Intricate: Weekly Photo Challenge

Spring is in full bloom. I can see it and I can feel it.  It’ll be gone before I know it. That’s the way things to work – gone and replaced by something new. The flowering trees and shrubs are in full bloom and they are absolutely stunning with their pinks, reds, and whites.

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at the corner – a shrub, I simply overlooked until this evening

Continue reading Intricate: Weekly Photo Challenge

Poem in my pocket – homework

Earlier today, I discovered to my dismay,
I had missed an important day.
I looked down into my screen
to discover what I had missed
National Poem in Your Pocket Day.

I didn’t have a poem in my pocket,
It – my pocket that is – was rather empty,
But I smiled, and moved forward,
One foot after the other,
And, made it count, anyway.

Sometimes, a day flashes past or the week disappears before my eyes without me realizing it.  This week has been a week full such days. It’s easy to miss a day, it’s not so easy to miss a week. Time waits for no one.However, thanks to Mary (one of my favorite bloggers) from A Wilderness of Words I was reminded about National Poem in Your Pocket Day. Thank you Mary!

courtesy Random House kids
courtesy Random House kids

Continue reading Poem in my pocket – homework

Earth Day 2015

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Earth Day was Wednesday this year. Last year it fell on Tuesday and the year before on Monday. Next year, it will be a Friday. The day – April 22 – moves according to the calendar just as Earth is moving – every year, every day, and every moment. We live on a dynamic planet. Earth Day 2015 was two days several days ago. As usual, my timing is askew.

We humans share the planet with all other living things – all sorts of plants and animals. We are a dynamic species always evolving, always searching for ways to change our environment to best fit our needs. In doing so we have changed Earth.

Originally, humans wandered from place to place in search of food. Sometimes these early humans were successful and other times not so successful. However, we humans are clever and always searching for a better way and those early humans sought ways to find food much more quickly. We eventually learned that it was much easier to domesticate plants, animals, and learned to farm. So, we made pastures and fields where forests and meadows once were. Once we harnessed our food supply, we used our cleverness to adapt Earth even further.

And, that is how we find ourselves in the mess that Earth is in today. Continue reading Earth Day 2015

Early Bird – Weekly Photo Challenge

Ivy’s head rests on my knee and she gazes through the window, watching the shadows in the yard searching for movement protecting her home. Her warmth and the coffee help bring the day to life for me.

earlybird

I enjoy getting up early, sipping coffee, and catching the day’s first lights as it creeps across the yard and illuminate the trees. It is quiet in the family room, at least on Sunday morning. Usually, on weekdays, W and I are out the door on our way to school and O is just rising readying for school. However, Sunday morning is different – the day begins much slower and quieter. It is just Ivy and I, peaceful and serene.

There is irony, too. Continue reading Early Bird – Weekly Photo Challenge

Afloat – Weekly Photo Challenge

I have been trying to stay afloat all year. This year’s trek began almost a year ago when I learned about my move to science from English Language Arts. There have been days when I have felt like a turtle with its nose just barely above the surface gasping for air. Then, there are the days, like yesterday when I felt I was floating in the air; and the day before when I could have been tumbling through air.

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the sun sets through the trees – soon, leaves will appear – spring is here

Change is never easy, especially when it is not of your choice, and as the school year winds down, I look back and reflect on the successes of the past year as well as the many opportunities for the coming year. At present, I do not know next year’s teaching assignment, so change could be in the air or not, I just don’t know. However, what I do know is that the coming year will be full of chances to teach my students life lessons, regardless of the content area. I teach kids, that’s what I do. I’ll focus on what I know and what I can do for now and float.

When I came home last night, the air was crisp cool and clear and I wanted to walk. Continue reading Afloat – Weekly Photo Challenge

Ephemeral: The Wall – 03/26/1967

washmonWe are in DC, as you can see. It is Spring Break and we needed a getaway place. There other reasons we are here, but for now, we are here to take in the sights, sounds, and the tastes of our nation’s capital. I have been here before and so has B, but this is the first trip to DC for our kids. By the time, I was W’s age, I had visited several capital cities across the globe, but never had been to DC.

Ephemeral – \i-ˈfem-rəl, -ˈfēm-; -ˈfe-mə-, -ˈfē-\ – lasting a very short time

That’s how life is. You blink and it’s gone. Life is about being in the right place at the right time. Sometimes it’s good and sometimes it’s not good. It depends, and my good might be your not good and vice versa, it’s perspective.

There is a lot to see in DC and if you blink it will be gone, but I always try to visit The Wall. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial. I visited it for the first time in 1995, and again in ‘08, and again yesterday. Visiting The Wall never gets old. I always look for the same name, Douglas E. Dickey. 17E 50. Continue reading Ephemeral: The Wall – 03/26/1967

The state bee

Today is gonna be a great day. I usually end my posts with this, but today I’ll start AND end with the quote. The quate is aline is from a song, aptly named “Today is gonna be a great day” and it was in part, part of the inspiration for Making the Days Count almost five years ago.

