Monday, August 3, 2015

Monthly Review of Goals for July

I got a lot more done this month but mainly because I was not traveling. I taught my graduate course during the month of July so that took up my mornings.

Yearly goals:
  • 1.       Reach my target weight by the end of the year. –  I did not eat sensibly this month but mainly because when I got home from work I was so hungry that I binge ate. I did try to walk to counteract my eating.
  • 2.       Finish knitting my Fair Isle vest. – I finished my vest and I love it!
  • 3.       Spin 4 lbs. of fiber for the year.  
a.     January – spun 4 oz. of Into the Whirled “Rhinebeck”, 4 oz. Hobbledehoy Gemmy Bats
b.     February – spun 4 oz. of Fiber Optic “Turquoise to Tangerine Gradient”; started on 4 oz. of Pumpkin Queen.
c.     March – spun 4 oz. of Miss Bab’s “Blackwatch” that I bought in 2011.
d.     April – spun 5.4 oz. of Loop’s Bullseye Bump in the “Somewhere” colorway and 4 oz. of Highland Handmades Masham fiber in the  “Talbot” colorway.
e.     May – spun 4 oz. of Brown Alpaca from a fleece that I bought from my friend Lisa.
f.      June – plied the Loop bump and the Masham fiber.
g.     July – spun 4 oz. of Leading Men Fiber Arts  in the “Steve and Andy” colorway.; 4 oz. Fiber Addiction “Freak Like Me” colorway.; started on a Loop Batt
Total: 41.4 oz.
  • 4.       Use at least 4 skeins of my handspun this year. –
a.     January - Basket Weave scarf
b.     February – Summer Shadows shawl by Angelea McGarrah
c.     March – working on the Oaklet Shawl by Megan Goodacre
d.     April – Finished my Oaklet Shawl by Megan Goodacre
e.     May – started on the Belle Greene Shawl by Nina Machlin Dayton
f.      June – still working on my Belle Greene shawl.
g.     July – Finished my Belle Greene shawl
  1. 5.       Dye my own yarn or fiber – dyed some KnitPicks fingering yarn in indigo
  2. 6.       Walk at least 1200 miles this year.
a.     January - 157.71 miles (avg. 5.1 miles per day)
b.     February - 148.34 miles (avg. 5.3 miles per day)
c.     March - 182.63 miles (5.9 miles per day) I’m really happy with the mileage I got this month!
d.     April - 181.6 miles (6.1 miles per day) I really rocked on my mileage and my daily average this month!
e.     May - 165.82 miles (5.3 miles per day). I didn’t do as well as last month but I still did pretty well. I spent the last 3 days in bed with food poisoning, which really messed up my daily average.
f.      June - 151 miles (5 miles per day). This was a struggle this month but I was happy to see that I still did better in total miles than in February (I know! There were less days but the total miles was still better!)
g.     July -  172.02 miles ( 5.5 miles per day). I struggled with this because I like to walk early in the morning and it was hard to do this and get ready for work. Sometimes I walked half the time in the morning and half in the evening. It was also hard to walk when I got home because the heat this month has been horrendous. At the end of the month I was really surprised at my total mileage for the month. 
                 Total: 1159.19 miles

Daily/Weekly/Monthly goals: Last year, I only had a 60% successful completion rate so I am aiming to do better than that this year.
  1. 1.       Daily – Name 3 things that I’m grateful for each morning. – I do this every morning before I get out of bed.
  2. 2.       Daily – A Photo A Day project – I’ve kept up with this and really enjoy the comments and suggestions I have gotten. I enjoy looking at other people’s pictures too.
  3. 3.       Weekly – Contact a friend and tell them something nice. – I really like doing this.
a.     January - I went out to lunch with my friend Sandy one week and I’ve contacted others through Facebook.  
b.     February - Contacted long distance friends on Facebook and wished them happy birthday!
c.      March – kept up with friends on social networking and tried to schedule lunch with my friends Sandy and Sylvia but they were either going out of town or having to work.
d.     April - Contacted some friends but couldn’t ever work out a day we could meet for lunch.
e.     May – tried to meet up with a former student but she ended up getting sick on the day we were going to meet for lunch.
f.      June – Met a lot of nice new friends at the knitting retreat and connected with some known friends too.
g.     July – Went out to lunch with Sandy once, Dyanna once, and Kathy once. I tried to meet up with Femessia, and Sherry but they were out of town. We also had dinner with David a couple of times.
  • 4.       Weekly – Work in my yard/garden at least once a week.
a.     January - It has been too cold in January to do too much but I’ve blown the leaves out of the driveway, raked leaves in the back yard, and fed my worms.
b.     February – raked leaves out of the backyard, removed branches that have littered the yard.
c.     March – weeded, cut dead stuff from winter, fertilized the lawn
d.     April – weeded and edged my flower beds., set up 2 new rain barrels, dug out rusty pole in concrete which was in the middle of the lawn.
e.     May – Did a lot of weeding when I was home but it was hot and humid outside!
f.      June – Did some weeding.
g.     July – I did some weeding but it was so hot! I also planted some elephant ears that I bought at the flea market. We bought a lawn mower since my lawn man moved.
  • 5.       Monthly – Knit 10 squares on my Mitered Square Sock Yarn blanket. (Total 120 for the year)
a.     January – completed 10 squares
b.     February – completed 15 squares
c.     March – completed 11 squares
d.     April – completed 11 squares
e.     May – completed 13 square
f.      June – completed 10 squares
g.     July – completed 10 squares
Total - 80
  • 6.       Monthly - Read one non-fiction book every month. I really enjoyed doing this last year and it forced me to read books out of my comfort zone.
a.     January – The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
b.     February - The Roosevelts: An Intimate History by Geoffrey C. Ward and Ken Burns
c.     March – Publish on Amazon Kindle by Kindle Direct Publishing
d.     April – The History of Hand Knitting by Richard Rudd
e.     May – Becoming Unique by James Charles
f.      June – A Country Year: Living the Questions by Sue Hubbell
g.     July – Pioneer Girl by Laura Ingalls Wilder (an annotated autobiography)

