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Wednesday, September 21, 2011


In college we are discouraged from teaching memorization. After all, memory is low on the Bloom's Taxonomy. I know I've blogged about this before but when I see 12 year-old kids counting on their fingers it drives me mad. 

2+2=4 as long as we are using our wonderful Base 10 system. That is never going to change. In early primary grades they learn why. In intermediate grades they know this and they know several strategies on how to make 2+2=4. So there is no need for them to use those strategies anymore. They need to be able to look at math sentence that uses addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division and automatically know it. Instead they are relying on their fingers, number lines, and manipulatives. This causes them to take much longer and distracts them from the issue at hand. For example, if a child is adding or subtracting fractions it is rather helpful if they already know that the least common denominator for 6 and 12 is six. If they have this memorized then they can quickly put down that 12 is the least common denominator and that six will go into twelve two times so if the problems uses the fraction 5/6 they can finish it up quick sticks, without fingers, number lines, etc because they should have their facts and sums memorized by then. It would be terribly embarrassing if this child grows up and is seen at a grocery store figuring things out their fingers that they should know in their head. 

That my friends is my recent soap box lecture on the importance of memorization. Memory is grand thing. It doesn't stay with everyone forever so let's use it while we can. ;)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Worksheets are boring

Here is a worksheet, there's a worksheet, read this worksheet, finish this worksheet. Really, are we still living a worksheet world. I am an adult so my attention span is supposed to bigger than that of school age children. If I had to sit a desk and do worksheets or read out of a text book five days a week for several hours a day you would need to order my straight jacket in XL. We expect young children to do this day in and day out? Then if a child is easily bored with sitting and doing worksheets and it hard to keep on task society wants to label them with a disorder. We have too many resources for children to sit all day and do worksheets and read from textbooks. This is not teaching, it is sucking the life out of children. With the use of technology, a ton of teaching strategies, and more importantly; our brains, we need to get these kids up and moving a little. Must they be doing something active all the time? Of course not. Plan activities not just lessons. They need to get OUTSIDE every now and then for something besides a few minutes of recess. Teach them how to stop and smell the roses...what are roses anyhow? Are they plants or animals? How do we know that?....sorry one of those teachable moments just clicked. How about group work? Oh, they are to rowdy? Is it because there haven't been guidelines and procedures set for them for group work? If they do not know what to do then, yes, it could become quite chaotic. My son once came home from middle school telling me how he despised group work. He tends to be a loner, more of an intrapersonal learner but I ask him why. Shrug of shoulders, of course. "Were the kids not doing their assigned 'jobs'?" He looks at me like I lost my mind. "Did you want to do something else in the group besides what you were told to do?" Crickets could be heard chirping for miles. "I don't know what you mean Mom. Nobody does anything but sit around and argue about who needs to do what." Yes, if kids do not know their roles this could be a big problem. If you have a group of finger pointers and tattle tales it would probably be best if you assigned the roles yourself. I think it is a good idea to give them a list of the roles needed and let them decide in a timely manner. Plus, less trees are killed in the process and the copier gets a little break so much more important things can be printed out, such as, school lunch menus. ;)

Have Fun Teaching

There are many great teaching resources out there in this huge cyberworld of ours. It is very hard to narrow them down enough to see which ones are the best. One of my faves is Have Fun Teaching. There are sources for every types of learner. They have worksheets, coloring sheets, flashcards, fun activities, videos, songs, oh the list goes on! I love the songs about counting, ABCs, and other subjects with their catchy beats. Check it out!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Arts and Humanities~To be or not to be...

When my kids began school and I started hearing about all this A and H stuff I thought it was a bunch of nonsense. Lets get rid of that and focus on what is really important to get these kids reading and understanding math. After starting college and having to take some of those dreadful courses myself I thought maybe a little A and H but we need to focus on the main content to get those scores up! Now here I am still rather wet behind the ears but with enough experience to think...Arts and Humanities is such as great thing! It really helps the kids in reading and helps get those test scores up! See a pattern? 

In the last couple of years I've had the pleasure of working with many different children with many different learning styles. Some of those kids have some learning challenges that makes them feel pretty bad about themselves (no matter how we tell them how great they are). Children with learning differences in reading and or math often excel in other areas such as art or music. When arts classes are offered they have a chance to explore what they are good at and develop a passion for it. The passion leads to wanting to learn more about what they love which gives them incentive to study harder or try a little harder. See the patten there? I am not a artist or a musician so it was harder for me to see where these classes could possibly do any good. Have you seen a child with learning differences come out of a music or art class smiling from ear to ear? It is awesome. They feel good about themselves. That is a big issue when a child feels so miserable about themselves for what they feel should be a simple task that is not simple for them. The arts classes reaches so many learning styles and I've seen the difference it has made for so many that I now give these classes a big thumbs up. 

Now if we can just get these kids outside more....but I'll save that for another blog.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Homework- To be or not to be?

Please remember my blogs are MY opinions. If I use articles and resource I will cite the source. Otherwise my opinions come from common knowledge and experiences I've had. These opinions my differ from your child's teacher. We all have our differences of opinion and our own unique teaching styles.

Students hate homework, parents get fed up with homework, teachers get bogged down grading homework. So why have homework?

I agree that some students have too much homework. That only creates stress and resentment toward school. I feel homework is very important especially when it comes to math and reading. A classroom becomes like home. It is familiar and students get comfortable in the classroom because they feel safe (hopefully) and it is part of their everyday life. When math lessons are given the teacher usually goes through the concepts step by step. Sometimes there are posters that remind the students how to do certain concepts. When math homework is sent home it helps the teacher assess what the student knows outside his/her element. I had such a struggle in math I feel that a little math homework is important. No more than 30 minutes. Same with reading. I think it is important that a child reads a few minutes each night for practice. The more a child practices a concept the better he/she will get with that concept. Same thing with adults. ;) 

Three hours of homework...I have to disagree with. If your child is bogged down with homework each night I think it would be a good idea to talk with the teacher. This could be an indicator that something isn't quite right if he/she is not getting their work finished at school. It could be something as simple as they are getting distracted by a friend they are sitting near. It could be they are piddling and not staying on task. It could be the child has a learning challenge. When you talk to your child's teacher it is important that you do not come across as accusing the teacher of not knowing how to do her job. Talk together figure out what is best for your child and work on strategies to help your child.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Kermit, it is pretty easy to be green!

