Monday, January 20, 2020

#MTBoS2020 - Change can be scary!

Earlier this month, I posted that one of my goals was to blog at least twice a month in 2020.  Thankfully, I ran across this tweet by Jennifer Fairbanks yesterday to help support my goal:

If you want to join the #MTBoS2020 blogging challenge, you can sign up here.

As for the rest of my goals, they are just rocking right along.  I've been able to keep up with my exercise goal and have mostly lost the weight I gained over the holidays.  And I've continued to email parents (although I need to do this weekend's emails still!).  So all in all, I'm considering this a win! :)

I had my students share some of their 2020 goals as well based on a tweet I saw over Winter Break.  It has really warmed my heart to read their responses, plus it just makes my room look awesome! :)

So on to some other changes in 2020...

When I left my classroom in December, I had a Promethean board with an overhanging projector and an aging Lenovo laptop.

When I returned in January, I had a 70" TV connected wirelessly to a Surface Pro.

I knew the TV was coming as my room is a pilot room for updated technology.  But it still caused a bit of anxiety as I figured out how to use it. :)  Overall, I've been pleasantly surprised at how well it works, although my students do miss the larger Promethean board, even though the picture wasn't as clear and the bulb was dimmer by the day.  The TV has a clear and crisp image, but due to the layout of my room, there's often a glare from the windows and the perspective angle is a bit challeging for some of the tables, but it's now been 2 weeks without any major snafu, so that's a win, right? :)

But school isn't the only place where change is happening...

At the homefront, our family is growing by one!

In early November, our eldest cat, Allie, passed away after living a very good and very long life.  Also during that time, our other cat, Kenzie, had been diagnosed with diabetes, so we were learning how to manage her illness and giving her 2 shots a day.

A few weeks ago, hubs decided he was ready to maybe look for another kitty to add to our home and had been casually looking at the various adoption sites.  Saturday morning, he sends me a picture of a kitty that had been taken in this week at Animal Welfare and he wanted to meet her while we were out running errands.  Thankfully, when we arrived, she was still available and this little darling will be coming home after her spay surgery later this week.  Isn't that face just adorable?? :)  She doesn't have a name yet, so suggestions welcomed!

But the biggest change / scary moment in my life is coming up in a few weeks when I will be travelling internationally for the first time in my life, plus I'll be travelling all alone.

In my "One Word" post a few weeks ago, I mentioned that my word this year was Courage because I need some courage to step out of my comfort zone and try new things. 

When I shared with my students about going out of the country for the first time, several students started sharing their best travel tips.  One of my students is a bit concerned about my safety while travelling alone and started a list of tips and hints on my whiteboard.  My personal favorite is to not get involved with the mob, mafia, or drug lords....:)  If you have tips to add, please drop them in the comments :)

Friday, January 17, 2020

#MyFavFriday - Sharing some Love

How are we already two weeks into the new semester? 

Third quarter traditionally is the slowest for me, but I suspect that won't be the case this year as every couple of weeks I have something on my calendar... a day off, professional development, enrollment, parent conferences, then spring break!  It's going to be important to slow down and just be present in the moment, cherishing those times with my students and colleagues, as before we know it, this year will be gone and my kiddos will be moving on to the next chapter in their lives.

As part of being present and really appreciating those around me, I wanted to do a #MyFavFriday shoutout to a few special people and their thoughtfulness over the past month..

Upper left - One of my Geometry students is extremely artistic and has been an absolute delight to have in class.  During the last week of school in December, while trying to study for finals, he decided to create custom shrinky dink lapel pins for all of his teachers.  Mine is a ladybug, of course! :)  I don't recall what he made for each teacher, but every one was individualized based on that teacher's likes and/or subject matter. 

Upper right - One of my colleagues was also super crafty in December, making these custom keyring lanyards.  I have had one of those stretch coil keyrings for years, but this lanyard is quickly becoming one of my favorite things!  I love that it's easy to loop around my arm and easy to find when I set down my keys in my classroom :)

Lower left - One of my Forensic Science kids was absent for a week as she had gone to visit family in India. Upon her return, she came in after school to make up a lab and we started visiting about her trip, including the food.  The next day, she brings me this baggie of homemade traditional Indian snack foods - how precious is that??

