Category Archives: Gratitude

Parent Conferences

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Today I had back to back conferences from early in the morning until the end of the school day.   I spent most of yesterday completing all the folders and writing notes so that I could remember what to say in each one.   I felt very organized when I left school but, of course,  when I got home, I began to stress a  bit about all of the things that I wanted to make sure to say.

I began to pray through all of these conferences.  What a joy that was to be able to spend some time thinking about the strengths of each student.  It changes how I go into conferences when I take the time to thank God for each child and to pray for wisdom for our discussions .

I was reminded today how much I love parent conferences!  After being in hundreds of IEP meetings over the years, I have often seen the ways that collaboration between home and school is a major key in a child’s success.   I love being part of that collaboration.   Whether it’s an “easy” conference or a more difficult one, the process of connecting and talking about strategies and tools for a student’s success makes me excited.

Sometimes there is a fear that there will be fireworks during the conference if there are disagreements or hard things shared, but when we  focus on the relationship and work towards finding common ground, there is a joy in knowing that we can work together as a team.

I’m thankful tonight for the things that were shared in our meetings-the strengths and the hard things. There were times today that I was reminded that there is a bigger picture.  Sometimes academics and the school day are the least of these students’ worries.

I’m thankful for each family that God has placed my students in.   I’m thankful for all the teachers that I have worked with over the years that have so genuinely cared for their students-not just the academic part of their students but the whole child.     I pray that we would continue to be able to work together as a team to encourage and challenge each student as they take their next step towards independence.

What is your favorite part of parent conferences?  How do you prepare?  How do you encourage parents and students during these meetings?

Thankful Heart

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Here it is Monday-the day I said I would share a moment of joy, but sometimes I just don’t like the path that I’ve been given.   As I walk with another friend through a rough time, I am saddened.   I am thankful for so many things , yet sometimes it’s hard to remember those things in the difficult moments.

I can’t always see what’s ahead and at times that brings fear.  What if those things that I’ve hoped for do not come to pass?  What if my desires for my life aren’t God’s desires?  What if I am disappointed by the road that I take? What if something happens to those I love?   How will I cope? How will others around me cope?

Tonight, I was with some friends.  We began talking about the journeys we’re on.  We’ve all had disappointments.  We’ve all struggled with what our hope should be in life, but tonight we remembered together that we can trust in a faithful God.  We don’t know the future and we don’t always know where He’s leading us, but we can know and believe that He is a God that loves us.  He promises to work good in all situations.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t always see how a situation can be used for good.  There’s a step of faith that I have to take to put my trust in God’s promise.   Sometimes gratitude is a choice.  Sometimes I have to look back and see the glimpses of good that God has shown me in difficult situations in the past.  I have to allow my mind and heart to be reminded that He is at work now even in this broken world.

Sometimes gratefulness is a choice.  Today I’m thankful for the body of Christ who can remind me of God’s promises.   I’m thankful for His Word that reminds me that this world is not all there is.  I’m thankful that He has given us the hope of eternity with Him.  I’m also thankful that He gives us glimpses of hope now.  I’m thankful that He is making all things new.   I’m thankful that He is with me through those times that I struggle and those times that I doubt.

I’m thankful that He hears my cries.  I’m thankful that He knows my fears and my sadness and that He walks alongside me.  I’m thankful that today He pointed me back to His promises.

Where did you see a glimpse of hope today?

Monday Moment-Thankful for Memories

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Tonight I was thinking about what I was grateful for.  I’m in a Bible study that is studying  prayer.  Tonight we talked about the different kinds of prayer-one of those being thankfulness.   When I got home, I was reminded  grateful I am for the body of Christ.  I’m thankful for long term and shorter term relationships.  This Bible study is a combination of both.  Several of us have been together for years but about a month ago, several new women joined our study.  Tonight I was grateful for getting to know these new women (even though I’ll admit that a month ago, I wasn’t so sure I wanted to open up to a new set of people:).

When I got home, I found a list of things that I was thanking God for in December of 2009.

