Gratitude

Gratitude

Well, I did it! I have written 31 days (actually 32 days) in a row to complete the Slice of Live Blog Challenge! I am grateful for Two Writing Teachers for sponsoring this event and writing community! And, what a community it is!  I have found a voice and the generous support of gracious people in the community to support that voice! Thank you, Two Writing Teachers! The feedback received has been enlightening and welcomed! I have not only honed my writing skill but also learned from others how to give positive feedback as well as several formats for blog posting.  I cannot say enough about this experience! What luck I must have had to have chosen such a wonderful, supportive community of writers. Thank you, all!

If you’ve followed my blog,  there are updates that will be coming. My orchid is blooming! My Meyer Lemon tree has new buds! It is almost time to visit the garden supply stores for plants.   And, my writer’s circle students are in the process of finishing their color poems. I know many of you wanted to read some of the results.  School will end.  There is only one more term here, a mere eight weeks of student learning and the rollercoaster ride that comes with it. Soon, I will have a college graduate in the field of mathematics! My pride is beyond telling!  Where that time has gone is beyond me!  There are tennis matches to play, track meets to watch, art to be made, and a new driver to train.  Yes, the writing challenge ends today, but life goes on.

Finding myself hooked on the daily writing process, I plan to continue. I hope you do, too. Or that you start! Find your voice, find what you have to say, and say it. There will be listeners, of that I am sure!

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What are you reading now?

What are you reading now?

On a trip to our public library a few years ago, one of the librarians commented to me when I checked out that she likes to look at the books I have been reading because I make such “interesting” choices! I took it as a compliment, but also thought it was a little odd. I read what I like, just as most people do.  However, that list includes children’s books, teen novels, popular adult literature, and lots and lots of non-fiction – mostly on plants.  Books fuel my insatiable need and sometimes lesson directed quest for knowledge.

Taking graduate courses does not always allow time to read for pleasure. Textbooks replace the self-indulgent historical fiction or new book on butterflies that I find myself reading for my own enjoyment.

When unable to read for pleasure, I miss it and invariably dive into a book when time (and the lack of school work) make it possible.  A couple of days ago, I started “Hidden Figures“.  Only 40 pages in, I am hooked! The history is fascinating. I am learning things about our country during the early 20th century that I never knew (or I have forgotten).  Historical fiction is a genre I find particularly interesting.

Commenting to my 11th grader yesterday, I stated that I can see this book being used in the future for high school literature or even history classes. It has so many social issues imbedded in the story created by the place in time the events took place and the story is told.  It is also written extremely well, using flowing prose with stimulating and enriching vocabulary. Certainly, not ordinary by any account.  I could see some rich student discussions taking place in upper level, secondary classrooms.

Hidden Figures also interested me in that the profession of the chosen characters is that of being mathematicians. Math has become somewhat of another fascination for me in recent years. How math is taught, what can be done to connect the subject to real life activities for students, and decreasing the apparent math anxiety that has developed and is reinforced in our culture, are all subjects of interest to me in the fields of mathematics and education.

So, while I have a chance, I will be reading more of the “Hidden Figures” story today. Rainy spring days when one of my courses is winding down, provides me the opportunity to indulge in a good book. What are you reading these days?

Rings: A short story

Rings: A short story

There is no doubt about it, I like jewelry. Although I do not wear a lot of it, I like to make it and receive it as gifts. This works out well since I make costume jewelry, usually the jewelry I get as a gift is fine jewelry! I especially like rings. Over the years, a ring I often wear was what is believed to be my great grandmother’s wedding ring. It is gold with a deep pink stone – a pink topaz. The stone is not faceted but flush with the setting. It is very eye-catching and dear to me.

A couple of weeks ago, my mother-in-law passed away. My husband and his sister gave me some of her jewelry. They are very nice pieces and I was pleased to be thought of as the recipient for these sentimental momentos. One of the pieces is a ring, gold with a blue stone – I think it is a zircon, which is one of the December birthstones. Bordering the stone are two cut-out hearts with diamond chips. Lovely. And, I love that it was a family member’s. I knew I would wear it.

