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04/01 Direct Link
Students wrote about change and how they want to change the world, others, themselves. They change me every day. Helping me see new perspectives, showing me different ways to think, to learn, to tackle problems. How to laugh at life’s obstacles and face them indifferently. How to change my teaching approaches so all can learn in a fun, safe environment. Students affect my character, my teaching intent, my plans. So who is the teacher here? Me? them? I need to write each student something that describes how they have changed me. Not for English 9, but for Creative Writing.
04/02 Direct Link
Music continues to fascinate me, the intrinsic value of each note, each rhythm, accents, dynamics, fermatas. The ability of composers to express wide ranges of emotions...to paint pictures. Mussoursky's Pictures from an Exhibition is the only this left of the pictures -- just the melodies and harmonies that describe them. Music moves us, inspires us, allows us the freedom to express ourselves. What would the world be without music? No birds would sing, no wind would roar, no waves would crash. The world would be silence. Like a long rest with a big fermata over it. Ugh. That wold stink.
04/03 Direct Link
I'm glad today that there is spring. THe temperatures are finally starting to get warmer, and the air smells like spring. When the grass is finally coming up, the earth thaws, the robins chirp and the fish come up from the depths of the lake. Even if it's still a little chilly in the morning, the sun makes things seem warmer. I'm always astounded that the trees, dormant in the subzero winter, still sprout buds and leaves. Bugs grouped together in the bark, awake from their slumber, only to be eaten by red headed woodpeckers. And the flies are back.
04/04 Direct Link
Reading others' writing is inspirational, motivational, and constructive, requiring much thought to comprehend, analyze, digest and synthesize into new ideas, perspectives, relationships and directives. Much like eating different foods that awaken the tastebuds, new reading awakens the senses to the world around them, various perspectives, cultures, ideologies and decades. Sometimes I wish I could capture all the thoughts, ideas, etc. that go through my students' heads -- if I could capture that just once. And sometimes I'm lucky enough to capture this in one student, for one reading, one journal, one moment. To capture that is priceless, eye-opening, an awakening.
04/05 Direct Link
When I was younger, I expected people to get older and wiser as they aged. And surprisingly enough, very few people, in my mind, do this. As the responsibilities that come with age increase stress, deadlines, loss of freedom, and loss of mobility increase, the sensory skills required to fully evolve into the complex human being that I had envisioned are lessened to that evolution fails to occur for many people. The younger generation -- that generation featured in that Levis ad Go Forth -- has the sensory skills. They are the movers and shakers, the innovators, the change the we need.
04/06 Direct Link
Spring has finally come -- I think. The wind was warm today, heralding in good weather. The robins were immensely happy. Rode courses in the outdoor arena, which went well. Couldn't believe how much difference a year has added to my horse's maturity. He handled them like a pro, even when there were deer. If I can make it through the next week to show, we'll do well. Just wish I could spend more time with my horse and less time with some people. Sometimes I wonder what the general population does....hobbies, spare time, interests...what do they think about?
04/07 Direct Link
Clipping horses for show today gave me lots of time to think. What are other people doing on a nice Sunday like today? It is nice to see more people out walking, biking and running on my drive home. But what do they do when the weather isn't so great? Sit around and watch tv? What do hobbies do to increase a person's sense of being? If a person doesn't have a hobby, interest, how does their life differ from a person that does? Do certain hobbies make more of a difference? Like hobbies that cover more of Bloom's Taxonomy?
04/08 Direct Link
Without inspiration, what is life? The world gives us multitudinous things to inspire us; I'm most often inspired by my students' writings. The little things they notice, pay attention to, see differently than general society. The perceptions of youth bring life to "old" things, like society's misgivings, the struggles and triumphs of life. And as I give this assignment to my young writers -- to write about what inspires them -- I will gain inspiration. They are the life of tomorrow, the change that will hopefully better this world, color this world, enliven this world. Without their youth, vigor, we are lost.
04/09 Direct Link
Senses. Sight smell touch taste hear. Do these make us who we are? Or who we aren't? The perfect pitch of a musician. The sense of smell of a perfume maker/tester. The sight of a jet pilot. The touch of a seamstress. The tastebuds of a chef. Some senses enable people to have a specialized career. Are people ever unaware of their senses -- that they just don't develop them like others do? How does evolution play into senses in nature? Bloodhounds, or eagles? Our senses connect us to the world, each other, ourselves. Help us be more aware of....
04/10 Direct Link
The snow geese are here, beautifully filling the sky with their black tipped wings. Their V-formations are so much straighter than the Canadian geese. Maybe the geese have been here too long, not knowing whether to migrate or not. What have they been eating all winter? Where did the snow geese come from? Where are they going? THey are so beautiful while here -- and I hope they stay for awhile. Unfortunately they came during the rains of the last few days. It will not stop raining. The fish would've been easier to catch with the water levels were low.
