Sunday, October 31, 2010

Thanksgiving Giving Thanks Challenge

A friend decided to post something that she was thankful for each day in November as her Facebook status. This seems like a good challenge to accept.
Lately, I have been feeling pulled and pushed and rushed and rolled over...not so thankful about any of that. My heart has become darker and heavier than usual. It is not who I am or who I want to be. A focus on the everyday, ordinary miracles in my life is just what I need. Anyone else want to take the challenge?
Check back every day in November for a short note of thankfulness. I am looking forward to seeing what you are thankful for as well...
Life is to be lived abundantly. Let's be about that this month. We can make a difference in our lives and the lives of others.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Faces of Grace

 Here are a few of the many Faces of Grace that brightened my life these last 7 years...enjoy.

Shark Face....she loved laying upside down and that always gave her "shark face".

Innocent Face....What's not to love? 

Tolerant Face....Mercy will miss her Grace...

Patient Face....
Grace and the Sweetest Pea...all of the cats always like to sleep with Grace because she was warm and would always let them cuddle up with her.
Grace and Skippy Jo Lohr who almost never even slows down...
Teacher Face....
Grace watching over the new Mercy.  She was Mercy's teacher.  We had to do very little "training" with Mercy.  She just did what Grace did.

I missed you, I love you, pet me Face....
The face that greeted me so many moments of so many days.

Resting Face....
She could curl up in the smallest little places.

And my very favorite photo of Miss Sofia Grace is this last one.  I took it this winter.  She loved playing in the snow.  Hope they have snow in least some of the time!
God's Grace....
What a wonderful part of the family she was.  Hope you enjoyed seeing a few photos of her.  I enjoyed looking back at them.

Bats and Spiders and Skeletons (and monsters), Oh My!

I love the colors of Halloween. I love the fun of Halloween. I love the TEACHING you can do around Halloween! I'm sad that we don't get to have our Halloween parade around town anymore....
But, back to the fun, colorful teaching.
We studied skeletons. I borrowed the life size skeleton for a couple of weeks. She wore a very rakish pirate hat and carried a decorative pillow embroidered with "Let It Snow". It isn't too soon here in my part of the world. We voted and named her Sunny. (I have no idea why that name won.) We touched her bones and found them on our bodies. They had a considerably easier time finding the pelvis than I did... :>)

We measured Sunny's bones and we measured and wrote the length of the bones on the paper skeleton they made. We colored them really cool Halloween colors and they are in the main hall for all the school to see. Aren't they cute?

After reading a couple of Ed Emberley's Monster books, we created our own monsters. They look just about good enough to go in one of Mr. Emberley's books to me. What do you think? Next, this week's writing group wrote descriptions of their monsters. We put them in the hallway with a challenge for passers-by to find the monster that is described. The big kids are enjoying this.

Fun Friday was all about Bats and Spiders...bat hats and spider bracelets. See?

The evaluation for this activity...must always have evaluation...was to give facts that they learned while in their groups about each of the creatures and put them all on a poster to go out in the hallway for the big kids to enjoy also. See?

Now, here's the funny thing that happened this week. Maybe you had to be there, but it had me doubled over laughing. So, we were talking about the pelvis and they were all sitting on the carpet next to Sunny and I said, "See? This is the pelvis and..." One of the little darlings, I don't even know who, piped up, but almost like they were just talking to themselves, and said, "Oh, like Pelvis and the Chipmunks." What? Seriously? I just lost it! What a great job....
How do you even interpret that?
And I survived my last "Fall" party...not everyone loves Halloween as much as I do evidently...

Monday, October 25, 2010

Grace is Gone...

After a very long day, that started with one of the kids having a bad (and that doesn't really do it justice) morning, and requiring Stevie to carry and lead him into the building screaming and a mother who was dropping her kid off and seeing this telling Janice that she was going straight to the BOE to report this behavior...not knowing of course that the child's mother had just told Stevie to take him inside...and having to rearrange coverage for Stevie's first group of the morning (thank you Connie for being available and flexible...again!)...
The kids were really good, though and they really do realize that this is just part of who this child is and they forget it as soon as it is over and treat him as just a part of the family...gotta love that about little kids.
Then we went to visit with a friend's mom who is battling cancer/a brain tumor and can't really be left alone.   She's a trooper, but cancer is just such a beastly thing...sad.

As I pull into the drive way, my little husband yells for me to hurry, so I run up the steps to find my golden Gracie girl laying on her side having just had a massive heart attack or something...dead...gone...
I called her other favorite person, Stevie, and she came....
We just finished burying her.
Coming home without her to greet us ...
Mercy is missing her...
The spot beside me where she always slept...empty....
Photos tomorrow...Grace was a special girl!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Next Job? CEO???

