Saturday, March 28, 2015

Walt, the Bearded Dragon

We have a new friend in 706.  His name is Walt.  Walt Disney to be exact.  He is a baby bearded dragon that loves his heat lamp and tree branch.  He is cute, in a reptilish sort of way:)

For those you of who don't really know me well, let me tell you I have a tendency to be obsessive. I worry about my animals.  Always checking to make sure they are okay.  

I honestly have never had contact with a reptile, until the past month.  I searched for something for my classroom, and never could make a firm decision.  I found Walt on Craigslist.  A sweet young lady gave him to me.  Of course my free bearded dragon has cost me quite a bit of money, but it is worth it.  Do you know that if a baby bearded dragon eats 25 crickets a day, and the crickets cost $1.39 a dozen, well..... you do the math!  

My students love Walt.  They write about him.  We do math exemplars, where Walt is the star.  They draw pictures of him on everything.  He is a hit.  He is their pet, they have taken ownership.  When they come in the mornings, the first words out of their mouths is always "Hey Walt!"  Walt has lots of friends.  All the kiddos on my hallway, know he is there.  They look for him. 

We've talked a lot about the desert.  We have to keep Walt's home very warm.  He seems to like it to be close to 90 - 100 degrees.  

I'm excited about helping my kids make some good memories with Walt.  I've always wanted to be the teacher that students come back to see.  I've got a feeling, that this year, Walt will win the award. I'm sure they will be back in the fall to see Walt (and me of course).

Thursday, September 11, 2014

September 11th.......

That day is etched in my memory. That day took away a sense of security that Americans came to expect.  As I sit and watch the History Channel show "102 Minutes" the pain is still raw.  Tears will still run down my checks and I will gasp in horror at total devastation.  I watch people waving white flags out of windows, waiting for rescue that will never come.  The terrified voices of people in the building.  The falling man.
                                                                                                                                                                          The fear that must have over taken this man to a point of no return. 

Some people went to work and never expected it to be their last time.  They wave white towels out of windows in hopes to attract attention, little did the know they had the attention of the entire world at the moment in time.

Today in class I felt it was my duty as a teacher to say something about that day.  I told my 1st graders it was a day to thank our heroes.  I didn't mention WTC, or anything about the NY tragedy.  Their minds are to young to even comprehend such a horrible day in our country.  We talked about people that are heroes and what they do.  Heroes are people that run to help others in need.  We talked about how brave firefighters and policemen are.  
Maybe one day, when they are older they will sit down and read a book or watch a documentary about this day in our history.  Maybe they will make a connection to their first grade teacher and understand why we talked about heroes. Maybe they will understand then, why I make them stand up straight and tall during the Pledge Of Allegiance every day.  Maybe they will begin to love our country the way I do.  The pictures they colored of the flags today will be more than just a "color sheet."  It will be something to take pride in and do your very best on.  As they began to show me their finished work, they were very beautiful and I was very proud.  Several sweeties gave me their flag, they said they made it for me.  I was touched.  Most of the flags went home to hopefully take their rightful place on the refrigerator.  
I know one day my students will be taught (not by me) about the significance of this day.  But until then I will talk about heroes, our Flag and how grateful I am to live in the United States of America.  
I will teach them to be proud of their flag.  

Friday, July 11, 2014

I love her...

One of my boys is married.  Another is getting married next month.  As I've watched their relationships grow, I've come to realize several things...

I love her because she loves my son.

I love her because she smiles at him.

I love her because I hear her say "I love you."

I love her because he loves her.

I love her because she tells him he is handsome.

I love her because she smiles when he walks into the room.

I love her because she is proud of him.

I love her because he is proud of her.

I love her because she is beautiful inside and out.

I love her because she is thrifty.

I'm thankful that God brought these young ladies into our family.  I am thankful that my boys made the right choice.

Monday, May 26, 2014

To Read or Not to Read

Reading is fundamental.  Reading is fun. Reading is the key to helping a child find success in their educational career.  Over the past five years, I have taught many children to read.  One of the greatest moments as an educator is when that six year old realizes "I can read!"  It is what motivates me daily to get up and go into my classroom and read.  Everyday I read to my students, sometimes multiple books a day.  My favorite book to read to my students is "The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane" by Kate DiCamillo.  There is nothing, and I do mean nothing, like stepping into a book and taking your students along with you.  While reading about Edward Tulane, I have had students shed tears over a young girl's heartache.  These are six and seven year olds.  They listen, comprehend and stare in amazement.  They become part of the novel.  They are able to visualize, draw pictures and write awesome reflections about the characters of this book.  It's an amazing, motivating sight to see.  It becomes a motivator for students to learn how to read.

This year I incorporated a reading log into my student's homework.  I would check it twice a week, and give rewards, such as stickers, and placement on the "Wall of Fame."  No matter how simple the concept, it worked well.  The point I want to make is that the students in my classroom with the highest reading levels, believe it or not, were those who filled out numerous reading logs.  Every day, they would have entries.  They read at home.  They read with someone.  And as a result, their reading soared.

