Monday, September 15, 2014

Answer Does Not Equal Easy

I have the answer.

Build Relationships.

But that certainly does not mean that today was an easy day in the classroom. Sigh.

After my big recent discoveries I was set! I have lessons that rock. I have skills and strategies that can help.

But today. Sigh.

A different friend decided to see if she could get me riled. Get my goat. Get me to lose my cool.

She kinda did. Dang it!

We butted heads and I forgot all about brain states.

She was disrespectful and I forgot to breathe.

At recess I remembered that we needed to "talk" (teacher speak for I'm gonna lecture and she's gonna listen). As I went to find her I heard Rachel in my head...

"Five minutes a day keeps the tantrums away."

What's to lose? Nothing else is getting through to her.

When I found her I said let's talk. She grabbed my hand (WHAT?) and we started walking.

I said "Will you play with me?"

She said, "Yes". 

I said, "What do you want to play?"

She said, "Let's build a sand castle."

So we did. I sat on the sand, got sand all over me and dug in the sand. (Even while protecting my finger nail polish.)

I learned the finer points of finding the wet sand and creating a sand castle.

I really didn't want to go in at the end of recess, because being together was nice.

Maybe she will play with me again at the next recess.

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Sunday, September 14, 2014

Sunday Morning Letter

Dear Becky Bailey,
Thank you so much for wanting to find a better way. For finding it. For writing about it. For creating opportunities for others to learn about what you had learned.

Your book, Easy to Love, Difficult to Discipline has shaped me, and my interactions with others like no other book has.

I talked to people about your book. My family started living in Unity Village (and when we weren't we yelled--UNITY VILAGE--think SERENITY NOW). I took classes on the book, and ended up with two personal copies.

I have had countless opportunities to practice the skills (at home and at school), screw up, practice more, apologize for screwing up, and try again. 

This past week the rubber met the road. And because of what I learned about the brain states, ways to calm myself and choices, I was able to DO IT, and IT FELT GREAT!

After a very difficult situation in my classroom I reflected on what happened: What did I do that worked? What did not work? Why did it work?

Here's is what I came to (I bet you, Becky Bailey, and my CD friends have said it a lot, but now I get it):

It's about relationships, people!

In my classroom, when a particular friend is not cooperating with me, he is calling for love, connection and understanding. When I offered that to him, he flipped his behavior and we ended the day on a positive note.

Becky, because of your work (and my work at learning it) I am so excited to go back tomorrow and make a difference in my friend's life. 

And wouldn't it be fantastic if I got to come to CD1 this summer? I'm pretty sure that my brain would be overloaded, but it would be good for me.

Hope to see you in June.

I Wish You Well,
A Friend in Kansas

Thanks, Michelle, for another opportunity to write.
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Monday, September 8, 2014

State Fair 2014

Who takes a field trip on day 16 of school??

Crazy teachers...

But oh what a day!!

Walking. Talking. Learning. Earning a free ice cream cone. 

Holding the hand of a student who came to me so shy in August. She is the one who took my hand.


A good-bye hug from a student who has always given me a high five.

Growing affection. 

Connections on the inside (building relationships) result in connections on the outside (think--kids doing what I want them to do).

I'm sure I have done it in the past--making, creating, building relationships.

But this year feels different.

I seem to be MORE aware. Of me. Of the students.

As I looked at each one on the trip home I could think about something unique or that I've learned about him/her in the past 16 days.

That's a relief! Because so much of the time is putting out fires, that I don't take time to look deeper into the child.

But I have looked deeper and I like what I see.

Students and teachers looking at each other--
     --how can we learn together?
     --how can we help each other?
     --I like being with you.

Yes, a field trip is a crazy way to spend day 16 of the school year. But it was so good for me in an awareness sort of way.

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Saturday, September 6, 2014

Fall Weather...

I love you!!

Yesterday I could wear pants and not be too hot.

Last night I needed a sweatshirt and blanket to stay warm at the local college soccer game.

Today the windows are open and the breeze is cooling off the house.

Tonight I get to make homemade pizza.

This weather reminds me that my students and I are so close to a routine that we could carry on with a substitute teacher.

We get amazing recess weather--warmish, coolish, just perfect for playing outside with our friends for hours on end.

Today I commented to my husband, "I think fall is my favorite season." I'm all cool, thinking this is the first time I've mentioned this thought out loud. My husband replies, "I think you've told me that before."

Actually that is good news. That means I DO love fall the best, because every fall I fall in love with this season all over.

I like the other seasons. I like the changing seasons. But I do have a favorite. I don't even care that the trees go from green to brown. Sure, colors would be a bonus, but I've never as an adult lived in a place where that would happen, and I can't remember much earlier than that or what that looks like and feels like. So, I'm not missing out.

Kansas--you are great, thanks for reminding me how much I love fall.

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Wednesday, September 3, 2014


Welcome Home Jenny!!

Jenny is two weeks old. And cute. Her dad is a shorthorn (I think) and her mom is a black angus. And she's cute. Jenny walked through the school (and Mrs. Jones' class) to get to her new pen. She got to do that because she is cute.

My first graders didn't get to see her then. A road trip was in order...

Jenny needs two bottles a day. One first thing in the morning, and another in the late afternoon (or as late as we can before the students go home).

Soon all the kids in the school will be involved in feeding Jenny. And they will need to know what to do. Good thing there is a board with directions in the barn.

I think Mrs. Jones did a fantastic job writing some detailed instructions.

I'm on for Jenny chores through Sunday afternoon. The school kids can help on Thursday and Friday, and then who wants to come and help Saturday and Sunday???

I'm looking for volunteers. Are you up for the task?

Come on over and I will "let" you feed and water the sweet, sweet Jenny calf.

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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Oh What a Day...

Oh What a Day.
That is what I'm singing today.

And I am singing it good, not bad.

Today I took the plunge. Math work stations.

We already knew how to play the games. So what we added was independent/partner time to play/practice.

It's not that I'm a slow learner (I've known about stations/centers for years), but I am slow at figuring out "how" to do them so that I don't go crazy. Today worked.

This wonderful group worked for 15 minutes and they were using a whisper voice, so that they did not disturb the kids around them. Talk about a happy teacher!!

And as an elementary teacher, I have to teach apples in September, right??


After a little compare and contrast lesson, we "busted out the seeds" as one funny kid said. (Really, a sharp knife did the trick.)

And now woking on a science experiment to learn if seeds will grow without sun and soil.

The idea for the experiment came from here.

For the next three days we will be observing changes in the seeds.

Aaaaaaannnnddddd--it's a girl!!

We are getting a heifer calf this week. She is coming from our farm family (Mr. Williams) and will arrive soon. Mrs. Jones decided that we should spruce up her new pen a bit...

Once again, she did the hard work, while I monitored the students. I did loan her my chore boots (why doesn't she have her own??).

Pictures of our calf will come soon.
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Monday, September 1, 2014

September Currently

Short and sweet today for my Currently.

No explanations today. I'm busy watching tv, being lazy, and browsing Pinterest and TpT.

Be sure to go to Farley's Place (Oh' Boy Fourth Grade) to see what my friends are currently doing, read a few, link up if you have a blog, and then--

Enjoy your Labor Day!!

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