04/11 Direct Link
Have finally had internet restored. Was almost liberating for awhile -- no email from work. Made the day easier. Had time to think. Reflect. Plan. Email is still not up but the rest of the system is. Wondering how many emails will pop up. Wondering how long people would keep emailing me if I suddenly fell off the face of the planet. Ironic how technology and social media will keep people seemingly forever for a long time. Like a permanent memory. How long will my Facebook page exist after I'm gone. Will they delete it after no activity for awhile. Hmmmmm.
04/12 Direct Link
She stood on the peak of the mountain, absorbing the beauty of the clouds below. If she screamed, would anyone hear? If she tossed a heavy rock, where would it land below? The clouds rumbled, and lightning created pockets that glowed beneath her feet. But her air was calm, serene, light. Peace and tranquility she had found. Not wanting to think about below, she scanned the mountain for a place to set her tent, her tiny individual sleeping bag that was good to -100 degrees Fahrenheit. FInding a spot, she was taken aback by teh small white flower growing there.
04/13 Direct Link
Work email has been down for four days. Four days of meaningless emails from spam, internal communication and others. Four days of no server -- having to old school it. I find this fun and refreshing, no ties to the computer. Others don't. They weren't around when we didn't have computers; no idea what to do. No hard copies of lessons to teach from. No idea how to wing it without technology. It's funny, it's ironic. I almost wondered if they'd have to close school because the server is down. Ha! Back to pencil and paper and the real printed dictionary.
04/14 Direct Link
The mellow full sound of his horn filled the room as Mozart's third movement from the third concerto began. Tempo at 120. Listening to the soft soft pianissimos and the full out fortes contrast the mood of the piece. At times, only the grand piano could be heard, echoing the melody the horn had already started. Mozart would be happy. As the horn grew to a full fortissimo, with the piano trying to keep up, it suddenly diminished to the softest pianissimos. The horn player seemed to smile laughingly at the pianist, as if saying, "Can you play this soft?"
04/15 Direct Link
No words were said. Or had to be said. They both knew what each other was thinking. They had been together long enough, been through enough, that they seemed to share each thought, each breath, each moment. They had become one, whether they knew it or not. The comfort they found in this was strange, new, unique. Never before had each allowed someone to get this close, to know all about them, to trust completely and love unconditionally. They were the ying and the yang -- but which was which? Or did they just blend together over time...yet stay individual?
04/16 Direct Link
Captured in the bottle was the taste and smell of summer -- the honeybees pollinating the sweet peach trees to create the best harvest ever. The light pink blossoms in the trees created a pink canopy under which we walked, the bees humming a sugar-laden melody as they worked to feed their queen. We didn't know it yet, but we would return in fall, after the storm had changed us, after we had lost too much, after we had reset our plans. We would return to walk under the peach-laden trees to try to recapture what life had been.
04/17 Direct Link
Sometimes I'd really like to ask people what they were thinking in the morning when they got dressed. I mean, do they have any idea how others perceive them by what they look like? Or are they that oblivious to the world around them? What's their mental state? Do they care? I know you're not supposed to judge a book by it's cover, but sometimes it's hard to get around the choices people make in dressing, tatoos, piercings, hair color, etc. Oh yeah, and then there's the weird contacts people use. Why do people think they have to change? Really.
04/18 Direct Link
Ok, so yesterday I complained about how people dress. Today, it's gonna be about why can't people unite without something terrible happening. Like Boston. Or New York on 9/11. Why does it take tragedy to bring people together? Why is it so difficult for people to treat each other with respect, hospitality, understand, compassion? Sometimes I remind myself that even the "bad" people in society were babies once, were innocent once. What happened to shape them into who they are now? The news focuses so much on what's wrong with society, but overlooks the formative years. What happened then?
04/19 Direct Link
If tomorrow was my last day on the planet, I would spend it with friends. Laughing, talking over food and drink. Reminiscing about memories shared, experiences lived through, chances taken. I would tell people what they meant to me, how they shaped me, how much I feel about them. I would relish every minute. I wouldn't hold back telling them what they mean to me like I do now. I would risk it all, like in the poem "If" by Rudyard Kipling. And now I'll try to apply that to today, to tell people how important they are to me.
04/20 Direct Link
The Mississippi is flooding. Again. Sandbags are being stacked from the Quad Cities south. Reminds me of 1993 when the rains didn't stop until July. I'm wondering about the effect on people in these areas. Are the floodwaters reminding them of their futile actions, how much water was in their houses, the damages that could not be undone. Are they suffering some kind of post-traumatic stress 20 years later? Or do they just try to forget and move on? The floods of '93, '08, and now are getting old. When will the weather go back to normal? Probably never.
