Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Do you know who Dolores del Rio was?

Found on Pinterest

At the beginning of the summer, around father's Day, I was talking with my mother-in-law. We were talking about how long we have known each other. I had mentioned to my father-in-law that I have had him in my life longer that I had my own father who passed away almost 30 years ago! Perhaps my mother-in-law was feeling a bit left out, but I soon heard a story about how she had received her name--a story that I had never heard before!

My mother-in-law was born in 1930. Dolores Del Rio was a famous Mexican actress in the 1920s and 1930s. I had never heard of her. Dolores del Rio was my mother-in-law's mother's favorite actress in 1920s. So when she had my mother-in-law (the baby in the family), she named her baby girl Dolores!

I find it amazing that after knowing each other so long, there are still stories that I can learn! Perhaps my next step is to find an old movie of Dolores del Rio to watch one weekend. Maybe even with my mother-in-law.

Who is your favorite actress or actor from the 1920s or 1930s?

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Dear New Teacher

On Sunday, Michelle posted a letter and a request for advice for a new teacher. I loved Michelle's post (you can read it here)!! Her caring, compassion and encouragement was so clearly put into words in her post. As I am mentoring a couple of new teachers this year, I think Michelle's request came just in time. I too, needed to ponder how I would encourage my mentees. Here is my letter:

Dear New Teacher,

Thank you for choosing to become a teacher! You have new world waiting for you this year. It is your own global classroom!

Your classroom will soon be filled with teenagers from many different countries. They will speak English with different proficiency levels. Don't worry, your other students will be there to help you. Just join the adventure and learn along with your students.

Your students are the focus this year and every year. It is not about the perfect classroom or the right shade of paper on your bulletin board. Yes, classroom organization is important, but students are what teaching is all about. Get to know your students. Talk to them. Have fun. Read with them. Write with them. Discuss books with them. Debate. Be real. Be kind and compassionate. Be firm. Boundaries are good. Respect is a must. Kleenex will help to dry many tears and antibacterial wipes are a necessity! Don't forget to ask for help. You have a team that will support you. You are not alone.

Gather your supplies, coffee (maybe some more coffee), open your door, and smile! Your students are coming. They can't wait to meet you!

Wishing you a wonderful year of learning together!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

What is happening here?

Books, that what makes this morning exciting! I have books for my fellow teacher. I get the bag out of my trunk. Close the trunk, and immediately I get a feeling that I should have never closed my trunk! Why? Because my car keys are still in the trunk!
Image result for car keys

What to do?
First, deliver books (the exciting part), and then call AAA. Thankfully it only took them 10 minutes to arrive. Fastest service ever!

My day progressed. Meetings attended and work accomplished. Charts were created. Data was entered. Scores were analyzed. I was looking forward to going out for ice cream with friends. My bag is packed. Where is my cell phone?

Green Glow iPhone5
Image by mobiletechguru
Begin search! Not in my bag. Not on my desk. Not in any of the other rooms in my wing. People are leaving. I need to hurry before I lock myself out of my possible search zones. Master key in hand, Amina calling my phone, tennis shoes on, and I am ready. Pace fast (you know the pace that Fitbit loves). I race through the school peaking in every possible place that I have entered earlier today. Nothing. Last classroom on the right is fast approaching.

A memory surfaces. Didn't I use the computer in that classroom earlier today? Peak in. YES!!! There it is! Ringing quite peacefully on the corner of the desk! 
Perhaps if my phone had glowed as in the photo, I would have spotted it earlier in the day.....

Keys returned. I am ready to leave. Oh, you want to talk about tomorrow's PD? Sure. I have time. We determine the way to use the data, which charts need to be made and uploaded to drive by tomorrow morning. Details are being discussed. And suddenly my eyes drift to the lower right corner of my computer. Yikes! I should already be at the ice cream place!!!! Faith is waiting for me to unload her wheelchair!  I take my packed bag and rush out (with my keys and phone intact)!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Training in August in Northern Michigan

This past May and June I went trough a Train the Trainers training for Language and Literacy for English Learners. Now in August it was my turn to join a couple of other trainers and deliver our first training. Our training was in a beautiful Traverse City in Northern Michigan. What could be better during summer vacation than a trip to northern Michigan?

