I am officially re-entering the blog-osphere. (Is that the correct terminology?) I began my re-entrance by reading the THREE posts that I wrote last year around this time. I was blogging about classroom theories like rewards and book clubs. Theories. I dabbled, I pondered, but at the end of the day they were just theories that perched themselves on the bubble of my ideology. Here I am... almost exactly one year later. In my very own classroom! (Yes, some very fine people deemed me fit... sometimes I question their decision. Kidding... sort of...) Here's what I can update on those bubbly little theories of mine:
-Classroom rewards: I've realized that I cannot place intrinsic motivation, be it love of learning, love of fellow classmates, desire to do well, etc. etc. into ANY 3rd grader. I can't. I will toil FOREVER trying to make them WANT to do something beautiful, wonderful, positive in the world without ever seeing fruit. However... I can point them in the right direction. I can nudge them with strategically placed motivational tools (i.e. Warm Fuzzies :) ) coupled with very intentional words and conversations. So, I do. I've instituted "Warm Fuzzies" in my classroom as a way to "shape" them. We put a "warm fuzzy" in the jar whenever I feel "Warm and Fuzzy" about the way I see a student helping someone else, the way our whole class works together to accomplish a goal, or (shamelessly) when they all get to the carpet at the end of our routine countdown. (Yes! Behavior Modification, I know it's shallow and has little impact on their little hearts, but man, oh man, it sure does help this little teacher stay sane. And honestly, some days that's a victory in itself.)
-Book Clubs: Sadly, I'm not explicitly teaching Language Arts. At Parmer Lane Elementary 3rd-5th grades are departmentalized and I am teaching Science and Social Studies. I love it, but I do anxiously look forward to the day that I get to have my very own Lit. Circles, Guided Reading Groups and Word Work Stations. (Oh my!) Because literacy is such a natural part of life, it's pretty easily built in to everything that I do. I get to do really great Read-Alouds (like The Great Kapok Tree by Lynne Cherry) and model what it looks, sounds, and feels like to be a good reader. We get to have brilliant discussions using our KLEW (Know, Learned, Evidence, and Wonderings) charts. (Classroom built literature!) We read and write and struggle to understand words. It's a beautiful world to be a part of, but I have yet to plunge into the world of Book Clubs.
Other, less teacher-y updates:
-Tyler is now on staff at our church, The Austin Stone Community Church. So, I guess that makes me a (gasp!) Pastor's Wife. I struggled at first. I wasn't sure what my identity was. Am I Tyler's Wife? Am I Teacher? Am I the sweet, quiet, little pastor's wife with big white hair? WHO AM I ? Some very wise women pointed me to Jesus and said, "Every wife, woman is different. You identity is first in the Blood and Resurrection of our King. Look to Him to tell you who you are." Very abstract, not straightforward or tangible, not easy. But oh, so sweet to my fragile little soul. I have nothing to live up to. He's my standard.
Long story short:
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now in the sons of disobedience --among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh like the rest of mankind. BUT GOD, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ -- by grace you have been saved-- and raised us up with him and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in CHrist Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
Amen and amen.
-We are moving DOWNTOWN. That's right, folks. Watch out hipsters, there are two newbies coming to your neighborhood! We've found the BEST apartment complex. Mostly affordable, and definitely beautiful. Right in the heart of the place that we love most on the earth (at the present...) Austin, Tx. It will be an entirely new world of WALKING places and being right next door to our sweet sweet new (but so dear, it doesn't feel like they are new to us) friends Scott and Lydia Hekman. We're excited to jump into their lives in a new way and learn from them as they've been such great models of living their lives ALL for the coming of the Kingdom of God. We're definitely giving up some great things by leaving the north side. Things like living 2 minutes away from the Ornelases. Things like a guest bedroom for friends to lay their heads and lots of wonderful, sweet SPACE. Things like big kitchens with lots of counter-space. Space, we can deal without. Katie and James Ornelas, not so much. BUT Katie and I have BIG BIG summer plans, so I'm certain our lives won't change too much. Right, Katie?!
-Speaking of Katie. We ran a half marathon together. That's right, people! 13.1 miles. (I can now say I've run a FULL marathon because it was my 2nd one. No? That's not how it works? Dangit...) It was a feat of determination. Long, sweaty, (mostly freezing cold, though. we trained in the winter) encouraging runs. I love my sweet friend Katie who is a great equalizer in my very LARGE dreamer-type world. Running with her deepened our friendship and showed me how much I need friends like her to point me to Jesus (my goal) when I want to quit again and again. (Literally and figuratively.)
-I flew to Chicago. Because one of my very best friends is now engaged to be Mrs. Rachel Crawford. :) Rachel Polen has a beautiful ring on her left finger and her sweet fiance got Laura Gordon and I up there to be a part of it. It was a sweet sweet weekend. I love those 2.
Okay. A year's worth of updates has not even begun to unfold. So I"ll just have to relay my life lessons throughout this past year slowly. Because currently... I'm procrastinating writing lesson plans and preparing for Monday. (Eesh... Monday...)