Saturday, June 30, 2012

Cleaning Out Files, Binders and Life

Today I hit the binders. That was my first step in getting rid of things that I will not need any more. Things that have no place in my life at this point. Things that belong in another era.

I pulled out old binders with titles like: Poetry, Poetry by Kids, Lesson Plans for First Grade. There were stories by kids who I had in second grade but have long since graduated from high school. There were a few pieces I just had to keep...too many memories rolled into the construction of that writing. Most of them, however, are stacked in the corner of my basement, ready to hit the recycle bin.

I need to purge these things and clean out my space. I have new plans for that area. I have new plans for the file cabinets. I have new plans for those book shelves. Most of my information I have gathered over the years are stored on a "smart drive" attached to my computer. It is there just waiting for me to need it again. I can always call it up from some drive.

But for now...I'm looking forward to what comes next. A clean space to create, think and explore!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Ready for Peachtree Road Race 2012

This morning we ran two miles starting at 5:30.  The temperature was already at 70 degrees. Then at 7:30 I walked two more miles and the temperature was in the low 80's. I finished my weight training and later in the afternoon did laps in the pool.  It was now in the mid 90's.

The storm hit at about 3:30 leaving downed trees, no power in areas and even a tornado sighting. We took our final two mile walk tonight at 9:00 when the temperature was in the mid 70's again. 

We feel we are ready to head for Atlanta on Monday morning early, get our race numbers at the Expo and run the 10K race on Wednesday morning. Our weather here in northern Indiana has really prepared us for Hotlanta and the Peachtree Road Race!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Eye Examination vs Eye Assessment

Since my insurance will be done the end of June, I made an appointment with the eye doctor for today...only three more days in June! I hadn't seen him for two years, so I wasn't sure what I would find out.

I first had to fill out sheets of information. Homework, the nurse called it. Then I was led into a series of rooms so she could conduct various tests on my eyes. Tests to see if I could read with my contacts in. Tests to see if I could see with my contacts out. Tests to see if I could see little wavy lines at random spots on the screen in front of my eyes. Not just one test, but multiple tests.

Finally, the doctor came in and gave me one final test and pronounced the overall assessment was that I did not  have to have any changes in my glasses or contacts. So, I just bought a new pair of glasses for the vanity of it!

This reminds me of the tests we give children for reading. We don't just give one test and then say...okay they can read. We give multiple assessments which include running records, individual conferences, and yes, DIBELS. There is not just one-test-tells-all. Just like my doctor today needed to see a variety of assessments, so do we as teachers need to see many ways a child might be struggling. Hopefully, at the end of the assessments we can pronounce the overall view is that the child can read and therefore enjoy books!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Trip to Chicago

Last year a group of four friends decided to take a trip to New York City. We had so much fun, that we decided to take another trip this year. Our destination was Chicago. We left early Monday morning with Kim in the driver's seat. We made it safely to our hotel even if we did see some coyotes on the way.

We started the day with a trip to one of the local restaurants and had so much fun with the insulting waitress. We then headed for shopping at Water Tower. Later that evening we met Kim's son Jonathan and went on a dinner cruise on the Spirit of Chicago.  We all voted to not do the cruise thing again, but we did have a wonderful time spending time with Jonathan.
Barb and Kim
Kathy and Mary
Today we ate breakfast/lunch and then headed to Macy's for more shopping. We left the windy city at about 2:00 Indiana time and made it home by supper time. It is so great to have friends to spend time with and enjoy. I am very thankful for their friendship. And yes, we are already planning next year's trip!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

To Tweet Or Not To Tweet

This week at the All Write!!! Summer Institute I learned things that were new and different for me. I always learn new things at that institute since we have the best of the best speakers presenting. That was the same this year: Ralph Fletcher, Donalyn Miller, Franki Sibberson, Katie Wood Ray, Patrick Allen and our own Ruth Ayres. But even though I learned tons from them, I learned something else quite new.

You see many of the people attending were tweeters.  That means they use Twitter to communicate. They have a special language, format and symbols. The first night of registration they had reservations for 40 people at a local restaurant. Because I helped with registration and was part of the All Write!!! staff, I was able to sneak in, too. What a great bunch of people. They are made up of teachers from all over the nation. The only time they actually see each other is at conferences like ours. Their conversations and dialogue was amazing. I loved to listen to them.

When the conference started the next day, there they were: some presenting and some listening, but most of them tweeting. They would tweet about what the person presenting was saying. That way, those other tweeters out in cyberland could "hear" what was being said too.  I just sat in wonder as they did their "thing".

Yes, I now have a Twitter account.  Yes, I follow many of those who attended All Write!!! And, yes, they will be back next year to attend our wonderful summer institute!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Sounds: Annoying or Awesome?

My grandson and his family have been gone on vacation all week. They took a much needed trip to Georgia and had loads of adventures. The only thing is...I missed them. They are in the process of driving home today. I can't wait to see them tomorrow.

