Monday, December 31, 2012

I am plenty.

The picture is from Story People
The words are pretty, spot on, AWESOME!!!

     I have written many posts expressing my frustration, anxiety, fear, sadness and... HOWEVER! 2012 has given me nothing more than what it should. I stretched myself more than I ever thought I could. I have grown more professionally the last 6 months then I have in many years. I would not trade one minute of the experiences and events I've been through for something easier or less heart wrenching. 

So to 2012 I say THANK YOU! 
To 2013, I say... bring. it. on!
Because the truth is...

I am plenty.
I have plenty.

I am more than much more

Saturday, December 29, 2012

I matter to this guy

I matter to this guy. Laying on my couch yesterday this creature crawled next to me and fell asleep. It was a moment that made my whole spirit smile. He somehow manages to know exactly what I need at any given moment. Mostly what he helps me remember is All You Need is Love

"Nowhere you can be that isn't where you're meant to be"

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Time to reinvest in myself

Watching the Mumford & Sons "The Road to Redrocks" on this snowy morning. I loved watching these guys doing what they love, what makes them smile at the core of their beings. They were having an amazing time together on stage and how precious it was to watch this genuineness. The picture above makes me realize huge parts of my life that are missing at the moment. Joy. Laughter just because. Smiling because it's my favorite. I have let the stress of my job take a lot of this away. I have let the stress of my job take over my life. I have not worked out in quite some time. I know that physically fit for me means mentally fit yet when the students leave at 4:00 I am so spent. I have given every ounce of myself during the day I rarely have much left for myself. So the key for me as I return to school Jan. 7th is to recommit to the most important person in my life. ME. I once heard~ "You cannot give away what you do not have. If you don't have a pure and healthy love and regard for yourself, how can you possibly give that to anyone else." I am not one for new year's resolutions but this time of year when I have a few moments to myself to sit and reflect away from the hustle and bustle of school life, I can't help but find things I need to shift gears on. The start is me recognizing how far I've ventured from myself. The next step is reconnecting. That is doable. That is necessary. (funny that one huge reason I'm having an a-ha moment this morning is I actually DID NOT wake up at 4:30... I somehow slept until 6, then successfully managed to fall back asleep until... 7:50)

I feel blessed by the friends who offered to 'adopt' me for the day. I am thankful to have many close friends who know the challenges I face around the holidays and extend their loving arms to let me know I am truly loved in this world. My only hope is that you know each and every day you matter to me! 

Huggin' & Lovin' of thyself P90x style
So now that I have reflected on where I am at this moment, it is time to respond. When ya know better you do better. I am ready to spend the next twelve days shifting gears and getting my smile back in my spirit. 

"Where you invest your love you invest your life."

Awake My Soul

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Letting you know you matter to me.

Letting you know you matter to me.
I watched this tedx video this morning and afterwards felt i wanted
 to let a few people know they really matter to me.

you are my oldest and dearest friend. you matter to be because i can always count on you to bring laughter and joy to my life. there is not one conversation that goes by that we don't find humor in something. i can talk to you about anything and everything and know i will never be judged. you have seen me in my darkest moments and have celebrated in my greatest joys. my life would never be the same without you. 

you are an amazing person. i look up and admire you. you matter to be because you bring a gift of love, understanding and empathy to all who cross your path. you are my solid rock when i need to come back down or be picked back up. i have learned some of the greatest lessons about how to connect with not only students but people in the world from you. 

jae & sarah
you both matter to me because your friendships mean the world to me. we are the three single amigos that on a moments notice can be hanging out enjoying a tastey adult beverage or laughing til we cry because we can't get the wii to update. i have had the most wonderful year because of you two birds.

when we hang out and chat you have an amazing way of pushing my thinking. i have walked away from every conversation with you a better person. you matter to me because you help me look at the world in a different light. when i think of you i can't help but smile to know the world is a better place because you're in it.

you matter to me because without your support, guidance and insight i would be a a bit lost. i took a bit leap of faith this year and feel it is because of you that i have survived. you have a wonderful gift of seeing the possibilities in any given situation and helping those around you understand them too.

you matter to me because you look out for me. it is because of you that i took my leap of faith this year. my life has changed significantly in the past 6 months because of your help. you believed in me.

you matter to me because you always have keen insight. i know that whenever i reach out to you, you will have a response that doesn't necessarily solve something for me, but helps me solve it for myself.

my dear jenny, you matter because you are the truest, most genuine person i have ever known. 

**if you aren't listed above, please know you DO matter to me and i will certainly tell you how the next time we see each other or speak.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Nothing worth having comes easy...

Start positive. 

The student I wrote about previously here got a lovely Christmas gift from my friend John. The student and John took a part an older Dell computer of John's and put it back together. It was really pretty awesome to watch the two work together in my room on a couple Friday afternoons. I dropped the computer off at the student's house yesterday afternoon. He was SO excited. Made me my spirit smile to do this for him. I realized the students excitement even more as I had a conversation with the 7th grade math teacher last night. Apparently the student has been talking a lot about the experience to him. 

Yesterday at school the students were pretty wound up. Some were truly looking forward to some time off from school. Others were certainly anxious and not so much looking forward to the time off. I can relate to both sides of these feelings. Students not looking forward may be worried about what/when they will eat. Our school provides them with breakfast and lunch. They could be anxious about what there days spent at home will look like for a variety of reasons. I will not pretend to know what some experience, but I can be empathetic. I'm not sure I'll ever be 'normal' around the holidays but I do try every year to keep my chin up. I too am not 100% excited about spending time away from school. 

We had our staff holiday party last night at a pretty good winery just up the road from our school. I enjoyed the Syrah for sure! As I sat there amongst people I hardly know, I could feel my impish social skills lurking around. I felt awkward. I felt out of place. I listened as groups talked about their awesome teammates and how well the year is going because they have each other to lean on. I really don't like that I keep coming back to the feelings of loneliness and aloneness I've felt in my position at school but there they were again. I know I have the power to work on this challenge in my life but for right now my spirit is so broken I think the best thing to do would be to spend some time in these next couple weeks mending my spirit with some much needed Giatime. This week has left me... well... I'm not sure of the word for it.

End positive.
Today we have some teachery things to do and won't have students in the building. Since students won't be there  I can wear my Wonder Woman Converse shoes to school. This makes me happy. 

