Category Archives: history

25 years ago…..

25 years screams by in an instant. It seems like the other day, I was standing outside of a church in Versailles, Ohio nervously pacing….

Our wedding day - Warren, B, me, my mom and David
Our wedding day – Warren, B, me, my mom and David

The post below is from 2013…

Today is our 25th wedding anniversary. 25 years ago, today was a great day and there have been many more in between. Today is gonna be a great day, I know it and I can feel it. So, I’d better jump up, jump in, and seize the day. Making the Days Count, every day, all day.

Thanks for stopping in….

22Yesterday was our 22nd anniversary. I have known B for much longer, almost thirty years. The time has flown by. If I close my eyes, it seems like yesterday when we met, got married, and had kids. It was also my younger brother’s birthday. For a short time, we will be consecutive 51-50-49. I am the oldest, the smartest, the best looking, and the most humble, in case you didn’t know. Yesterday was also homecoming for W and it was a day full of activity finishing with a dance. Oh, the memories it brings back. It’s fall in the Midwest, again. It happens every year. The days get shorter and cooler, and the trees begin to turn and then leaves begin to fall. It happens, always. Continue reading 25 years ago…..

wind in my sails

I teach kids, kids that are 13 to 14 and getting ready to enter high school. It’s fun and exhausting; and even though it’s work, I don’t call it work, because when it becomes work, I think I’ll quit and never go back. I hope that day never comes, I mean the day when it becomes work.

That’s why, when I get an e-mail like I did today, it gives me the energy to keep going.

Hi Clayton,

Congratulations! You’ve been accepted into the Recap Pioneer program! Here’s a badge for your blog. Please send us a short bio and photo for the Pioneers page.

I am excited.

2016-pioneer-badgeLet’s Recap is free software that teachers can use to assign a question and students can respond by recording a video response. It’s easy to use and easy to use for my students. I’ve used it twice, once on a test run and more recently last weekend to gauge how well my students understood why the American colonists were upset with England and King George III in the period leading up to the American Revolution. In previous years I’ve assigned a protest letter and students wrote the letter and handed it in to me. This year I tried Recap and I was impressed with the results. My students still used the traditional planning with pen and paper- though it wasn’t required – but the results showed deeper thinking and I believe better transfer of the content. I’ll discover how well it worked next Friday when I give the unit assessment.  Fingers crossed.

Teaching is an art. Continue reading wind in my sails

We the people

It’s Constitution Day, again. This year it falls on a Saturday, so I won’t be celebrating with my students until Monday. In the meantime, I am reminded of the importance to share and celebrate today, even if I only catch the end of Saturday and post late in the evening.

one of the many buckeyes we rescued today at the softball field....
one of the many buckeyes we rescued today at the softball field….

Saturday is always a busy day, even if it is Saturday. The past several years we’ve spent our Friday nights watching a high school football game, but W, my football playing son, graduated from high school in May and is no longer on the team. So we don’t have to be at all of the games. We’ll still root for the Tigers, but we won’t catch all of the games. Besides, O, my softball playing daughter, had a softball game Friday night and we rooted her and her team on to a win.

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” Preamble to the Constitution.

Seven Articles. Twenty-seven Amendments. 229 years and the framework is still valid. It still works. At the time, it was divisive. Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay came together to collaborate on articles to influence the passage of the Constitution. These articles published anonymously are better known as the Federalist Papers and have been used by the Supreme Court justices to help decide many of the decisions they’ve handed down since the Constitution became the law of the land on June 21, 1788 when New Hampshire became the 9th of 13 states to ratify the Constitution. Virginia and New York, the two most populous states would become the 10th and 11th states to ratify the document before George Washington was elected our first president. North Carolina and Rhode Island would join the Union while Washington was in his first presidential term. By the time Washington made his farewell address in 1796, the Union would grow to 16 states with Vermont, Kentucky, and Tennessee joining the original 13 states.

But you don’t follow me to read Constitutional theory or even U.S. History, though it’s interesting. Just admit it, it’s okay. You click MtDc to find out what’s happening and read a little bit of positive in a world filled full of negativity. Continue reading We the people

Bible Sunday

Fifteen years ago today, I was teaching seventh grade geography and the counselor walked into the room at the end of second period, she looked upset and out of sorts. After the bell rang and dismissed my second period class, another class entered, the students got to their seats, and the bell rang. Before the third period class began, the counselor read a short prepared statement that changed my day and told us that the course of history for our nation and the world had changed forever. I don’t remember what she read, but she left immediately afterwards and the room felt like the air had been sucked out of it. Somehow, we all made it through that day and over the course of the next few days we learned the true horror of that day.

our flag flies at half-mast today,
our flag flies at half-mast today,

This morning, fifteen years later, 9/11 is a Sunday. This time it is Bible Sunday for our church’s third and eighth graders. Eighth grade is the confirmation and class and O waited excitedly for her Bible. She was born over a year after 9/11 and for her, 9/11 holds only the meaning that we have tried to share with her. She didn’t experience it, nor did she know what the United States was like before 9/11. She only knows what it is like now.

In April 2015, on our way home from Spring Break in Washington, D. C. we stopped at the Flight 93 – 9/11 Memorial near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. We will never forget.

This morning, I watched my sweet daughter O beam with excitement when she received her Bible and she could barely contain herself when she returned to the pew to sit with us for the rest of the service. She fidgeted throughout the sermon and helped me find the closing hymn in the hymnal – “We’ve a Story to Tell to the Nations.” We sang it as John Wesley instructed congregations in his Instructions for Singing from 1761, we payed attention to #4,

“Sing lustily and with a good courage. Beware of singing as if you were half dead, or half asleep; but lift up your voice with strength …

It was a wonderful service and the hymn was a reminder that though much has changed for our nation and the world, our principles continue to survive. May we never forget. Continue reading Bible Sunday

the one hundred most

Yesterday was my first day back to school. Summer break was great, but it’s time to get back to school\work and a regular schedule. I’ve been busy all summer getting ready for today.