This could possibly be the best day ever
And the forecast says that tomorrow will likely be
A million and six times better

So make every minute count
Jump up, jump in and seize the day
And let’s make sure that in every single possible way
Today is gonna to be a great day

It is gonna be a great day, because today is the National Geography Society’s state Geography Bee and my student qualified for it. Actually, he really isn’t my student he’s a sixth grader and he goes to my school. I just happen to be the Geo Bee coordinator and very passionate about geography. I’ve been helping him prepare, first for the state qualifying test and then for the state competition. We’ve had two study sessions where I’ve helped him and guided him by asking questions from past geography bees, but he really knows his stuff. Today will be the big test and he’ll be up against 100 other kids from across Illinois from grades 4 to 8 or ages 9-14. Most of them will be boys, about 80-90% and I wish him the best.

The best part is that I get to go and watch. Continue reading The state bee

Life in the balance

crocusthumbIn a perfect world everything would be in balance, lately though it seems the world – my world – has been out of balance. Much of the imbalance comes back to teaching and having a family. In reality, I am no different from anyone else – I have a job and life – everyone does; I just have a blog and I am writing about it. Nevertheless, I do not want to sound like I am whining and if I am, please sound off in the comments section. If you have followed Making the Days Count, you already know I share the lessons I learn from my students often and share what I learn from what I teach. It’s a delicate balance – the balance between school and my blog and between school and home.

Lately school has been winning; I have too much to learn, too much to do, and not enough time to do it in. So, I have not written as much as I would have liked. I am trying to put first things first.

It’s been a tumultuous year for us – we’ve lost two family members in the last year – both on my wife’s side of the family and in the past two weeks B’s family suffered the loss of two close family friends a husband and wife whom B has known her entire life, a virtual second set of parents. The loss has hit her hard and thrown her for a loop. Sadly, no amount of comfort I offer seems to ease the pain. I listen, hug, and stay calm. I cook dinner when I can and help as much as my work schedule allows. Still, I feel as if I come up short in every role – husband, father, teacher, and student.

Even at my age, I am a student as much as I am a teacher – because I am always learning and always asking the question of why? When we stop asking why, we begin asking the question when and it is not up to me when, so I keep asking why and trying to learn as much as I am able. Continue reading Life in the balance

Chocolate bunnies

photo courtesy of Fannie May
photo courtesy of Fannie May

A month ago, our area got its heaviest snow of the season, 19 inches, and this winter rivals last winter for being cold. According to our local weatherman, this February tied the record for being the coldest on record. We have had snow cover since that early February snowstorm and the snow has thawed, frozen, thawed, and refrozen leaving the backyard a crust of frozen icy snow. I don’t venture out into the yard often, just occasionally to quiet a barking Ivy, our Brittany Spaniel, or to toss Ivy a ball, or clean up after her. It is rather perilous tramping through the frozen yard. It doesn’t seem to bother Ivy – she has smaller paws and is much lighter than I am, so she can walk across the yard without sinking in as I do. Last Wednesday night we got another three or four inches of snow and the driveway was covered Thursday morning. I cleaned it off and the bright sunshine finished what I didn’t clean or clear; it’s evident spring is on its way and the days are getting longer again. Continue reading Chocolate bunnies

Salt from sand

Legend has it that when the Romans defeated the Carthaginians in the Third Punic War in 146 BC, the victorious Romans sacked Carthage plowing under the crops and sowing salt into the soil, rendering the land ruined. Probably by pouring seawater into the farmer’s fields because salt was valuable at the time. I learned this in middle school history in Mr. Burn’s class. It was a harsh punishment and the lessons of history are full of harsh penalties and punishments, of people acting with vengeance instead of reaching out and pulling up. Sadly, history repeats itself – repeatedly.

the sidewalk outside the school - it's dry but crusted with salt
the sidewalk outside the school – it’s dry but crusted with salt

Last week I was in Mississippi to visit my step-mom and I had to leave a day early because of Octavia. Octavia was the winter storm that wreaked havoc across America’s midsection at the beginning of last week. I decided I couldn’t risk being stranded in Oxford or at the Memphis airport on Monday and flew out Sunday evening. It was a good decision because all of Monday’s flights from Memphis to Chicago and the first two flights Tuesday were cancelled. I got home and it was bitter cold here but the roads were dry, in part to large doses of salt when it has snowed. The roads are coated with a white salt brine that seems to leach from the road and sidewalks until the spring rains wash it all away.

Enough of the history and the weather lesson and on to science. Continue reading Salt from sand