Saturday, March 31, 2012

My 6 word stories about slicing

Slice of Life #31

Writing everyday for 31 days straight.
Definitely a  new experience for me.
Where can I get new ideas?
From school, life, church, and friends.
Funny words, events, history and hopes.
Would others comment on my blog?
How would I know before posting....
Surprisingly, many strangers have commented daily
I hope to return their kindness.
I am a writer, published writer!!!
Thank you to Stacy and Ruth!

Thank you for all the great bloggers!
You have played an important role
in encouraging me to share my
thoughts, ideas, plans, stories, poems, words
in a brand new format: blog!

You have all encouraged me tremendously!!
What are my writing plans now?
Maybe Tuesday slicing until March 2013???
Keep writing, until we meet again!!!!

Friday, March 30, 2012

The words call me........

Slice of Life #30

Today with my high school class we wrote phrases that include personification. I wrote a poem for my students, and then I pondered, could I do one that would talk about my slicing. Here is my try--not even close to perfect, but......

The words call me:
speak my story
give voice to us--we need to be heard!
My fingers answer
as they run around the keyboard.
My thoughts quickly walk to the page--or the blog
spilling ideas on their path to the next line.
My witty audience responds with clarity and inner intelligence
to the words that spoke to them.
Their keyboard is steaming and tickling
when fingers trip over the letters in their hurry to comment.
I wait with the waking moon
to read the comments before
I encounter my voiceless dreams and
touch the words that will create
my slice tomorrow.
The words call me again:
they whisper and say,
come back in April
our story has more chapters!

Thursday, March 29, 2012


Slice of Life #29

I got this idea from another post earlier in the month. Thought I would try my own list.

5 True Statements

1.     I am a mother
2.     I am a teacher
3.     I am a book lover
4.     I am bilingual x 1.5
5.     I am a follower of Jesus

5 statements of Beauty

1.     Green plants are always beautiful 
2.     Babies are all beautiful
3.     There is beauty in Christmas cactus blooming in March   
4.     Spring brings beauty to the outside and to my life
5.     New books are beautiful

5 Things I appreciate

1.     Sunrise on a spring morning driving to work
2.     Sunset on a summer night by the lake
3.     Free time with a good book to read
4.     Great coffee with good friends
5.     The feeling when all papers are corrected and my desk is clean

5 Things I Dream about

1.     Learning a new language
2.     Traveling to Italy
3.     Having a bigger kitchen with a dishwasher
4.     Cleaning fairy to visit our home regularly
5.     Class full of students who all want to learn all time

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

I am From

Slice of Life #28
I am From

Got this idea from Peg D., on her blog "Archer Mom Documenting..."

I am from the country where everyone has SISU.
I am from the people who understand and practice perseverance.
I am from love that took little longer to mature
I am educated in three different continents from where my wisdom comes from
I am from the church where love and desire to be a real disciple are important
I am from the community where people are treasured
I am from the school that believes in diversity and celebration of cultures
I am part of a family from whom I draw my strength
I am from the generation that still likes network news
I am from the grocery store that has the shortest lines
I am from city that survived  bombings in the past and snow at the present
I am part of the friends that communicate with each other from the couch--you know Skype and Facebook.
I am from the people who were readers, and who have made me fall in love with both reading and writing!
I am from the country where everyone has SISU!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Testing students

Slice of Life #27
WoW! This is almost the end!
This week I have been giving the speaking portion of our annual ELL test for my students.
It has been both fun and frustrating.
Here are some snippets of my day:
-If you could meet anybody in present or the past, who would want to meet?
        -my uncle
-What would you ask him?
        -how old is he
Right now I am pulling my hair (of course only the gray hairs)!! I feel like screaming and saying, ASK something else!!!
-If you could meet anybody in present or the past, who would want to meet?
       -the first president of Pakistan
-Why do you want to meet him?
        -because he did so much good for Pakistan, and many people liked him
So, now I am smiling again. I think I can do this!
-If you could meet anybody in present or the past, who would want to meet?
-Why do you want to meet him?
        -to talk to him and ask if needs help
       -was that appropriate to say that???
Again, I am thinking that he just wants to get a reaction from me. Well, he is not getting one today. I am going to ignore him and move on with the testing. Yes, I might have a few more gray hairs before this testing cycle is over, but it WILL be over before Spring Break!!!!! And then I get to relax and read something totally unrelated to school, and forget my students for a few days! Life is already starting to look brighter!

