* My world of thankfulness

It’s been FOREVER since I blogged and I have a lot to share! Here’s my post for Ten Things of Thankful.

My dearest teaching widower (DTW) and I are now grandparents. Our son and his wife are amazing parents already! The Babe is adorable as well as a great hand-and-arm warmer as we trek through the end of winter. Poor DTW may be renamed Dearest Grandchild Widower since I rarely give him a chance to hold her. I’m sure all of this counts as a bunch of thankful!

I’m always thankful for my family, our church family, the wonderful families I serve, and the sweetest students and former students in the world! I think that’s more than ten things of thankful!

* The child is safe

The kiddos and I savored every moment of The Mandalorian. Of course, our favorite character was The Child. I don’t want to hear that he dies in some silly Star Wars movie. Surely you don’t believe everything in movies is real? We KNOW the child is safe. See? He was tucked away.

Not only that, he objects to the silly name of Grogu. What is Grogu supposed to mean? He knows who he is and we know he’s baby Yoda.

* Voting lines

We voted long before November 3, standing in line for over 1.5 hours. The line stretched as far behind us as it did in front. I appreciated the friendliness and patience of all the folks around us. Poll workers were efficient with everything except exit signs, so I wandered just a bit before finding the right door. Well, duh. I seemed to be the only one who was confused!

* Blast from the past (1)

Halloween wasn’t THAT long ago, but since we’ve had such an election? Oy! It’s hard to remember anything from October. The kiddos had fun trick-or-treating in relative isolation, selecting goodies from tables, bins, and cute clotheslines. Neighbors applauded from a safe distance.

A daisy by any other name….

My grandfather, a coal miner from Yorkshire, used to sing this song to my sister and me:

Daisy, Daisy, Give me your answer, do. I’m half crazy all for the love of you. It won’t be a stylish marriage, ’cause I can’t afford a carriage. But you’ll look sweet upon the seat of a bicycle built for two!

My young brain was imprinted on daisies and they have long been one of my favorite wildflowers. BUT perhaps what I loved was not a daisy! Horrors! As I have roamed the neighborhood, I’ve snapped these photos of delightful ‘daisies.’ My PictureThis app has corrected all my misconceptions. Kind of.

I still think the purple coneflower should be called a white cone flower. And whether or not they’re daisies, I love ’em all!

* Still loving Classkick

Apart from its name, I love Classkick! It’s a really cool app for creating awesome and individualized assignments, monitoring student progress, and communicating effectively while students work. Whoever put this together had a marvelous time anticipating what teachers would need to be effective. Here are some screenshots and explanations of Classkick’s usefulness:

The activity below is uniquely suited for a student with adequate typing skills, poor handwriting, and a need for hands-on activities. You can make any image movable, which allows for flexibility in responses. Text boxes do not edit spelling, so you can easily spot patterns of errors.

You can quickly adapt worksheets or create your own for use on Classkick. I often use PDFs from Education.com for math assignments.

For evaluation purposes and feedback on assignments, you can create tailor-made ‘puzzles’ of interest by hiding responses under any sections of an image (this one is from Roblox). Students search for the hidden phrases and decide which ones will describe their experience.

Classkick also allows simple creation of links. I can direct students to a specific activity, like this one at Math Playground, with required information for logging in. I will also preview skills (in this case, using a number line to depict negative integers).

Evaluating a session is so easy! Students click and drag.

I am still learning new tricks and techniques for improving my Classkick activities. Let me know if you want me to share some of these with you! I do wish the app had a different name….

* Losing my mojo?

Warning: This post contains explicitly dismal thoughts.

Last November, I mentioned that I had applied to renew my National Board Certification. To qualify, I needed a current teaching license, so I kept hounding the licencing board for my renewal status (for which I had submitted my course credits in June). When I finally saw that my license was active, I paid my big bucks and started the NB process. I completed a teaching video in December and by March, had a nearly complete set of entries. Then the coronavirus hit. The deadline for completion was moved to June. Whee!

I don’t know why I rechecked on my licensure, but I’m glad and sad that I did. The licensing board showed my teaching certification as expired! WHAAT?!? I considered how I could appeal this process. All my communication with the board had been through a ‘Contact Us’ format. I had no records of any of my questions, nor any record of my license being active. There were no ‘live people’ available. Ever. I wasn’t going to lie to get my National Boards. I didn’t have money to hire an attorney, on the slim chance that might make a difference.

In the midst of these dismal thoughts, I was forced to consider that I hadn’t talked to either my dearest teaching widower or God about renewing my National Boards. I was renewing them because:

  • I could not imagine myself without that validation of my skills?
  • My self-worth was bound up in my career?
  • I had worked hard to get those renewal credits?

Whatever my rationale, I have sort of accepted this situation. I still wish I could have renewed my NBs, which perhaps means I have more come-to-Jesus times ahead.

Good news, though. None of the effort in licensure and NB renewal was in vain. All of it improved my skills and made me perfectly suited for my current work. And had God not prompted me to get NB certification 20 years ago, and blessed the entire process, I would never have National Board Certification in the first place.

To answer the question: No, I am not losing my mojo. My pride is skinned, which is a good thing. My love of all-things-teaching is intact.

I love this photo of my DTW with all his mojo!