Why I Teach...

This year I am teaching 4 Practical English courses for struggling learners. My freshmen and sophomore class have been studying the 6 Traits of Writing and we have just recently finished the trait of Word Choice. So, the two classes have been working on creating their own children's books for the past few weeks as a final project to assess their comprehension. We ended the unit by visiting the 1st grade classes at our town's elementary school. The "big kids" read their stories to groups of "little kids." It was so great to watch! This was a tough project for my students, but they really stepped up to the plate. Some funny instances from the day:

1. We caught one little boy eating chalk.
2. One of my students was reading to a group of girls when they started singing "I like to move it, move it!" from Madagascar, right in the middle of his story (which had nothing to do with Madagascar or the song!).
3. The same young gentlemen finished reading his story to a small group of kids and the kids just kind of sat there...to break the awkward silence he said, "Well, how 'bout a round of applause?!?"
4. I had one student who was kind of uncomfortable with the kids, he didn't quite know what to think. As he read his story about Batman and Spiderman, the kids kept shouting, "What happens to the Joker?!?" The student politely said, "The Joker's not in this story." They continued shouting about the Joker when he finally laid down the law. Exasparated with these little kids he said, "This is my story. The Joker is NOT in my story!" The kids just looked at him like he was absolutely off his rocker.

Anyway...it was a great day. Both the "big kids" and the "little kids" enjoyed the time...my big kids really amazed me today...one of my sophomores told me today that this made him want to be an elementary school teacher :) It is days like this that remind me why I teach....though it is difficult at times, it is definitely a rewarding career.



Last semester I attended a New Teacher Workshop Series at ESU 16. If we attended all of them, the ESU gave us a sub for two days so we can observe area teachers. So, today I drove to Thedford, Nebraska to observe a Language Arts teacher (Jane) at Thedford-Sandhills High School/Junior High. One of the staff developers at the ESU recommended that I visit Jane's classroom and I am so glad I did! She is a great teacher who is balancing quite the load. She is teaching 7-12 English, is the yearbook advisor, and is coaching speech. She has also played a huge part in implementing a school-wide reading intervention program called FAME. She also has a family and drives nearly 40 miles one way, everyday, to work! This woman was truly inspiring to me!

Thedford is 2 hours Northeast of Ogallala and is in Central Time, so it really was quite the trek. To put it into perspective, Thedford is only 45 min. from Valentine, Nebraska and is only 15 minutes from Halsey (another Nebraska gem). However, the scene was breathtaking. I wish I could say that I took these photos...I did not. Unfortunately, I didn't have my camera with me. These photos are pulled from the internet, but they are all things I saw today. It was even more gorgeous because there was a thin layer of white snow covering the Sandhills. Nebraska is truly an underappreciated state. Moving out west has really opened my eyes to the hidden wonders of Nebraska.

The drive up and back was so relaxing. It reminded me of how much I love driving :) I was able to listen to some great music, think without interruption, and spend some good time in prayer. It is so hard to take time to do all of these things in "normal" life...but today made me realize how important it is to make time for these.

Anyway...time to get ready for bed :) Enjoy the photos!



Our local movie theater and our church sponsored a free showing of the movie Fireproof today. Friends of ours (Hannah and Shaun) saw the movie a few weeks ago and spoke very highly of it. So, we decided to give it a try...and I am so glad we went to it. I went spoil the movie for anyone, but it is a great testament as to why we need God in our marriages and what happens when we let Him in. There are even several books, devotionals, and study guides to help apply what this movie teaches. If you are looking for a great, family-friendly movie...I suggest you check this one out. I give it 2 thumbs up!


In The Spirit of Valentine's Day...

As I was driving to school this morning I was listening My Bridge Radio...the Christian station in our area. They advertised this little thing they were doing to celebrate couples who have been married 5 years or less. They asked for couples to share stories about what God is doing in the lives of couples across Nebraska...so, when I got to school this morning I figured I would type something up to submit. I thought it would be a nice way to start my day...to think about what God has done in our marriage so far. Anyway...this is what I came up with:

My husband and I married young...I was 20 and he was 23. He was in his first year of teaching and I was a junior in college...needless to say, our first two years were very hard. Thankfully, we began our marriage with a strong (yet young) faith in Christ. Divorce runs rampant in my family and without our foundation in God, I don't know if we would have made it to where we are today.

Marriage is tough...especially those first few years. Throughout our nearly 3 years of marriage, God has really taught us what it means to love unconditionally...an "agape" love. He has taught us to speak the truth in love, to be trusting, and most of all to be reliant on Him. I have seen my husband grow into a beautiful man of God who I know without a shadow of a doubt will be with me until God calls us home.



It is that time of year again....parent teacher conferences :) It is hard to believe that the 3rd quarter is almost over. Our quarter ends on March 11....it is fast approaching!