I am going to toot my own horn, mainly because I like to do that. I was making math fact circles and decided to use the large pieces of the leftover card stock to make math fact strips. I noticed I still had a lot of leftover so the light bulb went off! That rarely happens. I started cutting the rest into tiny squares of assorted sizes. I am going to put the alphabet and numbers on them put them in a sandwich bag and have one of my little students to draw a square out of the bag and identify what is on the square. TOOOT!!! I came up with that idea all on my very own! I could also put dolch words on them, vocabulary words, spelling words...the list is endless.

So have you had any ingenious ideas that is easy on the environment or your purse lately? Please share!

Bipolar is not a bad word

When many people hear of a mental condition of any kind it scares them. What do they think the people going through these conditions are feeling? It is bad enough to have to deal with all the symptoms PLUS being labeled as "crazy." Bipolar is something we hear more about every day but people still want to whisper the word as if by saying it out loud they will "catch it." Bipolar is often hereditary, people have gone years being bipolar trying to fit in and work like "normal" people before they get help. There are medications and therapy for people suffering from bipolar to help them lead a "normal" life. I use the term normal loosely because I've yet to figure out what normal is. 

Several well known people lived or live with bipolar disorder. Abraham Lincoln has been noted as having manic depression. A condition now known as bipolar. He was a Senator then our President during our country's most trying time.  Here are a few other famous people that has/had bipolar disorder.

If you have a relationship with someone who suffers from bipolar disorder or anything other mental health condition please educate yourself. Read books, articles, search the net, or go to the doctor with your loved one to see how you can help this person and still maintain a healthy relationship.

Other links:

Several mental health issues can be found here

Monday, August 15, 2011

Depression is a serious thing

When I started feeling like I was slurring my words and my mind was going totally blank I blamed it on stress and Fibro Fog. The fibro part probably didn't help, as a matter of fact it generally goes hand in hand. Depression was the farthest thing from my mind. What did I have to be depressed about? I have always been very blessed. I was raised in a good Christian home, had a loving husband, my kids were healthy, and I was realizing a dream. What I never wanted to admit was I had several bouts of depression over the years. I am not even sure when it started. I can thank genetics for this chemical imbalance.

Depression is not just being a little sad. It is a demon that must be fought. For some people it is a daily fight that is hard to win. My body hurt so bad, I did not have enough energy to raise my arms to put my clothes on. I thought I had a stroke or something. I always believed one could control depression. I was proved very wrong. I started having morbid thoughts that did not seem like my own. I could not remember anything from one minute to the next. All these things did just happen over night either. I was just oblivious to what was happening to me. When I started thinking how much better every one would be with out me and planning out what I hoped to be my death I still was clueless as to what was happening. People say they do not understand how other people can commit such an atrocious act. Be thankful you have not reached a point in your life where you have that understanding. Don't get me wrong, there are people who try things for selfish reasons only to get attention. People suffering deep depression have little or no control over their thoughts. Thankfully I had the support I needed. My sister drove me to the doctor, my husband was supportive, and I had MANY friends praying for me. I was one of the lucky ones to get help. Many are not. It is hard to understand for those who have never suffered from depression to realize it isn't just a mood you can get over.

My daily plea is if you know someone suffering from depression please help them to get help. There is help out there. Medication is what saved me but there are tons of therapies offered as well. Help this person with research, talk to others who have been going through the same difference. Help the person keep a log. My husband went to my doctor with me and told him things I did not realize I was doing. This really helped me to understand things and figure out what steps to take.  

Friday, August 12, 2011


In college we were told to remember not to use "remembering" in our lesson plans. Remembering is on the low level of Bloom's Taxonomy. OK, I think it is a little more important than that. We have to remind students to remember to go to the bathroom and have their things in order before the bell rings every day. We have to tell them to remember to study for a test. When they study they need to remember the information they are reading. Therefore, I think remember is an important part of learning. Sure, it's simple and probably should be "understood" in any behavior you use on your lesson plan but really we need to teach these kids to remember things. For example, when they start learning multiplication they are taught it is adding numbers multiple times. They are shown how in many ways. They are expected to remember them but we do not teach them to remember their facts. Many middle school aged students do not know their multiplication facts. They know how to do it for the most part but it should not take nearly a minute to figure out that 12x6=36. They should know it in a split second. So by all means, let's use "remember!"

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Worksheets don't grow dendrites...but they are inevitable

Even before I heard of Marcia Tate's philosophy about staying away from worksheets all the time I was already doing my planning as such. BUT those worksheets are still necessary. For one reason if you have 20 plus students with multiple learning differences you still only have two hands and one body and you need to see that each student is getting the help he/she needs. That is why we have morning work. :/ If everyone had an aid or two in their classroom perhaps we could almost eliminate worksheets altogether. Alas, this is the REAL world. 

When I do use worksheets I try to make them practical. I do not mind using the workbooks that go along with the text book programs at all. But what about reinforcing what students already know. "Practice makes perfect." OK, I don't agree with that wholeheartedly, but practice does tend to make us better at any kind of task. Repetitiveness in key in learning, worksheets do help out if used correctly. Handing out worksheets to have a child to do just have something to do is something I disagree with. Worksheets should include content the students are learning or have learned already. Review and practice sheets help the student keep this in his/her mind better. I like to make time to go over the worksheets. If I have a document camera I use that and fill in the blanks for them and I discuss each problem. I like to have the students to answer and explain how they go their answer (especially in math). I can remember several worksheets I did when I was in elementary school. I know, I am a little on the weird side anyhow, but at least those trees weren't cut for nothing. 

Although many different teaching strategies should be used in a classroom, let's not burn all the worksheets yet.

