Tuesday, June 21, 2016


A phone call at 5:58 am.  I know it can’t be good news.  I think of scenarios as I stumble half asleep to pick up the phone.  It’s probably another bout with a bowel blockage.    A call from the Lifeline because she’s fallen?   
Our home phone is in the kitchen.  The first ring wakes me up.  The second makes me get up.  If my arthritis isn’t a problem I can make the 27 steps before the answering machine picks up on the fourth ring. Usually it screens calls from political parties and a persistent credit card offers.   My friends and our children question why we still have a home phone.  We rarely use it.  The reason is 92 years old.  My mother in law knows the phone number and she doesn’t need any changes to befuddle her. 
She’s hung up by the time I get to the phone.   No message!  I tried to call her back.  Busy.  I force myself to count to fifteen.  I redial.  Deep breath, trying to be calm.  “Hi, this is Lori.” 
“I’ve been awake all night.”  Her voice is so soft, with those odd little cracks.
Oh dear!  My husband is leaving on a business trip at 7:15.  He’s got a nine hour drive.  I know I’m on my own for this emergency room visit and hospital stay.
“What do you need?”  A ride to the hospital, or maybe I should just call an ambulance.  Possibly help cleaning up from the nausea?  Gosh!  I hope she hasn’t fallen!
“I forgot to tell Wayne my water softener is out of salt”  “You know how the water gets dark when it’s out.”  “Will you tell him please?”
I force a smile onto my face, hopefully in my voice too.  “Sure, I’ll stop over later and check it out for you.” 

As I stumble back down the hall to the bedroom I check my cell.  6:02 a.m.  

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Field Trip

Bus was late.
Content was great!
Plants, fruits and seeds
And some edible weeds.
One guy came giving mommy a hug
In spite of the Nasty tummy bug!
Called on my cell
He went home, all is well.
It started to rain,
We were inside, we felt no pain.
They provided a snack
The things I bought to school they went back!
We’ll visit again to learn by the pond
The memories we make will all be fond.
Thank heavens for the pics,

I took..... before he got sick!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016


     Last week I spent two days at a conference about improving instruction.  The speaker was energizing.  She was a fun speaker with a wealth of information that I can use.  The price of writing two days of sub plans was pretty steep, but wow! What a pay off!  I returned home with concrete ideas to change my instruction.  As we made the 100 mile round trip each day we had plenty of time to debrief and yes, laugh.
     Today the learning continues, my book order was delivered a day early.  I ordered her book on Amazon and I can't wait to dig in.  The price of dusty end tables and unvacuumed  rugs is steep, but I think it will be well worth the price.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

When It Rains It Pours!

This morning I woke up to the realization that my alarm had not woke me.  The room was full of light rather than my customary dark awakening.   My i-Phone has a setting for 5:30 weekdays but it’s hard to hear an alarm when it’s in the garage.  I’d forgotten my phone in the car after shopping several stores in search of wedding decorations for our daughter’s wedding.  I don’t even have the excuse that my hands were full.  I left all the loot in the trunk.
I always arrive at school at least an hour early.  But sleeping an extra 80  minutes didn’t allow much of a morning routine. I washed up , fluffed my hair, brushed my teeth, packed a quick lunch and grabbed a portable breakfast. Unfortunately Monday night we’d had an after school meeting at a different school so I hadn’t done my usual preparations for the morning.  No Morning Message written.   No bell ringer activity on the tables. 

When the students arrived my hurriedly written message was ready, I had music playing on the sound system and my students all had puzzle choices at their tables.  As I submitted attendance and greeted my students I checked my plans.  As we finished the pledge and our morning greeting we turned to the Morning Message.  I looked up at a movement in the doorway.  In walked my principal.  My third yearly observation was about to begin.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Test Prep

Today our spring break started at noon.  Why am I home at 9:00 p.m.?  When we return from our spring break our 5th grade will start our state testing then the 4th grade and 3rd will follow.  A few weeks ago we agreed to a Star Wars theme, May the Scores Be With You!  A group of 5 teachers and later family members worked for 9 hours as we transformed our Upper Elementary hallway into an amazing galaxy.  Our students will be so impressed with the hundreds of stars, the characters and bulletin boards we’ve created.  It looks amazing!  I'm glad we have 10 days to rest up!

