Sunday, September 26, 2010

Ode to Fall

The high today is 76 degrees
It's beautiful, sunny, and there's even a breeze!

Oh, Fall, you are truly on your way
You make me crave apple cider and a pumpkin spiced latte!
( -- check out Clinton on the commercial)

In just a few weeks we'll be turning back the clock,
It's time for my favorite polish: "You don't know Jacque"

Fall, Fall, you are truly the best.
Football, cool weather, and Oktoberfest

A tell tale sign that fall is here:
Big Tex has arrived, along with fried beer!

Fall, fall, you started out right
A win for the Cowboys today and the Baylor Bears last night.

In fall I wear jeans, long sleeved tees, and a smile
Fall, glad you're here....please stay a while!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Friday 5

Drumroll, please....

5. Lame: One of my favorite words is lame, pronounced "Laaaame." I told my student I had something really fun planned for us, and he said, "Mrs. Chambers, is it really fun? Or laaaame?" Touche, kid. Touche.

4. Book on CD: For all of you teachers out there, this may be old news, but I had my student make his own book on CD. His obsessed with listening to his recorded voice, and I have never seen anyone more motivated to read! iPhone-ers out there, there is even a voice-recorder app to make your life easier. Check it out:

3. Co-Teach: My buddy Jordan from Vanderbilt also works for my district, and today she got to come spend the afternoon with me and my students. It was so fun to have her there. We decided we would be much better teachers if we could always teach together.

2. College week: This week was college week at the elementary schools. I got to tell several groups of students about the college(s) I went to and my college experience(s). Don't worry, I spared all of the dirty details. Best part - I got to decorate my door:

The kids made banners. My favorites:

1. Totally not work-related, but the #1 best thing of the week is that we found a house! We are (hopefully) signing a contract tomorrow!!


Thursday, September 23, 2010

A Different View

This week, my Blind Student #1 had the opportunity to meet my Blind Student #2. I was super excited about the intro but had no idea I would have the chance to overhear one of the sweetest conversations ever. The conversation is extra touching considering their sweet young age and naivety. It went a little something like this:

BS1: I've been blind my whole life.

BS2: Oh, I have only been blind for a couple of years.

BS1: Oh wow. You are so lucky....before you got blind you got to take a look around!

Seriously? Is that not the sweetest/most touching/saddest/most beautiful comment ever? YOU GOT TO TAKE A LOOK AROUND? As if BS1 would give anything for just one look.

How many "looks" do I get to take everyday that I take for granted? It certainly made me take a moment to realize all of the "looks" that I have had the opportunity to take, and how grateful I am for each one.

Here are a few of my faves:

A beach sunset.

Tennessee fall foliage.

Portofino, Italy

My husband-to-be as I walked down the aisle.

My beautiful sister on her wedding day.
A special dance.

True love.

Take a moment today and "look around." We have so much to be thankful for!


Saturday, September 18, 2010

A New Fave

As a teacher, I believe that part of my job is to help students experience new things and open their minds to all that is here in the world around them. I try to live my life that way - seeking new opportunities to learn, trying something different, exploring my community, and experiencing life.

Lately, Jared and I have enjoyed discovering the wonderful world of North Oak Cliff. And now it's official...we are completely obsessed!

We love the neighborhoods.

We love the local shops and businesses.

We love the diversity and the true sense of community. We love that you can sit on a patio at the Belmont Hotel, have a drink, and look at this:

If you haven't been to Oak Cliff, you should go! But be just might fall in love, too!


Friday, September 17, 2010

Friday 5

It's Friday!!! We made it! And so...the Friday 5, the top 5 teaching moments of the week!

5. Belt Malfunction - I could tell one of my little preschool students was walking funny as we held hands down the hall. I was about to redirect him to walk correctly, but when I looked down--- his pants were around his ankles!! The poor little guy had walked through the hall passing three classrooms in his little whitey tighteys. Priceless.

4. Vertically Challenged - I was helping one of my [blind] students with a math problem in which we were comparing the height of trees. To demonstrate, I had us stand up and pretend we were the trees. I instructed him to find the difference between the height of the small tree (him) and the taller tree (me). He touched the top of my head and said, "Mrs. Chambers, why are you ducking down?" I responded, "Ummmm....I'm not." Classic.

