Wednesday, September 30, 2009

"funny girl"

Been feeling harsh lately. I know -- sweet, little me? Harsh? Gasp.

But really, I feel like I’m quick to judge, critique, feel disappointment. My natural instinct is usually to see the flaw and think of all the things left to accomplish. On most days, I’m a glass half empty kind of girl.

I’m the funny, sarcastic girl who resorts to humor rather than feel awkward over the intimacy of a moment. When people cry in my presence, I feel so uncomfortable extending my arm and patting their back to comfort them -- something about this caring gesture feels unnatural coming from me. That’s just not what I do. I make people laugh -- that’s how I break the ice and deal with what otherwise would be a vulnerable moment. In fact, my friend, Bonnie, asked me to be with her on her wedding day right before she walked down the aisle because she knew I could turn her nerves into laughter. I’m the funny girl.

Even within my classroom, I crack jokes to deal with student misbehavior. Humor is my way of diffusing the situation and deterring the behavior. Sometimes it’s effective; other times it’s not, and then I’m forced to put on my mean face and scold. Students are often left confused.

I’ve been thinking a lot about gentleness these last few days. I wish I was gentler. I wish people did not expect a joke from me, but instead an insightful and kind comment. I want to be comfortable asking heart-felt questions and sharing my own weaknesses and vulnerabilities without washing it down with a self-deprecating comment to ease the moment.

When a student messes up, I want to respond with sincerity, compassion, gentleness -- not my usual, “get your stuff together” response. Perhaps I need to be schooled in the fine art of nurturing because it’s something I don’t do naturally.

So my goal this year is to be gentle. I’ll let you know how it’s going.

Note: I’m not saying I’m cold hearted, just borderline cynical and callous at times.

Check This Out!

Go on over to All the Best to vote in their Beautiful Bedroom Contest. My vote goes out to room 6 designed by Brooke and Steve Giannetti. Love the clean lines, white palette, and the funky chandelier!

My Confession:

I just wrote a very long winded entry about the day's frustrations and decided it was too raw and whiny to post. So I deleted it. Just so you know. It's been just an okay day. It was kind of therapeutic to write all of it down and with the click of one key, make it all vanish.

Um, yes, please....

Buy here.
Read thte blog here.

Monday, September 28, 2009

A Bushel for You, a Bushel for Me

Went apple pickin'.

We were quite a crew!  100 kids, a crate full of half rotten apples, and a heck of a good time!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Tardy for the Party

Admittedly, I am a Real Housewives of Atlanta fan. Admittedly, I would listen to this single and dance.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Nodding My Head Like, Yeah...

Moving my hips like, yeah...

I'm so happy for so many reasons:

My husband comes home from his month long stint in Atlanta.


On my way home from work, the sun was shining, it felt like Fall and Miley's new song, Party in the USA, came on just as I pulled out of the parking lot.  You know you kind of like it too.

The one elliptical machine was waiting for me when I got to the gym.

I'm spending some quality time with friends tonight that encourage my creatvity.

Did I mention, my husband is coming home?

My windows are open.

I just found this lovely little site.

I am dreaming about this...

Oh, and this...

And, maybe a little of this...

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Because I Care: Installment #2

Dear Students,

If I could give you a piece of advice right now it would be to trust yourself. I'm picking up on a slightly irritating habit that you have formed. You are TOTALLY dependent upon me to tell you whether you are right, your work is good, or what to do next. Some of you become paralyzed with the fear of making a mistake. It's stifling your creativity and wearing me out.

I do see you waving your hand in the air making small grunting noises and looking like a crazy person. In case you didn't notice, I'm ignoring you. I am assuming that you are going to ask one of your questions- the kind that you could have easily answered yourself.

Do I need to put it in my agenda if I already completed that assignment last night?
Can I just put my first initial since my last name is so long?

Do you want me to use the backside of my paper or a new sheet?
Should I putting a heading on my writer's notebook entry?

Whew! All your questions are really starting to wear me down. Trust yourself and your intuition. Look around; see what your peers are doing. Think, is this absolutely important to ask- like important enough to interrupt the entire class to ask it????

So like I said, trust yourself. I am not the ultimate authority in all things life. There are few things in this world that you can really mess up to the point of devastation and I'm guessing whether you put your name in the left or right hand corner is not one of them.
Go be free to fly my little birds!
With love,

Mrs. J.

Committing a Cardinal Sin

I went to the grocery store hungry.   Now I have a delicious Digiorno's pizza baking in my oven.  Totally beats the can of soup that was waiting for me in my cupboard. 

Fall, I Love You!

Image from:

It's chilly out and I wish I was enjoying the cool, Fall breeze from this balcony.  My couch with the patio door open will have to do.  Sigh, I am SO happy it's officially the Fall season!

Oh, and don't think I've forgotten about you, dear boots.  You would make the best Fall companion.  If only you weren't half my monthly salary....

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

We Do What in Our Sleeves?

In lieu of the recent outbreak of H1N1 our school decided to have the nurse give a "germ" presentation to all teams.  I learned a great deal of info from the thirty-minute spiel such as: one could have the flu a whole week before symptoms present themselves, or that the flu is a virus that does not necessarily make you throw up. 