Monthly Calendars « Free | Teacher Created Resources

Monthly Calendars « Free | Teacher Created Resources

Sunday, July 31, 2011

First Day Memories

Ahhh, the first day of school. The smell of new clothes, new supplies, and NERVES. I was always nervous about the first day of school. That was back when we had longer summers and so many changes seem to take place during those summers. I remember several of my elementary first days but the first days seem to be more interesting to me in the "later" years. 

Sixth grade year. The worst....ugh. All summer my friend and I were a bundle of raw nerves. Merging with the enemies, changing classes, having lockers...that was a lot for this little girl to take in. I wanted my mom there but I didn't want anyone to know it. So she went and stayed in the shadows for me.Yes, I was a little spoiled. When one kid was AWOL we joked that he was still trying to open his locker....he was! That was so funny. We laughed at him for the rest of the day. I am sure he did not find it as amusing as we did. I was still very tired from the wild slumber party I had on the Friday before and fell asleep on the bus. No one bothered to wake me up so the bus driver had to turn around and take me back home. Fortunately he hadn't gotten to far. It was his first year on that route and I suppose he thought I had rode with my mom. Guess that is what I get for making fun of that boy at school. 

Freshmen year. Oh geez. That fear was made worse thanks to the Class of 89 throwing green crayons and M&Ms at us on our "visit" day. I stayed all night with Julie and we got the low down from some upper classmen on where to go, how NOT to stand, and what to do to be "cool." 

Jr. Year. Stayed all night with Julie and for some silly reason we stayed up all night talking. I was so sleepy. My boyfriend came and got me from her house and took me home that afternoon. He actually took me out to the Little Dipper to eat. That was rare. Should have known something was up. I nearly fell asleep waiting for our food and he laughed at me. I did not appreciate that! After we get home he is rambling about how we should see other people and yada, yada. I was way to sleepy to comprehend. I remember saying. "I think you are right. Goodbye." I went in and went to bed and didn't get up til morning. I realized that I was now single. Darn it, I had already wrote his name all over my notebooks and stuff and now they were going to look ugly from me marking his name out. And that was that with that far as I was concerned. A couple of weeks later I met Belvedere!

Sr. Year. Aahhh! The joys of being high on the totem poll. It sure was foggy that morning. My gang met at the big DQ. I had been dumped by the Great Belvedere but he was inching his way back into the picture. And the fun began! 

Now here I am, some years later, hoping to relive those first day jitters but as a teacher instead of a student. Life has such interesting twist and turns.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Words can be haunting at any age!

When I was doing the second part of my student teaching I wasn't realizing I was "sick." I thought I was majorly stressed and that is why I was slurring my words, not comprehending anything, and crying a lot. It wasn't until I could not stop crying or even put my clothes on that I realized I was having a severe depressive episode and needed medical help. So maybe because of my condition things seemed much worse than what they really were. Nonetheless, I am still haunted by all the negativity that I was around.

Let's call the school Hades Elementary and my supervising teacher Ms. X. I have a four page chart of many of the negative things she told and my reasoning for doing what she claimed. I just thought I was messing up that bad. Now that I am more clear headed I realize not everything was all my fault, but there's always that little record playing in the back of my head hearing her voice and negative comments and making me second guess myself. I was 34 years-old at the time, not a kid like most student teachers are. I hate to think of the impact she has had on some of her students although she is known as a great teacher and had even won awards for her area. If the student had a question that dealt with the subject she was talking about and she did not want to answer it she would just tell them: "That's irrelevant." After that I noticed how the students would just wilt and some of them stopped asking questions altogether. She kept reminding them about THE test as if the only reason she was there was teach content and nothing else. She even discouraged the students from talking to me. They were instructed not to ask me for permission for anything because they were "taking advantage of my kindness." REALLY? I was not allowed to give them pencils. What little time I was allowed to give lessons she would tell me how horrible I did. Of course I had to get my lesson plan approved by her before I taught. She would change her mind at the last minute and I would have to redo things. During an observation from my supervisor I blanked out. It was like my brain stopped functioning at all. The kid were asking me questions and talking but it sounded as if they were all under water. I kept trying to teach but I was messing up the information and causing confusion. That was my fault but she was actually nice about that! My supervisor was not so understanding. When it came time for me to tape my lesson she told me I had wasted two hours of HER instruction time and not to bother turning the lesson in to my supervisor. She made me feel like she was going to fail me no matter what I did. I could go on and on about the negativity. I only had to endure a few weeks of this. As long as the students followed her every direction and did not ask many questions she was fine.The had the exact same task to do most every day. She would mix it up with simulations every now and then. They loved that. So in this case, for the most part, the good out weighed the bad. I even witnessed her telling a parent how "bad" her kid was. The child may have had some problems but you talk down about someone's kid to them. Yes, focus on weak areas and how to improve but do not come off as judgmental. 

If the question is "irrelevant" to what is being taught there are ways to handle that. Yes, some students find it rather amusing to get the teacher off track by asking off the wall questions but usually younger children are innocent when they do this. If a child...or in my case an constantly talk down to and made to feel stupid it is hard thing to get over. Self esteem and confidence fly out the window and may never return. No matter what our position is in life we should always have positive thing to say to people, young and old. Don't let your words be haunting words.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

ADHD does not equal bad kid!

Recently I watched an amazing HBO documentary about dyslexia. This program primarily interviewed teens and adults who had to survive school with this challenge but many of them also suffered from ADHD. This made it extra hard on those people. 

ADHD is a disability where the chemicals in the brain are not adequately flowing. OK, that is a simple term but you get my gist. These children (and adults) have an extremely hard time focusing on anything. They have a very hard time keeping still. Somewhere on their bodies they have to have something moving. Tapping feet, fingers, shaking, it all goes with the territory. They have little control if any over this. This exceeds hyper. You may have to remind them of things several times and they may forget several times. This does not make them a bad kid! They are just like any other kids. They need guidance. Some more than others. Discipline and and routine are very important to them. Berating and yelling all time is not going to help matters at all. In fact, it hurts. They will feel that they are stupid and lazy if you treat them that way. Why would they want to do more than what is expected of them. If they are in a positive environment they will more likely try harder to behave or concentrate. The next time you hear someone called a bad kid perhaps you should think about who is really "bad" in the scenario.

