Didn’t Summer JUST Start??

Hi Friends (and strangers),

I have spent much of the last week volunteering my time at work to get my classroom set up.  I have a champ of a student teacher who has my room looking shinier and cleaner than it ever has before.  Although summer ending is always a little (ok, a lot) sad, there is also a part of me that is excited for new opportunities, meeting my new students, and the chance to try new things in my teaching.

I know that as summer comes to a close, you are probably looking at your wallet and thinking, “Wow, how do I have so much money in here?”  😉 Well, if you are looking for a good cause for your extra dollars (or if you really like helping out kids and schools -specifically my kids and my school), I want to tell you that I put up a project on Donors Choose and  I’m hoping to get a couple of iPad minis for my classroom.  Minis because their cost is also miniature in comparison to the cost of full size iPads.  And minis because my students are also miniature (in comparison to adults or elephants).

Buying multiple iPads for my classroom is something that I doubt will ever be in the cards for my school district – we struggle a wee bit financially.  But I can totally see how they would be a huge benefit to my students.  My dream is to be able to use them during literacy and math centers.  Students would rotate through, getting opportunities to use apps that I have chosen specially for them, to target skills they need to work on.

Our goal is to have all of our students reading on grade level by third grade.  This is no easy task when most of them start kindergarten already behind.

No pressure, but I wanted to let you know the opportunity is there – because maybe it would bless you to be able to partner with me as much as it would bless me and my students to have these new learning tools.

For the next 7 days, Donors Choose is matching any donations I receive.  Just put the code INSPIRE in when you make a donation.  Here is a link to my project with all the details. 

Thanks! 🙂

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I made a website!

I recently joined a (fake?) club that is all about doing new things.

My assignment this week was to watercolor a dream journal.  Because that is something I have never done before.  And by doing new things we can learn and grow as people.

I’m guessing that I was recruited for this club because I did a lot of new things over the summer.  One new thing I did is create a new website for Rafiki Africa Ministries.

You should click here and check out all my hard work!

Well, of course I did have some help…

It is like I always say… it is so much easier to use technology when you have at least three children climbing on you.

Ok, go look at their new website!

www.rafikiministries.org

The Perils of Texting

We hear a lot about the perils of texting while driving.  The law agrees.

But what about the danger of texting in other situations?

Texting while bicycling?

Texting on stilts?   Texting while mountain climbing?

Texting while on your pogo stick?

Texting near a toilet?

Texting while walking?

Texting on the trapeze?

Texting while marching in a parade wearing a half-horse costume?

I’m hear to tell you that texting can be a dangerous sport in a multitude of circumstances.

Take for example, texting while walking.  Consider this highly fictionalized, completely made up scenario.

You are walking down Lyndale in Minneapolis, meeting a friend for lunch.  You are running about 7 minutes late because of some trickiness with a calculator earlier in the morning.  You are walking moderately quickly, and pull out your phone to text your friend that you are close (you don’t want your friend to give up on you and go home) when all of a sudden, you lose control.  You try to channel your skills from the Wii balance board.  Is that success in the air? – you are close to regaining your balance!  No. Epic fail.  Down you go.  Face plant onto the slushy cement sidewalk.  Your phone goes flying into a pile of slush.  Two kindly strangers stop to make sure you are ok.  You stand up, feeling foolish (and in a slight amount of pain) and attempt to brush off the snow caking your jeans and jacket (not to be confused with a jean jacket).  You assure the strangers that you are in fact alright.  They compliment your landing, and you hobble away.

How could you avoid a situation like that?  Simply by not texting while walking.  Safety first, people, safety first.

And yes, that is the story of my afternoon.

This is an example of much safer phone usage. Note that I am both seated and using a 4 finger + 1 thumb grip on the phone, supporting the phone on two sides and one corner.

The End.

life-changing technology

Maybe you think I’m talking about the latest apple product, medical device, or you fill in the blank.

You are wrong.  You might think you guessed right, but I’m telling you that you didn’t.

I am talking about Microsoft Excel and Google Reader. 

My brother was quite unimpressed by my combination of multiple calculator applications open at once on my computer screen  and the assortment of scraps of paper and post-its I use to figure out the rent/bills for me and my roommate each month.  He showed me how to teach Excel to do my math for me.  Amazing!

Tonight I spent half my life adding blogs to google reader.  I have never used it before, but I anticipate it being life changing.  I was inspired a while ago reading this post.  My browser is going to be confused with the distinct lack of bookmarks from here on out.  Taking the leap may have taken the greater part of my evening, but just think: in the long run, it will save me so much time and so much finger overexhaustion from all the navigating, scrolling, and clicking I normally do.

What will they think of next?!

I’d love to stay and speculate with you, but google reader just put a 2 in parenthesis.  I’ve got some reading to do!

Follow the directions. Or your heart.

Sometimes in life you need to get from one place to another.  This is not always as easy as it sounds, because you may not actually know how to get from Point A to Point B.

My friend Sara taught me in high school that the best option is to “Just make it up!”  Is this really always the best option?  Let me give you several scenarios.  These are all scenarios when I chose the wrong multiple choice answer when deciding between:

a) Follow the signs.

b) Look at a map.

c) Use the GPS

c1) Use the built in GPS on your phone

d) Follow your heart.

