mom sent me yesterday when I told her I was having an emotional morning. The truth was I had been having an emotional two days. My heart hurt. I missed my dad. I missed my brother almost more than I could bear. My heart thirsted for a hug from Miles and his laugh. I couldn't stop thinking about what Christmas would be like with him. I imagined him married with kids and acting crazy and foolish like he always did. I imagined him and Matt hanging out and having some holiday spirits together. I imagined us giving Kaitlan a hard time about her hoodie dress and spray tan. I imagined mom playing with her grandkids. I imagined Paige being home and not so far away on Christmas. My heart just…

teach. - Festival of Trees: An ELA Project on Theme

A few weeks ago I was home putting up our Christmas tree and completing chores around the house when I started thinking about people who decorate their tree with themes. A few years back we went to a Christmas party and the host had at least four different Christmas trees. Each tree had a theme. There was an Elvis tree, a Marilyn Monroe tree, a Santa tree, and several others. These thoughts led my brain to people who go to holiday fairs and tree festivals. Those thoughts led me to, "How cool would it be if my students could decorate trees using books as the theme?" So, I picked up my phone, texted my fellow ELA co-worker, threw out the idea, and the rest is history. Fifth graders at Palmetto Elementary were going to create trees for the fifth grade Festival of Trees. And, it just so happened we started our theme unit the week we returned from Thanksgiving break.
Here's what we did.
I'm all about integrating standards and figuring out ways to weave standards together. I…

run. pray. - God's Magical Little Sprinkles

The Friday morning following Thanksgiving, I was lucky enough to wake up oceanside at Folly Beach. My husband's family, well most of the family, made a trip to Folly for Thanksgiving this year. It was something really magical and special for so many reasons. My sister-in-law also made the trip. Jenny has POTS (Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome), Ehler's Danlos syndrome, and a wealth of other health concerns, so traveling anywhere outside of her home is tricky. But, she's been working so hard and by God's love and grace, she made it to and from Folly Beach without an ER visit. So, that all in of itself was magical. 

Back to waking up Friday morning. I decided to go for a run. I haven't been running regularly or really even exercising regularly for over a month now. Physical exercise has really been putting my back and hips into some pain, and I've been struggling with fatigue. I blame it on the endometriosis. But, anyway, I woke up that Friday morning wit…

teach. - Step Right Up

Step right up! Push yourself to do something new at least once each quarter. Challenge yourself to do it bigger each time. Dig deep for that inner creativity and let your personality shine through your teaching. When you step it up so will your students.

Two weeks ago, I had to make sure my students were going to be prepared for an upcoming unit assessment on point of view, perspective, author's word choice, tone, and mood. I taught the unit over four weeks and dug deep for creative ways to build a foundation while integrating and intertwining all the standards I had taught so far. My heart is so happy when previously taught standards naturally spiral with currently teaching ones. My heart is also happy when students remember grade level academic vocabulary...but that's a whole other blog.

Anyway, back to getting students ready for this unit assessment. I'm always trying to find ways to keep kids engaged, motivated, and having fun (especially so, when a long holiday break is…

teach. - Day of the Dead and A Leap of Faith

It's the second quarter of the school year, and I'm still loving what I'm doing. Some days, I feel like I have to hide how much I love my job because I don't want to annoy others who may not be loving it as much as me. Don't get me wrong, the days are long and it's really hard work, but I'm excited to wake up and go to work each day, and for me, this is a major change. This time last year, I was determined to find another career-to leave teaching and never look back. I'm so grateful I didn't.

On Halloween, I decided on a Dia de Los Muertos room transformation. I was excited about the transformation but nervous about the activities. Several of my students have lost parents and loved ones. The last thing I wanted to do was upset them or make them feel sad. However, I also knew celebrating life could be therapeutic and several of my students are Mexican, so I thought it would be an opportunity for all of my students to learn about their classmates' …

pray - We Aren't Ants, So Why Are We So Busy?

Over the past few days, my husband and I have been talking about the hurry everyone seems to be in and the impact it's having on our community - in our world. People are impatient on the road and pass me in a tizzy even when I'm going 20 miles over the speed limit. People don't stop to let pedestrians cross the street as often. People don't let shoppers with fewer items than them go ahead in the check out line as often. People don't stop to smile at a homeless person on the street. People don't look each other in the face while waiting at a doctor's office. People are always busy with their phones or busy complaining how long something is taking or busy complaining about how something isn't going their way or busy getting kids to ten different events in one afternoon. Our American world has gotten so busy that we've let the busy distract us from really living. How necessary is all this busy? How much is the busy distracting us from one another and h…

teach. pray. - Transparencies Aren't Obsolete

Being more transparent and vulnerable is something I've been working on along with finding humor in life. I've always been pretty good with deep reflective thinking and conversations, however, I've never been good at them in the context of a relationship in which I have to reveal feelings I'm not totally comfortable with, or when I'm not sure how my honest feelings are going to be interpreted, or when I think the other person may get upset. And, when I say intimate relationships, it refers to any relationship that consists of love, honesty, and sincerity, which could be a relationship with a spouse, a friend, a sibling, a student, or a brief encounter with a stranger.  I'm speaking of intimacy in terms of the heart and soul, not in terms of physicality. So, in these intimate situations, I tend to withhold my thoughts and emotions and withholding is not usually the best thing to do because withholding means I'm not being honest. And, let's face it, if we…

teach. pray. - Searching for Laughter

Over the past year or so, I've been working on rediscovering my faith, finetuning my beliefs, living in the moment, and being patient. I've been fairly successful, and with all good things, they are a work in progress. During this faith, belief, present, patient process, I've made a stark observation. I've let go of the fun and the humor in life. I find myself being serious and reflective pretty much 100% of the time. I've gotten so focused on the seriousness of life that I've turned my back on the humor. And, we all know, laughter is good for the soul, so if I'm doing soul work, I should be laughing a lot more. Instead, I'm laughing a lot less.

My husband often teases me and tells me I don't know how to laugh or take a joke anymore. And, though, I know he's teasing, it strikes this very sensitive chord inside me. I try to smile or giggle off the comment, or I try to be sarcastic about it, but the problem is I actually feel like I don't know …