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When They’re Hungry

On Friday, I paired students up to work on a Say Something/Selective Highlighting assignment.

One of my girls insisted that she didn’t want to work.

I had a few problems with this young lady the first week and a half of school.  After writing her up and working with an administer to show her grace, she’s been a model student.  I’ve been extra sensitive to her as well because she had written a letter of apology that explained that she often comes to class angry, but that the anger isn’t my fault.

With that in mind, I chose not to get angry when she refused to work.  Instead, I kept encouraging her.

Finally, I quietly asked what was wrong, and she told me she was having a bad morning…that she was hungry because she had not eaten breakfast…that she rarely eats breakfast, in fact.


My heart just broke.

I didn’t have any food on hand, but I did have candy.  I went to my file cabinet, pulled out a bag of Starburst, and gave her a few pieces, asking if she would do her work in return.

She smiled happily and complied.

Every time I saw her lagging, I walked over and put another piece in front of her.

To be fair, the other students in my class got candy too…the first round, anyway.

I was reminded of a couple of things.

First of all, just because a student won’t do what I ask, it’s not because they are mad at me or being obstinate just for the sake of being difficult.  There’s usually an unrelated but deeper issue.

Second, kids function better when they are fed.

My first year teaching at this school, I had a very challenging first period class.  One day, I took cereal to school with me, poured several bowls of it, and distributed the bowls to each student.

The kids completed their work that day…without grumbling.

I continued to feed these students almost every day of the school year.

I didn’t do this last year…didn’t really see the need.

Friday’s incident reminded me that I need to be extra sensitive to the needs of my special charges…most of whom come from low-income households where breakfast isn’t a guaranteed meal and the breakfast provided by the school doesn’t fill their teenage bellies.

I am so grateful to the young lady for not responding in anger that morning and for trusting me enough to open up, share her needs honestly, and, in the end, yield her will to do what needed to be done so her education wouldn’t be hampered that day.

Impromptu Worship Time

On Friday, as I was headed to school to begin my day, I listened to the radio…Family Life Radio…as I usually do.

A song came on that I’m not sure I’ve heard before.

Oh, how the words and the instrumentals spoke to my heart.

It was still playing when I arrived at my destination, so I sat in my car, tears in my eyes, as I spent time in worship, simply grateful for my heavenly Father who loves me so.

I love these unexpected moments when my heart connects with God’s.  I continue to be amazed at His timing…soothing words spoken to my soul…words of peace, love, and joy…just when I need to hear them the most.

God in MeDaniel Doss Band

It’s not the melody that brings me to You
It’s not even the words that burn in my heart
It’s not the wonderful sounds that cause me to sing
It is knowing You and what You’ve done in me

You are the song of my life
You are the dance in my feet
You are the voice of my heart
You are God in me

You are the bread of my life
You are the life giving drink
You are the everything
You are God in me, yeah

So I will sing my life a song to remain
And whatever I do it’s all for Your fame
Because it’s your beautiful self that causes me to sing
About knowing You and what You do in me

You are the song of my life
You are the dance in my feet
You are the voice of my heart
You are God in me

You are the bread of my life
You are the life giving drink
You are the everything
You are God in me

Yeah, me in You and You in me
I will never stop knowing the joy that You bring
And me in You and You in me
I will never stop tasting, tasting Your goodness
Oh, Your goodness

Oh, You are the song of my life
You are the dance in my feet
You are the voice of my heart
You are God in me

Oh, You are the bread of my life
You are the life giving drink yeah
You are the everything
You are God in me, yeah, yeah, yeah

A Ghoulish Aroma

As you might know, I am a teensy bit hooked on Scentsy warmers.

I just cannot help myself because they are so darned cute!

As a high school teacher, I don’t have to do all of the froo-froo things that elementary and middle school teachers do.

My bulletin boards aren’t very fancy, unless you’re talking about my newest college/career ready board.

My handwriting and project skills are lacking as well.

So, when I can infuse a bit of fun without having to draw, well, I’m all over that!

Here’s the latest warmer I picked up from my friend, Heather, this past week…

His eyes light up when the warmer is turned on.  My pictures did not come out very well, so I didn’t upload them.

Heather dropped a little surprise into my bag…one I found when I got home.

She gave me a brick of a new aroma, Cider Mill, that will be available beginning in October.  She also included a card that thanked me for being a loyal customer.  It was a very thoughtful gesture and one that I appreciated immensely.

Frankenstein will make his appearance in my classroom on October 1st.  I anticipate interesting reactions as my students take notice of his presence.

My First “Semi-Flipped” Lesson

Today was a good day.

It was Friday.

My students seemed to enjoy the lesson I’d planned.

I got my nails done.

I was surprised when I came across this inspiring reading reflection from one of my students…

Inspiration struck as I thought about my day and the students who had left early to attend an away game.

I called a friend for some help.

A few months ago, she and I had discussed ways to help our students, and I had mentioned flip lessons, which I’d been researching at the time.

She took my words to heart and began recording her lessons so her students could use them to study with.

