Category Archives: Journal

Growing Up

Growing old is inevitable, growing up is optional.

Source: Unknown

I smile when I read this. I’d like to say that I applaud this quote. I interpret it as a positive not as a negative. As an educator, part of the reason that I love my job is that young children bring wonder and enthusiasm to my workplace. Anything is possible, the world is their oyster. Students inspire me to continue to learn and try new strategies or techniques. Children are willing to work hard especially if you have built respectful and trusting relationships.

As we get older, we tend to become more serious, less spontaneous and free-spirited. We don’t want to be out of the norm, or be looked upon as strange or different. Have you ever noticed that couples or older people don’t dance in public as much unless they have taken Dance 101. Where do you see people letting go? You see dancing at weddings, or happy times with family and friends. The alcohol may help with this form of expression, but for sure the next day you talk about what fun it was to dance and laugh. You don’t care whether you 2-Stepped or knew the Mockarina.

I love music and where it takes you. I enjoy singing or grooving in the car when I know a tune I know. Do I get funny looks from strangers from the car in the next lane? Maybe. But I am safe and I am not inebriated but instead I am enjoying a moment in time as I cruise down the highway.

On a more serious note, have you known someone to have changed jobs more than once. Some adults may see this as not growing up. Is this too great a risk? Yes, it is a risk but each job may be an opportunity to grow and discover more about yourself and what you do best. Change can be a good thing.

We will become older and even though inevitable, please welcome the adventure. I think that growing up can be both an opportunity to become responsible and respected but it can also be a time to discover and embrace your passions.

When I was in college, I had the opportunity to see Leo Buscaglia, known for his college courses, concentrating on, “Living, Loving and Learning”. I’ll leave with one of his simple quotes, “Happiness and love are just a choice away.”

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Sixty Seconds of Happiness

For every minute you are angry you lose sixty seconds of happiness.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

How many times in your lifetime, when things didn’t go right, or you were angry or sad, your parents or a good friend would say, “Things will get better. Tomorrow is a new day?” I think that Mr. Emerson composed this quote knowing that time is so much better being spent being happy rather than being angry.

I know an unbelievable lady that lives this quote each and every day. She laughs and smiles every day. Has she been confronted with unhappiness? Yes. Has she been in situations that she has the right to be angry? Yes. In fact, I look at her life and the many challenges that she has gone through and I am in amazement that she has triumphed both physically and emotionally. Each day that I know this woman, someone will approach me and say, “I just love her, she makes me smile. I love her laugh and smile.” I am so fortunate and thankful to be a part of her life.

Please don’t stay angry, life is too short, forgive, forget and be happy. You deserve it and so do the people in your life!

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Coincidence is God’s way of remaining anonymous. Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein is remarkable in the world of science, invention and the way of the world. As I read this quote, I think of all those times that you think, wow, isn’t that remarkable. Did that just happen? When you look at someone and say, what a coincidence. But as Einstein said so eloquently, God’s way of remaining anonymous. May it be a moment in time, when everything slows down and you smile or reflect on what just happened. Just the other day, I was sitting at a picnic table with my mom and husband and a family came to share the table. We started the conversation lightly with the talk of the wonderful weather and great event. We ended up talking with the family for about an hour, laughing and enjoying the many things we had in common. The newcomers having children the exact same ages, our occupations were very much alike and how we came to this location in time was similar. What a lovely afternoon, to share not only a table, but a meal and conversation. Something so unexpected but yet a pleasure on a Sunday afternoon.

Coincidence is God’s way of remaining anonymous. Albert Einstein

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It will be here before you know it…

Yes, I am guilty. I haven’t written since May. Yes, I am having a great summer. Yes, I am going back to school with all its magical surprises and adventures. This year, I may be approaching some of the future posts of KEEP IT SCHOOL differently by stating a quote and then reflecting on everyday life. Have a wonderful August and wonderful return to the world of school!

TWAS the night before school…

‘Twas the night before school starts, and all through the town,
Not a teacher was sleeping, just thrashing around.
Thoughts of the classroom brought a tear to each eye,
And all of them wished it could still be July.

The students, meanwhile, were doing just fine,
Texting and talking and typing online.
Yet they, too, were longing for more fun and games,
And hoping to hear that their school was in flames.

But the building was ready, the windows were clean,
The desks were now free of the rude and obscene.
The floors were well-polished and the lockers repaired,
All was in order, no effort was spared.

The next day the students will mope and they’ll fuss,
And with backpacks and lunch bags will climb on the bus.
The Welcome back, everyone! announcement will blare,
And the bell for first period will begin the despair.

Hallways will fill with the dazed and perplexed,
For nobody knows where they’re supposed to go next.
As the masses move slowly, lost and encumbered,
They’ll silently curse how the rooms have been numbered.

