Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Hashing, chewing, gnawing

I just deleted an entire post because it was me, me, me, me, me.  And poor, poor, poor me.  It's been so long because I'm just a little black rain cloud, and I don't want to pass it on.  

I'm not very happy with myself right now, and this negative energy I'm putting out to the universe is really coming back to bite me in the butt.

So here are some things that are going right in my world of wrong:
1.  Lucy is the happiest baby, ever.  She constantly shows her 4 teeth, 2 on the bottom center, and 2 on the top, but they are not center, they're the ones to either side of the center top teeth.

2.  Addie and Emily are happy, healthy, and bright.

3.  My husband is very supportive of me, no matter what.  He's the best cheerleader.

4.  Yesterday, on my way to a professional development meeting, I totally butterfingered my coffee cup, and as it tumbled out of my hand I had a brief flash of hope that maybe the lid would hold and I'd only lose a little of my half cup.  That hope was quickly dashed as my cup did similar on the hallway floor and sweet smelling, creamy coffee spewed forth, like a hawaiian eruption.  My colleagues that were walking with me stopped to help me, locating a janitor, picking up and carrying my mug, and kneeling down to help me mop up the mess.  I felt loved!

5.  At lunch time, I couldn't find anyone to go to lunch with, and made my way down to the local restaurant in hopes that someone would be there.  Then, one of my colleagues called to ask where I was, not wanting to leave me behind.  It was so nice to be included.  

6.  Had a great workout with friends on Monday, and I'm sore in a good way from it.  

Just a few things to be thankful for!

Friday, July 27, 2012

I get to teach!

That's right!  I get a class to teach next year!  It is one section of 21 students, but they are all mine 5th hour and I get to fill their little heads with US history!!!  YAY!!!

My mind is whirling on how I'm going to do it.  Last year, the class was taught backwards, starting with the Iraq and Afgan wars, and moving to the 90's, then 80's and so on.  I think they made it to the 50s.  It's an interesting way to do it and I am eager to talk to the other teacher to see how he thought it worked.

I will not have my own classroom, so I'll have to figure out how to go about doing that.  I don't think we have any books either.  I know they used a website last year that acted as a text book.  I have a ton of worksheets and supplies, somewhere on my bookshelf at home, so maybe they will finally get used!

Ah, just can't wait to get back into it!  Very thrilled!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

I only have a few minutes...

So the baby is cat napping, and the tv is babysitting the other two!

I'm still alive.

Actually, Lucy has been a great baby!  After a brief problem with not sleeping at night unless we were holding her or she was in the swing, we realized she was waking herself up by running into the sides of her bassinet.  Now she is in the pack-and-play and lots of room to stretch and grow.  She eats, sleeps and poops like a champ.

The other two are now done with school, but we are just getting busier and busier!  Only two days were free in May, with nothing written on the calendar, and I have a feeling June will be more of the same.  Birthday party, playdates, school cleaning, horse camp, grad parties, baptism... so on and so on.

I am currently playing the role of stay at home mommy.  I am trying to embrace it, but find it takes an effort to not feel like I should be doing something "more important."  There is no more important job than raising my children.

I hope to have a great summer full of learning, imagination, fun memories, cuddling.  Oddly enough I need to work on just letting these moments happen, as our days go by faster and faster and before I've noticed, it's lunch time and all we've managed to do is watch a movie in our PJs!  That's not very good quality time!

I think maybe we should make a list of things we want to do this summer.

Camp in the back yard
Visit different playgrounds
Go to the library once a week
Go to the County Fair
Dance parties in the dark with glow sticks
Teach Emily the alphabet
bake cookies
Have them help with chores on a regular basis so they get used to it

What else?
Alright, time to feed the baby, I'm off!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The newest Rudd

I knew I shouldn't show my face here until I had pics to post...
So without further ado:  Introducing Lucy, weighing in at 8lbs 5.2 oz, and a whopping 22 inches, with a full head of dark hair and an appetite!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Countdown to our IMPENDING DOOM!!!

