Sunday, December 30, 2012

A New Year

What are my resolutions for the new year?
I don't really make resolutions.
Because I know they will be broken in no time at all.

Instead, I'll work on my goals for this year.
Goals infer moving toward somethiing ~
    but also give you space to make a mistake . . .
       to reconsider . . . .
           to reshape it into a reality.

So, goals it shall be.  (You do notice that I am NOT saying "Wishes"!)
   Goals I work at.  Wishes I dream about.

1.  To grow closer to the One who loves me best.
           To see as He sees . . .  love as He loves . . . . 

2.  One goal ~ as every other year's first goal was:  lose weight/get healthy.  (sigh)
             Maybe not to weigh 150 like I used to ~ but to be less than I am now!

3.   ~ chicken coop.  Make it a reality this year, even if I only have them for a year or two!

4.   ~  paint ~ at least 2 new paintings each month.

5.   ~ finish the letters I began for each of the children when I found out that
                 I have an aneurysm on the root of my aorta.  Fill them with love and dream . . .

6.   ~  bees?

7.   ~ write, write, write. 

               and #8. ~  Perhaps the most important ~ To become

   the leading lady in my own life ~
      not an observer.
          To MAKE things happen . . . not just to allow and work with what DOES happen.
              To learn to love me.
                  who I am now . . .
                       and who I will be tomorrow
                             and through this next year.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Memorial for Sandy Hook's Children and Teachers

I am so thankful for this reminder that the little ones and the teachers from Sandy Hook are not hurting and are not frightened any more.

Written by Cameo Smith, Mt. Wolf, PA

twas' 11 days before Christmas, around 9:38
when 20 beautiful children stormed through heaven's gate.
their smiles were contagious, their laughter filled the air.
they could hardly believe all the beauty they saw there.
they were filled with such joy, they didn't know what to say.
they remembered nothing of what had happened earlier that day.
"where are we?" asked a little girl, as quiet as a mouse.
"this is heaven." declared a small boy. "we're spending Christmas at God's house."
when what to their wondering eyes did appear,
but Jesus, their savior, the children gathered near.
He looked at them and smiled, and they smiled just the same.
then He opened His arms and He called them by name.
and in that moment was joy, that only heaven can bring
those children all flew into the arms of their King
and as they lingered in the warmth of His embrace,
one small girl turned and looked at Jesus' face.
and as if He could read all the questions she had
He gently whispered to her, "I'll take care of mom and dad."
then He looked down on earth, the world far below
He saw all of the hurt, the sorrow, and woe
then He closed His eyes and He outstretched His hand,
"Let My power and presence re-enter this land!"
"may this country be delivered from the hands of fools"
"I'm taking back my nation. I'm taking back my schools!"
then He and the children stood up without a sound.
"come now my children, let me show you around."
excitement filled the space, some skipped and some ran.
all displaying enthusiasm that only a small child can.
and i heard Him proclaim as He walked out of sight,
"in the midst of this darkness, I AM STILL THE LIGHT

Saturday, December 15, 2012


Last night I could write nothing.  It was hard to see through the tears. 
This morning is still hard.

There are moments in life when we cannot express our love, our concern, our prayers for what happens around us.  Sometimes, all we can do is allow our heart to breathe the words, "Oh, God . . ."  Because He alone is the one who can comfort.

What has happened to these children and their warm, loving homes and community is just unbelievable.  To have their lives taken away is unthinkable.  But my heart is also with all the other children who survived ~ having lived through the terror.  Father God, please heal their hearts and minds.  Help them to believe again that there is safety in their world ~ and that this world can be a beautiful place.  Father, help us all to remember and believe that You are good, You are loving, and that You treasure each of us.  I ask that you hold each of these who are hurting very very close in Your arms today.

In all this, I want to share another teacher's thoughts and encouragement for all of us. For the questions that I know we will see and hear on Monday when all of our little ones come back to school . . . . .
She is Jolie , a Passionate Teacher, as she calls herself.  Here are her words:


