Friday, August 08, 2014

New Year! Have I blogged yet?

So as a newbie blogger, starting on January 1 was so much easier than starting at the beginning of the school year. It's HARD to blog during the buzz of a new year! I'm part exhausted, part electrified, part unmotivated, part anxious to start. It's such a crazy mix. Later in the year, I find myself more driven, more creative, and more social. During pre-planning days, I hide in my modular and put my room together as if I, too, open my room to parents and students at Open House. But I don't. I teach ESOL. Our Open House was last night. It's the last weekend before all students return. I saw last year's students of mine, thrilled to see them again, even if some lost their baby faces over summer, but I don't yet have a student roster. We won't have students for weeks, but for me to be ready for them, I have to have a clean, organized room. Only then, does my weary mind fall in line, so I hunker down. I commend my fellow bloggers, these curious, over-energized and hyper-creative and hyper-productive beings. This is my year #1. I will continue to blog and create this year. I am determined to attend the TPT Conference in 2015, come hell or high water! I can't wait to get my room ready, begin to implement Daily 5 with my wonderful ESOL students, and share my experience again this year. Blogging has really pushed me, and I hope to find myself with more readers. My students and I enjoy how much this process pushes me. Students come Monday. They always energize me! I'll be back to discuss it next week. Have a great weekend! I hope your students are your bucket fillers, and may your bucket floweth over.

Sunday, August 03, 2014

Back to School Sale

Take advantage of a Teachers Pay Teacher Back to School Sale. Save 28% on all items in my store. My cart is loaded and ready to check out. I love shopping for class tools and center materials! Click on the sales banner to get to the Oh, Snap! TPT store!

Saturday, August 02, 2014

I Stand with You, Liberia

Even though I feel such an exhilarating buzz about the new school year, it is also a very somber time for me. In 2011, I completed my practicum in Liberia. Some days, I still pinch myself. I am so grateful to Mercer University's Mercer on Mission that gave us this opportunity. I learned so much, met great people, and experienced a culture that would never have been possible otherwise. I became familiar with a people that overcame so much in their very recent history. A history that I was embarrassed to have had so much ignorance. What I learned is that these resilient people represented just how the world was to me. We seem to think that the miles between us as countries and cultures make us different. Untrue. We're not very unlike at all. If anything, I don't know if I could forgive and forget as well as they had. I don't know if I could cope and move on as well as they had. Knowing them gave me strength, their relationships made me full.

We taught at Rick's Institute near Monrovia, Liberia for three weeks. My teaching partner, William, and I had 40 students in a tee-niny classroom. No electricity, no running water, no supplies like pencils and papers, much less Ipads, activeboards, and internet access. What an experience we shared! The most memorable was making a venn diagram about what ants would rather eat, a salty cracker or a sweet piece of chocolate. With magnifying classes and recording sheets, we put the the food on one of the MANY ant beds and let the kids poke the ant beds to a chorus of laughter and squeals. Yes, there was supervision and just enough of a safe distance! Come on, these kids had way more know-how around their jungle environment than I did. Let's not speak about the coconut tree snakes!!

I want to honor some of my former students as a way to pray for them and keep them close in thought. My hope is that they are all safe with their loved ones and are unaffected by this very scary virus, Ebola. Please let me introduce a few of my students. Some days, more than others, I realize what a gift photography is to my life. Some days, I feel that my introverted nature tricks me into thinking that I am in the mist of it all, though I hide behind a camera. These days, I don't feel this way. I may never see Liberia and her people again, but I have these rich, magnificent memories of them through my photos. I captured them. Please let me welcome you to my journey as I remember those in West Africa as they suffer the effects of Ebola, an awful and scary virus.

Meet Armstrong. He was our quiet charmer. When our time to teach them had ended, he snuck over to our house to tell my teaching partner and me goodbye and to play us a song on his ukulele. What a surprise to have this meek hardworker let us into his world and share his talent. We decided no other name would be so suited to him. Armstrong, we're thinking about you.