Sunday, June 29, 2014

Video Making

If you read my blog at all, you'll know I'm taking this online class this summer. And you'll know I'm having to do all sorts of crazy, ummm, interesting things for it. One of which was produce a video. This is the one I came up with using an online program called PowToon. It took just a little bit of work {haha!} so I'm sharing it in as many places as I can.

I personally see poverty as a bigger issue than language. So, what about you? How does poverty affect students in your classroom? 

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Five for Friday 6/28


{Apparently, Kacey from Doodle Bugs Teaching is at the beach. I wish I were in her shoes - or not in her shoes, since she probably is at best, only wearing flip flops, since she's at the beach.}

Rain! I think that should be RAIN! Friends, this has been one dry part of the country, but that seems to be changing. We've had rain Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and again last night. Last night was a good, hard, long rain - and I made my poor hubby go out in the middle of it and turn off the automatic sprinklers. Now that's love!
Painting - College Girl and I tackled one wall in the living room yesterday. 
Yes that's me in my groovy painting outfit!

Well, my picture doesn't do it justice, but it's a beautiful green. As soon as we started, College Girl and I both said "I like it!" It's the perfect color for me in my living room - light and sort of foresty like. This wall hadn't been painted since we moved in - and College Girl's lived here her whole life - so that tells you something. 

My online class is still trucking along. For next week, I need to make a video - but not recording myself. So I've been working on that this week, and I'm fairly happy with how that's turned out - unfortunately, I'm such a perfectionist with these types of things, that I keep messing with it. But basically done, and basically happy about that!

Netflix is a beautiful thing. College Girl and I are watching high brow shows like:


Well, West Wing might be high brow, but I'm not so sure about The Office. Anyway, one of these is always our lunch date, depending on our mood. 
Well, I can't be too envious of Kacey at the beach - my family is heading to Vancouver on Tuesday.

 I can't wait! We've got each day sorta sketched out and once we get there, we'll plan for certain. If anybody has any ideas, you are more than welcome to leave a comment :)

Happy Weekend!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014


This last weekend, College Girl and I went to the Big, Big City and watched:

It was terrific, it was great, it was fantastic, it was wonderful. 

And ever the thinking teacher, I started making some connections. 

Not to give too much of the plot away, but one of the main characters in the show is born green. {I really don't think that's giving too much away as it happens in probably the first 15 minutes of the show - so I think I'm good. No spoiler alerts needed!} 

And that causes a lot of Elphaba's problems. People who see her grimace and turn away. Or gasp and run off. And basically don't want to be around her. 

And I started thinking about some of my kiddos that are born "green" - different - and it's hard for them to fit in and have friends. It seems like there are two types - those that it bothers, and those that either don't care or don't notice. 

Last year, I had a little boy that it didn't seem to bother. He had one friend in class and found things to do at recess. 

But I had another little friend - she just couldn't figure it out - how to make friends. She wanted to - and I just couldn't find a way to help her. She is a nice enough little girl - a little bossy, but she's not the only one that's that way.

So along with the list of things I want to work on this summer, and my endorsement class, this is something I want to try to figure out - how do I help my class be more of a community? How do I help kids be friends?

I've tried to find ideas before and gotten stumped - so, I'm thinking... Maybe some of my readers have suggestions - ideas, websites, books, activities. I'd love to hear them. 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014


Has anyone else had this conversation?
Me: Is today Tuesday or Wednesday?
Hubby: It's Wednesday!

Haha - I've been enjoying my summer. Here's some of what I've been doing:

Enjoying College Girl

Watching this baby dove

Enjoying my flower garden

Really enjoying my flower garden!

And my Cultural Diversity class. Oh goodness. Does anybody else take online classes? Does it seem like they take more work than regular classes? I love the convenience and not having to "go" anywhere. But oh my!

