Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Bad Day...New Ideas

This crazy new career called teaching is stressful. Year one is a challenge. There is a good side to bad days though. It forces me to look at what I am doing and think hard about why it isn't working and what I need to try next. Of course then there is all the thinking that makes my head hurt. Speaking of that, that very comment was made by two of my students today. Thinking makes their head hurt. I really don't think they are used to critical thinking at all. How do I teach my students to think for themselve and try something that is new? That is the big question of the day.

We have been working on distributive property for about 3 days now. Today was a disaster mixed with a few rays of light poping though. The projector would not work and I had spent about an hour making a great presentation online. I decided to take the challenge in stride and had the students write the information on the white board as I explained things to them.

What went well...
The students were engaged and willing to work at the board. We went over all the the work we did last week and I really thought the students were ready to tackle the problems.

What didn't go well...
The students get very frustrated when they have to think. Today they had to facor out like terms using the distributive property. Even though I gave them an example on the board, the students could not apply the concept to a new problem. One of my students refused to work. I ended up giving him a detention. I would have accepted work that was done incorrectly, but this student didn't even try. He did not have his name on his paper after 10 minutes! I was so frustrated.  Now I look back and wonder what I could have done differently.

So what is my new plan? I was thinking things over on the way home from dinner. I remembered a suggestion at conference. A teacher actually gives students an answer key for the assignments. I am thinking about giving that a try. It won't work for every type problem, but I think it will for most of them. When it comes right down to it, I am not so worried about that one final right answer. I am more interested in the student learning a concept or process. I want to see that they know how to think critically and apply information. If getting the right answer is hanging them up, then I will supply it. There are other possitives to consider. also. If a student has an answer key, there is less pressure to "get it right" and they can focus on the steps. Also students know where they should end up. If they worked a problem and don't end up at the correct answer they are able to self check their work to try and find out where they went wrong.

So what do you think? Will it help? I am going to give it a try. I will let you know how it goes. I wish I had some followers that had great ideas on lessons for a self contained classroom. We are working under the label of Pre Algebra, but I really need to modify the material so that the students can be successful. Lord, please connect me with some great thinkers out there that I can chat with.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Newbie...Reflections

In honor of NCIS, I am taking on the title of "Newbie" for my teacher reflections. There are so many wonderful things about being the Newbie in a school. During the first few weeks I had not been tainted by the undercurrents that flow in the school. Wonder is starting to wear off now and reality is setting in.

OK, I just really feel like getting this out there in regards to the week I have had, "What was that???" Daily I find myself facing something new and I just can't quit get caught up with any one thing. My special education duties are starting to get in the way of my teaching. Seriously, you non teachers out there just have no idea what kind of time and thinking go into really being prepared. I know, I could just slap some worksheets out there for the students. Think about it though, seriously, who wants to do worksheets? I hate them! Boring. I understand there is a time for them, but not everyday.

Back to SPED this week. One of my students is struggling. I am going to call him "Fred". He is in the 10th grade and has only managed to earn 4 credits. Currently he is failing every class he is enrolled in. I am trying to find a way to reach him, help him, or at the very least reason with him. Can I just tell you, it isn't going so well right now? I can admit it. I don't know how to help him. Plus there are some issues with the administration. Fred called me a f....ing B on Friday when talking to another teacher and he was not punished in any way for it. Let me repeat that...NOT PUNISHED! I just feel like the school lets the students get away with too much. I could give you a list: hoodies up, pants down, fighting, outburst, cursing, calling teachers names, untruth fullness, general disrespect...I am not done, but I will stop.

Fred has stopped working completely. He was told last year that Indiana Law states that a student can test out of a class if they can pass the final. This kid isn't being logical though. We are 4 weeks into the school year and he thinks he can suddenly test out of classes...there fore he won't work. The assistant principal allowed him to take a Pre Algebra final yesterday, which he failed because he didn't show any of his work. Now the student won't go into that class at all.

Today Fred went to resource room to take a quiz. While in resource room he sat and talked instead of working on the test. Support and help were offered but he stated "I don't' need your help. I can do this". Twenty minutes later he turns in a blank quiz, states he is going back to class and tells the TA he didn't do it because he didn't know how. See what I am working with here? he isn't logical in his thinking at all. What do I do with that?

More to come from the Newbie. Good night for now.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Once Apon a Time...

So much of my life feels like a series of novels linked together by some characters who remain in every book while the other characters come and go. I am learning to embrace both the people who are solid and steady and the people who enter for only a few chapters. I guess I am on the whole book thing because I am starting a new novel in life and have been introduced to a new set of associates who are sure to become friends.

August 18, 2009 marks the day that I began my teaching career. Well it was the first student day anyway. I was working for free trying to get ready prior to the 18th. I am working at a high school as a special education teacher. So much to learn, so many great ideas flowing in and out of my head. You will read more than you care to as I work through notes to myself.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Julie and Julia

I caught the first showing of Julie and Julia on Friday. It is funny how a movie can catapult me in a whole new direction. Sometimes I am simply headed back in a direction I was traveling before. The movie was great. After watching it, my hubby and I headed to the library to check out the recipe book that the movie was about.

We got home and began turning the pages of the recipe book talking food, recipes and how much life has changed. Julia Child is delightful and complicated! This brings me back to a desire to cook more. I took a trip to Italy a few years ago and came back armed with recipes and a desire to have a Sunday Dinner. Remember those? The days when the family sat around the table and ate ourselves silly....Mmmm some of my most cherished memories.

I am not so sure how I will fare because I am beginning a brand new teaching career, but I would like to try to set Sundays aside for cooking, baking and family. I guess I want to get back to my roots. (Ahhh...."roots" that reminds me of my hair!)

