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Monday, October 20, 2014

#CECACASL2014 or #CECACASL14: Initiate-Investigate-Innovate

Re-Energized
Please share your experience so that we can all feel like we attended the whole CECA conference and not just small session portions!

Session I: 7:30-8:30 I spent in the Exhibit Hall checking out all the cool stuff that I would not be able to purchase.  Found some really neat things like Bump Armor , Discover Video, Empower Writers, CASL's Nutmeg Awards, and Monster Hunt.

Keynote: Jack Andraka what an inspiring young man, who speaks for equal access to scientific research.  Scot Osterweil spoke eloquently on the importance of play.  Both of these gentlemen were inspiring and made me feel less lonely in my thoughts about play and problem solving.

Session II:  Programming for the K-3 crowd.  The usual titles  Beebot, Nano Robots, and Apps like Hopscotch, Kodable, and Daisy.  The beginning stages of direction giving.  I am sold on the importance of teaching students computer coding before high school, so this was a "Me Too Session".

In true teacher fashion, I grabbed lunch on the run, there were more interesting topics than wraps and salad.

Session 3A: Play Scot Osterweil, to listen to more ideas from him about games and how we should think of them more as problem solving and mathematical thinking. He spoke about the MIT game lab with the potential to play.  He also addressed his belief that not everything has to be online or in front of a screen. I walked away, thinking I just wanted to hear him speak  more. 

Session 3B: Makerspace: So I'm a newbie to the word MakerSpace, Kristin Fontichiaro really gave me hope that I could do this, it's not all just 3D printing.  When I reflect back on my early years of teaching.  Yarn crafts, needlepoint, creating from junk would all fit into this idea of MakerSpace! Exciting.  Now how can we squeeze it into an already packed curriculum.

Session 4: Kate Wilson, and EdTechTeacher representative expressed her thinking around coding and why it's important.  She was able to give a person perspective. She shared her presentation and spoke genuinely about her experience as a student. 

Session 5: Tom Daccord dove deep into "Flipped Classroom"  he asked many essential questions about flipping and discussed with the crowd the tips and tricks of making that happen.  Exciting stuff, mainly on a high school level.  

Overall an amazing time, yup stayed for the drawing but didn't win.  I still feel like a winner, thanks to CECA! Now to sift and sort to see what I can use tomorrow!





Sunday, October 19, 2014

#CECACASL14

Mohegan Sun and Teachers Galore

I'm so psyched that snow nor hurricane are in the forcast for this year's Connecticut Education Computer Associate (CECA) conference!  It's been two long years since I've attended and I am looking forward to being inspired.  I've looked at the offerings planned my choices with Plan A and Plan B.  I'm looking for conversations and learning about gaming and computer coding. 
My Plan for #cecacasl14:
  1. Dress in layers, but comfortable
  2. Charge phones, tablets, and computer
  3. Grab an old fashion notebook and pen
  4. Review the schedule and have Plan A and Plan B
  5. Don't freak out about where to park or how to find the conference center.
  6. Start a Google Doc and tweet out to harness the power of the crowd.
Can't wait hope to see some of my EdCamp friends there!




Saturday, October 18, 2014

Too Many Theorist in the Classroom?

