Let's take a walk through a brand new day.
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!
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…)
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…)
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…)
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…)
I’ve laughed a lot today and laughing is good for the soul.
This year, I decided to have a little fun when choosing a gift for my husband. He enjoys a clean house and has always done more than his fair share in keeping it that way. In honor of his devotion to cleanliness, (more…)
Anyone who knows me will tell you that children have my heart. They are the soul, future, fire, and heart of a nation. Conversations with children are the best! Children tend to be sincere with their questions, staunch in their beliefs, and eager wide-eyed learners. Today, I had a great conversation with about fifteen 5th graders at Arthur Edwards Elementary in Havelock, NC. (more…)
I’m ready for spring! This winter took its toll on my family and friends. Influenza, pneumonia, cancer treatments, transplants, and even deaths encompassed the past few months. There were some really sad days for people who I love. But, as I heard about each of these unfortunate life events, I found that out of every sadness came joy and happiness. Funerals brought families together, cancer treatments reunited old friends, and severe cases of the flu had communities banding together in support of neighbors. Life is like that, isn’t it? Just as you think you can’t take one more dreary winter day, out pops a daffodil. What joy that simple little eruption from the earth can bring. A single yellow flower with green leaves can bring smiles, hope, and belief in happy days ahead.
This week, I attended a memorial service of a beloved football coach and teacher. Fittingly, the celebration of life was held in the high school gym of the school where he had spent 27 years of his career. The service was well attended by former players, coaches, teachers, friends, and family. He was such a positive person who never wavered from his beliefs and his love of young people. As friends and former players and coaches spoke in celebration of his life, I found myself jotting down some of the quotes and quips he used throughout his career and life.
Here’s one: “Excuses are the nails that built the house of failure” (more…)