I know it looked like I was having fun at the lake, but I was really thinking and planning about how to begin the new year with my brand new 8th graders. AND, this year I have a bonus, I have my very own 8th grader at home – so I can experience 8th grade 24/7 without interruption.

I vaguely remember my own 8th grade experience. I struggled all year, and if it weren’t for an amazing teacher – Mrs. Atlee in RWS (reading, writing, and spelling) reaching out and giving me a hand when I needed it – the year might have turned out differently. I am grateful for her help and continually try to pay back her assistance by paying it forward to my students.

The key to getting a great start to a school year is how the first few days of school are organized and set up. My most successful years have been the years when I spent the first few days creating a climate in the classroom that fostered learning and curiosity.

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when finished, these bins will be used to demonstrate creative learning…
In the 41 years since I was in 8th grade (the first time), the classroom has changed significantly. It’s changed because as educators, we better understand how students learn and grow, and technology has had a hand in changing how students learn as well.

I am going to sound old, but let’s face it, I AM old – relative to my students. When I was in 8th grade, television had seven or eight channels, tops. Television, books, and movies – that was it for media, oh and radio. We had the major networks CBS, ABC, NBC, and PBS as well as three or four independent channels. Today, television has hundreds of channels and comes in all sorts of flavors, and then there is the internet and the media programming available online. What is available to my students is overwhelming, but the reality is my 8th graders are still 8th graders with 13-14 year-old’s brains still developing like my brain was developing 41 years ago. Today’s students are exposed to more content, but in reality, they learn it differently. Continue reading the one hundred most

One small step….

Last night was a full moon and the skies were clear. B, O, and I were headed to dinner and the moon was up, yes it was late. The sun sets after 9 PM at this time of the year and we were working and playing late. Dinner was late, but its summer and we’re on a different schedule.

the moon between the trees, rising.
the moon between the trees, rising.

I stopped the car in the lane, climbed out, and captured the moon with my camera. The I got back in the car and pointed out that 47 years ago, man walked on the moon.

Except, I was wrong. The anniversary is today – July 20.

“One small step for (a) man, one giant leap for mankind.” Neil Armstrong July 20, 1969.

I recall the day forty-seven years ago clearly, or rather the evening. We were in Venezuela and it was a late summer night. My dad had taken a job working for Creole, an American Oil Company and we had moved to Venezuela in June 1969.

I was seven years old and had finished first grade. It was summer. Continue reading One small step….

details – part 2

Sunday afternoon, it rained. We needed the rain, it was dry and the fire conditions in the area are low, yesterday they were listed as moderate, but the rain was enough to lower them. No one wants a fire in the forest. On the flipside, no one likes rain, especially at the lake.

the view through the screen, the large gray dot - the boat
the view through the screen, the large gray dot – the boat

I used the rainy day to relax – actually binge watch several episodes of Madame Secretary on Netflix. I am embarrassed, but not really. I watched my first episode a couple of weeks ago and now I am hooked. I watch few television shows but I did get caught up in Downton Abbey, and when it came on Sunday evening we’d watch it together, B and I. We’ll miss that show.

The rain began gently, then it poured. I love the sound of rain on the roof, it’s peaceful and calming. Exactly what I needed, yesterday. Continue reading details – part 2

What’s going on?

I believe in Making the Days Count, and I believe in the power of music. And I believe in the beauty of nature and so much more. I’ve been working on my essay and reading a few more essays from the book, in between chapters of Hamilton and other things.

I drove home from the lake Saturday afternoon my mind filled with thoughts.

Sunday morning, I sat on the deck reading the paper and planning my day. I skimmed messages and noticed my friend, Carl, had posted a song to Facebook and Instagram.

I listened to the song and replied to Carl’s prompt, ‘we’ve got to find a way.’ On Facebook, I replied, “Indeed, change begins with you and me, we must be the change we want to see in the world. I am going to do a good turn and pay it forward. Peace.” My replies were personal, about where I was at the moment. A few hours later, I understood there were more ways to listen to the song, to hear the words, and this morning I find myself seated at my desk scribbling a post together.

instagram
Click to listen

Continue reading What’s going on?

This I believe

O leaves for camp in a few hours and then, B and I will have the cottage by the lake to ourselves for the first time in almost twenty years, maybe longer.

I hadn’t realized that until a moment ago.

What will we do?

I am here until Sunday at the latest, I had originally planned to return home this afternoon or Thursday morning, but my plans changed and I decided to stay later. O’s camp runs through Sunday, which is why I’ll need to return Sunday.

What to do – relax, talk, boat, swim, chores, relax? Probably all of them and some at the same time.

I’ve written about the cottage many times – almost every time I am here. It’s a gift, rather a legacy from Grandpa and Grandma and I think of them each time I visit.

the lake changes constantly - rain is forecast for the day..
the lake changes constantly – rain is forecast for the day..

Continue reading This I believe

opposites – a photo challenge

west, then north across the flat prairies of northern Illinois
west, then north across the flat prairies of northern Illinois

There is a thin line between independence, and dependence.

It’s a beautiful Sunday morning by the lake and as is often the case, I am the only one awake and it’s peaceful.  Independence weekend by the lake, it’s our family tradition. Today, we’ll spend time in the lake swimming, boating, fishing, and spending time together. Tomorrow, we’ll take in the parade and spend the evening marveling at the fireworks display in town. In between, we’ll swim, boat, fish, and spend time together. That’s why we’re here, to rest, relax, and restore.

Life is full of opposites, contrasts and differences. Continue reading opposites – a photo challenge