Do teachers need just one?
  Theorist that is.  I've been reflecting this week on the theories and theorist that I have been reading about since July.  Learning Theories, why so many?  Too many Egos?  They are all men, yet I do know some women with egos.  Why does it feel like I need to pick just one? We are quite lucky to have the internet and the access to history.  Maybe that's it, their world was much larger, ours is so much smaller and accessible. Each learning theory holds some value. When I think about students, I don't think of theories.  I think about what that student needs to succeed, yet I am influenced by the theories.
This week I read about Piaget and Vygotsky. The beginning of my teaching career was spent in the early primary years.  It is fascinating watching children begin their formal education journey.  Young children change and learn so rapidly. Our days consisted of reading, writing, math, science, social studies, and social opportunities.  All done in an integrated fashion, we were often doing more than one learning task at time, with lots of social engagement.  Then came the state standards, benchmarks, and assessments.  While this isn't all bad, what was left out was the conversation about developmental stages and needs of children. When I read Ormrod's take on Piaget, I mentally made the “Me too!” sign, then I read Vygotsky and did the same thing.  So who is right?  I don't want to choose just one. 
When the state standards arrived, we forgot that the children in front of us would learn at different rates.  The standards didn’t take into account the development of the learner.  Students who didn't make the benchmark were whisked away for intervention support.  Vygotsky’s Zone of Proximal Development, a learner does the actual learning
when minimal support is provided. Piaget’s discussion about disequilibrium, a mental discomfort or confusion, were tossed out the window.  When this was brought up in conversation, it was quickly squashed because the benchmarks for 6 year olds had not been met.  So what is a good teacher to do, continue to learn, fight the tide, and change grade levels, where the expectations for students were more in line with my own thinking about teaching and learning. 

Yet I still wonder, is there just one single theorist who we should follow?  Should we follow any of them?  Are they actually educators or only researchers?


A little XtraNormal Fun.  


Saturday, October 4, 2014

Information Overload, Time to Reflect

My Brain is Full! Time to Digest
Image Source: Found on Mimi and Eunice Cartoons


Cognitive Load Theory suggests that learners can engage and retain information effectively only if it is provided in a way that it does not “overload” the learners working memory (Ormrod,2012).  Each learner comes to the learning with their own personal schema, which are structures for the learner that help them link what they already know to something they are about to learn (Harvey & Goudvis, 2007).  There are three types of cognitive load to consider, intrinsic, extraneous, and germane.

  1. Intrinsic cognitive load has characteristic level of difficulty related to a specific topic,the more difficult the task the more the cognitive load will be experienced  
  2. Extraneous cognitive load has non-relevant information that is difficult for the learner to process, but isn't necessary needed for the lesson 
  3. Germane cognitive load is the amount of learners working memory is devoted to the processing, construction and automation of schema (Ormrod,2012)
Gaining a beginning understanding of Cognitive Load Theory this week really resonated with me as a learner and as a teacher of young children. Artino, states that the Cognitive load theory assumes “that learning will be hindered if the instructional materials overwhelm the learner, which will then limit the working memory resources (Artino, 2008).”  When I reflect on the numerous conversation about what young learners are being asked to do and as teachers we continually ask why these young student’s aren’t attending and why they are wiggly.  I wonder if we haven’t provided them with the opportunities to build their schema, with authentic learning environment. In my quest for knowledge on Cognitive Load Theory, I ran across some interesting articles about technology integration and young learners.

Image Source: NeuroWiki2012
One of the assumptions is that if we allow students to use the technology embedded into curriculum tasks it reduces the cognitive load and makes the work more easily accessible for students (Chu,2013). When I am in a classroom, I am an avid user of technology, I had not considered that the Cognitive Load on students could be negative and hinder learning. I know some in some of my Professional Development sessions that I've hosted adults who are not familiar with the technology seem to reach that I’ve had enough stage before students.  This had definitely made me think and re-think how I can use technology more effectively for students.

 

Reference 
Artino, A. R. (2008). Cognitive load theory and the role of learner experience: An abbreviated review for educational practitioners. Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education Journal, 16, 425-439.

Chu , Hui-Chun. (2013) Potential negative effects of mobile learning on students’ learning achievement and cognitive load: A format assessment perspective, Journal of Educational Technology & Society. 2014, Vol. 17 Issue 1, p332-344. 13p.

Ormrod,J.E. (2012) Human Learning: Sixth Edition. Boston: Pearson Education, Inc.