We talked about how we learn to read or how we learn a new language. Then we tried to determine if a particular way of learning was either explicit and implicit. Great discussions followed! We as teachers had to stop and think if the way we learn would be the same for English Language Learners.

We shared many wonderful read alouds! This is one of my favorites from the four days. If you have not read it, I think you should get it!

Here is Karen, one of my wonderful go presenters! We traveled together, planned together and found great places to have dinner. We were joined by Nahla on our travels and dinners and Deb and Barbara as go presenters! I am so glad that my summer PD included these wonderful ladies. I did not just present, but I learned so much from each of them!

We did not just sit around either. We made letters and words. Most of the time with our writing utensils, but at times our whole bodies were engaged in our experiments in learning! 

I hope your summer PDs were as much fun as mine! All the best to those of you who have already started school! I have a few more days before I need to report to school! 

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Random thoughts on travel

I was a bit baffled when looking at this label. Really? This is what I would be getting when asking for a flapjack in the UK?

This lovely church, St, Georges in Leeds, is an old church with beautiful stain class windows. On Sunday evenings though, there is a very modern group of singers on the "stage." The song might be an old hymn or a contemporary worship song. The message is always about loving God and the city where we are. My last two Sundays at this church have truly been a blessing!

Can you see the rain drops? The gray sky? Yes, it is a bit depressing when it is accompanied with cold weather. This morning it is 52 degrees here. I have had handful of partly sunny days while here, but a few more are forcasted before I leave for home. Carrying an umbrella with me has truly become a necessity.

At home I don't really have any hills. Here I cannot avoid them. The other day (when it was not raining) walked to meet my daughter's friend. All the way there, well almost, it was downhill. On the way back, however, it was all uphill. Needless to say, I could soon walk up a bigger hill (or do they call that a mountain)!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

New surroundings as I travel

Aren't castles wonderful!

I am not sure that I would like to live in one, but it is great to visit one even when you have to climb countless stairs. This is the Bunratty Castle in Ireland.
Flowers galore!

I love flowers! I am not much of a gardener, but I love taking photos of beautiful flowers either in their organic state or man made beauty as it is here. I think my garden fairy back home will really enjoy these pics.

Did I mention climbing??

I don't think I had more than a few minutes in Ireland that I was not walking or climbing! My Fitbit sure was happy!

Hope you are enjoying your summer!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Trainers Workshop

Have you been to a workshop where participants are there because they have to be there? I have been there, and I am sure you have too.

Last week I was completing my second two day Train the Trainers workshop. It was WONDERFUL!!! Our presenters (or trainers) were perfect! They were both experts on their field with enthusiasm to match. We, the participants, were all there because we wanted to be there. We were eager to learn and participate.

So what was this all about?
In my state our our leaders in the department of education have seen the importance of training local experts and then to commission them to provide training at their school districts and counties. This summer's training is: Teaching reading to Students Learning English: Training of Trainers. 

We had our first two day training in May and now last week was our second two day training. Then in July and August we will host regional workshops around our state to train local teachers who have English Learners in their classrooms. I am really excited!! I am convinced that if we can get enough mainstream classroom teachers trained to work with our English Learners, we can make a much bigger difference in our schools and districts.

But back to the participants!
I sat the two days at a table with five other teachers. We had great conversations, we acted out problems and scenarios, we created learning tools and practiced using others already created. We took pictures of ideas that we want to use both in training and in our schools and classrooms. We laughed! We were mesmerized by the dramatic performances of one of our presenters. And then, of course, we laughed some more!

I came home energized (even went to gym on both nights before coming home)! I am itching to start planning, creating, reading and writing. Just last night I watched a movie that one of the participants recommended (McFarland). Great movie by the way!

