Lauren Daigle, Cancer Walk, Harvest Fest, AND a Day Off!

What a great weekend!

On Friday, we saw Lauren Daigle in concert at the Rosemont Theater. She was AMAZING! What a voice and what a message. If you do not know who Lauren Daigle is, check her out. Now. You will not be disappointed – I promise you! Her new album is the focus of her tour, (and she sang every song from that new album) but also added in some older songs and a few surprises too. She sounded so good live. That’s no always true. Sometimes an artist sounds nothing like their recordings when you see them live. So not the case here. I was blown away by her powerful voice and message of love, redemption, and grace!

 

Saturday we did this:

We participated in the annual breast cancer walk with Making Strides Against Breast Cancer. We walked in honor of Gay Cirignani, a breast cancer survivor. This statement on their website sums it up so well:

“Nearly 250,000 people will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year. That could be your mother, sister, daughter, your wife, or even you. We hold Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walks so anyone touched by breast cancer won’t have to face their diagnosis alone. We do it to raise awareness and money to fund research, support services, and early detection. We hold Making Strides events to save lives.”

We were so proud to be a part of the Gay’s Breast Friends team! This year my entire family walked, and it didn’t rain until we were done!

Yesterday, we celebrated Autumn at our 3rd Annual Harvest Fest at our dear friend’s lake house in Twin Lakes, Wisconsin. Unbeknownst to us, Auntie Pat smuggled Michelle in without telling us, and that was the icing on the cake! The weather was crummy, bu that didn’t stop us from having a good time!

….and then there is this: Columbus Day! Hooray for a day off! Enjoy!

Wild Card Drama and Other Random Things….

Well, this is it. IT! There are no more chances. My beloved Cubbies MUST win tonight! I know they can do it. I can’t take much more razzing from a certain co-worker at school who will remain nameless……

This happened today. I was minding my own business, walking as usual. I was on lap four when I looked down and saw this. This snake. In the middle of the hallway. What??? My first thought was that somebody was trying to be funny with a rubber snake. Nope. That snake wasn’t a fake. I took a detour on lap 5 and stopped in the engineers office to announce that THERE IS A SNAKE IN THE HALL! Wonderful Bob to,the rescue. He scooped it up and returned “her” to her cage in the middle school classroom from whence she came. Whew! Turns out she had been missing since Thursday! Just another day at Peterson School 🙂

 Isn’t she just the cutest thing? I swear she knows how to pose. I am the lucky recipient of a new phone, and let me tell you  that this phone can flat out take pictures! This camera is amazing! I love new technology and I am having so much fun playing around with my new machine – and this thing is a machine! So thankful for a husband who gets me and my love for new tech, (and he loves Wrigley too!)

So, that’s all for now……….I’ll be busy tonight watching my boys, pushing for a W! GO CUBS GO!

True Blue Forever (aka Cub Fan for Life)

 Sigh. Here we are. The best record in the National League. In first place. And then the bats go cold. No hitting. None. The magic number has been up and down and now sits at 1 for the Wild Card and 5 to clinch the division. What? Why is this always so hard?

People are talking about the Panic Meter. I have to hear it from the sox fans I work with every single time things don’t go right. We just need to play baseball!!! We need to right this ship. Tonight. As in now!

We can do it. I believe. I am a True Blue Cub Fan and I’ve been through a lot of ups and downs. At the end of the day, this is my team- win or lose-and of course I hope they clinch this division. As my husband keeps reminding me, anything can happen. As Ron Santo used to say, “Baseball is a funny game!”

So Go Cubs Go. Ozzie Guillen said it best on the pregame show. “Just hit. Just hit!”

Cubs Near Playoff Berth

What is the Cubs Magic Number?

***A late edition:

The Hiatus is Over – Switchfoot!!!

This:

I woke up this morning to hear this news on my daughter’s Instagram Story. The hiatus is over, and this band is back to work. What a nice way to start the weekend! I am so glad to hear this! I love Switchfoot, and I really love Jon Foreman. I think he is a genius. I think his music is intuitive, inspiring, intelligent, and interesting. (I also think it is very creative-but creative doesn’t start with an I 🙂 I love him in this group,

and I love him on his own:

If you don’t know Switchfoot, give them a listen. It’s adrenaline for your ears. If you don’t know Jon Foreman, give him a listen. It’s a balm for your soul.