Monday, March 26, 2012

It's Monday and ....

Slice of Life #26

It is Monday and I can feel it in my bones!
This is how the day went:
  • Got up really early to get to school early
  • Made good coffee and completed plans for the week
  • Copied all the handouts and quizzes for the week
  • Completed a number of speaking tests for middle school students
  • Felt my right knee buckle under me--don't know why
  • Gave high school students good news about their Romeo and Juliet quizzes
  • Watched one of my lowest readers pass another AR quiz!!! :-)
  • Sent e-mail to both students and staff
  • Discussed students with other teachers
  • Corrected papers (well, I am actually still doing it; just taking a break to write my slice)
  • Entered grades into the grade book
  • Ate sushi for lunch (of course from Trader Joe's)
  • Enjoyed SUNSHINE!!!!!!!
  • Realized, I have great colleagues!
  • Determined that there are ONLY four more days to the beginning of my Spring Break!!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

My 6 Word stories

Slice of Life #25

Thankful for warm weather; no ice.
Wondering about the coming summer--steaming??
Wishing for a seat by lake
maybe a small cottage to relax.
It is still winter with three
more months of school year left.
Already planning a trip to homeland.
Seeing friends, relatives and new babies.
Great chocolate, lake swimming and sauna.
I better book my flight soon!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

What would my grandparents be like?

Slice of Life #24

I never met any of my grandparents. They had all passed away before I was born. When growing up, I was told I looked so much like my father's mother. How would I know? We had--I think--one black and white picture of my paternal grandmother. I could not really tell if the resemblance was there or not. After all, she was quite old at that picture.
But what would they be like?
Would they send me birthday cards? Would they call and want to chat even across the ocean? Would they have agreed with the choices that I have made in my life? Would we have any similar interests? Beliefs?
My mother was a woman of prayer. She prayed as long as she was breathing. She was so certain that God will answer her prayers--even if she might not live to see the answers. I could not imagine her parents not be praying people. They survived my home country's Civil War, World War II, sending their sons (my uncles) to the war, bombings near their children's homes, losing a child, and the changing times.
The only thing that I have from my maternal grandparents is my grandmother's black church scarf. From my paternal grandparents I have my grandfather's photograph--he is drinking coffee. My paternal grandparents had to leave everything behind and leave as refugees during World War II. How did they survive? I am again certain that they would not have survived without their faith in God and in the power of prayer.
Through my father I learned that his parents were extremely hospitable. They never had  much, but what they had, was always shared with those in need. They never turned anyone away from their door. And as refugees, they also experienced hospitality from strangers.
So, maybe my question should not be, what were my grandparents like, but what I could learn from their lives.

  • to pray--even when answers are not imminent 
  • welcome people into my home (you know "entertaining angels")
  • perseverance
  • share
  • make memories while you can
  • receive help from others when needed
  • drinking coffee is a demonstration of hospitality (good coffee I mean)
  • change can be good--even if I am resistant to it
  • pray because God does answer prayers

Friday, March 23, 2012

Weekend Plans--Let's check the list

Slice of Life #23
What do I want to accomplish this weekend? Priorities or must do items?? Fun things or responsibilities?? I wonder which items will win?? Well, that is an other post later on.

So many things, I am sure I won't get to all, but I want to try at least a few of these items on my list:

  • grocery shopping
  • cleaning the kitchen table
  • lesson plans
  • get ahead in reading
  • come up with interesting ideas to do with my classed this coming week (=something new and exciting)
  • correct papers
  • make sure I have good coffee in the house
  • yard work (if it doesn't rain, or if I am not too busy)
  • read something fun
  • watch this week's episode of "Endgame" on
  • write 2 slices
  • comment more on other writers' slices
  • enjoy later mornings
  • meet with friends
  • church
  • time to reflect
  • laundry
  • relax
  • re-potting plants (if the weather stays warm)
  • check in with friends in other countries (=Facebook)
  • think about upcoming birthday gifts
  • prepare myself mentally for spring break that is coming in one week!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Jeopardy....and keeping score

