11/25/09

Thanksgiving Eve

For Thanksgiving this year we are in Grand Island. Tonight we had some downtime, so we headed to the only place in GI that is open past 9 that has free wi-fi...Perkins! So, here I sit...drinking stale de-caf. coffee in a booth that looks like it is straight from a crappy 80s movie--all for the sake of blogging :)

Today during our usual Journaling time I asked my students to make a list of things they were thankful for. The responses were great :) So great in fact, that it has prompted me to make my own list:

-Salvation/grace: I am eternally thankful that Jesus suffered unimaginable pain and suffering in order to free us of our sins. I am aware that I am a flawed person (shocker, I know ;)--so I am appreciative of His unending grace.
-My husband: This man is extremely patient, caring, understanding, and loving--even when I'm the most difficult person to be around.
-Family and friends: These people mean the world to me--I am blessed to have so many loving and caring people in my life.
-Education: Eh...Knowledge is power :) Really though, my education has helped shape me into the teacher and person I am today. It may sound bizzare, but I feel like I am a better person when I'm taking classes.
-My students/my job: Though I may come home and gripe about work, I love what I do. My students are sweet and hillarious and so many of them brighten my day. I truly look forward to spending each day with them. I love being able to interact with kids and teach a subject I am so passionate about--I feel like I don't deserve such a fabulous job.

I encourage you to take some time to reflect on what you are thankful for this year. Hope everyone has a blessed and safe holiday!

11/23/09

Settling down

For my Place Conscious Teaching class we are required to submit a teaching unit that incorporates place consciousness--I have been putting off the unit all semester. The idea of teaching students in a way so they come to appreciate the place we live is a bit scary for me becuase I am a fairly nomadic person--in the words of John Steinbeck in Travels with Charley “….once a bum always a bum. I fear the disease is incurable.”

I am by no means a bum, but I do get a two-year itch. In the past six years I have lived in four different places. Since beginning my adult life, I really haven’t lived in a place long enough to put down roots. Sometimes I want to settle down, but just as soon as that thought crosses my mind I start to get the itch. It starts as a simple longing for other places and eventually transforms into full-blown discontent. Usually I can’t stay in that original place for more than six months after discontent takes its hold. Thus, the four moves in six years.

We've lived in Ogallala for about a year and a half now and I fear that I may soon get that itch. It's not that I don't enjoy it here...I really do. I love my job, I love that it only takes me five minutes to get anywhere in town, I love the hills that surround us, I love the lake...I could go on and on. I just fear that my nomadic personality will take hold of me.

Last week I finally mustered up the energy and worked on the unit late Friday night and into Saturday morning. When we come back from Christmas break, students will be taking photographs of their favorite places in town, writing poetry or personal narrative essays, and then will create displays of their work to place in storefront windows. I'm going to try to set aside time so I can do this alongside my kiddos.. I'm hoping that as students begin to develop a sense of place here I will as well.

11/18/09

Doing what he does best...

I haven't blogged for awhile, because the end of October to about January (actually--until about March when speech season ends!) is our craziest time of the year. In the past few weeks Nate has had a high school concert, a middle school concert, was the clinician at a festival choir of 150 middle school kiddos in Julesburg, Colorado. This month he has the Nebraska Music Educators Conference and the All-State Choir--he has 5 kids who made it this year! That is more than the school has had since the 90s! January brings him many honor choirs all over the state. Although it's a crazy time, I LOVE every minute of going to all of these concerts. Nate is an excellent teacher who truly has a passion for music--you can see this in him as he conducts. It's really refreshing to watch him do what he does best.

Members of the OHS Chamber Chorale

Nate directing all of his middle school students...seriously--look how relaxed he is! Who can be that relaxed around that many hormones?!?!

Nate directing 150 middle school kids in Julesburg, Colorado

11/8/09

Slam poetry

video

I found this video on my friend Katrina's facebook page (she also teaches high school English)...it is a high school student competing in a poetry slam contest. In my own words, slam poetry is not your typical poetry performance. It is an in-your-face type of experience where poets perform their poetry in hopes of getting a reaction from the crowd. Typically the people who judge these competitions are not experienced with poetry...usually, random people are picked from the crowd to judge the poets using a numerical scale. Anyway, this video blew my mind. I can't believe a high school student wrote this! I am looking forward to showing it to my students this week, hopefully it will spark great discussion :)

11/4/09

Little things

During my plan period today I walked into the office and was greeted by one of the custodians who was putting together a new desk chair.

"You owe me for this" he muttered.

"Owe you for what? That's not my chair...I didn't order one," I replied.

From behind the secretary's desk I heard a giggle and then she said, "Your husband's looking out for you!" Apparently a few weeks ago he had gone into the office to order a new one for me....what a nice gesture :)

It seems like such a lame thing to be excited about, but my old chair really was undesirable. The arm rests were at two different heights, the back was so flat that I had to put a pillow on the chair so I could sit comfortably, and the lovely maroon cotton fabric always rubbed off onto my black dress pants. I had thought about ordering a new chair, but since it was my first year I didn't want to make a fuss out of it.

This really did make my day...it proves to me that the little things in life can really have quite an impact....thanks for looking out for me, Nate!

October snow

So this October we've already had two major snow storms out here. The first one was the weekend that Nate hosted All State auditions and we received a hefty 17 inches. Last Thursday night we got about 10 inches which was enough to have a snow day the next day! Luckily, Sampson loves the snow--he spent about an hour running (or hopping) around :)

I took this photo of Sampson waiting to come in, notice the snow clumped to his legs...it took forever to get that out of his fur!

This is a video of Sampson catching snowballs :)

video

11/1/09

Pumpkin Carving

Since we have moved out to Ogallala, Nate and I have had a difficult time taking a break from our jobs and allowing ourselves time to relax and invest in other people. This year we have many new, young people in our area so we've tried to make it a point to be social :) It seems so lame, but being social really does boost our morale! So, this weekend we put school work and homework aside to hang out with friends.

On Friday night we went over to Scott and Analisa King's house to carve pumpkins with a few other people. I used to teach with Scott last year at PCHS and he and his wife just recently moved to Ogallala. Believe it or not, this was only the second time I've carved a pumpkin! We had a great time hanging out...thanks Scott and Analisa for inviting us!


All of our pumpkins together:


This is a picture of the pumpkin Nate and I tag-teamed:



Scott took all of the pictures you see on this post and has posted several more to a temporary website--click here to view them.