Thursday, December 20, 2012

I'm not hungry, or thirsty, or any of that stuff. What I'd REALLY like is a hug.

Yesterday was plain awful. 
You can say that again. 
Yesterday was plain awful. 
But that's not now, that's then.

Sitting here this morning trying to pick myself up, dust myself off and start all over again in a new day. I am not ready to put yesterday into words because I am still not sure how. But feel the need to get the events down so I can remember, reflect and do better.

The day started with a crazy snow storm so I left ultra early to miss the nut jobs who live in Colorado but have no clue how to drive on a snowy day. I was excited because I had gifts to give a couple friends and other ones for the school giving tree. I love being able to put a smile on other people's faces. It makes me feel great. The morning moved along to include my AP not being able to make a meeting about SGOs with me. He is an amazing AP and must feel like Stretch Armstrong or Gumby all day. I just wish there were more of him to help support the specials teachers. (that's a whole other conversation... why are specials (art, music, tech, PE etc.) left to feel like they don't matter and are just a babysitting squad?) Move ahead to when my principal popped in for an observation with first grade. That was so NOT awesome.  The first grade group has about 35 students. Yesterday the para professional that usually comes into to help had been pulled to help give some kind of assessment to other students. It is two days before holiday break. Students did not get outside recess due to the snowstorm. Here's how the lesson went. 35 students sitting on the rug to listen. I had students standing up asking to use the bathroom, another who somehow cut her finger and needed assistance, others who were rolling around the floor or crawling. Once we were somewhat settled enough to perhaps here the directions, the site I was planning to have them work on wasn't working correctly. Good thing I'm a master at back up plans and was able to scramble to plan B. Students went to computers and started working. I scrambled around to make sure students were on track with what I'd asked. Half were trying to use the first site I showed that didn't work. Awesome. So I let them try then redirected to the back up plan. I had two students fighting over a chair and neither would budge. So I left them saying one needed to move and I'd be back. Thankfully one did. I tried to get to most all students to see that they were doing what was expected. Most were thank goodness.  The lesson ended with getting them somewhat in two lines ready to leave so the next group already waiting in the hall could come in. I am nervous to debrief with my principal about the lesson. It is difficult to have the only time  she's been in my room be one like this. I had a conversation with a friend about evaluations and he tried to get me to look at them as being good experiences. He said they should help me grow as a teacher. I get that but I am so stinking sensitive and want to feel someone sees me teach a successful lesson. I'm not sure that one was and don't want to look like I don't know what I'm doing. 

Move forward to the end of the day 7th/8th small math intervention group. Getting five students down to my room should be doable. Most days I can get two of them down easily. Yesterday was no different. They were excited for the dance after school. I got that and tried to make the deal that we'd work for a bit and then they could chat. That didn't work as they talked over me, one continued to text right in front of me. But hey... ONE was actually working. So I decided to relent and worked with the one who actually cared and needed the help. The others chatted. For some reason they needed to know my name ... wait.... THEY DON'T EVEN KNOW MY NAME. That felt great considering they've been in my room many time since August. Then they wanted to know if I lived with a boyfriend. I said I live with my dog. They then proceeded to say my dog was ugly and that it was sad that I live alone. That felt so NOT AWESOME! Two things ran through my head. One- I obviously lack in the relationship building department with these kids. (that's a whole other convo as well... I don't feel relationship building is a priority at this school). Two- these middle school kids are tough!

The day ended with my volunteering to sell tickets at the 7th/8th grade dance. This was. Thankfully I was only there for an hour and for the most part it was a typical middle school dance. We had the few who were not allowed to come in due to behavior. Had someone smoking pot just outside the entrance doors. Had some upset girls because their friend who was not a student at the school couldn't come in. 

I didn't start positive on this post so I need to end positive. Today is the last day with students before holiday break, Jeeter just made my day by sleeping on my lap while I typed this post, I get to wear jeans to school today, and my lil first grade friend came up to me in the cafeteria yesterday and gave me a hug. Sometimes that's all it takes to make life a little brighter is a hug.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Small Moments are Key

This week has been interesting. Good moments included my lil first grade buddy Tatyana sitting and chatting with me one morning and even asking what I liked to do when I wasn't at school. Pretty cool for a youngster to ask this of an adult. Made me feel like I wasn't just the 'computer teacher' as many students refer to me, but a person as well. The week also felt successful when I was able to get a resistive 8th grade girl into my room at the end of the day for the math intervention time. Not only did I get her in the room (the prior two days she wouldn't come downstairs with the group and was found wandering somewhere in the school) but she worked and asked questions. The same girl when I saw her yesterday morning arriving late, pulled me aside and asked if I'd walk with her to class because she didn't want to walk to the room alone. Small moments are key. I've been working on the setting of a story with 1st/2nd graders. The picture above is one that made me smile. It was a 2nd grade boy who really did a nice job illustrating the setting from the story we heard. Again a fantastic small moment.

The week did not pass without the usual 8th grade drama and challenges. Our fearless AP finally took some time to try to recover from being really ill. Good for him but we all certainly have missed him! The week marked the return of a very 'spirited' 8th grader who spent time at PACE Program. It is amazing how one single student can dramatically change the vibe and environment. Teachers were talking last Friday at the end of the day that the vibe felt pretty good. We felt like we were moving a bit forward and making some progress. Well, that conversation did a complete 180 by Tuesday. This one student had the boys who were starting to be manageable acting up. This one student had the girls falling all over themselves and each other clamoring for his attention. I get a piece of why the girls were acting the way they were- he's the 'bad' boy. This one student... 

On Thursdays, the 7th/8th graders get some extra social time from 3:30-4:00. We haven't had success in trying to provide this to them partially because of their behaviors during this time. Yesterday was... well interesting to say the least. The art teacher and I are the only teachers in the basement and we had the pleasure of hosting the two 8th grade classes for 'fun' time. It started poorly with trying to get them down two flights of stairs. I have to admit most came down just fine. But this one student- was the last one and of course had to be escorted so he'd actually make it into my room. Students were in our rooms for all of 5 minutes before they started to creep into the hallway. So here I was trying to manage students in the room who were not interested in their usual coolmathgames but rather wanted to use the big space in my room to spar, wander around and generally annoy each other. I ended up standing in the door way with this one student and two other boys. I have to say I was sweating and quite nervous. One was being pretty humorous for a short bit trying to pass some really old headphones I have off as being "the new Beats by Drake". He did make me smile but it was short lived as he moved on to sitting at my chair, nosing around on my laptop and even picking up my scarf and putting it on. Again I was nervous and sweating. I could continue the happenings but... you get the idea. I chatted a bit with my AP after school about the event and said I'd like to problem solve. He sure but asked what problem are we trying to solve? Good question! I realized the Thursday fun time is problematic because the adults are trying to say it is the students extra social/reward/fun time but we are dictating it. We were forcing them to go outside for an extra recess for awhile. Then we switched and are now forcing them to move with their homeroom classes to the specials teachers rooms on a rotational schedule. Time to rethink once again. Rethinking is good. Changing things that aren't working is good. Being flexible is good. 