Slice of Life #22

Years ago my daughter and I started watching Jeopardy together and keeping score. It was fun--for a few years. I knew that my general knowledge wasn't bad, except when it came to painters and obscure places or people.  More often than not, I would win. But slowly my winning percentage started changing!!!! My daughter remembered all the science that she had just studied, she new the current pop songs and group performers and I found myself losing more often than winning.
Even now, we occasionally watch Jeopardy together and keep score. Tonight was one of those nights. Unfortunately, I did not like any of the topics.  I wanted to win!!! So what were some of the categories? "Compound words", "How the World was Spun", and others I have already forgotten. Needless to say, I did not win. When all was said and done, I had around $2000 and my daughter had over $10,000.
What could I do to improve my changes in Jeopardy? Take lessons in popular culture? Watch MTV? Read every popular fiction book, and every classic, while at the same time memorizing all the famous lines--or the ones that might become famous. Can I do that and still be an effective teacher? I don't think so. I guess I will leave Jeopardy "doctorate" for someone else to achieve. I will still play with my daughter, after all, together times are treasured!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Pampering Night for Single Moms

Slice of Life #21

Last night we had our annual pampering night for the single moms at our church. Our church has a special heart for single moms, and we have been having monthly dinners for single moms for over 13 years!
Once a year, in March, we have a pampering night for the moms. What does it mean? People from our church, and friends of people who go to our church, come and offer pedicures, manicures, haircuts, facials, eye brow waxing, massages, great conversation, music, and of course lots of laughter! Some of the moms haven't had a haircut in almost a year! For others, this is the only time in a year that they can have a massage or a pedicure.
In between getting pampered and beautified, volunteers at the kitchen are busy preparing and serving delicious food for the moms. Think, strawberries dipped in chocolate, spring rolls, fancy cheese tarts etc. For many moms this is the only time in a month that they do not need to cook and clean after dinner. And who doesn't like that?
I feel very privileged to be part of this group. I get to enjoy a great dinner, chat with other moms, and now that my daughter is grown up, help serve other younger moms. And, I can't forget that I got to experience "oxygenating facial" and dipping my hands in hot wax. I came home with smooth hands and glowing face!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

15 Random Facts about Me...

Slice of Life #20
  1. I don' like roller coasters
  2. Coffee every morning with milk--no cream, no sugar
  3. Indian food is needed periodically
  4. But soup and salad at Olive Garden hits the spot too
  5. Much Ado About Nothing  (or another movie with fun dialogue) makes me happy
  6. I want to travel to Italy one day--hopefully sometime soon
  7. Spring break can't come fast enough
  8. I love green plants inside and outside
  9. But I don't like weeding
  10. Cooking is fun
  11. But doing the dishes has to be somebody else's job 
  12. I have three first names
  13. Dangling earrings are the best
  14. Each sunrise gives me a new reason to get up face the day with a smile
  15. When I fall short (on many things), God still loves me!!!!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Perfect Mate...for my daughter

Slice of Life #19

I have been preparing and planning for my Romeo and Juliet lessons for the week. Like many other teachers, my goal is for my students to write an essay on the topic: My Perfect Mate. With my this years students, I am sure I will get to read some very interesting essays.
Today, however, as I was reading my assignment again, I started thinking about what I would like to see in my daughter's future spouse. Here are my thoughts:

  • Eye color, hair color, no hair, tons of hair--I could not care less
  • Loving God--I care a lot about this
  • Funny
  • Understands Europeans' sense of humor
  • Committed
  • Loves my daughter with his whole heart
  • Knows how to ask and give forgiveness
  • Hospitable
  • Likes to watch Jeopardy and NCIS (for purely selfish reasons)
  • Great cook (you know, I am already getting ready for the family get togethers that does not require me to cook)
  • Knows the value of money (meaning: saves, saves, and then spends a little bit)
  • Likes the outdoor and loves to travel
  • Romantic
  • Creative
  • Sensitive
  • Understands the value of gifts (I am not talking about gifts for me....)
  • Loves children
As I am writing this list, I am not sure if I am writing what I would like to see in my daughter's future spouse, or in MY future spouse???? Maybe I have to work harder on creating a list for my daughter (and not me)!!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

What is soothing to me....