I’m off to inform Alexa that I want to hear Switchfoot on repeat……… have a great weekend!

Do You Daily Five?

This:

And this:

  This is Daily Five in action. We use Daily Five every day (hence the name) for our literacy program. The five components of Daily Five are: Read-to-Self, Read-to-Someone, Word Work, Work on Writing, and Listen-to-Reading. Students choose when they want to work on these activities during the literacy block which gives us teachers the time to meet with small groups of students. When Daily Five is up and running, when my students have been trained to be independent workers, thinkers, and problem solvers, D5 is a beautiful thing! It’s like a symphony or poetry in motion. Kids are spread out all over the room in the flexible seating option of their choice (that’s another post for another time) and they are practicing skills at their level that will make them stronger readers and writers. IT’S GREAT!

When we first heard about D5, my daughter and I (yes, she’s a teacher too) decided to read about it. We ordered these books and read them, and then we shook our heads because we did not have the brain space to deal with this! I brought the D5 idea to my 1st grade team, and they flat out laughed at me! It seemed so labor intensive and so hard to manage. So, we put it away for a year. After that particular school year, we decided to give the idea of D5 a try. We read all about it, scoured teacher websites, and met to plan this new thing out. We rolled it out (about 12 years ago) and we never looked back. We needed to work together to make sense of it-when you have a teacher daughter and a really good team life is good. We even went to see D5 in action at a nearby school – and that made it click for us.

Now, I would never even consider teaching literacy without Daily 5. It is simply the best system I have found. It helps my students become independent learners and offers them choice and some control over their own learning. It allows me to meet with small groups without kids asking me “What do I do now?” It gives students what they need at their reading level, and it is differentiation at it’s best.

Interested? Want to give it a go? You are welcome to come and see D5 in action. Let me know! Also, there are so many wonderful resources out there. Start by heading to the official site and make sure you download this and watch this:

Go D5! You will love it!

Autumn is Here…..

Tis true. “And all at once summer collapsed into Fall” Oscar Wilde. This weekend feels like fall. For real. I’m a summer girl, but this year I am ready for cooler, crisp air. The pumpkins, leaves changing colors, fall festivals, sweater weather, all of it.

Yesterday, I was lucky enough to attend a fun festival with these fun ladies:

We went to the Windy City Wine Festival. It was a windy day and it certainly felt fallish, and we had such a good time! We have fun no matter what we are doing, but this is one of our favorite events (we’ve done it twice 🙂  We had our own personal chauffeur (thank you Martin) and we enjoyed walking around, sampling wine and sparkling water. Sparkling water you ask? Yes! Spindrift and Polar Seltzer each had a booth at the fest. Some of us are addicted to the stuff, and these two booths had all the fizzy water you could drink in any flavor you could hope for! So good!

I am so blessed to have two daughters who like spending time with their mother. I am also blessed that their friends like spending time with their mother and that we all like to spending time together! I do not take that for granted. I am a lucky woman 🙂

If you have never been to this festival, I suggest you mark your calendars for next year. It is usually the first weekend in September (after Labor Day.) You can spend an hour or a few hours, and you will meet some great people too! We always end up making some extra friends along the way (especially if Pauline is with us!) Maybe we’ll see you next year!

Respect, Respect, Respect

Maybe respect is all we need. Maybe it is as simple as that. I recently read this article about the real issues in public schools. What an article! Take a look and a quick read:

Heartwarming teacher stories overlook the real issues in public schools. This article talks about respecting teachers by treating them as professionals in a respected profession. What is more important than educating our future? What matters more than the children in our nation? Some of the things we teachers have to put up with would NEVER be tolerated in other professions. NEVER. Aside from the story about the administrator painting his school and the teacher needing gifted sick days while battling cancer, I have heard so many other stories of educators putting up with crazy conditions just so that they could get the job done. Just so they could make a difference in the lives of the students placed in their care. Just to be a professional.

