Monday, August 29, 2011

An International Gift

Somewhere out in this world is a twenty-six year old male who had a thought that he could do something to make the world a better place.

Maybe he nonchalantly thought he would put his DNA in the database thinking he'd never be a match.  

And one day, he received a letter that he was a potential match.  They asked him if he would be willing to go through further testing, and willingly he went into his local clinic and had them send a blood sample for more testing. 

And they found he was the perfect match to a thirty-nine year old female living in the United States.

And so, willingly, he went to get more testing and shots to  build up his stem cells.

And at this very moment those stem cells are being harvested to go across the world to a woman whom he never even met.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Mindset List

Every year since 1998, Beloit College has created the Mindset List - to remind educators how different young adult's mindset is compared to ours.  Our principal sent this link out this morning.  I thought I'd share!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Facing a Nightmare

For the past four months, we have been fighting our own war for both my sister's and mother's lives.  Each battle has been in our favor so far.  I am so grateful for that.

A little over a week ago, my husband sent me  a link.  A young father, who is a soldier, lost his life in Afghanistan.  I saw his name and realized it was the older brother of a past student in Fosston.  It took my breath away realizing our biggest fear had come true for them - they had lost a their sibling, their son, their father, and a husband. They were facing my nightmares -

I always liked this family.  I sat with this soldier's parents one evening on a fan bus.  They were some of the nicest people I ever met.  I really enjoyed their son in my classroom, and I loved hearing their stories of their family.  Just real home spun people - - very modest and knew what was important in life to them - family, hobbies, God, and travel.  I talked so much to them I nearly wore myself out from all my laughter.

In a T.V. interview, the soldier's dad said that he was sad to lose his son, but he knew where his son is now, and that was a comfort, but he felt so bad that his grandchildren lost their father.  I get that.

Great Lesson Idea part 2 - The time-travel ad by John Silveira Issue #125

After students wrote their own journal entries, letters, short stories, or what have you, I would share the real story behind the ad. I would also ask them to write another journal based on the real story - a reaction or another short story. John Silveira has created a 13 year journey of imagination with those few lines - and according to him - the mullet does not even belong to him some guy added his picture to the ad claiming it was him - oh - geez.

John Silviera even signed a movie contract based on this small writing - and oh -I have high hopes for this movie!

Here is the real story - I hope you are inspired like I am.

The time-travel ad by John Silveira Issue #125

Monday, August 22, 2011

Great Assignment - Part 1

This ad has made the rounds over the internet quite a few times - but I think it has all kinds of possibilities for creative writing assignments and journal entries.  A student could write a response to the ad saying why they would want to time travel - or they  could write an imagined background for the writer of the ad.  Or - they could write a science fiction short story based on this ad. 

I'm sure other teachers have found this and thought of this before - I hope so!!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Missi's Little Shadow!

Mykayla loved Missi's black hat with the pink flower.  For some reason, I really love that!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Ha - Maybe we'll get all of our reporting from Comedy Central

Say what you want about whatever candidate - I think we have to take a closer look at our sources and their accuracy along with their priorities of omission.

Social Studies and English teachers will have lots of fodder for assignments on propaganda and accuracy for the next year and a half.  We'll have to challenge our students to find the truth and weed through agendas.  

Sunday, August 14, 2011

A Brief Homecoming.

 Missi came home!  Even if for just a brief while, she got sit with her babies and watch a movie in her own house.s  She was able to see the changed we made throughout her house.  She was able to buy tennis shoes with the girls for school. 
Of course, she won't be there for Ethan's football games this fall or Mykayla's first day of Kindergarten. And I know she wants to be sure Mariah's hair is de-tangled.  I know that hurts for her, and I seem to forget that all the time. I forget until it's time to leave and how hard it is to leave.  

I have to keep reminding myself that Missi will be here for Mykayla's graduation, Mariah's softball games, and Ethan's golf meets. 

When Missi came home, she had Mark drive her around town.  She reported to me every house that was for sale - and noticed any additions any of her neighbors had made.  I hadn't noticed. I hadn't realized how much Missi missed the town.  Our town is such a pretty little town, and you wouldn't believe the colors in the fall.  I guess I would miss the town too.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Say Goodbye to No Child Left Behind.

School starts in twenty-five days. Because of the state shutdown, many school districts will know if they met AYP or not until sometime  in September.

