Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Tornado Relief for Our Neighbors

Teacher Friends Around the World,

I live in Norman, Oklahoma. I am a lifelong Okie. To my core. I love this state. It's people are at the heart of why I will never truly be home elsewhere.

Tornados are a constant in my ever-changing world. They are milestones that I mark time with. My first tornado sighting: grade school off my grandma's front porch. My first time actually in the cellar(instead of on the porch gawking): 4th grade. The May 3rd: in a bathroom in Wetumka High School with friends.

This is different.

I am always talking about our Big Oklahoma Sky. This is what the sky looked like from my front porch on Sunday. The picture is of rotation (not a tornado) to the north of my house. This is the exact same storm that ripped through Shawnee minutes later.

storm rotation (not an actual tornado) on May19th

I posted this last week. It's how I prefer my sky

It is hard to put into words the emotional roller coaster this week has brought. I want to start by saying: my home is fine. I didn't even lose power. My family is safe. I have friends and friends and family of friends who were in the tornado, in one of the schools that was hit, have lost a home, have been displaced, and who have spent much more time in distress over the safety of loved ones.

I have been experiencing all of the symptoms of what my friend Byron calls, "Grateful/Guilt Syndrome." I am so grateful for all of my blessings. I am overwhelmed with guilt about the same blessings when I hear about family, friends, or strangers in peril on the news.

The neighborhoods and area that was hit is all too familiar to me. I can picture some of it pre-tornado when I see the news footage.

I turn off the television.

I cry when I hear about the children and the brave teachers who literally put their life on the line for students; their life for a child whose name they may not know. Teachers in Newtown took bullets. A teacher took an entire car to protect children. The little ones who lost their lives weigh on my heart.

I think about what I was thinking while taking shelter in a cozy room of my amazing school a few miles away from the devastation in Moore. I know all of my teacher friends were thinking of who was nearest them in case we were in the line of a tornado. How can I save them? I was.

My heart is heavy friends, but it is also full of love. I know that we are in the hearts of the nation. That the prayers of our country pour into this state and flow over the wreckage of homes to be rebuilt and families that are in need of healing. It won't ever be like it was. Loss of loved ones is too substantial, and even though property can be rebuilt, the ghost of these recent events will be in the background.

I have awards to fill out, a classroom to clean, a summer check-list a mile long, and about 17 loads of laundry piled up. I can say with much sincerity, lucky me. Those things are routine and safe and normal. Little blessings:)

I look my Facebook feed and see pictures of cars full of bottled water, ready to donate. I see posts of people telling loved ones they are okay, that their phone has no service that the wifi allowed them to post updates. I see people recommending where to donate, how to donate, and how else to help.

In addition to local donations, I donated a resource to the Teacher's Notebook Relief Campaign. I thought my Theme Task Cards were a close enough fit, since they deal with the themes of friendship, citizenship, initiative, and other relevant concepts. I do wish the funds helped in Shawnee and Carney, Oklahoma as well. Go donate a lesson if you have a store. Buy the bundle of you can. 100% of proceeds go to local relief efforts to buy food, shelter, and resources. Or, donate to the local Red Cross. Hey, Kevin Durant did:)
Stay safe out there, my teacher friends. I sign-off knowing that my profession is one full of true superheroes. I am proud of what we do. We not only foster learning, but to keep children safe. I know you feel the same.
From "where the wind come sweeping down the plain,"

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Five for Friday-May 18

Linking up for this week's Five for Friday over at Doodle Dugs Teaching! I hardly ever get organized enough to do these. This week will be a combination of things from this week and last week.
1. Amazing weather makes the last few weeks of school so much happier. Who wants to have inside recess with all of that crazy end-of-the-year-energy? This is what that big Oklahoma sky, under which I live, looked like last week. Enjoy the view from the corner of the playground that I favor when at recess duty. Beautiful, right!?

2. I experienced the most amazing teacher appreciation week. I will venture to dub it, "Best ever." As you know, teacher friends, it's not the presents or the big bucks that keep teachers in the classroom. (Although both are/would be nice! ;))

For me, it is the relationships. I had amazing conversations with my kiddos last week. We talked about reading assessments, all of the growth we have seen in ourselves as readers, college, middle school relationships. It was pretty amazing. I cried at least 10 times.

Here are some of the gifts I received form students. LOTS of flowers and plants. I also got gift cards, fancy soaps, snacks, Sonic drinks, and an adorable shirt that says, "Teachers Rock." I am sure I am forgetting something.