Here are some of them…

  • Fun family gatherings – birthdays, spur of moment times, Christmas celebrations-thank You for growing us and helping us to love each other more and more
  • Healing-time to grieve-as I stepped back from leadership at church ,You gave me some time to be emotional and to do a little more healing and to see Your presence
  • Tears
  • Smiles
  • Newness of life
  • Times of grace within relationships in the body of Christ
  • The women’s ministry at church growing to be more real
  • The women that have been involved in my life from church
  • Your grace in the midst of my sin and my inability to give grace to others on my own
  • My job-in the midst of a very hard year, You’ve shown me Your grace and helped me to give grace to some students and families that I never would have been able to give grace to on my own. Thank You!
  • Thank You for those students and families that are hard to work with.
  • Long term relationships –friends from high school, family, friends from church, youth at church, students and families from school

Wow!  What a great blessing to find that list of prayers of thanksgiving written down.  It make me realize how important it is to actually thank God for those things that I am feeling grateful for.  When I got home from Bible study tonight I was grateful for the body of Christ, but I hadn’t actually lifted up that prayer of thanksgiving to God.

Thank you God for the body of Christ!

What are you grateful for?  Have you told God yet?

Monday Moment-Student Success

Wow am I having fun teaching these last few weeks!!  Shhhh….don’t tell me that it’s because I’ve only been there 2 and half days because of snow days;).

But, really…I have loved my job the last few days!

On Friday, my students had a project due.  We’re studying the Olympics.

Check out this project I created here.

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Winter-Sports-Competition-Project-ClassworkHomework-Language-Arts-1035796

I did this project four years ago and my students really got into it.  After researching athletes, sports and countries, they took over the whole room and shared their wealth of information and their amazing 3D projects that they had created.  Those special education students shared their projects with the whole school!

The last few years, when I’ve tried to do similar projects, they basically failed!!  You know sometimes your ideas just don’t work with the class you’ve been given that year. They just have different needs and your teaching needs to change.

So I was a bit hesitant to try it again this year, but….I thought maybe it could work with this group.

They struggled with the research part over the last few weeks.

They needed a lot of guidance to understand what a country was.  They didn’t remember seeing the winter Olympics (of course because they were young)!

I kept plugging along teaching skills such as prediction and summarizing through this theme, but I wasn’t sure how long we’d last into this unit.

The due date for their projects was Friday, but I had visions of haphazard projects thrown together at the last minute or no projects at all.

WOW! Was I surprised!!

Every student in that group completed an AMAZING project at home.  They ALL had parent support, and they ALL could explain the facts that they had researched.

They even were able to answer questions that their classmates asked them.

They told me they had used their snow days to research and to find objects from their home to create their projects.  So, as I sat on the couch watching movies on those snow days, my students were LEARNING and LOVING IT!!!

When one student proudly found me Friday morning to show me her project, she beamed while I turned away and cried those happy tears.

I then caught every teacher that I could in the hallway and had her share her success with them.  (You know even those teachers who said she never could do anything right!  I caught those teachers too and showed off that proud moment of learning).

I’ll post pictures soon of their projects.  I now can’t wait to continue this unit.

So, in light of Friday, I came into school excited today.

I had been reminded that my students CAN learn and CAN have successes!  That perspective gave me joy this morning as we struggled through new concepts in Math.

I even saw my students persevere a little bit more today because they also were reminded that they can be successful!

Where did you find joy today?

Monday Moment of Joy

So Monday has almost come and gone. My first thought is that this Monday moment of joy will be as soon as I climb into bed!  It will be that moment where I can close my eyes and rest, but read on.

This is what I love about blogging or journaling or just sharing our joys with others.  I can look back and realize that yes, even on those really LONG days, there is joy!

I had to write sub plans tonight because I have a meeting all day tomorrow. As I wrote those plans-you know those plans that take forever to write-I realized WHY I was so tired tonight:).  I realized that there really isn’t a break in my day.