Whatever happened to being appropriate?

I am far from perfect by any means. I was not always as angel as a teenager but my parents did teach me some values. Just a little while ago I was eating a sandwich with out a paper towel under it to catch the crumbs and begin to worry that my mother would catch me. I've been married for 17 years. Dropping crumbs is not a moral issue but it is something as simple as learning morals. 

My father-in-law told me he hated when he had to go stay at a certain aunt's house when he was little because he knew when he came home there would be another baby in the house. He was smart enough to figure this out on his own. It certainly was not told that his mother was with child. No one was going around feeling her belly, asking her about doctor visits and the like. What happened to those days? I was born in 1974. My siblings were never told that my mom was expecting. I was not allowed to say the word pregnant when I was a child...even it was true about someone, I'd get my mouth smacked. My sister told me "virgin" was a bad word and I shouldn't use. Feminine products or any other issues were not up for discussion either. ESPECIALLY around mixed company. If questions came up there was a private talk. Look now, not much later it is advertised everywhere. Ladies don't care to announce personal matters to the whole world. Now we have the internet and other social media where any Tom, Dick, Harry, or Jane can display whatever they want. I do not want to someone ultrasound, that is private. I certainly do not want to see your belly. Cover up your nakedness! Have a little shame! 

Unwed parents used to go around with their heads hanging in shame. Now, people do not know what shame is. Remember the first time you said a bad word in front of an adult. Wow. I was 19 years-old when I said a "little" blackguard word in front of my dad. He assured me I better not do that again if I knew what was good for me. I took his word for it. Like I said, I certainly was no angel but I did have the sense to know what to say and how to act around adults. I never drank. I have tasted some alcoholic beverages. As a matter of fact, I like wine. I have never been drunk. Had of been stupid enough to act that way when I was a teen I would have been trying to hide because I would have been so ashamed and so scared that my parents would find out. Now kids tell everyone they see about how drunk they got and who all they were "with" the night before. We should really be reminding kids how to act because the world is not helping them.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Sight Words Buddy for Windows

Sight Words Buddy for Windows


My grandparents (Mammaw and Papaw) babysat me while my mom and dad worked. They had no t.v. In the summer months between gardening we would play "school." I was always the teacher. The chalkboard she had was green and on the top of it the alphabet in print and cursive was printed on. This is pretty much how I learned to write. Sometimes we'd have time to play dates but that was more of a winter time game when we had more time to play. Dates was a game they had played as children. My Mammaw, being the resourceful woman she was, used a cracker box and a coffee can. She started with numbers from one to ten. I think she only used two of each to start out with. Later on we went to four. We drew out the numbers from the coffee can called it out. If someone else had that number they had to give it to you and if you had the number you gave it them. When there were no more numbers you counted your "books" of numbers. After I learned my numbers to ten she went to twenty and eventually twenty five. We stopped there since our book where made of four tiles made from the cracker box and it took much longer to play. I had so much fun playing this game. When my kid were little I did the same for them. I also made a game of dates using the alphabet. A book was the upper case and lower case letters. This really help them with their alphabet recognition.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

A good fibro link

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Common Core Standards

In college we had to eat, breath, and live Kentucky Core Content. This was the basis for life. Well, ok, not life but everything we had to do in our education classes. I used to dream of KCC. It was not fun. At one point I thought I would know it word for word. I knew how cite it in lesson plans like a pro. Now, they have changed it again. Apparently KY has adopted the National Core Content. I'd like to go to an interview and make them think I knew this backwards and forwards but the fact is...I've not got to have one Earthly training. Back to cramming and dreaming again. Just like in college.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

What I learned in 5th grade...

Today I realized that every time I discuss anything of any significance that happened in my childhood I refer more to the grade I was in than to how old I was. "Oh yes, I remember that. I was in 'so and so' grade." Not sure if anyone else does that or not. A couple of things crossed my mind today and I thought to myself: "I was in fifth grade when that happened." So of course I go strolling down memory lane.

The year was 1985. Back then we started school about the third week of August. At the beginning of August the Lord saved my soul and the day after I was baptized I got braces. There was a horrible car wreck that killed an elderly lady who was a neighbor to my sister. How do I remember that? I am not sure. I was excited for school to start because my teacher was a young lady that graduated with my brother. She was very sweet and liked hugs. I think it may have been her first year of teaching. Two of my closest friends were in the same room. Of course being such a tiny school I already knew all my classmates. 

I learned a lot my fifth grade year, more so about life than academics but I learned several new things in that area too. In October only a few short weeks before my brother was to move back home from the Air Force my grandfather had a massive heart attack. He survived but it was very serious. I was afraid I would not have him by Christmas. I really didn't realize how much this was affecting me until my mom met with my teacher. The next day of school she sat with me and ask me about my grandfather. My initial thought was, "Why does she care she is a teacher?" That is when I really realized that teachers were people too. She had grandparents, parents, and siblings. She was a real person. I had always had awesome teachers that were very caring but personalization never occurred to me to mind.

That fall the Titanic had been "rediscovered" by and was being explored by a man who had invented some robotic machines that could navigate through the wreckage. The St. Louis Cardinals were in the series again. This thrilled me to no end. That same fall I started realizing how different things were becoming on all levels. I was not as shy as I used to be for one thing. My feelings were changing about different things. I was on the road to adulthood and I had no idea what was happening. Things were getting a little confusing. Fortunately at this time in my life I started realizing what true friendship was. Friends were not just people you sat beside at lunch and talked to or played with at recess. Bethany and I started hanging out more and more. She wasn't even in my class. We started having sleep overs, something I had never really done before nor did I want to do. By the end of my fifth grade year things were getting very scary. I was going to have to go to Middle School and there would be a bunch of kids I did not know unlike my cozy little little elementary classrooms I would have to change classes, have different teachers all day, and go my locker when I was supposed to. On top of all that my sister was getting married before school was even out. I came to school crying. This was a lot for one little girl to take in and what happened? There was my caring teacher with her arms out and my real friends around me trying to make me feel better. Did I learn something besides life lessons that year? Of course!

