Tuesday, December 25, 2012


Candlelight service
Joy to the World sang with real joy
presents given and received
Rutabaga casserole baked and eaten
--or just tasted by some:-)
Tea with cinnamon and vanilla
coffee with desert trifle
Laughing and enjoying
the company
surrounded by love!
Next year 
might be so different
children moving, growing up
will traditions stay or 
The place to celebrate may change
but the message stays the same:
"Joy to the World, the Lord is come"

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Life's Treasures

I bought a gift card for a needy family;
does this make me a better person?
I hugged somebody at church today
even though I am naturally not a hugging person.
I went to help serve a dinner for the needy;
I even helped feed a man who struggles to eat by himself.
I answered some e-mails;
tried to send words of encouragements.
Then I sat down in my comfy chair, and looked around:
I have stuff--don't we all.
Do I need all the stuff that I have around me?
I gather a few things to take as extra white elephant gifts on Tuesday.
Will I miss those items?
Absolutely NOT!
Why did I then hold onto them so long?
Feeling good?
I really don't  know.
But, what I do know is this:
there is a family at school that need Christmas presents
and I need to buy wrapping paper for their gifts.
I do know that when I listen to President Obama 
share his thought about Sandy Hook,
I need to remember to show love to my students;
I'll never know what words they will actually hear me say.
Hopefully, those words will be the words of
encouragement and  love.
Caring, challenging, and then again
loving, both the small and the big students,
that is my mission today.

Our pastor has challenged us this month to look at how we spend our time and money. He has also made us re-evaluate our possessions for their importance. How do I need to respond? This is my work in process.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Tomorrow is Today


When I was listening to Dr. Pamela Moran's TED Talk (find it here: Dr. Pamela Moran's TED Talk) I started thinking about my life and my teaching in the framework of "Tomorrow is Today."

I had never heard of Dr. Pamela Moran before (maybe I should have...), but she definitely made me think about my teaching and how I do it. These are some of my thoughts as I listened to her:

"No standard solutions to standard problems"
Maybe I am a linear thinker, but I am (almost) always expecting a standard solution or at least a solution that I know about--and have encountered before--to  a problem that I face at school. Dr. Moran's speech challenges me to think more creatively: Is the problem that my student has really a standard problem? If it is not, then the solution cannot be a standard either. In other words, I am being forced to come out of my box to look at both the problem and the solution in a new way. And I am not just talking about my students, but also my teaching, curriculum and its delivery methods.

"Create problem solvers NOT problem makers"
Once again, I am faced with a new challenge: look at my students in a new light. I am basically telling myself not to put my students into a box, where they are forced to make noise, and act out in order to get out of there. Instead, I need to put on my thinking cap and figure out how my lessons can create problem solvers. I believe this is especially important for my mentees (more about this next week). This all takes time. Where do I get it from?

"Today's students are tomorrow's designers"
Dr. Moran talked about the 1960s and the race to the moon. Could I create that kind of designers in my class today? Do I want to? ABSOLUTELY!! But how do I make it happen? How do I need to change my classroom and my teaching to be aware that there are future designers in my class, and I need to foster that creativity in them. I have some ideas....maybe you get to read about them as I work on changing some thing in my classroom.

"Make each day a reflection of tomorrow"
I think this is really hard. Think about the day that everything went wrong in your classroom, and in addition, the phone never stopped ringing. How do you redeem that day and make it a reflection of tomorrow? Wait a minute, maybe I look at the day as an opportunity to create problem solvers to non-standard problems. Maybe I give students an opportunity to design a plan from their perspective that would change the "disaster day" into a redeemed day. But first, I have to jump over my own learning curve and give students the chance to be the designers and creators.

"How do we make "maker spaces"? Spaces where kids actually create not just consume."
This is hard!!!!!!!!! We live in consumer society where satisfaction is almost instant, and if it isn't, people complain. How do I create a classroom (even the furniture placement) that encourages these maker spaces where students can be creative? Do I need to do all the changing or should I also involve my students in the choice making? After all, my classroom has to function for everyone K-12 graders. What about supplies? Can I do this with really no budget?

I have ideas, but at this point I also have more questions. What about you? Do you have ideas that have worked in your classroom? Please share your ideas, and let's CREATE creative learners for tomorrow together today!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Multicultural Baby Shower

This past Saturday I had the joy of attending a baby shower for one of my Indian friends. But what was even more fun was how international it was.
We had people from four different continents attending the shower. There were even more languages spoken.

One of the interesting moments came when a man from India (yes, both females and males were present at the shower) came to tell me that he had lived in Sweden. Somehow another man heard us talking and came over speaking Swedish! He was not even from Sweden, but from Africa! I was trying really hard to recall any Swedish, but unfortunately, none came to my mind--except: Va heter dej? (=What is your name?) So sad when years of language learning disappear from lack of practice.

Nevertheless, what a fun way to spend time on Saturday afternoon!