3. This week was our senior reception, where all graduating seniors that went to our elementary school come back for a visit. This graduating group is my very first class. I was an intern the first half of their 5th grade year and then took over as teacher in the Spring when the teacher went on maternity leave. It was an amazing experience to see them and make connections. We shared some nice conversations and lots of laughs. A few of them are even going to OU! Boomer Sooner!
4. Our Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon was a hit on Friday. The Media Specialist, Lisa, is in charge of the whole shindig. I was so happy to see lots of smiling faces. I was also really happy to see all of the food!
5. Next week is the last week of school at our school. We have an awesome 5th grade recognition program planned, a field trip, and lots of other fifth grade activities. Buckle up!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

One of THOSE days

Hey Y'all!

My day today was running so hot and cold I couldn't keep track. Here is a fun way to share things in your day that are good and bad. Sunshines are happy shares and clouds are not so happy. We do these in morning meeting.

  • Teacher Appreciation Gifts and a note from a boy telling me that his favorite thing about me is that I have a "loving heart." How blessed am I?

  • Lovely goodies from parents to show teachers that we are appreciated.

  • Making iMovies for kids to show at our upcoming 5th Grade Recognition program. I did some "directing," but had no part in the planning for each scene or for any of the props or acting. The kids have also been showing me the ropes at how to use the program. They have already edited and added sound effects and music in some videos. I am not doing much at all! They are so savvy with technology.

  • Seeing our Honor Choir and Orchestra perform at the assembly this morning.

  • Having time to chat with co-workers.

  • Having to be strict and spending much of the day alternating between channeling the principal from the Breakfast Club and attempting to avoid  failing at avoiding a power struggle.  
Something like this:

Richard Vernon:That's another one right now! I've got you for the rest of your natural born life if you don't watch your step. You want another one?
John Bender: Yes.
Richard Vernon: You got it! You got another one right there! That's another one pal!
Claire Standish: Cut it out!
Richard Vernon: You through?
John Bender: Not even close bud!
Richard Vernon: Good! You got one more right there!
John Bender: You really think I give a @#$%?
Richard Vernon: Another! You through?
John Bender: How many is that?
Brian Johnson: That's seven including when we first came in and you asked Mr. Vernon whether Barry Manilow knew that he raided his closet.

Not THAT bad, but it seems like it! Taking money from students for not following Mini-Society rules can really stink!

  • Missing part of both solos at the choir assembly to manage behavior. UGH.

  • Having the exact same conversation over and over.

  • Monster headache from you know where

Hey, you can't win them all. It always gets harder to manage behavior this time of year. 5th graders are ready for middle school, but not really. You know? Our schedules get more loosey-goosey with all of the assemblies and special visits. We also have several unstructured projects and novel units. Not the "regular" schedule can sometimes signal to the kids that we are done learning, even though I HAVE NOT been showing videos or taken posters down to avoid the "end of the year downward spiral."

How do you keep it all together at the end of the year?


Sunday, May 5, 2013

May Currently and a SALE!

I missed April's Currently.

BAD blogger!

I made it a point to link up again for May.

Here is the skinny:
I am listening nothing! Ain't it grand? I am usually a background noise kind of gal, but the peace of no TV, podcast, or for Pete's sake, Nick Jr. is heavenly.
I am loving Mini-Society. It is a wonderful unit we do that allows each class to be it's own country. We are
drumroll please....
The United Awesome People (The U.A.P.)
Cute, huh. Stay tuned for a future post in this.
I am thinking that I wish we were all set to watch Game of Thrones on HBOgo tonight! I have read all of the books, and am DYING to read the next one, if he would get it finished already!!!!! I am not sure why I am so impatient. The author pretty much killed my only remaining favorite character at the end of the last book, anyway.
I am wanting a new pair of sandals. If you know me, you know I am a total cheapskate. I will be doing some looking around before buying.
We need a new roof. The last round of Oklahoma hail did us in, although the majority of the damage is just wear and tear. I am saving all of my tutoring money for the summer to buy materials, and have enlisted many friends and family members to pitch it. Once again, cheapskate! We like to DIY things around here. Plus, who doesn't like to learn something new? LOL!
Summer Bucket list? Well, I don't think tutoring or roof count for this one. I think we will do a mini-vaca to blow off some steam. I also want to paint my house, in and out. My husband just loves that my hobbies and things I do for fun involve work for him!
While I have ya here, hop on over to follow me on TPT. I am making an effort to post every new item I have for free for at leas the first 6 hours. If you follow me, you can grab my items early. I am trying it out. We will see how it goes!
My entire store is on sale for 20%, but type in the code TAD for 8% additional percent off!