Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Good Housekeeping

Last week, I got my Good Housekeeping magazine in the mail. The cover story is about women who changed the world.

I was pretty pumped and put my jammies on and climbed into bed with the magazine. I started reading - and I was annoyed with the women they chose in the top eight or ten.

Number 1 is Oprah - and yes - she is influential. I get that. I'm not sure if I think she is number one... She's fine.

Number 2 is Hilary Clinton - and yes - she has been influential too.

Number 3 is Mother Theresa - ummm - a saint - TOTAL AWESOMENESS.

Number 4 is Rosa Parks - she should be Number 1 - or at least the greatness of her so overshadows number 1 and 2 in my eyes.

Number 5 is Eleanor Roosevelt - fine - but


Number 6 is Michelle Obama - ok - seriously? She seems classy - she has great arms, and she seems to be a real nice lady.

I'd hang with her at the pool.

What exactly has she done that has made her surpass Marie Curie, Anne Frank, and Toni Morrison? Why is Harriet Tubman in the middle of the list and Ms. Obama number 6?

Where's Simone de Beauvoir? Dang.

The author of The Second Sex?

Where's Betty Friedan? Author of The Feminine Mystique?

OH - yeah - I'm reading Good Housekeeping - that's right - and I'm not that good at housekeeping.

One is not born a woman, but becomes one.
Simone de Beauvoir

Monday, April 26, 2010

Saying Goodbye

As the days go by, I've been pausing at desks bending down and telling certain kids that I'm going to miss them.

Like, for instance, the cowboy - I still remember when I saw this little seventh grader with his great big belt buckle, freckles, and a cowboy hat, and boots. I had to stop at his desk and tell him that he'd be just the kid that would have been my husband's best friend in high school. He's the kid who made me a book mark out of duct tape. It may not seem much to you, but to me, it means the world.

I'm going to miss so many kids - and I guess that gets me down- I won't necessarily see their ending. Once I leave, will I know what becomes of them?

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Another Flu

I gots the flu again this weekend. I couldn't do much but lay in bed and sleep the morning away. All afternoon, I watched episode after episode of "My Name is Earl." Eventually, I knew I was feeling better when I was hungry at 5:00 tonight. Now, it's 11:00, and I'm not sleepy because I slept all morning.

This morning, I had the same old weird dreams like I had had the weekend before. I can't remember them this time. I just know I had dreams of Jason's Grandma Tracy and all kinds of people I missed a bunch.

Earlier this afternoon, Jason suggested to me I may feel better if I went outside - I took his advice and rode the four wheeler with Allie Ann. He was right - I felt loads better. I had a smile on my face once again.

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Girls

I have a group of girls in my yearbook class - and I just have to say I love them. They keep me grounded. I love talking to them about prom, college, and graduation. I love talking to them about motherhood and about doing the right thing and doing the wrong thing when we should do the right thing.

I try to be kind and listen with a gentle heart. I try to laugh and let them know it's not a big deal at the end of life.

And although I am counting down the days to my last day, I'm going to miss these juniors and seniors with all of my heart. I'm dreading my last day. It's so bittersweet.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Cheese Touch..

A few weeks ago, we went to the movie "Diary of A Wimpy Kid," and I gotta tell you this show - it has its moments. I love the cheese touch, but I don't want the cheese touch.

I hafta say... there are kids in this movie who remind me of my classmates, my daughters, my students, and even of myself.

The characters crack me up - I mean Greg - what a lovable jerk!

Rowley - the perfect best friend!

Patty = aaaaa = scary girl!

Freagley - Watch out for that mole!

These books have been some of my favorites to recommend as a teacher. Jeff Kinney has an excellent voice that brings laughter and dread to any middle schooler or past middle schooler. I can't think of any kid bringing back the book and saying "Lame." They've all smiled and giggled as they've returned it back to my desk.

Junior High

What surprises me the most about junior high kids is how it matters so much who they sit by. I mean, they have a heart attack if they don't sit by their best friend. They have a heart attack if they are grouped with some boy they consider to be a nerd. I guess I remembered that now that I think about it. You know, you want to be grouped with the people your comfortable with - but - that is why I assign groups - I assign seats - because well - it's important to get to know everyone - to give everyone a chance. I mean - don't we all have to get used to sitting by someone we don't get along with at some point. We have to be polite -

But the thing is - this polite thing - is really hard for them.

"oooo no - I have to sit by her" one boy calls out "She has a crush on me."

For cryin' out loud! These words were spoken at the top of his lungs.

This poor girl had tears in her eyes. I told him to "Shush" and took him outside while he got the "OH my gwarsh - was there a better way of doing this" speech.