Start positive. End positive.

On a good note, I was able to get several grades doing a word cloud using Tagxedo. I started by showing them MLK's I have a Dream speech in text and then in a word cloud. It felt successful as they created their own word clouds about themselves. Even this one student managed to get a girl nearby to type the words he wanted to use, print it and go pick it up for him. I enjoyed hearing the excitement from one 6th grader that I'd hung his up.  Small moments are key.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Had a Flow Kinda Day

Had an Flow kinda day yesterday with a couple groups. I've talked a lot about 7th/8th but yesterday was not about them (probably because the group of 7th graders only had 15/22 in the room for various reasons). 

Yesterday was about this:

  • The ginormous 1st grade group that when I walk them in expands to be a very long snack of spinning, jumping and twirling kids.
    • For some reason when we finally got into the building and stopped in the hallway to regroup... They were magically, somehow, in a relatively quiet and straight two lines.  This made me smile.  I didn't really do anything different but WOW! was I impressed.  I quickly let them know. As we walked the short walk to my classroom, they continued the behavior.  WOW! again. As we settled in the room they listened, then got to work on the task. WOW! times three now. They worked on keyboarding and most seemed to be doing well. When I stopped them to get their attention so we could switch tasks, I had 100% of them turn from their computer screens and look at me. I am wowed with this group because of the previous fourteen or so times I've had them, it has been nothing like this.  I'm hoping what happened is going to continue. I'm hoping we are moving away from so many Ebb days and more into Flow days.
  • The sixth grade group that came into my room.
    • I had a student who seemed to be stepping up as a leader in the group. When they were lining up outside my door, he was helping get them quiet and settled. I saw that he appreciated the leadership role and it seemed to help calm the group more quickly. When we moved into the room and began to work, I had some choosing to improve their WPM score from last week as we spent a bit of time on keyboarding practice.  They CHOSE this, I have options of what they could do. I have not seen the students show a desire to work yet. I very much enjoyed it! Again, I hope to see more Flowing days here.
  • I rearranged my teaching set up- projector, 'desk' etc.
    •  I have had most classes 13 or so times but they way I had it set up before, I looked at the back of student's heads for the most part while I taught. Then when they went to the computer to work, guess what I saw more of... yep, the back of their heads. So, Monday I changed it up. I admitted to the groups why I did it. I admitted that I felt awful that I was still asking their names when I did some quick notes about their progress during class. I made the promise to work on learning their names.
      • So- I tried working more on the names during the kindergarten class. I asked for their names while they worked and then used their name when I spoke to them. I'm hoping that when I see them in a week, I will be able to retain a few more of the names. It's important to me that they are not just a student walking into my room for 45 minutes each week. I learned the value of relationship many years ago from my dear friend Melissa. She is a wonder at this skill that so often is the most difficult to perform. 
On a side note, it is funny that a day like this happened when I was running on just a few hours of sleep. Funny how life in the teaching world works!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Starfish and Dash

My close friends know this time of year always sends me off kilter. This year is no different. I attended my aunt's funeral yesterday. I had not seen her in many years nor had my mom. Not really sure why, other than my family is my family (which is a long and sorted story). The pastor gave a lovely service where he called upon the group to say a word that described my aunt, or share a story about her. I thought it was a great way to make the funeral what it should be, a celebration and remembrance of someone. He read two stories that I've heard before but they were much needed right about now.
The first:

How Do You Live Your Dash?
~Linda Ellis~ 
I read of a man who stood to speak
At the funeral of a friend.
He referred to the dates on her tombstone
From the beginning….. to the end
He noted he first came to her date of birth
And spoke the following date with tears,
But he said what mattered most of all
Was the dash between those years.
For that dash represents all the time
That she spent alive on this earth…
And now only those who loved her
Know what that little line is worth.
For it matters not, how much we own:
The cars…the house…the cash,
What matters is how we live and love
And how we spend our dash.
So think about this long and hard….
Are there things you’d like to change?
For you never know how much time is left
That can still be rearranged.
If we could just slow down enough
To consider whats true and real,
And always try to understand
The way other people feel.
And be less quick to anger
And show appreciation more
And love the people in our lives
Like we’ve never loved before.
If we treat each other with respect,
And more often wear a smile….
Remembering that this special dash
Might only last a little while.
So when your eulogy’s being read
With your life’s actions to rehash
Would you be proud of the things they say
About how you spent your dash?
And the second:
 Once upon a time, there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work.
One day, as he was walking along the shore, he looked down the beach and saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself at the thought of someone who would dance to the day, and so, he walked faster to catch up.
As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young man, and that what he was doing was not dancing at all. The young man was reaching down to the shore, picking up small objects, and throwing them into the ocean.
He came closer still and called out "Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?"
The young man paused, looked up, and replied "Throwing starfish into the ocean."
"I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?" asked the somewhat startled wise man.
To this, the young man replied, "The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don't throw them in, they'll die."
Upon hearing this, the wise man commented, "But, young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can't possibly make a difference!"
At this, the young man bent down, picked up yet another starfish, and threw it into the ocean. As it met the water, he said, "I made a difference to that one!"
I can't help but be reminded that my life is always as it should be. I have struggled this school year with so many things but these two stories are swimming in my head right now and helping me understand a bit.