I have a history of getting lost.  Yet I like to think that at times I have a good sense of direction.  Tami, my GPS, would probably beg to differ, based on the amount of times she is “recalculating” or tells me to make a U Turn.

Scenario: 

I am at the Mall of America to meet some friends.  I tell one friend I am getting there early because I have awkward amounts of time to kill.  She comes early too.  I look at the map to find out how to get to Chipotle.  I walk around the entirety of the mall, unable to find Chipotle.  When I do arrive, I am no longer early and basically everyone is there.  Enter my inability to find people in crowds.  I walked right past them.  They shouted my name and I looked around bewildered.  Should I have used my GPS?  No, that would be ridiculous.  Should I have been able to read a mall map?  Yes.  Embarrassing.

Scenario:

My roommate and I go to the Bad Waitress for brunch. (sidenote: HIGHLY recommend.  If I could live solely off of the Spyhouse Caramella espresso drink, I would).  We then want to get from the Bad Waitress to Anthropologie.  Roommate googled directions.  Said googling results in us sitting in a deserted apartment back alley near Lake Calhoun.  Unless Anthro is in the neighbor’s detached garage, google has lead us astray.  Tami (the aforementioned GPS) is nowhere to be found.  Enter: the phone GPS.  It finds Anthropologie no problemo.  We follow the directions.  My heart questions going north on the highway, but we follow anyways.  The destination: defeat.  or a warehouse on a corner in Crystal.  Clearly in this instance we should have followed our hearts, not our maps and technology.

Scenario:

You are in Florida, heading back from a day in the Everglades.  Tami says to go on back roads.  Amber (real live friend) says to go on the highway.  You listen to Tami.  You regret this decision, as it results in a 15 hour drive home.  Ok, that is an extreme exaggeration, but it felt like forever.  I’m sorry, Amber, for trusting Tami before trusting you.

Scenario:

Time to meet up with some friends for dinner before small group!  The destination: one you’ve driven to a million times.  Not a problem.  Uh-oh.  You are on the phone and forgot to exit.  No worries – take the next exit.  Easy as pie.  Until you try turning around in a parking lot that spits you back out onto the one-way you entered from (clearly did not actually get to turn around).  and you weave your way through the city, following your heart, and your stomach, and don’t seem to be getting anywhere closer.  You finally cave and turn on your phone’s GPS.  ETA?  20 minutes.  How did this happen?  You miss all of dinner conversation and take your food to go.  Fail.  In this instance, I for sure should have pulled out that GPS a wee bit sooner.

Scenario

You exit the subway in Vancouver with all your luggage.  Your sister thinks the hotel is one direction.  You mention you think it is the other, but know your lack of ability in map reading, so you go with your sister’s intuition.  After dragging the luggage downhill, it is determined that you were right.  Now it is time to drag your luggage UP the hill and get to the hotel.  Note: your map reading skills apparently flourish out of the country, and you should always fight for your directionality to win in situations abroad.

Scenario

You are going to your friend’s house that you have gone to once, but from a different direction.  Not a problem – you can still get there, right?  WRONG.  You get utterly lost, super confused, end up miles away, put the address in your GPS, only to find that this house is too new to be in the GPS, and call your friend, to find out they can’t give you directions because they just moved in there, and then you pray, “Jesus, please help me find this house.  I will give it one more try, then I will probably just go home.” and then miracle: you find it!  PTL.

I would like to share that I kind of like getting lost.  If the circumstances are right.  I like meandering down new roads as long as I am not meandering through bad neighborhoods.  I like it if I have all the time in the world and no one is waiting on me.  Or following me.  If someone is following me (like a friend caravaning, not a creeper or stalker) then I get really stressed out that I don’t know where I am going and am also leading them astray.  (I should probably again clarify that I do not mean to imply that having a creeper follow my car is fine with me.  It would  also stress me out – but for different reasons)

Otherwise I think that getting lost is a bit of an adventure, and helps me learn the area, so that I don’t have to rely on technology to get me where I am going.  Even though sometimes I clearly should.

A Robot Named 3M

Today I got out some ancient technology: the overhead projector.

Molly and I feel quite ancient ourselves, since the overhead projector was cutting edge technology when we were in elementary school.  These kiddos have clearly never seen such a contraption before.

We are learning about light and shadows, and I planned to use the overhead projector to play a little “guess the mystery shadow” game to help us learn that shadows look like the object.  But first, the following things were said:

  • Look!  Miss K has a robot!
  • Is that a robot, Miss K? (this question is repeated about 25x)
  • Child stands next to the projector and puts one arm in the air with his hand pointing forward – After a moment of confusion I realize he is doing an impression of the projector.
  • Children clammer around, examining this mysterious object (which I should add has been in plain sight all year)
  • One child reads the logo 3M on the front of the projector
  • Children are still whispering to one another while finishing their work, pointing excitedly, and a child runs up to hug me and tell me, “You’re the best!”
  • We should get a class dinosaur!

Because I am incredibly amused at this point, I ask the kids what they think it is and what they think it does.  Some of their answers:

  • A robot that does the robot dance (which of course my students demonstrate for me, doing the robot far better than I could ever hope or dream of dancing)
  • A camera
  • A camera that when it takes your picture it makes you be in a costume

But my favorite moment of the entire exchange:

Student 1: We have a robot!  Should we name our robot?

Student 2: It already has a name: 3M!