Friday, August 28, 2015

Friday Faves

my loves: Sloane and Jeffrey

* To Make You Think:  Faithful  by my friend, Susan Jones

* Great Read: Unwrapping Summer  series hosted by Anne Voskamp

* Something to Make: fun and free printables from Lacee Swan

* Terrific Tips: Useful Life Hacks

* Image of the Week: Full Circle by  Zev

* Anticipating: Tuesday, when I give my students the tie-dye shirts we made today.  They will be so excited. 

* A Song: "Whisper on My Skin" by Jamie Wilson

* Quote of the Week: "When we see calendars not so much as rows of boxes to fill up with things to do - but as boxes that we get to unwrap - the present moment always becomes a gift."  ~ Anne Voskamp

* Film Fancies: "The Power of Words"

* BLOGspiration: 15 Minute Beauty

* In Case You Missed It: Making Time to Drive

Happy weekend, friends.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Friday Faves

* Quote of the Week: "One benefit of Summer was that each day we had more light to read by."  ~ Jeannette Walls

* Something to Buy: I would love to find a swing like this for our backyard. 

* Some Thing to Make: paper & washi rosettes

* A Song: Since You Went Away by Kris Delmhorst

* Image of the Week: Bags Are Packed by Amelia Rhea

* To Make You Think: Life Tweaks by Laura Vanderkam

* To Listen: the only surviving recording of Virginia Wolf

* BLOGspiration: Anne Voskamp's Unwrapping Summer Series 

* Anticipating: the back to school furor settling into a steady, doable rhythm

  * In Case You Missed It: I Wish

* Some Things I Love: hammock time, flowers, surprise ice cream dates with Sloane, sharing laughter with my students, tall tales, mailboxes filled with magazines, morning quiet times, the orchid on my dining room table, IKEA, glitter stars hanging from the mantle, lotioned foot massages, when Sloane has friends sleep over, the way wax melted down a candle is always beautiful...

Happy weekend, friends.  What do you have planned?

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

August Break, day 3 (for me)

August Break, day 7 prompt: 5 Facts About Me

5 Facts About Me
1)  Jeffrey and I are saving for a big 25th anniversary trip in two summers.  This summer we took a tiny and wonderful trip to Kansas City and kept saving.  The picture above is us at The Starlight Theater about to see Mary Poppins.  What a wonderful evening!

2)  I'm a third grade teacher.  This is my first day back to school, which makes it the longest, hardest, and happiest day of the year for me.  I'm looking forward to dinner tonight and hearing all about Sloane's first day of eighth grade.

3)  I just got a new Cannon.  I tutored all year long last year to buy it, and now I am too nervous to start using it.  Silly, hunh?

4)  I love makeup.  I mean, I really love makeup.  Sloane loves it, too, which is a fun thing to share.

5)  I never read just one book at a time.  Currently, I have 6 going.

What about you?  Tell me something.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Friday Faves

second grade self-potrait as a bobble head doll

* Song of the Week: Happy by Farrell Williams (I'm playing this on the first day so we can boogie.)

* To Make You Think: What Would My Mom Do (I'm interested to hear your thoughts on this one.)

* Image of the Week: Old School by Erin Wheeler

* Learn Something:10 Things To Make You Happier

* To Make You Laugh: BBC DVD ad

* BLOGspiration: Tyler Knott Gregson (one of my favorite poets)

  * In Case You Missed It: Why Don't You?

* Some Things I Love:  Back to school time, school supply and first day outfit shopping with Sloane, taking first day of school pictures, that final weekend before school officially begins, popsicles, the sound of the ice cream truck, middle-of-the-night thunder storms, purple Bic cristal pens, tote bags (I have a small obsession.), and blog comments...

Happy weekend, friends.  What fun do you have planned?

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Things We Should Say More Often

Each year, my students love Kid President.  This video of his inspired a list of our own.


Things We Should Say More Often
Inspired by Kid President

Say, "Thank you!" to teachers and other people who help us.
"You are nice."
"It is not OK to be mean to people."
"WOW!  You rock!"
"Thank you." a lot more than we do.
"Please be nice."
"No farting during class."
"You are awesome!"
"Wow!  You are really good at that."
"It’s OK to be sad sometimes."
"I like you, you are funny."  Don’t say it if they aren’t funny.
"Amen" after you pray.
"You are SO cool."
"Good job!"
"Good try."
"Don’t worry – you’ll do better next time."
"Better luck next time.  I know you can do it."

Happy Back to School, friends. 

