Saturday, May 23, 2009


A Facebook friend posted this to his blog. All I can say is WOW. This guy says what a lot of teachers have felt for years. Please let us stop teaching to the test. Please stop changing the curriculum every 15 minutes (and that's being liberal...). Those of us who do our research already know about the differences in learning styles, and do our best to teach to all of them across the board--visual, auditory, kinesthetic. OF COURSE the basics are important. They always have been, and they always will be. But there's more than one way to get there. There are MANY unconventional ways to get there. I had a student one year, I'll call her Georgie (because that was her name, and it was like, 100 years ago, so I doubt she'll be offended) who absolutely, positively, COULD NOT sit still. Ever. For any reason. She was like a tiny burst of energy in her cute little dress sitting there in my 2nd grade classroom. The problem was, there were also 31 other cute little people also sitting there in my classroom (an injustice unto itself) who were becoming distracted by her inability to control her wiggly self. One day, Georgie and I devised a plan to help her get her work--ANY work, done. From that day on, after the teaching portion of the lesson, I stapled her assignments to the wall. The deal was, as long as she did not bother other people by making eye contact with them or by making noise, she was free to walk laps around the classroom. Each time she passed her paper, she stopped to do a problem (sometimes 2). Guess what? It turns out that Georgie, who had until this time been getting F's on all of her assignments, was an A student! For the rest of the 2nd grade year, she continued to work in this fashion, and at the end of the year, was one of my top achievers. Sadly, the next year she didn't return to our school, so I don't know how she fared after that. I can only hope that other teachers along the way helped her to be herself inside of some basic parameters, and that she learned to speak up for herself and to be her own advocate. A tall order for a 7 year old, but if anyone could've done it, Georgie could have. I was down about losing her until I talked to a teacher friend of mine. I told my friend that I didn't want all of my efforts and Georgie's to have been in vain should she just be plopped into a traditionally-structured 3rd grade classroom. I will never forget my friend's reply. She said, "If you knew there would be a famine in 9 months, would you quit feeding your children today in preparation for it?" When I think of her, and of her words, I know that no effort I make as a teacher, mom, wife, or friend will ever be wasted, and that I will always strive to feed and nurture the creative minds and expressions and "outside the box" ways of every student, to allow them to reach their full potential. Watch this video, you'll love it.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


I dragged my tired, crampy, crabby butt to Target this morning because, quite frankly, we were going to start having to wipe our hands on our tee shirts and our rear ends on...let's just say we were out of a lot of the essentials. I was on a mission: get in and get out. Those of you who know me are now shaking your heads in disbelief because you know that THAT IS JUST NEVER GOING TO HAPPEN. I may have looked at a couple of non-essentials. Whatever. Quit being so judgemental. ANYWAY, imagine my surprise when I checked my receipt and saw THIS.Some of you will no doubt be as shocked as I was--O.B. TAMPONS ARE A SPECIALTY ITEM AT TARGET! I walked out with just a hint of a spring in my step. It wasn't as if I had splurged on chocolate covered raisins or gourmet coffee or anything, but still. I do enjoy the finer things in life.

Sunday, May 17, 2009


It's late, but I wanted to post about the book I just finished last night (okay, it was early this morning--I wanted to pass it on to a friend who was leaving for Argentina!). It's called "Before I Wake" by Robert Wiersema. I'm not going to say anything about it except that it was definitely worth the read! This is his first novel after 15 years as a journalist, etc., and I will be on the lookout for more from him. Here's a picture of it for you. Let me know if you read it and what you think!
Here's the author's website as well.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