So this year I am not feeling so jealous of those who get to attend AllWrite as I had my own great workshop!

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Thank you for visiting with me!

The table is all set.
Electronics are ready.
I woke up early so that I will have time to visit with you.
Coffee is served, but I might prefer tea if it is early in the morning.
I am drinking Yorkshire tea.
What is your beverage this early in the morning?
I add a little milk and place a piece of toast on the plate.

I click away while I wait for you to come.
Our connection is so strong that I don't
even have to leave my chair 
to visit a few friends 
this morning.

Reading in the morning gets my day going.
I can always find a teachable moment to 
remind me to try that new idea that I've been pondering
or to laugh along the story that you have carefully crafted
to make us come to a wrong conclusion
before revealing the punchline.
I might tear up while reading about the tough times you
are having or the memories of loved ones.

You make me treasure the people I have around me!
You remind me to count my blessings, 
be brave and fly!
You encourage me to focus and 
discover something new--inside or outside.

It is almost time to leave for work.
Maybe just a few more clicks.
I need to let you know what your words meant to me this morning.
While driving to work
I am still thinking about the words that I read.
I wish I'd have time during the day to read your words,
but I have to wait.

Evening comes along with new words.
The stories of travel are so exciting!
I just bookmarked a possible new backpack.
Photos of quilts, markers, plants and sunsets
are making me wonder where I will be next year this time.
Will I return to read more of your words
or will life have taken me to a different direction.

Thank you for sharing a cup of coffee or tea with me.
Thank you for sitting with me early in the morning or late at night.
Thank you for leaving your footprint on my pages.
Thank you for opening my eyes to new possibilities.
Thank you for appreciating my words.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Spine Poetry

Book spine poetry is so much fun to write! One evening during the winter while volunteering at our local library friends' Bookstore, I was feeling a little restless. I think it was one of those really cold evenings when everyone wanted to be home under a blanket drinking something warm. I had some time before it was closing time  and no customers. Surrounded by books. Thinking about March Writing Challenge. Perhaps I could try? So I did. I took a few creative  licenses and inserted my words or phrases when I felt that the book titles did serve me just right. Mostly I did this not to mess up too many spots on the bookshelves (after all, I would have to place all the books back eventually).


Where the light remains
in the wonder spot
with thunder and rain.
Look again:
Shine, Shine, Shine
this heart of mine.
Live a little!

One day
when I fall in love
with this charming man
my heart will
shine, shine, shine
in my head I will hear
thunder and rain
my eyes will have
double vision.
Look again,
we are
friends forever!

Sunday, March 29, 2015

There was excitement in my classroom

For the last two Fridays I have had two pre-student teachers in my classroom. Both are getting an ESL/TESOL minor to their undergraduate teaching degree!

Week ago the university students jumped right in and read with students who were all in small groups based on their fluency (this is after all a Sheltered English Class in high school). My students were focused, and yes, a little in awe of the university students as well. You know how it is when a beautiful young woman comes and teenage boys, who usually are quick to talk, find themselves watching the future students with a "grin" on their faces and mouth a little open but no words are forming.

During the second class that day I found out that one of the university students does dramatic readings. As we are in the middle of reading Romeo and Juliet, what could be more perfect than reading one scene from Romeo and Juliet to my students. The three of us read a short scene like the actors that we are! Students were mesmerized! We received an applause that definitely made us feel like real professionals! Everyone was engaged in listening!

Then this week the university students had planned an activity that focused on debate. It was FABULOUS!! Everyone was engaged. There was so much excitement that my principal walked in because he had heard it all the way in the hallway! Yes, we might have been a little laud, BUT we were learning!

We spent two hours learning about debate with hands-on-activities. Students listened, they practiced with sentence starters, they wrote topics and short sentences, they read a passage and talked about in small groups, they created their own argument, they revised and asked for more information, everyone in a group took turns standing up and speaking. Nobody realized when it was time to go.

