SOL 13/31: Thorns In My Side

I know it’s getting old, all this talk of the weariness with winter and the longing for spring. Transitional periods always seem to have a few troublesome things that feel like they are lingering on just a little too long. As you say farewell to winter and greet spring with anticipation, what are you more than ready to see on its way out?

Here are some of mine….

Snowpants. I am so over the snow gear here in kindergarten! They are wet and gross, and I will not be rid of them soon enough.

All snow gear, for that matter. Missing hats, mittens without their mate, and stinky snow boots. Be gone, all of you! I am so longing to just go back to the simplicity of a jacket.

Ice scrapers. Yeah, this morning task has totally worn me down. And it never fails, on the mornings when I’m running behind, yup, you guessed it…. frost-covered windshield. For the record, that wiper fluid that says it melts ice – they’re liars.

Shoveling. We live on a corner lot. With an uncovered 2-car driveway. Need I say more? Over it.

Sweaters. Oh how I long for the first day of short sleeved shirts! I love me a cozy warm sweater, complete with a warm turtleneck and all its beauty, but by March it’s time to transition the wardrobe. Let’s bare those arms!!

Leggings. Sure my legs are bright white after their winter hibernation. Who even cares? I’m ready like yesterday to don a pair of capris and welcome warmer temperatures with gusto!

Wool Socks & Danskos. This one seems obvious. Can’t wait to dig out my sandals from the depths of the basement. This might need to include a pedicure, right?

Do any of the items on my list ring true for you too? What other annoyances did I forget? I know there are many – share one in the comments!


SOL 12/31: Zoom In…Zoom Out!

Yesterday my husband and I got to play the role of tourists as we meandered about downtown Spokane. It was fun exploring the city, walking the busy city streets, and popping in and out of unique shops. The sunshine felt glorious, and even though it was a brisk late winter day, it was apparent that spring is just around the corner!

Throughout our day, I snapped photos here and there of what we saw. I’ve zoomed in on a piece of each photo…can you guess what your eye is seeing?

Don’t worry, the answers are at the bottom of my post!

#1: Our morning started with a workout in the hotel gym. Here is the display of the treadmill I took a walk on:

#2: You probably recognize the spokes of a wheel. This was a painting in our hotel:

#3: As tourists, having a good map of the city was helpful for planning and for getting around. Google Maps helped in a pinch, but having this map ahead of time allowed us to see all of the spots we wanted to explore.

#4: Was this a dog or cat to you? As a dog loving family, this spoke to my heart!

#5: I’m curious what your eye sees at first glance… Shopping in a downtown mall, this life-size stiletto stopped me in my tracks.

#6: Certainly you see the bird, but you are likely not expecting the full photo. This is the logo for a sweet coffee shop we happened upon. Loved their celebration of the classic book To Kill a Mockingbird.

#7: The Spokane River winds its way through the city, culminating in the spectacular Spokane Falls where we rode the SkyRide. This gondola ride gave us a birds-eye view of these roaring falls as well as the neighboring Riverfront Park, home of the 1974 Word’s Fair.

#8: Back at Atticus, this eye-catching wall art display was a photo opportunity waiting to happen:

#9: Did you recognize this well-know character from our friend Mo Willems? A trip to the city must always include finding a great indie bookstore!

#10: The culmination of our day was attending Chris Tomlin’s Holy Roar Tour concert. What an amazing night of worship it was! His book shares a powerful message of the seven Biblical words God has given for how we can worship. Unforgettable night!

SOL 11/31: You’re Invited to my Happy Party!

We are in the double digits of the March Slice of Life Challenge! To begin my post today, I want to say a big thank you to the team at Two Writing Teachers for all of the time and effort it takes each March to organize and pull this month of writing off. You all have busy lives, and taking on this endeavor certainly adds a lot to your already full plates. I know I speak for every blogger participating when I say THANK YOU!

Today I am borrowing a fun idea from my friend & fellow kindergarten teacher, Christie Wyman. I love this opportunity to share in the happiness others are experiencing, and to share my own. Feel free to borrow Christie’s image below and share your current happiness with a link back to this original post, and/or leave a comment below.

Here are a few things that are making me especially happy today…

  • If you read my post yesterday, you know I am in Spokane for a 2-night getaway with my husband to see a favorite Christian worship leader, Chris Tomlin who is in concert tonight. Hotel life is the best!
  • Dinner out last night at a favorite restaurant: The Old Spaghetti Factory. What a treat! I relished every single bite.
  • Technology in my classroom is so my friend right now… Thanks to a new friend I made on Voxer, I have jumped into the deep end of Seesaw and Classkick with my students. Most of the 50 standards I need to assess for report cards have been done in one of these apps, which is going to make report card preparation much easier!
  • I’m taking this one from Christie’s Happy Party list – and thank you for posting it, because I didn’t know that Rami Malek won the best actor Oscar for his portrayal of Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody. Oh my goodness, I could write an entire post about my love for that movie. I’ve seen it three times and own the blue ray.
  • The Lenten season is upon us, and for the first time my husband and I are diving into learning about and more actively participating in this important season in the Church calendar. With the help of this daily devotional, we are growing more deeply in our faith together.
  • A day before me with NO agenda! Back to my Spokane getaway..this morning we woke up when we wanted to, ate breakfast, worked out, and are getting ready to meander around the downtown area and explore unique shops and sample food and drinks from any and every place that beckons.

SOL 10/31: Getaway!