About a week ago, I went to Target in late morning, wearing four rings – my wedding rings, the pink topaz and the blue zircon – all on my left hand. While shopping, I saw a dress and a shirt that I liked but knew I needed to try on.  I did so. On about my shopping I went. Next stop was Michael’s Craft Store and then I headed home. While driving, I looked at my hands on the steering wheel and the blue ring was gone! What?! Oh, no! I couldn’t have lost it. I must have lost it! Many expletives were said, as I was alone in the car. Racking my brain, I thought about where this could have happened.  I know it was there when I had coffee and did some school work at Caribou Coffee before I went to Target. Ah….Target. The dressing room. Turning the car around, I headed back to the store immediately!  It must have been when I tried on the clothes. The ring must have slipped off and fell on the dressing room floor,  Thinking my chances were pretty slim of recovering the ring, I knew I must go back and do it quick! Could it still be there? I would just go back to the dressing area and check.  I rushed into the store and almost ran back to the dressing rooms.  Another employee was there, different from the one I with whom I had checked my clothes.  Gushing, I said breathlessly,  “I was here less than an hour ago; I think I lost a ring in the dressing room. It’s gold with a blue stone and two hearts”. The employee was smiling. Smiling? I couldn’t process, I was so upset.  “I just need to go into the dressing room to see if the ring is there. It must have slipped off my finger! I just got it. It’s a family heirloom!” Smiling, the employee said, “It’s up at the service desk in the lost and found. Someone turned it in!” Gushing some more, I thanked her profusely and headed quickly to the service desk. There, the scene of the dressing room conversation replayed, with much of the same breathlessness and urgency on my part.  I gave the detailed description of my mother-in- law’s ring. Soon, it was retrieved from lost and found. Placing it back on my finger, I breathed a sigh of relief and drove home.

The ring is going to the jeweler’s to be re-sized, first chance I get! It will stay in the box until then. Safe and cherished. Thank you to the kind strangers who allowed me to keep it.

Get out of the Fog! Stop! Look! Listen!

Get out of the Fog! Stop! Look! Listen!

Lately, the actions of pedestrians scare me! This morning, for example, our area is covered with dense fog. My son, who is a junior, took off for the high school weight room at 6am, so the duty to deliver my freshman to school was left to me. At 7am, the fog was still very thick, causing a whitish yellow haze to form a barrier to all but anything directly in front of you. Our town is busy at 7am, with buses and cars travelling to and from the schools delivering tired students. It is finals week here. There is more than physical fog, but some mental fog as well.

Something I saw scared me.  A high school girl, wearing her sweatshirt hood up over her head, was walking down the sidewalk adjacent to the busy four lane road right in front of the high school. When she got to the dip in the sidewalk to allow her to cross the road, there was no pause, no look to the right, look to the left, she just kept walking! Wait! I seemed to call out to her in my head; there is moving traffic! See the bus? The SUV? My car? No, she didn’t see because she didn’t look. She just strutted across the busy four lane road as if in a time warp expecting all to see her. Luckily, I saw her. There she was, in the fog, crossing in her foggy, robot like movement.  Let me assure you, this was not a close call on my part.  I saw the student. I slowed and then stopped.  But, as she made the decision just to cross the busy roadway without a glance my way or toward the bus waiting to turn, or the SUV that had stopped to let her cross, I can pretty confidently say that she didn’t see any of us. What happened to STOP, LOOK, and, LISTEN? No one is too old or too cool for that!

Fortunately, our school system will be adding some safety features on this busy street in the near future. For me, it cannot come soon enough. Hopefully, it will be before any foggy days can take their toll on foggy teens.

