Thursday, January 29, 2009


If you're my friend on facebook, you've probably already read this.


I love lists!!!

1. I detest bickering.

2. I like fixing comma splices. I feel smart.

3. I make grammatical errors all the time. They make me cringe.

4. I hate housework.

5. I like hot coffee in the morning. I take it with cream. I crave Bailey's, but I can control myself.

6. I love my husband. The thought of double dipping repulses me.

7. I love teaching. I'm a workaholic. Sometimes, I think about teaching so much I forget about my own family. I'm selfish that way.

8. I miss traveling. I used to travel a lot with my parents. Now, I don't travel as often. I mourn not traveling.

9. I like expensive shoes. I love a nice leather. I like nice purses. :) I'm nuts that way.

10. I have a fear of crazy church. I don't like the idea of experimenting with churches. I don't want to find myself in a big room full of people who belittle others. I'm scared of sexist pigs hiding behind bibles. I'm scared of child beaters hiding behind bibles.

11. I swear. A lot. In private.

12. I won't swear in front of your kids. I hate when people swear too much out in the open in front of little kids.

13. I wish I was a better mom. I wish I had the right push at the right time. I let things slide too much.

14. My favorite color is red. I love red. It just makes me happy.

15. You probably already know this, but when I'm tired, I lose things. A lot. I still remember retracing my steps to Hornbacher's with Belden in college looking for my glasses. We never found that pair.

16. I hate chatting on the phone. Now that I'm a teacher. I talk all day. I hate small talk on the phone. I don't want to talk if I don't have to. I come home and don't say much. It's a surprise to me.

17. I can control my alcohol intake. I respect alcoholic drinks. :) I can not control my sweets. :(

18. I miss my grandma. When she died, I was pissed that I couldn't call her and tell her she died. I needed her comforting for her death.

19. When good things happen to my friends, I don't get jealous. I'm very happy for them.

20. I'm learning to keep a secret.

21. Sometimes, I forget that my students are not my kids. They have real parents at the end of the day.

22. I'm learning I can't save every student. I can only try.

23. I'm learning that sometimes I'm a bitch. And that's ok.

24. I've been married to Jason for 12 years.

It all started when I ran over my glasses....

Last friday as I drove to school, I put on my sunglasses. When I got to school, I couldn't find my regular glasses. I hoped they were in my purse. When class started, I reached into my purse and didn't find them. I searched every nook and cranny.

During my prep, I ran to the store and took one last look for my glasses. I got out of my car and looked down. There they were right under the car tire. And so... there I am in my glasses.

Saturday was a perfect day with Jason drinking tea in coffee shops and browsing photos in a photo show. We went to the movie "Gran Torino" staring Clint Eastwood. I loved the movie. I fell in love with Clint Eastwood. Of course, I started making connections to "The Outsiders" and wondered if my students watched the movie too. My mind always works that way.

Sunday. Well. Sunday was not a perfect day. Our pipes were frozen. I couldn't wash dishes nor clothes. In the meantime, Jason was going to fix the brakes of my mini-van, and I helped him clear a space in the garage for my big red beast. As I ran outside to get something out of the van, I fell on some ice and landed on my big red bum. I felt every vertebrae jar into the other. I looked at J and said "I felt that."

Later that night, I washed dishes. The pipes in the kitchen thawed. I eyed the pile of clothes sitting by my washer. The pile was high. So high I knew we were desperate.

I walked over to the washer and put my fingers down the "out" pipe. The water was so cold. I took a stick and slushed it around and added more hot water. That water was going no where.

Finally, Jason and I devised a plan. I filled the washing machine with all the necessaries. I let the machine go through its regular cycle. When it was time for the water to drain, I took the hose and connected it to a longer hose and had the water empty into a rubbermaid container. Then, I pulled the rubbermaid container and emptied it bucket by bucket into the sink.

I was feeling pretty smart.

As I was doing my third load of laundry, I held on to the hose with one hand and folded some laundry with the other. I smugly smiled at my cleverness. When it came time for the water to drain, I clasped at the hose, but suddenly, the hose disconnected and started flingly wildly. Water flew at me at all directions. Water was leaking on to the floor.

Everything was a mess.

And so there I stood, mopping the water up when I suddenly heard the gurgle of water. Water draining from the out pipe down into our septic tank. The pipes had finally thawed.

Mother Nature had the last laugh after all.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Poetry Out Loud - I'm impressed.

This week, we've wrapped up our poetry unit. I've heard Robert Frost. I've heard Shakespeare. I've hard Ann Taylor, Maya Angelou, and even more Robert Frost. I have to tell you I'm impressed. I don't think there's anything more sincere than a seventh grade boy reciting "The Road Less Traveled."

The way they rock back and forth.

The way they look at only me during their recitation or better yet perhaps close their eyes.

My heart breaks.

I know these kids. They tell me about their hopes and dreams in their journals and papers. The poems they've chosen break my heart.

They're so brave.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

My day..

Ok.... So. I didn't get anything done. Not one thing on my list, but I didn't spend the ENTIRE day on facebook. I did something.

What did I do?

I brought Natalie's mits to school. She had mits, but they weren't her favorite. So, I brought her her favorite. I chatted with the school's secretary for a while.

I ran errands. Like, I think I got some buttermilk for the cake I baked for my mom's birthday. That's right. I chatted with the workers at the supermarket or a while.

I got gas. I noticed I only had a quarter tank. So I stopped by my favorite gas station and told Joey to "Filler up" while I listened to music with my cool shades in the warmth of my pimpin' mini van.

