New Learnings

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I am a teacher, and I LOVE learning! Learning brings joy, and as a teacher, I tried to instill in my students the love of learning something new. Here are a few new things I have learned recently.

  1. While observing a music teacher for her Professional Growth Plan, I learned the musical term “rubato”. It’s a lovely word translated “robbed”. When a soloist sees this term in the music they are performing, they may take liberties with the tempo; essentially “robbing” from one note to give to another. Isn’t that beautiful?
  2. For Easter lunch, I made a strawberry lemon trifle. The recipe called for lemon zest. Although I have made this particular trifle several times, I had never put the lemon zest in because I didn’t have the right tool. I do now, so I gingerly scraped the outside of the lemon on the zester. I brought the tiny bits of peel up to my nose and was surprised by the wonderful lemon scent. Theoretically, I knew why chefs used the zest, but the strong scent surprised me. And the trifle was delicious.
  3. While creating a summer book study for our staff in Canvas, I learned about booksnaps. Using Google Drawings, I can take a picture of a page of text, put it in Drawings and annotate it. With the tools, I underlined and highlighted in different colors, uploaded clipart, and put arrows next to important points. So now, readers can comment on a discussion board about a certain piece of text and how it resonated with them.

I am retiring this year, but I hope I never lose my love of learning. I believe that joyous feeling is part of what keeps life so interesting.

This Year

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Wow! Today is the last day of the SOL challenge. It seems, this year, to have gone much more quickly.

-This year I wrote smaller. More of my posts were about “small moments”, not life-changing events. Lucy C. would be proud!

-This year I used more ideas from other slicers. It was fun commenting and reading with the thought of learning from other writers.

-This year I had more days where I didn’t know what to write. I spent more time thinking. Slowing down was a good thing.

-This year our school had more students than ever participating…around 250. And we had 25 teachers and staff writing. One of our teachers created a school blog site where we linked our post urls.

-This year I got to know the adults in our building through their writing. A community of writers was created.

-This year I wrote more about my life in general than what I do at school.

I will never forget this year’s SOL challenge.

Busy Day

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Tomorrow will be a busy day! I will meet another teacher at 6:45 in the morning. We are heading an hour away to attend a workshop on the latest in YA literature. One of my favorites! However, it’s never good for my pocketbook…I’ll want to buy lots of books! Once I get home, my husband and I will meet a fence guy at our house to get an estimate for an installation of a fence for our backyard. We currently have a chain link fence that has seen better days. In the three years we have lived here, we have completely redone the inside of the house, so it’s time to focus on the outside. Also not good for the pocketbook! After that, we are both heading to our middle school for its annual fundraiser. I am monitoring the hall and restroom from 6-7, then heading to the gym where my husband will be helping to ref the basketball game between our teachers and our local police force. Dinner may have to wait until after 8pm. Hopefully, our Saturday will be much slower!

Lunch Disappointment

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Has anyone ever been to the deli section of the grocery store and you spot something different? Unique?  A carton of some salad or dip that looks specially made. Through the condensation and the plastic, whatever is inside looks fresh…sort of. Maybe it will create a little break from the usual leftovers that you cart in your lunch bag each day. The title, which I’m sure was created by a former catalog description writer, sounds fabulous. You know, something like Thai Peanut Salad: Tasty noodles cooked in a delicious peanut sauce with garden fresh red and green peppers and actual peanut chunks.

After a scrawny breakfast, you’re starving by the time lunch rolls around. And you know that you have something uniquely tasty to have for lunch. You grab your spork, open the container, smell the savory peanut sauce and dig in.

And it really wasn’t what you expected. So much so that you might just eat the pretzel chips left in your bag from yesterday, doomed to listen to your stomach growl for the rest of the afternoon.

Maybe dinner will be better??

At This Moment

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I saw this idea for a slice on the blog Read. Reflect. Teach.

At This Moment:

Thinking About:  This week, a beloved member of our school staff passed away. It was unexpected and very sad. I’m thinking about how short life is and how important it is to live life. Lately, I haven’t been keeping my habit of getting up early to spend time with God. I started back up this morning. And I spent some time this afternoon visiting with my parents. I don’t want to regret not doing that when I could.

Thankful For:  I’m so thankful for my husband. His calm, reassuring manner is a perfect complement to my natural tendency to worry and panic.

Wishing For:  Warm weather!

Planning For:  My retirement in 7 ½ short weeks is on my mind, and I’m excited for what will fill my time. I have lots of ideas, and I’m looking forward to seeing how it all comes out.

Reading:  I’m in the middle of Savoir Vivre:  The Art of Fine Living by Laduree, Paris. Basically, this book is how to live like a Parisian. It’s full of cute illustrations and advice on evening wear, entertaining, and decorating. Because of my readings, I open my bedroom window each day for at least 10 minutes to create a fresh place to relax. And I created a playlist of music to start my day based on this book’s recommendations. Just because I don’t live in Paris, doesn’t mean that I can’t live like I do! I just ordered Small Victories:  Recipes, Advice & Hundreds of Ideas for Home Cooking by Julia Turshen. This book was suggested in a blog that I follow, and I’m excited to learn the basics of cooking. While I love being in the kitchen, I just really follow recipes. I’m hoping to learn why different ingredients are used in recipes, so that I can be a little more creative.

