Sunday, August 31, 2008


In my small hometown, there is a history of cars. The cars that were made here many years ago were the big ones! The Auburns, the Cords and the Duesenbergs. Over the Labor Day weekend these ACD days live again. That is what we have been dealing with this weekend. On Saturday there is a huge parade of all the cars coming back to make the town feel like it did when these cars were a part of the town's life. Each year we take our truck to the parade route early in the morning and make the three mile hike back home. When it is an hour before the parade, we grab lunch and sit in the back of the truck and wait for the cars. I don't know how many there are, but it takes about two hours for them to travel by us. They go at a great pace...not slow so you can wave at the drivers. If they go too slow, they will overheat and then you have a back up of cars just waiting for their engines to cool down enough to start up again.The streets of the parade route are filled with tents in yards, people on lawn chairs and kids chanting: Honk Your Horn! Honk Your Horn! The Auburn Band takes to the streets. This is not the DeKalb High School band, this is the band that is made up of citizens of Auburn who love to play for the fun of it. They go up and down the parade route and play old time songs to be sure we really feel like we are back in the era of the classic cars!

Saturday, August 30, 2008


One of the jobs of a facilitator is to conduct presentations. It might be a half hour before school session, a two-hour delay, or an all-day summer workshop. No matter which it is, it's something we have to spend hours putting together. There's coming up with the ideas and gathering information. Then there's the running off of handouts or packets and working on hooks to engage the learners. It takes loads of work and time.

On Thursday, I was in a meeting with a group of teachers. I was a learner not a presenter. The material was crucial for me as well as the other teachers. I took notes and listened intently. Well, at least I tried to listen intently.

In the last session---three hours---two people sitting at a table near me, made it almost impossible to listen. They engaged in a conversation of their own. The speaker would walk near them and look right at them as she talked...nothing.

My question was: how could what they were talking about be more important than this speaker with specific knowledge? Would they allow their students to behave this way? I hope not.

When the presentation was over and I was helping the speaker clean up, I apologized for these rude individuals. I assured her not all of the teachers in our district are inconsiderate.

I did learn much that day, from these presenters, about our new reading series. I also learned something about being a presenter. From now on I'll begin my sessions by giving some norms:
  1. If you need to use the restroom---go!
  2. If you need to have a conversation...go outside and do it, then come back in when you are done.

There, I feel better now!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


Yes, 61! I felt embarrassed at first about being 61...that's OLD! But then I thought again...the alternative. After all, at 61, I can still walk 7 - 8 miles on a hot Saturday morning. At 61, I can still bike all over town--on a two-wheeler. At 61, I can still work as a facilitator lugging a heavy, full crate all over Fort Wayne. This past year I ran a 6.2 mile race in Hot Atlanta on the 4th of July. I introduced a national speaker at the Summer Institute. I traveled to NYC, Salt Lake City and Atlanta. I have had lunch with some of my best friends. I got to hold a new grandbaby. I celebrated being married to my best friend for 25 years. Yes, 61, and proud of it!

Sunday, August 24, 2008


This week was our first with kids in the classrooms. Most of my time so far has been spent in the office getting ready for ISTEP prep lessons. I did get to be in some schools last week though.

I first went to Haley and led a before school in-service. It was fast but great to see all my friends there and even meet some new teachers. I unpacked my books and got them back on the bookshelves and ready to go.

I spent a whole day at Weisser Park on Thursday in the fourth and fifth grade classrooms. They were doing lessons all week getting a community of learners set up. They asked me to come in and do a Read Aloud/Think Aloud. They all said I was part of their community and they wanted their kiddos to know me, too. I read either: Have You Filled a Bucket Today? or WOLF! It was so much fun being part of those classrooms. They are great kids and fun to share with, too. We ended each session with Quick Writes about what we read. The kiddos were amazing writers already!

On Friday I ran over to Fairfield to deliver packets of ISTEP prep work. I got to peek in on several classes. I met one new teacher and went into a friend's class. She changed from first to fifth grade. She is doing a great job with them. I think it was a wonderful move for her and those kids are so lucky to have her!

So, our year is up and running. I will spend more time in classrooms this week getting to know new teachers, catching up with ones I already knew and sharing with those precious cherubs we get to spend our time with each day!

Sunday, August 17, 2008


Today I was going through my favorite blogs to get an idea for my post. It was amazing that two of my favorite ones hit on similar ideas. It was the idea of loving what they do. The first one was Soren's blog. I am so glad he loves what he is doing because everyone at Cedar Creek grows because of that love. The next one is A Teachers Life. I can't say enough about what she wrote.

First of all, I want to say that I am so proud to be part of the school district where I work. Last week we had a fantastic week of learning. They provided top notch training for all teachers in many, many areas. Then there was the message on Thursday. Dr. Robinson is so upbeat and positive. Her message inspired everyone.

Now for Jen's message. Her letter to all those people who have no idea what teachers do, what teachers feel for their kiddos, and for all those people who trash talk the schools, hits the mark in my opinion. I am not going to try to resay what she already did with passion. Check out Jen's blog. My blog today is just instructions to read her post. Again, I say: Right on, sista'!!!! I am so proud of you and all those teachers just like you that I am so blessed to be able to work along side!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


This week we had a week long professional development. On Monday, Barb and I did an all-day session on Writing Through the Year for 4th and 5th grade teachers. We shared how to set up a community in your classroom, the new writing curriculum, how to use writer's notebooks and several mini lessons to get them started. We had close to 60 teachers take time out of their last days to join us.

