Sunday, January 27, 2013

Everyone needs a BTF....Best Teacher Friend!

Today's post serves several purposes....First off, I need to get back on the blogging train. Second I want to introduce you to my BTF.  That stands for Best Teacher Friend.   My BTF is Beth G. We met, almost with tragic results, on my very  first day of teaching. I say that our meeting almost had tragic results because we actually "met" or almost did, on my way to work that first day! I was driving to my new school, and I was unsure of where I was really going (I had taken a new route to get to my school that day). As I was driving down the road, minding my own business the lane to my right merged. It was one of those merge lanes with lots of lead time (in other words, drivers DID NOT have to get over quickly). No one was in the lane at the time but then all of the sudden I see an SUV to my right, I slowed to allow the driver in and they did not take advantage of my offer....they remained in the merge lane. Well being from up north, this is a pet peeve. If I am going to be nice enough to let you in, you better take advantage of it!!  Well as the end of the merge lane approached and the final warning sign to merge left was visible, the SUV sped up and CUT ME OFF. Surprisingly the Northerner in me did not kick in, and I DID NOT flip the driver off and hurl colorful words (I can only really attribute this to my nervousness and probably God placing His hand over my mouth).  The driver was now in front of me and continued to the light and turned right exactly where I was going to turn right. They continued down the road and I begin to wonder if this driver and I were headed to the same place.  As I approached the turn for my school, the SUV turned....right into my new school's parking lot. I parked and exited my car, a beautiful, tall blonde exited the SUV and said good morning. Boy, was I glad I had not gone into road rage a few minutes earlier. We were going to be working together. Little did I know, how close. As we entered the school and walked toward our first staff meeting I soon discovered, not only were we teachers at the same school, we were going to be teaching the same team and would ultimately become BTF...yep, Best Teacher Friends.

That day I met Beth G changed my life! She is truly one of the kindest, most incredible people I have met in my life. We are completely opposite, so we complement each other well.  She is Mutt and I am Jeff. She is Oscar and I am Felix. She's the Jelly to my Peanut Butter!! Okay, you get the idea. We have taught together on the same team for 4 of the 6 years I have been teaching. One year I moved down to 3rd grade and one year she moved up to 5th grade. We have team taught for the last 2 years,and we both looped up with our 4th grade classes to 5th grade this year. I think what makes us work well as a team is we don't take ourselves too seriously, we don't let the stress of the job impact our friendship, we vent to one another and we have a common goal... loving our students, wanting what is best for them, holding them accountable and encouraging them to do their best!

We are friends outside of school as well and support each other when life gets the best of us. We have been through a lot,and most of the time, laughter is what keeps us going. Our most recent life challenge is our journey to get healthy and lose weight.  She is sort of a gym rat and really does not need to lose weight. I on the other hand, use my treadmill for a clothes rack and need to take off my baby baby is 12  year old now, so I think it is time! We both joined Weight Watchers together a few weeks ago and go to the same WW meeting on Sunday afternoons. She also recently began attending the same church I do.  You would think seeing each other so  much would, we would get tired of each other. NO WAY!  Seeing her smiling face (she's the bubbly one of our duo!)....lightens my spirits because I know she is always in my corner.

So that's my BTF....Beth G.   Who is your BTF???

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Lessons from the Inauguration.....and an update on 400 followers (Blog/Twitter Combined)

Being a native of the Washington,D.C. area, and currently living 8 hours away in the South, I am a little homesick this weekend as the nation celebrates the 2nd inauguration of President Barack Obama, our 44th president.

You see, I have been been in the crowds for the past inaugurations of 3 other presidents (Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton) and have watched others on television. I love the excitement of the crowds (despite the often below freezing temperatures), the parties (especially the ball gowns) despite never having attend this part of the inauguration in person) and the feeling that regardless of whom we had cast our vote for, we were all Americans and in participating in this event, we were celebrating a new beginning for our country.

Unfortunately, I am afraid my 10 and 11  year old students will see tomorrow as little more than a reason to stay up late tonight playing video games and sleep late tomorrow, despite the fact that tomorrow is both the day of the inauguration and  the day we honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

And this really BOTHERS me. You see most of my students are African American. They also live in poverty. To me this is a an issue of great importance because I feel like as a white teacher, I can't teach them about the historic significance of these two event "good enough." And I wonder why when we studied the Roaring 20's in Social Studies a few weeks ago, only a handful knew where/what Harlem was when we talked about the Harlem Renaissance.

