Monday, July 27, 2009

Website in the Works

Watchknow is an educational website that is getting started. Its aim is to organize all the best educational videos so that teachers and can have them at their fingertips with ratings and additional information concerning them.

Much thanks to Teacher's Musings for sharing this site with me via her blog.

Aspire to Be

A song* I was listening to the other day has a daring message that I feel more people need to hear. It talks about how should think about who we wanted to be, "when the world was younger and we had everything to loose". The point stands that the younger you are, the more you have to loose, yet the wilder the dreams tend to be.

A little girl I nanny for is 7 years old and will declare with no hesitation that she will be an artist when she grows up. Not she wants to be, she will be. She practices her drawing and has no doubts. Her courage inspires me. When was the last time I was able to proclaim something without any hesitation and diligently worked towards it? It is much easier to dream when you are younger and do not understand all the obsticals that stand in between you and your dream.

10 years ago I wanted to be a nurse "when I grew up". At the time I failed to take into consideration that I have a terrible time hurting others, even if it is for their own good. But it was still my dream. 5 years ago I didn't know what God wanted me to do with my life, but I knew I wanted to help others. On my path to becoming a teacher, I am getting there (to the helping others).

I challenge you to look at your life: "are you who you want to be?"*

*This Is Your Life, song and lyrics by Switchfoot

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


One of the things I have been really trying to do in the past year is learn about new technologies and how they may be used in the classroom with students.

I have found quite a few wonderful things. I have always had in the back of my mind that when working with technology we need to be conscious that sometimes it breaks or refuses to work properly, for whatever reason. But the idea has been brought to the forefront of my mind since last night-when my cell phone decided to go crazy.

The phone, itself, works (meaning that if I know the number I want to call, I can dial it and make the call). But the screen is mostly black, with a few rainbow streaks and a few hairline cracks. I know what you are thinking-hairline cracks? you probably dropped it and broke it. But, that is not the case. Unfortunately, AT and T does not cover internal cracks and a messed up screen on the warranty, so I am stuck with a phone that does not work like it is suppose to, at the current time. I can not get to my contact list (because I can not see them), I can't take pictures, listen to music, send or receive text messages (a service I am paying $20 a month to have unlimited access to). I also no longer have an alarm clock to wake me up in the morning. The funny thing is my phone was working fine, it was in my pocket and I was texting people ten minutes before I pulled it out to call a friend. That was when I found the screen was black with rainbow streaks (thankfully that friend was on speed dial, so I was able to call her).

These little things are convieneces to a cellular phone, yet I am frusterated that I had to ask my roommate to make sure I was up before she left for work and that I can hear my text messages coming in, but I have no way of letting the person know that I can't recieve texts or respond to the message.

Lesson learned? Do not rely to much on technology, because it can (and at sometime probably will) let you down.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

How it all Went Down

So Christmas in July went well. Much better than I could have imagined, actually. $255 dollars were donated (well $275 if you count the $20 that was given to us at a gas station).

If you are not sure what I am talking about, refer to my prior post. It explains it better.

So we gathered, all nine of us: Chelsea, Heather, Kelly, Nicole, Lauren, Johnathon, Kyle, Aaron and I. With our donations, and those we gathered. Much thanks to Kayleigh, Kelly, Jill and Andrew (if there were others, I am sorry) there was 255 dollars-which was way more than we expected.

Our first stop was Aldi's. Here we had two objectives: one to buy food for the Salvation Army, and the other, to bless a family by paying for their groceries. While most gathered groceries, Kelly and Chelsea went to bless a man by buying his groceries. Upon offering to pay for a gentleman's groceries, they were turned down and had a hundred dollar bill flashed at them. While that was discouraging, we kept on and payed for someone else's groceries.

Our next stop was the Salvation Army, to drop off the groceries we bought. They were very grateful for our donation, but we didn't stay long as they were serving dinner when we stopped. However, before we left, a guy with baggy pants and dread locks invited us to the church service across the road. He was great at speaking up and seemed like a very nice person. We explained to him what we were doing and declined politely.

