Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Moving to a NEW LOCATION

Image from

So I have decided to move my blog to Don't worry, things will look eerily similar. I created this blog account two and a half years ago with my maiden name and I want my blog to be connected to my current Google account, you know, just in case anyone wants to publish me- they can now have access to the right email account and profile.

Don't fret, I will link this site to my new blog, for nostalgia and such. I imagine many of you like to peruse past posts in your free time.

So change your google reader subscription; you don't want to miss any of my most recent adventures and musings!

Don't be afraid to add yourself as a follower of my new blog. While following a blog sounds like a commitment, it really just means you get a cool little picture on my sidebar as one of my most faithful readers!

In Honor of My Husband

I baked (well, placed on an oven sheet) Grands biscuits tonight to eat with my chicken noodle soup. It made me think of my sweet husband. When we were dating, we used to make a can of eight and make a meal out of them. We've long since moved on from these biscuit dinners but having them tonight took me back to those yummy moments. We'd make them late at night, back when the earliest thing we had to get up for was a 9:00 AM class, and sit on the couch and walk back and forth to the kitchen to grab "just one more." I do wish he was here to eat a biscuit or two with me. He's in Atlanta, a.k.a. "Hot-lanta," for a medical rotation. He's been gone three weeks now. I'm missing him like crazy.

Oh, and I refrained from eating all eight biscuits tonight. In case you were wondering.

Not trying to make excuses, but...

Dearest Elliptical Machine,
I know we've been distant this week. I had full intention of spending lots of quality time with you, three times this week, actually, and I have yet to make good on my promises. In the past I know I've intentionally avoided you, grumbled in your presence and been a real pill when we've been together. But now that life is totally taking over I wish we could have our thirty minutes of peace together. I'd read my latest kid novel and half watch the TV in your room. We'd both leave our time feeling accomplished and purposeful. May I please take a rain check? This time my absence is not personal, only circumstantial. I hope you understand.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Just Call Me Miss Social

Squeal! Sixth grade social was today. Socials at our school consist of lots of running around, oodles of screaming, and cookies. Yes, cookies. You would have thought these children had never had a cookie before the way they swarmed that refreshment table. I feared a riot would break out any minute once students got their hand stamped and then realized they were doomed to wait in the mile long line for their cookies and soda. I wanted to tell them, "It's not worth it, go dance, have fun. You're losing 20 minutes of social for Hydrox cookies (read: knock off Oreos)!"

Once their bellies were full of soda and cookies the real fun began. In the cafeteria we had music blaring and these students know how to rock. I think that's what I love about early sixth grade. They don't know to be self-conscious, they're 100% kid and they dance their little hearts out. Beanpole legs were flying, hips were gyrating and kids were really getting into Poker Face.

At times I wondered if it was okay that I was silently laughing at students as the behaved with reckless abandon. But I wasn't really laughing at them in the mean girl kind of way, I was appreciating what it was like to be someone who didn't worry all the time about how they appear, whether they look stupid or some one's going to get wrong idea. I wish I practiced that kind of freedom in my own life.

So while there is no getting around how funny the Thriller moves were or the pocket of students who resigned to do the robot the entire hour and a half, I love that they did. By the spring social that freedom will be gone. In it's place will be whispered comments, hurtful laughter, and groups divided. But for today, they are young, they love to laugh and dance and they don't care who's watching.

Monday, September 14, 2009

dispelling myths and changing lives

and yes, I had to Google the word "dispelling" is it two "s"s or is it two "l"s???

So I'm teaching reading intervention during ac lab and I have this small group of four boys. They love to ask irrelevant questions to keep from doing their reading and are the kings of distraction. They're pretty cute though and such sweet young men so I end up enjoying their company rather than feeling exahsted my the amount of times I have to ask them sit down, focus, or get back to work.