I know I am not alone in my concern that a generation of African American has and continues to lose touch with their heritage. And I also wonder that despite it not being a part of our state curriculum, if I need to spend a part of my Social Studies time this week talking about Dr. King and the reasons why we honor him each January with his own day. And also why the 2nd inauguration of President Obama is equally if not more, historically significant than his first inauguration. Don't get me wrong, they know who Barack Obama is. We talk him a lot. We spent a great deal of time talking about his platform last fall before the election (and gave equal time to the platform of Mitt Romney). But do they REALLY get it?

And nothing would have pleased me more than to have had the ability (along with the money) to load them all up on buses and trek North to Washington to see this inauguration in person (I will do this with a group of students before I retire, even if I have to pay for most of it out of my own pocket)!  I know that most won't watch the hours of coverage on TV. In fact, if they come across it while channel surfing, I suspect most will turn the channel to Nickelodeon or more frighteningly, MTV, or pop in a video game.

So as I sit here preparing for the week ahead, I am trying to find ways to incorporate lessons (even if they end up being a few mini-lessons and some teachable moments) so that my students get a better understanding that this is their legacy, their future and they need to pay attention.

If you have any ideas that would help e out, I would greatly appreciate them. Just comment below or shoot me an email to .

As a side note...I am only 70 followers away from reaching my goal of a combined 400 followers on my blog and Twitter. I currently have 130 Twitter followers and 200 blog followers. When those combined numbers reach 350 I will announce the details of my planned giveaway. Stay tuned...and pass the word!!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Calling all SC Techies (and those in NC, GA and TN too)!

Well, I have already fallen off the resolution wagon! No, I did not eat my weight in Ben & Jerry's (although that sounds pretty good right now)....but, I have not kept up with my resolution to blog  at least 4 times a week. And it is only the first week of the year! Yikes!

In my defense, I was diagnosed with Bronchitis this week and have had zero energy.  While I was home from school -sick yesterday I came across a post on Facebook about the Upstate Technology Conference. It is a wonderful 2 day conference full of everything technology related for teachers/administrators that is put on by my school district each year. It is open to anyone who wants to attend (but I'll warn you, registration fills pretty quickly). I presented on blogging in the classroom last year, and plan to present again this year.

Here is the link to the website. Currently they are accepting proposals for presenters and you don't even have to be an employee of our school district to  present. Registration for attendees will open in mid-April.

It really is a great conference. If you are within driving distance of Greenville (SC), I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to attend a great technology conference.

For information about the conference, click HERE.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year.....Currently January 2013

I just love Farley over at Oh Boy Fourth Grade...and not just because she does this awesome "Currently" feature every month. Well this month (technically it is still December as I write this) she got it out a day early so we could all post before we started partying in the New Year.

We are having a low-key New Year's Eve because the hubs is sick and my son and I have been having a pajamas and movies marathon since about 4 this afternoon. I needed to take a little break so I hopped on and started reading my blog feed.

So here is mine....

Here in South Carolina people set off fireworks as much on New Years Eve as they do Fourth of July. I love me some fireworks, however, my puppies hate them and have been pacing nervously every since the fanfare began a few hours ago. Hopefully this will not last all night (so far it 9:30 and still going strong).

Loving the time I have had with my family. We have not done anything over the top... didn't even go on the two day trips we talked about going on at the start of break. My husband has been off with my son and I the entire 13 days which is a first! So we have just had fun being together, playing the PlayStation 3 my son got for Christmas, watching movies, cooking meals together and chilling.

While I don't want that to end, I am excited about getting back to school Wednesday and seeing my students  I think about them a lot over break because they don;t all have the best home lives so I worry about them a little. Plus I know that for several of them, the free breakfast and lunch we provide during the school year makes up the majority of the food they get daily, so with school being out, I worry about if they are getting enough to eat. I pray they had a safe and enjoyable holiday break and I can't wait to hear about to when we all get back later this week.

My OLW for 2013...EXCITED. I am excited about the trip my husband and I are taking in April to Las Vegas for our anniversary. I am excited about planning our 5th grade graduation ceremony and celebration. My students have been with me for 2 years so I am going to have a hard time saying goodbye but I am excited for the new experiences they will have ext year in Middle School. I am excited for the opportunities my son has coming up this summer with church and Boy Scouts. We figured it out the other day, he already had 6 of the 10 weeks he gets off for the summer book with various camps, trips and activities. I am also excited to be going back to school myself in June. I am going to begin working on a Masters in Library Science or Educational Technology (depends on which program/school I get accepted to). I know it will be a lot of work, but I am ready for the new doors this additional degree may open, professionally.

Well, if you are going to link up with this Currently link of Farley's,

don't forget the RULE OF 3
where you need to go to the 2 links before yours and make a meaningful comment
and then come back and comment on the link after yours...

Happy New Year 2013!!!