This project let me know quickly that parent involvement is key in reading.  As a teacher, I can teach, read out loud daily, and encourage reading at home.  However, parents make it happen.  So this summer, encourage the children close to you to read.  It really matters.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

No longer Sammy. Just Sam.

This week marks a significant time in the life of my family.  My youngest son graduates from high school, as well as finishing his first year of college.  As I think back over the past 18 years, I wonder where the time has gone. It seems like just yesterday, we were giving him numerous nicknames (Fred, Rudy, Brown Sugar.. to name a few).  Now, it's just Sam.  No longer Sammy.  Just Sam.  It really does pass quickly.  I must say I am very proud of him.  He is a good person.  He loves God, his family and his girlfriend.  He never disappoints me, and the choices he makes have always made me proud.

As I think back to when I was 18 years old, I remember the carefree feeling of knowing it all.  Little did I know that I did not.  So with that in mind, I thought I would offer some words of wisdom to Sam, and any other 18 year old getting ready to step into their future.

1. When you are older, you will look back and see that few friends from your teenage years are still around.  Probably only one or two, if any.  Choose your friends wisely.

2. When dating, only date people who share your same values.  I promise you one day you will care.

3. Always be willing to take a chance on yourself.  Be confident and don't second guess your instinct.

4. Talk to your parents at least once a day.  One day they will not be there.

5.  Your siblings are the greatest gift your parents gave you.  Cherish them and talk with them.  If you ever need something or someone in a moment of crisis, you will call one of your siblings.  I promise.

6.  Purity in your relationship is essential.  It is a gift that one day you will give to your spouse.  Don't give it away.  It is too important.  Once it is gone, you can never get it back.

7.  It's never to late to try something new.  You are never to old to start over.  

8.  Be confident, even when your don't feel like you are.  Acting confident will build confidence.  

9.  No matter what, you can always call home.  I will be here for your regardless of the circumstance.  My love is unconditional. 

10.  Finally, and most importantly, seek God and keep him first.  Pray daily, read your Bible, and trust in the one who created you.

Take chances.  Do what you feel like you can't do.  Step out of your comfort zone and believe in yourself.  You are worth it! You are not perfect, so please don't try to be.

Friday, May 9, 2014

The marks on the end of the crib..

Last night I went over to my niece's house to help her out with her kids.  I love being around them and watching them play and experience life.  She is an awesome mother to 7 wonderful kids.  Most recently two little precious girls.  As I walked through her room, I glanced at the crib that I loaned her.  I looked at the teeth marks that are on the ends of the beds.  The little marks that were made by my boys, who are now 18, 22 & 23.  I ran my hand over the marks and just looked at them and remembered.  I remember the sleepless nights, the exhausting days, and the days I thought I just couldn't do it.  I remember wishing that I didn't have mounds of clothes lying on the floor of my washroom.  I wished my house could be straight for just one day.  I wished I could go to the bathroom alone.  All of that seems so far away now.  What a distant memory.  Now, my washroom floor is empty, my house is usually straight, and I am seldom get woke up during the night.  I miss those babies.  The ones that chewed on the end of the crib.  

Last week walking through Target, I saw some friends with their three little kids.  It was hectic, they were tired.  They talked about the fact that they were never alone.  I laughed and told them to enjoy it.  "Yeah, right!"  I told them without hesitation that I would go back, even if for one trip to Target, or one hectic meal out with four kids.  And I would, no doubt.  

My kids always think it is funny that I will immediately cry when I listen to Alan Jackson's song Remember When.  (You can listen to it here )  However, this song perfectly sums up my emotions.  Remember when.... the sound of little feet was music...  yes I do...

I am honored to be a mother.  I am honored to have memories that bring tears to my eyes.  One day, when my kids have kids of their own, they will listen to this song, and I guarantee their eyes will fill with tears.  In the meantime, I will remember those hectic days, and continue to wish that even for a moment I could travel back....

Happy Mother's Day:)

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

God's protection and My memories..

Today I was reminded of a miracle.  Two years ago, my oldest son had an abdominal aneurysm that almost cost him his life.  As I looked over the medical records, I was amazed that he came through such a traumatic experience.  I did not even realize at that moment that his life was hanging on the edge.  I'm glad that I did not know.

It was during those days in the ICU and hospital, that he turned 21 years old.  It was also during those days that I really got to know the young lady God had chosen for him.  They had only been dating a few months and we knew she was special. But during that week, she became a part of our family.    I was there, but he needed her.  She was the one who cheered (literally) him on the road to recovery.  It was a strange feeling to walk out of ICU that first night.  He wanted her to stay.  I remember him saying "Mom, you can stay if you want."  I knew he said that just for me.  He didn't need me to stay.  Although she didn't know it at the time, it was hard for me to walk out that night.  I knew my job was complete.

I'm so thankful for that day.  The day God saved my son's life.  God used that time to teach me that I can't control everything.  Somethings are out of my reach.  As hard as it is to let my mind retrace those days, I must.  For in those memories lie the blessings of a second chance.

I am grateful that today in the middle of a very hectic day at school, God stopped my mind long enough to remind me that He is in control, I am not, and that He is very near.