Friday, January 27, 2017

Control....And Letting Go Of It

 Our Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—CONTROL.  We simply write for 5 minutes on a prompt and see what is created!  I've enjoyed doing these quick writings.  If you would like to give it a try, check out the Facebook page or this blog:  Kate Motaung’s site

Control.  It IS good to have self-control.  To think before I speak or act.  To maintain some sort of moderation in my actions.
However, to BE IN control, is not always as wise.  I love to be in control.  To know how many are coming for dinner, to have my plans ready for the next class, for students to behave and act in a manner that I expect.  Doesn't always happen.  And that's not all bad either.  Sometimes it's the serendipities in life that are the biggest blessings.  Although, it doesn't always seem that way.....
As a parent, it' not that I want to control every move of my childrens' lives, BUT there is part of me that wants very badly to take their hand and point the way that "I" think is the best choice.  But that isn't the way is goes.  I can suggest, guide, but in the end, they are all individuals with the freedom to choose.  
As a spouse, ideally my marriage is always peaceful, there are never money issues, and everything is peachy keen.  Nope, that doesn't happen either.  In fact, I've had a marriage end in divorce.  That situation in my life was I think the beginning of a journey of handing over control to God.  Control of both little and big things.  
Another life-altering event for me was the death of my youngest child, Timothy James.  I had tried my best to be there for him, to support him, to encourage him, to listen to him and his dreams.  And I DID do that, and he DID love me as much as I loved him.  BUT, he still had his own freedom to choose.  And he did.  I was not in control of that situation.  At all.  Only God is. 
I'm still not very good at it - this "letting go of control" thing.  BUT, I'm better at spotting situations where I need to step back and let God do His thing.  If I have a part in it, it will become apparent.  Otherwise, I am not in charge.
So, rather than "Keep calm and stay in control"  I think I like this quote better:

Friday, January 20, 2017

REFINE: 5 Minute Friday

 Our Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—REFINE.  We simply write for 5 minutes on a prompt and see what is created!  I've enjoyed doing these quick writings.  If you would like to give it a try, check out the Facebook page or this blog:  Kate Motaung’s site

When I think of the word refine, I think of doing something to come closer to pure, closer to ideal.  Most of the time, refining takes time, effort, sacrifice, and sometimes pain.  Pain not always physical (although sometimes it is!), but also emotional, spiritual pain.  The pain of letting go, and receiving blessings that come to fill the supposed void.
What do I need to refine in my own life?  Several things come to mind:
*A deeper relationship with God...daily, hourly, minute by minute
*Eating habits....wiser choices, a commitment to say NO when I need to
*Fortitude....taking time to search my soul before acting, searching for wisdom in a situation
*Possessions....the hardest for me I think.  Give away what I don't need....don't buy things that are just 'Things" minimally.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Scratching, Itching, Blogging, Singing and Dancing OH MY!

Scratching?  Itching?  In technology class?  No, we didn't walk through some poison ivy!  We have been coding!  So, what IS coding?  Coding is learning how to speak and think like a computer.  Coding provides an opportunity for students to improve problem-solving and thinking skills at a digital level.  Instead of being passive consumers of technology, students are transformed into active producers.  
Right now grades 4-6 are coding, younger students will be starting in a few weeks.  For several years, students have participated in activities developed by®.® has a vision of every student in every school having the opportunity to explore computer science.  Each year new activities have been added, and students have learned new skills in the coding world.  As students are creating with Scratch or Itch they learn to think creatively, work collaboratively, and reason systematically. 
For a more in-depth article, please take a look at Why Teaching and Learning How to Code in Schools by EdTech Review.

Third Grade Students are blogging about the role that music plays in their life.  Blogging and social networking have become huge forums for discussions and the sharing of knowledge. As I work to prepare your child for their future, I want to give them as many authentic writing experiences as possible.

Each classroom blog is totally private to the students and teachers in that particular classroom.  These blogs are NOT public.  Their classroom teachers, Miss Amie, and myself are the only people who can see the blog besides the students themselves.
Kidblog (at is designed specifically for teachers and students, and is completely secure.  I have set up a class network of blogs, where each child has their own, and they are all connected through me. In this way, we can communicate amongst each other, but our work will not be visible or accessible to the public at large. Your child has their own specific password, which will give them access to edit their own blog, as well as the ability to comment on other studentsʼ blogs. However, each and every post and comment will come to me first for approval. In this way I can monitor the conversations and ensure that everything is positive and appropriate. Ask your student to show you our classroom blog!  They can access it simply by going to my webpage.

First and Second grade students are working on typing skills using TTL4 as well as online games.  Using the Home Row is a must for whichever activity we are doing, ad well as awesome posture!  Kindergarten students have JUST learned what the Home Row is, and we have practiced finding it and placing our fingers there.  We are also continuing to work on navigation on the computer and mouse control.
Featured today are Kindergarteners!  We have been studying dance in the ABC Music and Me program.  We have learned about Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Hip Hop and the jig too!  We've learned about the Treble Clef, how a violin sounds (we pretended with rhythm sticks we were playing violin), and most interesting of all, the fact that a male ballet dancer is a ballerino! 

Younger classes are working on rhythm reading readiness.  All classes will be exploring tempo and the Italian musical words associated with the different tempo.  A favorite new echo song, especially for Kindergarten and First Grade is "No More Pie!"  Here's a favorite video with Ella Jenkins singing.  We also use this song to differentiate between speaking and singing voices.  Our classroom version is a little different, and we'll soon be making up our own verses!
Even though temps have been in the freezer, we are thinking, "SPRING CONCERT" in the music room (as you can see in the graphic above!)  K-3 have a performance on March 16, which might seem a long ways away, especially in 0 degree weather!  Since March in Music In Our Schools Month, we are preparing fun songs and activities to share with our friends and families to celebrate MUSIC!