I roll my eyes at this.  Our district deadlines have all been followed precisely.  The government shut-down was three weeks, so why should the state have an extra month to give the results to districts?  Are these tests all that hard to grade?  I don't get why the results  aren't available at the end of the school year.

A week ago, Arne Duncan announced a waiver program releasing the states from some of the requirements  from NCLB.  Mark Dayton announced immediately that Minnesota would apply for one of these waivers immediately.  Details of these waivers won't be available until September. 

What else happens in September?  Oh that's right.  School starts.  We should already have a plan on how to best serve our little darlings. 

Educators state-wide are cheering Dayton everywhere, and I've always been happy with Dayton's stance against No Child Left Behind since he was a senator back in the early 2000's.  But I want more from Dayton.  I want a complete thumb to nose to Arne Duncan - I want the state of Minnesota to stand up to the federal government and say what Dayton is really thinking...

No Child Left Behind is not good for our kids.  No Child Left Behind is not good for our schools.

Kids spend more time testing yearly than teachers, accountants, med students, and lawyers.  Of course, I have no idea how much time is used in each classroom across the state preparing students for these tests.  We are spending too much time worrying about kids' test scores rather than things that really matter.

Throughout the districts of which I taught, many students are in the red - Their basic needs are not even being met.  Students come to school hungry, and thankfully, the breakfast program helps with this.  The fact is that many parents can't even afford to feed their children breakfast, and that says a lot right there.  I remember one school district I taught in an 18 year old stayed in an abandoned farm house and would come to town early to shower at a friend's house.  I never realized how many homeless young adults there are.  How many sixteen-year-olds hop from one friend's house to another's. 

In another class, Maybe, a girl told me that she had been raped. Maybe another girl tells me she didn't make it to school because she was taking care of a her mother who had a hangover.   Maybe there's a kids in the corner with a new black and blue mark they can't explain.  In that same class, there's probably a kid or four who has ADD.  Maybe there's three kids who have a reading disorder or two.

All the while No Child Left Behind is pushing for results, district budgets call for bigger class sizes.  Which means all these kids are in the same classroom learning how to prepare for a test that is virtually meaningless to them.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Education Rethink: A Note To Myself As a First-Year Teacher

Love this!

Education Rethink: A Note To Myself As a First-Year Teacher: "The following is a note I'm writing back to myself before entering my first year of teaching. This might be a bit cheesy, but I do this eve..."

I'm Using This! - Something that Doesn't Matter

 A young girl  posted this picture on facebook.  I poked around on the internet and found that this was an actual photo of an actual CNN news story.

I see this as a perfect springboard to many classroom assignments.

Journals -

Are Americans Superficial?
What is newsworthy?

Comparison/Contrast Papers -

Compare news stories from previous decades to now.
Compare and contrast different news organizations.
Compare and contrast what different chip bags and their noisiness (ha just kidding - CNN has already done that for us.)

I'm sure this just begins to cover what we could do with news stories like this - I'd like my students to bring in pictures and news articles like this so we could make fun of them - I think it's a lesson on priorities and what's important in life.   What should we focus on?  What do we prioritize? 

And also,  it's good to see someone young be critical of superficial priorities, isn't it?  Yay girl - you bring me hope.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Good News for Teachers

Wowwieee  facebook !  Thanks for making teaching look a real professional career choice!  Imagine this guy teaching your 15 year old.  Nice hickey teach!

When I saw this add on facebook,  I thought "Shazaam  Golly~! I'd better go and get my Master's in Education."

Which think about it... Master's in Education.....  Master is in education?  Master owns education?  

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Time Travel

I had a rough morning yesterday.  Ethan's insulin pump was acting up and he was running very high.  He was lying low while the girls and I cleaned like crazy.  After lunch, my mom took the Peterson girls to the dentist.

My windows in my room were open.  The humidity had finally dropped to 43%, and the breeze was amazing. I decided to lie down on my bed and close my eyes for just a few minutes.

I was totally relaxed.  Suddenly, the sounds from outside reminded me of the when I'd lay down for a nap back when I was a kid.  The smell of a house being tidied up.  Cars driving by,  birds chirping, and squirrels arguing.  I felt like I was five. - Before ever having a job, children, having a spouse, or ever having to worry about other people's medical health.