This picture is of Graham, almost two-years old.  He is plugging his ears because he is tired of hearing the ocean. Can you imagine being tired of hearing the ocean? I guess this just goes to show us that we have to be careful about even the sounds we have around these little ones.  Things that we think are awesome and we could never get tired of, are things that little ones find annoying after awhile.

I am sure I will be using this picture in slide shows in the future. What caption would you give this picture? You can now even tweet me at: momsyellowbug . 

Friday, June 22, 2012

Summer Institute for All Write!!! 2012

Another year has come and gone.  Why do I always feel a sort of sadness when I leave the summer institute? I have learned so much.  I have seen so many old friends. I have even met lots of new friends.  It is the same way I felt as a kid leaving summer camp after a week. That's how I felt again this afternoon as I climbed into my yellow bug and drove the hour-drive back home.
Mindy  Hoffar
Mindy Hoffar did another fantastic job of putting it all together and seeing that it went smoothly. Everything from the almost 600 attendees arriving early Thursday morning for registration to the handing out of door prizes at the end of the sessions on Friday afternoon, went extremely well. Great job, Mindy!
Dr. Sandra Philipson
I was able to introduce three speakers this year.  The first on was Dr. Sandra Philipson and her dogs, Tak and Ollie.  She has written several books with the main characters being her dogs. These are the Max and Annie books. This author sent a treat home for Dave and even signed a book to him from Ollie and Tak! She is definitely one of Dave's favorite authors!
The second author I introduced was Ralph Fletcher.  He spoke Thursday night at our Dinner With an Author.  There were about 150 people there to hear him that night. Then the next morning I introduced him as he spoke on Mentor Texts.  He took much of his material from his book Mentor Author, Mentor Text. It was great to have Ralph with us this year!
Katie Wood Ray
I was so excited to be able to introduce our last speaker...the key note speaker to end our two-day institute. I have heard Katie speak many times and feel she is really my mentor. Over the years I have been able to be her driver, escort and handler at many of our events. Now as I am retired and looking for where my life is going next, Katie again is my mentor. I want to follow in her footsteps and go into classrooms to do research on the writing workshop.

So, proud of the All Write!!! group! Another success!!!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

All Write Summer Institute

Lists of our favorite books
Reading and writing are two of my favorite past times. That is just one of the reasons I love the All Write!!! Summer Institute.  This afternoon I will take off and drive to Warsaw, Indiana to help with the set up and early registration. Then tomorrow the day begins with registration again and then the key note speech given by our own Ruth Ayers. We are so proud of her as the author of Day by Day.

This year I have the privilege of introducing three different authors.  On Thursday, I will be introducing Dr. Sandra Philipson. She is the author of the Max and Annie childrens' books. The books are about her therapy dogs. I am thrilled to be able to introduce her because of my love for dogs and the work that our dog, Murphy did as a Visiting Dog.

On Friday, I am introducing Ralph Fletcher in the first session. He was the first author we had speak to us about helping children use the writer's workshop approach to writing. It is so appropriate that I am introducing him because as I end my career as a teacher I can share how much All Write has influenced my life.

I just received an email from our coordinator, Mindy Hoffar, and she asked me to be the one to introduce our last key note speaker...Katie Wood Ray. Katie is one of my all time mentor authors and heroes in writing. I am so honored to have the chance to introduce her!

If you are in the area, come on over to Warsaw High School on Thursday and/or Friday and sign up.  There is always room for one more and who  knows it might change your life like it did mine!

Monday, June 4, 2012

You Got a Dream, You Gotta Protect it!

This is so true...
"Don't ever let someone tell you that you can't do something. Not even me. You got a dream, you gotta protect it. When people can't do something themselves, they're gonna tell you that you can't do it. You want something, go get it. Period."
                ---Will Smith

This isn't just for children, it is for all ages. You got a dream, you gotta protect it.  Keep that dream. Try and take a risk. Go for it.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Retirement Open House

Special thanks to Kattie Normand for the awesome cake
On Wednesday night, we had our retirement Open House. The theme of our party was Children's Literature.  We each handed in a list of our favorite children's book. A poster with our name on the top and a list of those books was hanging for all to see when they came to the party. On another table, each of us had one of those books, a cake depicting that book and another gift. On the last table there were two big cakes and other refreshments.

What a great night we had. So many people came to congratulate us and share memories. It was wonderful. I couldn't help remembering the first time I had been in the Grile Board Room. It was when I was there for orientation seven years ago. I had looked around the room and only saw very young, new teachers. I am so fortunate that FWCS believed in hiring people who are qualified for the job...not just the new teachers because they are cheaper.

The night was bittersweet. I am finished with this chapter of my life, but certainly not the book. What the next chapter will be is still not determined. I am sure it will be something challenging and exciting.