The end or just the beginning

One of the things that bothers me at church is how people view confirmation, as a graduation or ending so to speak instead of a beginning.  Some people also look at graduation (high school, college, etc.) in the same way.  They are now done learning, but as we know you should never stop learning.

The same thing could be said for this blog, I did it, I made it to the end of the month and didn’t miss a day.  I have graduated  and will come back next March to repeat.  I didn’t want to just end my daily blogging, so when I read on someone else’s slice (I don’t remember who) about an A-Z April blog challenge, I decided to try and continue with my blogging using this challenge. So starting tomorrow, through the month of April, my goal is to blog alphabetically about books.  I went through my goodreads account and was able to come up with books that I have read and enjoyed at some point in my life for every letter of the alphabet except X and Z.  If you have any recommendations of a book whose title begins with either X or Z, please let me know so that I can try and read the book before we get to the end of the month.

I hope you will stay with me through this next blogging journey.

Two Teachers

A few of my students today were wondering why I make them use the AEA search sites instead of allowing them to just google things.  I was telling them that it was so that when they went to college, they would know how to use the scholarly search engines and not be at a loss.  One of them asked me why this was so important to me.  I quickly told her about my English 11 and British Literature teacher and how her goal was that none of her students would go to college unprepared.  I struggled somewhat in her classes, but discovered when I went to college that I was much more prepared for the rigor of college than many of my classmates.  Classes they struggled with, I found fairly easy.  She pushed us beyond our limits and I remember struggling to do well in her class and really wanting a good grade from her.  While she had high expectations, she would also encourage us and tell us not to give up.  Sometimes I would get so confused in her class, but thanks to her encouragement and belief in me, I never gave up and ended up doing well in college. We gave her a nickname, the Hulk, but it wasn’t out of disrespect, but out of respect that we called her this.  Thanks Carla Hultgren.

This then brought to mind my English 10 teacher, Mr. Morrison.  We not so respectfully called him Mr. Moose.  He spoke in a monotone voice and still used the bell curve to grade.  His policy was to give 2 A’s per class, 3 B’s, a bunch of C’s and then 3 D’s and 2 F’s.  It didn’t matter what your percentage was, this was how it would be played out.  I remember him calling me to his desk towards the end of  a grading period to let me know that I would be getting a B.  He told me that in a regular class this would be an A, but he only gave 2 A’s.  I tried so hard to get out of his class, but not only would the office not allow me to switch, he called my parents and ended up talking to my dad, who of course then punished me for causing problems and not be a good student in class.  Mr. Moose was also the person responsible for my only trip to the office and 3 day in school suspension. Thankfully the assistant principal at the time, told me that he wouldn’t give me the suspension, but I had to spend the rest of the class period in the office. All of this for leaving my textbook at home.  His outer office was right next to the side door that staff came in and out of the building for.  I was never so embarrassed as to have people see me sitting in his office.

Two teachers that both left a lasting impression on me.

Standards Based Grading

For the past several months we have had a group at school that has been looking standards based grading (SBG).  For the past few months we have been reading a book about the subject and then discussing what we learned.  Sometimes I think that I have more questions now that I know more about SBG.  Like will this get kids to push themselves or will they settle for a proficiency and no longer care about doing the best or learning more?  Is there a difference between SBG and Content? For example in ELA you may be able to cite explicit examples of something, but does that mean you don’t need to learn the content for American Literature or British Literature etc.? Is proficient an A or should it be a B so that exemplary can be an A?

Yes, I do believe that SBG will give a better picture of what the student can and can’t do.  But we also need to find a way to grade those employability skills! So much to continue discussing and come up with answers for.

Mirrors or Windows

“The whole purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows” Sydney J. Harris

This was the quote on today’s Sacred Writing Time slide.  This quote makes me think. When I was in school, I think education felt that its job was to fill the file cabinets in our brains with information.  Not to give us a window to the world.  Are we still trying to just fill the filing cabinets with information or are we trying to open the windows? What do the students really want?  I know what the current research says, but sometimes in my classroom, I see different results.  Can we really have the best of both worlds or does it need to be one or the other?

 

Easter Sunday

They say that a picture is worth 1000 words.  For today’s slice I am going to let a few pictures do the talking.  In picture one, is my youngest daughter with a young man from our church.  He is being raised by his grandparents and has some special needs.  Needless to say he considers Kristen the sister that he never had.  Then in picture two, today was about the family of 4 plus 1.  The girl in the middle is a friend of Kristen’s and has been spending weekends with us.  Of course picture 3 is the four of us  So nice to be able to get a picture with the four of us.  Pictures 4 and 5 show the table and all of the fun we had before  lunch.

Preparations

Today was spent prepping for Easter. As I have never had to host a holiday ( or even plan one for my small family unit) I wasn’t sure what all needed to be done and have been planning and prepping for this for a couple of weeks.So much worry and concern about my menu.  Do I really need a large spread for just the four of us?  Ham, party potatoes, sweet and sour green beans, relish tray, strawberries, cheesecake for dessert, should I add a salad? Do we need to have bread?  I really don’t want to spend the day making my rolls, maybe I should cheat, how about a second vegetable, cheese and crackers to snack on after church until dinner is ready?

Then I decided I was going to use the good china.  I don’t believe that I have used this since before my youngest was born.  Pulled out the china and she wanted to know when and where I had gotten the new dishes.  If I am going to use the good china, I will need a new tablecloth and some fun springy napkins.  (Ok, I have wanted a nice spring tablecloth for a while now.) With the new tablecloth, I am convinced that I need a fun Easter centerpiece and also some fun things to dress up the table settings with.  Of course, that meant spending time in my craft room, making  a special bunny egg holder, a flower box for each child filled with candy and a special cone, filled with jelly beans for each child.

Maybe it would have been quicker, easier, and cheaper to just go to my in-laws house this year or back to my Mom’s house with my brother and sister.

But then we would never have gotten to make the memories that will be made tomorrow.

 

All Together Again

Today we are all together again. This is the first time since Christmas break that we have been together.  Sarah choose to go to spring break with a group from her church. We are lucky enough to have her until late Easter Sunday.  One minute the girls are thrilled to be together and the next minute they are fighting like they had never been apart. At times like this it is hard to remember that things are changing and I still see them as little girls.