Monthly Archives: January 2014

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?

Satisfied Saturday-sadness and joy

Here we are-it’s Saturday again!  Let’s put on those “thankful hats!”  That’s what Satisfied Saturdays are all about.  What can you praise God for today?

This is hard, though because as I write this, I’m thinking about some joyful moments that happened at school this week, but I’m also sitting here saddened as I listen to the news about another shooting at a mall.  It just seems so wrong-to keep hearing over and over again about people being hurt by acts of violence in our world.

I don’t know if you’ve seen that e-card floating around Facebook today-it makes a joke about how we don’t worry senselessly-we worry because we know all the bad things that can really happen.

It seems to resonate with me today and other days as I hear, over and over again, about all the bad things in our world. How do we keep living and moving in the wake of more bad news?

It’s so easy to worry when my mind is filled with the brokenness all around me.  So, I step back and I pray for those involved.  I don’t really know what to pray except for comfort and healing and for God to make His presence known.  I’m thankful that God tells us that He’s sent the Holy Spirit to be our intercessor.  So, even when I don’t know what to pray, He hears my groans and my wordless prayers.

I’m thankful that He knows me inside and out. I’m thankful that He knows those families that are now unexpectedly mourning.   I’m thankful that He has the world in His hands.  I don’t always get it.

I don’t understand why bad things happen.  I can somehow trust, though, that He is bigger than all this.  He has a plan that is much greater than anything I can imagine.  (At least that’s what a friend told me the day before he died of a heart related incident).  I had a hard time believing it at that time.  I sometimes still have a hard time believing it, but looking back over my life I’ve seen it to be true.

This world is full of brokenness because of our sin.  It’s messy and yucky and confusing and sad, but God has conquered that brokenness.  He sent His Son to die for me, for my sins.  It’s still broken right now (full of violence and mourning and tears), but He is making us new.  He is redeeming His creation.

Today I’m sad as we’ve come face to face with that brokenness once again today.   I’m sad for those involved in the tragedy today.  I look forward to the day when Christ comes back and when the new heaven and the new earth are revealed.  I long for that day. My hope comes from looking towards that eternal day-from having that eternal perspective-from knowing in my heart of hearts that God is bigger.

Where are you finding hope 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!

Tomorrow’s Monday!!

Ready….Set…..GO!  Monday’s coming!

If you’re like me, Sunday night is one of anticipation.  I’m trying to savor those last moments before school begins again.  As I talked with a friend this weekend, we were talking about the importance of spending time with our Savior every day.

She reminded me that if we want to get up early enough to do that in the morning, it starts the night before.  We need to get in bed early enough to then be able to wake up early and spend time in His Word.

So, yes I know Downton Abbey is on tonight:), but this is a challenge to head to bed a few minutes early so we can get up a few minutes early.

Let’s start off our week in a way that will help us find that moment of joy tomorrow!

Remember to look for that moment tomorrow and come back here and share with us.

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:).

Finding HOPE by moving towards PEOPLE

Today, we’re going to look at how moving towards PEOPLE in the body of Christ can help us find HOPE during the joyful times and during the dark times in our life.

When you’re in pain, do you usually want to be around people or would you rather hide out somewhere by yourself?

We’ve already talked about how we have to start living in a new kind of way. We have to be HONEST  about our pain AND believe God’s truths-particularly the truth that He is OMNIPRESENT– to help us move through the pain. Many times, when we’re in the midst of pain, we can’t take hold of God’s truths without the help of other people.

Who do you have in your life? Who do you trust? Can you think of 5 people that you trust? Write their names down in a journal. Think about your family, your friends, your coworkers, your youth leader, people at church, neighbors, teachers, etc.

I’m going to ask you to take a risk and share some things with at least one of them. Remember when we talked about how we each have a story?  We need to share those stories with each other. God has put us in the body of Christ for a reason. He knows that we need each other!  We need to be connected with people who can
share truth with us and who can help us move towards hope.

Remember God has also given us a story to tell.

Get out that journal again and that cup of coffee.  Take some time to think through your life story.

Who are the characters in your story?

What’s the setting?

What’s the problem or conflict? (There might more than one).

What are some resolutions you’ve seen? (Are you still waiting for resolution for some things?)

You might want to focus on the last few days or weeks or months, or you may want to go back further than that. Create a plot diagram or a just write down the answers to those questions.  You can draw pictures too if you’d like.

Then think about……

How have the CHARACTERS in your life impacted you? How have the people in your life made a difference to you?