These are the future teachers who are full of enthusiasm! They are the future of education! They are not afraid to spend time and plan a lesson that works. They radiate joy and love of teaching! These are the teachers that I would want to teach our new immigrant students. These are the teachers that will make sure that our English Language Learners are NOT left behind!

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Spring MUST be coming

Spring is coming. 
It really MUST be coming.
My calendar says it is spring!

There is new life in my yard.
It is green.
I could chop it up
for my soup or salad.

Persistence and perseverance
must be the middle names
for these lovely sprouts.

Sheltering rocks
supporting me in my
yearning to leave my
safety blanket
and seek new ground.
I am thankful
for your warmth
and cover on a windy
spring day.

I have been standing here
for many months
without showing any
signs of life.
I had to hide.
The winter was brutal.
Even the snow blanket did not often reach me,
but I am made of sturdy roots
that reach deep within me and the 
ground below me.
I am a  survivor.
Now I am ready to welcome
my friend spring
with open arms.
I want to honor her by
blossoming and saying my final
goodbye to the winter
that none of us will miss.

Enjoy the sun and wind
even if it may rain
where you are.
Welcome the signs of new life
both outside and inside.
Treasure the moments when a new sign will
reach your eyes.
This is the cycle of life.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Post # 300

When I started my blogging journey four years ago, I had no idea that I would still be writing today. I had no idea how meaningful this community would become. I had no idea how much I would learn by being a part of this community. I have been blessed. Truly blessed by so much.

As I look at back, I thought I would share a few posts that I really enjoyed writing. My first posts did not get many comments. Some not even one. But I persevered. I also learned that receiving comments meant that I needed to read and comment (which I was a little scared to do in the beginning).

My 10th post was about what I Believe. You can read it here. This was personal, and at the same time empowering to write.

One day I decided to write my 6 word story (in my way of course). Suddenly, I had more comments in one post than I had had all month long! I really felt like a writer now.

I Remember... is a post I wrote while visiting family and friends in Finland. I was reminded of so many things from the past that had changed. Revisiting them made them a new memory. It was also during this trip that I met Terje! What special encounter that was! I hope that this year will bring more encounters with other bloggers!

Books and Memorial Service was a very special post about Edna. Edna and her husband Earl were both book lovers! If you went to visit their home, there would be books everywhere! Edna was also the one who recruited me to help out at the Friends of our Library booksales over 17 years ago. I am still there!

Thank You My Fellow Teacher is still one of my favorite posts! I had a lot of fun after I posted an anonymous copy of this in our teacher's lounge. The conversations about who wrote it were interesting. Everything in that post/tribute still holds true (well, just no more Diet Coke for me).

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Physical and Spiritual Exercise


Today I am writing my Slice of Life Story Challenge and linking up with Holly's Spiritual Journey Thursday. At Holly's blog we are writing about the different One Little Words that each of us have chosen. Today we are writing about Mary Hill's OLW: EXERCISE!

Quote found here
I have been pondering exercise. I have been doing physical exercise pretty regularly for the last two years (with a few breaks in here and there). During the month of March I have had a special rhythm: get up, exercise and read,  post my daily blog and write a few comments while eating breakfast. My rhythm was becoming part of me.

What about the spiritual aspect of exercise?

Quote found here
Keeping my body in shape (yes, I know mine could in a whole lot better shape), is not all that God is asking me to do. He wants me to exercise my faith!

Quote found here
What does it mean? Reading my Bible. Praying. Going to church. Fellowshiping with other faith-exercisers. Being generous. With time and money. Serving the poor. Reading about other faith-exercisers. Listening to God. Doing what He is telling me to do.

Can I do all that????

I feel like I am falling short even before I start.

Quote found here
Isn't this the point of exercising my faith--it takes faith!

I will not see the results right away. I will have to wait. When at the gym, I cannot be doing every machine every time. When I start pedaling my favorite bike, I have faith that I can do the time that I preset at the speed or incline that I choose. I have faith.