Sunday, September 21, 2014

Google Sites and Social Learning Theory

Welcome back! Hope you had an amazing summer! It was so awesome to have thirty fellow teachers from all academic areas interested in learning to build and develop a Google Site.  If you haven't heard this year I've headed back to grad school to learn more about learning and technology.  I have not been disappointed, there has been much to learn about Instructional Design and Learning Theories.  I wanted to take a moment to reflect on the Google Sites Professional Development that was provided in the context of Social Cognitive Learning Theory.

Social Cognitive Learning Theory, emerged due to the work of Albert Bandura. Social Cognitive Learning Theory emphasizes that learning occurs in a social context and that much of what is learned is gained through observing a model. There are five central concepts in Social Cognitive Learning Theory. 

1.    People learn by observing models
2.    People gain high self-efficacy by believing they can complete the learning successfully and by themselves.
3.    People learn to self-regulate by observing consequences of acceptable and unacceptable behavior.
4.     People learn to self-monitor consciously thinking about when one is engaged in a learning task.
5.    People also can change their behavior by self-reinforcement, getting a Twix bar once my blog post is written.

I began to wonder if video tutorials fit the Social Cognitive learning Theory and I think I am correct in thinking that video tutorials are a way to learn through social context, modeling, and observation.
  
1.    Teachers who came to the Professional Development for Google Sites watched the videos and created at least two pages for a Google Site.
2.    As I’ve checked in with the attendee’s through email, in the hallways and trolling the school website to see what has been created, all thirty attendees have a Google Site with more than two pages.
3.    The attendees demonstrated self-regulating behavior by diligently using the two hours to work on their school website, raising their hands for help or speaking to their peers around them.
4.    These were teachers on a mission, they wanted a viable Google Site when they walked out the door. So they easily self-regulated and watched the videos to build their Google Site.
5.    There were two attendees who find technology challenging and each time they completed a new Google Sites page they gave each other a high-five and hip bump. It was quite entertaining for the rest of us.

In reflection, I find that I learn well in a Social Cognitive Learning environment using videos. I've taught myself how to knit, new crochet stitches, and new cooking techniques. For me videos provide me with the ability to move towards self-efficacy because I can pause rewind and watch again.  I hope the attendees found the Google Tutorial videos helpful.
More modeling and observation needed to reach self-efficacy


Omrod,J.E. (2012) Human Learning: Sixth Edition. Boston: Pearson Education, Inc.

Denler, H., WOlters, C., & Benzon, M. (2014, January 28). Social Cognitive Theory. Retrieved September 20, 2014, from http://www.education.com/reference/article/social-cognitive-theory/

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Padlet: A Cool Way to Collaborate: Padlet

Do you like to collaborate to share ideas and information?  Brainstorm with others? Do you want your students to be able to collaborate with other classrooms in your school? Around the World? Padlet might be worthwhile. I've experienced Padlet usefulness first hand. First in my Two Summers Class at UConn and again at EdCampCT.

It can be used as a way to brainstorm ideas across classrooms, do collaborative K-W-L's, Faculty meeting back channels, your imagination can lead the way here.

Have you used Padlet?  Share your experience with other educators.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Coolest Google Update Feature


 

Something New For 
Google Users!

I've been waiting all summer for Google Classroom, I did get access to preview.  Can't wait to see if it lives up to the hype. In the mean time Docs added a new feature that most teachers will find valuable. Drum roll! New editing permissions.  When you share a Doc under the blue share "button" you will see a drop down menu labeled with a pencil icon and a pencil and the word "Editing" with a down arrow. Click the arrow and you will see the drop down menu show at the right of the page. So what does it mean?

Editing allows the document to be edited by shared users

Suggesting is new, but different than comments. It reminds me of review in MSWord. (See Screenshop below)

Viewing allows the document to be seen by others and they can only make comments.

The ability to leave comments is still available to Docs users.

Suggestions will be different colors for different users.

Read more about Docs updates:
PC World: Google Docs Updates
Free Technology for Teachers: Updated Google Features

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Day 27: My Days as a Tech Integrator!