We had reading worksheets with a few paragraphs and questions at the end to assess comprehension. That year I learned that Mt. McKinnley is the highest mountain in the United States and it is located in Alaska. I learned that Bill Cosby had a troubled childhood but he prevailed (the Cosby Show was popular that year so that interested me).  I also learned that there was a dreadful disease that doctors did not know much about called AIDS. An actor had already died from it and a little boy named Ryan White had this. He was not allowed to go to school and this stirred national attention. We discussed this as a class. We also talked about a little boy named Adam Walsh who was abducted from a New York mall and killed. Our teacher told us things we could do to stay safe from strangers. We even did a finger print kit. In social studies we learned how our country started and with the help from my teacher's husband I learned that Hooker was the name of a general and the way that prostitutes got the name "hookers" was because of that guy. I learned that I had a hard time with converting measurements and cheating was not the answer. Science was a big deal. Though nothing pops in my mind about it right now if the right thing is mentioned I'll say: "Oh yes, I learned about that in the fifth grade." I could also ask my very best friend if she remembers, after all she was in my fifth grade class.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Fate is a wonderful thing

My eight grade year, 1989, I had a boyfriend that was a Jr in high school. I was one of the older kids and my class and he was one of the younger so the age thing was barely two years. I was allowed to see him every two weeks during that short lived relationship. He was allowed to go to the 8th grade dance with me. I was sure I was in love. When the time came for his prom we both agreed that my parents would never agree to let me go as young as I was, so he took someone from his church. It was a set up of some sort so she could meet her boyfriend or something. She looked like a model, I did not, but I trusted him with her. She was a good person. I didn't think about it much. Most times like that I would pout and stew for quite sometime. The day of the prom I hung out at my sister's beauty shop and went home with her. For some reason her husband decided to ride around and we came to the lake and drove down to Site 1. It was cool and rainy that day. My sister and I stayed in the truck and watched coons play in the garbage cans while my brother-in-law looked around. We talked about me not going to the prom and how I felt about the situation. Still didn't care...even as much as I wanted to be with my "true love." A couple of weeks after the prom my mom told me I could have went. I was a little confused but still not bothered and had no regrets for not pushing the issue. 

Three years later I met Chris. It was a blind date. I was hearing he was a little on the "wild side." I wanted to have some fun, but that was not my idea of fun. He had heard I was a good girl and his cousins I went to school with compared me to Mother Teresa. That is just hilarious. I was far from perfect but I knew what I wanted. As I was about to tell him I didn't think we should hang out because I didn't agree with his lifestyle he told me it was time for him to put all that behind him, he knew it was wrong and he was done with that life. Wow. I gave him the benefit of the doubt and kept seeing him. Of course I was already falling head over heels for him. He told be about some of the stupid things he had done. One of those times was his Sr. Prom...in1989. Had I have seen him that night I would have probably never thought about going out with him at all. I probably met him on the road that evening while I was riding around with my sister and her husband. Actually during the course of that evening I had remember another time I was with them and had crossed the dam. We went to "Ann's Beauty Shop" that day. We also went to someone's house named Jannie Bell. As we were walking in this meany looking boy with blond hair and brown eyes wearing a tank top ran up to me and assured me he could start a fire with the rocks he had in his hand. Then there was a few moments of the "Unh uh" "Uh huh" game. I was convinced that was the meanest, most stupid boy in the world. I must have said a few negative things about him, well as negative as a five-year-old can get. My brother-in-law teased me about that boy for months nonstop. He still was teasing me about that boy when I started dating him eleven years later...To this day I still tell that mean little boy that there is no way he could have ever started a fire with those rocks. After being together for 20 years, he knows not to argue with me about it anymore. He just rolls his eyes.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Titanic: Just a little piece of history between my Mammaw and me

I was four weeks old when Mama went back to work. She left me in the care of my Mammaw Elmore and my Papaw retired when I was one year. Every work day from 5:30 a.m until 4:00 p.m. until I went to school I was at my Mammaw's and Papaw's house. I learned how people lived without t.v. through no intentions of my own. The youngest child of four and a child of technology I was rarely bored. During the summer I stayed outside. I have a vague memory of them letting me sit on a  pillow cushion and playing in the dirt with a spade Daddy had made while they gardened. When I was older I would dig and attempt to dissect worms, ride my bike, and use my incredible imagination I must have inherited from my Mammaw. Every afternoon they read the paper, every afternoon she cooked fried potatoes in lard, horticulture beans, and cornbread. In the summer there would often be green onions and other goodies from one of their monstrous gardens. There I learned about life, how to treat people, stories from the Bible, and so much more.

When the other grandkids (mostly grown and ready to start families by the time I was born) were younger my Mammaw bought a chalkboard. At the top the ABCs were painted in print and in cursive, both upper and lower case letters. It was there where my passion for education started. My Mammaw loved history and algebra. I got the history gene, definitely not the algebra one. During breaks from the garden and in the winter time as she sowed on her quilt pieces we would play school. Of course I was always the teacher. It was this manner I learned to count, write, and gained a massive amount of history lessons. One of my favorite historical stories she told was of the Titantic. She was not even two years old when this monumental catastrophe happened. I have often wondered how quick they got the news as there were no regular newspapers, t.v.s, and very few telephones. This is one of the many stories I'd have her to repeat often. "The only reason that ship sank is because people said 'Not even God could sink it.'" She always added that part. She told of a little boy who knew he was doomed to perish in the icy waters below climbing the mast of the ship and singing a hymn. This was probably just one of the many legends passed down with Titanic tales but her point was made clearly. This young man seemed to be a born again Christian and knew where he was going. He sang to comfort all those whose fate had come before them. She said he was a poor boy and most of the passengers on the ship were rich and didn't care about what happened to the few poor people that was on that ship. 