Name ONE PERSON who has made a large impact on your life. Also tell HOW they have made a difference in your life.

How have YOU made a difference in someone else’s life?

What do you LOVE about your story?

What do you HATE about your story?

Now, take a minute to think about God’s story. Even though His story is much bigger than yours, guess what? Although He is the King of the Universe, He has YOU in the palm of His hand.  Your story fits into the bigger story of God’s story.

Sometimes we can’t see where our story is going, but He knows and He has a plan that is much bigger than our plan. Take a minute to think about how big God is. Can you even fathom it? There are more than 7 million people on this planet, and yet He has the whole world in His hand. He knows each person, and He has control over each and every one of those people’s stories-that includes YOUR story. He knows what is best for you, AND He has the power to make sure the best happens.

How do you think your story fits into the bigger picture of God’s story?

How have you seen God at work in your story?

NOW, here’s your challenge.  How much of your story have you shared with those people you listed before?   Some of us don’t like to share our stories with others.  Now the truth is that we don’t have to share our story with everyone we meet, but remember that God has put us in fellowship with others for a reason. He knows that we need each other people.   What part of your story do you think you could share with one of those people?

Think about those same people. How much of THEIR story do you know? Which one of those people do you feel comfortable asking more about their story?

Monday Moment of Joy

IMG_3188

So what was yours today?  Did you wake up to more snow?  Do you have a warm place to be inside?  Did you look outside and see God’s beauty?  Maybe it’s that’s freezing rain or gorgeous white snow on the trees or maybe you’re looking at the beach or a beautiful blue sky.   Did you see an act of kindness today?  Or did you go out of your way to be kind to someone that you normally have a hard time with?  Did you see a friend or a family member today?  Did you enjoy something yummy for lunch?  Did a student take a new step towards independence?  What was your moment of joy on this Monday?

I got a smile on my face when I told one of my students that I was proud of him because he persevered with reading and he made growth with his fluency.  He said, “I’m really proud of myself today too.  I used to get really frustrated with reading, but now I’m starting to use some of those strategies that I’ve learned.  It doesn’t seem as hard today.  It makes more sense because I persevered.”  Yay!!!!

Stay tuned for the next post about how we can find HOPE in this New Year.  Remember to be HONEST with where we are and then trust in God’s OMNIPRESENCE.

What was your moment of joy today?

Trust in His Presence

Trust in His presence

http://www.zazzle.com/joyincreation/gifts?gp=256896011025319511

Check out these products with a reminder to remember God’s presence!  I love the jewelry box.  I’m thinking I might write down ways I’ve sensed God’s presence and then throughout the year I could look back and see how God has shown Himself to me.  Might help me remember to look to Him and His promises.

Finding Hope in the New Year-Trusting in God’s Omnipresence

The Pacific Ocean

Last time, we thought about how HOPE starts with being HONEST with where you are. He already knows what you’re thinking and feeling. He wants to meet you there!

Today we’re going to think about His promise that He will never leave you nor forsake us. The O in HOPE is going to stand for God’s OMNIPRESENCE. He is AWAYS with us. He hears everything we say and think. He knows when we need to just be held in His arms. He knows our fears and our tears. He is OMNIPRESENT!

We have to remind ourselves of the truth even when we don’t feel like it. It’s like living in a new way. You and I need help to act on God’s truths even when we don’t seem to experience it. We need to remember that God is always with us even when we don’t feel His presence.

There will be times where we have to step forward in faith even when we feel like the water is crashing down on us. Because He has promised that He will never leave us, we can trust that even if we don’t see what He’s doing in this moment in our life, He is working-it might just be somewhere where we can’t see it.

How can we take comfort in the fact that God is always with you (even when it may not seem like He is)?

Grab a cup of coffee and take some time on this New Year’s Day to read Psalm 46. Get out that journal or that piece of paper or open up a new document on the computer.

List names of God from that Psalm. Then write about how that name of God gives you comfort/hope.

Here are some I’ve thought about this year.

God is…..
My CounselorHe listens to me.
A Great LightHe shows me the way when I feel that I am in darkness.
My High Tower-He is higher than my troubles. He is a place of calm and refuge.

Why don’t you try these…
My Strong Rock
King of Glory

Check out Psalm 46 and other psalms for other names of God too.
Maybe make a bookmark to keep in your Bible or write them on an index card and hang it on your fridge or in your car.

Let’s thank God today for His OMNIPRESENCE! In this New Year we can remember that no matter what comes, He promises to never leave us alone.