Lower right - Another colleague and I have a shared love for pens - I mean, seriously, can you be a teacher without loving a good set of colored pens?? :)  But this was my very first stand up pen caddy and I have to say that I love it!!  It's the perfect size to hold about 15 pens and so convenient on my desk without being obtrusive.  Definitely one of my favorite new additions to my desk this semester!

Monday, January 6, 2020

#Made4Math - One Word

It's the first week of January and this is my 2nd blog post of 2020 - yay for keeping my blogging goal so far! :)

It's also the first Monday back to school for the spring semester and that alarm clock is definitely NOT my friend!  During the summer, I do a great job of not messing up my schedule because the sun streams into my bedroom bright and early, but in the winter, it's just a little too easy to stay snuggled under the covers until the sun finally comes out.

I don't know about you, but the first week back to school for me is about reestablishing relationships, reviewing procedures, and the normal housekeeping details that come with a new semester, which includes setting up new notebooks!

This year, I decided to add a goal sheet to my notebook set-up and thought I'd share it with you too!

On the front, it asks them for their "One Word for 2020".

On the inside, it asks why they chose that word plus asks for two goals - one related to my class and one of their choice (personal or academic) plus 2-3 action items to help them achieve their goal.

My word this year is Courage.  The reasons are a bit more than I want to go into right now, but I need courage to release some control, courage to move out of my comfort zone, and courage to step up.

Click here for the PDF file!

Friday, January 3, 2020

Happy New Year!!!

I don't know how we made it here so far, but Happy 2020!  It seems like only yesterday that I was gearing up for back to school and now we're halfway through the year.

Overall, this break has been a time of minimal interaction with the outside world.  I have read a lot and worn down my tablet battery on more than one occasion.  I have rarely put on real clothes, instead living in leggings and t-shirts, and I have generally been an absolute hermit. I have succeeded in messing up my sleep schedule, but I have relished the daily naptime and the fuzzy blanket on the sofa.  I have accomplished very little on my to-do list, but I'm (mostly) okay with that.

Today was a restless day, a day of irritability as I face the truth that school starts back in a few days.  Tomorrow, I'll head to school to clean and organize, then Sunday will be all about lesson planning again before we start back into the daily routine of life.  So, it's time to take a step back and think about the big things I want to accomplish this year...

Goals for 2020


  • Exercise / Health - I made my FitBos 2019 goal of 135 hours, but just barely.  I had too many days where I was just not in the mood to exercise or the weather wasn't cooperating or my plantar facsicitis was acting up.  However, as of the afternoon of Dec 31, I had completed 135 hours and 4 minutes :)  This year's goal is 140 hours.  I also have need to lose about 20 pounds, so that's on my radar as well.
    • Specific Goal - Exercise at least 4 times a week.  Track calories via phone app
  • Reflection Time - This is an area where I've struggled a lot.  In 2020, I would like to get back to a regular routine of personal / spiritual reflection and devotional time, as well as my professional reflection time with blogging.
    • Specific Goal - Daily devotional time / journaling and blogging at least 2 times per month


  • Parent Contact - I started emailing "Student Shout Out" emails in August and while I haven't sent as many as I should, my goal is to have sent one to every student by the end of the year.  The responses I've received from the parents and students have been heart-warming and I really enjoy this time each weekend.
    • Specific Goal - At least 5 emails per week
  • Growth Zone - Overall, 2019 was good to me, but it also found me in my comfort zone a lot.  I didn't push myself as much as I could have or should have from a professional standpoint.  I'm at an awkward stage in my career where I'm definitely a veteran teacher, but with that comes a sense of disillusionment that frustrates me.  I'm not quite sure how to achieve this goal, or even how to articulate it, but I feel myself moving down the path of "ehh, no worries, that initiative will be gone within 2 years and a new one will take its place" and that's NOT okay with me.
    • Specific Goal - Download new podcasts to listen to during commute, start back with #eduread books

What are your 2020 goals?