The time is now 9:30pm on April 2nd, 2012.

154 hours until our lives change forever and Lucy joins us!!!

Welcome snuggle time, suckling noises, Iowa class burps, and that new baby smell!

Also welcome less than 2 hours consecutive sleep, smelling like spit-up, showers shorter than pit stops at Nascar, and sneaky, unidentifiable stains on clothes I thought were safe to wear out in public!

Oh, and the reopening of the Rudd Dairy...


Friday, March 16, 2012

I'm On Fire!

The last few days I have been on fire!  Full of great ideas!
Here they are:
1.  After an e-mail from a parent stating they want to get their child on an IEP, my brain started working on this problem.  The student has not qualified before because of good test scores.  But something was bothering me, and I couldn't put my finger on it.  I have now figured it out!  Test scores don't measure cognitive functions. (another problem with standardized testing!)  They can measure basic knowledge skills, but a very important skill is the ability to solve a problem that requires a multi-step solution.  The student can not follow a complex set of directions to complete a task.  I also have concerns about short term memory.  In order to be eligible, it has to be shown that the disability disrupts learning.  If given a clinical evaluation, I'm sure this student would meet criteria to get the help they need for next year!  I've organized my data for a meeting today already, and I think I have a good case!

2.  A colleague was rearranging their room and didn't want the tables in rows.  I suggested she put them in the shape of a hexagon, with students facing in, and room in between to pass through.  This way she could stand in the middle to work with all students, teach dynamically, and encourage whole class discussion and collaboration.  It worked great!

3.  Our school is trying a new thing called reader's workshop.  It is a program that encourages the development of reading skills across curriculum.  To keep track of each of the 12 skills being taught in each subject, the students created a binder with tabs for each skill.  Then, they 3-hole-punched the papers and placed their documents in the appropriate spot.  The problem with this is the amount of paperwork and the logistics of hunting down the right folder, for the right students, in the right classroom.  Then, for each teacher to review and discuss and evaluate what is happening in each class, they have to get their hands on all 110ish binders... what a pain.  So I suggested a move from physical binders to an online portfolio using google docs.  Templates can be shared with each student.  They share documents with all teachers, teachers can give feedback, collaborate with other teachers, students can collaborate together and share with each other, and best of all, nothing gets lost (unless google crashes, but that would be the end of the world anyway, right?).  They will be able to access the documents anytime and anywhere there is internet access.  The teacher I ran it by shared it with another and they are discussing it during a meeting today.

So, there is the remainder of my intelligence for the month, I've used it all up!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

A few pics

I've noticed that my blog is a little boring when it comes to visuals.  So here you go...

My 34th 29th birthday (Disclaimer: I am not fat, just preggers!)

Me and my big girl, sporting our hats on Rock Island

Grandma worked her magic and made the girls Hollyhock dolls!

Addie at horse camp... thanks to the other grandma

The girls on Christmas morning opening presents

My brave little one investigating a creepy crawly... not even Daddy would do this!

Monday, March 12, 2012


I was reading this article at the Wall Street Journal Online about How to be Creative.  My husband is the creative one.  He is the artist.  He thinks up weird and unlikely designs to make out of wood or metal that turn out to be beautiful and thought provoking.  Since I have known him he has a systematic creative process.

His favorite is getting started.  He will talk about an idea, sketch it on several pieces of paper that get scattered about, make lists.

Then he begins the fabrication.  He enjoys this part too, and it's hard for him to stop when he gets started. He gets in a groove and just goes with it.  There is a lot of positive talk concerning the speed of his progress and how he doesn't have much to do yet, even though to the average person, the project is just started.

Then he gets stuck.  It happens with everything.  Somewhere in the project he is presented with an impossible problem that threatens to destroy everything that he's done so far, jeopardizing the entire project.  This step is accompanied by sailor talk, schizophrenic actions, toddler stomping, and object chucking.  It's quite entertaining to someone who knows he will eventually work through it and it is just part of the creative process.  However, it can be scary if you don't know that.  You'd think the project was over and he would never make art again!