Then on Wednesday we did the same thing with the second and third grade teachers. We had so much fun with them today. They were a wild bunch, but so full of great ideas they were willing to share with each other.

On Tuesday we took a class on how to teach ELL students. Our trainer was Jo Gusman from California. She had us up and moving most of the day. We gained so much knowledge but had so much fun doing it.

Tomorrow the entire school district teachers meet at the coliseum for a full day of training. It sounds like it is going to be great. Can't imagine that many teachers all in one place. We hope to kick off the year with a BOLD new beginning!

Sunday, August 10, 2008


Last week on August 2nd, Kiann turned 10. Todd and Beth decided to wait until this week to have his party. That is where we went Kiann's 10th birthday party. He is a White Sox fan, so that is the kind of cake he wanted. He spent time outside riding his bike first.

Then it was time to blow out the candles! I don't know what he wished for, but since he put the candles on himself, I imagine it was easy to blow them out!

Happy Birthday, Kiann!

Saturday, August 9, 2008


Since 1996, when Murphy was two years old, he began the job of being a Visiting Dog. He got his CGC (canine good citizen) title and that qualified him to be a Visiting Dog. He has been visiting Golden Years Homestead for the entire time. He has made many friends, both dog-wise and people-wise. He has one lady that always sings: How Much is That Doggie in the Window, to him. There was another lady who kept dog treats in her bedside table, just for him. She said he was her dog and we were just taking care of him for her.

Another thing that Murphy did as a Visiting Dog was to visit my classroom and help kids read. He would sit and let kids read to him all day. He loved the attention, and maybe the stories, too!
He also came to special events, like the annual sleepover for kids who earned enough points in Accelerated Reading. He really loved the attention he got when he came for a visit. As of today, Murphy is officially retired from these jobs. He is having more trouble getting up from sitting positions. He has trouble walking long distances. He decided (along with his parents) that he should finally retire from this job. Now, that doesn't mean that once in a while he won't visit his friends again. But, for now he is retired. As you see in the picture below though, he is always looking for something else to do as he catches up on his reading!!!

Friday, August 8, 2008


This week we had our Book Club. We met at St. James in Avilla for this fun event. Our assignment this time was to read a book by Gary Paulsen. What we all noticed was how many different ways he writes. It was such an interesting night. Here are three of the books the members shared.This is a book from the viewpoint of the rifle. It takes it from when it was made clear through it's life. What a great way to teach point of view to students. Let them pick an object and write like that object. This is probably a middle school age book.
Another book that was shared is Tucket's Travels. This book again is for 5-8 grades. There is a whole series of Tucket books. As you can tell from the cover, it is a western!

The last book that I will share is Lawn Boy. This looks like such a fun book. It is for 4th - 7th graders. It is all about free market economy and a rags to riches story. When the hero's grandmother gives him a riding lawn mower for his 12th birthday, the adventure begins.

Our next book is by Sherman Alexie. It is called: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. This is the author's first novel for young adults. It chronicles the contemporary adolescence of one unlucky boy trying to rise above the life everyone expects him to live. Why not read along with us!

Sunday, August 3, 2008


We have been trying all summer to get the bikes out and ride. First, it was too cold. Then, it was too windy. But yesterday was just right! It wasn't too hot or windy and The Big D even pumped up the tires. We were ready to go. Our destination: lunch at SubWay. We pedaled out of our addition and onto State Road 8 going west. We went past the Heimach Center and the hospital, turned right and then into the strip mall and there it was. They even had a bike rack. What a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon!
When we got home we unloaded a new case of water. As we were putting it away, we turned and saw Oliver making himself at home. He decided he liked water boxes and wanted it for his bed. He took an afternoon nap in it and then we threw it out.

Saturday, August 2, 2008


This morning I woke up and just thought: "I'd like to wrap my arms around today." My days are coming to a close as I know them this summer. I love summer. It is my time to do what I want to agendas, no lesson plans, no meetings, well, not many anyway. My time is mine!

The days have been perfect with sunshine and even the humidity. Occasionally, a rain shower. Just enough to dampen the ground and cool things off a bit. I know the farmers don't feel the same. They want it to rain and rain and rain. I know we need it. But I still love this weather.
I have been tending the neighbor's garden as they are on vacation for a couple weeks. That is fine with me. I water her flowers and then pick all the veggies that we love. We have fresh beans and cumcumber salad every night. The tomatoes are just getting ripe and we have a few of the small ones in our salads. They can go on vacation every year as far as I am concerned.
This morning after our 5 mile walk, we poured our cereal into bowls with milk sloshing in them, grabbed our Activia and headed for the deck. We sat there in the sunshine among our flowers and listened to the birds while we ate.
Yes, I just want to wrap my arms around each day I have left of this beautiful season. The verse in Psalms comes to mind on these mornings: "This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it!" I am taking every minute and putting it in a special place to remember when winter winds come upon us!