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

A Big Celebration

Tomorrow is the last day of our March is Reading Month festivities.  We’re planning a little celebration in our classroom to celebrate all the great reading we’ve done this month.  I decided to make Rice Krispies Treats for my class.  No crumbs, no frosting and fast to make. 
For several years I’ve been in charge of our kitchen for Vacation Bible School.  I’ve always made over sized treats as part of our snack menu.  To feed the 200 attendees I make about 24 batches, I double the recipe and it is fun to see the kids react to the jumbo sized snack. 
I’ve found the off brand of the Rice Krispies works just as well as the real thing in this recipe.  The store brand of marshmallows is fine too.  My husband scoffed at me looking up the recipe for something I’ve probably made a hundred times. The off brand doesn't have the recipe on the box.   I wanted to avoid measuring so I did the math for the whole box of cereal.  Ooops, I guess I should have sat down and thought…my doubled recipe is now tripled! 

Oh well, I wanted to have an impressive snack! I think I’ve achieved it, now the lid won’t fit on my cake pan.  I think I’ll call these Rice Krispie Towers!!

Tuesday, March 29, 2016


For the past 4 years my class has watched the Eagles of Dekorah Iowa.  Well, one year the birds choose a different nest and there wasn’t a camera on the new nest, but I tried.  We check out the nest before the eggs are laid, and then when the first egg is laid we begin the 35 day countdown.  Our spring break starts on Thursday, I was really hoping for a timely hatch.  Yesterday there were signs the first egg would hatch soon.  This morning we checked the nest cam before I even took attendance.  The Smartboard on, all the lights were off when suddenly we saw those fluffy feathers as the parent moved the other two eggs. 
Squeals of joy!   Loud yells of it’s a chick! And of course multiple hugs to celebrate followed.  In a month or so we’ll make a class book about the eagles, a great way to combine science and writing.  Here’s to another hatch on Wednesday or Thursday.

Monday, March 28, 2016


She moved into our rural community the year before we started 5th grade.  She sat in front of me, every day in the morning as our teacher allowed us to go to our lockers to get a snack she and another girl would make me give mine to them.  My mom often packed a fun sized candy bar for me, a valuable snack for an impoverished farming community.  I really didn’t like her, but the other girl had been a friend until she came along. Together the two girls were increasingly difficult, I dreaded seeing them at school each day.
Word spread through the telephone tree.  Later confirmed by the local paper.  She had died.  Shot by her brother as they argued while playing a card game in the dining room.  When we returned to school Monday morning our teacher, Mr. Monfort looked like he’d been crying.  He pulled her desk to the hall.  Mrs. Martin, our school principal came in the room.  They stood and talked.  Mr. Monfort tugged the desk back in.  I don’t recall any discussion, or support.  Just the empty desk.
The visitation was held mid-week but my family decided to not have me attend.  I remember feeling so sad.  But also, so guilty for feeling relieved that the two mean girls were now only one. 

Sunday, March 27, 2016

One for You, One for Me

My breast cancer is estrogen fed.  To reduce the opportunity of a re-occurrence my oncologist has recommended an estrogen reduction medicine.   She first mentioned it way back in November, right after my surgery.  She said we'd talk again after I completed my radiation 
 Wayne wasn’t able to accompany me to my oncologist appointment I was updating him on our conversation. She always takes the time to clearly discuss the options and discuss my choices.   As I listed the side effects, he quietly listened to the laundry list of possible symptoms for my headfirst chemically induced entry into menopause.  I paused to wipe away tears.  The past six months have been filled with so much emotion and stress. I hate to take a medicine that might derail the positive feelings and calm I’ve tried to embrace.  With a smile he asked, “did she suggest any pills for me?” 