Then comes the epiphany.  If you're around to catch it you can actually see the light bulb flash on over his head.  This usually comes after he walks away from it for a while, one of those moments of insight as the article states, after he has a relaxing bath or bottle of beer.

Then comes the implementation of the plan.  He likes this because it is overcoming a problem, usually in a clever or crazy way.  It usually merits bragging rights to anyone who will listen, because that's creative genius.

Then comes the almost finished, why can't I just end it now, because it's not cool anymore phase.  He really has to force himself to do this, because once he has overcome the major problems, it's no longer fun for him.  I think he would prefer his studio to be filled with a bunch of minions to complete it.

Finally, he has to call time of death.  If given the option, he will chew and chew and chew on the project, thinking of ways to add, tweak, redo, fix, or make it better.  He sees a rough spot here that needs to be resanded, a welded joint that isn't quite right, spots in the stain, fly poop, wrong angles.   It's a good thing there are due dates, or he'd never finish anything, it would stay in his studio and be done over and over again.  If he has learned anything, he knows now that he has to call a project, but it will go right up to the last minute.

If it's not a pressing problem, he puts a gerbil on it.  They reside in his brain, along with wheels, and they hop on these wheels when a problem needs to be worked out but can be put on the back burner.  They are handy little rodents, allowing him to walk away from the problem but still be working on it.  Their most impressive feet recently was figuring out how to install a shower in a tiny attic bathroom we put in.  He kept saying no way, but the gerbils thought otherwise.

I had always thought of myself as being creatively challenged.  I remember this especially in college, as I had to create lesson plans from scratch, having barely any class time under my belt.  I used the educators' creative license and begged, borrowed, and more often stole ideas to add to my lesson plans.

But after teaching and living, I've come to realize that when it comes to motivating some students, or thinking up projects to help students understand a concept, to connect current events with history and make it relate to their life today, and connecting concepts between curriculums, I can really pull things out!  And I love doing it.  Most of those are the moments of insight during teachable moments, but also come from chatting with colleagues or others that can open my brain to more possibilities.

I think creativity in the classroom is so important.  I can't draw, paint, or sculpt, but that's not all there is to being creative.  Right now I can only offer ideas to colleagues with classrooms, or use them with the students I help, but I can't wait until I have my own classroom to give more things a try!  Being out so long, I just hope I haven't gotten crusty!

The article points out what I've been thinking too.  That to stay sharp I should expose my brain to many different things, in order to make connections.  That's why I read lots of blogs and articles, and still read brain flushes like the Harry Dresden novels (excellent Sci-Fi!).  I do try different things, talk to many different people, and diversify my life, because answers and ideas can come from anywhere.  I've called it "putting it out to the universe."

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Who else opposes standardized testing?

The following is a comment I posted on another blog, A Principal's Reflections, in response to a letter he posted from a mother to NYCDOE, and his call for other's thoughts.  He writes:

"With all of this being said, what are your thoughts on standardized testing, it's role in education, impact on students, and the data being used to evaluate educators? Is this the direction that educational reform should be headed in? As a parent of two young children my response is a resounding NO!"

