* 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!

* TToT for a million dollars

It’s been eons since I last posted; I hope all of you are well and making it through these tough times! My next-to-oldest great-nephew keeps asking me what I would do for a million bucks. I do remember those days when it seemed like the most spectacular thing ever to get $1,000,000. Or to get ‘all the money in the world.’ Now I know what true riches are, so I will share my Ten Things of Thankful (TToT) blogging challenge with you out of a truly grateful heart.

#1 I am thankful for my dearest teaching widower (DTW). He continues his treatment for cancer and is such a warrior. I thought this nightmarish ‘cure’ might cause him to stumble, to become impatient, to change who he is. But he is still the loving-est DTW in the world. That counts for about 5 TToTs. Or about $1,000,000.

#2 I am thankful for our dearest son and his most precious wife. Matthew has endured much with a 5-year-long health struggle, going from triathlete to incapacitated to nearly incapacitated. And he has started a blog (please check it out!)! While his chronology of the illness is heart wrenching, it’s also filled with faith that comes from trusting in the Lord through desperate times. I’d say this special couple are worth at least $1,000,000.

#3, #4, #5 Special families and kids, Cadbury chocolate, and vegan chocolate cakes still rank high on my list! Although I haven’t hiked outside since summer weather took root, I’ve savored the photos I took. Cee‘s awesome photographic influence is easily worth a cool mil. (Be sure to check out her blog, too!). I’ve never met a plant I didn’t want to photograph!

#6 Of course, the kiddos keep us on our toes and give God plenty of issues in my heart to work on, with impatience being at the top of my list. But who wouldn’t enjoy being asked if I would wear a KKK robe for a million dollars? That question is followed by shrieks of glee: I should want to be in the Kool Kids Klub. Yikes. Glad we are quarantined or they’d be stoned!

#7 Tea is right up there with chocolate. Tetley’s is my fave. The caffeine kinda makes up for my lack of sleep. Sorta. Perhaps. Not so much.

#8 Now that I have cracked through the Blogging Barrier Reef, I am excited to catch up on others’ blogs! Yay! (I really don’t like that spelling but my use of yea always gets misread as yeah, so meh….)

#9 I love to watch the birds who visit our feeders and bath. A robin just finished a thorough soaking and sat fluffed up on the edge, drying off. So sweet. OK, not so fascinating to everyone. The hawks? They love it. Totally grateful. Yum yum.

#10 Last but not least are you, my dearest readers, who continue to follow this blog. I’m grateful!

* Nonsensical?

Many thanks to Ronovan for his Décima Poetry Challenge! Usually, I read his challenge, putter around a bit, and then give up. Today, I decided to tackle this one. The topic is SENSE.

Image by cafepampas from Pixabay

Sense

If I had any sense at all

I’d never write a décima

Instead I’d sigh, try to recall

The purpose of this teaching blog:    

To clear the smoke and rid the fog

Of cloudy thoughts that hinder all.

Of course, since I spent 5 minutes on this, I need to examine my own head for foggy ideas!

Honestly, though? I am writing this because I have no hope of writing sensibly about George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery’s murders. I am still trying to put something together that would encourage educators to teach ALL children. The fact that the average black high school graduate reads at an 8th grade level is nonsensical. So are the ubiquitous, racially predictable test results at EVERY level. White American teachers, WE MUST DO BETTER!