I've been tossed into the mix of the tech integration world.  
As a classroom teacher I leveraged all of the technology I could find on a daily basis.        I learned to new tools, understood curriculum, and combined those to support students with technology projects along with collaborating through the process. Once established we then shared those with our colleagues with processes already in place. I enjoy the mess, being part of team, struggling to find just the right way to teach something.  Most of all I enjoy the collaboration with my colleagues. The love for this type of teaching and leveraging of technology landed me out of the classroom.  There are so many days that I feel like a fish out of water, or even worse a tiger without stripes. 
Where are the teachers who want to collaborate, who want to dream big, who want to engage students in work that stretches them.  I know you are out there!  Raise your hand, text me, call me, email me even smoke signals will work.  Pick me, I want to be part of the team, invite me to the table. Don't wait until you've done all the heavy lifting alone, I can help do the lifting!
Today was one of those days where I wasn't invited to the table.  Then asked to support a project just to make sure the computers work.  I get it, but I am not the best person for the job, a technician would be a better choice.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Day 26: This Might Be the First Step

Thank you Two Writing Teachers for the opportunity to WRITE!
                                     
I feel a bit like a "Survivor" participant who is asked to talked to the camera regarding my experience as a participant in "Slice of Life". No one has asked me to actually speak about my experience.  While I am on this little hiatus from the classroom, I am trying to find ways to hone my writing skills.  I have watched  (More like stalking) "The Slice of Life" since 2012 reading the posts and wanting to participate.  I didn't join while I was in the classroom, simply because, I didn't want to fail and not post nightly.  I felt that this year, my own children were older and I could take the risk.

So, I have always told my students that writing is difficult, hard work, sometimes you struggle, writing is heartfelt and honest.  Many of the things I wanted to write about were more about ways to work through problems.  Topics, that I really didn't want to share publicly. One of those "Fold over pages" I allow students to do in their writer's notebook when it's not something they want to share. 

I have discovered, that I do like to write and that I am probably a better technical writer, and professional writer than a creative writer.  I would like to become a more creative writer, which I think means, slow down, observe the world that is taking place around me.  Listen. Feel.Smell. Put it into words. I will find a way to tackle this challenge.  I often feel that their are stories, characters, dreamy settings, just waiting to make there way to the page.

I can dream....work towards making it a reality.  This might be the first step.


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Home's Where You Are!


Dale Franklin Brooks
November 2007


My Dad left a lasting impression on me in many ways.  
I will never forget wanting to come home from college.  
I promised him anything to come home.  His words to me were, "Home's not where I'm at home's where you are and what you make of it!"  Then he told me to stay one more day and if I still wanted to come home, he would come and get me.  I did stay and never looked back.

I miss the sound of your voice
I wish I could speak with you one more time
I want you to see just how great a baseball player your grandson is
You would love how beautiful your grand daughter sings 
Waiting for the opportunity to sing in church

I miss your Tuesday night call
No one else likes NPR like you
No one cares that I heard an interesting story!
While I don't have mushy memories of you hugging and kissing me
I do have great memories of political debates 
How much you valued my opinion or just listened anyway.
Then offered your thoughts.

I miss your confidence in that I could succeed 
No matter what I wanted to try.  
You encouraged failure 
First one to teach me how to laugh at myself 
Not take myself seriously
I do have memories of walking behind the tractor
Throwing hay bales just like the boys
You even let us drive the truck, the mini-bikes, and the tractor.

The kids miss you too!
Especially Aaron, 
Who desperately wants to learn to ride 
Four Wheelers and drive the red Jeep!
Devin is learning to play the piano, 
I think she got your talent, 
I hope you can hear her in heaven.
I wish we could hear your voice 
            one
               more
                    time!
 