As most of you know, this year has been trying. I am teaching quite a few classes, coaching speech (which requires after school practice, before school practice, practice during my plan periods, waking up at 4:00 on Saturday mornings in order to ride a bus for an hour or so into Central Time Zone and then not returning until 5:30 that night), taking a 3 credit grad. class on Tuesday nights from 5-9, and Nate and I are trying to get more involved with our church. Busy!

Despite this crazy (and at times...seemingly unbearable!) schedule, I wouldn't trade it for the world. I have learned so much about teaching, time management, etc. I am also learning to be more patient....notice that the verb "learning" is in present tense...not past tense. Thus indicating that learning is an ongoing action...not an action that has been mastered in the past :) Ok, enough English talk for now! My busy schedule along with various other things, have taught me to be patient...to be calm and know that God is in control. Of course, I tend to forget this...luckily I have a great husband who is always ready to remind me :)

Well...I should sign off....parents are starting to fill the gym and lesson planning is beckoning me :) Hope everyone is doing well!



25 Things About Me

So, coming up with a list of 25 things about yourself is a trend on facebook right now...here is what I came up with:

1. My faith is the most important thing to me, though I am not perfect.
2. Nearly 3 years ago I married the most beautiful person...we grow closer to each other every day.
3. I find my husband most attractive when he is reading the Bible, worshiping God, or helping out with something at church.
4. I have the CUTEST dog ever....I love that he is always so happy to see me when I come home.
5. I have a strong desire to be a mother and am excited for when that beautiful day comes.
6. I am very impatient and am a perfectionist...a lethal combination.
7. I think a lot....sometimes more than I should.
8. I went through many "phases" in high school....this was usually portrayed through my numerous weird hairstyles.
9. I love to sing and play guitar, but never do it enough.
10. I am always looking towards the future and never do enough living in the moment. In high school I dreamed of being married by 20 (which happened) and having kids by 21 (still waiting on that one :). My freshmen year of college I used to doodle the Death Cab for Cutie lyric "Old age is just around the bend, and I can't wait to go gray" all over my notebooks and notes. Little did I know I would actually acquire my first gray hair at the age of 20 and have to start highlighting my hair at the age of 22 because I had so many gray hairs...
11. I've always dreamed of traveling across the country, stopping here and there to work odd jobs whenever I ran out of money....and that is why "Travels With Charley" is one of my favorite books.
12. I am a dreamer...hence #10 and 11. I've also dreamed of writing for a newspaper, marrying a music teacher (no joke!), publishing my own poetry book, owning a coffee/music/book shop, living in a big city (Minneapolis, Portland, Seattle) and starting my own healthy restaurant like Maggie's Vegetarian Wraps in Lincoln.
13. My family is amazing...I didn't realize this until after high school. And my in-laws are just as great.
14. I used to have reoccurring nightmares when I was a kid...they are too horrific to mention.
15. I get chronic bloody noses.
16. My close friends are like my family.
17. On Thursday nights I usually refuse to do anything but watch TV all night.
18. I love coffee...even more than that, I really love going to coffee shops to drink coffee and work...I find it very relaxing.
19. I am a health fiend...most times :) I enjoy cooking healthy foods, baking healthy things, calorie counting, grocery shopping for healthy food, reading Health magazine, etc. BUT....I do keep three bags of candy in the filing cabinet closest to my desk....Kit-Kats, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, Dumb-Dumbs, Tootie-Frooties, Candy Canes, etc.
20. I love lesson planning...I really want to pursue a Masters in Curriculum and Instruction eventually moving onto being a Curriculum Coordinator, or working for an ESU.
21. I teach English but am AWFUL at grammar and spelling...literature and writing are my strong points.
22. I have had several poems published, and several more turned down :)
23. I am really enjoying living in a small town...I never thought I would say that :)
24. I am very indecisive. I "almost" went to 4 or 5 different colleges, attended 2 different colleges, had 5 different majors in college, "almost" studied abroad, etc.
25. When I was in high school I used to sing and play the guitar in random spots around town with my case open, hoping that people would throw me money (they usually did!). I also played at a coffee shop in Norfolk a few times for a small crowd...that is the extent of my troubadour career :)


Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

I am always looking for new ways to reduce, reuse, and recycle. A few months ago I was watching a Good Morning America type show and they had this interesting segment on cleaning your home with eco-friendly products. They had some great, create-it-yourself household cleaners. But one that really caught my eye was recycling used fabric softener dryer sheets by using them to dust your home. They also work great on the Swiffer sweepers. Since that morning, I have been using them to dust. I have started the habit of dusting after I remove clothes from the dryer that way I don't have to save the old dryer sheets...this saves me money by keeping me from buying expensive cans of Pledge, plus those fumes can sometimes be hazardous to your health if breathed in too much. Win-win situation :)