But sooner or later the classes will start,
Algebra, history, English, and art.
Summer vacation will fade from their minds,
As another semester slowly unwinds.

Within a few days they’ll resume their routine,
The relaxed and the happy will grow grouchy and mean.
Instructors will gripe that the kids are all lazy,
Students will swear that their teachers are crazy.

Quizzes will take the class by surprise,
While films will just teach them to all shut their eyes.
Lectures are met by simple, blank stares,
Tests will result in complaints of “Not fair!”

Assignments and projects and homework forgotten,
Answers unclear and writing that’s rotten.
Pupils will wonder what that book was about,
Exams will be graded, report cards sent out.

And the months will fly by, every one of the ten,
Then suddenly June will return once again,
Causing all parents to feel sad and unsteady,
Shocked that it’s summer vacation already.

So let’s be glad as September approaches,
Our kids are returning to the teachers and coaches.
We say to them now, as their hearts fill with fear,
“Good luck to all, and to all a good year!”

Compliments of Charles Gulotta
Taken from Mostly Bright Ideas

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The Passing of a Wonderful Soul…

I had a good friend pass away yesterday and even though I knew it would happen in the days ahead, it didn’t make it any easier.  With the holidays near and the gathering of friends and family, be sure and give care, comfort and hugs to those you love.

Time may seem endless but each day is a blessing…

In Memory Poem

I wrote this poem so that I could try and lift my spirits when I miss my loved ones very much. To suffer loss is such an awful experience, sometimes you have to experience bad times to know how a good time feels. I try remember the good times, you’ll need them to be able to look back and smile….

My Memory Library

© Sarah Blackstone
Imagine if I was given one moment,
just a single slice of my past.
I could hold it close forever,
and that moment would always last.I’d put the moment in a safe,
within my hearts abode.
I could open it when I wanted,
and only I would know the code.I could choose a time of laughing,
a time of happiness and fun.
I could choose a time that tried me,
through everything I’ve done.

I sat and thought about what moment,
would always make me smile.
One that would always push me,
to walk that extra mile.

If I’m feeling sad and low,
if I’m struggling with what to do.
I can go and open my little safe,
and watch my moment through.

There are moments I can think of,
that would lift my spirits everytime.
The moments when you picked me up,
when the road was hard to climb.

For me to only pick one moment,
to cherish, save and keep,
Is proving really difficult,
as I’ve gathered up a heap!

I’ve dug deep inside my heart,
found the safe and looked inside,
there was room for lots of moments,
in fact hundreds if I tried.

I’m building my own little library,
embedded in my heart,
for all the moments spent with you,
before you had to part.

I can open it up whenever I like,
pick a moment and watch it through,
My little library acts as a promise,
I’ll never ever forget you

Source: My Memory Library, In Memory Poem
Family Friend Poems

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Spirit of Thanksgiving

Spirit of Thanksgiving
In the spirit of Thanksgiving, kids ages 2 to 12 were asked what they are thankful for. There’s nothing more adorable than asking a child a serious question to see what their candid response will be. What you are about to read will touch your heart and make you laugh as we explore what kids have to say about being thankful.

The Serious Kids
Some kids have a serious side when asked questions and some kids just say what they think you want to hear. Either way, it warms your heart and puts a smile on your face. We went through an “I’m going to say what I think you want to hear” phase when my son was about 6-years-old. It was pretty obvious that he was giving me an answer that he thought I wanted to hear. It was still cute but I’m glad we are out of that phase and he can candidly open up about his feeling whether they are serious, comical or the honest truth — his answer is not in this category.
Be prepared to shed a tear and smile as you read what these kids are thankful for this Thanksgiving.
• “I’m thankful that I love everyone in our family and that they love me too.” — Lizzy, age 8
• “I’m thankful for my mommy, my daddy, my sister, my brothers and horses.” — Emily, age 9
• “I’m thankful for everything good — and bad — that has ever happened to me. The good makes the bad okay and the bad isn’t really bad because there’s so much good. So, maybe I’m really just thankful for the good since there isn’t really any bad. Ugh, I’ve confused myself. I’ll just say I’m thankful for my sister’s rock moves.” — Kenzie, age 9
• “I’m thankful to be in this world.” — Alak, age 9
• “I’m thankful for the doctor who fixed my heart.” — Jillian, age 12
The Little Comedians
Kids don’t have to try very hard to be funny — they just are. They have an uncanny way of saying what’s on their minds and often have no shame when answering even the most serious questions. Sometimes their little brains are thinking a mile a minute and two — or three, or more — thoughts blend together. Check out what these little comedians are thankful for this Thanksgiving.
• “I’m most thankful for my mom and dad… What? Am I missing somebody? Oh yeah, I guess my sister, too.” — Ella, age 8
• “I’m thankful for my parents’ ability to discern that one grunt mean yes and another grunt means I’ve gone #2 in my diaper.” — Dad on behalf of Finnegan, age 2
• “The zoo and the monkey bars… and breakfast bars.” — Bennett, age 3
• “I’m thankful for my rock moves.” — Jaisy, age 3
The Honest Truth
With childhood comes innocence and with innocence comes honesty. This Thanksgiving, these kids are thankful for things that make them happy — in more ways than one.
• “I’m thankful for the USA, family and summer.” — Ava, age 9
• “Baby Einstein!” – Brodie, age 2
• “I’m thankful for my family and Thanksgiving feasts.” — Peyton, age 5
• “I’m thankful for Beyblades and cookies.” — Hunter, age 9
• “I’m thankful for Fridays because I don’t have to do any homework.” — Steven, age 10