Slice of Life #18

I read a Tracy's slice the other day and got an idea to do my own soothing list.

A Soothing List
  • Sitting in my recliner by the window and relaxing with a great cup of morning coffee
  • Having dinner with my daughter and chatting about our lives
  • Reading to my nieces' small children
  • Giving good news to my students
  • Having great discussions at small group
  • Listening to a sermon that reinforces my need of God but at the same time demonstrates God's mercy and grace
  • Watching a movie that is funny and has a happy ending
  • Watching Shakespeare's Much to Do About Nothing. I love the play on words. It takes me to another place in life every time; And makes me want visit Italy.
  • Finding a new pen at the office store that writes even better than my old one
  • Comments on my blog--it shows that others are reading my writing, which in turn wants to make me write even more
  • Messages from old friends--and new ones too
  • Making the connection of what God wants me to do and me actually doing it
  • My Christmas cactus blooming in March!!
  • Quiet moment in the morning before getting out of bed; listening to the wind or the birds; asking God to guide me today
  • Planning a visit to see far away friends
  • Sunshine on any given day!!!!!!!!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Crime scene investigation and teaching

Slice of Life #17
So, what do crime scene investigators and teachers have in common?
Nothing at first glance. After all I have never worked in a school where we had murder, or any other major crime. We have never needed "major crime squad" at our school.
So, what do crime shows on TV have that I would like to have also?
Just think, the pencil that flew across the classroom when you turned your back to write a word on the board. Who threw it? Nobody is admitting. I start imagining the fingerprint scanners and the steam boxes I have seen in CSI shows. I would like to put the pencil in the steam box, get the fingerprint and send the student who threw it to the office. Or maybe a secret recording device linked directly to my smartboard (it is called a smartboard after all).
How about the papers that look very much alike? Who actually wrote the first one? Couldn't I have one of those tracing gadgets that track when that paper was first written?
What bout bullying? Couldn't we have secret audio recording devices installed in multiple locations, and then match the voices with the database that schools would keep of every student? No, I guess we can't. I am not sure I would even want to. I think all this technology would just increase teachers' workload. But, I have to admit that it is fun to think about these gadgets and what role they could play in schools.
I believe that I will stick to talking with my students, using old fashioned techniques determining the cheaters--when necessary. After all, I believe that deep down all my students want to do their own work all the time. So, I guess I will just watch the crime shows on TV and NOT bring their influence into my classroom.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Parent Teacher Conference and Tornadoes

Slice of Life #16
I am sitting at my designated table. I am waiting for my next parent to come while watching the other teachers' tables and which parents they are talking to. On Wednesday the sun was starting to bother me, but on Thursday that was not the case. Instead I was watching the sky get dark a lot earlier. Suddenly there is a lot of commotion at one corner of the gym.
"Excuse me the interruption, there is a tornado watch being issued over our area. No need to panic, we will keep you posted."
Well, that was interesting. This might have been a great time to send everyone home (I am thinking afterwards). Not too many minutes later, here comes the next announcement:
"Excuse me, but the tornado watch has now become tornado warning. We ask that everyone sit down along the gym wall, and stay calm. We will keep you posted on further developments."
A few minutes later.
" Please stay calm. A tornado has touched down just west of us. Please stay seated against the walls. We don't want anyone to leave at this time. This is the safest place to be right now."
Definitely not something that you expect to happen in the middle of talking with parents. But everyone was really calm and waited patiently until it was safe to leave. We actually ended up staying an hour longer than we were supposed as it was not safe to leave before that.
So what did I do while waiting?
I had the chance to talk with other teachers that I usually only talk with at meetings. I had the chance to observe students and their responses to possibly frightening situation. I became a little envious of those who had iPads or iPhones. Those with one were able to follow weather radar and check both school and home locations. I really want one now. When it was safe to leave, everyone was concerned about others and making sure both colleagues and students and parents  were okay.
It was good to finally get home last night even though we had no electricity. It was candle light and early night. I definitely counted my blessings!!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

I was late because.....

