Thursday, April 25, 2013
Sunday, November 11, 2012
|Me & Counting Crows front man Adam Duritz|
Sadly, very few items get checked off, so I've resorted to two bucket lists. The first list I call my "champagne-pie-in-the-sky-this-will-only-happen-when pigs-fly-or-Oprah/Ellen DeGeneris-discovers-my-book" list. For brevity, let's just call it the "When-Pigs-Fly" or "WPF" list. My second list I've aptly named the "Ozarka-peanut-butter-and-jelly-this-could-possibly-happen-without-pigs-flying" list which we'll simply call the PB&J list.
Call me pathetic, I know, but I did manage to put two big checks on my PB&J list a few days ago. Both lists contained gamblin, and one day meeting Counting Crows front man Adam Duritz. My WPF list envisioned a James Bond sort of gambling excursion to exotic places like Monte-Carlo or even pseudo-exotic places like Las Vegas.
Now my bucket list thing only happened because there was a Counting Crows concert I wanted to attend at a casino. I managed to con Jennifer, my BFF, to go with me. "We could kill two birds with one stone," I rationalized. (Don't you just love cliche humor?) "Not only will I finally get to gamble, I'll get to see one of my favorite bands again."
Reluctantly she agreed, and we did have fun in a twisted sort of way as we made the 100 mile PB&J trek to the Chickasaw WinStar Casino in Oklahoma (which despite its claim that a "world of luxury" awaited us, this is the same destination that also offered an RV park in which to stay. (I don't think they offer those type of accommodations in Monte-Carlo. No siree, Missy.) We couldn't afford the hotel casino rates, but we could afford the level II accommodations located within walking distance.
Here's the ferrets-on-crack review of our trip:
- Counting Crows Concert: fab-u-lous
- Gambling: not
- Wheel of Fortune spin: fun
- Food: mediocre
- People: odd
- Best part: Snagged the nifty photo shown above with Adam Duritz outside the hotel casino Starbucks. (Who needs to gamble or win to have fun? Just hand me a nonfat, three raw sugar latte and a photo op with Adam, and it's better than good.)
This gambling junket got me to thinking, though, which y'all know can be problematic for me. Initially, my foray into Chickasaw Country made me realize that I'm not really a gambling kind of gal. But the more I pondered that, the more I got to really thinking and realized that perhaps that's not really true.
I am a gambling gal, but not with chips or slots or cards.
I, like many other teachers, gamble every day. I gamble on kids, placing my chips there hoping for the best. Sometimes I win. Sometimes I lose.
When I lose, well, it just sucks the life right out of me.
But when I win? Oh how the lights flash, the bells clang and the adrenaline flows.
I think I'm ready for Monday morning again because it doesn't really matter if I win or lose. As Adam would say, "It's the heart that matters more."
Friday, November 2, 2012
Sometimes I have so much to write about, I spend too much time thinking about what to write, and then it all slips away like rays of sunshine on a cloudy day.
Already my school is two grading periods into this academic year and I have yet to share any interesting tidbits from my DIs (Darling Inspirations). It's not because I don't have some interesting items. Rather, the ones I do have are so off the charts or off the chain (depending upon your age demographics) that I would be embarrassed (for those DIs) to write anything about it.
But even my new pal Siri can't save me from all these cryptic notes she jots down for me in my "reminders." Things like "Maggie is to do homework" and "number 13."
"Siri," I ask just a tad exasperated, "what does all that mean?"
"Sorry, Richie," she says, "I don't understand what you mean. Shall I search the web for you?"
Sorry, Siri, not even an all out web search or a fancy, schmancy decoder ring can help me decipher those notes.
I finally did remember what that Maggie thing was all about. One of my good friends has a granddaughter who says the funniest things which, of course, my friend duly posts on Facebook. (She refers to them as "Maggieisms).
One of her most recent Maggieism was a conversation Maggie had with her mom. It went like this…
Mom: "Maggie, did you do your homework?"
Mom: "That means you need to do it tonight."
Maggie: "I thought that meant 'do' it tomorrow."
Sunday, October 14, 2012
My brief hiatus from blogging over the summer turned into a full-blown slump when school started followed by a a sudden penchant to spend whatever free time time I managed to squirrel away to do stuff like sleep, eat and watch mindless television.
And, as if that weren't bad enough, I sort of lost my sense of humor as I toiled away at other obligations and responsibilities. I noticed this rather bleak trend as I was standing in the hallway doing my hall monitoring thing and bemoaning the loss of my hall monitoring buddy Rhonda who retired at the end of last year.
It's not that I don't like my other hall monitoring buddies. I do, but they are quite a bit more serious than Rhonda and me. Rhonda and I had cabinets and drawers filled with puppets, rubber chickens, wands, hats and other important teacher tools. The other two monitors probably have some stuff stashed away, but they're theater teachers. I think they're suppose to have that stuff, you know, for props. My stuff, well, is just for fun.
I'm 99 percent certain that most teachers spend quite a bit of professional development focused on technology and how technology will solve all our educational problems.
While there's a lot of wonderful whiz bang contraptions out there, there's a lot of stuff that doesn't really work, and much of it really amounts to nothing more than smoke and mirrors, smoke and mirrors, smoke and mirrors with perhaps a bit of snake oil thrown into the mix.
I recently sat in one session that showed a bunch of cool user-friendly Internet sites that teachers could use and implement in a relatively short span of time.
With this Bring Your Own Device bandwagon circling the country, the presenter showed a site where you could create a poll and have students vote and get real-time results as you lectured on this or that. I admit I initially got sucked into the glitziness of it all and did a few ooohs and aaahs.