I went home. I checked my facebook and "poked" my friends who "poked" me while I was out.

I burned a few CD's.

Afterwards, I turned up the tunes and washed dishes.

I folded laundry.

I played my turn at Scrabble on facebook.

I made my mom's Italian Creme Cake for her birthday.

I washed dishes.

I checked my facebook.

I made frosting.

I washed dishes.

I picked the girls up from school.

When I got home, I realized I had only eaten frosting the whole entire day. I made oatmeal and fell asleep from my sugar high.

I made supper. I washed dishes.

I went to my mom's house for her birthday. I chatted with mom and her friends for a while.

I came home.

I read to Allison.

I checked my facebook.

I washed some more laundry.

I washed more dishes.

I read.

I tried to fall asleep.

I wrote this blog.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

My Day off

Tomorrow, I'll have the day off. Jason and the girls don't. I'm tickled. I get a day to myself. When I first thought about it, I thought I would spend the day on the couch drinking coffee and checking my facebook.

And I realized. I had other options....

What's a gal to do?

1. Correct papers and enter them into my gradebook.

2. Wash my floors.

3. Vacuum. Everywhere.

4. Dust. Everywhere.

5. Take down the Christmas Tree. Seriously. I need to take that baby down.

I just may need a day off of my day off.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Loud Poetry

For the past few days, the students have been reciting their poetry out loud for Poetry Out Loud. Today, the students are making flash cards. On one side of the card they are putting two to three lines of the poems. On the other side of the flashcard, they are drawing a picture that will help them visualize those lines.

After a half hour coloring, the students put away their flashcards and worked on their memorization skills. My room got very loud as many different poems were being recited at once.

The words of Robert Frost, Emily Dickinson, Maya Angelou, Margaret Atwood, Robert Browning, and many more are being murmured within my classroom walls. It's exciting.

The students are coming up to me with their poems and asking me what I think of a certain line and what it might mean. For the most part, the student's intuition was right and when I help them confirm their thoughts, they smile. The poem is etched a little deeper into their hearts.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Allison's New Glasses

Allie got her new glasses. She got them in the mail on Friday. She was thrilled. For years Allison has been taking out Natalie and my glasses and putting them on herself. Now she has her very own pair.

At the hockey and basketball games this past weekend, she has been going into everyone's face asking them if they like her new glasses.

"Do you like my new glasses? They are a pink- sugar color with rhinestones."


Allison's cousin Mariah is mad. Mariah wants glasses now. She wouldn't even sit next to Allison at lunch yesterday.

Allison can't wait for the big day tomorrow when she enters the school and shows the entire world her new pink-sugar glasses with rhinestones on the side.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


We had bacon cheese burgers and tater tots for lunch... Whenever we have tater tots at school I'm reminded of this...

Poetry- it's a Piece of Cake.....

We went to the computer lab to find about 100 perfect poems to recite. I walked around helping and guiding students into finding their poems. I had a blast. The students were into it. I only had one student complain.

"I hate poetry Mrs. Aakhus"

"This is boring. Mrs. Aakhus."

The other students started getting angry with her.

She continued whining.

Over and over. Finally, I took a look at her and said "Have you ever been given a piece a cake that is not your favorite cake? And when you had that cake, shout out 'This cake stinks!' I bet you haven't. You only need to state how much you hate poetry once. After that, you're ruining it for the rest of us. It's rude."

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Poetry- Outloud?

My students are confused. I'm expecting them to memorize a poem and recite it to the class. As part of a grant our school is participating in a Poetry Out Loud competition. I decided to incorporate it into my poetry unit. The organization maintains that students learn many skills along with reciting poetry.

Poetry offers mastery of language, and stocks the mind with images and ideas in unforgettable words and phrases

• Poetry trains and develops our emotional intelligence

• Poetry reminds us that language is holistic—that how something is said is part of what is being said, with the
literal meaning of words only part of their whole meaning, which is also carried by tone of voice, inflection, rhythm

• Poetry lets us see the world through other eyes, and equips us imaginatively and spiritually to face the joys and challenges of our lives

For the past few days, we've been reading poetry. We've been listening to an Elizabeth Alexander interview on NPR. We've been watching a Nikki Giavonni interview I found on iTunes. The kids have watched a video I made on "The Highwayman" by Alfred Noyes. This is the youtube version of the poem/song.

A lot of students have been whining.

"Not poetry! How boring!"

These are the same students who volunteer to read the poems. So, I totally ignore them. They're supposed to whine about poetry. It's expected.

One of our colleagues has worked diligently on this program. She set up a visit from Diane Tribbit who presented the program to our students. She talked a lot about Poetry Outloud and how one poem can save a life. She really connected with the students when she told them about when her husband died. I hate to admit I had a few tears in my eyes. Some of the students wiped a tear from their eyes too. The students watched a DVD of some of the winners from the national contest. They were on the edge of their seats.

How boring.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Thursday, January 1, 2009

A Year in Forty Seconds.

I thought this was a beautiful video of a "Year in Forty Seconds."

My year seemed to go by in forty seconds or less.

I finished my degree.
I started my job.
My youngest started first grade.
My oldest started fourth grade.
We had bees.
We sold cars.
I started to blog.
I made progress on my bills.

If I didn't stop and think about it, I'd probably think nothing happened this last year.

This last year was probably one of the most eventful years of my life. I've met some amazing students with amazing pasts. I've had the honor to be mentored by some of the most thoughtful and provoking teachers I've ever met.

A lot can happen in forty seconds.