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Friday, November 27, 2015

Thanksgiving Tree part 2

     So, I finished my tree. I don't think it was quite as impactful as last year but I'm hoping it brightened someone's day. In one major snafu, I was supposed to get some bulletin board paper from the art teacher so I could put up the tree trunk and branches. She was absent all last week so I ended up just taping an outline on the wall. The kids got the idea, but it looked pretty lame.
      Instead of writing a lot about the tree, let me tell you about a moment I was thankful for. I have this 7th grade student, Maddie, who is such a sweet kid. She had e-mailed me for something at 5 pm on Tuesday and I told her that I was working on something and would need to get back to her later. She asked if I was still at school and I replied that I was. She e-mailed me again at 6. I jokingly asked if she thought anyone would mind if I slept over at the school.
     On Tuesday I worked on my leaf project from about 6am-7:50, 10:40-12:05, 3:30-6 and then from 7-1:45. Then I finally finished. I went into work early on Wed so I could tape the leaves up. At 7:30, I got a knock on my classroom door. I called for whoever it was to come in and it was Maddie. When she turned the corner and saw what I was doing, she smiled and said "Ah.. that's what you were up to yesterday." I laughed and told her that I was almost done, that I just needed to tape the leaves up. She offered to help and handed me something. "Here, we made a chocolate raspberry coffee cake for breakfast today. I knew you were working hard last night and wondered if you may have skipped breakfast." (Which I had)
     Sometimes it's the kind little things like that that make teaching so worth it.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Thanksgiving tree part 1

   So some of my penpals have asked me to write here about my Thanksgiving project that I did last year and have decided to do again this year. Last year, I was very close to the 8th grade class. In October of last year, it was obvious that  many of the kids were struggling with anxiety and there was an incident that happened with one of our students that really affected a lot of kids. I knew that these kids really respected me and I knew that my words had power to heal and to show love. So, I decided to make a big tree in my room with a leaf for each student who sang for me. I painted/ printed/doodled, etc each leaf by hand. Then I wrote them all a sincere note on the back about why I appreciated them and my hopes for them. I hung them up in my room on a large "tree" (hey, it's the thought that counts right?).  This is what it looked like. I think some people had already taken their leaf. (It was about 8 feet high and 8 feet wide.)

     I called the kids to come up and get their leaf on the day before Thanksgiving. Many of my 8th graders were smart enough to know that each leaf was different and that each person had a note, which was also different. Thankfully, nobody (well... 2 girls- which out of a few hundred wasn't bad.) sat and compared notes.
     About a month ago a little boy, who is now in 6th grade, told me that I am "the most considerate person he knows" because of this tree project. I was really humbled and since then many other students have commented about how they still have their leaves in their binders, their bedrooms or framed. I decided to do the project again this year.
    I have been diligently making leaves and writing notes. I'm finished 5th-8th grade up to the Es. I have a long way to go. I'm hoping that at least 1 kid really needs to hear the words I write to them.
     THANK YOU SARAH! I have been using a gelli print on the leaf cutouts you made me. When I put up the picture of this year's tree I want you to know that all the maple leaves are the ones you made me. Thank you!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Fall Sunset

     Today had a few small treats for me. At church, my friend's 4 month old son leaned over and reached for me. I picked him up and he alternated between cuddling me and jumping up and down with the cutest smile I have seen in a while. Then he proceeded to snuggle up against me and fall asleep. There are not many more calming, peaceful things than a sweet, innocent baby sleeping soundly on you. <3 <3
     Then, a few minutes ago I looked out the window and saw the whole sky in this pinkish hue. I grabbed my camera and grabbed these pictures. It is not uncommon to see this on one side of the house, but today the entire sky was like this for about 5 minutes. Beautiful. I love that huge tree across the street.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Facebook Follow-up

     Almost a month ago I posted about giving up Facebook. I have almost completed my month so I thought I'd share my thoughts.

      Surprisingly, I have not really missed it, nor have I been tempted to log on. I have noticed that I have had more time to get things done, but I have also noticed that I have not used that time to do too much. I have gotten more sleep and allowed myself more rest. (This could also be because I haven't been feeling well.) I wish I could say that I was super motivated and have accomplished a ton of things but I can't.
     I have checked in once or twice because someone I usually don't get messages from has sent me one. I have also logged on accidentally while clicking on links in e-mails from a company, etc. and it has brought me to Facebook. I have had multiple notifications that I have ignored and I have reminded many friends that I haven't been online. I have also had a few people tell me that they were going to reach out or send me a message, but then they didn't because they knew I would not get it. I have missed the convenient connections.
      I have also missed seeing pictures on Halloween or being notified of birthdays.
      I have not missed memes, complaining, sharing some of my own things, and stupid games. I thought I would be more lonely. I have not noticed a difference.
     I have made an effort to get together with some people and to reach out to people I haven't seen in a while. I think I'm destined to be the one who always has this role...which I don't like all the time.

    I think after the month, I will log in, check my close to 1000 notifications (seriously. I'll just check tags, messages and pics) and then keep it activated but not check it as often. I may also turn off notifications on my cell phone.
     If you are one of my friends who have also given up Facebook temporarily, how is it going for you?

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Beautiful: The Carole King Musical

    After I attended Cinderella, a friend of mine offered to treat me to see the musical Beautiful, which tells the story of Carole King.

    To be 100% honest, I wasn't super excited about seeing the musical. I had heard some of the songs Carole King had sung, but I wasn't that familiar with her. On the other hand, I don't dislike her and didn't really have any reason not to see it. It was one of those situations where I would never have bought a ticket, but since someone was treating me, I didn't mind going. I'm so glad I did!
     First of all, how often does someone offer to treat you to a musical? So, thanks Robin if you are reading this! Secondly, I knew almost ALL of the pieces. I had heard the songs Carole had sung but I had no idea how much music she has written that was performed by other musicians. (As a music teacher, it was nice to be reminded of how the industry worked at that time and to put some connections together that I hadn't made before.) Third, I enjoyed learning about Carole King's life. I will probably research a little more into the lives of some of the characters. Lastly, the cast was INCREDIBLE! I don't think I had seen any of them in other shows but I will definitely keep my ears and eyes open for future shows these people are in.
     If you have a chance to catch it in Boston before Sunday, try to check it out. If not, the next 3 cities are Minneapolis, Chicago and St. Louis.