Monday, May 30, 2011

Glory to Glory

Glory to Glory is a painting by my uncle Mark Stewart. I love how old-fashioned they look and sometimes I wish I could just jump into them and be surrounded by the serene environment. As I was driving around yesterday, I was looking at all the American flags in the yards. It reminded me of the house I grew up in and how excited we used to be when we got to "help" D-Daddy put the flag out in the yard. Yesterday, in church, was especially emotional when they played the Air Force song. I think I can say one of the top 10 experiences of my life was at my Pappy's funeral last weekend. After they folded up the flag and presented it to us, we listened as one of the member's played TAPS on the cornet. I was so proud of my grandfather and his years of service in World War II. My cousin got to receive the flag, and then Tuesday he left for South Korea for a year of service. There are so many people who are willing to give their lives for our country, and this is one day of the year we get to honor them. 
I guess you could say this year, more than ever, I am happy to glorify our veterans, pray for those who are currently serving, and remember those that gave their lives for the land of the free! Thank you to all of you; I appreciate you. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Results are In...

We finally got our TAKS results back.......

7th grade Math passed with a whopping 97%!!!!

For those of you that care about the specifics - only 10 students failed in all, but 2 of those do not count because they moved into the district too late! Of the 10 that failed, I teach 2 of them!!! So only 2 out of all of my students failed!! Yaaaay!!

As far as accelerated goes, I had 9 students not get commended. That brought me to 89.28% of my accelerated got commended. My goal was 90%, so I'm a little bummed to get so close but not entirely reach my goal. It's kind of funny looking through the names because the names I was worried about not getting commended did, and some who didn't really surprised me!! All of the students who did not get commended last year, did get commended this year! The next step is waiting for the actual number scores to see how many questions they missed it by! Oh the waiting...

Overall, I am happy for my first and last year of TAKS! So bring on the STAAR test!!!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Trust in the Lord with all your Heart...

A lot of times this is easier said than done, especially when you're having a week like mine!

This is my sweet Pappy with us at Thanksgiving. Even in this picture he didn't really recognize us let alone his own son, my dad. Alzheimer's is a nasty/horrible/life-stealing disease that I have unfortunately been through before with my other grandfather. However, what Pappy still was able to communicate at Thanksgiving was that he sure loved our singing. After we were finished with Thanksgiving lunch, we sat at the table and just started singing all sorts of tunes. It started out with the old-fashioned hymns and then morphed into Christmas carols. We didn't care it was still in November, if Pappy wanted Christmas carols, we were going to sing them. I was amazed at how he could still sing his baritone line of harmony for every single song. I am thankful that the Lord did not allow him to suffer for an extended period of time and I know that he's now singing with the angels. The song "I can Only Imagine" is once again a beautiful reminder that my Pappy is no longer inhibited by his crippling disease, but he's standing in the presence of Jesus Christ.

All of this is happening while we are dealing with my dad having cancer for the 2nd time. This time my dad has melanoma and what was supposed to be just removing a mole has turned into talk of radiation and chemotherapy all over again. We've mainly been in a waiting game for about 3 weeks now; waiting on PET scan results, waiting on surgery results, and now we're waiting on more surgery results. On Tuesday, my dad had another surgery (this time on his neck rather than his face) to remove a few more lymph-nodes. If these lymph-nodes come back clean, we will be in the clear of chemo! With this second surgery he had a drainage tube put in, and I have had the privilege of learning how to change it out. We are calling it his cute new necklace! I am very sad to say that my dad's face will probably never look the same again. I have pictures but won't post them due to the fact that they are rather graphic! I am struggling with not thinking selfishly about how my dad will look from now on. My wonderful best friends are reminding me that I should focus on the fact that he's still here rather than what his new face will be. I am very thankful for that and for the reminders that all I need to do is trust in the Lord.

"Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going" - John 14:1-4

Friday, May 13, 2011

Tessellation... What's that??