After a long shared laugh and a few more Kleenex I realized once again, what a wonderful mate I’ve been blessed to have.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Sweet Tooth

I’ve never been too particular.  It’s got to have caramel, and nuts and maybe some chocolate.  It could be on ice cream or in something with lots of sugar.  I thought I’d found my perfect desert.  We were having friends over, the perfect excuse to bake.  And the safety net of knowing I wouldn’t have the temptation around the house for days after. 
On a Saturday night with a clean house and time on my hands I tried to replicate the desert I’d tried at a gathering of friends weeks earlier.  Melted butter, brown sugar, coconut and nuts.  Yum!  As the desert cooled on the counter the parchment paper made the removal from the pan effortless.  The chef’s knife made it easy to cut the confection into squares and then triangles.  Good thing I used the parchment paper.  A bubble of caramel, coconut and nuts was stuck to the corner of the jelly roll pan.  My thumb nail released the bubble and I popped it in my mouth.  I savored the chewy caramel and coconut. 
On a Monday morning, with two days before my sick leave is over I said.  “I’m not too particular of who I see or when I get in.” 

“No, I’m not in pain, but I’m going back to work after being off for two months.  I really need to come in today or tomorrow.  Dr. T. did the crown, but I’ll be happy to see any of the partners.   

Friday, March 25, 2016


I’m not sure how it happened.  There used to be so few and they were treasured.  For a while many of them were promises of treasures from foreign lands.  Now the treasured ones are nearly obliterated by the masses. 
I probably brought it on myself.  I did quite a bit of shopping on line in the past years.  But do they really think I shop every day?  Several times? 

One of my spring break tasks is going to be clicking unsubscribe instead of delete!  

Thursday, March 24, 2016


I remember them as elderly friends.  Mr. and Mrs. Van den Bosh, went to our church.    I can recall picking apricots from their fruit trees in the yard.  I clearly remember their stone house, with a lush green yard; they also had cherry and apples trees too.  Funny, I don’t have any memories of the inside of their house.  When we were recently looking at family photos my mom commented several times the dresses my sisters and I wore were a gift from the couple.  Mom said they occasionally babysat for us.  What a treat that must have been for a young couple, working, farming and raising a quickly growing family, while living over an hour away from their own families. 

I wonder why we didn’t see them as I grew older.  My father was always so diligent about visiting people as they aged and were ill.  Did they pass when I was young?  Maybe they moved?  I need to ask Mom at Easter.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Spring Sing!

My grade level is the only group in the school that doesn’t participate in our spring musical.  Yesterday I overheard a teacher saying that her husband had been given Elton John tickets but she couldn’t go because she needed to be at the concert to supervise her students. 
I told her if the principal would approve it, I would be happy to cover her class.  With administration approval I spent this evening in amazement.  I had about a third of the student body in their primary years.  Wow!  I felt so proud listening to them recite lines and sing with such pride.  I need to make sure I take the time to attend this every year. 

Today she asked if she could pay me, I told her I just want her to be forever in my debt!!
Dinner out with the staff before was an added bonus!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016


I’m saddened by yet another terror attack in Europe.  Our summer plans had included Istanbul, but in January after an attack in a spot where we’d planned to visit, we’re no longer visiting Turkey.  A trip that includes several large European cities just doesn’t sound fun.

I know many of these destinations really depend on tourists.  I know not going gives the terrorists the win.  But today I can’t get the news reports and the crying voices out of my mind.  Tonight so many people are in pain and grief.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Tickets! I've got Tickets!

Our school is going to become a PBIS school next year.  I’m on our school leadership team, we’ve been working with staff on developing what we as a school want to use in our implementation.  Full disclosure I’ve never been good at rewards.  Charts, tokens, punch cards, I’ve tried them all at some time or another, and they always fall by the wayside.  I’m not motivated by rewards so I just forget to remember.
Enter Chelsea.  Name changed, of course, not that she really responds to her name.  She spent her first two years in a neglectful and or abusive home.  She now lives with a doting grandmother, who usually looks tired or looks the other way.  Our school counselor says she has “trauma brain”.  She sees things very differently.  She doesn’t really respond to anything I’ve tried. Consistent rules and consequences have helped, but she’s a long way from being ready for kindergarten expectations.   When I pushed for an evaluation she was documented in a ten minute time span chewing on the leg of a table and also eating a used tissue. 
Yes!  I tried every trick in my toolbox. 
A month ago, I started intentionally and consistently naming behaviors I wanted and then frequently rewarding the behavior with a ticket.  This was done for the entire class.  The first few days there was a drawing at the end of the day.  Then I went to having drawings at the end of the week.  Last week I finally got Chelsea to follow a direction the first time I asked.  This is making me excited for our full roll out in September.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Sharing is Scary!