When practicing or exercising my spiritual gifts, I don't need to do everything at once. Do I need to keep my ears and my eyes open for what God is telling me to do? Yes! can I make a mistake? Yes? Will God use me or talk to me if I make mistakes? YES!

Could I combine physical and spiritual exercise?

Riding a bike and praying. Reading while biking or on the stepper. Why not? Walking and praying for your neighbors. Running an errand for someone in need and praying for them at the same time. 

Opportunities are endless. I just have to take the first step. God will be with me. He has promised.

Today I will exercise my faith. Both physical and spiritual.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Neighbors, Friends and Coworkers = Blessings

Getting sick is never fun. If you are a teacher, getting sick really means extra work = substitute plans! These sub-plans are a major reason why I don't like to take time off. This week, however, I had no choice. I had to stay home. Today is my third day at home and hopefully the last.

During the last few days when I have been sick, I have been privileged to be reminded how  many great friends, coworkers and neighbors I have! My neighbor friends have gone to the store for me. I got drinks, chicken soup and one even picked up my medicine!

Coworkers have printed lesson plans for the sub, talked to students about their projects, and assured me that they will take care of everything. Sweet emails from students have lifted my spirits: "I miss you Ms. Jaana. Ms. A. is nice, but she is not you." I can't wait to get back to school and tell my students how much I have missed them!!

Then there are the text that have come. "Do you need anything?" Friends who don;t even live close by have offered to come and help. I am truly been touched. Prayers have been so appreciated. I am feeling them working.

Comments on my posts when I felt that I was not able to write that well or comment that much have still appeared on my blog. Thank you! Well wishes and prayers are counted as blessings!

I have truly been blessed while being sick! It is amazing when you are feeling so miserable, you can be so blessed at the same time!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Hello there--I am

i am an ESL teacher, mom to one amazing daughter 
i keep way too many folders on my desktop both at home and at school
i wish i could make my students see all the possibilities and opportunities that they have 
i love to read mysteries, adventure stories, and yes, even romance
i speak English, Finnish and some Chinese and Arabic
i sing in church and in my car
i think it is really hard to stay home sick
i really need to get back to regular gym attendance (maybe after I am well and testing booklets have                been sent back)
i need to organize my kitchen table and wash the dishes
i should learn more technology (should iPad be my next purchase?)
i can't go many days (probably not more than one) without spending some time reading
i like to keep in touch with friends around the world via social media
i make a good travelling companion
i enjoy spending time with friends--especially if it includes good coffee and great conversation  

Leigh Anne who wrote a post earlier this month with this format. Thank you Leigh Anne for your idea!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Chills and Shivers

Teeth chattering
Cannot get warm
Hot tea from Yorkshire
infused with
honey and milk.
goose bumps everywhere.
Fell four short.
Shivers and chills
took over.
Thermostat raised
Double blankets.
My bed is calling me!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Cities Where I Have Lived or Worked

A few days ago I came across a post where the author wrote about the cities where she has lived. My cities are not as exotic or as many as hers, but they do tell a story.

Helsinki, Finland--I was born on the outskirts of the capital city of Finland.  Can you believe we did not have running water or indoor plumbing for the first ten years of my life?

Siuntio, Finland--I moved to this small town (well, maybe it was actually a village) to join Youth With A Mission (YWAM). This is really where my adventure started.

Randers, Denmark--I worked here for a few months to help prepare for the 25th celebration of YWAM.

Singapore, Singapore--I was part of YWAM school here. This is also where I began my Chinese lessons, had my first taste of Roti and other Asian cuisine along with learning how to use chopsticks.

Taipei, Taiwan--My journey of learning Chinese continued in Taiwan. I spent four years here. Met my future husband here and made many lifelong friends.

Kona, Hawaii--This was a short time, but very meaningful. My husband and I attended a YWAM Discipleship Training School here. We enjoyed meeting people from all around the world (even met the King of Tonga).

Chengdu, China--Both of us ended up teaching in Chengdu for a short time. Unfortunately my husband became sick and we had to return to the states.

