It is officially summer vacation.  77 glorious days until I start back to school again.  These days are filled with so much potential and promise.  77 days staring at me, I want (need) to make these 77 days important.  I want to accomplish so much during this time.  Granted several of the days are already blocked and committed to some activity.  Next week will involve two days of travel from Eastern Iowa to the Clover Woods Camp and Retreat Center (the former Iowa 4-H Center) as my daughter was selected to be on the state 4-H council and they will begin their training during this time.  Then there is the trip to Houston with my husband.  He has meetings and training, I will go to play and relax.  Let me know if you have any suggestions of things to do or places to eat in the Houston area, but will be without transportation as we are flying.  Does Houston have a good public transportation system?  I would think so.  And then in July, it is county fair time, always a busy week in the Flathers household.  August creeps in with it’s Iowa State Fair, one last chance at summertime before it’s time to start the next school year.

So what are some of my goals for this summer?

  1.  Read, I have several books that I want to read plus I have signed up for a couple of different book clubs for teachers.  Anxious to get those books and begin the study.
  2. Crafting Time- I want to finish a couple of scrapbook albums, I also have several challenges that I need to finish. (ok, start)
  3. DeClutter my house, this is a goal every year and while I manage to get a bit done on this, never enough and by the next summer you would never know I had decluttered.
  4. Filing.  I hate to file and tend to put it off.  Every summer it takes me about 1 day to get caught up on the filing.
  5. Write More- this will be the third summer that I have signed up for the Teachers Write camp hosted by Kate Messner, Gae Polisner, Jen Vincent, and Jo Knowles.  Maybe this year I will actually finish it.
  6. School Related- I also have a couple of goals related to the new school year.  I want to get my classes set up and first units ready to go on Canvas, I am also trying to develop an interactive Notebook for my language arts classes.  If you have any suggestions or links to places I can go for ideas and information on this project I would be grateful.  So much of what I have looked at looks like it is geared more to elementary age and not high school aged students.

And my most important goal at least to start this summer vacation with is to get rid of this stupid cold.  It started last Wednesday the night before the final day of classes and quickly became much worse ending in a visit to urgent care on Monday and now it is slowly getting better.   So hard to do much of anything when you can’t breathe.


Goodbye Summer

While I will admit that I am not a very  big fan of summer, there are a few things about it that I have always enjoyed.  Summer always seemed so long and a chance to get things done around the house, have plenty of time to rest and relax and also to get ready for the upcoming school year.  I always have high hopes of having a productive summer and feeling so accomplished.  Here I am on the eve of the first day of the new school year and once again I didn’t even get half of the things accomplished that I wanted to get done.

I started off strong, made a schedule and did my best to stick with it.  Yes, that good intention lasted all of about 7 days.  I did manage to get caught up on my filing (a chore that I absolutely detest).  Or at least I was caught up on my filing two months ago.  Needless to say, I am no longer caught up.  I did get some scrapbooking done, but not even close to my goal of one page a day.  I think maybe a total of 15 pages for the entire summer.  I also didn’t come close to reading the number of books that I wanted to read.  Actually, when it comes to reading, I started the summer ahead of my reading goal according to Goodreads.  Now I am 7 books behind schedule.  Looks like I need to get reading again.  It certainly isn’t because I don’t have enough books, I have about 4 To Be Read piles that are each a foot high, plus the 100’s of books that I have downloaded to my Kindle that still need to be read.  I did manage to get a little bit done on a couple of classes in canvas.

So the question remains exactly what did I get done this summer?  Did I get much done for me or for school or for the family?

  1. I did take a class on writer’s notebook.
  2. I went on a trip to Des Moines twice, once with my husband at the beginning of the summer and then just this past weekend with my youngest daughter.
  3. Took my daughter to the 4-H Awardrobe event in Ames.
  4. Turned around and a week later took her to the state fair for Communications events.

I will admit that the state fair was fun, but tiring.  Kristen had an educational presentation, a dance for share the fun, and did extemporaneous speaking. She was excited to get a seal of excellence on her educational presentation. We were a bit worried when the judge for her room gave the first girl a certificate or recognition.  Share the Fun is not judged, but evaluated.  By the comments the judge seemed to like her dance.  Finally Sunday morning came around and the extemporaneous speaking.  This was the first time that Kristen had done this at the state fair and she was a tad bit nervous.  Her goal was to get a seal of Merit and that it exactly what she did receive.  I am really proud of her for doing this event.  She has never had any coaching or teaching in the area.  This area is completely self taught.

I will need to write more about the state fair, but that is a topic for another day.

In the meantime.  Happy first day of school.  8:15 start time will be here before I know it.

Two Part Summer

For years now, I have always mentally divided my summer into two parts.

Part 1: This started the day school ended for the summer and lasts until the last day of the county fair.  Here I think I have lots of free time, except I am pushing a child to get her 4-H projects done, including the write ups.  This is a never ending struggle that always last up to the very last minute.  This year she finally finished everything around 11:30 pm the day before conference judging, had to be there at 7:00 am. Every year I beg her to begin working on her projects sometime in October, but like a typical teenager, she believes that she needs to sit around the house and not accomplish much of anything.

Part 2: This begins the day after the county fair ends.  All of the sudden, my brain switches into school mode.  I will wake up in the middle of the night with an idea or two or three or…. I then need to get up and write these down or I will forget them.  I start making lists of things that I need to get done in my classroom so that I am ready for the first day.  I start going into school to work, so that I can access the copier before there is a crowd of people and it breaks down again.  So this year the fair was a week and a half/two weeks early.  I was really hoping that my mind would give me a break for a couple of weeks.  Sadly that didn’t happen.  Yes, I was already thinking up new ideas for this year, and today my brain wanted to sit down at my computer and lesson plan book and plan out an entire semester for one class and start to gather things for my other classes.  I even tried to concentrate on planning for the state fair this year.  My daughter has to be there early on a Friday and early on the Sunday, since it is a 3 hour drive, have decided that it would be better to go out and stay for 4 days.  But that didn’t help.  Even as I was researching and planning for the fair, my mind was thinking school in the background.

It won’t be long now.

Summer Plans

On today’s blog for one of my favorite authors (okay, I have lots of favorite authors, I can’t help it), she did a blog post consisting of her summer plans.  I decided that this was a good idea, so I am stealing I mean borrowing her idea.

So for your reading pleasure ( or if you need help falling asleep) here is my list

  1. Read 30 books.
  2. Scrapbook 82 2 page layouts.  More would be better as I want to catch up on what I haven’t done this year so far.
  3. Create the first two units for each of my classes in Canvas (4 different preps, so 8 units altogether).
  4. Get basement cleaned out.
  5. Take a fun, family, day trip somewhere within a couple hours drive from our place.
  6. Find at least 10-15 mentor texts for the next school year.
  7. Take an online course for grad credit
  8. Learn how to use photoshop elements
  9. Write more (okay, begin writing)