That’s a Wrap!

I recently wrote about taking a chance and jumping in feet first to give my students an opportunity to create newscasts for the final assessment of our unit on the Amazon rain forest. I was nervous and hesitant to let them go, not having much experience with iMovie.

They were ecstatic to have the chance to do something different and had no qualms about using iPads and iPhones to record skits that they wrote and created, costumes and all!

After days of taping, editing, adding backgrounds, and finalizing, their newscasts are done.

Tomorrow is a half day before we begin our spring break. We will spend the first hour sharing each group’s newscast. I am excited for them to share their videos. No matter the outcomes, they all learned something new, as did I, right along with them.

What started as a scary experience for me – relinquishing some control is difficult- became one of the best experiences I have had with my students. I’m so glad I took the plunge!

And that’s a wrap!

The Uninvited

I enter, unannounced and unwelcome.

I do not belong here.

I hide where no one can see me

doing damage and altering the surrounding environment.

Days. Weeks. Months pass as I continue my work unnoticed by the outside world.

How long do I have?

I work feverishly, stealthily building my strength as I steal it from my surroundings.

One day they will find me.

My days might be numbered.

In the meantime, I keep stealing, keep damaging, keep growing my strength.

Just in case.

I am cancer.




A Pip for the Pope

I just saw the newsclip of Pope Francis and the little girl who grabbed his zucchetto from his head as he leaned over to give her a kiss. What a precious moment between a humble man of great power and a little girl being-well-a little girl.

I’m sure her father, who moved her towards the pope for a smooch was beside himself. But Pope Francis handled it with humor and grace.

What a wonderful moment!


Book Club

I just returned home from book club. It is one of my favorite pleasures. Spending an hour or so discussing the virtues of the latest read is always interesting. 

But really, the biggest pleasure is meeting with my lady friends and sharing anecdotes of family, jobs, current events , etc. Once a month we drink tea, share a sweet, and just enjoy each other’s company.

What a great way to experience a book!


One of my favorite strategies when teaching a piece of writing is to have students color-code the areas we are focusing on when they think they are ready to write their final draft. By highlighting or underlining in colored pencil, they are able to visually check their writing. Content that is missing is more likely to be noticed than if I give them a checklist. Often with a checklist, they will check things off, never really making sure their writing is complete. By color-coding, they can’t color-code what isn’t there. And it can be done on the final copy too, if you only want to score for specific content.


In the Blink of an Eye

March Madness. Check. Barn work done. Check. Groceries purchased and put away. Check. Minor house cleaning done. Check. One set of papers graded accompanied by a couple of movies. Check. March Madness. Check. Visit with a dear friend. Check. Second set of papers graded accompanied by a movie and March Madness. Check. Laundry. Check. Dog walked. Check. March Madness. Check.

Where has the weekend gone? In the blink of an eye, it is Sunday evening and I’m already preparing for the week and what lies ahead. With more to grade and with more March Madness. Check!


The Blocks Came Tumbling Down

What drew them to one another. Was it good looks? Him – dark haired, muscular bodied. The way he could move on the dance floor? Or was it something less noticeable? His work ethic? Or maybe he was a sweet-talker. Her – blonde and blue eyed, slim and petite. The way she could easily sketch the world around her? Or was it something less noticeable? Her easy laugh? Or maybe she loved to listen-hanging on every word.

They had little in common, but with what little they had, they fell in love and decided to marry. He – a boy from the south side. She – a girl from the north side. One – a Sox fan. One – a Cub fan. Protestant. Catholic. Serious. Humorous.

There were many truths. Many stories. Many hurts. What pulled them apart only they TRULY knew.

The marriage lasted twenty years. Through five births and four children.

Only vaguely aware that things were amiss, involved in their own world. The four. Vying for attention. Forming bonds, taking sides, playing peacemaker, shouldering each other’s burdens  the way only siblings can.

As the world around them came tumbling down like the blocks once carefully stacked, they were left wondering…



To Blog or Not to Blog

I have been trying to get a blog set up for my classroom. My hope h ad been to have it created in time to start the classroom SOLC so that my students could participate this year. Well, it didn’t happen in time. I continue to struggle with getting it started.

One of our techie people had come in back in October and did a paper blog with my students and then actually set it up. But there was a glitch somewhere along the way and she wasn’t able to figure it out. As you all know, just like regular lives, school lives go on and by the time it became available, we were deep into something else.

Finally, I was ready and able to make time for blogging and the sites had been taken down because no one was using it. Very disappointing and frustrating. So here I am, not sure what to do. Well. I haven’t given up yet.


Snow, snow, stay away

I am sorry for my friends in the Northeast hit with this latest snow storm. We had only a few inches here in Southwest Michigan and I am relieved. At this stage of the winter, with spring just days away, I am hopeful that any further storms stay away.

I know that this is a selfish thought. Many of those in the latest wallop wished for it to pass them by. Many here would love to have that snow. They would find happiness with extra days away from work and school. Extra days to enjoy skiing, snowboarding, tubing, and other winter activities.

Me? I am already perusing garden catalogs. planning the vegetables that I will plant this spring. Planning the vacation that my husband and I are taking when school ends in June. I am relishing the longer summer days and the seemingly neverending twilight hours.

Snow, snow, stay away. Come again next winter’s day.