As I got to my planning time and wrote “Planning” I realized “oh wait!  I told the aide that she could drop her student off at my room during that time tomorrow because his teacher will also have a sub and my room is quieter and calmer.  My sub knows this student and knows how to help him calm down.

THEN I started to write “your lunch time” and realized-nope not really….you can eat your lunch but it will be as you supervise the kid that takes an hour to eat and whose assistant has to be in a different place during that time.

THEN I wrote the whole afternoon’s plans and realized-oh no-tomorrow’s TUESDAY.  That’s the day where the whole afternoon is different and I end up with lots of kids at the end of the day.

As I left school late, I finally headed to Bible study-late once again.  In my mind, I was determined to leave early so that I could get home, watch that season finale on TV and then go to bed!!!  But, of course, that’s not how it happened.

In the midst of our conversation at Bible study, we began talking about how God’s Word is inspired.  How amazing it is that God used people to write His words for us to read thousands of year later!  Yes, we had a little debate about how all that happened, but we left being grateful that He has provided his Word for us.  He loves us enough to give us His living and active Word.

Let’s make time to spend in His Word!  Let’s pray that God would “open they eyes of our hearts to see wonderful things in His law.”

My moment of joy today comes from being reminded of the gift God’s precious Word!

Satisfied Saturday and Great Friends

What are you grateful for today?

Today I’m thankful for long term friends!  I got to meet with one today who I haven’t seen in several years.  We were great friends all the way through school from kindergarten through high school.  We live in different states and have very different lives in some ways, although as we talked today, we realized many of our hopes and dreams were the same-they just play out differently in our lives.

I’m thankful that God has made us friends.  I’m thankful that although we don’t see each other often or even talk to each other consistently, we easily pick right back up where we were.

Listening to her pray and share her passion for God encouraged me and helped me to remember to thank God for how he works daily in each one of our lives.

It’s so easy to get lost in the daily grind, but we need to stop and thank our Creator for how He is working!  It helps me to also be more content in where God has me right now.

What are you thankful for today? Share it with someone!  Let’s focus on being satisfied in Him this Saturday.

Gratitude

Yesterday in our staff meeting, we talked about helping our students to be grateful.  Our theme for this month at our school is going to be gratitude and kindness. I talked to my students and asked them what they thought “gratitude” meant.  One of them said “well it must mean attitude because it sounds like attitude.”

Funny how wise that student was being- that student that I was frustrated with-reminded me that if I started being grateful, then my attitude would change for the better!

So we made a little chant and hung it up on the wall.  “Gratitude helps us have the right attitude!”

Stay tuned for Satisfied Saturdays where we think about being grateful for what we have.  So many times, we want more than we have or we wish we were in a different stage in life, but I’m confident that focusing on being thankful will help us all be more satisfied with where we are.

My reason to be thankful for today is that I have an awesome school team who understands that it’s the little things in life that matter.  One of my students was having a hard day, and my teammate motivated her with a special treat.  Can you guess what it was???

That special motivator was………..a pencil-just a normal blue mechanical pencil-yep.that’s right-a pencil!  This student got SOO excited when my coworker said “Ok if you have a good day, you can use my mechanical pencil.”   It made me laugh, but also reminded me that the little things really are important:).

Thankful for Coworkers!

Today I was on my own with ALL of my special ed students.  One of the aides that works with me was out all afternoon.  All things considered, things went smoothly , BUT  I once again realized how thankful I am for all members of our team!  I couldn’t do it without her being there most days:).  She walks kids back and forth to classes.  She works one on one with students.  She teaches small groups.  She deals with meltdowns.  She oversees workshop and centers.

Today, in the middle of the afternoon, I realized that I had 3 first graders that had to go back to different classes, and I had no one to take them there!  I could have walked on the wild side and sent my fourth graders to walk them back, but I wasn’t sure that would go so well:).   There was a meltdown brewing in my room, so I didn’t think taking all of them on a walk would be a good idea either:).   Sometimes, a crazy busy afternoon is all it takes to stop and thank God for blessings like coworkers who are great team players!!