Anyway, one thing that we've had to do that I enjoyed was watching three documentaries about diversity. I decided to focus on Latinos, since those students are usually at least 50% of my class. I watched a short video called "Immersion." This video was told from the point of view of a boy, probably 10 years old, who spoke mainly Spanish and he had to take a test. They didn't say what the test was for, but it was a math test. He knew how to do the math, but the word problems were confusing to him. When he asked for help, his teacher said she was sorry, she couldn't help him. {She did try to find a copy of the test in Spanish, but was unsuccessful.} It's been a while since I've had a student who really didn't speak English, although last year, I had a student who it almost seemed like he would translate my question into Spanish and then translate his answer back into English. 

Another video I watched was about 3 high school Latina girls. One was a dropout with a child who decided to go back to school. Another was a homeless girl who got into a college with the help of her adviser. The third was about a girl who joined an organization at school and through that was able to go to Africa for part of the summer.  This was certainly a feel good documentary - and I got a little teary eyed during the end. 

I enjoyed watching these videos - and I think it's given me a small glimpse into lives that might be similar to my students. And if nothing else, this class has gotten me thinking about how I can better reach my kids? How can I make a connection with them? How can I show them I care? {Cuz I really do.}

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Summer School - For Me

Yesterday, I mentioned the book I am reading for my summer class. I'm taking Cultural Diversity as part of my ESOL endorsement program. 

And ack! 

We have to do video book reviews - well, last week, that took 30-hundred tries because I was using my phone and first I was sideways and then upside down, and I couldn't figure out how to turn it {neither could College Girl, which definitely made me feel better lol!} so I had to re-record. {Plus all the I don't like how I sound, or said that, or flipped my hair there!} And we have to do a Cultural Diversity Experience - which means go some place where I'm the minority and probably be uncomfortable. And we have to do a Digital Media Presentation and one of the choices for that is using Screencast-O-Matic - which I've never heard of {although there are a couple other choices which I have heard of} and then some other more regular stuff. 

And I was thinking last week - I don't want to learn anything new, I just want to get through this endorsement program. 



Really, Sara, you don't want to learn anything new? 

So I'm trying to have a better attitude. My video this week only took 4 tries. That's right, not 4 hundred, just 4. And even though I don't agree with a lot of what this book is saying, it's making me notice things. Like when I went to the grocery store yesterday, and the Hispanic shelf stocker lady wouldn't look up at me. Yikes, what have I done to make someone that afraid or nervous? 

And perhaps most important, I need to push, push, push my kids. I really tend to let them off the hook too easily. Or I tell them it's ok, when really they need to make corrections. I don't know yet, how to balance this with my personality, but I'm seeing again and again, that this is what all my students need. 

So, for the past month or so, I haven't been blogging like I'd like to. I feel like I don't have anything to say. But I think that's not really true; I just need to get back into the practice of writing. And wouldn't that be just what I would tell my kids??? 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

What I'm reading on a Tuesday

Wait, you might say. It's not Monday, it's Tuesday. And I would answer, yes, but it's summer. And really, who can argue with that?

I am reading this great summer read book --

{Please don't google Silver Girl, because apparently that's a "thing" - a bunch of things I'd rather not see!}
Anyway, to me, this book is a fictional version of Bernie Madoff's wife. And in this book, nobody wants to talk to her, or help her, or anything, except for one old high school friend whom she hasn't talked to in 3 years. I'm enjoying reading this book at night until I get too tired to read any more.

This is on my Kindle:

yes, the title is so tiny that who can read it? It's "Composing Amelia." Amelia is a young woman who wants to be a concert pianist. Her husband wants to be a pastor and he gets a job offer in Nebraska. Well, that's all the further I've gotten because I've only been reading this when I've been waiting. 

I love my Kindle!


 It fits right in my purse and is light weight, so when I get stuck some where, I can just pull it out and start reading!

I'm also reading this:

still, for my summer class. It's a bit thought provoking, but I definitely wouldn't be reading it except for this class. 

I have not gotten to my own stack of professional development books yet. Crossing my fingers for this week. 

And that's what I'm reading!