When I put together my concerns about catching my students up along with knowing about my friend’s recorded lessons, I knew I had to try it out.

I opened up the SmartBoard file I had worked from all week, clicked the record button within the program, and talked my way through the lesson.

Then, I went to YouTube and uploaded the fourteen-minute video to my account.

A few minutes later, the video was ready!

The sound quality isn’t quite what I’d like.  I got too close to the built-in microphone.  Next time, I’ll use an external mike that I have placed in a drawer somewhere at school.

Still, though, I am very excited with my first recording.

I didn’t work off of a script but free-lanced, just as I would in my classroom.

I sent the link to the video in my weekly update that I emailed to parents tonight and am eager to receive feedback.  I will also post the link to my Edmodo account so my students will have access to it there.

Let me know what you think!

Sassy Shoes

Tuesday, there was an incident in my classroom (nothing uber serious) that led me to do some reflection on my classroom management procedures.

I consider myself a teacher who does have good classroom management skills; however, I began to feel as though my students were starting to slack off.

I didn’t entirely place the blame on them because I am their fearless leader and responsible for setting the tone of what is and what isn’t acceptable.

With this in mind, I decided to pull in the reins a bit and tighten things up.

The first order of business was dressing the part.

Now, you guys know how much I love shoes…especially my heels.

Take a look at what found their way out of my closet yesterday…

When I paired them with grey slacks, a dressy blouse, and some bling…well…I had the whole package together.

As my students approached my door, they said things like, “Mrs. AuburnChick, you’re all dressed up…” and “You’re taller…” and “I like those shoes…”

A strange thing happened afterward.

When I gave them the signal for attention, they listened…and continued to listen.

My second class, in particular, which is quite smart but oh so prone to chatter, was quiet as they completed their bellwork and silent reading.

There is a saying that “Clothes make the man.”

I think that this is partially true.

How I dressed yesterday affected my attitude, and that attitude, in turn, affected my students.

It was a very interesting thing to watch as it played out.

Although I haven’t been able to wear my heels much this year thanks to some bad blisters I got the first week of school, I am determined to figure out a blister-free way to keep them on.

Not only can I reach the top of the Smartboard, but I think I’m reaching my students in a different way…a more serious way.

It is definitely something to ponder on…

Still the Same Old Hodgepodge

Hey guys!!  It’s time for another Hodgepodge!!!  Strap on your boots (seriously…it’s been raining so much here!!) and let’s get started!!

1.  What’s one thing that’s still the same about you as when you were young?

I am still a nerd.  One of my students made a comment the other day that I was a closet nerd.  My response?  “Honey, I’m a full-on nerd and proud to admit it!”  LOL!

I guess she said that because I had researched some random fact that I’d come across.

Yeah.  I’m like that.  I cannot even begin to imagine what I would have been like if the Internet had been around when I was growing up.

2.  What’s more important-history or science? Why?

Even though my first inclination was to answer with science, because of all of the medical advances, I’m going to go with with history.  As a Christian, passing down the story of Christ’s suffering on the cross has been integral to my salvation.  The Israelite people continue to pass down their history through their Jewish traditions.

Additionally, history provides us with perspective.  It shows us where we’ve been.  It shows us the mistakes we’ve made.  It has the potential to keep us from repeating those mistakes, although we are a stubborn people bent on doing our own thing.

There is much I could say, but I don’t want to get long-winded, as I’m prone to do.

3.  Lima, kidney, string, garbanzo, black or pinto-your favorite bean?

Oh yay!  This is a question that I, a vegan, can really sink my teeth into!  I really like garbanzo beans; however, black beans are my favorite!  I love black bean burgers, black bean soup…you name it, and I’m all over it!!!!

4.  What’s something people come to your town to do?

There are two things that people come to my city to do.  The first is to visit the beach.  We have some of the prettiest beaches in Florida and, dare I say it, the country.

The other thing that people come to my town to do is participate in the two biking weekends we sponsor.  Those are very loud times, let me tell you, but they are good for the local economy.

5.  When was the last time you were in a meeting? Sum it up for us in five words or less.

By the time you are reading this, unless you are a night owl (I schedule my posts to go active around 12:15am), I will have already sat through a faculty meeting.  How to sum it up…hmmm…

Time away from my desk.

Sorry, but I don’t like meetings…of any sort.

6.  What special event would you like a VIP pass to attend?

I would love a VIP pass to attend a Dancing With the Stars finale!!!!!  Duh!!!  heehee

My plan is this:  I go to the event.  I hob nob with the powers-that-be.  They ask me what I do for a living.  I charm them with my wit and charismatic personality.  They invite me as a contestant.  I dance with a cute partner who is uber-patient with my two left feet.  I wear sparkles.  I get toned.  I write a book.  I get even more famous.  I spend the rest of my working days knitting and writing while holed up in a bungalow on an Hawaiian beach, loved ones close by.

When you give a mouse a cookie…

7.  What’s one piece of advice you’d give a writer?

Don’t take your audience for a fool.