Our next place to stop was Goodwill. We went inside with money in hand, prepared to help customers pay for their purchases. One customer politely declined. When we attempted to give the money to the cashier for the next person to check out with (people were shopping, but not checking out at the moment), we had to talk to the manager to make sure it was allowed. She said that while she had never seen this happen before, there were no rules against it. Thus we were able to leave the money and continue on our journey.

All this done, we had only spent 75 dollars of the money. We still wanted to buy someone dinner as well as fill up a few gas tanks.

The first gas station we visited had a few people filling up. The problem was that they all seemed to have really nice cars (and clothes, for that matter), and our goal was to help those who needed it most. So we went to what seemed to be the lower income area of town. There were plenty of cars that needed filled there. The first man we asked said he was only planning to put a couple of dollars into it. When told we would pay to fill it up entirely, he got defensive and would not allow us to put any more in. I wonder what he was thinking. From our point of view, we were trying to help, yet he did not allow us to help. I'm sure he didn't mean to, but he left us feeling a little defeated, as we could see he needed the help and wouldn't accept it. We were able to help a few other vehicles and there was a really shabby van that was parked out front, but didn't pull up to the tank. To say the van was shabby might be an understatement. It was rusting out and when the driver's side door was opened, the plastic part (that should be attached to the door) flapped in the wind. Wondering if maybe money was the issue, one of our group asked her if we could fill her tank for her. She was overjoyed responding that, "she had been running on fumes for days". If she was the only one we had an impact on-the entire night was worth it. We were unable to stay there for very long, because the cashier asked us to leave, saying we were soliciting and she was going to call the cops if we didn't leave. However untrue and outrageous that was (Chelsea kind of wanted them to call the cops, just to see what they would say) we complied and left.
We went to another gas station, and helped a few others there. While at that station, I asked one man if he needed any gas (he had been parked at the air compressor, but not at the gas tank). He said his tank was full, but asked why we were buying people gas. I told him what we were doing and a few minutes later, he pulled up to where we were standing (scouting out cars) and handed us a twenty dollar bill and asked us to use it in our cause. That was pretty amazing and totally unexpected!!

We then went to a couple restaurants, mostly fast food. We found it was easiest to catch the people as they went through the drive through, although it is amazing how skeptical people can be. We had quite a few people ask us why, and others seemed like they didn't know what to say at all. One man in Stake and Shake repeatedly asked us what his end of the deal was. Many paused for a long while before accepting the gift and muttered a thanks. It was almost like they were waiting for us to say it was all a trick. People just do not typically go around giving out free gas, meals or groceries-and it seemed to through the majority of the people we offered help to for a loop.

A few asked us to find someone who needed it greater than they, and we complied. These few were the only ones who really seemed like they understood what we were doing. These were the ones that didn't hesitate. They might have asked us what moved us to do this, but questioned more because they wanted to know than like it was incredulous that someone would buy their gas for the day.

I hope that at least one of the people we helped will be affected in a way much greater than having their costs waived for the day. I would like to think that maybe we have caused some of those people to think about why someone might give willingly to others. And maybe, if we are lucky, one of them might be inspired to help someone else. Overall, I would love it if we were able to give just one person a glimmer of hope that there is still good in this world, and that we can make it through.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Christmas in July

I am excited about tomorrow. My sister and I have been praying about and planned an activity for us to reach out and help those around us in the current economic hardship.

We are gathering people and donations to take to Pekin, Il. Once we get there we will be randomly selecting people or families to bless with our donations. We might pay for a family's grocery bill or meal for the night. I am excited because I know God can and will do amazing things when we ask Him to.

Although I am not entirely sure what will happen as we go about this adventure, I am ready to be a vessel for God to use me in whatever manner He chooses.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Math Website

Upon reading another teacher's blog, she advocated this website as a great resource. Being curious, as I am, I went there to check it out.

Oh, how I could have used this website in my class last year! We were expected to remember exactly how to do all the mathematical work we had learned thus far and preform well on a content test (without being retaught). Although that method is OK, I would have appreciated having this resource to refresh my memory about how all the different types of trigonometry problems work, as that was my weakness. By sharing this, I hope others might be able to use it at the needed times.