Creating Opportunities

Creating Opportunities

 

I just got through writing an online response to a discussion question for a graduate course I am taking on the Models of Teaching and Learning.  It was on developing self-concepts through orientations towards the environment. Basically, the chapter in the text explored  students becoming self-actualized or exhibiting high states of growth through surveying the environment and taking advantage of what exists, or not. Part of my response included my belief in imparting to students the need to seek out, ask for, and create opportunities for themselves.  In other words, I want my students to know that opportunities do not always come to you; you must create some for yourself. I have a long history of doing this. From starting a craft time a our local Children’s Museum, to my long running after school garden club, and everything in between (which includes a book club, writer’s circle, TAG Parent Support group, and more), these are opportunities created for myself as a teacher-leader and for students through interacting with my local community and environment. I want students to know, sometimes you need to ask. Do not wait for the opportunity to come to you. Ask. Question. Seek Involvement.

For me, it has been a weird cycle of events. The more one asks to participate in the local community or create opportunities for others, the more you are asked to be involved.

Students need to know they matter and I think I have shown this by creating opportunities for them.  But, it doesn’t stop there.  I also want students to know that they need to show initiative and create opportunities for themselves because chances are, the chance will not always come to them. Individually, students can and should create their own opportunities. In doing so, they will move toward self-actualization and a high state of growth.

Topic List for Writing

Topic List for Writing

Making lists keeps my life in order. Today, I present a list of topics that have crossed my mind more than once in the last several years (not just this month of blogging for the Slice of Life Challenge). I thought I would share the list as my post for today as some might need a little idea boost to finish out the month. I am saving it for when I am void of topics on which to write.  You see, I have already decided that this blogging experience must continue for me past this month’s challenge!  They are all topics pertinent to my own life experience, but I know we would all have our own take on each subject. So, here you go……

  • Living with perfectionism
  • Open enrollment
  • Having  exceptional child(ren) – the world of GATE
  • Who is valedictorian?  (I had one, I can talk about this.)
  • Finding your passion
  • Misplaced priority put on high school sports
  • Should we get rid of grades?
  • Did your school get rid of zeros?
  • Allowing your kids to find their passion
  • Is it worth it to express your concern regarding academic issues at your child’s school?
  • The importance of music
  • The beauty of math
  • Pregnancy loss
  • Infertility
  • When your sense of fairness is violated
  • Volunteering (for fourteen years) – what kept me going?
  • Self direction – Self Actualization
  • What happens when a teacher looses a summative assessment? (True story)
  • Moving away from where you grew up
  • A misplacement – Buffalo is not next to NYC
  • Just do your job! – This has become somewhat of a mantra for me this spring!
  • Role of art/creativity in life
  • Virtual schooling is not homeschooling
  • Learning to use the ER  – when healthcare system abuse takes a backseat to healthcare access, millions of dollars are lost.
  • Alternative paths to teaching licenses – something has to change
  • Choosing to be a stay at home mom after obtaining a Master’s Degree
  • Starting a school garden program
  • PTO is it for you? Other ways to be involved in your child’s school
  • My need for collegiality
  • Being an outlier
  • Being a life long learner
  • The art of origami
  • What happens when you have a conceptual learner? – The need for multiple forms of instruction.
Friday Reflection

Friday Reflection

Yesterday was a “blah” day for me. I just could not get motivated to do anything. First thing in the morning, after getting the boys off to school,  I wrote my blog post for the Slice of Life Writing challenge I am participating in for the month of March.  I enjoyed writing it and thought it turned out well, but alas, it drew the fewest readers I have had since the blog challenge started. And the rest of my day followed, along those lines. Feeling blah is so unlike me.

Energy level,- zilch. Motivation level – zippo. Accomplishments – nada.  What was going on? I had a paper to write, chapters to read, and interview questions to develop all for the graduate courses I have this spring. I have jewelry to inventory, a presentation for an Earth Day Celebration to start, laundry to do, and a house to clean. All left undone.

Blah. Yesterday was blah. I am hoping today will be better. It will be better!  This is my plan.  Instead of going to the coffee shop while my son is at soccer training, I am going to do a little shopping.  I also turned off Facebook fo the weekend. I am tired of what I am reading on there from people I know and mostly from those I do not.  Their thoughts give me angst.  I will work on my paper for one of my courses, I will do the laundry, and maybe make some peppermint patties. Baking always makes it better!

Today will be a better day – less blah.