Around 1985 the wreckage was relocated and talks of using modern equipment to bring up the ship were abound. That was usually the main story on the news. For some reason I didn't talk to her or don't remember talking about that with her. I guess I thought I'd know her answer, the same as mine. Leave it be and let is stay at the bottom of the sea as a reminder that God should not be tested. Now they have memorabilia and recreations of the Titanic that "travels" around our great nation but as far as I am concerned, as horrid as a tragedy it was, it was a great lesson in life.   

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Common Core: Now It Gets Interesting

Common Core: Now It Gets Interesting

Act like a lady?

I hated wearing dresses as a child. My mom, sister, grandmother, or someone was always whispering to me: "You need to sit like a lady so no one will see your panties." GRRRR! I more than likely did not pick out that dress and I certainly did not want to act like a lady. I wanted to do back bends, turn flips, and climb trees. By the time I got in middle school those words echoed and I did not mind to sit like a lady. My mom, sisters, grandmothers, aunts, etc. also taught me that I should ACT like a lady for those who did not act like ladies had ugly reputations and they were not good girls. I wanted to be a good girl that had good friends and eventually good boyfriends. I thought of myself as a rebel in some ways but acting like a lady was important to me because if reflected on my church and family, my friends and my school, my get the point. Now when you tell a teenage girl that they look at you like you just took a stupid pill and have a somewhat dumbfounded look on their face like they have never heard such a saying and they don't know what you are talking about. They do not understand why you should not sit in a guys lap in the middle of class or on top of the desk with their legs spread. Is society so bad that we have stopped teaching kids appropriateness? Gee whiz. They make out in parking lots, flip each other off, and scream obscenities in public without blinking an eye or having any awareness as to who may be around. Boys and girls. Was I a total and complete angel? No, not by far. I made my share of mistakes and when I did slip up and say or do something I wasn't supposed to I knew it because I was taught. I sure did regret doing it too. 

Until next time: Act like a lady.

Stop the summer slide for elementary age kids

Repetitiveness is very important for every one especially kids. Students learn better by repeating even if it is done in different fashions. Do not let the summer slide affect your children. That does not mean you have to drill them several hours each day. By simply reminding your child about something he/she learned during the last school year will help greatly. Take advantage of those "cool down" times when you come in from playing or right before you go to bed to read books and words, spell, and do simple math facts. Encourage them to watch an educational video or rainy days or help them look up something that is interests them. Expose them to new things by visiting a museum (they are generally free) or take to them to a free concert. Go on a picnic and talk about different food groups or identify things  that are around you such as types of trees, flowers, or grass. Look for "Indian Beads" (fossilized plants) and oddly shaped rocks. Teaching and learning does not have to be a chore. Have fun. Get out and soak up some sun for Vitamin D and jump into a large pool of H20. Memories will be made on several levels.

If you would like extra help stopping the summer slide please contact me! I will continue to do tutoring this summer. I charge $10 per hourly sessions in my home.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Teacher-paraprofessional relationships

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Printable Certificates, Certificate Templates, Free Award Certificates, Blank Awards to Print, Certificate Templates for Word

Printable Certificates, Certificate Templates, Free Award Certificates, Blank Awards to Print, Certificate Templates for Word

Awesome Clipart for Educators!

Awesome Clipart for Educators!

Education Oasis - Teaching Resources for Educators

Education Oasis - Teaching Resources for Educators

Freeology - Free School Stuff

Freeology - Free School Stuff

I LOVE graphic organizers. This site has that and much more!

Search - An Educational Resource Site for Teachers and Kids

Search - An Educational Resource Site for Teachers and Kids Worksheets, crafts, lessonplans, printables, flashcards, games and other free resources for kindergarten, primary / elementary school teachers and esl learners Worksheets, crafts, lessonplans, printables, flashcards, games and other free resources for kindergarten, primary / elementary school teachers and esl learners

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Drop that E!

A few days ago I was on a "social" website and saw where a young lady wanted a babysitting job for the summer. She mentioned she was in the high school club for future educators. I found this rather scary. Every other word seemed to be misspelled. Now, I am not so anal as to nit pick on a typo here and there and an occasional misspelled word but after seeing the word "hopeing" appear several times in her texts I wanted to pull my hair out. Why can't these kids spell?

My sophomore year in college I had to take a culture class. The name of the class escapes me at the moment. The instructor was younger than me. There may have been two other nontrads in the class other than me but I really didn't know them. The class was full of young students that were pretty fresh out of high school in the age of KERA. One day the instructor came in fit to be tied. He said he did not know how some of us had gotten through high school let alone got into college. I just knew he was talking about me because these KERA kids had extensive training in writing with all their open responses and portfolio pieces they had done since elementary school. He handed out the papers of which he was referring and to my surprise I had a good grade. Later on in the class we were put into groups for critiquing. I saw what he was talking about. Through the years KERA has under went many changes. I think for the better. So how come these kids could not write a simple essay and spell correctly?

I remember first grade well. It was a traumatic year for all involved and that is all I will say about that. Back then that is when you learned to read. I was in the Red Bird group. That was the highest group. I was always determined to read just like my older siblings and cousins. I do not remember having spelling tests in first grade like they do now but we had quite a bit of phonics to do throughout the day. One book was orange with hot air balloons on it and the other was red and black plaid. I loved those books. I wanted to sit down and do them all at once. Even the "lower" students did well with these books. First we worked on the simple short vowel sounds then we went on to the long vowel sounds. By third grade we knew most spelling rules such as when to drop the "e" to make hoping and when to drop the "y" to add the suffix. 

Every school I've been at in the last few years uses Scott Foresman Reading Street series. I believe this is an excellent program and it focuses on phonemic awareness. Also there are tons of excellent resources on the web that go along with this series. So why can't these kids spell? Laziness or perhaps they do not care. It seems after a certain age the focus of correct spelling is put on the back burner. I admit I am not the speller I used to be thanks to spell check but I do try. I fear that many of these kids will be denied excellent opportunities because they cannot or will not spell correctly. This is the times that are before us. With this thought I ask you to remind your kids of simple spelling rules.