I have to know that I cannot make a difference in all my student's lives but if I just make a difference in one or a few it DOES mean something. I can't be upset that those darned 8th graders make me frustrated, shed tears or want to melt down. I need to look at the one(s) I am reaching. I need to feel good about the ones who know my name and say it (instead of the generic Miss). My frustration to me is a good thing because it reminds me I care and want to do the best I can. If I'm doing something that isn't working, I want to fix it. If I can do something I'm doing a little better I will. I care. I like this about myself. I think the thing that is the toughest right now is the feeling of being alone. I work in the basement at school with just one other teacher. She is great but we rarely have time to chat or connect. The teachers bring their students to my room, and drop them off or pick them up without much of a hello or friendly smile. So I am certainly missing the feeling of being connected with the adults in my school. I'm told being a specials teacher is usually like this. I don't like that! My aloneness continues as I come home to be alone some more. I want to find a way to make this better for myself in both aspects of my life. Again- I care and I always am wanting to do better for myself and others. Perhaps I need to just let go of the handle of control and let the wind carry me. To not be afraid to walk alone or to like it, embrace it and accept it.

The other story about the dash is timely as well. It makes me think about how I am spending this dash of mine. Makes me think at my eulogy how will my dash be talked about? 

My life is as it should be. 

(This post is more of me needing to reflect and reset a bit with my whole attitude. Have felt quite negative lately and that is not a place I enjoy being.)

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Staying in the Game

Friday was a good day. I wrote a few weeks ago about a student who wants to do better than what he currently knows. I was able to connect this student with a friend of mine in the computer world. The picture is one I will treasure. I look forward to watching this young man grow and reach for his hopes, dreams and goals! 

I finally treated myself yesterday to a much needed massage. I have to laugh at myself. During the massage, I found it quite difficult to relax and not try to help the masseur with moving my arm or leg. He kept having to repeat- this is my job, relax, let me do this. Funny for the massage but not so funny when I stop to think how I am like this with students. I am the one directing them, trying to get them to understand that being in the computer lab is not about! Even the 1st graders ask to play this game. Old habits are hard to break. I feel like I am making progress in the rituals and routines department and for some classes with the blogging I've started. The 4th graders were excited to hear they could jump on the blogs if they have Internet access at home. This made my day! I had older students going to the younger student's blogs and giving them some comments. It was cool to hear them say, "I had a seventh grader comment on mine!" 

I was observed through our districts LEAP program week before last during the seventh grade class. The peer observer and I sat down a few days later to reflect upon what he saw. We talked about how the blogging is teaching them HOW to communicate. The group he watched are middle school students. These students want to be heard but honestly have no idea how to do it in a way that will give them positive results. The blogging they've done, at times, is less than what I expect and want but I have to realize it is a start. I reached out to the world via social media and was able to have them walk in the room last week and see they all had comments from other people. They were heard. I hope to continue this for just a bit longer and then get them on some digital storytelling. I won't completely abandon the blogging but need to keep it fresh and engaging in my room. 

I feel like I'm all over the place with this post but that's how I am these days with my thinking. I have a million ideas, thoughts and feelings that flow through me each moment and it's hard to organize and capture them at times. I woke this morning at the usual 5 AM (darn body clock) and was able to get to my Google Reader- came across this blog post by Vicki Davis- "You May be the walking wounded, but Teacher, stay in the game!" that made my morning!!! I love being reminded that I am not alone and even though I don't hear it said outright, I'm helping kids. The important lesson I'm now being reminded of (heard it from a friend on a personal level a couple weeks ago) - How people feel is sometimes better shown not directly said.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Which part of the roller coaster is this?

Seriously! My week could not have been more of a roller coaster. The ups downs and all arounds were quite the ordeal. Jumped on the ol' scale today and my stress diet is working- down 8 pounds since school started. Hmmm... not sure that's how I want to do it though.

I have to share a moment in a teaching career that only comes along every once in a blue moon. I started my students blogging. It has been an interesting adventure with the older students. Many aren't taking it seriously, some don't get it, others think it's boring. Well one student blew me away with what he posted. 
The Truth 
"I love to work with computers. I want to be able to work with computer hardware such as hard disk drives, ram, cpu, etc. So what if i’m not like other (not to be racists) black people running down the streets selling drugs and alcohol and other bad stuff. No one should be criticized for the good things they do. I like fried chicken and Kool-aid but that doesn’t mean you have to make fun of me. They say that black people are good at every sport. I’m not that good at every sport but I give it a try regardless how hard or easy it is. No I’m not a nerd I just want to be a good black person to be a good example of what a black person should do that are making us look bad. So what if like to work with computer a least I make tons of money. I’m not trying to be mean but I’m just telling you the truth."
 I didn't prompt him to write this in any way which makes it even more beautiful. I was beyond floored with it. I decided being a computer dork myself I realized I could try to connect him with a couple friends who were in the biz. One friend posted a comment to his blog offering words of wisdom. He even took it a step further with this email.


I was moved by this request. I’ve posted on the blog but I’d like to take this a step or two further.

I recently moved into a smaller place. I have 3 computers ( no monitors, but I might be able to find one ) I would like to donate to this to your student. I would even be willing to work with him and teach him a thing or two about building computers. Let me know if this is something your student would be interested in.

Thank you so much for this opportunity, I started just like him. The black sheep, with little or no friends due to my “nerd” like talents.

Simply amazing, thank you.

 A friend of mine put it perfectly, "It's moments like this where our passion, our love and our dreams collide."

If you've been reading my posts along the way you know my struggles and the experiences I've had fall a lot to being told that what I've asked them to do is F-in BS. So I have to say this event could not have come at a more perfect time. I shed a lot of tears and was questioning why I'm doing this A LOT this week but I have to say I would do it all again because of this one moment. 

So I'm not sure what part of the roller coaster this is but I'll take it! I will also take this weekend and smile from ear to ear because it will be spent being with amazing friends and eating an omelete my dad makes. 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

A little light is still flickering

I have to admit I am struggling with shaking it off (story reference) and stepping up at the moment. I feel like the shovels of things covering me and breaking me down are coming faster and weighing heavier than I can endure. I follow a teacher in Connecticut- Paul Bogush- via his blog. I came home yesterday frustrated, tired, sick (lovely cold has destroyed my voice which makes teaching the past 3 days a train wreck). I came across a recent post he did "Why I continue teaching..."
I really like what he says here: 
"I remember reading about how when tragedy strikes, people who knew peace and prosperity before the tragedy can recover from it quickly once it is over, and knowledge of how it once was allows them to persevere. Those who were born into it suffer, often lose hope, and quit.  All of those people who are searching for results on “leaving teaching…”  I wonder how long they have been teaching?  Do they remember what it was like to enter the profession at a time when there was hope?  When you could innovate without crushing federal and district policies?  Do they remember back to when if you needed to do something to help kids you just did it…there was no paperwork, committees, and six layers of bureaucracy to get through?"
And here:
"You can’t teach anyone anything other than facts.  In order for someone to learn something from you, you must be answering a question that they have.  Your role as a teacher then, is simply to get kids to ask questions.  No questions, no learning."
The part about getting kids to ask questions has always been important to me but such a tough thing to accomplish. Kids somewhere in the middle of Kindergarten seem to lose that wonder, that curiosity, that desire to learn more than what is presented to them. 