As the world watches in horror and tries to process the days events, every parent in the country awaits for their child to come home just so they can hug them a little bit tighter or tell them a little bit louder how much they matter and love them.
Families and communities will come together in hopes of finding a way thru this tragedy, and we will see the best of humanity emerge as we work to support and comfort all those who experienced this senselessness first hand.
And come Monday morning, these students will arrive in your classroom with the following questions going through their minds:
  • Am I safe?
  • Could this happen here?
  • Could this happen to me?
  • What if someone came to our school?
  • What if you can not protect me?
  • Why do things like this happen?
  • Am I going to be okay?
  • Are we going to be okay?
There is no lesson plan for that. There is no magic strategy or super app that can look children in the face and assure them that the world will be well again.
Thank God for teachers. Thank God you know what to do. Thank God you do what you do.
You have just been reminded of why we are indispensible, and why no one can simply walk in off the street and do our work. You are in this position of priviledge to do one thing like no other person on earth can do: TEACH
You touch hearts every day.
You will look into their eyes, and they will see in yours that you love them.
You will be the voice of reason and hope. The words you share and the silence your endure will be the catalyst for the healing ahead.
You will assure them with your poise and presence that the world is a beautiful place.
You will remind them as you speak about this horrific and unspeakable event that there is a giving and loving community ready to ban together in force to ensure this never happens again.
You will calm their fears by showing them a great school filled with wonderful teachers, leaders, parents and students who are willing to protect and preserve its every member.
You will be human with them. Allowing yourself to mourn along side of them demonstrating how strong and secure one can be in the midst of our hearts breaking.
You will TEACH. You will not need a lesson plan, a reminder of that standard it covers, or any special technology.
You will do what you are born to do. You will do what you are called to do. You will do what students need you to do.
You touch hearts every day.
You change lives every day.
Monday is no different.
The people who will have the biggest influence on how our country will heal and whole will bear the biggest  responsibly for making it whole again are sitting right in front of you.
They need you.
You are their teacher.
You know exactly what to do.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Teaching Kindergarten

Teaching with our morning calendar.

Proof that there really is nap time!

I LOVE teaching kindergarten . . . .  but my dreams of pouring knowledge into their willing little heads have been replaced by hopes that after repeated drills, etc. they will learn the things they need to know . . .  

Kindergarten nowadays is different than it used to be.  In past days, kindergarten students played much of the day (I think!), learned their alphabet, counted things, sang songs, learned to be kind to each other, played some more, had recess twice, and had nap time.  Most of the day was taken up with their relationships with their friends (sharing is good, hitting is not) and teachers (no means no, and if the teacher needs you to work ~ well, you work!)  Lots of love and fun, caring and sharing.

Today, along with all of the above, kindergarten has many standards and objectives ~ such as counting by 10's to 100, recognizing and drawing geometric shapes such as cones, cubes, hexagons, and circles, finding the main idea and details in non-fiction text, comparing and contrasting settings, main characters, etc. in stories, writing opinion pieces, knowing the difference between poetry, fables, fairy tales . . .  and a host of other things.  In kindergarten, these little ones have a job to do, and the teacher needs to guide them ever gently into that knowledge. (By the way, we still have nap time!! I am very thankful! ~ Our babies word HARD!)

Here is a glimpse into MY day as a kindergarten teacher ~ while other teachers are teaching the standards, here is a sample of my class and teaching the common core way.  (Yes, you are allowed to laugh.) This happened last week.

Everyone was sitting on the big rug together while listening to me reading one of the gingerbread books . . . .

I DO have to go ahead and tell you that this 5-year-old will one day be in the gifted program at school ~ his observation skills are very finely tuned, and he has a comment for everything.  As I turned a page, he leaned closer and raised his hand ~ quite urgently.  (Okay, he was waving it around in my face whispering, "Ms. B!  Ms. B!)
"Ms. B, what's on your legs?"
21 pairs of eyes lean forward to look ~ I lean over, too.
"Nothing." I said.
"Yes, huh! What are those black things?" He points to my ankles.
"Socks." We are all still looking at my ankles.
"Nuh-uh. I can see your legs through them."
"They are knee-highs. They are like socks and pantyhose."
"Why are they black?" (We really need to get back to class, I think.)
"Because I wanted them to go with my dark pants." I told him.
And I told the other 20 pairs of eyes.
"Your pants are NOT black." He just can't let go of this.
"No, they aren't. But I can't wear brown socks with my black sneakers," I pointed out, helping to teach them something about colors. Fashion sense is not my forte'. :)

So, we finally got back to our book. During that 7 minutes I taught 
            listening to others ~ SL.K.1, (Speaking & Listening)
           using observation skills ~ Science.4a and 4e
           taking turns talking ~ SL.K.1a, 
           asking questions to understand ~ SL.K.3
           AND that there is a difference between socks and knee-highs. 
 I also learned to be very careful what I do with my feet and ankles ~ because obviously when I am reading to them, they are NOT LOOKING AT THE PICTURES IN THE BOOK!