Friday, April 29, 2011

In honor of Poetry Month

As National Poetry Month comes to an end I am inspired to create a poem.   Ah-hem

The sea is blue
The sea is blue
If you were the sea, you would be too.

Thank you very much!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Wives of yesteryear and today

The Good Wife's Guide

From Housekeeping Monthly, 13 May, 1955.

View the original article as a graphic
Note: This may actually be fake. See Snopes.
  • Have dinner ready. Plan ahead, even the night before, to have a delicious meal ready on time for his return. This is a way of letting him know that you have be thinking about him and are concerned about his needs. Most men are hungry when they get home and the prospect of a good meal is part of the warm welcome needed.
  • Prepare yourself. Take 15 minutes to rest so you'll be refreshed when he arrives. Touch up your make-up, put a ribbon in your hair and be fresh-looking. He has just been with a lot of work-weary people.
  • Be a little gay and a little more interesting for him. His boring day may need a lift and one of your duties is to provide it.
  • Clear away the clutter. Make one last trip through the main part of the house just before your husband arrives. Run a dustcloth over the tables.
  • During the cooler months of the year you should prepare and light a fire for him to unwind by. Your husband will feel he has reached a haven of rest and order, and it will give you a lift too. After all, catering to his comfort will provide you with immense personal satisfaction.
  • Minimize all noise. At the time of his arrival, eliminate all noise of the washer, dryer or vacuum. Encourage the children to be quiet.
  • Be happy to see him.
  • Greet him with a warm smile and show sincerity in your desire to please him.
  • Listen to him. You may have a dozen important things to tell him, but the moment of his arrival is not the time. Let him talk first - remember, his topics of conversation are more important than yours.
  • Don't greet him with complaints and problems.
  • Don't complain if he's late for dinner or even if he stays out all night. Count this as minor compared to what he might have gone through at work.
  • Make him comfortable. Have him lean back in a comfortable chair or lie him down in the bedroom. Have a cool or warm drink ready for him.
  • Arrange his pillow and offer to take off his shoes. Speak in a low, soothing and pleasant voice.
  • Don't ask him questions about his actions or question his judgment or integrity. Remember, he is the master of the house and as such will always exercise his will with fairness and truthfulness. You have no right to question him.
  • A good wife always knows her place.

The Perfect Wives of 2011
  • When you come home from work and taking the kids to their practices make sure you are ready to cook like a mad woman because by now your husband will be very hungry.
  • Don't complain about your day, what a jerk your boss is, or what annoying co-workers you may have because no matter what his day has been worse than yours.
  • Let him be take care of all the discipline after all, he is a man, he knows best. 
  • Make sure the house is picked up and you have done a little laundry after you have finished the supper dishes. You would hate for him to wake up to a mess before he goes fishing, golfing, hunting, or whatever the case may be.
  • Make sure you have a schedule posted of where you will be because he is apt to need you at any time of the day. Keep your cell phone on silent or vibrate if you must. Make sure you can get his emails, tweets, or FB statuses and you respond promptly. If need be tell the person conducting the meeting that you have a "female issue" and excuse yourself quickly!
  • Have the remote where he can find it and all of his favorite tv shows DVRed. 
  • Be sure to remind how your husband how perfect he is and how you suffer in comparison to him. Just in case he goes an hour without reminding you.
  • Be sure not to bother his tackle, guns, hunting clothes, golf gear etc. This will only upset him. When he throws your belongings around just smile and say "Thank you."
  • And always kiss him goodnight.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Sign of the times? Let's pray not!

I've been working at a place that is known for troubled kids. Truth is most are there because they have made the choice to take a different and better direction in their lives. The majority of the students there are respectable and are serious about about getting their high school diploma and making something of themselves. None of the students are from area, most are city kids that are not used to the environment we have around here. They use the "f" word like we use "hello." Every other word is a curse word. For the most part if you ask the child to stop or tell them that you do not like profanity they will make an effort not to do that in front of you. Most of them may slip up and they will apologize. Of course every bushel has a bad apple or two and that is where this story comes from,. I have been called unprofessional for joking or using humor with students, leaving due to blinding headaches, and calling in saying that I could not come. Today I am ashamed to say that I was indeed unprofessional. 

It all started on Tuesday. A female student with the worst attitude I have ever seen decided she did not like me. In the past I asked her to not use profanity....this made her use it more. She defies authority and is disrespectful to everyone. She gained a little buddy. A student younger than her that seems to gang up with the worst acting people around. Together they decide to see how far they could push me. They wanted to argue with me that garbage collecting was not dangerous. I simply tried to state a few facts the more I said the more hostile they got. Ok, I moved away from that subject. Later the boy decided to announce that Edmonson Countians were inbreeds because everyone that works at this place is kin to each other. More non residents work there than county people. I did not handle that well. I should be used to such statements but I am not, I made the comment that he made an "ignorant remark" because he did not have the facts to back it up. So I am accused of calling this child ignorant. By then I could feel my heart beating through my whole body. I am sure that isn't a good sign. The girl would mumble some kind of remark every I walked near her. Today she put on her music and sang loudly as the four letters words poured out of her mouth she would look at me too see if I would say anything. Finally she said something. I apologized for my unprofessionalism from the other day and she went on to argue with me. I explained I was not used to such bad attitudes and disrespect and told them both if their attitudes did not change they would not be able to get a good job or go far in society as I know it. I was calm until the girl says "What are you a Christian or something?" I've never been asked that in such a negative tone and of course I cannot talk about my religious beliefs, I told her I could not answer that question and she says: "Well you must be a Catholic wearing all those skirts and stuff?" WHAT? Anyhow were interrupted by the aid who is not happy with my anyhow and after that was over the female said I think we should finish our conversation. I hate she thinks that was a conversation. I told her I was done with the matter that she just needed to work.I have explained to them that I think they are smarter than to use four letter words all the time, they know how I feel. She goes on to tell me that I should start cussing that way I would not be so rude and cool like Mr. X or Ms. Z. They would not stop things kept escalating so I just went to the principal and told her I was leaving. I do dread telling Chris but I was not going to be able to keep my cool with these two and this behavior seems acceptable at this place. I apologized told her I thought I could handle the profanity and disrespect but I could not. Understandably she was not happy. NOW I will take someone calling this situation unprofessional! I regret I could not handle the situation better and I am ashamed of my actions. Now I shall try to get  passed this and focus on my career as an elementary teacher. I am thankful this part of my life is over with and hopefully I will not dwell on the situation. I ask that everyone pray for these poor children that have this attitude that think profanity and disrespect will get them far in life. I pray that they will find God and go in a better direction than they are now.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