  Here's another quote from Half Broke Horses, about teachers. Her grandmother as a youngster was sent to boarding school run by the Sisters of Loretto.  She was trying to decide if she was called to be a nun or a teacher.  The teaching nun she was talking to tells her this...

"You have time to reflect on it. 
But whether or not you become a nun,
I think you'd make a wonderful teacher.  You have a strong
personality.  The women I know with strong personalities,
the ones who might have become generals
or the heads of companies
if they were men, become teachers."

Since I have started thinking about retiring and what else I might be good at or qualified for, it has crossed my mind that being the CEO of a smallish company wouldn't be all that much different from what I do each day...just with taller people.  The decisions that I must make in a day's work sometimes stagger me.  I deal with personnel issues, productivity issues, supply and resource issues, sales issues...seriously?  Is it that different???

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Interesting Quote from an Interesting Book

                                                    Half Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls: Download Cover         The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls: Book Cover
I just finished reading Jeannette Wall's latest book, Half Broke Horses, and it was an excellent read.  It is called a true-life novel.  She writes it about her her grandmother's voice.  It is sort of a prequel to her autobiography, The Glass Castle...also an excellent read.  You should read them.
Anyway, the quote that grabbed me is this:

"Teaching is a calling, too.  And I've always
thought that teachers in their way are holy -
angels leading their flocks out of the darkness."

It seems like each year that I have taught there have been more and more kids that come with a good bit of darkness in their lives.  Sometimes they are happy and grateful to be led out and other times they are to scared to see the light on the other side of their darkness.  But, for those of us who are called to teach, our flocks must be led, with a light touch or a firm hand, into the light.  Sometimes there are painful tears and sometimes unspeakable joy.  What a job!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Coming Together

 We had school pictures taken on Wednesday...another last for me...and while they were all "gussied up" I wanted to take a photo of them.  I really wanted to show how much living they do in a day by taking a before (morning) and after (afternoon) photo.  Well, I got the before and then some of that living got in the way and I never got the afternoon photos, but the real story anyway, is that when I started taking their photos, they each decided on their own, to get cozy with their partners for the photo.  We are coming together as a group who cares about each other....ahhh.  That is such a big part of my job.  Don't they look sweet?

And when I saw that 2 of my lovies from last year were dressed almost like me I had to have a couple of photos of us getting cozy, too.

Stevie and I had our picture taken together by the photographer so we can put it on the table at our "graduation" party.  :>)   You'll have to wait to see that one!  And you should start collecting photos you have of the two of us over lo these MANY years...we'll put yours on the table, too!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Fire Safety Friday

It was Friday and it was fun! The theme was Fire Safety. We learned the basics, call 911, have a plan, and stop, drop and roll. They made a fire dog after reading a book and one of my little darlings told me she always wanted to be one of those. Not the firefighter, but the dog! She loves her animals...
So, all of that was good and it always goes by in a flash. The FUN was going to the Fire Department to visit with Chief Corky and the BIG trucks. He was great with them and they had a great time. Here are a few photos.

My last fire safety lessons and visit with a fireman....ahh. Good memories.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


"Promise me you'll always remember:
You're braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think."
- Christopher Robin to Pooh

When I first read this from one of my nearly grown up kindergarten kids, it made me get teary.  There have been many people in my life who told me or showed me this truth just when I needed to know it and know it was true for me.  Now, I will hold it close to my heart and share it freely.
There are several kids in my class this year who need to know this is true for themselves.  There are many more kids at my school who need to know.  Perhaps the biggest part of my job is just this...encourager. 
We have a saying framed on the table where Stevie and I eat lunch.  It says, "Even on your worst day at work, you are some child's best hope."  I think I will print and frame the quote from Christopher Robin.
You gotta love them and they gotta know you do! 
Lots of hugs tomorrow....
Who has been your encourager?  Who have you encouraged?

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Sleeping, OR Not...

I'm pretty sure that one thing I won't miss when I retire is losing sleep over my job.  I can't tell you how often I am awakened in the middle of the night with a worry about one of my little ones.  With a fear about something that is going to happen that will change things in my class...a new student, a new principal.  So, I pray that the child is safe...that the changes won't be terrible...that I will be given the strenght and wisdom I need for the coming day.  If you are good at this job it just isn't something that you can walk out the door and forget about each day...just isn't.
There are also the nights that I wake up with excitement and a wonderful idea.  These I have to pray about, too.  Pray that I don't foget them by morning! 
Seems to me that teaching is equal parts passion and compassion, wisdom and wit. 
It's a great job, but it isn't for the timid...or those needing a full 8 hours of sleep each night.
But naps on Sunday are great!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Aging, but Not Over the Hill