My comment:
I am an educator and mother in Iowa.  They are currently considering legislation to put in place end of the year assessments to decide whether a student should go on or not.  I am vehemently opposed to this!  The time, energy and resources used to administer, grade, and assess the tests would be better used to teach my children.  Is it not the professional teacher's job to assess my child in their class?  Is it not the professional, well trained teacher, who knows how my child learns in their classroom and whether or not they have mastered the skills necessary to pass on to the next grade?  When it comes down to it, I intend to be a thorn in the side of my school district, as I will do everything in my power to keep my children away from these pointless, time and money wasting, damage inflicting tests!  Even if it means risking my job.
Because schools are given federal and state funding, there are strings attached.  The government needs to make sure the schools are being held accountable, and they see testing as the most effective way to do this.  But they miss the trees (the individual student, who learns differently and at different rates) for the forest (the general overall achievement of a school district that is receiving the money).  I feel part of the solution is to give control back to local authority, and let teachers just teach.  The job of the principal, administrators, and local school board is to evaluate their teachers, and help them be the most effective teachers for their students.  I see this as getting into the classrooms more, working closely with teachers, offering effective criticism, and not assigning curriculum based on what is on these tests.  Effective teaching cannot be evaluated with these tests, it takes getting into the classroom and knowing the students individually, to determine if it is happening.  To judge this, they need to see the "aha moments", the connections, the creation, the higher level thinking being demonstrated in the actual classroom (and sometimes out of the classroom).  This requires smaller class sizes, a professional learning community of expert teachers and active administrators working together and communicating.  It also requires trust that all these people are actually going to do their professional job.  That is up to the boss to determine if this is happening.
And finally, school is not just about mastering a set of knowledge based skills in each class.  The most important life skill a student can take away from k-12 education is learning to learn.  This is a skill that will last a lifetime.  Knowing how to regurgitate information for a standardized test is perhaps a skill that may only be used by statisticians and politicians, who unfortunately seem to be the ones in control of reform.
A question for you: Why do I see so much resistance to standardized testing from the teaching profession in my own community, in the media, and online, and yet this is still the direction we are going in?  Why are we not being listened to?

So if you feel like passing these thoughts on to our legislators in the great state of Iowa, feel free to send them my link.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The "Delicate" State

How many people find this attractive?

Yeah, not many.  This was the equivalent of the playboy model 25,000 years ago.  Fertile, bountiful, well fed.  Today?  Not so much!

Guess which I can identify with in my "delicate" state?

There's nothing delicate about the girth of my waist, chest or ankles at this point.

I am like a barnacle clad whale, beached on the couch, like a colossus, standing huge and ominous, like a Zamboni, in dangerous, unstoppable motion.  You know what they say about an object in motion.  My oversized belly can be a dangerous weapon, knocking things over in its wake.  Alone, it could be an NFL pick for a blocker... what are those called?

I am a force that is anything but delicate!  Only 8 more weeks and still plenty of time to get bigger...

and bigger...

and BIGGER!!!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

It's Valentine's Day, time to be mushy.

Top ten reasons I love my husband:
He thinks I'm pretty, even when I'm not.
When I want to share something with someone, whether it's funny, sad, stupid, or cool, he's the one.
I know if I present a problem to him, if at first he can't solve it, he will put a squirrel on it and it will turn its wheel until it comes up with a solution... see #1.
He's smart...
He's cute...
He shares the child rearing.  This allows me to "pursue my career."  
He talks me up to his friends and coworkers.  They think I'm intelligent and a force to be reckoned with, not just the old ball and chain.  
He cooks... he uses every dish in the kitchen, but it is so worth it.  And the way to my heart is definitely through my stomach.  I will never starve while he is around!
He built me a spa bathroom, complete with separate shower, sinks, medicine cabinets, soaking tub, fancy tile and custom woodwork with his bare hands.  Ah, Calgon, take me away!
Out of an impossible amount of space, he managed to pull a 3/4 bath out of his butt so our little girls can have their own domain upstairs instead of infringing on my spa bathroom.

I love him so much!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Love letters to my husband

With Valentines Day quickly approaching, I thought I'd get a little sentimental about my wonderful husband!  He has given me so much in my life!

One gift stands out in my mind as very special.  I'm wearing it today, and I think about all it means when I put it on.  It was actually a topic at an Engaged Encounter meeting where we had to write about something our spouse had given us, and then share with the group.  As couples shared what each had given each other, like undying love, freedom to be themselves, encouragement, I felt kind of shallow because I wrote about a piece of jewelry.

I'm not a big one for diamonds or roses.  Hubby was joking around this morning saying, "Oh, look, I could buy this $100.00 bouquet of roses for you out of this flyer, or I could by two 12oz ribeyes for $18.  Which would you like?"  Drool...  nothing says, "I love you!" like dead cow!  YUM!  So I might be considered "low maintenance" in the gift department.