Monday, March 24, 2014

Day 24: Fire **Updated 3/25/2014

Thank you Two Writing Teachers for the opportunity to WRITE!
                                     


Sliding the lock open on my phone to open Facebook to see what had happened in my world.  Scrolling through the entries, I found one by my cousin Mel about being worried about her children's school bus being late.  Scrolling through the comments I discovered, the bus was late because of a fire on the hollow near my parent's home. I become very worried, refreshing often for any sign of what happened. I waited patiently knowing there was nothing I could do to help.

After a while, I began dialing phone numbers, mom's, mom's cell, grandma's phone, Alyson's house, Alyson's cell, my sister Steph's cell, and Steph's house.  No one answered! Trying not to let worry over take me, I could only remember the last time I had gotten cryptic information and found out later my dad had been life lighted to a hospital in Pennsylvania. I sit, I wait, hoping the phone will ring or someone will post a Facebook update!

***The fire did not damage any structures or take any lives.  Just some brush on a big hill.  So grateful for God's mercy!***

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Day 23: Growing in the Research Process

I've missed Friday and Saturday as illness has infiltrated my home and sometimes, ya just gotta accept ya can't do everything.

  Thank you Two Writing Teachers for the opportunity to WRITE!
                                     


In 2009, our district began a huge overhaul of the curriculum because Connecticut was bringing forth new state standards, now called Common Core. The language arts overhaul caused chaos in the classroom.  It felt like all the good teaching and learning that was being done was being thrown out the door.  In a district like ours, that would be unheard of, because academics are very important in the community.  One of the pieces that felt like it had been dismantled were the research projects at each grade level.  These learning projects were enjoyed by students and teachers.

After the curriculum was drafted to support the state standards and adopted by our district, intense professional development in reading and writing workshop ensued for the next two years.  Then our amazing librarian approached me and we were tasked with writing a new research project that would dovetail with the curriculum. I was lucky enough to pilot this research  and technology opportunity.  The first time through, it felt like we creating as we went along.  It took about a month to complete the project all the way through.  There were amazing components along the way, rubrics, reflection, choice in topic and presentation. 

The following year we rolled out the work to all nine teachers on the grade level so that every fourth grader would have a research experience. It took six weeks for all students to complete a research project the first year and the Librarian and the technology teacher did most of the teaching.  Fast Forward three years and more curriculum tweaks and now the teachers are doing most of the teaching, the librarian and the technology teacher are supporting student learning.  Now the project is done  to completion in about three weeks.

How did that happen you ask? Well, we stopped looking at the research project as a stand alone and as a follow up to all of the non-fiction teaching we do.  The research process is now seen as way to assess the non-fiction unit. It was a long thoughtful process with many tweaks along the way. Now the conversation concerns increasing the difficulty of the content, because now our students are becoming deeper thinkers.






Thursday, March 20, 2014

Day 20: Funny Dance Moms

  Thank you Two Writing Teachers for the opportunity to WRITE!
                                     

I sit and wait listening to the unrelenting noise of the tap shoe.  Hoping that Jeanie and Lisa would arrive in time to hear the fun antics of their days.  I am not disappointed! Lisa arrives, as soon as she enters she says, 

"You're not going to be leave this, when I dropped of Caty remember, I didn't have my cell phone and I wasn't going home to get it.  My oldest daughter got hit in the throat with a ball and is in the emergency room with my husband!'  
I'm thinking, how'd ya find that out, ya didn't have your cell phone. 