3. Reading is fun! Ok, so this every moment a teacher hopes for -- "Reading is fun, Mrs. Chambers!" Whew! I must be doing SOMETHING right!

2. Running - I was encouraging one of my students this week to run the 50 meter dash in an event for students with visual impairments around the metroplex. I told him, "You can definitely run for 50 meters." He was insistent that this was just NOT possible. We argued for a few moments until he said..... "Mrs. Chambers, 50 YEARS is a LONG time!"

1. My Fave- So, it's always kind of funny when children you are around start picking up on phrases you say a lot. For better or worse, all the moms I know can vouch for this! Well, yesterday one of my students says, "Mrs. Chambers, this book is my fave!" HA! I said, "Awesome! Your 'fave,' huh?" "Yeah, Mrs. Chambers, I learned that from you!" At least I'm teaching something!

Happy Friday!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

White Bread

So I had my own personal Michelle Pfeiffer Dangerous Minds moment this week.

Okay, maybe I'm exaggerating a little. No one was going to die. No one was joining a gang, and no one was pregnant.

Let's face it, while I do leave my diamond ring at home, I carry mase in my purse, and I am sure to stow away all valuable items out of site in my car, I work in elementary schools where the students are dolls, and the teachers and principals are hands-down amazing. I did, however, have a moment this week where I felt like a total Bad-A. The convo between me and Student 1 went a little something like this:

Me: I'm not sure what others have expected from you in the past, but I'm going to tell you right now, that I will not tolerate laziness, negativism, or an I-can't attitude. You will get on track with your other classmates because I believe you have the capability to do so.

Student 1: But Mrs. Chambers, some of my family members don't even know how to spell or read.

Me: Imagine how proud they could be when you walk across that graduation stage to get your diploma, you get a great job, and do so many good things in this world. I believe you can do it, and I expect that you will.

Student 1: Will you be there Mrs. Chambers?

Me: Where?

Student 1: When I grow up??

I realized that I honestly have the potential to be one of the most important people in my students' lives. I may be one of the first, if not only, people to tell my students that I expect greatness from them. I must remind them this everyday.

And really, can't we all remember to look ourselves in the mirror with the same advice every now and then?

Friday, September 3, 2010

Bring It

Let's just be clear. Reading, writing, and arithmetic don't always come easy. Unfortunately for one of my sweet bugs, this happens to be the case. But let me just tell you, he's not going down without a fight.

Even my own patience is wearing thin on his behalf as we struggle through some basic problems with no avail. I recommend ONE more problem before we call it a day. His reaction? "BRING IT ON!!" He laughs, rubs his hands together, and gears up for another doozie.

Seriously? This kid is a rock star. We can all stand to "BRING IT" a little more when it comes to our own lives, can't we? Try something new? Be more present in our relationships? Say yes when our body is thinking no?

So my "BRING IT" moment for the week was a Paige/Stacey Groupon spectacular. Our month-long Belly Dancing classes ended with a show at Stratos. We even brought our families along for the ride. Opa!

How do you plan to "BRING IT" this Labor Day weekend?

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Leaving a Mark

So I had a rough morning. The Second Week of School is not as mean as The First, but I was on the verge of a minor nervous breakdown. I had been putting out fires all morning. But then I got to work with a student in a sweet and adorable third grade class. Go figure, we all learned a little something.

The students were preparing to read a story about a bear going on trial, so the teacher presented a discussion topic: If you do something wrong or bad, should you get in trouble? Should there be consequences?

There was as buzz around the room as students discussed this in small groups. I smiled as I watched the students collaborate and chuckled as I thought of a few people/traffic lights/computer systems I'd like to "punish" that had done me wrong that day already.

Then one student raised his hand with urgency; he could not wait to share his most certainly correct answer. "Yes!" he exclaimed. "You should be punished. But only if you leave a mark."

It took me a minute to process his idea, and as I did, I had to stifle my laughter as I awaited the teacher's response. However, this kid is on to something. In his most literal and naive thinking, he put some things in perspective for me. My morning/week/two weeks had been really tough. But nothing has left a mark.

I, however, hope to leave a mark of my own. A different kind of mark. And so I truck on....