He gave me a silver necklace with a pendant just like this:

It was a Christmas gift the year I was pregnant with Addie.  Besides my promise, engagement, and wedding rings, it was really the only jewelry he had ever given me.  And it meant so much to me, and still does.  It symbolized that he had given me the gift of children, something I had always wanted, and something no one else could have given me.  Now, with baby three on the way, I still wear this symbol and love it, because of what it means to me.

I guess I'll keep him around for a while!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Education and Character: Another Reform?

I came across this article in one of the blogs I follow.

It's wicked long, but really interesting!  In a nutshell, it talks about two schools who looked at research for what makes successful adults, after school.  They found that those kids that went on to graduate from college and become successful weren't those that had the highest test scores, grades or even IQ, but had a certain set of characteristics, and they set about teaching "Character" in their schools.  Not only moral character like being nice and treating others with respect, but performance character which include values like effort, diligence and perseverance.  They focus on seven characteristics and use "duel purpose instruction", intermeshing academic lessons with character lessons.  

The characteristics they focus on include zest, grit, self-control, social intelligence, gratitude, optimism, and curiosity. The idea is that they try to prepare their students to become people who are going to make it in the real world, and make it well.  

Another key behind it is to challenge the students and get them to learn from their failure.  It mentions the movie "Race to Nowhere" (trailer here: http://www.racetonowhere.com/) which takes a look at where American education is heading, with so much focused on high stakes testing, and how it is damaging the ability of students to go on and be successful because they either can't cope, or they've never had to deal with failure.

From the article:

" What is good character? Is it really something that can be taught in a formal way, in the classroom, or is it the responsibility of the family, something that is inculcated gradually over years of experience? Which qualities matter most for a child trying to negotiate his way to a successful and autonomous adulthood? And are the answers to those questions the same in Harlem and in Riverdale?"

If you've got time (ha, ha!) it's worth a read.

As a parent and educator, I'm really intrigued with this idea.  First off, is it the schools place to teach character, something that traditionally should be left to the parents?  Don't teachers do enough parenting already, on top of more and more requirements being set on their shoulders?  My father (Hi, Daddy! *MUAH!*) vehemently opposes wasting his tax dollars to teach something that should be left to the family.  On one hand, I agree.  On the other, isn't it the job of the community also?  Isn't their school a big part of their community.  Nowadays, however, the community, including the school, doesn't seem willing to take on the role of disciplining the community or neighborhood children, because many parents have the "not my child" syndrome, where everyone else is to blame.  In this sense, my kids are screwed, as we tend to side with the 1960 cartoon, below, and people in my little community are not afraid to call me up and let me know when my kids step out of line.  

The other question educators could ask is how do you, or even, can you, teach character?  Don't they just have zest, or grit?  Could you get to them while they're young?  What about students with learning difficulties, who need meds to focus or have and self control?  Are people born with the amount of optimism they're going to have in life?  Can teenagers, who are so me-focused, even grasp the concept of gratitude?  Isn't it their God-given right to have things handed to them?  

As a parent, I really, really want my kids to have these characteristics, even if I'm not as steeped in them myself as I wish I could be.  I have some idea of how to get my kids there at their age:  Make them do chores, challenge them to do things on their own to promote independence, cheer them on when they run into something hard, don't hand them everything, lead by example, and the hardest thing - let them fail... ouch!

And here's the thing in education, you can't "let" kids fail any more, even when it seems like they are trying.  The school I'm at doesn't penalize a student's grade for late work, even if it is very late.  Like a month late.  What are they learning from that?  I don't think anything good, and certainly not responsibility.  It allows them to keep their grade up, but creates a cat and mouse game of the teacher keeping track and hounding the student until they turn it in.  A teacher can see if they are understanding the material the homework is designed to help them with, but sometimes after the assessment.  Or, because there are no consequences to turning it in late, they fall behind the rest of the class, who, after learning what they need to from one assignment, moves on to the next step.