 I needed his words and thoughts yesterday and again today as I reread it and head off for another day at school. 
I also needed and appreciate a conversation I had with a mentor friend yesterday afternoon. I shed a lot of frustration tears and he just listened, empathized and then helped shine a light  on how I can shake a bit of IT off and step up. ~ Thank you MW- you always inspire me.
I also needed a text convo with another mentor friend who said, "You are not a failure. The job we have to do is not the one we prepared for." ~Thank you GP- you honestly have not wrecked my life, more so you are helping me grow.

So as I venture off for another day, I will look for the small successful moments to get me through right now.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012


Sitting here during my lunch time on a Wednesday. Let me expand on that- sitting in my classroom eating lunch alone, like most days. There is a teacher's lounge upstairs but rarely is someone in there during this time. My feelings of isolation and feeling alone in such a big school continue to churn in my stomach. It is not a good feeling to walk in each day, chat with the one other person in the basement a bit and then spend the rest of my day pretty much by myself. I am not used to sitting an eating lunch alone- it doesn't feel good or make me feel a part of the staff here. I'm told that specials teachers are usually the ones that are left to be thought of last, a side thought. I am supposed to have a peer observer from the district stop in next week and watch me teach a class. I chatted with him yesterday about what he is expecting or some look fors but didn't really get a clear idea. I plan to just do what I do when I teach and see what feedback I get. That doesn't feel good either. Guess I'm in a place of not really feeling good. I still know I made the right decision to leave my comfort zone but I didn't expect I'd be put on a dessert island left to fend for myself. I may be whining a bit but I miss the connections with teachers that a classroom teacher experiences. 
Not only do I miss the connections with teachers but the connections with students. Seems like the 592 students step in and out of my room so quickly, I hardly know a thing about them. I don't feel like I'm connecting with anything here. I feel like a true misfit. 
Shake it off and step up?

Saturday, October 20, 2012

It's a balancing act that I'm losing right now....

I had a failed 8th grade lesson on Monday. I scrambled to find something for the other 8th grade group on Thursday. I came up with getting them going with blogging. I am finding it challenging to connect with what they are being taught in math, literacy, science or social studies because the teachers are finding it challenging to teach with they need to teach. There are probably about 13 extremely 'spirited' students who are preventing the rest from learning. This in all honesty PISSES ME OFF! I am frustrated that there are students in each class that do want to learn but are in classes with others who overshadow the whole class with their behaviors. 

Back to my trying to blog with the 8th grade. I found some college prep essay topics and also included some very basic topics for them to choose from. One of the topics was about a day in your life that you'd change if you could. I chose to write about this one as a way to model my expectations. I wrote about wanting to change not going to my brother's birthday party in 1996. I wrote about my sadness that he took his own life ten days later and how I wondered if it would have been different had I gone to his birthday to connect with him. WELL... as I was reading this to the class and starting to get emotional, one student's music started to blare out of his headphones so I could hear it at the front of the room. Total distraction to the entire class. I stopped mid sentence, walked over and proceeded to spend 3-4 minutes getting the student to hand over his headphones. It was a complete power struggle and he even stood up and stepped into my personal space to try and win. I finally got the headphones, walked back over and continued to read my blog post. I was emotional and truthful with these kids in hopes that they could see me not as this foreign white teacher in the room but someone who has seen tragedy and has felt painful emotions.  I wasn't sure how the students would react to this but figured it was worth a shot. I dismissed students to their work station and as always needed to reteach and explain directions again and again.

The student who I took the earphones from continued to be off task and disruptive. I walked back and forth behind students computers helping and wanting to chat with what they were writing about however, I spend most of the time with about five students trying to get them on task and working. The earphone student had is uniform shirt off his body and just hanging around his neck, he was trying to log in as a student sitting two seats down and was not doing what had been asked of him. (He ended up posting this after my push "I want to be a bo$$ uggh like ricky rozay.")   Another student was sitting there with a blank screen and was getting up zooming screens of other students. I never got to look over the shoulders of many other students to see what they were writing because they were quiet and working. I HATE that I spent so much time and energy on just a handful of kids. 

I thought for sure when I had a chance to review the posts students made that hardly anyone did what they were supposed to. However, I was wrong. I realized as I read through the postings that I had touched kids with my honesty and openness.  I had a few write about similar losses of family members. I had students put effort and thought into writing about things they would change in their community. I had kids who wrote about things they do when they aren't in school.  Somehow I still feel I failed the class by spending so much time with the disruptive ones. 

How do I let go of the need to focus on the over the top disruptive students and move towards the ones who are engaged and on track??? Do I just choose to redirect once and let them be? 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Shake it off and step up. But HOW?

I found myself Googling for help this morning. The search was something like "teaching inner city middle school students." I have no idea how to narrow the search to make it more relevant. I want to help these students but have no idea where to start. I had a big fat fail of a lesson yesterday with an 8th grade class. It took about 12 minutes to get them in the door and a call to the security guard to help a few stop blocking the door for other students to get in to get them settled. As I think back it was about 4 that were the issue. I feel awful for the the majority who were sitting in front of me ready to learn and listen. Let me rephrase that- I FAILED the majority of those students. However, I have no idea how to start teaching a class when the four or so disruptive ones are so disruptive the others can't listen. I am not afraid to admit I need some help. My school is very focused on Content Learning Objectives along with the entire district. Let me say clearly that I understand the importance of these objectives.

However, these 7th and 8th grade students can barely sit in a chair for a lesson/directions/instruction/discussion of no longer than 10 minutes. It's not that any of the middle school teacher's aren't working hard to create engaging and meaningful lessons. We all are working extremely hard trying to look at curriculum maps, objectives, standards and have them guide our designs.