As we gathered on the rug one morning for sharing.
“My cats going to have babies, ‘cause she’s got no heat! 
“My cat’s got fleas!”
“My Daddy doesn’t like cats so he’s gonna…”
Interrupting for all I’m worth, “Raise your hand if you have a cat.”  “Raise your hand if you’ve got a dog”
“Does anyone have a different pet? 

“OK, sharing is done for today.” (and maybe forever!!)

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Holiday Preparation

I went into school today to do some cleaning and reorganization.  There are days when I’m)not sure it’s a blessing to have school keys.  While I was there I realized I needed to get some Easter projects out.   I checked one storage spot.  No luck.  Where would I have put that oversized egg shape?  I kept looking.  Not in the over-sized hanging file.  Not in the closet.  Dang.  I spent days last summer organizing all my projects!  Where could it be?  It wasn’t until I was pulling holiday books (I love Max's Chocolate Chicken) from my April storage I realized Easter is very early this year and yes, the egg pattern was right where it belonged…last year!

Friday, March 18, 2016

Science for the Littles

Last summer I attended a science seminar for primary elementary teachers.  I resolved to improve my student’s experiences in science this year.  The Institute where the seminar was held told us it offered free science programs for any school in the county,  I only needed to obtain funds for the buses.  I decided to dream big and I wrote a grant for four visits.  My grant was fully funded!   The first visit was in early November, the day before my lumpectomy.  Others thought I was crazy to take a field trip that day.   It was beautiful fall day and my student’s joy at experiencing the outdoors as we gathered items using our five senses was delightful. 
We had planned to visit during the winter, child sized snow shoes and sliding were the plan.   Radiation and recovery time changed that plan.  We really didn’t miss much, we didn’t have enough snow cover to enjoy either activity, except for our blizzards, and then we couldn’t have gotten there anyway.
I’ve now been back in the classroom for 5 weeks.  Today our second visit happened.  We got to learn about worms and next week the director is delivering a classroom sized worm composer to our classroom.  The class also got to learn about birds, and this weekend I’ll be attaching the bird feeder she gave us to the window. 

It all started with me looking for some continuing education credits!

Looking forward to two more visits!

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Leprechaun Fun

“This was the best day ever!” grinned one of my 5 year olds.  All it took was a couple of bags of gold wrapped candy and a note printed on green paper.
My note asked the parents and children to have fun and build a leprechaun trap.  I asked for them to be sent to school on or before the 16th.   Twelve were made and delivered.  Most were clearly the work of the children, but others showed the family had worked together. The morning started out with huge excitement.  Each trap had two candies the leprechaun dropped as he checked out the traps.   One girl brought her trap in this morning, it took a little diversion to put candies in the late arriving trap!  Despite our lack of success in catching a leprechaun we were successful in finding his hat and his gold.  He dropped a large amount in two different places in the room.  The larger piles we agreed we’d all share evenly. 
When we returned from music class the door was locked and several boxes of math manipulatives were spilled.  The leprechaun left a note of apology and left a shamrock treat on green napkins.  Again we found some more gold wrapped candy. 
By the time we got to writing time everyone had an exciting story to write. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2016


Yesterday I came home, and here,  frustrated at my inability to implement differentiated centers, something I was sure my class needed.   I was ready to forget it for a year, but today I decided to try one more time.  I changed the groups, pulled my lowest students to a separate group directed group and said a small thanks for three strategic absences.
I retaught the centers a third time and presented limited choices.  I worked with the lowest ability students alone and then gave them other activities while the majority of the group developed and grew their skills.  I hope my other three will be able to enjoy these centers later, but it just might not happen this year.  But for the rest of the class?