There's that, and, as the cartoon above points out, if a teacher doesn't have very explicit documentation to show everything they did for that student to help them pass, they face the wrath of parents, and even sometimes the administration.  They question the job of the teacher first, not the job of the student.  I guess the idea is that students should fail the practice, not the test.  But with so little time to prove kids can get it, and the pressure to maintain good grades, there is no time to learn by failing.

In school reform, so many things are tried, but I think what everyone is really missing is that there is no blanket solution.  There is not a reform that will make a good education policy for the nation, the state, or even the community.  It all comes down to doing what is right for each individual student.  And who can do it better than their teacher, working in harmony with their parent and the student, to decide how they best learn, how to challenge them, how to help them become successful in the future?  

Thursday, February 2, 2012

A little laugh for today!

This has been floating around facebook the last couple days:

A grade one teacher collected well known proverbs. She gave each child in her class the first half of a proverb and asked them to come up with the remainder of the proverb.
It's hard to believe these were actually done by grade one kids ('6' year-olds),
because the last one is classic!

Strike while the insect is close.

Never underestimate the power of ants.

Don't bite the hand that looks dirty.

Better to be safe than punch a grade 7 boy.

If you lie down with dogs, you'll stink in the morning.

It's always darkest before Daylight Saving Time.

You can lead a horse to water but how?

No news is impossible.

A miss is as good as a Mr.

You can't teach an old dog new maths.

Love all, trust me.

The pen is mightier than the pigs.

An idle mind is the best way to relax.

Where there's smoke there's pollution.

Happy the bride who gets all the presents.

A penny saved is not much.

Two's company, three's
 the Musketeers.

Don't put off till tomorrow what you put on to go to bed.

Laugh and the whole world laughs with you, cry and you have to blow your nose.

There are none so blind as Stevie Wonder.

Children should be seen and not smacked or grounded.

If at first you don't succeed
 get new batteries.

You get out of something only what you see in the picture on the box.

When the blind leadeth the blind get out of the way.

And the favourite:
Better late than 

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

S*@t you learn in school.

I asked my kindergardener what she learned in school yesterday.  She replied:

"We learned a penny is worth one cent, a nickel is worth five, a dime is worth ten, and a quarter (pronounced qwarta... in a new englandy way) is worth 25!"

And I said, "Oh, very good!" Thinking, wow, we're really getting our money's worth!

Then she said, "And, we learned that you're not supposed to say SHHHHH*T!  So and so said s*@t and I said not to say s*@t, and then they told the teacher I was the one that said s*@t!  But I was just saying s*@t to tell what she said!"

Oh, holy crap.  All that came tumbling out of my 5 year olds mouth in a big jumble, before I could shout, "Stop saying that word!"  And she said it just like that!

So I had to tell her that if someone else says a naughty word, you can tell them not to say that word, and tell the teacher without repeating the word.  Especially over and over again!

At least it wasn't that she learned it from mommy or daddy, thank God!  We can blame it on her classmates...  for now.

Friday, January 27, 2012

What's wrong with this picture?

Here is a posting from a teaching job site:

Position:Classroom Teacher
Subject Area:Athletics (Coaching) State Certified
Beginning:Aug 01, 2012
Deadline:Feb 10, 2012**
Certificate:Athletic Coach (K-12)

Job Description:
Somewhere* High School is looking for a Head Football Coach. Teaching assignments to be determined from one of the following areas: Special Education, Math, Social Studies, Physical Education or Elementary classroom.

Somewhere has enjoyed a rich tradition of football success over the past thirty years. Applicant should have complete knowledge of offense, defense and special teams, great personal skills, a high level of energy, integrity and character.

Applicants are encouraged to send a letter of application, resume', credentials, a copy of college transcripts and application form found on our website: www.somewhere.k12.ia.us to:

Administrator, Superintendent
Somewhere Schools
Somewhere St
Somewhere, IA 55555

Somewhere is located 25 miles southeast of Somewhere Else. A competitive salary and benefit package will await the candidate. Somewhere Schools is a 1:1 district with innovative practices and a dedicated staff.