As a teacher of struggling readers, I find that sometimes, people underestimate my students’ intelligence.  They want good books that they can relate to!  Fortunately, there are some seriously talented young adult writers out there, but we need MORE!!!

8.  My Random Thought

I shared the following picture with my Instagram/Twitter/Facebook friends, but I thought I’d post it here anyhow.

Look at the lamps I picked up at Target!  They were on clearance, marked down to below $6 from around $17 each.  I’m going to put them in my classroom.  I always turn off one set of my fluorescent lights to help keep the kids from getting headaches, but then it’s a little dark.  I’m slowly purchasing lamps, which really add a comfortable ambiance in the room and make it feel even more homey!

Star Stitch Hair Tamer

First of all, I’d like to add a disclaimer to this post by stating that I am not neglecting my teaching duties.

Now I shall carry on.

This past weekend, I finished another small project for my Harry Potter knitting forum.  This is called the Star Stitch Hair Tamer, a free pattern you can find on Ravelry.

The stitch was a new one for me but easy to execute.  I used Lion Brand Cotton and size 6 needles.

I knit 80 rows of the pattern repeat but, in hindsight, should have only knit 70.  Lesson learned for the next time.

If/when I make this again, I will also shorten the row and knit fewer repeats across.  It is bit wide.  Still, I really, really like the way the stitch crawls up the piece.

The yarn is very soft; the headband is quite comfortable.

If you’re looking for a quick knit or a small gift item…Christmas is quickly approaching…I highly recommend this little item!

Pele Goes to the Vet

Saturday morning, I got up with a mission in mind…take Pele for his annual shots.

There is a vet’s office in town that sets aside Saturdays, from 11-2, for lower-discount shots.  With three dogs in the house, I can use this discount.

Pele didn’t have a clue what he was in for, as his face shows…

When I told him we were going for a ride, he ran to the car…

Do you see how he’s looking at me?  He needed my help getting in the car…even though I’ve seen him jump in before.

No, I can’t wait him out, because he will stand there forever.

All 85 pounds of him has to be lifted up into the car every time we go anywhere.  Ugh.

We ran an errand before going to the vet.  The ride was beautiful, and he seemed to enjoy himself…

That was the fun part.  Once we got to the vet’s office, the fun ended.  Pele is massive, so when he gets curious, like in an office full of other furry babies, he pulls hard to go visit.  There seemed to be a bajillion other dogs there for the same reason.  Note to self:  Wait until 12 next time so the office clears out a bit.

It was finally our turn to go into a room, and Pele truly was not happy.  He kept staring at the door knob and pawing at the door.  It was obvious that he wanted out.

Three shots later, along with a set of clipped nails, we were out the door.

He was somewhat annoyed with me and exhausted too.  This is the look he gave me when we got home…

All was forgiven as soon as I placed his dinner in front of him later that night (the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach).

We’re good to go for another year.  Thank heavens!


Pinwheels Lace Bookmark

Last week, I knit up a quick project to turn in for a Quidditch event in my Harry Potter knitting forum, because I am nerdy that way.

This is my Pinwheels Lace Bookmark…

The challenge was to knit an item of luxury, so I interpreted this to mean that my Trekking Pro Natura sock yarn, from which I used leftovers from a different project, is a prized possession of mine and hence should be considered a luxury.  In addition, I explained to my “professors” that reading was once considered a skill taught only to the elite, thus it was a luxury.

The pattern is free on Ravelry.  If you want to learn how to knit lace, it’s the perfect small project for this.  If you love knitting lace but don’t have a lot of time, it will fill that need and provide instant gratification at the same time.

I used size 0 needles, and it still came out rather large; however, it lays flat and actually does its job quite nicely…

It was a good way to use up a bit of yarn without requiring the purchase of an entire new skein of it!  I only used 23 yards to finish this.

The only modification I made to the pattern was to braid three strings together instead of making a tassel.  I found that the instructions for the tassel were confusing, so I did my own thing.  An i-cord would have worked well also.

A Yarn Treat

I received the new Knit Picks catalog in the mail early this past week, and as I flipped through the pages, my attention was drawn to one kit in particular…

That, my friends, is the Heartwarming Stocking Kit.

Oh word, but I just knew I had to have it.  The Mr. once asked if I would knit some stockings for the house, so I figured this was the perfect opportunity…especially since the kit was on sale.

I ordered it, and my box arrived today…

I eagerly dug in…

Isn’t it pretty?

Take a look at what you see when you turn the bag over…

Oh, yarny goodness!!!!

I didn’t dare open the plastic wrap to touch the yarn in fear of totally losing my wits and forgetting that I had lesson plans to write.

The plans have been finished, and I have one day of fun before the week begins (along with another ESOL class).

I have decided to play with yarn on Sunday.

No, I will not cast on, because I have two other projects going.  However, I will cradle the yarn tenderly, loving on it…holding it close to my face…dreaming of when I can put the first stitches on my needles.

The colorwork scares me, but I’ve got some time to get over my fears.

I have much to do in the way of real life work and such.

Still, the joy from the yarn treat, though a bit frivolous, will linger, giving me something to look forward to when things slow down.

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