April Whoas

It has been two years since I experienced my "major depressive episode." It is a time in my life I will never forget and neither will my family. What a horrible life they lived because of me. It started in January when my student teaching started. The horrors of my student teaching only added to the stress I was already experiencing without even knowing. This started slowly going down hill until April when everything seems to spiral out of control. I had no idea what was happening to me. I was trying so hard to concentrate on my student teaching but it was getting where I just couldn't have a complete thought. My first teacher constantly reminded me of how she wished she had never taken on a student teacher and she was sure my second teacher would feel the same way. She was correct. The smell of the building was not a normal school smell but more like a poisonous chemical. Small negative comments that I was constantly receiving were weighing on my like a ton of bricks. My second teacher was like a high school student. She would go behind my back and "tell" on me about things I was not aware of to my supervisor. I recorded four pages of negative comments she made to me in order to analyze it to see how I could do things differently. I was called unprofessional on more than one occasion. One time in front of the whole class over a little joke and another for calling in because Chris was sick (he was but really I just couldn't get out of bed). The secretary did not know me even though I had been at this tiny school for four months and I had to yell to her the problem. I was bringing home my problems and because I was so upset I was also getting berated at home. I was getting no help anywhere. What little advice my teacher would give me she would change her mind at the last minute. She would approve lessons and then say she didn't. She told me I wasted two hours of her class time and scolded me because of one child sleeping. The same child that slept the whole time she was teaching that morning that I kept trying to wake up. If I circulated around the room the kids ask me questions and she would glare at me. I was in her way and she had no problem letting me know it. I was sure she would fail me and the way I was now performing I could not blame her. I was unable to find words, I could barely muster the strength to walk to her room. During spring break I tried to clean out the attic and clean the house. Chris said he and the boys did not have time to help me they were going fishing. He was right, they never lifted a finger the whole time. The self time I had seem to make things worse instead of better. I could only see myself as a failure. After returning to school I noticed my words seemed to be slurred. During my last observation my mind went blank. There was nothing. I could see the kids and hear them asking me questions. I kept on like nothing was wrong not knowing what I was saying or doing. Needless to say I made a complete and utter mess of the whole lesson. My supervisor was livid. I was already imagining a fatal wreck on the way to or from school. From there it went to planning goodbye letters to my boys. After all, why should they suffer because I could not get it together. From there it was non stop crying, I could not even find the strength to put my clothes on. Chris was at his wits end. I had to call my supervisor and tell her I just could not go on. YEARS of preparations just gone, wasted. I had now caused a financial downfall for my family by not graduating and having all those loans to pay off. My supervisor realized what was happening to me and went to bat for me with the administration. She told me she had requested prayers for me at her church. I knew I needed help by then. Prayers and medication was the only thing that could get me through. I was surprised when I was not sent straight to the hospital after going to the dr. He immediately began medication and got me into a psychiatrist as soon as possible. After days of misery for myself and my family things were starting to get back to normal...well the new normal. Most days are a battle and more times than not I win. I finished my student teaching but not with flying colors. I had lost all my confidence, began having anxiety attacks, and felt insecure with the teacher I was with. We did not make the connection I feel we would have it had not been for my illness. I still wasn't me. I did not grow the way I wanted in my teaching, I knew this, my teacher and supervisor knew this but I also knew I could over come this and I feel I have. Now we are back to  April, the anniversary of my life changing experience. At times the echoes of all the negative comments about my teaching haunt me so much that I can't sleep. Prayers got me through this and they will continue to help me. I now know that I CAN make it. My doctor tells me there is a chance this will happen again. I know it could. I live each day using all my energy to prevent it TRYING to be positive. The not knowing what life has in store for me is hard at times but is OK because the Good Lord will see me through it. 

I don't share my story for pity but in hopes that my story will let someone see there is hope even though it feels like there isn't any. If you know someone who you think is depressed please encourage them to get help.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Tutoring is awesome!

I've been tutoring one child for about two months now. I can't wait to add more students. I charge $10 per hour and we work pretty intensely throughout the session. I use sites that focus on the Scott Foresman Reading Street Series in order to improve reading and spelling tests on Fridays. Some of my activities are flashcards of spelling words, writing the words on a white board, oral spelling, reading the story, and I focus on phonics for reading.

I am a firm believer in phonics for learning to read even for those who do not make the connection of how sounds form words. Repetitiveness and practice go a long way. The more a child is exposed to these methods the more it will make sense to him/her because the child will memorize the sound and automatically say it most of the time. A person needs to hear something 5-7 times in order to remember it according to some of my professors at WKU. We work on blends, digraphs, and rimes and for my current student we have seen much improvement in his reading.

I encourage all parents who are able and have children who need a little extra help to seek outside sources. Even "gifted" children can benefit from tutoring. These students are often bored and appreciate learning new material. Summer tutoring also prevents that summer slide! If you know anyone who like a tutor for their child please suggest me. I do tutoring in my home to cut down on distractions and also because I have a wide variety of resources I'd rather not lug around. ;)


I know nothing about blogging but since I do love to share my life (maybe a little too much at times) I thought this would be a great way.

I am a mom, wife, educator, friend, aunt, niece, friend, and a FM sufferer just to start. I am proud to be a Christian and strive to up hold my Christian values, though I am far from perfect. 

This blog is intends to share my thoughts on everything and ideas I have about...well anything. I hope you enjoy!