The * means that I feel the school responsible for this should be embarrassed for it, so I changed the name.

Lets start with where Somewhere School's priorities obviously lie; continuing the "rich tradition of football success".  While athletics are very important to student development, one only need look at the cry for "better schools" from the public to see where the priorities should lie.  One thing that is agreed upon is that better schools will come from hiring the best, most qualified teachers possible.

So why is this school not advertising for a teaching position first, and the coaching second?  It seems to me that the district is looking for a quality coach, and whatever this person is certified to teach, they will be shoved into.  They may not necessarily be the best qualified for the teaching position.  Is this what they mean by "innovative practices"?

If this district were closer to me, I would love to apply.  I am certified to coach anything, and I'm smart enough to figure out how to coach high school football.  It may even be fun to try to break that gender barrier.  However, my priority is teaching social studies.  I'm not only certified to do this, but highly qualified, and I think, one of those teachers that would help a school become better.

But this is not where this school's priorities lie, is it?

Thursday, January 19, 2012


I know I'm a nerd, but I would put one of those bumper stickers on the back of my car that says, "I'd rather be teaching..."

I know, LOSER!

But I would!  Besides playing with my kids, being with hubby, eating and sleeping, (not necessarily in that order) I would rather be teaching.

And I got to for 3, sometimes more, classes a day, the last 6 days!  I was asked by the middle school english and social studies teachers to explain the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to the 8th grade and introduce a joint project!  I know!  So exciting!

It was like spreading my wings and flying!

I made a Prezi, which is like powerpoint on crack, and I like playing with it.  I just kept adding stuff to it, like I was addicted.  I stayed up to the wee hours of the morning for 2 nights getting it ready, and even added stuff to it during the day!  And what was supposed to be 1 or 2 days stretched into a week.  I promise I wasn't trying to steal the class away, the teachers were very supportive and encouraged me to dive in, which I did, with a vengeance!

I got to add great critical thinking questions and pry open their minds to make them think about the issue in a new way, and relate it to them personally, and ask great questions and lead discussion.

It was pure joy!  Imagine me, like that dog with his head stuck out the window and his tongue rolling out, feeling the wind blow through my fur (or hair, whatever).

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Letter to my daughter's Kindergarten teacher

Dear Kindergarten Teacher,
Every Tuesday your students have to bring something from home to share for show and tell that starts with the letter of the week.  This week, we actually remembered!  I know!  We were shocked too!  Over breakfast we consulted the class calendar and found the letter to be Ii.

No problem, we thought!  I is a very common letter, right?  Surely we have something.

The first thing to pop into may head was iguana.  We have no iguana.  Sammy the cat won't pass as one, but even if he did, it probably wouldn't be a good idea for our daughter to drag him to school, via a 1 hour bus ride.

I'm not sure where my ipod is, as I use it for running and I have a clever excuse to avoid that for a while.  And besides, she's five, note the bus ride.

We didn't have an igloo in our Christmas decorations, which are still up.

Something illegal?  An illness (already did that, I'm sure)?  An idol (probs not appropriate for a Catholic school, huh?)?  She could just take me, as an example of an Idiot, who can't think up something to take for a Kindergarten show and tell... FAIL!

Maybe we should have started thinking about this last night.  I mean, I didn't even have my coffee half gone.  It's a lot harder than we thought it would be.

But, gosh darn it!  We actually remembered, we were going to send her with something!

Okay, we thought, how could we get some ice to make it to show and tell time in the afternoon?  We could grab a big chunk, wrap it in bubble wrap, throw it in a little cooler and pray she doesn't open it until she hurdles the obstacles of the sitter, an hour on the bus with friends, a whole morning and lunch, until finally she would present in the afternoon.  My husband and I debated the likelihood of this not ending in a messy, wet disaster.  No dice.

I even considered pulling a dictionary.  Now that I'm at work and have had my full dose of coffee, I thought of Illustration, which could be easy to take.  Duh. Or an inch on a ruler.  Or a toy plastic indian.  A map of India, Israel, or Iran!  A toy insect!  An instrument!  A bit of iron!  Yes, I'm using the dictionary!