How about the young teacher working in a blended classroom with the promise of a Diverse Learner team teacher, and an aide all day – but the aide never shows up because she is helping out in the office or lunchroom, and the DL Teacher is split between three other classrooms???

How about all the teachers who purchase the basic supplies needed in order to ensure their students have an great learning experience?

I could go on and on listing real situations where respect is lacking. I know that  professionals working in other fields would not put up with  these conditions. I also know that the grass is not greener on the other side. I know that other professions have their issues. I know that life is what you make it and nobody better bring up the whole “summers off” thing (that’s another post for a different day.)

On day three of the new school year, I hope that you will read the article referenced above. It’s something to think about………

 

 

Oh My Stars!

So, I just completed my first week of work for school year 2018-2019. Some observations:

*I am not ready. It takes a while to adjust to working when you have been off all summer.

*Setting up a classroom is a lot of work. A lot.

*I could not go back to school without an amazing team. Thank you team!

*Having my husband make my lunch every morning is a blessing worth more than gold! Thank you Daniel!

*When your school administration understands what you need. When they know what you are dealing with. When they are compassionate and kind. It makes a huge difference in how you feel about returning to work.

Am I ready for students to arrive on Tuesday? Well, not 100% I’m not gonna lie. However, I never feel ready and I have been doing this job for quite a while. Will we have a good day? YES! Will it all get done? YES! Will I change things around? YES! I love innovation and I love technology so my students are in for many different experiences this year.

So I plan on enjoying this long weekend. I plan on being mentally and physically ready for this school year on Tuesday. School year 2018-2019, here we go!

P.S. Check in with me on Tuesday evening to see how I feel then……..

To be continued…………

A Letter to The New School Year…

Dear New School Year,

The time has come to join you again. It is with some reluctance and trepidation that I begin this endeavor. You see, I have been a lady of leisure for the past few months and I rather like who I am in the summer. I am not stressed. I am not rushed. I am not worried. I am not short tempered. Somehow when I get back together with you, I become all of these things and more. Besides becoming stressed, rushed, anxious, and crabby, I also become less patient, more tired, very busy, and somewhat scattered.

I know this is not really your fault. Every year I promise myself that this won’t happen. I vow that this will be the year I roll with whatever comes my way. This will be the year that I guard my time so that I do not become overextended. This will be the year I remain patient and calm. This will be the year I try to do less better. This year is no exception and I vow to be a calm, cool, and collected teacher. The fact of the matter is, I seem to blow it during the first week! We shall see how I do this year. I will check in during week three or four, and I’ll keep you posted 🙂

Here are some things I know:

I work with a great team of teachers. This is extremely important as no teacher is an island and we need each other desperately.

I love my job. I really do. There is no other job I can see myself doing. I think I was just meant to be a teacher.

I work in a great school. I feel supported by our administration, fellow faculty members, school community, and our families.

God is good. He loves me and He has every day of this new school year planned out already. Nothing takes Him by surprise and He will take care of me.

So, here we go! Off on a new learning adventure! I will miss watching my day games (GO CUBS) and my husband and sweet pups will have to get used to not having me around (this is a huge adjustment I tell you.) There are far more good things ahead than behind, so let’s do this new school year!

Sincerely Yours,

A 2nd Grade Teacher

Napping dogs on my lap 🙂

Sandwich Loaves – a Dying Art?

A good old sandwich loaf.

Please excuse the lousy photo. It occurred to me that this food item is a thing of the past, and so, the picture is wonky. Let me back up and explain. I was at a baby shower last weekend and we were sitting around chatting as women will do when they are together- especially women who have not seen each other for a while! We were reminiscing about this delectable treat – the sandwich loaf. Nobody makes these anymore. The sandwich loaf is a lost art. Now, we were divided on the sandwich loaf. Some of us hate sandwich loaves and others (ok, a very few of us) love sandwich loaves. I am in the “I love sandwich loaves” camp. So, what happened? When I was younger, sandwich loaves were a staple at any shower be it wedding or baby. In fact, it wasn’t a shower without a sandwich loaf! I have never made one. There was a select group of ladies who would make them, and so, I do not know how to or what goes into the making of a sandwich loaf.