I want to know how to teach a class of 30 8th graders. My role in the building is to connect with teachers to create lessons students can complete using technology in my room. I started the first few weeks getting them to realize my room would not be the place where they came in and played coolmathgames (a website that has the title 'math' in it but has very few true math games). We started in MS Word so they can get some functional word processing skills. This is so NOT how I want to teach these kids but many are so concrete that I have to so we can possible move forward.

However, I spend my 45 (well by the time we settle and actually work it's about 25 minutes) minutes pacing behind their work stations making sure they aren't on PhotoBooth (which I've deleted off all machines and is a bummer because who knows what kind of fun assignment I could create with that!) or coolmathgames or looking up random pictures or changing the settings on the computer so the Internet no longer works.

I am admitting I need some serious support with Middle School students in this population. They are students that are coming from broken homes where Grandma is raising them,  or their dad was shot on the border in a drug deal gone bad, or Grandma is raising them but doesn't speak English.... my list could go on and on and wouldn't sound much different from a lot of other inner city schools. So how do I tap into other schools that have been here, are here and seem to make progress?

So I try every day to breathe and find some simple things that brighten the day. Yesterday the smileable moments were: A Kindergartner walking in my room and saying "You're pretty teacher." A student at the end of the day who has stayed a little longer to help me get all the computers logged off. Having a delicious shredded pork burrito with my parents at Lucero's. A chat with a coworker at the end of the day realizing I am not the only one struggling for these students to succeed. And as always the highlight of my every moment- my dog Jeeter.

So with a cup of Peet's coffee this morning, I am headed in to school to keep on keepin' on.

Friday, October 12, 2012

In a Nutshell...

As all previous weeks have been, this one was once again a roller coaster ride. HOWEVER, I did have better class sessions with the 7th and 8th grade classes. Perhaps they are beginning to connect, trust or something with me. Yesterday I had the tougher of the two 8th grade classes and was able to see them actually get work done. One young man and I shared a smile even.  He was typing sentences about himself and needed another idea he is pretty low academically so I knew if I was going to get anything out of him I really had to connect with him to get him to write. I was throwing out ideas and I said, "Tell me your girlfriend's name." His eyes lit up and he replied, "you want to know my girl's name?" Then he proceeded to ask me how to spell her name.  I took this as a good opportunity to joke with him so I said, "dude, ya have to know how to spell her name so you can write her mush love notes." and his response, "I don't that miss." Usually when he has come to my class, which is sporadic due to behavior, he is pretty tough. Yesterday I felt successful with him. I need those small successes for sure!!!
The other highlight of my week was a little 1st grade girl that I saw each morning. Her dad would stand next to her line and wait until we walked in. I leaned over one of the mornings and said she had a great personality. In which he replied, "She's a handful!" Made me laugh because as he walked away she was barking orders that he better bring her home some cheese bites or else. 
I have been working with students using MS Word the past few weeks and look forward to diving in to some projects with them next week. I know it is not best practice to tease out a program and teach it in isolation but really felt I needed to build some routines and rituals around something simple. For the most part students did well. Some struggled with just the basics. I have some project ideas lined up for 3rd-8th but have yet to think of something for k-2nd. Part of the problem is having 2nd grade classes with 30 students and no para professional to help. I want to be able to do projects with them but need to think and research how I can be there to support so many when their needs are high. Just realized I am rambling here. UGH.
So in a nutshell - side story for a minute.... I bought Jeeter's halloween costume and took his picture. I used the picture as my computer desktop background to connect with kids. They loved it. Although some struggled with seeing he was a dog in a squirrel costume! Ha. It was a picture that I needed this week to make me smile..... In a nutshell, upon reflection- the week was pretty good. I just don't feel I've taught them anything they've learned for school yet. HOWEVER, feels like I'm making those connections and building relationships which in my opinion will take me farther than anything! Happy Friday!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

My Skin is Getting Thicker

Another week is done. On Fridays the essentials team (art, music, pe & tech) are put on different tasks instead of seeing students. Today I will be venturing up to the 7th/8th grade Science room to help. I wish I could say I was excited about spending more time with the tough ones. I am certainly learning that their anger, hurtful words and flat out disrespect are not entirely directed at me or the adults in the building. They have learned these behaviors, habits and lack of respect from many parts of their lives. Unlearning and breaking these habits will be tough but necessary to change the culture of the building.
Yesterday the principal popped in to my area and room to informally observe me with the 8th graders. I was not jazzed about the idea because the group is extremely difficult just to get in the room to sit for a lesson. However, she got to see first hand how a few of the students behave during instruction. She ended up escorting one out of the room for disruptive behavior. I wish I knew how to engage them and be able to keep classroom management intact. I've tried to show them some cool tech tools during the electives block at the end of each day but a handful just want to play coolmathgames.... which has about five games that actually have math value.
We had another teacher decide to resign, making it three.  I get the work is hard and it really will take a lot of perseverance to stay the course with these kids. I just don't like that the middle school students could see the second teacher's exit as a sign they have power over the situation.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Riding the Roller Coaster

Have to admit my gut twists into knots when I know the 8th graders will be walking through my door. They are certainly a presence. Big bodies, big attitudes, big voices. Yesterday went better than the week before with them. They came in, I quickly gave my directions and lesson and they were off to work on the computers. I am teaching them to use MS Word (wish it was Google Docs but that's another story). The lesson was simple AND I learned from the previous week to have some step by step directions for them so I wasn't repeating myself 30 times. I used a Flow Map from the Thinking Maps program with screen shots of the steps.  What a smart move if I do say so myself. Even the 3rd graders were able to use them. (note to self- make directions like that for all tasks).
What I've observed with these students is they don't all know HOW to learn. Some are well below grade level so of course when they are asked to do some of the tasks they shut down and become disruptive because it IS simply too hard. I am trying to set clear expectations, be consistent, be fair. I at least have them to where they venture down from the 3rd floor to the basement and somewhat line up outside the door to hear directions. This is important rather than having them just filter into the room sporadicly on their own time. Then I've moved from having them sit on the rugs on the floor to letting them sit in chairs. I try to make my time with them listening to me short, sweet and to the point. Routines, routines, routines.... hard to create when I only see each class once a week. The 8th grade yesterday was the best I've seen them. I paced the room walking behind the students reminding them to use the gold direction page for their next step. Their task when they finished mine was to play cool math games. Apparently in previous years this was some they did and enjoyed. I don't see how their favorite games had anything to do with math but at least they completed my task and were happy, quiet and calm. I enjoyed chatting with some of the students about the games. I know if I can build relationships with them my job will be not necessarily easier but less gut wrenching.
On a side note, the day wasn't completely good. Walking in the hall back to my room during my lunch time, I had to restrain a girl who was face to face with another getting ready to fight. WOW! Girls are mean!!!!!! I've said for many years there needs to be a program for girls where they learn at a young age how to survive. I see it start at such a young age where girls lose confidence, don't know how to make friends, how to be friends, how to let "silly" girl stuff roll off their backs. For some reason boys do these things easier (most of the time). Guys make each other mad, but they generally don't let it fester and ruin a friendship. Hmmm.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Small Successes