Frankenmuth, Michigan--This was my first place to live in the US after returning from Asia. Talk about a culture shock! I came from a city of 5 million to basically a small town. I remember asking people what is there to do in Frankenmuth (when you are not a tourist). Friends would reply to say, "There is a mall in Saginaw or Flint." Wow! Different world definitely.

Ann Arbor, Michigan--This is where I attended University and where I have worked for last 11 years. It is not Europe or Asia, but for a relatively small city it has the feel of being an international city. Here I have my favorite Syrian and Chinese restaurants. There is the small Korean diner that serves the best Bi-Bim-Bop (conveniently close to my favorite gym). Some of you might even have heard about our famous sport teams.....

What are some of the places where you have lived or traveled?

Saturday, March 21, 2015

What tools do you treasure?

Smooth and round
perfect expression 
every time
gliding effortlessly 

Sharp and precise
needing a guiding hand

Just right thickness
edges are clear
easily readable

felt tip

Friday, March 20, 2015

I am so Proud of You

Parent-Teacher conferences can be very unpredictable. I am never sure which parents will actually show. Sometimes the parents do not show up at all; older siblings will come with their younger brothers and sisters.

I love meeting with parents, especially my new parents. But what really makes my conference hours special is when I get to see students that have graduated years ago now accompanying their younger siblings or acting as translators for parents or other relatives. I get to hear their stories!! Last night I heard two stories.

Sammy (name changed) came with his younger sister and brother. I had not seen Sammy in about three or four years. I heard how he is pre-med and getting ready to apply to medical school. I heard about him taking his second grade brother to the library, but not really knowing what level books to get for his little brother. After talking with his brother's teacher, he now understood what books are his level.
I also heard about his older brother who is getting married in a couple of months. I was smiling for a long time after Sammy and his siblings left!

Later in the evening I went to meet a 5th grade student's parents and had another wonderful surprise when Moe was the translator for his mother! Mow graduated last year after almost not making it! Here he was with great concern asking about his sister's NWEA scores and asking what could be done so that she would do better at school. All of this is even sweeter when you realize that Moe is taking great care of his sister who has a potentially terminal illness. He is such a loving older brother. He was also telling how he is doing so much better in college. He reminded me that his GPA when he graduated high school was 1.9, but after one semester of college, his GPA was 3.3!! I am so proud of him!

These are the stories that make it so worthwhile to walk extra steps, spend more time talking with them during my lunch or prep time, or stay after school to make sure that they are ready for the next day or for the next week! I am so proud of Sammy and Moe!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Does being brave mean I have faith?


Today I am writing my Slice of Life Story Challenge and linking up with Holly's Spiritual Journey Thursday. At Holly's blog we are writing about the different One Little Words that each of us have chosen. Today we are writing about Teresa Winterstein's OLW: BRAVE

be brave quotes                    

Is having faith the same thing as being brave?

When I was younger, I traveled to so many places. Some of them were difficult to get to. I was not afraid. I went with the idea that God is with me. He will walk before me, after me and next to me. I knew that if things got really difficult, He would even carry me. I had faith. I had faith in God's promises.

Then I moved to a country where life was much easier. I did not have boil my drinking water any more. Ice was once again safe. I could understand the language. Getting from place to place was easier and much more comfortable. Sometimes it felt like I did not need as much faith. I did not need to be brave as I was not going to an unknown place; I was just driving to work. The same way I go every morning.

As I have been pondering my on One Little Word (discover), being brave and having faith are also topics which have surfaced. Should I be more brave? How would I do that? Trying new things? Is that being brave? Taking a trip to a previously unvisited place. Is that being brave? Looking for a deeper relationship with God. Is that being brave?

What about you? Are you brave?

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Writing Ideas--how do I collect them?

March Writing Challenge 2015

I like observing people. For example, if I am sitting at a meeting or just having a cup of coffee at the local cafe, I will often imagine what the people around me are thinking. I wonder what their life is like? Ones that are so intensely typing on their computer? Are they working in their next bestseller? Or what about the faculty members who cannot leave their phones in their pocket even for a few minutes? Are you really getting a text every few seconds? What could be the story there?

