My journey to shoot for the moon.

Archive for January, 2012

6 Word Memoirs

Our school is working on improving writing scores on standardized tests.  I’ll be meeting with my Administrator to come up with a goal for my professional growth and student writing this week.  I did not get to purchase the writing program that I wanted to use with my students, but that is ok.  I did buy myself a book by Kelly Gallagher called Write Like This:  Teaching Real-World Writing Through Modeling and Mentor Texts.  I stayed up way too late Saturday night reading it!  Yes, it was that good.  (more…)


Checking In – 1/29/12

Another crazy, busy week ahead! Although I do hope that I will have a chance to do some blogging this week – as I have so much to say!

Chris has radiation on Thursday. He is feeling pretty awful and we are anticipating a rough weekend. I have my first IEP meeting this week (and of course it is a triennial).

But look for some blogs to post this week – I’m working on writing blogs about Michael singing with choir at the Nuggets Game, 6 Word Memoirs, Teaching Writing, Substituting, My New Pet, The Catapult Project, Phones and High School, My First Observation, and more! Of course, that is more than a week’s worth.

James Family Update – January 22, 2012

It has been a crazy few weeks.  I’ve run out of “back up” posts and am going to take a few days off.  But, since the last time I did that, people worried (Jessica, Heidi) I figured that I better tell you what is going on here.

David met with the High School Counselors one day this past week.  He and I worked on his “plan” for getting in all of his requirements and the classes he wants to take.  I’ll blog more about that soon.  On Wednesday night we will go to the high school and find out more about the programs and his options.  Although, I think that we have things well in hand.

Friday we are going to the Denver Nuggets game.  The Pine Lane Men’s Choir has been invited to sing the National Anthem.  David and I are going  drive up behind the bus and help keep the boys in-line.  It should be a fun night.  I’m also scheduled to sub for 2 periods during the day.

I had my first official observation – it went well and I’ll blog about it later.  Haven’t gotten the paperwork yet, so I don’t have many details.

Spent about 10 hours this weekend doing lesson plans. etc.  I know that when I feel more comfortable, it will take less time – but right now it is taking forever.  Had a Professional Development Day on Friday – learned some great stuff and I can’t wait to try it out in my classroom.

Ordered my books to take the PLACE English Exam to get an English endorsement on my license so I can teach Reg. Ed. English.

Chris hasn’t been feeling great, so . . . Radiation on the tumors in his brain is scheduled for Feb. 2.


Hair and Manicures


Hot and Cold

We have an ongoing issue at our place.  Someone is either hot or cold.  If Chris is cold and turns up the heat, I end up sweating to death.  But, if he is warm and turns on the fan, I am freezing.  It would be funnier, if one of us wasn’t so uncomfortable.  We all know what is coming when someone asks, “Is it (cold/hot) in here?” (more…)

Songs that Get Stuck in Your Head

Recently, David, Michael and Chris saw part of an American Dad that had the Pina Colada Song Michael decided that it was a “catchy tune” and so he’s been singing it. He had me get him the lyrics. Of course, now it is stuck in my head too! I used to listen to the song (it was released in 1979) and at some point knew all of the words. So, I figured I’d share the lyrics – Thanks Rupert Holmes.

Escape (the Pina Colada Song)

I was tired of my lady
We’d been together too long
Like a worn-out recording
of a favorite song
So while she lay there sleeping
I read the paper in bed
And in the personal columns
There was this letter I read:

“If you like Pina Coladas
and getting caught in the rain,
If you’re not into yoga
If you have half a brain,
If you like making love at midnight
In the dunes of the Cape,
Then I’m the love that you’ve looked for
Write to me and escape”

I didn’t think about my lady
I know I sound kind of mean
But me and my old lady
Have fallen into the same old dull routine
So I wrote to the paper
Took out a personal ad
And though I’m nobody’s poet
I thought it wasn’t half-bad:

“Yes I like Pina Coladas
and getting caught in the rain,
I’m not much into health food,
I am into champagne
I’ve got to meet you by tomorrow noon
and cut through all this red-tape
at a bar called O’Malley’s
where we’ll plan our escape”

So I waited with high hopes
And she walked into the place
I knew her smile in an instant
I knew the curve of her face
It was my own lovely lady
And she said, “Oh, it’s you”
Then we laughed for a moment
And I said “I never knew”

That you like Pina Coladas
Getting caught in the rain
And the feel of the ocean
And the taste of champagne
If you’d like making love at midnight
In the dunes of the Cape
You’re the lady I’ve looked for
Come with me and escape

Why is it that songs get stuck in your head?  The last one I had stuck in my head was Stereo Hearts by Gym Class Heroes.  It was a song that Michael enjoyed and was listening to over and over again.  I wasn’t even sure that I liked the song, but there it was, in my brain – over and over again.

When I was a kid, I used to listen to a song over and over again to help get it out of my head.  As I’ve gotten older, that doesn’t seem to work anymore.  I’ll listen over and over and think that I’ve gotten enough of it and then a few days will go by and then POOF! it is back.  For a while, I thought it was just me – but I learned that it was a regular occurrence.

Six Degrees of Separation

Everyone knows about Six Degrees of Separation.  The fact that we are all connected in one way or another.  A few days ago, I posted about our connection to Donna Royer, the woman who was shot and killed by her ex-husband, in the parking lot of McDonald’s in Parker, Colorado.  Her current boyfriend was our karate instructor several years ago.  His cousin was also one of our instructors.  And I found out that the cousin’s younger brother is one of my students.  This is not something that I would have figured out, except that my student, in his All About Me Project, put his brother’s last name.  My student’s last name is different from his brother’s and that is why I didn’t immediately connect them.

The connection, while a somewhat distant one, is there.  When I asked about his relation to our former karate instructors, he told me the family relationships.  Then he asked if I knew what had happened to his cousin (I did).

The physical world is so large, but technology makes it so much smaller.  With the internet we can connect with people all over the world and find commonalities.  And connections.

I asked two of my classes to do a writing assessment to the prompt:  If I could change the world this year . . .  Several wrote about connections.  Many wrote about tolerance.  And they write with the enthusiasm of youth, believing that it is possible to change the world.  Personally, my ambitions are much smaller.  I want to make connections with my students (I have 25 total) and help them improve their lives through education.  Maybe then they will be able to change the world.

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