Monday, December 28, 2015

Happy New Year!

This year has been a busy one.  I have lots of good memories.  
Here are a few that I would like to share with you!

Getting up a 5am on the weekends sounds like such a silly idea.  Don't get me wrong it is tough at times but if I was still in bed I would miss these beautiful views!  These are just a few of the beautiful sights that I was able to see this year.  And with each and everyone I gave thanks for all that I have and looked forward to the new day.

Well I can't say enough how much I LoVe my fur babies.  With all the bad things going on in the world I'm so thankful for all the good my pets do for me.

Friendships are special, especially the friendships who let you be who you are and help you get to where you need to be.  I can't thank them enough for their support.  My friends and I have had fun adventures and many never ending laughs this year.  I'm looking forward to many more to come from all my friends near and far!!!  NYC here we come! 

Well I like to make others laugh and I love my Kino Sandals!  That's how I live my life silly and simple.  In the New Year I look forward to many more laughs with the family and my friends and of course some new additions to my Kino collection!

My resolutions for 2016

More Kinos
More Laughs
More Traveling
More Kitty Kisses
More Healthy Foods
More Beautiful Sunrises and Sunsets
More of what makes me and mine HAPPY

Monday, December 21, 2015

Finding the Wonderful: Teaching and Learning

This year I am job sharing. It has been amazing for all the obvious reasons, it is easier to balance my many roles (mom, wife, friend, teacher, teacher-author, etc.), but there has been an unexpected benefit from sharing a space, students, and all aspects of teaching with another person. It is what I have learned about life, teaching, and everything in between from my teaching partner Shelley (from Lolly’s Locker)

This spectacular creation below pretty much sums up the greatest lesson I have learned from her. 

This picture, of course, does not do it justice! This banana bread is legendary. For years I heard about it and the rumor was no one’s husband or family had ever tasted it because it was gone before they got home from work. This year I finally got a loaf of heaven!

Shelley is able to take mushy “useless” bananas and make something wonderful. 

Most people tend to throw bananas away when the blackish-brown begins to overtake the yellow and they become slack and mushy. Shelley on the other hand sees the possibilities in them. Instead of sweeping them into the trash and regretting buying so many, she gets out real quality ingredients (I assume butter, flour, sugar, eggs, and something that I am pretty sure is magical), spends the time, and does the work to make this into something amazing. She does not try to “fix” the bananas, she works with them to make them into something spectacular. She sees the potential in the mushy bananas, the value and the usefulness in something that most people would dismiss.

In a world full of packaged mixes, “just add water” cooking, and microwave recipes, this bread stands out as what you can do with time, effort, and quality ingredients. 

In my early years of teaching I had a principal that said it was not the program or method you used (all  of them work or don’t work to some degree), but the passion and heart of the teacher that really makes the difference. I was fresh out of graduate school and rolled my eyes at this. Now I see that it really all comes down to this. This is what matters. 

When I come into our classroom (she teaches in the morning and I teach in the afternoon), I see kids engaged with “real ingredients”, not hollow quick fixes, or “just add kids” programs designed to help children to move “upward” on an arbitrary metric on some arbitrary scale that we have begun to pin our hopes on so much in education. She knows which children are the readers, the artists, the introverts, the athletes, or the ones that just need love at that moment. She celebrates them and takes true delight in who they really are. She can look past daily grind of teaching in a world filled with data points, curriculum maps, and targeted interventions and transform the things most of us dismiss into something wonderful! 

I am going to keep this picture of the banana bread to remember to slow down, not rely on a quick fix, and most of all find the wonderful and usefulness in the things people sometimes overlook.

Authors note: Shelley has agreed to join our Planning in Paradise blog group. She is a true fountain of knowledge of practical ways to make a classroom work and I have learned so much from her. I can not wait to read her upcoming blogs! 

Monday, December 7, 2015


If, just if the principal hung a WANTED sign in the window of a classroom when needing to hire a new teacher, it might go a little something like this:

1. Must be able to hold bladder for a minimum of 3.5 hours.
 2. Must have rockstar like qualities: able to spontaneously sing about EVERYTHING; coming to the carpet, cleaning up, or how to use a glue bottle.

3. Must be able to eat a portable lunch, WHILE sending an email, making copies, laminating and phoning a parent - in no more than 20 minutes…there will not be time for the bathroom (hence, the need for #1.)

4. Must be able to look at an empty yogurt cup and INSTANTLY think of 10 different ways to use it in the classroom or as craft with students.
5. Must be good at multi-tasking; because there will always be 10+ things that need to be done at the very SAME time…while 20 or more children are standing in front of you.

6. Must be an expert at parenting, artistry, music, mediation, schedule keeping, record keeping, psychology, nursing, physical fitness, planning ahead, oh and yes….TEACHING!

7. Must be able to LAUGH at yourself misleading verbiage like "Teachers' lounge" and "Summers off."
8. Must be willing to spend more money on SCHOOL STUFF than you do on your own children.

9. Must be able to keep a stash of emergency CHOCOLATE behind your stash of emergency chocolate.

10.  Must be willing to go CRAZY - because, just because the job of teaching could possibly make you that way!

So that is how it might look - any one of those signs could easily hang on the window of a classroom. Each of them TEACHER TRUTHS. I love that so many of us have stopped and filled out that application anyway. It is a journey of many words, many truths, many laughs and many rewards. But in the end, it remains one of the best jobs EVER!

Thanks for stopping by. I do hope you found a few moments of humor and laughter here …in Paradise!