For some reason, I guess I thought everyone knew what a tessellation was. Does that mean I really am some math nerd?? Oh well. A tessellation is basically one big puzzle that is formed from the same template being tiled over and over again. That is how I would define it, but to be a little more exact this is the definition from Wikipedia:
"A tessellation or tiling of the plane is a pattern of plane figures that fills the plane with no overlaps and no gaps."

So, our project for after TAKS was to create a tessellation. This is something my school does every year, but I've done something like it with my 8th graders in Waco! I gave my students half an index card and told them whatever they cut out from one side they had to tape to the other (this creates the puzzle aspect). They did the same thing to the other side and then they had their template. They then had to trace the template all over their construction
paper. From there, they had to use their creativity and imagination to make their shape into something (this is where they get interesting... they also had to have a title to go with their project. The classes then got to vote on which ones they thought were best and I made ribbons for them all! Check out my winners from all of my classes!

1st Place - "Dancing Rainbow Monsters"
2nd Place - "Beyond the Hills" (I really liked this one!! She used the template as the hills and then drew in a whole city!)
3rd Place - "Fishy, Come Back!"

1st Place - "Night and Day"
2nd Place - "Chubby Tabbies"
3rd Place - "Flames"
3rd Place - "Follow the Leader" (very clever title!)

1st Place - "Restless Heart Syndrome"
2nd Place - "Pretty Colors"
3rd Place - "Crazy Star"
3rd Place - "Queen of Hearts"

1st Place - "Majestic Elephants"
2nd Place - "Kissie Fishie"
3rd Place - "It's Raining Men" (This is my personal favorite! This student kept wanting to start over b/c she couldn't figure out anything to make her shape into....but this is what she ended up with!! I loved it!!)

1st Place - "Turtle Parade"
2nd Place - "Shark Life"
3rd Place - "A World of Kittens"

1st Place - "Froggy Night"
2nd Place - "Swirl" (This looks awesome, the picture doesn't do it justice!)
3rd Place - "Air Force" (I was very proud of one of my lazy-er boys for turning this one in!!)

I love my kids, but 14 days left. They are drivin me nuts and I'm positive it will only get more crazy as those number of days get smaller!! :)

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Finally a Filly!!!

Here is our sweet girl named Libby (and shirtless Joshua). She has been preggo for a while and was due April 10th! This picture was taken on April 24th... the vet wasn't worried about how late she was, so we weren't really either! Well she finally had her filly on April 26th!! And she is precious! I cannot wait to go see her (we are thinking of going this weekend - so d-mommy if you're reading this, surprise!!) :) I absolutely love their little wobbly legs!! Here is the filly; I'll get better pictures when we go down there!

So onto what I normally talk about - TAKS! It is over!!! I am proud to say I have administered my first and last TAKS test!! (It's changing to the STAAR next year) I feel that my students are going to be proud of their scores; and we should know in about 3 weeks!! I will be sure to let you know!

Since TAKS is over the kids automatically assume that school is done and they can now DO whatever they want!! ha They have learned quite quickly that unacceptable behavior is not going to fly just because TAKS is over. :) So I always resort to a very old form of punishment. So do something in my class that I'm not happy with and you will be..... dun. dun. dun. -- writing sentences. Now they're used to doing this when they don't show their work on tests; for every problem, they have to write 5 sentences of "I will show my work on every problem." I had a teacher I worked with last year that not only had students write sentences for this, but also for any type of behavior problems. The students really seem to dislike it and I find if I threaten them with it again, they honestly try to not have to do it. I think it's more just because it's a hassle. If you have to write the same thing 150 times, you are annoyed/bored and you've just wasted 30 minutes you could have been hanging out with your friends. So I may not be able to give them licks or bang erasers, but they can write as many sentences as I see fit! 

24 more school days with my little squirrels. 24 more days until I've completed my first year of my teaching career. I cannot believe it.