I have a fern on my front porch, and now all is well.
I also have rosemary, peppermint, Mexican heather, jade, and a couple of other potted plants happily residing on my back patio. And an ivy in the window…because everyone needs an ivy in the window.
So, this is how I celebrated Earth Day, 2014.
I made this photo while visiting a retreat site in Mineral Wells, TX.
The shoes, while not farm-appropriate footwear, were all me.
Feeling creative and quote-y this evening. This is a photo I made a few years ago in Uptown New Orleans…off of Magazine St.
It’s Sunday evening…are you ready for the week ahead?
Sunday evenings for me mean finishing up laundry and cooking for the week. (I never seem to get much cooking done during the week, so I like to do as much as possible in advance.) My weekdays are packed with teaching, paperwork, caring for the pup, keeping up with freelance projects, getting to the gym, reading, and trying to find some time each day to unwind and re-energize for the next day. My weekends, though, are much different. Sure, there are always papers to grade and projects to complete and errands to run. But weekends also mean getting creative, spending time with friends and family, and just being. (And usually a good rain storm or two, now that I’m back home in the New Orleans area.)
Here are a few of my favorite weekend things:
1. Porch time with Delia.
Sometimes we play ball. Sometimes she runs in circles or along the perimeter of the yard over and over like a crazy dog. Sometimes we sit and watch the birds go by, and sometimes she barks at the neighbors or a stray cat that walks across the fence. I selected this duplex when I moved here from Texas because it has a yard, and my first dog, Georgia, had never had a yard of her own. Georgia passed away in October of last year. After a couple of months, Miss Cordelia Evangeline found her way into my life. She adds lots of joy and love to my life.
2. Good Coffee
It’s true I start each day with a strong cup of coffee. (Community Coffee Private Reserve Louisiana Blend Dark Roast with a dash of coconut creamer and one teaspoon of Sugar in the Raw). But on the weekends I get to sit and relax while drinking my coffee…maybe read a book or newspaper, or just sit on the porch.
3. Artsy-Craftsy Time
One of my favorite artsy things to do in Metairie, is to go down to Posh Paint Pub and paint coffee mugs. I’ve done this several times since I’ve moved here, and have quite the collection of mugs now. This is a picture of the mug I painted this weekend. It will get fired over the next couple of weeks and will be lots brighter and the colors will be deeper when it is finished. True Confession: I actually select which coffee mug I will used based on my mood or what I need that day – a firey, Pele-inspired mug when I need some extra firey energy for the day, my “Just Bee” bee mug when I need to lighten up, my dragon-fly “Dream” mug when I want to stir things up a bit.
Creativity is such a vital part of life – and we can be creative in many more ways than most people think. I know when I’m off balance, because I’ve usually not done anything creative in weeks. Brene Brown writes, “Unused creativity is not benign. It matastasizes. It turns into grief, rage, judgment, sorry, shame.” And I agree, whole-heartedly.
… … … … …
This week, our school’s third, fourth, and fifth grade students will take state assessments. We start tomorrow (Monday) and test all the way through to Thursday. This is a challenging time for students, teachers, administrators, and anyone who has anything to do with testing. I know it is difficult for students to test all day for multiple days. It’s hard for teachers because we know our effectiveness as teachers is rated in part on how students perform on one week of tests. I feel like this causes inner conflict for teachers. On one hand, we want them to do well, we want to know that they have learned something. On the other hand, we know that a series of tests is not the only way to measure how effective we are as teachers; it’s not an effective way to measure how much our students have learned. I don’t know many teachers who can just let go and not worry about the test results. It’s hard. We have high standards for ourselves, and we can sometimes be our own harshest critic.
My goal for this week is to stay centered and grounded. Give students big smiles and words of encouragement as they walk in, keep smiling throughout the day and week. On Friday we will all breathe a sigh of relief. And on Monday, the teaching and learning will continue.
Learning should be FUN, right? Even when you are learning exciting things like converting mixed numbers to improper fractions, and converting improper fractions to mixed numbers. Sounds exciting, yes? Well, it can be. I purchased a set of matching cards from Teachers Pay Teachers, but decided to do something a little different. Students will get into pairs, and each student will have this crown on his head (made from bulletin board trim) with a mixed number card inside. He won’t see the mixed number. His partner will need to convert the mixed number into an improper fraction. Then the student will need to convert that improper fraction back into a mixed number to reveal the mixed number on the crown.
We’ve done so much with fractions over the last six weeks, but we still need to keep reviewing and practicing. This game is more fun than a worksheet full of conversions to perform.
We’re doing this tomorrow…stay tuned…