*From an article written in  

Even though it’s an older article, it still warms the heart…

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving with family and friends!

 I am so very thankful for my family, friends, home, work, food on the table, etc…  

Thank you for reading my posts! 

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Liebster Award

Liebster Award

Thank you for nominating me for this award. I really appreciate your kindness and  support!

Liebster Award is given to bloggers that have less than 200 followers.  It’s meant to encourage those bloggers to keep up the good work.  Nominations are given by fellow bloggers.

The rules for the Liebster Award are to publicly thank the person who nominated me, so big thanks to you   I appreciate your kind words and for thinking of me. Then I have to share 11 things about myself and answer the 11 questions that were asked of me.  I must write-up 11 questions of my own that the 11 bloggers that I will nominate shall answer.

11 Things About Myself

1. I’m a daughter.

2. I’m a mom.

3. I’m a sister.

4. I’m married.

5. I have 2 wonderful children.

6.  I love sunsets and listening to the water.

7.  I enjoy reading stories about families and writing for enjoyment.

8. I have been blessed with wonderful friends.

9. I started this blog about five months ago.

10.  I have a great dog that is always in a good mood.

11.  I like my tea in the morning.

Eleven Questions That Were Asked By The Blog Who Nominated Me

  • What’s your favorite film? Some of my favorites are, “To Sir With Love” and “City of Angels”.
  • What kind of music do you listen to? I enjoy alternative rock and traditional rock and roll.
  • What’s your favorite color? Shades of blue, yellow and orange.
  • If you stranded in a desert island – what five things would you take with you? Water, food, paper and writing utensil, shelter and a ticket off the island to use as needed.
  • What’s on your nightstand? Clock, my phone, glasses, remote, reading material.
  • Do you have a favorite TV program? I enjoy a variety, for example; Grey’s Anatomy, Chicago Fire, Modern Family, Elementary etc.
  • What’s your favorite food? I enjoy seafood.
  • If your boss gave you a day off, what would you do? I would spend time with family and friends or dependent on the day spend time relaxing.
  • Three words that describes you best? Organized yet flexible, Caring, and Dedicated
  • What is your biggest fear and why? To be honest, I don’t know.
  • What is your favorite childhood memory? One of my favorite Childhood memories is waking up Christmas morning with my family.

Eleven Nominees for Liebster Award- (There are too many to list…)

Questions for my Nominated Bloggers

  • What was your favorite Children’s book?
  • What kind of music do you listen to?
  • Where was your best vacation?
  • What do you like the most about your job?
  • What is one thing that you would like to change in your lifetime?
  • What piece that you wrote or type of writing are you the most proud of?
  • What was the best advice that was given to you?
  • What is your favorite comfort food?
  • Three words that describe you?
  • If you could change occupations, what would you do? and why?
  • What type of blogs do you like to follow?
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Homework for Happiness

Homework for Happiness

Shawn Achor, the author of The Happiness Advantage has done work on the brain and happiness and how we can retrain the brain to scan for the good things in life—to help us see more possibility, to feel more energy, and to succeed at higher levels.  Using Achor’s research and findings, Walter Chen, founder of iDoneThis stated four very simple interventions that can over time; actually rewire your brain to see things more positively.  On a productivity blog buffer, Chen stated, “That whenever you do specific tasks over and over again, they take up less of your brain power over time.”   So how do you do this?

  • Scan for the 3 daily positives. At the end of each day, make a list of three specific good things that happened that day and reflect on what caused them to happen. The good things could be anything — bumping  into an old friend, a positive remark from someone at work, a pretty sunset. Celebrating small wins also has a proven effect of powering motivation and igniting joy. As you record your good things daily, the better you will get and feel.  Create a happiness journal or place in a huge container for everyone to see.
  • Give one shout-out to someone (daily). This is a great idea!  Take the positive things you’re getting better at recognizing and let people know you’ve noticed. Take a minute to say thanks or recognize someone for their efforts, from friends and family to people at work. A great way to go about this is by sending 1 daily email to someone. It can be a grade level partner, whose advice you are now appreciating every day. A neighbor you’ve just met. Show courage and say thanks.
  • Do something nice.  Acts of kindness boost happiness levels. Something as small and simple as making someone smile works. Pausing to do something thoughtful has the power to get you out of that negativity loop. Do something nice that is small and concrete.  (Classroom- sharpening a pencil for a friend, Work Team-taking notes and making copies for an upcoming meeting, Family-taking the dog for a walk without being told)
  • Mind your mind. Mindfulness is paying attention to the present moment without judgment. Opening our awareness beyond the narrowness of negativity can help bring back more balance and positivity into the picture.