I keep looking at the Daring Kitchen, thinking I am going to jump right in there. For now I am going to just stay a month behind everyone else and try the recipes as I can. I know, I know...you are saying "just commit and do the thing". Maybe next month.

Friday, August 7, 2009

What Just Happened?

I suddenly feel like I need to rename my blog. Of course, I am not going to. It took way too long to decide on this one. Besides, who is to say that I won't want to change it again in a few more months. With that put aside, I have a question for you...actually it is a question to myself since I am pretty sure I have no followers. This is strictly self therapy for me! Anyway...back to the question. Do you ever just pause, think about your life and wonder, "what just happened?"

Seriously, what a mess life can become. I am not speaking of just one event, although I pulled off a dandy this week. One I am not sure I will be forgiven for, nor do I feel I should be. Maybe I should camp on this one for awhile.

No particulars, nothing revealing. I would hate for any of you to think of me as anything less than a princess. I managed to let an alien take control of my mind this week. I was suddenly faced with a situation that was absolutely nothing, yet my mind went reeling as if I had no control over rational thoughts. Here is some advice, don't ever try and talk something out when you are not in your right mind. I wasn't discussing, I was attacking out of fear. Tonight I am wondering what was I afraid of? Reflecting back I want to blame someone besides myself. "The devil made me do it." Not to get to deep or scare you away, but sometimes I just wonder if he tossing crazy thoughts at me just to mess me up. Or maybe I am was right in saying I just want someone else to blame so I don't look like a complete idiot. I will get back to you with more of this topic later....

A few months ago I thought it would be fun to post some of my creativeness online. There are so many artful blogs out there that I love to look at. Now I just need a place to talk life out. You might be surprised at what you find here in the future. I just took a new teaching job, I am still working as an optician, I have a need to make things which is proving to be difficult at present considering another curve ball in my life, I love to cook and I love my family and friends. You see I have many things I love. I am good at a lot of things, but don't seem to be great at anything. Maybe that is what will make me a good teacher. (assuming I am going to be a good teacher). I heard Beth Moore say something to the effect of "why can't good be good enough. We don't have to be great". So that is what I am going to shoot for through all of this. I am letting go of the dream of being great. Good is good!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


July is a month that screams corn on the cob. I made these cupcakes to celebrate my step-son's birthday. I got a book, Hello Cupcake, and could not resist trying to make these. The cupcakes are lemon with a black raspberry filling. Yum!

Thursday, July 9, 2009


I created this apron for a friend that was turning 50. She loves to Zumba so I added some "zumba coins" to the bottom of the apron. I upcycled a blouse to create the waistband and ties.
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I was just browsing today and found a wonderful site. I love aprons and just enjoy looking at the creations that artist and crafters have made. I just finished another apron last week. I will try and post a picture of it later tonight or tomorrow.
I am excited to begin to find a community of crafters online. I have been a creator of many things over the years. I am enjoying having some time this summer to revist my love of creating.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Puppy love...there is nothing like having a puppy who really loves you. Birdie just turned
one at the end of June. We had a great time celebrating her birthday. I made her some
peanutbutter cookies...whole wheat of course! She loved them.
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Wednesday, July 1, 2009

This is a copy of the wedding invitation that I am working on for my brother. I love to play with photo's and it is a great thing to do on a cool cloudy day. It also helps to pass the time while I am waiting for a call...any call about a teaching job.
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Sunday, May 17, 2009

Kitchen Garden Redo

I have had a kitchen garden for some years now. I dream of a huge veggie garden full of all the healthy foods that I love and eat. For now, we have a small kitchen garden right off the front deck. This year my man and I are going to focus on getting projects done around our home. We have so many to complete. There is always a new idea that captures our attention. I will post the progress we make on our projects. It may be slow moving since I have been on restricted activity since Feb. I must say, I am healing, it is just a very slow process. I am also working on finding a full time teaching job so that will take much of my time. I can only plan to do small things, but I plan to have fun doing even those smallest of task!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Time Warp

It is amazing how fast that time goes by. I am continually reading post of other blogs and wondering how everyone post on a regular basis. I have been teaching a lot lately and haven't even averaged one post a month. I have found another interest...wikis. I wonder how many of you out there have wikis and how you utilize them. I wan't to use mine as a classroom wiki. I am developing mine currently to serve as a resourse.

Another interest that has taken up some of my time online is twitter. Anyone out there twittering? I don't think it will be something for me. I am not good about answering email. I can't imagine keeping up with twitter.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Girls Night Out

Aprons, aprons and more aprons!!! This is the final result of a renewed love of mine. After trying to decide on a theme for a girls night out, I somehow feel in love with the idea of making aprons. I am not sure why I love them so much. I hardly have worn an apron. There is just something about them that brings back memories of my childhood. I can visualize my grandmother cooking over the stove. So, aprons had become the theme of "girls night out".
I quickly enlisted the help and knowledge of my wonderful friend Dot. It has been years since I have sewn a thing. Although I have a love for creating, I also have a love for measuring, planing and mearuring some more. The day that we started making aprons was a refreshing and difficult time for me. I wanted to overthink everything. In the mean time, Dot would just snip, rip and ask "what do you think?". Boy did I have a lot to learn that day. Now I am embracing the fabrics and letting the aprons happen. I can't wait to share more of our creations.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Just For Starters...

I have been thinking about starting a blog for some time now. I have avoided it until this moment because I really had no idea how to begin. Today, I am jumping right in and starting. I have a lot to learn but I am ready to begin my journey as a blogger.

I am a recent college graduate and have finally found time for something other than homework. I am an educator, creator and dreamer! I have many interest and look forward to building new friendships during the process of learning about blogging.

My most recent creative efforts have resulted in a renewed interest in sewing, particularly arpons. I love them. I hope to post a few pictures soon.