Slice of Life #15

R, why were you late  this morning?
-It was really cold and icy and my bike kept sliding.
Few days later
R, why are you late again this morning?
-Well, I was coming to school this morning and then I looked up and saw a  really strange cloud. I had to stop and look at it.
Why did that make you late to school?
-The sky was really interesting...

R, why did you not do your math homework?
-I don't know
R, why didn't you turn in your math homework?
-I was late to class and the teacher would not take it any more.
R, do you think you could get to math class on time?
-I don't know. I have to go to my locker to get my math stuff. That's hard.
Could you bring your math stuff to 5th hour, and then go straight to math class/
-I guess, but do I have to?
YES, because you cannot be late to math class everyday.
-OK Ms.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Trials of English Language

Slice of Life #14
In my sheltered high school English class we are reading Romeo and Juliet. Before starting the actual reading, we had a discussion of what love is. One of my students started his paragraph: "Love is butfit." It took me awhile (and a few readings) to get that he meant "love is beautiful."
This reminded me about one of the mistakes that I made when I first came to America. After living in Europe and in Asia, I thought "Body Shop" meant a nice store that sells cosmetics in a mall. I was so surprised when driving around the Midwest, I kept seeing really ugly looking buildings with the sign "body shop." I was really perplexed! Why would anyone want to shop for sweet smelling lotions in a place like that??? I finally had to voice my question out loud. Surprise, surprise! They don't sell lotions at "that kind of body shop!!"

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Who is that obnoxious American?

Slice of Life #13
Who is that obnoxious American?
That was my first thought when I met Tom. We were in Taipei, Taiwan. He was asking my American teammates some information. He barely gave me a glance. I was totally okay with that.
A few months went by. Tom started hanging out with my friends. He started looking  more handsome. But he was still American (needless to say I wasn't). Few more months went by. Then suddenly Tom asked if I would  have dinner with him on his birthday. I didn't know what to do!!!! I did end up saying yes......
A few more months later I arrived in America for the first time. Met my future in-laws. But decided that I wanted to get married back home (no, not Taipei). By now Tom had started to look less and less as the obnoxious American that I had met in Taipei. He was sweet, caring, loving, and full of life! I think he knew that his time on this earth would not be that long. But he left a sweet baby for me to care and love when he left. That sweet baby is now a sweet college student who looks so much like her dad. And there is nothing obnoxious about her!!!!!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Buying Jeans=working overtime

Slice of Life #12

I hate buying jeans!!
I am actually not a fan of buying clothes at all. If we were talking about books, my opinion would be totally different. But back to the jeans: we have spirit week at school and teachers can actually wear jeans. My jeans, however, are looking so baggy that I am not sure if I can walk out of the house wearing them anymore. The jeans being baggy, is not exactly a problem, after all, losing a few pounds is a reason to celebrate--if it weren't for the fact that you have to try so many jeans before you can find a pair that I like.
Today's jean shopping made history!!! I went to Lane Bryant (because I had a coupon). I wanted wide leg trouser jeans (you know, to cover by not so great knees). The wonderful sales clerk at the store found two pairs of jeans for me to try. I was very suspicious. I put on the first pair of jeans. THEY FIT!!!!!!!!!
I looked at myself in the mirror, this way and that way. I even asked the sales clerk what she thought. Her reply was very surprising, "do you think you would want to try the smaller size?" I didn't quite believe what she was saying, so I had her repeat her thought.
Smaller size??? Two sizes smaller? How could I say, no?? Back to the fitting room I went. Pulled up the jeans, and voila, they fit!!!! I was done shopping! Took my coupon, jeans, and went to pay. I am SOOOO happy!!! New pair of jeans (two sizes smaller), and I get to wear them to school this week! I think this week can only get better!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Leap of My Teaching