Tuesday, March 15, 2016


Last year I felt like I had a good handle on how to teach my Young 5 class.  I had some challenges but I was able to get them where they needed to be by the end of the year.
This year I wanted to improve my teaching.  I spent a lot of time doing research on differentiated centers.  I purchased, prepared and was really excited for the school year, and its fallen flat. 
I started the year with many children with behavior and emotional problems of my class. The first two months of the year was spent dealing with a duo of extremely angry children.  They can come from a Head Start situation, with four other children in my class.  This gang of 6 needed so much behavior work, academics were largely ignored.  There were days I had 4 other adults in my class and all the attention was focused on preventing violent behavior.  Yes, this is a Young 5 class.
I’d like to say I solved all the situations.  Sadly, this isn’t true.  The two most troubled children moved out of district.  Another of the group was diagnosed and treatment is effective.  The other three have responded to consistent expectations, consequences and rewards. 
This year was complicated by my diagnosis of breast cancer.  I’ve used nearly 50 days of sick time.  I was able to have one substitute for the time after my surgery to minimize stress to the class.  The 8 weeks I needed to receive radiation and to recover were covered by a competent substitute, and two of those weeks were our Christmas vacation.  But still we’re not where I want my class to be.
In the month since my return to the classroom I have done my best to get my students back on track.  Yesterday and today I’ve introduced center activities.  And I’ve failed. 

Tomorrow I’ll reteach and explain again how the process works.  Or, maybe, just maybe, I’ll wait and try again next year.

Monday, March 14, 2016


I wish we could bank sleep.  I went to bed early Saturday, and Sunday night too.  It didn’t work.  I spent the day feeling like I had jet lag.  I realized my students felt the same way.  Multiple minor misbehaviors and whininess were rampant in the classroom.  Or maybe it was just me.  I am tired and not on my A game.  Maybe I can’t bank sleep, but I’m going to try tonight to pay back what my body thinks it needs.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

I Remember

I remember looking at the Fountas and Pinnell benchmark books way back in September when we got our kits.  (Ahem, in the spring would have been much more convenient)  
We had a training in mid-September and I put my kit together. I remember laughing about how many books I was given and knowing most of them would never get used.
I remember being told to benchmark my students at the start of the year.  It strikes me as cruel to ask prekindergarten students to do something we're sure they can't do, just to prove their teacher has taught them something...but that's not today's blog!
I remember being quickly done because they don't know their letters and sounds so of course they won't be reading!!!
I just wish I'd remembered to put those books back in the kit where they belong!

Saturday, March 12, 2016


      Weddings have lots of checklist.  This week our daughter and her fiancĂ© checked off a number of them.  The Save the Date cards arrived on Monday.  Yesterday we started out by celebrating her fiancĂ©’s birthday dinner.  Over delicious food and with our growing family it was a feast for the soul.  And with Amy’s suggestions I was able to give a perfect gift.  Whew!
     This morning’s breakfast was a cake tasting.  I missed out tasting, but their favorites were packed up for us to try.  Delicious!  A friend of our daughter in law is coming out of retirement to bake them at such a reasonable rate.   
       At lunch we sampled the many offerings of the caterer, good food and in budget and the date was available.  Whew!  A deposit make it official.

      Mid-afternoon found five of us at the bridal salon.  It was fun to see the girls help Amy determine what her style was, and to see if the real dress looked like she wanted.  After eight or so dresses, the perfect one was found.  The order has been placed and it will arrive in late June.  This long distance wedding planning is easier than we'd feared.
      As we said good bye this evening they were sharing some of the things they've really appreciated in their premarital counseling.  It fun to see them lay the framework for a good marriage as they plan their wedding.

