Karen's Blog

Let's take a walk through a brand new day.

Curiosity

Lately, I find myself very eager to learn new things and have new experiences. I am, by nature, a curious person. Not as curious as Isaac Newton, (considered by some the most curious human of all time), but curious just the same. I am curious about people, places, nature, opinions, emotions, reasons, things, mechanics, physics, chemistry, religion….and the list goes on. (more…)

Order among Chaos

As Hurricane Willa makes landfall near the resort towns on the Mexican Riviera, I am reminded of the devastation caused by Hurricane Michael in Georgia and Florida. So many friends were affected by power outages, fallen trees, destroyed crops, and mangled houses. But, thankfully, no friends or family lost lives. As I reflect on that powerful storm and my experience, I want to share my observation as I outran the hurricane by going west.

My cousin and I had planned a trip which was to begin on the Florida Panhandle and end in Baton Rouge. We realized on the day before we were to leave that Hurricane Michael was at sea and was possibly headed directly to the area where we planned to spend part of our vacation. Undeterred, we decided to go forth with our plans and keep tabs on mighty Michael. As luck would have it, Michael decided he’d like to land in the exact same spot we were to start our trip. (more…)

My heart is hurting…

Today was a gut wrenching day due to a mere 5 minute heartbreaking encounter. (more…)

Where is it?

“I can’t find it!”  “Where is it?” “How do I access it?” “Can I google it?” “Can you message me with it?”  Oh, the joys of technology… (more…)

Pondering…

I listened to a story on 60 Minutes recently that got my feathers ruffled.  The story was about how California is reforming the prison system away from solitary confinement/tough love towards a focus on education. Prisoners are spending more time in the classroom and less time being idle. Sounds good, right? Education is the key to a better life. But, when I saw the topics of discussion on the board of the prison classroom, my heart felt a tug. The topics were almost all about communication, building relationships, and decision making.  Hmm……

I couldn’t help but feel that maybe we had failed these men in our current education system. They all attended school in their younger years yet failed to learn the basic human skills needed for a happier and healthier life.

Maybe it’s time for a different kind of education reform.  Instead of focusing weeks and weeks on testing factual knowledge, maybe we need to spend a large part of every day learning how to communicate effectively, overcome adversity, problem solve, and think critically. These men would certainly have benefitted. Good decision making skills could have changed the course of their life.

Teacher friends, as you head back into the classroom, add those needed life skills into your curriculum.  They are easy to embed Into every subject we teach through the management of the classroom and the words you speak.

In the end, our children are worth it.

Have a great school year!

Summer Porch Music

You just never know what can happen on the first day of summer…  (more…)

Road Trippin’

If you are looking for a no pressure weekend away…keep reading.  My son and I were headed to Damascus, Virginia a few weekends ago and the last thing we wanted to see was an interstate.  We were looking for a weekend of adventure and gorgeous scenery.  So, we set the GPS to avoid highways and off we went.  This time our GPS lady did not disappoint!  It was such a wonderful weekend, that I wanted to share the route and the sights for a perfect weekend away. (more…)

Creativity At Its Best!

I recently shared a story about a teacher, Sabrina Bennett, and the work she does in teaching her ESOL students.  She gives her heart, creativity, and knowledge every day as she spends hours beyond the classroom making sure that her students’ needs are met and that she’s giving them the best opportunity to succeed. She tries to give them “real’ experiences since they are not only learning the English language but also the culture of a new country.

She used the story of Copper and Blast in Northbounders, to give her students an American experience while learning vocabulary and language skills. After reading the book, the students wanted to experience what it is like to hike the Appalachian Trail. Mrs. Bennett set her goals high and aimed for a field trip to Springer Mountain where the A.T. begins in Georgia.  When that didn’t work, she brought the A.T. to them. (more…)

I Can’t Even Imagine…

This weekend, I had the pleasure of spending the day with my Aunt, Uncle, and a whole slew of cousins as one of the 2nd cousins prepared for her senior prom.  We were all there watching as her hair was being swept into an “updo” and as the makeup artist applied the prom makeup.  We then took hundreds of pictures, fluffed her magical dress into perfection, took more pictures, oohed and aahed over her gorgeous bouquet of flowers, took more pictures, and then gave her lots of hugs and kisses as we sent her off into the night to enjoy her senior prom.  It was a true family affair! (more…)

Update On Angry Girl and Friends: Let Them Eat Cake!

When we last left the Madison County High School ESOL (ELL) classroom where students were using Northbounders: 2,186 Miles of Friendship as their novel study, Copper and Blast were hiking their way through New Hampshire on the Appalachian Trail. I’m happy to report that the students, Copper 🐕 and Blast have made it safely to Mt. Katahdin in Maine, the end of the A.T. and celebrated their success with… (more…)