Wednesday, September 30, 2015

#78/365 The boy with chocolate eyes... The first day I met him, his eyes followed me everywhere. Searching. Questioning. Trying to figure me out. We played on a playground, and while he was swinging on the tire swing with Mike, he was watching me. He wouldn't let me out of his sight, especially when I was with Jayden. I thought about his careful watch of her, and it touched my heart. She was his responsibility...at 5. The same day that I met him, he asked me to be his mom. I was weak with love, fear, panic. I wanted to shout, "Yes! That's why I'm here!" But, I waited. I learned more about him. Andrew loves humor. He loves wit. He thrives on intellectual, deep conversation. He wonders. He questions. And, even at 5, I noticed that he was observant and intelligent. So, as our first weekend together progressed, I tried to think of the best way to tell him the news...we would be family. I learned that Andrew is a water baby, loves all things transportation, and is especially fond of sugar! I saw his dare devil side. I met his wild, crazy side. I met his defiant side. I met his needy side. I saw the intense love and protection he feels for Jay. And, I fell in love with the boy. So, I gave him the news of our family forming with a fortune cookie. It felt right. We went to a Chinese buffet, and I secretly stuffed a new fortune into his and Jayden's cookies. I wrote, "You will find a new Mommy and Daddy." When he and Jay opened their cookies and we read the fortunes, they both looked amazed. They knew right away that Mike and Leah were now Dad and Mom. I looked into Andrew's chocolate eyes. I thought, "I finally found you." #parenting #love #Andrew #HappyBirthday


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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

#77/365 The unlikely team of Andrew and Jayden... It turns out that there is actually something that will pull my children together in a cooperative mode. It happens to be baking cookie bars. Usually, I bake cookie bars, or some other dessert, with one of the kids. But, today Jayden and Andrew asked if they could bake cookie bars together for Andrew's first period class tomorrow. It's his birthday tomorrow, and it was hard to say no. I was interested to see how this would play out. It was a little bit of a surprise, but the kids actually worked really well together. They decided right away that Andrew would be working with all the dry ingredients, and Jayden would be working with all the liquid. Once they had decided that, they had to decide what an egg would be classified. The conversation between the two of them was just hysterical! They had little pointers for each other on how to best complete their jobs. It was also cool to see how their different strategies for cooking unfolded. Andrew was very methodical. He even wanted a checklist that he could mark off the steps as they completed them. Jayden, on the other hand, referred back to all of her prior knowledge and experience with cooking. She rarely read from the recipe and was more likely to go from her memory. I know both of my children have their strengths in their own areas. It was refreshing to see them use their talents together. They actually came to work really well together for a common goal. The goal may have just been driven by the ability to lick the spoons at the end. So, @rowen2026 I don't know if I would recommend eating the cookie bars tomorrow. 😜 They were made completely by Jayden and Andrew, a team of a 13 and a 14-year-old. #children #love #treats


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Sunday, September 27, 2015

#75/365 40 minutes turned into 40 years... I wrote about Jay and Mike on their birthdays, and I was planning on writing about myself on mine. But, during my run today, I changed gears (a little). Each year on my birthday, I call my Dad. I call him to say good morning and thank you. Each time he picks up the phone, I can hear the smile in his voice. It's our thing. I do this because 40 years ago, my Dad made a brave and difficult move for a young man. He decided to fight and give my life a chance. Many of my friends have heard me tell the story of my birth. I had a pretty serious birth defect that prevented my stomach and bowels from forming inside the abdominal wall. Pretty gruesome and scary stuff for a delivery room. The doctor and staff that delivered me promptly rushed me to a side room. They told my Dad that it wasn't going to be long before I passed away. Probably not quite an hour, absolutely not long after that. The trauma was too much, and they didn't even want him to see me and get attached. He did though. And, he did get attached. He tells me that he looked in my eyes and promised that I would make it. No way was he leaving me. So, he ran around the hospital looking for help. He managed to find another doctor that called for a helicopter and arranged transport to Rainbow Babies. Months of hospital time and surgeries were followed by months of at home care and specialized diet. My Dad jokes about this with me now. But, when he talks about this time, I can't help but think of him as a hero. The fear and doubt on his mind and in his heart that day must have been overwhelming. The strength that it took to accept my fate and decide to do everything in his power to change it was enormous. The love that he showed just walking in to meet me blows me away. He gave me a promise. He's always stood by that promise. It's amazing, Dad. Your love, bravery, and strength turned 40 minutes of life into 40 years. #love #Dad #reflection #strength #courage


