Thursday, March 31, 2011

Weeping inside

Today this flyer went home to all 721 students at my school.  I don't know whether to laugh or cry.  And I wonder why they are having trouble with capital letters, apostrophes, and punctuation.
At least it wasn't typed in Comic Sans too.

In other news, Rachel Ray needs commas too.  Thanks Mollie and Jon!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


Spring is officially here!  It took a slight detour since it is currently 46 degrees out, but the flowers have arrived.  And have they arrived!  Daffodils, forsythia, and lots and LOTS of cherry blossoms.  I LOVE spring even if my sinuses do not.

Spring is a time a rebirth, a time to start fresh.  I don't know why we make New Years Resolutions in January.  Everything is dead and you want to curl up in a ball and stay there until spring.  Maybe we are trying to combat hibernation and slothiness?  Now that spring is here, I want to LIVE.  I want to be outside, I want to be social, I want to smile at everything.

Here are some photos from a beautiful (though nippy) day at the Tidal Basin in DC.

Our God is not dead.  He's alive.  HE'S ALIVE!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Doing a happy dance

It's the end of the month.  That glorious time in which we stretch the budget, try not to get a speeding ticket, buy a car (hah), pay your bills, and we eagerly await our next paycheck.  For teachers at my school, it is also the time we give running records.  I will spend many hours in the next couple of weeks making little check marks and notations about each of my students' current reading levels as they read aloud to me.

One of my first grade students "Ricardo" began the year as a Level 1 student.  He spoke in single words or small phrases and was painfully shy.  We have worked and worked on sight words (go, the, at, he, she, went) and he has practiced reading with his dad each night.  Each month I dreaded administering the running record because the progress was meager and his frustration great.

This month something changed.  The light bulb went on.  Ricardo is still shy, but he speaks freely with his classmates and even asks me questions when he doesn't understand something.  I was nervous and excited to see his progress.  At last check Ricardo was BARELY a Level C.  That was being kind.  Today he ACED the C and D book, putting him two levels higher!  I was so excited to hear him read accurately and with confidence.  He even answered the questions in almost complete sentences.  I wanted to cry.  I wanted to give him a bear hug, but I refrained.  Instead Ricardo got three high fives in row.  I hope he got the message.

God acts the same way with us.

He will take great delight in you;
   in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
   but will rejoice over you with singing.
Zephaniah 3:17 (emphasis added)

How cool that God delights in us and sings because he is rejoicing over us.  I bet God has a great bass voice.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Please, don't hold back

Today I had the honor (i.e. volun-told) of presenting a lesson with a co-teacher in fourth grade.  I do this every day and it goes quite smoothly.  However today was a training day which meant that ALL of the fourth grade team, special ed. teacher, reading specialist, reading trainer, Justin Bieber, Harry Potter, and Barack Obama were in on the fun in the back of the room.  25 4th graders don't intimidate me in the least.  I make silly mistakes all the time and not a one of us cares.  But it is a little different to be standing up in front of 9 of your peers.

My co-teacher and I tacked up all of our posters and got ready to start the lesson.  The room was nice and quiet.  Then one of the fourth grade boys on the front row announced to the whole class, "I think Ms. Ames is nervous.  She's smiling a whole lot."

Why yes buddy.  Thanks for pointing that out.  It did break the ice, but I am endlessly entertained by what these guys perceive.  Nothing escapes them!

I have decided there is a Pearls comic for every situation in life.  Thanks, Cristy for introducing me.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Oh, MUCH better

The scene: 1st grade.  (The best stories take place there).  Silent independent reading time.  Silent, except that 1st graders cannot read silently.  They have to read aloud to themselves.  We just try to stress the QUIET part.

Out of the murmurs comes a shout, "That SUCKS!"  A hush falls over the classroom.  My co-teacher calls the offender over to a corner to discuss the outburst.  His defense?  "I didn't say 'That sucks.'  I said, 'That's sexy.'"

Fantastic.  Great cover up.  Or not.

And now:  A Pearls Before Swine excuse.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Your purpose

And let it be observed, as thus is the end, so it is the whole and sole end, for which every man upon the face of the earth, for which every one of you, were brought into the world, and endued with a living soul. Remember! You were born for nothing else. You live for nothing else. Your life is continued to you upon earth, for no other purpose than this, that you may know, love, and serve God on earth, and enjoy him to all eternity. 

Consider! You were not created to please your senses, to gratify your imagination, to gain money, or the praise of men; to seek happiness in any created good, in anything under the sun. All this is "walking in a vain shadow;" it is leading a restless, miserable life, in order to a miserable eternity. On the contrary, you were created for this, and for no other purpose, by seeking and finding happiness in God on earth, to secure the glory of God in heaven. 

Therefore, let your heart continually say, "This one thing I do," -- having one thing in view, remembering why I was born, and why I am continued in life, -- "I press on to the mark." I aim at the one end of my being, God; even at "God in Christ reconciling the world to himself." He shall be my God for ever and ever, and my guide even unto death!

John Wesley