Category Archives: Reading

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

Final Friday

82 days go quickly, believe me. They fly past. School starts next week and today is Day 77, the last Friday of summer break. Five days remain in my summer break. It’s been a good break, just the right amount of time. Almost.

I keep telling myself, ‘If I had a more time……’ but, I’ve had enough time. I’ve done the things I needed to do to get ready for the coming year and I’ve done the things that I needed to do to rest, relax, and restore.

baseball game in Manzanar War Relocation Camp - 1943, photograph courtesy of Library of Congress
a baseball game at Manzanar War Relocation Camp – 1943, photograph by Ansel Adams,  courtesy of Library of Congress

We’ve spent time as a family. We’ve watched softball games, and I’ve listened to and watched my Astros and a couple of Reds games. We’ve been to the lake – boating, swimming, fishing, and hanging out. We’ve gardened, removed weeds, and painted a shack. We’ve sung songs and blasted Coldplay, before and after the concert. It’s been a good summer. Continue reading Final Friday

“You Raise Me Up” a Tuesday’s Tune

Today, I am honored to have Patricia from jansenschmidt: Blogging From the Edge of Eternity guest post here at Making the Days Count dot org. I am not certain when I first ‘met’ Patricia, but I’ve been reading her blog ever since. I’ve followed her from northern California to Vicksburg, Mississippi where she moonlights with her husband at the historic Baer House and blogs at jansenschmidt BLOGGING FROM THE EDGE OF ETERNITY. Where imagination abounds, nothing is impossible.  Indeed, nothing is impossible, it’s gonna be a great day. Thank you Jansen/Patricia. I’ll let her tell the rest of the story.

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First of all, thank you Clay for inviting me to be part of your Tuesday’s Tune project. I am honored to be included, as I am a fan of your blog, primarily for its positive message.

You asked me to write about a song that gives meaning to me for making each day count. I chose “You Raise Me Up,” by the group Celtic Women because I feel certain it must have been written for me to remind me that, even though I lost my mom in 2008, she is still here, still supporting me and still encouraging me. She raises me up to more than I can be. Her absence reminds me to make each day count.

mother daughter quote

I never thought myself to be much like my mother, but I’m everything I am today because of how she raised me. So often I feel her presence pushing me on. I never would have said that my mother was particularly encouraging when I was a kid, yet I feel courageous today. I feel strong and empowered and beautiful because she instilled in me good values and the desire to do what’s right. As the song says: “I am strong because I am on her shoulders.”

little girl on shoulders

I especially like this version of the song, because there’s a piano solo (I play because my mom played) and fireworks (one of my favorite things).

Again, thank you for this opportunity to share my special song. I hope it inspires everyone who reads this blog to never lose sight of the little things or take for granted the things that matter and, most especially, to make each day count.

For more information about me please visit:

Website: http://www.jansenschmidt.com
Find me on Facebook at JansenSchmidtAuthor
Follow me on Twitter @JansenSchmidt
Blog: https://www.jansenschmidt.wordpress.com

last Sunday in July

It’s Monday, August 1. Yesterday was Sunday, July 31 – the last day of July. It’s always a bittersweet day. The first day of August means the month of August is here and it means school is coming, soon.

the sun sets, day is done
the sun sets, day is done

Back to school shopping, school supplies, a regular schedule, and wearing pants (soon) every day.

Yesterday I spent the day boating, reading, and cooking.

I’ve been reading Hamilton by Ron Chernow, but it’s not easy reading. I picked it up last fall and read the first two chapters before setting it down for something lighter. It’s full of facts and details that are interesting, incredibly interesting, but it is difficult to sit and read at the lake. I discovered Audible and have listened to several chapters while driving home and back this summer. I am at the point in the book where Hamilton’s affair with Maria Reynolds is revealed and his reputation takes a hit. ’Say No To This’. America’s first sex scandal.

I needed something lighter, easier to read so I picked up Dead Wake: The Last Crossing by the Lusitania by Erik Larson. I spent much of the afternoon and early evening reading. Despite the subject it is much a lighter topic and an easier read.

After dinner, I enjoyed B’s blueberry crisp. A perfectly sweet finish to the day and remembered I needed to cover the boat.

blueberry crisp, a book, and summer
blueberry crisp, a book, and summer

The sunset. Continue reading last Sunday in July

Saturday morning spring in your step

Saturday morning by the lake.

“Saturday morning was come, and all the summer world was bright and fresh, and brimming with life. There was a song in every heart; and if the heart was young, the music issued at the lips. There was cheer in every face and a spring in every step.” Mark Twain from The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

Friday was a great day. We got a few chores off our list. But, there are more, there is always more. Always.

But, after the chores there was the lake and fun.

We took the boat out for a test ride and some fun. O ‘surfed’ and so did a couple of her lake friends from down the lane. It was a fun evening.

I stayed in the boat and ‘filmed’ and shot stills. I still got wet putting the boat away. Continue reading Saturday morning spring in your 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

details: a photo challenge

It’s mid-July, school starts in a little over a month. I am not panicking, but wondering. Focus on the BIG rocks, the details have a way of working themselves out.

We are Up North. Michigan, by the lake. Again.

We arrived late last night, slowed by traffic, and our own desire to get off the beaten path. To slow down and relax.

That’s part of why we are drawn to the lake. The other part is family and tradition. Summer by the lake, playing in the water, boating, grilling, dinner at the table as a family, campfires, ‘s’mores, and reconnecting. Down time.

the lake and the moon, late friday night, early Saturday morning
the lake and the moon, late friday night, early Saturday morning

Last week, I posted a photo of the moon over the lake, and last night the moon shone brightly illuminating the lake and bathing the surface with its light. I pulled out my camera, went out onto the dock, and tried to frame what I saw. You can see what I got. Details.

the moon, up close, details
the moon, up close, details

I am never sure what will come out when I press the button and take a photo. I know what I can see, but I am limited by my ability and equipment. Sometimes it works out and I can see details I couldn’t see. And other times, well, it doesn’t come out and I try again. Last night’s photo of the moon revealed details I couldn’t see, but I knew were there. Continue reading details: a photo challenge

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?

By the lake, Friday morning thoughts

“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” Mahatma Gandhi

Last night, I grilled burgers and B and I enjoyed dinner together. Earlier, we’d planned to take the boat out and have fun boating, but storms rolled in and we covered the boat, put it on the lift, and came inside.

sunset. standing on the dock looking west in the sprinkles
sunset. standing on the dock looking west in the sprinkles

Done for the day.

B read on the couch, Ivy curled up on her pad exhausted from being in the lake all day, and I started dinner. It was a cloudy stormy evening along the lake in northern Michigan. It rained a little and then stopped. All we got was a little rain and thunder the heavy rain went south. I pulled the grill out and grilled the burgers. We enjoyed our dinner and finished it with fresh Michigan strawberries and vanilla ice cream.

Perfect dinner. Continue reading By the lake, Friday morning thoughts

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