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Friday, September 25, 2015

#73/365 Handing it over... Is not the easiest thing for a teacher like me. I get so wrapped up in my classroom and students that handing over control feels a little like abandoning. Obviously, I know that isn't what it's all about. But, still. Fortunately for me, I'm handing over control to a very smart and talented young teacher. My student teacher has a great perspective on working with the eighth-graders in my school. She gives them respect and understanding that is so very necessary for this age group. She also recognizes the fact that she can do more in class and create really cool experiences because they are well behaved and hard-working. From day one my student teacher has been really observant and reflective about the students. She makes great connections and identifies good ways to interact with the students. She's willing to adjust, adapt, and go with the flow. It's only been a couple weeks since she's been in the classroom, but I already feel like she is a solid teaching partner. She's great at brainstorming ideas. She comes to the conversation with ideas and questions that help spur along the development of the classroom lessons. Talking educational practices and looking at ways to help develop science inquiry in the classroom have dominated our conversations most days. Honestly, it's been really nice to have a teaching partner in the same room. She's also just a really fun person to talk and work with, and I'm looking forward to the next five weeks with her. #science #school #studentteacher


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Wednesday, September 23, 2015

#71/465 We've grown up together. I'm not going to lie. It was the Camaro that caught my attention first. It was sweet looking, red Camaro with t-tops. So, I "left" my Chemistry book at Berardi's and headed back to chat to that cute line cook. 😍 That started it though. The gorgeous car that he later turned in for a Saturn and a factory job. Mike has always put me first. From the moment we met, he's always done everything in his power to make my life the best possible. He worked hard in a factory for 13 years to put me through undergrad, grad, and beyond school. He jumped into home ownership when I found the yellow house with an apple AND willow tree. He welcomed foster and adoption into our lives when he saw how badly I needed children. He's just always put me first. Many people know that at age 35, Mike took a risk and went back to school. He was back to taking Biology, Chemistry, and English. With two kids, a mortgage, and a crazy wife, he took a shot at being a vet tech. He commuted each day to give everything he could to a new passion. Amazing! When others made excuses and said they were too old, too out of practice, my husband pushed through. He did quite well and has a career that he loves and is amazing at! Proud! Raised by Nancy and Tony to be an amazing man, Mike has always been a thoughtful, hard working person. His parents did an amazing job with him! He never gives less than his best. He's taught me so much about tenacity and problem solving and just "doing it the right way". He caught my attention with the sweet looking ride...he stole my heart with his compassion, work ethic, and love for family. We've grown up together. From the ages of 18 and 19 to today, we've learned to accept each other, find strength in one another, and enjoy our lives together. #love


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Tuesday, September 22, 2015

#70/365 Learning can be messy! Today, we tackled an especially difficult concept in science, geologic time periods. We could just memorize the names of the time periods & complete research on the life that developed during those time periods. That is what I actually did last year. Granted, we had fun making posters about the time periods, and we had a great time outside completing chalk drawings. I even managed to work in augmented reality lessons in this unit of study. However, the overarching theme about the incredible vastness of our planets history, and the relative newness of life was not fully addressed. Students never fully comprehended the scale of the geologic time periods. They saw them as sequential events on a timeline without the great realization of how much time life has not existed on the planet. We also spent very little time questioning our understanding of the geologic time periods. We just accepted the information from the book, videos, and other resources. So, this year I took a little bit different approach. With my student teacher, we designed a lesson that would require students to organize the information from their research on the timeline before we went out to do the chalk activity. We didn't give them the background behind the dates of the eras, instead we used their own observations of the dates and math. We had them create the timeline on the interactive board as a team. What we noticed almost immediately was the failure to acknowledge these vast amounts of time. The students tried to spread everything out perfectly even. In each class, we had one or two students who made connections between billions & millions of years. They discussed how empty the timelines SHOULD be up until a certain point of crowded evolution. My student teacher said it best, when she said, "This is making me so uncomfortable. I just want to give them the answers!" My response was that like most inquiry based activities, this experience would mean so much more and last longer if they struggled and come to the realization on their own. Tomorrow will bring an even deeper understanding as they try to squish in the information on the chalk timeline.


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Saturday, September 19, 2015

Absolutely the final test...promise!


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Science is...


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My #365 Sketch-noting Reflections Goal

Inspired by Jon Jarc and his #365 days of hand stands and reflections, I have been working on my own daily reflection project. It is one that begins with a sketch-note crafted in the Paper by 53 app, and it is completed with a reflection written about something in the day. I do not always have sketch-notes that I am incredibly proud of, but I've come to love the process more than I imagined possible.

I've reflected on everything from my marathon training to my science classroom to my parenting, coaching, and professional goals. I'm only a little over 65 days into the process, but I'd like to archive this process on this platform as well as on my personal Instagram account. Therefore, I will use the IFTT process to share the post on this blog.

I hope that any of my posts help or cause reflection. If not, that's ok too. It is a personal goal.

To see previous posts...visit my Instagram page HERE.