Wednesday, November 30, 2016

November....Thankful for Much

It's the last day of November, and our school district is having Snow Day #2 already!  Two days in a row the snow has fallen and the wind has blow it into drifts everywhere!  Sounds like a good time to write a blog!  November has flown by, as it always seems to do as we enter into the holiday season!  

Third Graders are preparing two songs on their recorders for their performance on December 13.  We have now learned five different note fingerings:  B-A-G-high C- and low E.  
Students did an activity that is part of the Candy Corn Music Puzzle Bundle by Tracy King on TPT.  The bundle includes puzzles for Dynamics, Notes and Rests and Recorders.  In this activity, students matched up note names, notes on the staff and the corresponding fingering on the recorder.  It was an enjoyable way to learn!
The highlight of our month was the entire school performing for our Veterans on Veterans Day.  We sang "Thankful for the USA" written by Teresa Jennings.  It's a fun, upbeat song, and we enjoyed learning it.  With the audience, we also sang "The Battle Hymn of the Republic", a song by American writer Julia Ward Howeusing, the music from the song "John Brown's Body".  Students sang three verses to this patriotic song, and from Kindergarten to Sixth grade, it was a favorite!  Students dressed up in their patriotic attire and proudly honored the veterans who were able to attend.  Many classes helped decorate the gym, with many many art projects.  It was great!
A special part of the day was that the Veterans stayed and shared lunch with the students.  Two of our grandchildren were happy to share some special time with Grandpa!

"I'm The Fastest Turkey" has to be students' all-time favorite musical game to play at Thanksgiving time!  The game is an echo game, with elements of Duck Duck Goose involved.  My beautiful turkey puppet is used as a prop.  Mr. Turkey gets lots of petting too!  For me, it gives me a chance to hear the students sing alone, to assess their singing voices in areas such as pitch, rhythm and dynamics.  I think that even high school students would play this game if given a chance!

Students in grades 4-6  in technology class have been blogging this month.  They are finishing up blogs on a favorite book they have read recently.  If you have one of these students in your family, ask them to share their blog with you!  Third graders will begin blogging.  Students are required to apply what they have been taught in other subject areas when they are writing....good grammar, correct spelling, appropriate sentence structure.  There are different specific requirements for each grade level, corresponding to what's required of them in their other classes.  
Integral to writing is the skill of proofreading.  Students not only proofread their own writing, but work together with a partner to proof each other's work.  It's always good to have another set of eyes look at your work!

The holidays provide a variety of games that not only work on computer skills such as mouse control, Internet navigation, typing etc. but also skills from other academic areas.  Kindergarten students reviewed counting by 1's, 5's and 10's while completing this turkey activity.  

Students in all grade levels continue to improve their speed and accuracy when keyboarding.  "Awesome posture" is something we visit about frequently as well!
Holiday Concerts are coming soon!  Hope to see many friends and family there to share the joy of making music with our students!

Friday, November 25, 2016

Surrender: Five Minute Friday

Sometimes we hear the word "surrender" and think of things like "giving up" "Throwing in the towel" "letting the other guy win".  These are all ideas that reflect a lack of achievement, a loss, failure.  There's really not anything uplifting here is there?
For me, when I think of surrender, I think of freedom.  When I surrender my agenda, my day, my life to the will of God, I am not bound by what might happen.  Plans hardly ever materialize the way we have imagined them.  What I've learned is to give that control to God.  HE alone knows the totality of my days, of my entire life!  When I have surrendered control to Him, instead of stressing about details that are not perfectly in order, I can relax, and look around for the blessings that are about to happen BECAUSE my plan did not come to fruition!
I'm not an expert at this stuff.  I am very much a "Type A" personality.  I plan ahead, I make notes, I get the word out, I think about what order to do things as I lay in bed at night.  BUT, each day I am better at not melting down because the floor didn't get cleaned, or because I forgot to cook the vegetables, or because not everyone could come.  Instead, I am that God has this.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Five Minute Friday: ENJOY!

For me, it's important that whatever we are called to do in life that we ENJOY it!  There is so much around me to enjoy...both big and small.  Even in the midst of stress, there are things to choose to enjoy.  To FIND JOY!  Here are some things that I enjoy in life:

Teaching:  I love to share my knowledge with others, both young and old.  To see the light turn on when another person understands something is awesome!

My Family:  I am a spouse, a parent, a grandparent, and a great-grandparent!  Sure, there are times when "enjoy" may not be the best description of events...BUT overall, there is always something to find joy in.  Might be small, might be large...but there is always something.

Living on a farm:  This was not on my bucket list 30 years ago, for sure!  BUT....I LOVE IT!  I love looking out my window and seeing the neighbor's cows grazing, the crops growing, wildlife, open spaces.  I also love the feeling of safety here.  Neighbors are people I can count on for help if I need it.  

Being part of a small community:  People are quick to help each other, to celebrate with each other, to just be with each other.  Our faith community as well is small enough that I know most of the parishioners not just on the surface, but on a personal level.

I could go on for quite awhile!!!  But time's up!

Friday, November 11, 2016

COMMON: 5 Minute Friday

Common.  For me, I think of the words ordinary, unsurprising, plain, many of, not unique..... when I think of "common."  I am common.  I am a mother, a teacher, a musician, a lover, a leader...many others in our world fulfill these same roles, and many much better than I do, I'm sure!  Yet, I know that really, I am NOT common.  Neither are you. 
We are each unique beings. created in God's own image.  Our talents, our vocations, ARE unique to us in the way that we live them out.  We each have been chosen to be EXTRAORDINARY in this world.
Think of the people God has chosen in the past to be EXTRAORDINARY.......COMMON people such as Abraham, David, Moses, Mary, Joseph.....none of these were royalty, they were people just like you and I!  Inasmuch as we all share COMMON experiences in our lives, we are also each so very UNIQUE as an EXTRAORDINARY creation of our God!

Friday, November 4, 2016

A Journey Begins with One Step

Five-Minute Friday:  Journey

We are always on a journey in our so many areas of our life.  The journey isn't always easy, though.  I saw a quote the other day, it was something like this: "Make the boulders in front of you stepping stones to a closer relationship to God."  I know that when my journey has been difficult, hey, agonizing, terrifying, heart-wrenching...not JUST difficult....those are the times when I have grown.  Those are times when I have learned more about who I am and who God is.  Those are times when I have, once again, relinquished my own control to One who is really in control.
I do savor those spans of time in life when things are going smoothly.  No one in the family is in a crisis, we are all getting along, life is good.  However, that is rare!  Especially in a large family such as ours.  Even when I may THINK that life is on a smooth path, there is usually something going on that is causing pain somewhere to someone I love and care about.
I can only put my trust in God to take care of my friends and family, to guide them on their own journeys, to guide me on my journey in this life.  We all long for reaching the same destination, eternal life with Jesus.  Keeping my eyes focused on that makes my journey worthwhile!