Friday, March 11, 2016

The Quality Can Be Measured

Today I tried a new math lesson I'd seen shared.  It required colored pencils, two sided counters and a half piece of paper.  Sure it could have been crayons, but colored pencils are WAY cooler.
I demonstrated how to shake the counters and let them fall.  I then recorded the color combinations of our 5 counters.
When it was time to do this fun activity in centers I got at least 5 hugs as the kids went off to do their tasks.  The best way to judge quality is how excited my students are to do the task.  I think I was given an +A.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

A Mid-Morning Scare

I have a text alert every time my checking or savings accounts have a transaction exceeding a certain amount.  Two years ago I did not have this feature and in a 4 hour block of time on a Thursday night my entire checking account was cleared out and taken to overdraft.  Since my overdraft protection is linked to our savings accounts if I had not noticed the charges our savings could have been wiped out as well.  To complicate the situation it was the night before my husband and I left on a cruise. I happened to check the account balance around 9:30 as I finished my packing.  I spent the next half hour on the phone with the fraud division of our credit union.  As the situation unfolded we were able to prevent some unposted charges from being cleared and the earlier ones were later resolved by the credit union.  A negative -$700.00 balance is not a fun way to start a travel experience.  Thankfully we had another account we were able to use during our cruise.  But I’ve learned my lesson.  I check the balances of our accounts often.
The two Sundays of our payday weeks  each month my husband and I tithe by check at church.  The following Thursday the checks clear our accounts.  This week,  I didn’t expect any large expenditures to clear.  When I got a midmorning text I checked saw a large amount had been processed!  My heart sunk.  Not again!  How often can a person claim to be a victim of fraud?  At lunch I began by texting a balance check on all accounts.  I sat in my classroom ready to make some quick phone calls. Take a deep breath.  Notice negative or rather lack of negative symbols. 

Our Federal tax refund is now in our account!  Isn’t technology grand?

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

But What About The Others?

Today I took the day off and went to my granddaughter's kindergarten Grandfriend day.  I applaud the name choice, which made it clear other people were welcome besides grandparents. When I walked in the room Lucy's happy call of "Grandma!" made the sub plans worth while.   It was a delightful 45 minutes.  Each child had made a bookmark with a picture for their guest.  We worked together to make a book about kindergarten now and then.  The activity was short and meaningful to both generations.  We took a picture together and had a delicious cookie with, as Lucy pointed out, very pretty napkins.
The day was lovely.  I loved seeing that often quoted woman.  The classroom was full of wonderful projects and organization.  We even celebrated with the first ice cream cone of the year after school.
So why do I feel sad?  
Several children didn't have a grand, or a friend.  One little guy was at Lucy's table.  When I realized he didn't have anyone I did my teacher best to make sure he had a good experience.  The other little guy at the table without an adult went off with someone else. I know the teacher had a back up for those children.  But no matter how kind I may have tried to be, I was not someone special to him.
I don't know why the little guys didn't have anyone special there for them today, but I know their lack of a companion sure made the day a little less joyous for me.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

What Was I thinking?

Tomorrow I’m going to my granddaughter’s school for Grandparents day.  I’m looking forward to it, but what was I thinking?  Did I really need to rearrange tables and seating tonight after school? 
Well, yes I did. 
Late last week a student who’s been out of school since November due to a failed surgery and then life threatening after affects returned to school.  She’s in a wheelchair and my room needed clear pathways.  Those spaces that looked generous enough just aren’t working out.  She also has a full time health para, and she needs room to sit next to the child.  The para needs an adult sized chair. 
When you move one child the dominoes begin to fall and soon I was sorting out journals, crayon boxes and math card sets. 

My plans are written, Morning Message is written.  After a 14 hour work day  I’m ready to go be a grandma.  Except, first I have to dig out a picture of myself in Kindergarten.  

Monday, March 7, 2016


At playtime in my Young 5's classroom, "Teacher, he won't share the Bud Light"
After a quick scan of the classroom, "Boys could you work together doing the Buzz Lightyear Puzzle?

Sunday, March 6, 2016


I’ve learned that planning and forethought make for a successful week in the classroom. (usually) I’ve never really applied this to home.  I tend to plan dinner as I pull into the garage.  Today as I make our lunch I’m making a pot of soup to provide me with several lunches and a dinner.  My husband will be out of town for 3 days and I tend to make poor choices when it’s just me.