04/21 Direct Link
Life moves on whether you want it to. As Shakespeare wrote, we are merely actors. The part we play depends on us. Too many people are passive players, like leaves in a stream, allowing life to choose their course for them because they don't feel the urge to do anything. I hope that my students are in that stream paddling, determining their own course, exploring the rapids and the hidden caves and the calm waters. That they are active actors in their own lives, choose their own paths, and remain fresh and new and creative. Graduation is coming up. Wish.
04/22 Direct Link
It's Earth Day! The grass is getting greener now, but it seems that spring has prolonged its entrance this year. Am hoping the trees will have leaves by May 1. The landscape still looks barren; no leaves, no snow. But green grass. Golf courses finally opened this weekend. Am almost wishing I played. Chasing a white ball around a large course just doesn't appeal to me. I'd like to ride a horse around it though. And all the holes are marked! Wonder what the fine would be. Trespassing plus damages. When I'm 90 I'll do it. Blame it on dementia.
04/23 Direct Link
I've got that feeling one gets right before they get really sick or their health improves greatly. I don't know whether to stay here or go home. Too many obligations that would have to be rejuggled around if I went home. My equilibrium is shot. My sense of vocabulary and complete sentences is shot. Maybe I'll stay home tomorrow. If I don't feel better. I think that would be best. Push through it no matter what. Ugh. I hate this. And the weather isn't helping. It's supposed to rain. Again. Temps drop. No wonder I feel so cruddy. Push on!
04/24 Direct Link
I the space of a millisecond I think about what has past and what will be and realize that I should not dwell on the past, but revel in the now, the real. Except what's real is sometimes like a stagnant pool of water, waiting for the next rainfall to fill it with freshness, or a hot scorching sun to reduce it to a memory. The now is sometimes hard to live in because I'm waiting for the what's to come, and in waiting, ponder too much of what has been. What has been? Decades or memories, experiences, celebrations, forgetfulness.
04/25 Direct Link
Yesterday was a monotonous day until I realized how lucky I am to have a passion for my job and my hobby, and to be able to share my life with someone special. So many people do not have any of the things I do, which makes me wonder about their lives and what happened along the way. I'm thankful for the parents I have, for growing up on a farm, for the comfort of animals and nature, for the small things in life that some never notice until it's too late. And for the time to reflect, reminisce, remember.
04/26 Direct Link
Today we shared poetry with the 7th graders to celebrate Poem in Your Pocket a week late. I already have a lot of ideas for next year's activities around this and April, which is poetry month. The days are getting longer. I have so much to do. But I'm still wanting to go to bed earlier like it's winter. I wish that weren't the case. The weather has to have something to do with this. Ugh. Sleep. Read. Eat. Work. Ride. Same thing over and over and over again. Thank goodness for the weekend. Add some variety to every thing.
04/27 Direct Link
Today was a Day of Caring for the freshmen, who completed volunteer hours in the community. I wish everyone volunteered at an early age. I think it would help with the character building of our youth. To work with and interact with members of our community and learn from them, about them, etc. But I realize not all people can do this. They have to work, support their family, etc. So many people are becoming part of the poorer class these days, and as the social-economic structure deteriorates, so does the rest of the fabric. It is terribly appalling.
04/28 Direct Link
Friends. I have few of them, but those I have are solid and good and supportive and fun. And I got to spend the weekend with three of them, separately. They help me with my moral compass, my focus, my intuition, my thoughts, my motivation to do something. They help me laugh at my mistakes, and push me to be more reflective. They celebrate my successes with me -- and my failures. They are never far away but yet are too far away. They are there when I need them -- and when I don't. Without these friends I would be lost.
04/29 Direct Link
Technology is a booster and a hindrance. It serves to improve our lives through things it provides -- like teaching ideas, skyping, awareness through global contacts. It hinders us in that we are easily distracted by the entertainment it provides, the places it takes us when we google something, our sense of helplessness when it doesn't work. Sometimes I wish they would rerelease "Until the End of the World," and get people to thinking about what would happen if the electricity went out. I guess they did that in "Revolution." I could live without most of it. Or so I think.
04/30 Direct Link
It's 80 outside and I don't want to be here. If they can have "snow days," why can't they have "hot days," like when the weather is just too good to not enjoy it? Sure, I'll work all rainy weekend if I could just go outside right now and stay there. There's not a cloud in the sky. And it's supposed to snow on Thursday. REALLY?!?!?!?!?!?! It will be May. I think this global warming thing is totally something the scientists should look into. I'm wondering what the crops will be like this year. Enough to feed everyone? I hope.