How are you doing so far with your goals? Join me in the monthly review and let me know how you are doing!

Image: 'Goals'
Found on

Friday, July 31, 2015

Useful Information In and Out of the Classroom 7/31/15

Here are some interesting sites that I’ve found this week, thanks to my PLN. As a teacher, I feel we have to keep up to date concerning research in our field and current issues in the education system. I hope some of these inspire you, inform you, and even have you asking questions. Thank you for coming by and visiting!
Note: Each resource is labeled with a level and subject area to make it easier to use.

Levels:  E: Elementary; M: Middle; H: High; G: General, all levels; SN: Special Needs; T: Teachers

Subject Areas: LA: Language Arts, English, Reading, Writing; M: Math; S: Science; Health; SS: Social Studies, Current Events; FA: Fine Arts; Music, Art, Drama; FL: Foreign Language; PE: Physical Ed; C: Career; A: All

Trending Words“Trending Words revolutionizes vocabulary instruction, allowing you to easily create vocabulary for your students from your most trusted source for curriculum--other teachers!
Koma Koma – free Ipad app; a simple & easy stop motion animation app for iPad. (L:G; SA:A)

Road to Grammar – quizzes, games, and lessons on grammar (L:E; SA:LA)

NBC Learn – “For more than 80 years, NBC News has been documenting the people, places, and events that shape our world. NBC Learn, the educational arm of NBC News, is dedicated to making these historic stories, images and primary source documents available on-demand to teachers, students, and parents.” (L:G; SA:T)

LeafSnap free iPad app; “Leafsnap is the first in a series of electronic field guides being developed by researchers from Columbia University, the University of Maryland, and the Smithsonian Institution. This free mobile app uses visual recognition software to help identify tree species from photographs of their leaves.”  (L:M, H; SA:S)

Original photo by Pat Hensley

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Summer Teaching

In A Dollop of Bitter and Lots of Sweet from Sioux's Page, Sioux talks about the summer graduate class she teaches. She asks,

How about you? What bittersweet moment can you recall?”

I also teach a summer graduate class and this is the 8th year I have done this. My class is for certified teachers who are getting their master’s degree in special education.

We only meet 4 weeks for 4 days a week. We have a summer program for students ages 6 -14 where we teaching them reading, math, and writing skills. The students only attend for 15 days over the 4 weeks. When they first meet with me, the teachers all have this incredulous look on their face because they can’t imagine making any kind of difference with students in that short of time. Yet, because of course requirements, they submit lesson plans and teach these skills every day to a class of 8 students.

By the second week, we are getting remarks from parents that they can already see a difference with their child. The children are coming home eager to read or show what they learned that day. Some are learning skills that they struggled with during the school year. The 3rd week came with even more positive comments about the differences that the teachers have made with the students. Now, the teachers are proud but amazed at how they could actually make the difference in such a short time. I’m proud of my teachers and the program because I believe it is a great opportunity for the students who struggle with learning.

The bittersweet thing that stands out for me is the uncertainty that I gave enough to my own students (the teachers).

I have lots of questions that I’m not sure I have answers to yet but will be thinking about it for next year.

Did I teach the teachers enough to help them in their own classrooms?
I’m not sure the content area teachers have really bought into the idea of special education and will vary the activities and assessment enough for students with special needs. How can I get this message across better?
Teachers expressed a concern with having to individualize for students and meet the required standards. For me, it seems pretty easy which may come from experience. I need to remember that it didn’t happen overnight for me but developed  over the years. How can I convey this better for the teachers?
Did I give the struggling teacher enough confidence to continue her growth in her career?
Did I give enough support and encouragement when they needed it?
What could I do differently next year to make this course even better?

I hope I did a good job but I always have these thoughts that I could have done better. I felt this way every year that I taught in public school so I shouldn’t be surprised that I still feel this way. Will I ever feel I did a great job and leave it at that? I don’t think so.

What are your bittersweet moments? Please share.