But then, we had a teachers in-service. Teachers were saving spots for their best friends. Seriously. You couldn't sit next to Y because she was holding a spot for X. Seriously folks. I went and sat where I knew I'd be welcome - just like any other seventh grader would do.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Budget Cuts - Is the Recession Really Over?

I've known for the past two weeks that my job is being eliminated due to budget cuts. School districts everywhere are facing cuts. In fact, the school board in Crookston is facing cuts of 1.5 million dollars.
I am slowly sifting through the materials in my desk deciding which materials are mine and which belong to the school. When my boss first told me of the cuts, I felt as though I was going through a divorce - and the school gets the kids. Slowly, I'm feeling better. I

Monday, April 12, 2010

5 Minute Flu

Last weekend, I got the flu. I was down and out. I slept on and off all day dreaming of strange, odd dreams. One dream I had was that we had to move to Winona. Why? I wasn't sure. In my dream, I was touring our future house and thinking about how much paint it needed. I thought about the stain on the carpet. I worried about a roaring blizzard outside as we made our way back to Red Lake Falls to pack up our belongings. I woke up and found it to be Spring.

Later that day, I dreamed I was with my family in Hawaii. Jason and I were rowing our homemade rafts along the coast. I found an old college mate and we visited on their dock. Instead of taking their nice sailboat, we went back on our rickety rafts back to Wakiki Beach and our hotel. I woke up thirsty and had some powerade.

For almost two days I was out like a light.

Natalie got the same flu. She got up in the middle of the night, took care of business, and went back to bed.

She was over it within five minutes. Must be nice being a kid.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Life Soundtrack

So - I have to make my final weeks at school count - memorable - or whatever. I'm not going to coast. Ya hear me?

WE will learn a thing or two.

I regret never being able to go to the Six Traits of Writing workshop - sigh... But this is how we write - or are supposed to write. So - I've done some digging on the internet and thinking. I did find something I liked.... A lesson plan called an "Autobiographical Soundtrack." I think this will be a great way to have kids write - ok ok I'm sure you've heard about this before... yeah I know - but.... What a great way to get them to write a simple essay!!!

First trait - "The Idea" The kids actually get to think about thinks they care about!!

Second Trait - "Organization" I think it's pretty easy to think of three to five songs and write a paragraph about how each song represents their life.

Third Trait - "Word Choice" I can't wait for the kids to take their journals and find ways to perfect their writing to make it more understandable and interesting to their readers.

Fourth Trait - "Sentence Fluency" Woo hoo for fluency - let's write some beautiful sentences for some beautiful music.

Fifth Trait - "Voice" - As "Voice" is really hard to explain - the only way I can explain it is in music - it's like personality! You know? What puts the zip and the Zap.

Sixth Trait - "Conventions" I love that this trait is presented last - because I think students worry about their grammar quite a bit - and yes - it's important - but - that's what editing is for - to go back after all these things and perfect it a little bit more - and maybe with the help of a friend.

Now for ideas - I've been thinking about "Wild World" by Cat Stevens -

I've posted this video before - and I love the song because gowrsh darn it - life is crazy and wild - and especially being young.

I've also been thinking about "Dear Bobbie" by Yellowcard -

For obvious reasons - for one I like that my name is in the title. For two, I love the old man - he sounds so cute. Doesn't he?

J. would play this song in his band - so fun to dance to!

I think I like this version better though....

Can you just imagine me dancing? There's more songs too of course.... It's fun to think about. I figure that if I'd like to write the essay - maybe they would too?

Sunday, April 4, 2010


I've been dreaming a lot. It seems like I have the most vivid dreams in the Spring. Last night, I dreamed I was back in high school competing in Speech with Mrs. V.E. I can't be quite sure if I was in junior high in 2010 or in 1988, BUT I do know I was in junior high.

In my dream, Mrs. V.E. called my house. Not the house I live in now, but the square house I grew up in. She told me they were waiting for me and my sister to get on the speech bus. I hurried and got ready and picked up a bunch of speeches I had been considering giving and took my sister by the hand and ran out the door.

On the speech bus, I noticed some of my seventh and eighth graders on the bus. Also there was a ninth grader or two. Also - there were some kids from where I student taught along with some of my childhood friends.

In my dream, I sat with my sister and the bus was crowded. I had to demand a place to sit. I was looking through papers and wondering which speech I should give. "Us and Them" by David Sedaris? How about "Seventh Grade" by Gary Soto? Or this funny speech about facebook?

I awoke to Allison jumping on the bed showing me her loot from the Easter Bunny. I was relieved. I didn't have to worry about who I was sitting next to on the bus. I didn't have to wonder what speech to give. I just sat up and smiled at Allie ooing and aweing over chocolate.