She takes a deep breath and continues.
"My husband called my sister Jeanie's house and she talked to my upset husband and couldn't get him to calm down, so she hung up on him.  Then she headed out the door, because before I left the studio, I had told her I was going to Joyce Leslie and then Kohls. So Jeanie came to Joyce Leslie, the whole way Jeanie repeated over and over to herself, "Please don't go to Kohls, Please don't go to Kohls.!'  "So, Jeanie caught up to me at Joyce Leslie and explained why she was there. I took her phone and called my husband, explained that I didn't have my cell phone, he couldn't wrap his head around the fact that I was on Jeanie's phone an how Jeanie knew where I was at that time.  Jeanie is waving her hands around saying in a singsong tone "I got sister Lojack! She is doing this over and over again.  I finally tell him that I will head home to check on the dog, get my phone, get Caty and then head to the hospital.  While I am home the dog is throwing her ball around and  it goes under Caty's bed and she goes after it and gets stuck under her bed and can't get out. Now I am on the phone with my husband again because he needs an insurance card.  I got the dog stuck under the bed trying to dig her way out.  I was trying to lift the bed so she could get out, dropped the phone hung up on my husband.  Now he won't answer his phone!" 

She says this all so matter a factly and then begins laughing at how funny it all is. Personal perspective is definitely unique.  These stories always make the hour and half dance session go much faster.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Day 19: Bella

Cuddle up so sweet and soft

Warm and fuzzy

Snuffle

Moan 

Stretch 

Shift

Melt my heart

Snuffle

Cuddle

Sigh

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Day 18: Baseball Season is Coming

  Thank you Two Writing Teachers for the opportunity to WRITE!
                                     

Little League Season is Coming


quiet whispers across the face
shiver 
stepping on the white rubber
puffs of dirt rise every step
hyper focus
white pentagon
arms drawn back
perfect aim
leg kicks back
silence
as the ball travels
46 feet
across the white
pentagon
hoping to hear
"Strike"!

Today we found out that our coach is a the guy that we played for in the spring. Awesome coach, totally gets that it is more important that the kids learn to play.  Getting overly intense doesn't really work for young kids. This is an excellent perspective to enjoy in the game of Little League Baseball. My husband gets so wrapped up in the game and the win or the lose, he forgets it's the kids on the field not him.  My son always wanting to please his dad, puts on all this bravado when he makes a mistake.  Meanwhile I am on the sidelines, watching, hoping that he will feel like he has lived up to dad's expectations.

While waiting to find out who our coach would be, Aaron had dreams of being on the same team as his buddies from fall ball.  Through many conversations, we discovered that those buddies were all on different teams.  Aaron was devastated. He ran to his room and buried his face in the pillow.  I gave him a few minutes to collect himself.  Then I went and sat next to him to find out why he was so upset.  He expressed that he wasn't sure that he could play baseball against his friends. How would he be able to tag him out in a game.  He sat with a very somber face pondering this new development in his Little League life.  Then it got even worse, one of his really close friends who has been on his little league team is also in his classroom. He pondered how wins and losses would be handled in the classroom.  These are all good life lessons in the moment, but really what he needs right now is a hug, kiss, and a little piece of chocolate.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Day 17: One More Hour, I'm Begging You!


   Thank you Two Writing Teachers for the opportunity to WRITE!
                                     
Just Another Hour
       I need one more hour in my day, just one more to add in the time needed just to take care of me.
Would love to hit the gym, something always seems to get in the way.

      They say make it a priority.  I pack the clothes and prep my head, I can't wait to feel the adrenaline pump and the sweat roll. There is always something in the way, someone needs something.  I think, I'll go as soon as they are in bed, but when nine o'clock comes I just want to sit and melt into a good book, a nice blog, a time of reflection.  I am beginning to think that I need someone to assess my time management!

       Why can't I be like other parents and drop my kids at their extracurriculars activities? Why can't I dismiss their fears and not engage them in conversation when I know something is bothering them and they haven't found a solution.Why can't I leave good enough alone.  Let it ride?

      I ask these other mother's how do you do it?  Look good, work full time, have two kids, and a clean immaculate house.  I often hear, that kids spend time with grandparents, aunts, and uncles.  They also have someone come in once a week to clean their house.  I don't have any of that, I struggle, and never ever get to be part of their group because I am one of the have not's.  Where are the people like me?  The mom's who struggle, the mom's who don't have perfect hair, houses, wardrobes, and kids.  Where are you?  If your here, I probably don't have time to find you, or have a conversation, or even wave my hand hello.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Day 16: Stretching and Pulling

                      Thank you Two Writing Teachers for the opportunity to WRITE!
                                     


I have a friend who writes a blog about personal experience.  Tonight she wrote about being stretched and pulled in her work life and her personal life.  She reflected, trusting that God wouldn't give her more than she can handle, and that stretching and pulling in life was God's plan.

