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:)