That was my plan.  Efficiency.  Planning ahead.

Today as I made lunch I was using all 5 burners on our stove.  Lunch was cooking away, and I was also making soup.  As I put the finishing touches on our meal I started to combine the ingredients for the soup.  The barley was cooked, and ready to drain.  Once it was in the soup pot it could simmer for a few hours.  I plan to have an easy week!

Today as I made lunch I severely burned my hand.   I was using all the burners on my stove and the handle of small pan I was using was too close to another burner.  I’m wearing a large bandage and also have a singed ring finger.  As I spend the week alone there will be many tasks I will need to delay.  One handed isn’t efficient.  I plan to order pizza and feel sorry for myself.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Not Quite My Plan

I smiled this morning when I saw the contest asking for comments.  That was my plan for the weekend, except for where the comments were going to be made.  We are at the end of our second trimester.  My report cards are done, except for comments.  I’d  already finished specific subject comments now I needed to do the general comments.  I have access to our school on the weekend, but in the winter, and we’re still in winter here in Michigan, it’s much more comfortable to work at home.  The low weekend energy saving temperature, while ok when I’m doing reorganizing and bulletin boards, is too chilly for sitting in front of the keyboard in the classroom
I had prepared well, I had all the data and growth records at home so I could make insightful comments to the parents.  Unfortunately the grade-book's  remote login didn’t work.  I tried one combination, then another.  I confess it probably isn't a problem with the login, it's probably my inability to remember yet another too similar password.  With my time slipping away I gathered my piles of data and added a thicker sweatshirt and a vest. 
On my way to school I drove to the coffee shop to buy a large tea.  Not as cozy as my kitchen table but I’d be ok.  I wasn’t the only staff member there this morning, but I didn’t stop to say “hi” as I headed to my room.  I had one purpose only report card comments!  I worked quickly and ignored all those tasks I could see beyond the monitor. 
After a couple of hours I was finished. Proof reading done, I celebrated by with a purchase from Teachers Pay Teachers.  I printed it to the color printer I’d loaded with my card stock.  I used the laminator and headed home to cut and trim my newest project while I wait for my feet to thaw out.
My commenting spree will have to wait until after dinner.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Joys Abound

Green Eggs and Ham, read by a recently retired teacher and friend.
Green eggs and ham, and I didn’t have to cook, serve or clean up!
My student is back.  She’s been gone since November 3, surgery, intensive care and a month in a rehab facility and she’s back.
A supportive note from my principal in my mailbox
An extra pair of snow-pants and boots put to good use.
A counselor who can convince a boy to wear “girl” boots by pulling snow-pants down over the trim.
A math lesson the kids thought was really fun!
A cute song rewrite for March is Reading Month Assembly.
Many staff showing up for an early morning practice.
After school song practice, followed by conversation, and pizza.  
Family reading night with not enough chairs.  What a problem to have!
A long conversation with old friends                                                       

“Welcome Back” from our superintendent, how nice she noticed.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Shopping for New Books