But my husband had a great idea.  What helps hot things, like coffee, stay hot, and cool things, like ice coffee, stay cool?  An Insulated mug!  Of course!  We just needed to focus, and drink our coffee!

Now, we had to consider the likelihood of our daughter remembering why the heck we had sent an empty travel mug to school with her.  We did explain and quiz and make her say "Insulation" over and over again, but still, the probability is low.

Thus this letter.

The Mother of a Kindergartner

Monday, January 9, 2012

Baby has a personality!

I'm going to give away the name we have been thinking out.  We've been trying it out on baby since New Years.  I know it's odd to say but she really does have her own little personality and this name seems to fit her.  Not only that, but she even seems to like it!  She wiggles and kicks and rolls in response to it.

Lucinda Richelle Rudd

Lucinda means light, graceful or beautiful light.  We will call her Lucy, Lu-lu, or Lou.

Richelle is the feminine form of Richard, in memory of Jeremy's dad.  Richard means strong or powerful, and Rochelle means rock.  Yep, that is so this baby!

So she'll be a strong light in our lives!  And it has a nice ring to it when said all together.  She's going to be a moose!

Only about 3 more months to go!

Friday, January 6, 2012

We need a little...

The song "We need a little Christmas, right this very minute..." keeps running through my head, but instead of the word "Christmas", it should be something else.  Christmas is over, and I'm good with that, but there seems to be something lacking.

So maybe it's PMA, but that's three words and doesn't quite fit.  Positive mental attitude.  Which I am attempting to find for my new years resolution thing.  I would like to attract more positive energy into my life, but I need to put out what I want to get back.  This is according to Wayne Dyer, author of "The Power of Intention."  I love that idea, that I can manifest my destiny, pulling all I need from the universe by putting out what I want.  It has worked brilliantly in the past for me.

I'm feeling a little desperate, which is not what I want to attract.  I want to send out good Karma to get good Karma back.  I want to find my groove.  I've lost my groove.

When working with resistant learners in my job, my mantra is that they are somebody's baby.  And if it were my baby, I'd want me to be kind to her.  It's difficult when I am repeating the same things over and over again, and am disappointed when they do not do their work, do not pay attention, or do not act respectfully.  I am struggling with this.  I want to put out that I have a great rapport with these students and can help them to accomplish their goals.

With my coaching, I want to be a positive influence, and guide them to work hard for what they want and work together.  But yesterday at practice, it was such a fail, and I feel then that I failed.  I must be patient and repeat how to deal with and prevent drama within the team.  Again.  I want to put out that we are a strong, smart, hardworking team that people look up to.  I want to be proud of them.

With my parenting, this morning was all off.  We always end up yelling at our children and becoming frustrated when we have to do things for them because there is no time for them to do it themselves.  The look on my daughter's face this morning broke my heart, and I yelled at my husband, blaming him, but it is me too.  I want to put out there that we have it all together, our morning routine works like a charm, and when it doesn't I can concentrate on what is truly important instead of being worried about being late.

And finally, I'm up in the air about next year.  There are so many unknowns, like how this baby will be and how easy or difficult it will be to care for her or feed her.  What will this mean for me getting a job next year?  I really want one, really, really bad.  I'm so desperate that I'm putting out there that I'll never get one, frustrated that there are no postings yet, no signs, no chatter of possibilities.  And what will I do if I don't get a teaching job?  Will I be aiding again?  Is that what I want to do?  I want to be rolling in possibilites.  Actually, I want a social studies teaching position with my own classroom at the school I aid and coach at now.

Because all this stuff is not falling into place easily, I swing back and forth from feeling hopeless to feeling angry and frustrated, and kind of panicky.  I should be putting out to the universe that I have everything that I need to accomplish my goals, that I am capable and confident in my ability and the universe's ability to care for me.

So I need a little groove back, right this very minute!