Today my husband and I took a quick road trip to Spokane. The four hour drive from where we live is especially scenic. There is still plenty of snow in our neck of the woods, and we enjoyed the beauty of countless untouched spaces of snow on the rolling hills that bordered both sides of the highway. Marveling at how the sunshine made the snowflakes glitter on the surface of the snowy fields never got old. We both agreed what fun it would be to skin up those slopes on our AT skis and glide down in the deep snow!

Crossing the border into Idaho at the tippy top of Lookout Pass was stunning. The blue sky seemed especially brilliant with the snow-capped mountains standing tall in their own glory. As much as we are ready for spring to arrive, this beautiful snowy scene was breathtaking to behold.

Arriving in Spokane, we welcomed the just-slightly warmer temperatures than what we have been experiencing at home. Tomorrow we will actually feel 40 degrees – a heatwave!

We are here to see our favorite Christian worship leader, Chris Tomlin in concert tomorrow night. Until then, we will enjoy the simple pleasures of getting out of town: eating out, shopping, and maybe a soak in the hot tub!

What do you love most about getaways from home?

SOL 8/31: Poetry Friday IWD 2019

As always. Fridays = Poetry Friday. A chance for bloggers to come together and share their love of poetry with each other. Thank you to Catherine @ Reading to the Core for hosting our roundup today. Our theme is International Women’s Day.

As a mother of four daughters, today I celebrate my girls and compose a poem honoring who they are and speak words of anticipation and expectancy for the amazing women I know they are each destined to be.

Once silly, playful, joyful
full of wonder and questions.
Life was a playground,
a place to discover who you were.

You navigated treacherous waters
while charting your own course.
Your feet firmly planted in your
unique identity
passions and beliefs
hopes and dreams.

Life is before you
with countless adventures
full of uncertainty and challenge
excitement and celebration.

Embrace every moment.
Charge forward in strength.
Lean into the power you possess
draw from the well of courage
you have stored up along the way.

Nothing is outside your reach
nothing is beyond your ability.
Let the wondering spirit of your youth
be a buoyant force of support
through every step of your journey.

SOL 7/31: Spiritual Thursday

Since I am in the midst of the annual March Slice of Life Challenge, I will double up my Slice today alongside my Spiritual Thursday post, which comes around the first Thursday of each month. Today we are hosted by Doraine @ Yoga Inspired. Thank you for hosting, Dori!

Our topic for reflection and writing is balance. For me, this word is aptly timed. Today is the first day of the Lenten season. While I have attended church most all of my life, I don’t recall really focusing on this season in the Church calendar. This year, however, I took a greater interest in understanding Lent, and found a daily devotional guide that I am reading each day from now until Easter Sunday.

Today is Ash Wednesday, and tonight my husband and I attended our first Ash Wednesday service. We were warmly welcomed by the small group of people gathered together for prayer, song, scripture, reflection, the imposition of ashes, and partaking of the Holy Eucharist.

As a passage from Joel chapter 2 was read aloud, we were encouraged to participate in something called the Lectio Divina. This is a 3-part reflection around one passage of scripture, read aloud three times. During the first reading, we were to listen for a word or a phrase the beckoned, stirred, or “shimmered” us. It was suggested that we quietly repeat the word or phrase to ourselves. During the second reading, we were to attend to the feeling or perhaps an image that we connected to the word or phrase. Finally, during the third reading, we were encouraged to attend to the way the word or phrase connects with the context and situation of our life right now. We could address our response to this in prayer, and then share with the person we came with what we discovered.

I found my phrase immediately. It read: …return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning. (Joel 2:12)

As I reflected on this phrase, my mind remembered that I would be writing about balance in my Spiritual Thursday post, and I instantly thought about how important balance in my life is as I approach this Lenten season. I can easily find myself overwhelmed with responsibilities at school as well as those at home, and before I know it, my desire to find quiet time for my devotional reading and purposeful focus on this season of Lent loses its priority, and thus I lose balance.

I know myself and my weaknesses. I can easily teeter off course, but I am hoping that my new focus on this season and on the Lord’s desire for me to return to him with all my heart  will help me maintain the healthy balance I desire.

SOL 6/31: Finding Success with Tech

Today was a busy day in K-B. As we approach the end of the second trimester, preparing for report cards is foremost on our minds. In kindergarten, reporting academic progress involves a long list of standards covering phonics, phonemic awareness, reading readiness skills, writing, mathematics, as well as social and emotional behaviors. In all, I report on nearly 55 specific benchmarks for my 20 students.

Because they are 5 and 6 year-olds, most of these standards are most accurately assessed 1:1. This can make keeping the normal flow of instruction and our daily routines a challenge at best! Recently, however, I discovered how two very helpful apps could step in and help me assess nearly all of my students across a majority of the standards using iPads.

Seesaw and Classkick are excellent tools that my kindergartners can easily navigate. I can create specific assessments for whatever area I need that are engaging, rigorous, and yield me informative data that allow me to accurately assess each student’s progress.

Today I created a whopping 14-page math activity that my kids dove into with gusto! In all, it covered nearly half of the standards I need to assess. Every student completed the work with time to spare, feeling excited about what they were able to show me they could do. We celebrated their efforts at the end of the day with extra independent reading time.

Using technology with my littles has been something I have found myself steering away from. Up until I found Seesaw and Classkick, I felt that most apps were just too “gamey” and yielded little academic merit. These apps allow me to steer the ship, choosing what the activities are, and ensure I am connecting our learning directly to what the activities are asking them to do on their iPad. And bonus – all of their work can be easily shared directly with their parents, who have the Family version of Seesaw on their phones and devices.

How are you successfully using technology with your students? Share your favorite app or other online platforms in a comment below. As you peruse comments, perhaps you will come across something new you can try with your students.