The lab-validated truth is that happiness brings us more success.  Make it a research project. Try this out with your class, your colleagues, or your family and see if you begin to see any different outcomes in your classroom objectives, your team member’s goals, or your family member’s happiness.

Sounds too simple, doesn’t it.  What would the world be like if we were just a little happier? I see this homework as being heartfelt, healthy, and helpful in being the great person you can be!

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A day in the life of an elementary teacher…

Here is a glimpse of an elementary teacher’s day:

A teacher arrives at school between 6:45 and 7:15.  She/he has enough time to make copies, set up the room as needed and prepare for the day’s lessons, attend a staff meeting, and grade papers.   Before the bell rings, a teacher may need to take a parent call, write or return an e-mail or talk to someone special waiting at their classroom door.  At 7:55, the students are lined up and come in to start the day.

Class starts with roll call and lunch count, the collection of notes, and then morning announcements. During this time homework or work completed is checked or handed in and progress reports from the prior night are returned, and students have their bathroom break. Teachers outline the day for the students, and complete classroom daily tasks, such as a morning problem, the calendar, etc.   Directions are also set on what the objectives are for the morning. These postings happen throughout the day, on a white board, a SMART board, or as outlined on their work.

8:20 arrives and it’s time to start teaching the day’s lessons. Elementary reading blocks are usually in the morning with lessons geared for the whole group and supportive lessons for small groups of students. These lessons will fulfill all the necessary grade level balanced literacy outcomes and skills, which may include word work, writing, listening, oral reading, presentations, silent reading, etc.  Throughout a day in whatever course or subject they are in, students are monitored to make sure they are participating, are actively engaged, listening and showing proof of their understanding.

Flexibility and being organized is the name of the game.  In a typical day there may be changes in schedules or interruptions. What type of interruptions?   Here are just a few changes to a scheduled day: students being called to the office, students having to go to a different classroom in the building, a student being late, other adults walking in the room needing support, a behavior situation. And even though a day may not turn out as planned, as students come and go, a teacher touches base with each student to make sure that they get the information and instruction they need.

By mid morning, classes may need to leave to go to specialized class such as ART, MUSIC, or PE.  The time out of the class is dependent on the specialized class and state specifications.  A teacher may take a quick bathroom break, take care of more calls or e-mails, grade more papers, enter grades or assessments into the computer, or prepare lessons electronically. A teacher may have a required or needed parent conference; meet with a principal, counselor, or specialist.

Depending on the district timelines, weekly schedules will include formative and benchmark tests to be given to record student progress.  These daily assessments help to guide the instruction for the day, week, unit or year.  Also during the week, time is scheduled for meeting with a team of teachers to review, analyze and act on the assessment data.

Later into the morning, the teacher picks up the students from a specialized class and returns to the daily schedule of the classroom. With lunch being around the middle of the day, if they don’t have an assigned school duty, a teacher leads her students to lunch, then heads back to the classroom to eat, grade more papers, meet with people for specific reasons and then plan or prepare for the upcoming afternoon.

The afternoon usually brings math, and the sciences, building programs such as health, community awareness, etc. Students have a recess break after lunch and then teachers go to pick them up for the rest of the day.  Recess time or a break is also an opportunity to work with students for enrichment, help with challenges, or to help a student who is new or has been ill.  Each subject area brings different approaches and strategies, and different procedures to follow.  A teacher may team teach or combine their class with another classroom, or grade level teachers may switch classes or students may have independent work time to research or work with cooperative teams.

Around 3:30, students complete an assignment notebook.  Teachers assist with this homework preparation as a class or individually as needed.  This work determines what is needed for the next day, the week, or into the following week. Students are then given special transportation notes, directed to a specific bus, daycare, special activity, after school intramural, etc. and get dressed and pack up for the appropriate outside weather.

After school, more conferences, or meetings may take place for individual or teams of teachers until 4:30 or 5:00. On other days as outlined by a school calendar, one may need to stay late for professional development or receive extra help with a new district initiative. The cycle of preparation begins again with the majority of teachers either bringing work home or coming in early so that they can look forward and be ready for the next day and weeks to come.

Even though a teacher’s day is ever-changing, the best part of each day is being able to meet student’s needs.

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