     Impulse control should be firmly in place before signing up for Amazon Prime.  I live over a half hour from a book store, so I don’t feel as if I’m ignoring my local retailer.  For a short time our little town had a locally owned store, but the retired teacher wasn’t able to make it to the five year anniversary.  Many of the books I buy are professional books that wouldn’t be available even if I made the trip to Grand Rapids. 
      Last week The Big Book of Details by Rozlyn Linder was spotlighted by Two Writing Teachers, wait a minute, that was only on Sunday.  Of course I commented, but then I decided getting this gem shouldn’t be left to chance and a poor memory, I needed to order that book now!
     Look! Those multi pack of colorful Sharpie flip chart markers are on sale.  They are perfect for Morning Message and making charts!   I should get one…no, it’s a great sale, I’ll get two!
Reading night is Thursday, my friend is reading and I promised her I’d loan her some fun new picture books. But if my students are there, they’ll have heard the ones I love most.   
I’ll just take a look. 
     Oh, the grand-kids love this one, Stuck, by Jeffers I could share it with my students if Betsy doesn’t want that one. 
      Lenny & Lucy by Stead, what grandmother can resist a book with her granddaughter’s name in the title?  And it’s about moving, all the better.  So many of my students face changes so often, I’ve got to have that! 
     And this title is perfect for primary, The Almost Terrible Playdate by Torrey.  Learning to compromise and still have fun is so hard for my littles.  A familiar topic, I bet Betsy would have fun doing the two arguing voices! And then I’ll have it to use in future years.  In the cart!
Oh!  This is about dreaming up a story!  The Whisperer, with a Caldecott Honor illustrator as the author?  Got to have that one!  Any book about books is a former librarian’s joy.
     OK, seven items in the cart, plus the one that’s going to be back ordered.  Over $100.00, I’d better stop!  Good thing I have that $5.00 gift card!
     We had a big snow storm yesterday, with nearly every school in the region closed.  I left the garage door open so the delivery person could easily get to the back door. Both Fed Ex and UPS deliver a little after noon so I’d have a good afternoon of reading.   Belle, my timid dog is quick to jump up if she hears a sound in the garage, she’s better than a door bell.   Must be the snow was making deliverys later.   I worked on report cards and graded assessments so I could have time to delve into the Big Book of Details.  Finally at 5:00 pm I checked Amazon for delivery status.  What do you mean delivery attempted??  There was NO attempt!  And why did Amazon ship with the U.S. Postal Service?
     Today,at 8:05 am I called the post office.  The things you can do with a second snow day.  The worker who answered the phone found my package and agreed to hold it for pickup.  My mail usually doesn’t get delivered until 3:00 pm, that’s WAY too long to wait for new books!  I hung up saying, “I’ll be there in a few minutes.”  With so much snow I was happy to find a spot right by the door.  The parking lot was practically empty. 

     Of course it was empty. The post office doesn’t open until 8:30!   The things you don’t know when you arrive at work at 6:30 every day. It was too cold to wait in the car so back home I went.  At 8:33 I arrived and as soon as I was back in the car I opened the box.  I love that quiet groan a new book makes when you first open the cover.  Oh no!  I think I’m going to have to buy at least two of these again.  My grand-kids need them in their library!

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Squirrels Bring Birds-- Who Knew?

On a beautiful winter day the birds at the feeder are complements of a squirrel.

  Wayne’s mom is nearly ninety two.  While she is frail, she’s still very alert.  When she said she saw a squirrel in her house I wondered if she was losing it. First it was in the evenings, then during the day.  Julie, her house-cleaner had seen it too.  OK, she’s still alert, I confess I had my doubts for a moment. 

  We set traps.  First a small live trap, then big rat traps.  While the squirrel seems grateful for the addition of peanut butter to its diet, we were unable to catch it.  Except for the clean traps there really isn’t any sign of the varmint. But Julie had confirmed the sighting. 

Need a solution to a strange situation?  Google the problem!  One suggestion, confirmed effective by friends who’ve been overrun by squirrels seemed less nasty than most ideas.  We placed bird seed in a five gallon pail.  The seed floated on the top of water.  Then a ramp was place up pail.   Rocky was intended to  tumble into the pail and the adventure would be brought to a close. 
The bucket didn’t work,  The wet seed was discarded.
The squirrel hasn’t been sighted in several weeks.  We’ve returned the borrowed live trap, retired the rat traps and started to feed the birds with the remainder of the seed.  
We’re not sure how the squirrel got in, or out for that matter.  We’re just glad he’s gone, and that it was confirmed by someone outside the family.  
The birds feeding outside my window in a late winter snow storm are an added bonus.
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no, that's not my feeder, THANKS Google images.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Time To DO This

I’m not sure I can do this.  Not this year.  I feel overwhelmed.  I’m getting reacquainted with my students after being off work for two months, and I still tire quickly.  Report cards are due soon, and I’m still getting reacquainted with my students.  Last night when I went to bed it looked like spring.  Today at 5:05 am, school was cancelled, winter is back.  Time to get reaquainted with Slicers!Displaying IMG_2714.JPG

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