Slice of Life #11

At church our pastors have lead us in a sermon series called “Leap of Faith”. Today I thought I would write a post that deals with “Leap of Faith” in my teaching.
I have been teaching about 15 years; Most of the time English Language Learners. I teach both ESL and Sheltered English classes. This means that every year is different. Some years all my students have come from different countries and speak different languages, and other years my students all speak the same native language. 
So, what has been my “Leap of Faith” in teaching? This year I decided that I needed a website for my students. (Yes, I tried it one previous year, but…) I chose to create a WIKI because it is easy (I have no official technology background). My second “Leap of Faith” has nothing to do with technology; I created guided reading groups for our Adventures of Huckleberry Finn unit. My third “Leap of Faith” includes online quizzes. I found and used it during our Huck Finn unit. I created pre-quizzes that students would take online before the actual quizzes in class. The students that did the online quizzes first, did better on the in class quizzes.
What is  my next "Leap of Faith" in teaching going to be? I am reading Kelly Gallaghers' book "Write Like This" which has given me many ideas about writing, and how I could change the way I teach writing. (Check my bookshelf to see the book.) I also have some plans for our Romeo and Juliet unit that we started on Thursday. And let's not forget, I started a blog!!!
I am convinced that I do not want to become one of those teachers who always teaches the same thing in the same way. I WANT TO take a "Leap of Faith" and see if I can find better ways to help my students learn English and English literature.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

I Believe.....

Slice of Life #10
I believe in freedom. Freedom to practice my faith, share it with others or keep it a secret.
I believe in my students. They are all capable of doing great things; some of them just haven't come to that realization as of yet.
I believe in dreams. I dream about the places that I want to visit. I dream about my life in the future. I believe dreams bring me joy and hope.
I believe in working hard. Let's be clear, I don't believe in working all the time or being a workaholic, but I believe that you have to work hard to reach your goals.
I believe in rewards!I believe that when you work hard, you should also enjoy life! Read that fun book--even if it makes yo lose an hour of sleep. Treat yourself to a nice cup of coffee--just not everyday. After all,  you don't want to waste your hard earned money!
I believe in the power of prayer! I believe that prayer can change people and the world.
I believe in music. It has the power to encourage, heal, calm, and to bring joy.
I believe in memories. I have lost many dear people, but the memories that we shared still bring joy when I think about them.
I believe in friends and friendships. Friends are the ones that bring me joy, call me, post a funny message, or just come over with coffee.
I believe in sharing. I believe that there is a blessing in sharing with others what I have. It might mean collecting binders for my students, paying for a friend's breakfast, volunteering my time, inviting someone for a meal, or just sharing a moment and lending a listening ear.
I believe 
You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains;
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas;
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders;
You raise me up…….To more than I can be.
                             Sang by Josh Groban

Friday, March 9, 2012

Comments heard at a basketball game....

Slice of Life #9

Blow the whistle already!
Can't you count?
Shh! Be quiet! We only cheer for our team!
Defense! Defense! Defense!
What was that for?
Let's go Central, let's go!
Can't you see he's open? Pass the ball!
Where is the restroom?
What happened?
Can I have some popcorn?
What's wrong with the ref?
Are these bleachers smaller than usual?
What are they shouting?
Look, he's open! Shoot!!
This is nerve-cracking!
No way!
Are we district champions now?
Picture time......

Thursday, March 8, 2012

My Pen Case

Slice of Life #8
As long as I can remember I have always carried a pen case with me. First it was required at elementary school, and then I fell in love with pens. Actually I fell in love with anything that writes. I remember going to the store with my mother and instead of asking for candy, I would ask for a pen. Soon I had to carry those pens with me. I had my childish pen/pencil cases, but then I found Marimekko purses or eyeglass cases that we perfect for my collection of pens and pencils.

Through the years I have had many Marimekko purses  like this blue one. The colors and patterns change with what is available as do my pens and pencils inside. This reminds me that I just might be due for a new one.
Marimekko purses are not always as easily available where I live, so I have found another pen case that also works for me: Jonathan Adler's Pencil Pouch from Barnes and Noble. The advantage with this one is that you can wipe it clean very easily.