I too feel this way, a little over two years ago I was asked by our Superintendant of Schools to step out of the classroom and take a K-8 Technology Integrator position.  I was shocked, I had just finished my year as teacher of the year giving me kudos for doing what I loved daily. My reaction wasn't positive, I actually initially said no, but then talked it over with my husband and finally agreed to take on this new role.

This is year two in this role and I still do not feel like I do more tha put out fires and hand out band-aids.  Where are the teachers who really want to dig deep and think about how technology can move them into a place of higher learning?

Raise your hand I am here to help.  Stretching and pulling can make us more flexible. Back to work tomorrow!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Day 15: Another stab at Poetry


#1
Learning to like this thing called writing.
I get stuck on the grammar of it all.
Where do the periods go?
What about the commas?
Forgetten the colon and semicolon?
Proof read, proof read
It's hard not to miss 
The typo in the mist.

#2
Hear them in my head
See the screeching red
Embarrassed 
Blackboard
White Chalk
Head hung low
Trying to please
Trying to be valued
Belittled at every turn.


Friday, March 14, 2014

Day 14: A Little Poetry

So excited to be part of "Slice of Life" with the Two Writing Teachers. You to can join us too.

I am definately a novice poet.  When we study poetry with students.  They love it, I not sure I do, I am reflecting on why....
Thanks for reading!


Stepping 
into the lane 
shortest line
food on the belt 
one by one 
An older gentleman 
White hair
Blue hat
She Smiled
He Smiled
Sifting Counting
He Pays 
Small to Large
Reflection, Aging, joking
Warm thoughts of not forgetting
Memories
All alone

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Day 13: Pappy





So excited to be part of "Slice of Life" with the Two Writing Teachers. You to can join us too.


"I'm doing this in honor of Jake mom." He whispered solemnly.
 "I know buddy," She responded.  "Didn't Pappy die of Cancer?"
"He asked tentatively. "Yes," she whispered.

Snuggling a little closer he sighed softly, "I only have one head to have shaved and I really wanted my page to be in honor of both Jake and Pappy. Do you think I could do that?"
"Sure buddy, you can do that, no one will be upset with you." She whispered back.

Shifting deeper into the covers, rubbing his eyes, and yawning almost drifting off to sleep, just one last word.

"Mom. do you think the scientist can find a cure for cancer?"
"We will have to pray that they do with the sincerest of prayers big guy."
"I miss Pappy, it isn't the same without him.:
"Me too." She hugged him a little closer as he drifted off to sleep.

Such deep thoughts before falling asleep, She wondered what was going on in his little head!

Love you Pappy!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Day 12: They Said IT Would Happen!

    




So excited to be part of "Slice of Life" with the Two Writing Teachers. You to can join us too.

 I don't have anything in my head to write.  So much happened today, organizing and putting on paper will take a few days.  I'm tired, I'm bone weary tired and I still have to do it all over again on Friday.


Yup
That's it
Eyelids are droopy
Eyelids half shut
Eyelids closed
Night, night
Sleepy one!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Day 11: Heartfelt Unplanned Ramble

   





So excited to be part of "Slice of Life" with the Two Writing Teachers. You to can join us too.


Helping Others

      Sometimes in life you are grateful for everything you have because you watch others truly in need.  This wasn't the post I was going to write tonight.  I was going to write a school reflection.  I tucked that away in my writer's notebook for another night.