I decided to hunt around to see what goes into a sandwich loaf. I found a good description of what a sandwich loaf is. Very informative. In fact, this article aptly describes the sandwich loaves I remember. There are tons and tons of recipes for sandwich loaves on the internet. A simple search brought up many good and yummy looking recipes like this one Celebration Sandwich Loaf. Doesn’t that sound lovely? Who wouldn’t want to eat that at a wedding or baby shower? Or how about this one, Party Sandwich Loaf? I mean, how could you not want to eat this at a shower?

The technique seems the same as always. You take a loaf of white bread but I am sure you can use any kind of bread. The loaf has to be uncut. Then, you slice it into layers like you would slice a layer cake. You decide what filling you want to put in between the layers. Personally, I like a layer of tuna salad, a layer of chicken salad, and a layer of some sort of cream cheese mixture. This is the beauty of a sandwich loaf. You can put anything in those layers! Check out the recipes. The sky’s the limit! Be creative!

I am planning on creating one soon. Very soon. I shall let you know how it goes. Let’s reinvent the sandwich loaf. Let’s bring it back and make it appropriate shower food once again. Who’s with me???

Summer’s Swan Song

Wrigley does not want summer to end.

Well, this is it. The last week of summer freedom. One more week and then the  work begins. Making lunches. Setting the alarm clock. Waking up early. Following a schedule. All the things that don’t happen in my summer life. There are so many things I am going to miss about summer. Things like:

*Spur of the moment activities (no schedule means when the spirit moves, you go!)

*Lunching with my husband.

*Puttering in my garden.

*Reading, reading, reading books for the sheer pleasure of reading.

*Walking with Katie (and sometimes Christine) every morning.

*Just being lazy.

The start of a new school year is hard, I’m not gonna lie. Setting routines with little people is not an easy endeavor, but it is worthwhile and I do love being a teacher. It takes all of us, kids and teachers alike, to adjust to this new beginning. I found a great article explaining how to help children deal with back-to-school stress. I think these tips are good for teachers as well! September can be rough, but by October, we are on a roll and life is good. If only we could fast forward to October!

So keep us in mind. All of us starting a new school year. Be patient with us if we seem stressed out or scattered. Give us lots of hugs and reassurance because we need it. Here’s to school year 2018-2019! May you be the best year yet!

P.S. This is a shameless plug, but here goes……. If you’d like to help a great group of 2nd graders start the year out well, would you consider making a donation to our Donors Choose Classroom Project? You can check it out here:

http://www.donorschoose.org/mrsmartens

THANK YOU 😊

Geneva, Illinois With The Neighbors

We are in the last days of my summer break, and that means that every minute is precious! In a few short weeks, I will be back in school so we play hard in August! On Tuesday, we ventured to Geneva, IL with our good neighbors. It doesn’t matter what we do with the neighbors – we will have a good time, but the plan was to head out on our annual shopping trip to Geneva.

At the beginning of our shopping trip.

There are certain stores we always head to. The Little Traveler is one of those stores. Around the world in 36 rooms is what they boast, and they mean it! You can get lost in this store as it is almost like a small city. Room after room of things to look at. Usually, someone in our party gets overwhelmed and declares that she will wait outside on a bench for the rest of us to get through the entire store. They have everything you could need or want in that store! You can even eat lunch there, but we did not. We like to eat here:

Kathryn displaying her lovely engagement ring!

Cotto A Legna is where we like to have lunch. Delicious food! Great service, good location. We usually do a little shopping, work up an appetite, eat lunch, and then we are right back at it! The chef even made us our favorite salad, even though it is no longer on the menu! If you find yourself in Geneva, you will not be disappointed if you stop here for lunch!

After lunch, the shopping continued……

We all came away with a few bags. After all, that is the mark of a successful shopping trip! We ended our time in Geneva by visiting Kilwins for some ice cream. What I really appreciated was the ice water that was available as you entered the shop. We were thirsty! We were able to quench that thirst immediately- even before we ordered our frozen treats. What nice attention to detail, or at least concern for their shoppers on a hot summer day! Thank you Kilwins!

Another summer tradition in the books. More proof that we are winding down and heading into fall. I am so glad I have these great neighbors to celebrate life with! That is truly a blessing, no matter what season we are heading into 🙂