Two of the boys are refugees, only here for a year at the most; one from Rwanda and one from Nigeria. They are so funny. There is a spirit about them. They smile real big and ask tons of questions and I am taken my their curiosity and sense of humor. That and they think I am hilarious which helps their case. So today, when we couldn't get our tape players to work for our fluency assignment, Luke asks me about King Kong. Handsen quickly jumps in and starts describing the mammoth-like gorilla. With all sincerity, Luke turns to me and says, "Mrs. Jaeger, is King Kong real?" I laugh at the thought of this and tell him no.

At this point Handsen begins to adimantly argue that indeed King Kong does exist and is real. We Goggle pictures of King Kong and I even show them in Wikipedia that King Kong is fictional. Of course the next request is that we Google all kinds of different monkeys. I figured, what the heck, my lesson was shot due to lack of working batteries, lso why not dispel a few myths.

I've also recently been introduced to the following youtube video thanks to my students. I'm not sure how my life could have went on without this one.

Llama Song - Trust me, it's worth clicking on.

Julie and Julia

I love that this movie is about an ordinary person who takes a risk, starts a blog, and "finds herself" while channeling her inner writer. In some small ways I can identify. When I started this blog two years ago (my goodness, that's a long time) I had no idea that it would turn into a hobby and a powerful tool for developing as a writer. In fact, it wasn't until I joined my writing group that I actually started to consider myself a writer.

Now as a teacher of writing, I think the blog is one of the greatest tools available to developing writers. I click "publish post" and instantly my work has an audience. Perhaps an audience of five, but an audience none the less! With a blog, anyone can have a voice and share their writing with the world. More and more, writers are getting paid to write their blogs and these little web worlds are beginning to change the face of journalism (for the good or the bad, you decide).

I was reminded of myself multiple times throughout the film (which I fittingly watched with my writing group). Julie realizes that the Julie/Julia project had made her very self-absorbed, worried that her readers could not get along without her regular posts. The egocentricity of a blog is true. Every time I post on this site my writing revolves around me, my thoughts and my conviction that someone would care what I made for dinner, did throughout the day, or thought about the latest episode of Real Housewives.

The sheer joy Julie expresses the first time she receives a comment on her blog is dead on. When I finally realized people read this thing I became so much more motivated to write. Chris showed me once how to check my readers; there were people reading from all over the world! By no means am I the hottest thing in the blogosphere, but I'm realizing that people read even if they don't follow or comment. This is exciting. In fact, it feeds the ego centrism (see above paragraph).

Glad I saw the film, makes me think about where this little blog is taking me. Maybe it is purely recreational. But maybe, someday, it could lead to more. My husband says I must cut out posts like this before I could ever make it big.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Because I Care: Installment #1

Dear students,

I've recently made an observation. You, as a whole, seem to have a hard time listening. Perhaps you are hearing impaired but I am guessing that it is more an issue of selective listening than anything. Because I care about your overall well-being and it's my job to ensure your future success I am going to help you overcome this unbecoming habit you have developed.

While at first my efforts might seem mean or insensitive, I am confident that you will thank me later for taking this approach with you. From here on out, I will only give directions once. I will always provide the needed information in more formats than just my verbal direction. Perhaps the information will be in the work I give you, the smart board, or at your tables. When you raise your hand, and I know you will, and ask a question about something I've already given instruction for, I will encourage you to use your resources. I'm not shutting you down, but instead, giving you an opportunity to be a problem solver, divergent thinker and an independent learner. Receive this brush off with love as I intend it. Because I care and I know you all have it in you to solve problems for yourself, I will not sell you short by doing the work for you or repeating information that you can find elsewhere.

In addition to teaching you to problem solve, I will also reinforce the principle of listening closely and attending in class. This is a skill that will serve you well in high school and beyond. Good listeners make wonderful spouses, excellent bosses and sympathetic friends.

I fully expect that many of you will someday write personal notes of thanks as you discover just how helpful it is to listen to directions the first time. As I read your notes of gratitude I will smile and remember how frustrated you felt when I responded to your repetitive questions with: "I'm sorry, I already answered that question, use your resources." While you hate it now, I'm certain you will be appreciative later.

You're welcome in advance,

Mrs. J.