     When I got home there was a sticky note on the table that there was a message on the answering machine for me.  Listening to the message, I realized it was a mother of a boy in my son's class.  I called her back and left a message and went on with my evening. At dinner we joked with my son I joked with him about why she was calling.  See this mom is at school everyday for her own son.  So she sees my son everyday and I thought maybe she was going to let me know he had been in trouble at school.

     Little did I know that she was calling me because someone else had approached our PTA about raising some money for their family to help with some medical bills.  I'm not going to go into all the details here because I don't want to invade their privacy for my post. This young man faces such challenges and he does so with a smile everyday.  He has touched my family in such a way, my husband has been brought to tears on more than one occasion, listening to a speech this young man gave and watching his mother attend to her sons needs like it was second nature always jovially.  She is uncomfortable with being part, because she doesn't want to people to think that she is looking for a handout.  Her family has been hit hard by a lack of insurance for the eight surgeries that her son needs this year.  EIGHT SURGERIES!!  8!! Ocho!! Many of which the insurance will not cover.

      So, not only is this mom worried about her son, she is also worried about her house and keeping roof over the families head and feeding everyone.  I think we can dig a little deeper in our pockets and help.  I have vowed to help.  If that means flipping pancakes, washing cars, selling candy bars, just about anything I could do to help.  I will, why because my heart hurts for the hardship this family faces and for the love and generosity they show others.

     If you met them at the mall,  you would notice her son who faces challenges.  He would engage you in conversation.  She makes you feel like you've met a good friend. Some find her over the top, I give her permission to be over the top.  This family needs help and I want to b involved.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Day 10: A Grocery Store Encounter






So excited to be part of "Slice of Life" with the Two Writing Teachers. You to can join us too.

     Stepping into the lane with the shortest line, she placed her groceries on the belt one by one organizing them loosely by categories,  frozen, refrigerator, pantry, and bathroom.  Before she started unpacking her groceries from the cart, she noticed the older gentleman in front of her.  She smiled a friendly smiled and went on with her task.

      She hears the older gentleman ask the cashier to repeat how much it was.  He sifted through the money in his hand hoping he had calculated correctly.  Switching from a small stack of a $5 and four $1 to a $20 and the exact change from his pocket.  She smiled at him again, he apologized for taking so long.  She smiled a bigger smile, thinking I will be like that someday.  She responded with "Don't worry about it, this is just the right pace for ending the day, enjoyable!

     The cashier agreed with her and the gentleman still uncomfortable with his pace, told a couple of jokes while he waited for his change.

     "Why did the mean teacher have problems with her pupils?  She was cross-eyes!"

   "How did Columbus get to America before the Indians?  He must have made reservations!"

    He gathered his bags, said goodbye and shuffled out the door.

    She realized that he reminded her so much of her own grandfather. The resistance to aging and the loss of independence.  Her heart yearned to tell him, not everyone thought he was irrelevant.  There was at least one young person who would like to hear his stories, who wanted to hear what he had gained from his life experience.

    After paying for her groceries, she walked slowly to her car reaching for her cell phone, dialing the ever familiar number.  "Hi Pap!  How are you?"


Sunday, March 9, 2014

Day 9: 10 Things





So excited to be part of "Slice of Life" with the Two Writing Teachers. You to can join us too



I will show up! I will create a post! 

Maybe the 10 things list thingy?  

I will ...
1. Go to the gym this week since the weather is cooperating
2. Eat my healthy salad everyday and not soup from the cafeteria
3. Make copies of a DVD for my principal
4. Get to walk my doggies (All three) everyday now that the weather is warmer
5. Play outside with my kids and hope for one day without homework to we can stay out longer.
6. Begin the Easter shopping so I'm not waiting until the last minute
7. Read a good book
8. Call to find a wholesale greenhouse to supply plants before Wednesday
9. Call to get official and unofficial transcripts for my EdTech Degree
10 Finish the application for my graduate degree in EdTech

Bonus:  I will ask three administrators for Letters of Recommendation for this new graduate program.