What about the person by the window who is quietly sipping a cup of coffee? What has happened in her life? What about the couple who come to the coffee shop with their devices? They each seem lost in their own typing. I don't think they even talk to each other after deciding what to order. What is their story?

What about the student that comes to school on a Monday morning and says, "I couldn't do my homework. My parents were fighting. They almost got divorced. I got really cared." How do I respond to her story? Do I know even a fraction of the stories that my students bring with them to school every day? Am I curious enough to want to find out?

I have realized that my ideas really come from practicing writing. Sometimes I start with an idea, but an other idea comes along and just takes over. I have so many draft posts where I have collected ideas. Ideas from other blogs that I have read, what I saw on twitter, pictures or graphics that have caught my eye, or conversations that I heard (or overheard). There are ideas on my phone. Pictures on my phone. Recorded messages that remind me to check something when the time is appropriate. There are thought that I want to turn into writing ideas. There are dreams that I could write about (be brave you know).

There are quotes--so many of them--about writing. I collect them. They encourage me. Inspire me. Push me forward. Challenge me. Keep me going when I want to give up. Quotes can bring out the creative side of me. They give color to my ideas.

At times, format that I am secure and feel comfortable with, is the one that I go with. I can do that. I can do that. But what about trying something new? That is scary! What if I get the format of the poem wrong? What if my lines do not rhyme like the expert bloggers who write poems all the time?  What about my words? What if they are not as descriptive as the blogger's whose post is right before or after me? 

I think I need to be brave (more about that on Thursday)! I can try something new! What will it be? A poem, a list or a story? I don;t know yet, but I will promise to try something new this month. Isn't that what exercising my writing muscles is all about? Stretching to reach a little higher.....

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

17 Reasons I Write

17 Reasons on the 17th day of the writing challenge:
  1. Writing relaxes me.
  2. I write to learn
  3. Writing opens new worlds for me.
  4. I write because there is both power and truth in words
  5. Writing connects me to other writers.
  6. I write to see the shapes that words take on paper or on screen
  7. Writing gives voice to the words that I am pondering about
  8. I write my frustrations in order to not store them inside
  9. Writing translates everyday happenings into stories
  10. I observe, therefore I write
  11. Writing creates lasting memories
  12. I write to ask questions and debate answers 
  13. Writing helps me to make sense of the world around me
  14. I write because words keep me company on a dark morning or on a bright evening
  15. Writing makes me feel part of something much bigger and more important
  16. I write because I want to practice the craft that I teach
  17. Writing is what you do when you love it!

After reading Kimberley's post this morning, I just have to add two more items to my list. You can read Kimberley's post here.

18. I feel alive when I write
19. Writing gives me purpose

Then I read Michelle's post, and I felt that I needed to add one more item to my list. You can read Michelle's post here.

20. Writing is thinking

Monday, March 16, 2015

Package for me??

It was an ordinary busy day at work. I was in the middle of double checking testing booklets to make sure that I knew exactly who had been absent that morning and would need to catch up in the next few days.
Speaking   ü
Listening   ü
Reading    ü
Writing    Is that my phone ringing?

"Jaana, you have a package here in the office."
Oh, thank you.

Right now I am wondering what package that could be. Am I getting a free book? A sample of something? 

I got back to my work and almost forgot about stopping in at the office.  I am so glad that I needed to talk to someone in the office as I then remembered to pick up my package as well!

Look at what was in my package!!!

Inside the package was this note:

Thank you for giving me the confidence to teach teachers! I will be teaching a class at S. this spring and your belief in me helped encourage me that I had something to share. Thank you - S.S.

Needless to say, I was blown away! I was so excited for my friend! She will be an amazing teacher of future teachers! Can't wait to hear what other great opportunities will open up for her in the future.

I had just one question, how could the office not tell me that the package had flowers????