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

My Best Teaching Moment

I am about to begin my fifteenth year of teaching.  There have been SO MANY great teaching moments.  The best moments are those when you know you've touched a life, made a difference.  My own best moment was the time I literally changed a life.  We all know that we have opportunities every day to make a difference.  We all work hard and try hard and pray hard.  And hope.  We do a lot of hoping.  We hope we make a lasting difference. We trust that we do, but we are often never really sure.  But.  Oh, on this particular day, I knew for sure I had made a difference.  I know it still. 

Valentine kisses from me to a former student (not the one from the story).

I had a little boy in my second grade class whose family life was a mess.  In spite of that, he was always cheerful and sweet.  One morning as I was greeting the kids at the door, he didn't give me a smile.  In fact, he looked so very sad.  I asked him to wait for me.  After everyone else was in we talked for a little bit about what was wrong.  He told me that his Mom couldn't pay the rent and they were being kicked out.  He told me that his Mom said he would have to go to school in another town while she looked for a place to live.  I hugged him while he cried.  Then, I asked him if he could ask his Mom if he could live with his aunt (in our school's boundary lines) for a little while.  He looked up at me with those beautiful brown eyes and said, "Would you ask her for me, Mrs. Lawson?"

I took a big breath, thought about all the reasons I shouldn't, and then thought about what was best for him.  I said, "Yes.  Yes, I will." 

"Do you promise you'll ask her?"

"I promise."

And I did.  I prayed for wisdom during the first twenty minutes of my plan time, then I picked up the phone and asked a mother to let her child live with someone else so that their education could continue uninterrupted; so that they could have one constant in their uncertain life. 

The next morning, my sweet boy's aunt was waiting for me outside the classroom door.  She asked to see me alone.  Uh oh.  As soon as all the kids were in the room, she grabbed me in a fierce hug and kept repeating, "Thank you.  Thank you.  Thank you."  She told me she'd been trying to get her sister to let our sweet boy live with her for over a year.  She said, "I don't know what you said to her, but I am so grateful you did.  Thank you."

That little boy moved in with his aunt while his mother lived in a car and roamed from boyfriend to boyfriend.  He was in my second grade class when that happened.  He finished through fourth grade in our school and is now about to begin tenth grade.  He is still living with the aunt who loves him and can take care of him.  

My best teaching moment?  The day I know for certain I helped change a child's world for the better.  

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Back-to-School Week

We're celebrating Back To School around here.  Thanks for joining us.  

a fun group portrait of me and my team last year

Q: What is your Philosophy of Teaching?
The last time I knew the answer to this was when I was student teaching.  The realities of great teaching are extremely difficult to pin down.  We are constantly learning new things about how the brain works and how that impacts learning.  Our society continues to change and that creates new challenges to overcome.  It would take a book to fully articulate my philosophy of teaching.  This is as brief as I could make it:

This I Believe:
·         Professionalism, a commitment to excellence, passion, compassion, and love are the attributes all successful teachers must possess.

·         In order to effectively manage a classroom (and without that, not much learning takes place) a teacher must be fair, firm, and consistent.

·         Fairness is not making sure everyone is treated the same.  Fairness is making sure each child is given the tools they need to succeed.

·         Being firm is not being unkind.  It is about setting clear boundaries.  It is about not being wishy-washy, not sending mixed signals. 

·         Consistency is the most important part of the mix.  A child needs to know that you mean what you say – every time you say anything.  They need for school to be a safe place where things do not change and they know what to expect.

·         All children can learn, but there are often other needs you must meet before the learning can really take hold.  We must first be sure a child’s physical and emotional needs are met.  Children must be fed and feel safe before they can really learn.  When you are hungry, who cares about multiplication? 

·         We are not here to be our students’ friend.  We are here to give them a chance to learn.  We are the adult in the room.  Too many teachers worry too much about being liked.  It isn’t our job to be liked; it is our job to meet needs.  When we truly love our students, we will meet their needs, and they will love us.  Even when they don’t always like our decisions.  Teaching is not a popularity contest. 

·         Without curiosity, learning will soon cease.  Ignite curiosity. 

·         Collaboration is essential.  Talk, ask questions, listen, learn, read, research.  This job is too hard to do alone.  Work with your peers.  Learn from your administrators.  Partner with the parents.  Ask questions.  Listen to them.  They know and love your student more than you do, even when it doesn’t always seem like it.  Learn from your students most of all.

I could go on.  I do love so much talking about teaching.  But, I think this has gotten long enough.  Hope it’s not too much.  

What about you, friends.  From your experience, what do you think makes a good teacher?

Oldies, but Goodies