So anyway, this riviting presentation (no sarcasm- really, this presentation was pretty entertaining) we watched We Do It In Our Sleeves, a short, independent (not in the good way) film about how one should cough and sneeze into their sleeve.  We then practiced sneezing and coughing in the appropriate manner.  This thirty-minute intermission was just about all my students could handle.  They were day-before-Christmas-break hyper the rest of the day.  It's truly is the little things that get us off. 

Speaking of little distractions, I have a farter in my last class that really rips them and instantly the students combust into laughter.  While I do think a good fart is funny, I'm tired of the phantom farter disrupting my silent reading time.  I'm on a mission to find the culprit!

Intense Moments in the Classroom

I am having the time of my life right now with my students!  We're reading Patrick Carman's Skelteon Creek which is a spooky mystery that ties in video clips created by a character in the book. After so many pages of reading, we get to turn all the lights off, close the blinds, and watch a scary clip.  The book is great for building suspense and the kids are so cute.  Some step outside when the videos come on but most sit in their chairs peeking through their fingers, unable to help watching the clips.  They're really not that scary but the suggestion that something might happen or someone might jump out at you on the screen is enough to have the kids all wound up.  As I walk down the hall, I hear the buzz about the book.  Kids are talking; they're begging for more when it's time to put the book away and move on to something else.  This is for sure what true engagement looks like!  The book has a companion website where readers can use passwords to view the videos.  The site also has other special features.  This last weekend, probably half my students visited the site on their own initiative, all beause they just can't get enough.  Love it.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Some pictorals

The weekend started off right with a lovely dinner at the Blue Bird Bistro.  I recommend the hummus and the feta, garlic, cherry tomato and mushroom pizza.  The highlight of dinner was when my Father-in-law accidentally lit his menu on fire.  It was an exposed flame, very dangerous!  Luckily, our waitress had cat-like reflexes and was able to put the fire out instantly.
Later, my mom and I tried to visit this adorable little shop under the 12th street bridge but it was closed.  Housed in a warehouse, Good JuJu is a vintage shop with refurbished furniture and home decor.  I plan to come back sometime when it's actually open.
I was SO happy to find out that the McDonald's by my parents house still carries chocolate soft serve.  It really is about the simple things in life. 
I met my friend, Krista, for some planning and teacher disucssion.  You can see, we came prepared to get some work done!

Finally, I was able to put on this domestic beauty while I made dinner for some Young Life leaders. 
It was an ideal weekend!  Now I feel refreshed and ready for the week ahead!

Friday, September 18, 2009

KC or Bust

Headed to Kansas City for the weekend.  Having dinner with my wonderful in-laws to celebrate my brother-in-law, David's, birthday.  Also spending time with my Mom, possibly visting a nice pair of boots (just to say hi and be friendly) and getting together with my friend, Krista to do some planning for our memoir units.  Should be a wild time.  I'll let you know the highlights when I return.  I love going home!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Heart Warming Moments in Trailer B

Perhaps it's that my students are sixth graders and still sweet, but I thought this was really endearing.  Today we were discussing "reading like a writer" and how we look to authors we enjoy and respect to teach us about the craft of writing.  So I asked the students who they would read in order to learn how to be a writer.  And guess what, I was right up there with Stephanie Myer of people to emulate!  Could be an attempt to kiss up to their teacher or evidence that they still believe their teacher is a mentor but I couldn't help but smile.    

We're Suvivors

At the beginning of each new school year we are inundated with tons of drills: fire, shelter-in-place, earthquake, eathquake with fire evacuation....  So within the first weeks of school I've already had to practice saftey drills on three different occassions.  Since my students are sixth graders, and overall, more needy, scared, nervous-they always panic a little and ask me if this is "real" as I herd them out the door to our evacuation meeting spot.  Since these drills seem to be so traumatic for my students I've started a new tradition.  After we are all accounted for, I make them "bring it in" and we all cheer on the count of three, "We survived."  When I first asked them to do it they looked mighty confused, now it's something they look forward to: the cheer at the end of the drill.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Blog Facelift

Thanks for this lovely, updated look.  I tried on about six backgrounds before finally settling on this one.  It's stunning!

Not to make excuses, but...

Dearest Elliptical Machine,

I know we've been distant this week. I had full intention of spending lots of quality time with you, three times this week, actually, and I have yet to make good on my promises. In the past I know I've intentionally avoided you, grumbled in your presence and been a real pill when we've been together. But now that life is totally taking over I wish we could have our thirty minutes of peace together. I'd read my latest kid novel and half watch the TV in your room. We'd both leave our time feeling accomplished and purposeful. May I please take a rain check? This time my absence is not personal, only circumstantial. I hope you understand.


In Honor of My Husband

I baked (well, placed on an oven sheet) Grands biscuits tonight to eat with my chicken noodle soup. It made me think of my sweet husband. When we were dating, we used to make a can of eight and make a meal out of them. We've long since moved on from these biscuit dinners but having them tonight took me back to those yummy moments. We'd make them late at night, back when the earliest thing we had to get up for was a 9:00 AM class, and sit on the couch and walk back and forth to the kitchen to grab "just one more." I do wish he was here to eat a biscuit or two with me. He's in Atlanta, a.k.a. "Hot-lanta," for a medical rotation. He's been gone three weeks now. I'm missing him like crazy.

Oh, and I refrained from eating all eight biscuits tonight. In case you were wondering.