Last night I went to a concert...on a Morgantown...that started at 7:00...with 3 bands!  I went with my friends, Stevie and Larry.  (My little husband had to work.)
So, we walk in right at the time for the show to start and as I look around, I ask Stevie if we signed up to be chaperones sometime and I didn't know about it????  Seriously.  Now, I knew the band members were young, but I really like their music and the lyrics really speak to me...I did not know it was going to be a ROCK concert!  I have the CD.  It is NOT a loud rock style....just isn't!
So, even though we had tickets in the Artist's Circle (which evidently entitled us to come an hour early and meet the band, but no one told me about) and could have had seats up front, we chose the seats at the back of the auditorium and it was still plenty LOUD!
Fortunately they usually put the words up on a screen in front, so even though I couldn't actually understand what they were saying, I could sing along as loudly as I wanted to.  And I wanted to sing along really loudly.  That was fun!  A little weird since I couldn't even hear myself...and am seriously hoping that no one else could hear me either.  Yes.  Definitely fun.
So, the really Good News was that this was a Christian concert and it was filled with young people...teens to college age!  Kids with a passion.  Kids willing to be public about their faith.  And there were a few of us old farts in the crowd to show our support.  Or maybe we were just trying to be cool.  :)
All in all it was a fun evening and I even bought the new CD, which also isn't loud...even though almost all of the songs from the show that are on the CD were...LOUD.  I want you to listen to this song.  It was the reason that I wanted to go to the concert...sounds safe, right?  And great lyrics.  It was a great evening, and powerful, when all is said and done...Hope you enjoy the song.  The other two groups were Matt Maher and Addison Road if you want to check them out.  Really enjoyed Matt Maher, too.

Aging, but not over the hill, yet.  Going to see Mary Chapin Carpenter on Sunday.  Shouldn't need earplugs for that one!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Once and Future Kings and Queens

This year's King Buckwheat and Queen Ceres were in my Kindergarten class 12 years ago.  Didn't they grow up nicely?
This year's Kindergarten King and Queen are so perfect for the jobs, that I am predicting that in 12 more years they will be the real King and Queen.  Wouldn't that be sweet????

Here are the rest of my kindergarten kids who were on the Festival Court this year - all grown up tall!  I used to be the tall person in our pictures....
All of these kids (and about 20 more) were also in my wedding 12 years ago this Spring.  Sweet memories...12 years????? Wow.
What a GREAT job teaching is...

Mini Buckwheat Festival

I love the Buckwheat Festival. I have loved it since I moved here 30 years ago. I have been through my phase of Frenzied Festival Worker and now I am just an avid enjoyer.
Because I love it so much, I want to share the joy with my little ones. We have a Mini Buckwheat Festival in our classroom the day before we get a really long weekend off for the Festival...yes, even doctor's offices close for this big event!
So, a few days before the event we begin talking about what a good King Buckwheat and Queen Ceres should be like...helpful, nice, good...and on the morning of the Mini BWF, they each get to come up and tell me who they want to be our King and Queen. Only one child said he wanted it to be him...although he said it in the 3rd person, hoping I wouldn't notice it was him???? Anyway, there were several votes for several of the kids. Interesting to see how they think. The winners were Dalaynie and Ryder. Both deserving of the honor. Dalaynie especially was thrilled! Look at that smile....that's what we work for.

Can you feel her joy?

After the selection of our royalty, the class goes to tour the fair grounds and I judge all of their entries in the Pet (stuffed only) Show, Plant Show and Art Show. Each child gets a ribbon for each entry, so, the judge has to get pretty creative with the prize categories! There were ribbons for shortest and tallest plants, best marker, best paint, best crayon and most colorful art. There was an award for the Most unusual...a paper mache volcano! The pets are always the most plentiful...most fluffy, most squeezable, smallest, softest, smartest, most talkative (a parrot puppet), best golden get the idea.

When they get back from their tour we march back to class to shake off as much barn "dirt" as possible before they came in the classroom. Using the Queen's scepter was a nice touch, I thought.

They all want to see what they won, but it's lunch time so off they go, only knowing they got a ribbon, but not what for. They were happy to find out who got what after recess.
The afternoon is when we have buckwheat cakes, that we make in our room, and applesauce to eat. They have to use tickets that they were given to "buy" the food and drink and an extra snack. Some of them ate 4 or 5 buckwheat cakes! The last event of the day is our own version of the midway games. They use the rest of their tickets to play games and win prizes! It is a fast and fabulous day...did I mention "exhausting"?

Hanging out on the "Midway" between prize winning games.
So, for the ones that won't get to come to the real BWF, they had a taste. For the ones who do come to the real BWF, their appetites were whetted. I can't wait to hear the tales they will have to tell on Tuesday...I did mention that it was a nice LONG weekend, right?
What's your favorite part of the BWF or your local festival wherever you are?

The fun spooky house is a kindergarten favorite, year after year.
And finally, it was a long day for our lovely Queen.