Saturday, December 31, 2011

You can never have too many

Quotes by Gary Paulsen

“Why do I read?
I just can't help myself.
I read to learn and to grow, to laugh
and to be motivated.
I read to understand things I've never
been exposed to.
I read when I'm crabby, when I've just
said monumentally dumb things to the
people I love.
I read for strength to help me when I
feel broken, discouraged, and afraid.
I read when I'm angry at the whole
I read when everything is going right.
I read to find hope.
I read because I'm made up not just of
skin and bones, of sights, feelings,
and a deep need for chocolate, but I'm
also made up of words.
Words describe my thoughts and what's
hidden in my heart.
Words are alive--when I've found a
story that I love, I read it again and
again, like playing a favorite song
over and over.
Reading isn't passive--I enter the
story with the characters, breathe
their air, feel their frustrations,
scream at them to stop when they're
about to do something stupid, cry with
them, laugh with them.
Reading for me, is spending time with a
A book is a friend.
You can never have too many.”
Gary Paulsen, Shelf Life: Stories by the Book

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

I'm Electric!!" width="420">

Boogy Woogy Boogy Woogy -

My cell phone keeps shutting down on me  --- I thought it was my cell phone - sigh bad luck - and now it has dawned on me - that it's actually me.

I'm Electric!!! Boogy woogy woogy...

I am the static queen - I get electric shocks everywhere I go -  I can barely touch electronics - or zap !!  Also, I stop watches.  I wonder if it is special powers - maybe I'm a secret wonder-woman?  But then, I think that's fairly common - 

So - guess I'll be keeping my cell in my purse -

Monday, December 19, 2011

On Nicknames

 This weekend, I visited my mom and dad while mom was still recovering from surgery.  Last week, a town local passed away from complications from lung cancer.  As we talked about his life and all that he had been involved in, I asked my dad about this fellow's nickname, Splash.

"It's because when he jumped in the river, he made a big splash.  He was kinda one of those chubby-type kids."

"I love our local nicknames."

"Hahaha" mom called out, "Remember Hollywood?" 


"Yeah, she was a dancer at Sivard's  Remember Sivard's?"

I shook my head, no.

My mom nodded to my dad, and he told me the story of Holly wood.

"Well, Hollywood wore too much make-up, so they called her Hollywood, but never, ever to her face. Even when Hollywood was older, she still wore so much make up. She was a waitress, and one day Smith calls out her her, 'Hey Hollywood!' She walked quietly over to him and says very quietly and serious, 'Don't ever call me that again, if you do, you won't be welcome here.'  So, that was a nickname that stuck, but she didn't like, so we didn't say it to her face."

I need to write these nicknames down.  Of course, there's Splash and his brother Spluck.  There's Blackie, Traffic Jam,  Schmidty, Pierre, Hockey Bob (my dad), Bear, Turkey, Julio, and Julio Jr.   Of course, there's many, many more.

Of course, not all nicknames are wanted, and it's probably not nice to document them.  The imagination says something. These nicknames bring our history that much more alive.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Let the Honey Soak Through

“Place a beehive on my grave and let the honey soak through, when I am dead and gone that's what I want from you. The streets of heaven and gold and sunny, but I'll stick with my plot and a pot of honey. Place a beehive on my grave and let the honey soak through.”   
―      Sue Monk Kidd,        The Secret Life of Bees

I had heard the news that a young man from an area town had died.  I hadn't heard his full name until yesterday morning.  I hadn't heard that he had committed suicide until that moment. 

When I connected the dots, I realized he had been a student in one of my first classes. I felt like I had been punched in the gut.

I had remembered his smile and how we talked about his family's honey business.  Jason was into bees, too.  We had a lot to talk about.

It's a nightmare to think he would take his own life.  He was twenty-one years old - a bright, beautiful boy- a charmer. His girlfriend broke up with him.  I suppose he felt as though his over.

Oh beautiful boy, you would have made an excellant man.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

What She Left Behind

When Jason's grandma passed away two years ago, I inherited some of her UFOs (UnFinished Objects).  This railroad quilt will be my father--in-law's Christmas Gift.  I love lookng at the fabric - everything is old-fashioned and made from scraps.  I love that since the dear never let anything to waste.  I may even wrap this in a cereal box - like she used to!   As I stitch in the ditch, I remember all the laughs we had shared and how much she loved us all.  I bet Paul will be able to look at the fabric and remember a sister's dress or another project she had completed. I can spot some material used in a baby quilt I'll be presenting to Jason's neice born last week. 

  Grandma had given me some of the baby blocks she had made over the years and asked if I would finish this one for Justin's first born.  Of course, the newest one is a blondie - like her cousins - so this quilt is perfect!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Our Picasso

School is more difficult for some.  I'm so glad that my dyslexic's teachers have compassion for that.  Over the past three months, her academic, self-esteem has soared.  Grades have steadily climbed. There are actual As from spelling tests on our refrigerator. 

Our little one is involved with Title - she goes to a specific teacher who helps her target reading skills. This teacher stopped me in the hallway one day last week and told me that he was so happy to report that he has been so proud of her progress, too. She has went from "Echo Reading" to more fluent reading.  At home, she is always quoting his strategies and telling me what they are doing in class.

In fact, she quotes all of her teachers, and they all have been so patient as her brain tries to find different connections to learn to read.  Reading better means better success in the coming years.  Thank God for those teachers - what would she do without them?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

OH - Chapter Three

Dear Chapter Three,

I am just a lowly Spanish teacher in the cold of Minnesota trying so hard to help my students learn twenty-three new verbs.

I realize Chapter Three that you a pretty excited to have students learn so much in BAM! those twenty pages, but I'm finding that most students are scared and unsure of themselves after having to just learn only one verb in Chapter 2, the verb tener.

I stress over and over how learning a language involves study every night And I know, they don't study their vocabulary every night.  I know that most of the learning takes place in the classroom. I was like that, too.  When I was their age, I was a bit ditzy myself.  But, Chapter Three, you confuse even the brightest kids in the class and golly gee - sometimes even me.

We are learning about AR verbs, and I knew that I had to learn something from my teaching experiences last year.  Chapter Three, you  assume that kids have more background knowledge and assumption skills.  You forget on page 95 that it doesn't introduce the AR verbs found on page 100 until page 100.  Got that?  Oh dear Chapter Three.

Chapter Three, if it wasn't enough to teach students twenty new AR verbs, why did you throw in ir, dar, y estar? And again, there are those questions on page 95 that assume we know what you will teach us on page 102. 

I'm sorry to tell you this, but Chapter Three, I had to lay you off for the last two weeks and make my own materials.  These materials included verb charts and tranlsation sentences - and dare I say - sentences the students wrote on their own. 

At the end of the week, we may find ourselves back within your pages.  I just hope you have learned your lesson. 

La seƱora Aakhus

Monday, December 5, 2011

Quilts for Kids

Hooray Hooray!  Snip-n-Stitch Quilters have surpassed last years 45 Quilts for Kids with 53 this year!  Hooray!  It took me a while to spot my quilts within the picture and sure, my sewing still leaves much to be desired - but I keep on sewing - it improves ever' year.  Maybe one day I won't be embarassed by my sloppy stitches - and it may even help that I started using reading glasses to quilt and stitch my materpieces!  (Oh dear - bifocals are not far off  I'm afraid )

I was a bit late for this years send off so I missed the opportunity to be photographed, but I wanted to share this picture because I just love all of these quilters so much!