While sitting at a traffic signal today, I was lamenting about the current state of my affairs. And by affairs, I mean my hips, gut, thighs and nether-regions. Nothing like a close-up, personal look at your lap at a stop light. Wow. So there I was, thinking that the amount of weight I have to lose is approximately that of a medium-sized 1st or 2nd grader. Or a really, really big toddler. And while I struggled to hold back the tears, I thought to myself--hey, it could be worse. It could be a Jr. High student, or half a little league team, or a Hefty Bag full of soggy leaves, get the picture. Of course, gone are the days when I only had to lose a medium-sized roast, or a Thirst Buster cup full of rocks, but I've got to start somewhere, right? Why did those days seem so overwhelming at the time?
So, my large, robust self and I walked into the local library (that's where I was heading at the time, darn traffic signal) and checked out some healthy eating, inspirational cookbooks. I would like to insert an asterisk here *. If you are semi-hungry, NEVER sit and page through cookbooks in your local library. Even the endive and water chestnuts were jumping off the page at me. I persevered, and came home and ate a sensible dinner (I have the BEST recipe for Thai Style Chicken Soup EVER! The calories involved may not be exactly sensible, but the portion I ate was), and am going to once again begin an exercise program straight away. I am actually excited about this part...before starting my economy-necessitating 2nd job, I enjoyed working out 2-3 hours almost every day! Really, I did! My kids and I even got our black belts in Kung Fu--the toughest work-outs you'll ever love.
So, I will lovingly but firmly kick my own butt back into a reasonably pleasing shape, hopefully before my 40th birthday. Wish me luck, it's in July!

And now, for my visual imagery as I start the workout process:

HEY! How did THOSE get into my mental imagery process?! I'm SURE I wasn't thinking anything like that. I'll try again.That's what I thought.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


Just add teen.

'Tis the season for the graduation invitations and photos to be rolling into mailboxes around the country. I, for one, couldn't be prouder to know so many graduates, both friends and family, both high school and college! As this year's hopefuls embark on their journey to greater fulfillment though higher education, job, or new career, I find myself wondering one thing. Why is every high school senior photographed by a tree, stream, or waterfall? It's as if we believe that they all suddenly want to commune with nature. To find their inner nature guy or gal. Why not photograph them in their natural habitat? You know, on the couch, with a bag of chips. Or with an I-pod cord dangling from their pocket, connected to their ears. Or laying across their beds in their messy rooms.
I think there is a direct correlation here between this phenomenon and the one that says when a woman becomes pregnant, she suddenly wants all her clothing to have flowers across the chest, arrows pointing to her expanding belly, or sailoresque collars.
I sense a conspiracy theory, don't you?

Sunday, May 10, 2009


This is a very interesting video. When I first opened it and saw that it was 20 minutes long, I almost closed it without watching it. Then, as the lady started talking, I couldn't stop watching. I think I owe it to my kids to at least be knowledgeable about where stuff comes from and where it ends up. I thought I knew, and for the most part I did, but this helps put it into words that a child (or their mother!) can understand. Let me know what you think!


Sunday, May 3, 2009


Just a few photo representations of some GOOD THINGS. Not necessarily MARTHA, but then, either am I!

A good cup of coffee

A good piece of advice

A good meal on the savanna

A good way to chillax

A good chance you'll arrive late

Just goes to show that any potential negative can be turned into something productive and positive! I'm just sayin'. Have a wonderful Wednesday!


I can almost taste it, summer is coming! Of course, here in Arizona when you taste summer, be sure to blow on it first so it doesn't burn your tongue. I'm not sure I could ever have the kind of job that doesn't give you summers off--I love the cosmic do-over of the school year; the hope-springs-eternal attitude of what I will do next year with my class that's even better than this year; the whole new group of faces in August. Not that I will likely be teaching full time for a couple of years, due to the severity of cuts in education here in our state. But DON'T get me started on that whole subject. It's a slippery slope. Here are a few things that I have planned for this summer. Now, I'm not going to list the obvious: sleeping in, napping, taking baths in the middle of the day, and catching up on books and movies that I've missed during the year, just some OTHER (less obvious) things that I started listing back a couple of weeks ago when the kids in class started in hot and heavy with SPRING FEVER, and G.W.D. (Generalized Whine Disorder). Here they are, in no particular order:
  • recover living room chairs (I scored some fabulous Waverly fabric at a garage sale for a couple bucks--plenty to redo all 6 chairs!)
  • re-read and apply the ideas from Stacy Julian's Photo Freedom book to my ever-mounting stacks of photos
  • spend some time in here doing the things that I love
  • hang our fun, repainted frames here to showcase the kids' artwork and pictures
  • try oodles of new recipes that I've found all over blogland from great recipe blogs
  • try some simple sewing projects that won't send me to the loony bin, maybe take a class from a sewing friend with my daughter (she's a natural, me--not so much)
I'm keeping the list short so that I will hopefully feel a measure of success, instead of that ego-crushing, heart stomping failure come August when I will once again be back to school!