So, what do I always have inside the pen case? 0.3 mechanical pencil. 0.5 mechanical pencil. Different colors fine or extra fine pens/markers, ruler, eraser, blue, purple and black fine point pen, nail file, nail clipper and flash drive. These old faithfuls have traveled with me from one continent to the next. I don't think I have ever even checked them in with my luggage, but always carried them with me. You know, I just might need many different pens during my flight.
All my students know that the pen case on my desk is NOT for them! There are always many other pens and pencils around my class, but the pens and pencils in my case are JUST for ME!
At home, my case is ALL mine! I use a particular pen to write in my paper journal, a different one to write a shopping list, special marker to write notes, acid free for photo albums and special situations, and a particular permanent marker to make sure that certain words are forever!
What about you, what is your favorite pen or pencil?

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Slice of Life #7: Basketball and Little Bit about Jeremy Lin

I just came back from my high school boys first district game. It was exciting! In the beginning future for our boys did not look that great, but as the game got older our boys got better. The end result: we play again on Friday night!
A couple of weeks ago I had assigned an article for my high class about Jeremy Lin and his rise to fame in the NBA. One of my boys struggled with writing the reflection and questioned why does he need to learn about Jeremy Lin when he is not even interested in basketball. As we continued our discussion, we bot agreed that if there would suddenly be a famous NBA player from his home country, my student and everyone in his family would watch the game regardless of whether they liked basketball or not. It is little bit like that for me; I go to the games to show support for our school. Yes, I like basketball, but I don't love it.
But I do like people watching at the games. I find some  new personalities at the games every time. You know the quiet people who suddenly cannot control their verbal expressions? The creative language that you can hear at the games. And then there are the younger siblings who come to support their brothers, but end up being more excited about the snacks or the handheld video games that they brought with them. I should not forget some of my old students either. They come and say hello or shake my hand. They ask how I am, and if I have good students this year. I also get to ask about their life and what they are up to right now. Rewarding experience! Who knows, maybe I have watched the next Jeremy Lin play this week!
Next game is in a couple of days. I will be there again. Perhaps I will even learn a new rule, or I will finally understand one of the hand signals the refs use....

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Slice of Life #6: Tuesday Quietness

My ususal Tuesday routine is: get up early, go to work, tutor after school 1-2.5 hours, eat dinner on the run, go to small group, go home, maybe catch NCIS: Los Angeles (or fall asleep before the show is over).
Today is turning out to be a little different; Yes, I still went to work today. I was "priviledged" to proctor a standardized test for high school students. Need I say more??? But then at the end of the day, I got to work with 4th grade students! I absolutely loved it! Their take on life is so different from my high schoolers. And, by the way, it is now sunny, and I can feel the warmer weather coming! To my surprise, no students came to tutoring! Maybe they are also enjoying the beautiful weather. Or testing took a toll on them as well.
So, I am now pondering this quietness in my room....Definitely had to turn on some music. As I write this, I am planning my surprise free time this afternoon. Maybe some bookstore browsing, visiting a craft or fabric store, maybe even Pier1. I might even go and have some pancakes for dinner on my way to small group.
I guess I better clean my desk, get ready for tomorrow and leave to enjoy the sunshine.
If you are feeling the sunshine today, go and enjoy it!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Slice of Life #5: Today I.....

Today I woke up early. Had healthy cereal for breakfast, and took left over pizza for my lunch. Oh, forgot, I did include a banana and yogurt (you know, to keep the healthy habit going).
Today I realized how many things I have to accomplish before I am ready for tomorrow. Grading, tax preparation, call  parents, e-mail parents, remind my students that they have statewide exams tomorrow, so they should get enough  sleep tonight and not forget to come to school on time tomorrow morning.
Today I imagined my life with students who all do all their homework every time. I imagined teaching students who score way above the state average in standardized tests. I imagined teaching classical literature with students who are engaged and full of enthusiasm during every minute of every class.
Today I  also realized that despite my students occasional crazy antics, I love my students! Even when they e-mail me  questions that are so full of spelling mistakes that I have a hard time figuring out what they are really asking me.
Today I realized that I have wonderful people in my life.The friends who send Facebook messages across the oceans. You know the friends who remind you that I could have as much snow as they do. I don't think that these overseas friends realized that so much snow would definitely mean a snow day for me!!!!! And let's not forget those students who give me some of my gray hairs, but at the same time enrich my life in countless ways.
Today I  learned to say thank you for students, friends, weather, colleagues, children, relatives, mechanical pencils, library DVDs, and countless other things!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Slice of Life #4: Serving others