One of the 7th grade groups was in my class yesterday learning some word processing skills. The last time they were in, I had two particularly 'spirited' boys that were quite disruptive. Yesterday I started class chatted with one trying to set the class up differently.  I reinforced how I wanted him to act and said I knew he could do it.  The other boy I had to move to a different computer station because his usual one wasn't working. He grumbled and griped but I chatted quietly with him as well.  Well, my quiet chat strategy worked! Both boys were less disrupted and actually worked. What I have known for many years is that building relationships will trump all when it comes to the classroom. I sat in a training yesterday for No Nonsense Nurturing and was again reminded of this important element to a classroom. I am hoping that the connections I'm making with some of the 7th and 8th graders during their elective time at the end of the day will start to filter into the times they come to the class with their other classmates.  The group I have is only 15 or so kids who are exploring some various tech tools. Yesterday while chatting with a few of them, I had the aha idea of having them do some learning about things they're interested in and then somehow teach me or the class.  For example one student was looking up Otter Box cases and talking to his friends about how they work. Another was looking up info on a new gaming system he wants. These are the things I need to build from and hopefully build a relationship with.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Go Slow to Go Fast

What a week! Monday was a great day this past week. I commented to my AP after the day was over how nice it was to see teachers (talking mostly about middle school ones) cracking a bit of a smile at days end. Come to find out the reason was a few of the more "spirited" students were absent which dramatically changed the whole dynamic and vibe of the classes. Sad that a small few infect the whole lot of them and create an overall toxic environment.

My schedule is different every day of the week which makes me a bit frazzled at times. The essentialists (music, art, PE and tech) get classes back to back without any kind of break between so when one class runs late or the teacher doesn't come pick them up on time it makes for a bit more chaos. The class that is sending everyone over the edge a bit is the 1st grade due to the size.  37 little people is complete madness in a computer lab. The challenge with them is that we pick them up from the cafeteria and get to lead the group down the hall to our classroom. Talk about the longest line ever! Then of course we have the revolving door of bathroom goers. When we finally get in the room and are a tiny bit settled on the rug for some instruction, it's like looking out at a sea of roly-pollies. This week they had the first time on the computers. As the previous pictures show, my room is like a dancehall.  So all but 3 computers were in use. Thank goodness one of the APs was witness to the kitten herding and roly-poly madness and was able to offer a few bits of advice. The principal also popped in and wondered where the para professional helper was .... "GOOD QUESTION," I replied. She had one in the room within five minutes to help. Whew!!
The week had simple moments that I have to look for a lot more. Empowered a seventh grader to get up and show the rest of the electives group how to do a few things in Garageband. Most students don't call me Ms. DeSelm, they just say Miss. Part of this is due to the fact they've had so many teachers in and out the doors of this school that they have no trust or connection. However, a few smaller kiddos said hi to me using my name. Made me feel good. An eighth grade student stood by me during one of my recess duties and just chatted with me. He was really surprised to learn my mom grew up in the neighborhood and actually went to the school. His comment, "Really? How old are you?" I said I was really old- his great response "You don't look old at all!!"
Then the roller coaster week took a big swoop down when the second 8th grade class walked in my room. There are 30 of them in the first place and then add about five that are ultra "spirited" and make their presence felt times ten. Tried to teach and instruct while the handful threw out snarky comments, and threw paper. One boy I walked over to and quietly asked to move away from the group he was with because he kept talking over me flat out refused. Not much I can do with that when I have the whole group up for the lesson. The lesson I was in the midst of was around getting the students to think about their name and stories related to it. I read an excerpt from a book and shared my own stories via a circle map. The second part of the assignment will be getting them into MS Word for some word processing skills but thought doing it with an interesting assignment would be good. One kid who is another 'spirit' in the class sat there and wasn't working so I tried to ask some prompting questions to get him going. He said "what do you care about my name?" Again showing that these 8th graders don't trust the new teachers and have been bobbled around almost their whole academic career. Why would or should they trust? I wouldn't either. Have to say every time this group comes in my room I have to fake my confidence and put on my poker face. Can't let them smell my fear or I will be eaten alive.
I keep telling myself I need to go slow to go fast. It's important to take a breath and look for the small moments of success. I question a lot whether moving from the suburbs and safety net was the right thing to do. My answer EVERY time is YES. The work is hard~ really, really hard. No place I'd rather be right now.
Now I'm off to reset, refresh and relax in one of my most favorite places on Earth. Salida. Gonna put my feet in the river and just breathe.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Learning to Breathe Water

Learning to Breathe Water

I'm not gonna sugar coat or lie about my first two weeks of school. I know I'm not the only one to ever feel this way but wow.
This is not very well written but at o'dark thirty I needed to spill to a friend why I'd not returned her texts this week and why as I write this I am teary (I'm a softy at heart and when I'm overwhelmed the tears fall like rain).