Watching:  This moment I am watching “Law and Order”, my favorite show of all times…and the reruns never get old. My husband and I enjoy “24:  Legacy”, as I’m a fan of the original. It’s fast-paced and very exciting. And, since it is Tuesday, I’ll be tuning in to “Fixer Upper” and “Hometown” a little later tonight.

Listening To:  Right now, I’m in love with streaming French music on Spotify.

Mood:  My mood is “springy”. I’m ready to plant some pansies, spread some mulch, and open my windows.

Fuzzy Socks

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I adore fuzzy socks. What an amazing invention. Fuzzy like shag carpet that feels wonderful on the bottom of my bare feet, they are an important part of my wardrobe. The variety of colors is limitless…there are stripes, polka dots and bold hues. This is one pair of socks that do not have to match what I am wearing. The more they clash, the better. These foot coverings go best with sweats, but they go just as well with rolled up jeans, shorts, or PJs. Fuzzy socks know no seasons. They can be worn spring, summer, fall, or winter, day or night. No one knows why, but they perfectly complete a day of staying in pajamas or a rainy day or an I’m-not-showering day or a staycation spent entirely on the couch.

I’m not sure when I first stumbled across them, but it was probably at Christmastime, because everyone knows they are the best stocking stuffer EVER.  Since one cannot have too many pairs of these smiles for your feet, they make a great gift. Larger than normal socks, they don’t get lost in the dryer, so I never have to know the panic of running out. I don’t own stock in fuzzy socks, but maybe I should. The only thing that would be better than wearing fuzzy socks, would be getting paid for wearing them.

The Ballet

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Today, four friends attended Swan Lake at the ballet. It’s classic ballet, visually beautiful and technically difficult to perform. It did not disappoint. For two and a half hours, we were mesmerized. The sets were stunning and each dance performance was amazing. All four of us work at our middle school in various roles, but our love for the arts is something we have in common.

This afternoon out was a reward for the four of us working with our middle school’s choir club. Beginning in September, our music teacher hosts a voluntary choir club. When students sign on, they attend practice at 7am two days a week. The practices prepare them for their performances at several local venues right before Christmas break. We usually have around 90 students show up for early practices, which is in large part because of the hard work of our music teacher. Two other teachers and I help with the practices and the Christmas performances.

It was a lovely day. Dinner and dessert rounded it out before our trip back home. Already, we are planning our next musical adventure…perhaps “Phantom of the Opera”!

 

 

My Inspiration

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I’m sitting in front of my computer screen trying to think about what part of my very quiet Saturday is worthy of noting on my blog when I hear a small snort. Peering around my computer, I see my very cute, but sometimes annoying dog, Sophie, staring at me. Her gaze doesn’t let go of mine. I quickly turn back to my screen and act like I haven’t noticed. Again, a short, but slightly louder snort escapes, accompanied by a few wiggles and paw stomping. I know what she wants. What she always wants. I resume staring at the key pad, but this time, a real bark escapes. I turn to her and patiently tell her to wait. I NEED to get my post started. I try to get back to business. I can see her out of the corner of my eye still staring. Patience she does not understand. Especially when it comes to what she wants. Another bark. This time I reprimand her and she jumps on the couch beside me. Sitting there. Looking at me. I begin typing, as she has given me inspiration. One minute later, she is standing up and puts a paw on my computer. I quietly lift it up and she walks across my lap to settle down in between my husband and I. To wait patiently. Well, now I must get her a treat. Her favorite…a raw carrot. Especially since I lamented that she knows nothing about patience, and here she is, lying on the sofa waiting quietly for her turn. She knows that when I’m finished typing, she may begin to snort again. And I will go to the kitchen and fetch her a baby carrot. And she will be happy.

Rainy Day

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Outside

Rain and thunder

Whistling wind

Rain drops pelting

Window panes

Gray and cool

Birds chirping

While bathing

 

Inside

Warm and inviting

Watching the rain

Bring green to the trees

Book open

Music quietly

Creating the mood

Enjoying the stillness

Photo Box

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I think it is required that on spring break, spring cleaning occurs. In keeping with that tradition, I’m trying to organize my office/craft room. Not an easy task! Today, I put photos in photo boxes. I have four of them, each labeled to help with organization. In one of these boxes, I have placed my school photos. I’ve been an educator for 29 years, so there were lots of pictures to rifle through. There were small wallet-sized school pictures of former students that had their names on the back, and sometimes an “I love you, Miss Morris!” Photos of old bulletin boards, student work, school programs, and Halloween parties were all piled inside this box. I so enjoyed remembering as I sorted through them.

There was the time my partner fourth grade teacher and I dressed in pioneer dresses and treated our students to a day of living like a pioneer for our unit on Missouri history. Thrown in the box were several photos of student teachers that had worked with my class. Oh, and several first days of school pictures, where students were eating an ocean treat with blue jello, graham cracker sand, and whipped cream waves.

And then there are the photos of students. Some individuals, some in groups, on the playground, working at their tables, or saying their lines in school programs. One made me chuckle. A little third grade boy, Logan, with glasses and the cutest smile…he now works at my school as a special education teacher. Their sweet smiles and funny poses took me back to the happiest years of my career. Although this chore took longer than most of my spring cleaning, it certainly has been the most fun!