Then I remembered about a very low tech method of ascertaining student opinion and understanding. Jeepers creepers, why not raise your hand for crying out loud? That's pretty quick and efficient, requires no preparation and actually allows you to spontaneously get a litmus test of your lesson.
Raise your hand if you agree with me.
Monday, August 13, 2012
Once again my summer swirled by faster than the blink of Ernesto's eye, leaving me somewhat misty-eyed and wondering as I always do: Just where in the Sam Hill did my summer go?
How's a girl suppose to get anything done when the cosmic universe aligns and conspires against her?
So perhaps on the first day of school instead of complaining about our students and their lack of preparation, we should provide some writing utensils and paper. You know, just to get everyone started on sure footing.
#4…Tell, Show, Do…
I can unequivocally state that the ever-spectacular Josh would make a great classroom teacher. Even in the great outdoors, the educational mantra of "Tell, Show, Do" works.
You can tell me all you want how you want me to paddle, but I doubt that I will be able to replicate it. If you tell and show me, I might be able to paddle the way you want me to. But if you tell me, show me and let me practice it, well then, I just might make it to the end of our little Class III adventure without being tossed into the water and without my ever-patient-guide Josh popping me upside the head with his paddle.
#3 Practice Makes Perfect…
As we journeyed down the stream, I noticed one guide struggled with his rafters to get them to paddle correctly, so he moved his raft off to the bank of the river for his own paddle remediation. According to Josh, guides will keep their rafters there practicing until they finally get it. Meanwhile, the rest of us weren't penalized for the ineptness/ignorance/stupidity of others. Instead, we were able to continue on with our journey.
As our school year progresses, we should remember to allot enough practice time for mastery and to remember not to penalize those students who do get it by forcing them to suffer through the remediation process. Let those kiddos continue on their journey.
#2 Leave well enough alone…
But there were also other times, when only one of us was instructed to paddle. Alone. By oneself. Without anyone else. Those times were equally important and critical.
Sometimes working alone is better and essential. As educators, we need to remember which serves us better. Otherwise, we'll end up with a class confused, headed in the wrong direction and drowning in educational flotsam.
And drum roll pah-leese, the #1 thing Richie learned on her rafting trip…
#1 Push Your Comfort Zone…
OK, OK, OK so maybe it took a little bit of prodding and some assurances by both Josh and my husband, before I agreed to step outside my comfort zone. But stepping outside the predictable and venturing into the unknown did provide the "miles of smiles" promised for my rafting adventure as well as a new level of confidence--something difficult to achieve once you cross over the other side of 50.
So often our students fail in the classroom simply because they fear trying something new or fear moving beyond their own education comfort zone. We must remember to provide the necessary assurances for our kiddos to take the leap into uncharted waters and stretch themselves academically.
And perhaps more importantly, we should remember to step outside our own pedagogical comfort zone and take a risk with new methods, new materials and maybe even a new vision.
So that pretty much wraps up what I learned over my summer vacation. The next day as we headed back to the 100-plus temperatures wilting the great state of Texas, my husband and I groused about how we missed Josh and our river rafting adventure already.
In addition to referring to him as "a great/extraordinary guide," "the ever-patient Josh" and "all-around nice guy," we also added with a certain measure of sadness the following nomenclature: "Josh-the-son-in-law-we'll-never-have."
But that, my friends, is a story for another time and place. And yes, if my daughters ever read this post, they would be screaming, "OH MOM!" right about now.
But I don't care, I'm a Class III River Rafting fool.
Thursday, July 5, 2012
Thursday, June 28, 2012
Welcome to the Education Buzz: Life's a Carnival Hotter-Than-A Habanero-Edition, an eclectic smattering of educational type stuff buzzing about the EduSphere.
This little carnival is a hodge-podge of stuff with no real theme other than it's summer, it's hot, and I'm afraid if I think too much, my brain just might overheat. Besides, I've been too busy preparing for two summer workshops that will be here before you can say, "Wowie, zowie! It's a real scorcher today!"
So in no apparent order and with no apparent theme, I give you…
•"The Insanity of Allowing Phones In Class" posted by our friend Old Andrew over at Scenes from the Battleground. It's definitely a must read.
•According to recent research, education guru Joanne Jacobs says children's imaginations are still soaring even though kids have less play time.
•Before you hit the drive thru, you better know the rules. Check out Jane Goodwin's "Things Nice People Already Know: Drive Through Etiquette" over at Scheiss Weekly.
•For those of you interested in technology, Chris gives us "7 Cool Things To Do With Your USB Drive."
•Pat over at Successful Teaching gives us "Unveiling the Mystery of Project Based Learning" in a webinar she gave at a seminar in South Carolina.
•If you're looking for some summer reading, Philip over at Writing to Comprehend, rather than to Express posts a with a book review of the Pulitzer Prize winning book, A Visit from the Goon Squad.
•Laura Weldon offers "ingenious and collaborative ways to flourish, with or without a degree."
•And for those of you science types, here's a list of 30 Twitter Hashtags for Science teachers.
•And finally, for those of you who practice yoga, you might be interested in reading Solstice Savasana written by Christina Bryza, a former student of mine.
Well, that's about it for the Education Buzz: Life's a Carnival Hotter-Than-A Habanero-Edition. Don't forget to join us again back here for the next edition of the Education Buzz: Life's A Carnival on July 5. The submission deadline is July 1. Use this handy, dandy form for your submissions.