"Not ignoring you my dear friend.  I've just had another 'awesome' week.  
Have worked 11 hours at school each day, not home before 6, had an 8th grade student look me in the face and say "ya know you don't belong at this school",  have caught a lovely cold from a germ factory, still do not have my computer lab dialed in because having MACs means they are not networked and all has to be done manually by hand (like setting up user groups because they don't use active directory, adding printers, desktop shortcuts to all user groups that have been created...), then am the site tech rep that now has upcoming trainings the next few Tues/Thurs from 4:30-6:30 so I can be pulled like stretch armstrong around the building to problem solve issues during the time I DON'T have, the two first grade classes have 35 students and are a management nightmare, had an ece girl get really mad at me because I was trying to move her away from a girl she was pushing in line- she told me she didn't like me and was going to tell her mother, have 650 names I need to learn and many are baffling... not sure when it's an h or a j and what is silent and what is pronounced- had one girl mumble under her breath on the second time she came to class and I was calling role- "jeez, learn my name would ya"... even after I prefaced with the fact I was learning a lot of names and it was the second time they'd come to class, I only see each group once a week so that doesn't lend itself for learning too many names nor does it lend itself to working on multi-day projects, yesterday after the 8th graders came back from lunch I was up in their hallway to chat with a student who'd messed with the settings on his computer and.... let me tell you-- it was one of the scariest moments I've had.  The students were upset because the admins split up the two 8th grade classes for lunch because they were being AWFUL together. So their answer was to start pushing in the hall and making loud noises and whistles.... come to find out it was fake and they were doing it to intimidate the adults (which they did)-- they had the principal, two APs, the security guard, and about 7 other adults in the area trying to manage and get them to class, then we are doing 7/8th grade electives the last 30 minutes of the day and so the students got to choose one- art, music, tech, drama, college readiness. Well some were moved into an elective they didn't even select because they wanted to minimize the number of difficult students in each section... therefore I had 3/20 REALLY not wanting to be in my room--- which makes it so not awesome for the rest but yet, what am I supposed to do with them? They didn't want to be in my class yet they were placed there--- I get they are crabby, my back, body and feet have been exhausted and in pain every night because I am on my feet on a tile floor all day (need to invest in better shoes with money I don't have)-- I have yet to sit down and eat my lunch- it's been done standing and walking around the room working...

On the positive side:
  • had a couple 7th graders do something great with Taxgedo and really liked what we did for electives class yesterday-- one girl was in there REALLY quick, energetic and was my helper because she finished so quickly!
  • had the ece-spanish group come in and this one girl who'd cried the first 3 times I've seen her actually smile and wave goodbye to me as they left.
  • Jorge in 3rd grade shared that his hamster had babies. 
  • the 5th graders are awesome
  • Today is Friday"
Pretty sure I need to escape this weekend to reset, reenergize and renew. I have just the place.

Friday, August 24, 2012

These Days

The past four days have been filled with PD, learning the ins and outs of being a site support tech person, getting teachers up and going with teacher machines, evaluating old equipment, more PD.  Oh yes and LUNCH.  A few of my teammates and I visited Carbone's on 38th for lunch yesterday.  I felt like we were in the soup nazi episode of Seinfeld.  Great little sandwich place with a lot of personality.

We are now one week out from starting with students. We are no where near ready!!!!!!!!  I found out one of my classes may come as a group of 40. So now  I need to completely rearrange my room to add 8 more desktops. I'm not so worried about the rearranging as I am about having 40 students to manage.  I will get a para professional with those groups but still.  Wow. 

I am trying to document this journey but as I sit here this morning trying to capture my thoughts, I am overwhelmed.  I cannot put into words my worries, fears and anxiety. This school has been COMPLETELY neglected and ignored for years.  We have such a challenge ahead!

We were doing a Q&A session with the principal and AP yesterday about nuts and bolts items on people's minds.  One question was around district provided snack.  Apparently there is a program but you only qualify if you have a high number of free and reduced students.  We have 98% but apparently we DO NOT qualify HUH???  

Due to neighborhood gang activity the color Red is banned from our wardrobe at any time.  This includes hair ties!  That's great to give a violent group of people so much power.

I know these are not paragraphs nor may they make sense but I need to relieve some of the stress that is turning my stomach inside out.

Supplies- I found some awesome digital cameras that will allow me to use those cool 3x5 hard floppy discs for storage. Now if I can only find the power cords I'll be all set. Ha. We have not ONE updated digital camera to use.

That's my spillage for this morning.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Getting out of my rut

So as the official start of my new adventure draws near.... I'm getting a bit wiggy because the reality of not returning to the place I've been working for the past ten years is settling in. 
I've been trying to work on my new teaching space, doing what my friend Mel calls- nesting. I've been in the past several days for hours at a time trying to do just that- nest- make it my own or Giafy it I think I told my friend Jenny. I don't feel I'm there yet mostly because my new room is HUGE (72 steps by 29 steps).  I'm talking the size where 30 computers line the walls around the room and don't over lap.  The size where we could hold a dance and 50 people would be comfortable. So, lots of room to try to nest, lots of white wall space. I will have students ranging from ECE to 8th grade coming through there so I'm thinking.... how do you make it cutesy and friendly for the young ones but not overly so for the older ones. YES, I am totally over thinking this but it's important to make this place inviting and positive. These kids NEED and DESERVE to have a place that they feel good about spending time.  The population is 98% free and reduced. The largest housing project in Denver is right across the street. So my need to nest is even greater this year.  I know all this nittering about is my way of wanting to make sure I show them I care about them. I know I will be just fine and all will be well because I CARE. 

I'll end this with a reference to a blog I read this morning called A Few Truths by Leigh who created Curly Girl Design. It was EXACTLY what I needed to get out of this rut I've seemed to be spinning in for a few days.  She ends her blog post with a question - "What makes you unreasonably happy??" This turned my whole attitude around and totally made my Friday. It helped me shift my thinking. 
My list:
1. music- listening to a song that has lyrics that make me think. smile. reflect. Nothing like a little John Mayer, Ben Howard and Mumford & Sons right now.
2. Jeeter- his excitement when I come home from a day away- NOTHING on earth can give me an instasmile like he can.
3. Roadtrip to BV/Salida- Driving 285 and the point when I see the Collegiate Peaks-AHHHH. Then putting my feet in the river near new south main-double ahhh!!
4. Freshies- sliding into bed with freshly washed sheets.
5. Flowers- NOT the kind that are cut and put in a vase. The kind that are growing like crazy in their own little dirt worlds.
5. Friends- ore more specific the times with friends. Event more specific now that I think about it I haven't had this in awhile- times with friends where I let myself get over myself and just be stoopid-silly-naive.. when EVERYTHING and ALL THINGS are funny and I get my deep down belly laugh on. Times when I ignore anything but being with my peeps and letting my heart and spirit soar.

So I'll leave you with the same question in hopes that it can give you a little positive mojo thinking.