What does serving others mean to you?
I was at church this morning and listening to our pastor talk about giving to others--even those that you might not know that well. It made me thing..... I help my family, I help and work overtime with my students, I might even pick a fallen item on aisle at the supermarket and place it back on the self, but how often do I really reach out to those that I don't really know? Probably not very often.
As our pastor challenged us to find "our six" to pray for and to bless during the time of lent, I had to think. But wait, it actually wasn't as hard as I was thinking: there is an employee at my school who is having a hard time, and I know she could really use a blessing right now. There is another teacher who is always willing give a Diet Coke when the day calls for that. What about the specialist that often drops a small bag of homemade cookies on my desk on the days that she is at my school?
So, what am I going to do? I just came home after a trip to two grocery stores. It was Diet Pepsi for a couple of teachers and Diet Coke for a couple of others. There are some snacks for our next meeting and a surprise snack bag for one very special person at school. I might not eat lunch with these colleagues, or hang out with them after school, but I can definitely pray a blessing for them and surprise them with a few munchies in the coming weeks. After all, we all have the same goal; reach our students, help them succeed (and improve test scores across the board).
If you, my fellow blogger, happen to read this, may  you be blessed with the words of this Irish blessing:

May God give you….

For every storm, a rainbow,
For every tear, a smile,
For every care, a promise,
And a blessing in each trial.
For every problem life sends,
A faithful friend to share,
For every sigh, a sweet song,
And an answer for each prayer.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Slice of Life #3: Weekend lesson learned from dad

Slice of Life #3

Saturday morning means a great cup of coffee and a novel to relax with. No alarm clocks. Little morning television. Some family conversation. Another cup of coffee. Little later finally getting to breakfast. Planning the day: getting to see my extended family. Nieces, nephew, great-niece and great-nephew.  Lunch at Ikea with fun people. Maybe even little shopping. Definitely not a bad start for weekend.
But what about some of the past weekends? I was reading a post about grandfather this morning, and it reminded me about my family members that have passed. It reminded me about my father who always used to read the newspaper on the kitchen counter each morning. When I was really young, I would sit on his lap and just enjoy being with him. Little later, I would share the newspaper with him. He would read the real news, and I would read the comics. After he passed away, it would be my mother who would read the newspaper first, and then I would read it later in the morning.
I believe that these experiences with the newspaper have shaped my life. I still love reading the news. Now it is mostly on the Internet. I even assign weekly articles (learned from Kelly Gallagher) to my students. So, in my class, we regularly discuss current events, reflect on world events, analyze how past events would be different with today's technological advances, and make predictions about events that could happen in the near future based on what we know about the past.
I don't think that my father had any idea what he started by holding me on his lap while he was reading the newspaper. Thank you dad!!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Slice of Life #2

Slice of Life #2
This week has been great! I accomplished many of the things that I wanted to accomplish. This does not happen every week, at least not for me.   Even my students were showcasing their brilliance this week. Many of them  had their "bazinga" moments (you know the word that Sheldon uses in The Big Bang Theory) this week.

I also had my birthday this week, and my wonderful (at least sometimes) high school students brought me a surprise cake and presents!!!!!! One student even wrote me a poem--you know the student who never wants to write anything. Another student wrote a letter, and one day, everyone turned in their homework!!!! Like I said, this was a great week!  Now my expectations of the weekend definitely high!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Slice of Life #1

Slice of Life  #1

It is Thursday. That means that I will leave work and go to volunteer at our library friends' bookstore! I check my section and add new books that have arrived since last Thursday. After that I settle down to observe my customers.
This is my favorite part: I get to observe people, visit with the regulars, and check out books that people buy. Sometimes I wonder what the costumers are really like based on their book choices? There is the man who comes looking for travel books just because he likes them. Then there are those who are going on a vacation and want a cheap book to take with them; easy reading is usually their choice. The children are often unpredictable--they might be extremely excited to find a book or they might be ready to leave just when mom is getting to check out the romance section.
Then there is the regular customer who never forgets to ask how was my day at school! And best of all, I get to spend time with a friend. We get to talk about books, life, and of course, fun things that my students say!