Thursday, August 30, 2007

Notebook Celebration

The day started off with sprinkles coming down as I tried to unload my heavy cart from the back end of my car this morning. I pulled it behind me as I made my way into the building to set up for an 8:00 meeting I was presenting. No time to unpack my computer or check out my email. I had a last minute set of papers to run off for the extra teachers I was sure would come to the training.

That was the way the day started. It was scheduled full of ISTEP prep work, teacher visits, and other last minute details to handle. Then I got an invitation I could not refuse. One of the fourth grades was having a celebration of writers notebooks. I was invited to celebrate with them. How could I refuse?
I made my way down to the classroom. As I approached the doorway, I heard soft music coming from inside. The room looked dark. Did I make a mistake? What was going on? I carefully entered the room. The teacher was explaining the procedure for the celebration.
Each child had decorated their own writers notebook. The notebooks stood open on every desk with a child standing behind their chairs looking expectantly at the teacher. Their eyes were full of wonder. Their faces were glowing with anticipation. She told them they would wander the classroom and stop by someone's desk and leave them a little note of what they liked about the notebook cover. This was followed by their initials. A sticky note was stuck to the front of the desk just waiting for compliments.
I rushed out of the room and down the hall to grab my camera. This was too good to miss. It had to be captured. I got back just in time to watch them carefully walk from desk to desk. They would stop, write, smile and move on. No rushing. No pushing. No talking. The teacher was not standing back yelling out orders. This was totally child led. They oohed and ahhed over the pictures, stickers, individual designs that their friends had used to decorated.
"Where did you get the picture of that cat?"
"That is MY cat!"
Aww. he's cute."
This really was a celebration. Soon they will have the special day when they will enter their first writing into these notebooks. Another day to celebrate. Isn't that what school should be...days of celebration. Celebration of Learning.
Who care if the state test is in a few weeks. Our learning is for a life time...not just one week of testing! This is what learning and teaching is all about: Learning for a Life Time!

Sunday, August 5, 2007


I got tagged for a meme from Sarah. Since my husband is gone right now visiting his very sick mother in Utah, I miss him, so this will be an easy assignment. It is just 8-10 facts about your marriage. Here goes:

1. We have so many, many things in common. We both love to walk/run and go for long walks every morning. We even get up at 5:30 in the morning, just to walk together. That time is so wonderful for discussions, jokes, and review of our life apart.
2. We are totally in love with each other. I always wanted someone who was madly in love with me and I have that. But the neat thing is: I am madly in love with him, too.
3. We have been married for 25 of November of this year. It hasn't been easy. We have had our rough times. But it has been worth every minute of it. I can't imagine my life without him. We have blended into two people who compliment each other with our strengths and weaknesses.
4. He helps me grow into a better person. He challenges me. He won't let me just take the easy road. He is always there questioning my thinking and my view points. I love that because I DO have lots of viewpoints!!!
5. He is my biggest supporter and cheerleader. He is ready to listen to bad days and good days. He will listen to things I have written or stories that kids have written. I am sure he has other things to do, but he is always ready to listen to me. (Even though he calls me Chatty Cathy).
6. We both love to help coach people with interview skills. We do this mostly within the area of pageantry. We are judges for both the Miss America preliminary pageants and Miss Indiana State Fair preliminary pageants. The funny thing is, we usually agree on how to help these people become better. I guess that is why we work so well together.
7. We love working with our golden retriever, Murphy. We both take him to do his Visiting Dog work at Nursing Homes and Hospitals. Most people do it alone with their dog, but Murphy has two parents who love him. So, we both go.
8. We have raised four very different, very wonderful children. Three of our children work for the state: firefighter, teacher and police officer. Our youngest is a server at a local well-known restaurant and he is awesome.
9. We have six adorable grandchildren: two girls who will be in kindergarten this year, and four boys. Our oldest just turned 12! YIKES...almost a teenager.
10. Even though we both have different religions, those beliefs are very important to both of us. We have always agreed to disagree on some issues but the issue of God being the center of our lives is important to both of us. We know this is a hard spot but we feel we handle it well.

Thanks, Sarah, for making me sit down and think about this. I challenge ALL married people out there to try it.