Monthly Archives: January 2017

Frozen – Word of the Day

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I didn’t take a photo today, but I can write about FROZEN!! Today it snowed. Just a little bit, less than an inch, but it wasn’t bitter cold so our school had outdoor recess. This made the kids so happy!

They wound up getting a lot more outdoor time than expected. A few minutes after they came in to eat lunch, the school was evacuated due to a very strong odor of gas. The fire department had already arrived to investigate the smell (which seemed to be coming from outside the building.) While the kids were on the playground, some of them noticed the commotion but they didn’t know what was going on.

As soon as the evacuation of the building began, we headed towards our safe location, which is the middle school, a few blocks away from our school. There are a few busy roads to cross, and until police officers came to block traffic, teachers took charge of holding up the cars to allow for students and staff to cross. Over 700 of us. The snow, while not deep, had made for frozen, slippery sidewalks, so we had to walk quickly but carefully to keep from slipping down the hill. As soon as we reached the middle school, a police officer gave us the “all clear sign” to head back up the hill to our school. This time, police officers were holding up traffic at the intersections allowing for us all to cross the street once again. Traffic was backed up quite a bit, but instead of the drivers getting frustrated and angry, not being able to go anywhere, they were smiling and waving at all the kids. It was like a parade.

I was so proud of our community. The teachers, staff, students, police officer, fire department and even those drivers in the cars. Everyone was so calm.

When we got back to our classroom, the students were asking why we had to evacuate. In Kindergarten friendly language, so not to scare them, we just talked about how there had been a smell that we were worried about so we wanted to get everyone away from it. A few of the boys kept insisting that we had to leave because of the otter on the playground. I explained that otters live near water and that we don’t live close enough to water for an otter to be there. They insisted I was wrong and until the end of the day they were convinced that otter was why we evacuated. I just let it be. Later, as I was packing up my things to go home, it clicked. There was no OTTER on the playground. There was an ODOR! I guess they had heard more of the commotion from the fire department than I thought.

Word of the Day SURPRISE

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Another day went by without a photo. A good day, a calm day, a quiet day…10 children were absent from my class!! That was a surprise. A great dinner made by Dave, good news from the doctor for Drew, frozen yogurt for dessert…Over 14,000 steps on my fitbit and the day isn’t even over yet.

Some days recently have been really hard. Today, was a good one. A great one in fact. That’s life I guess. Take the good with the bad. We never know what will come tomorrow.

 

Only One Week?

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One week. It has only been one week! It feels like forever!

Democrat or Republican. Trump supporter or not. As Americans we have to work together. I often feel that  I am not educated enough on the “big issues” to fight or protest. I admire those that are. So many of my friends are peacefully marching, writing letters and protesting and I am so proud of them! They are not promoting violence but rather demonstrating their inalienable rights.

Sadly though, I am seeing people who are losing friendships over this presidency! We are becoming divided and losing faith in one another and this is so disturbing. I try to hear the voice of my more conservative friends and wonder how they aren’t seeing the hatred that so many others are seeing. Our country, once known as the land of the free, the envy of other countries – is being laughed at right now. I am ashamed. Ashamed that brilliant doctors, researchers, scientists, mothers, fathers and children are being kept out of a country that once welcomed them.

I worry how this is going to divide our country. It has already happening. How long are we going to be able to just “agree to disagree?” I for one will try my best to be respectful to those who think differently from me. I might not understand their reasoning, and at the same time, they might not understand mine. I will get angry. I am already angry but I can’t get sucked into the negativity. Instead, I will find more ways to do good for others.  I will continue to contribute to my own community, to think globally and act locally. I will continue to be a positive force in my community and will find ways to volunteer and help out locally. I will encourage others to do the same.

 

The Beatitudes

One of my favorite readings at mass has always been the Beatitudes. I think of them as reminder of how we should treat one another. As I sat through mass this evening, I couldn’t help but think of how un-christian like our president is being right now.

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I haven’t gone to church in a few weeks. I have been disheartened and trying to find some reasons to get there but haven’t been able come up with any. I go through this now and then – doubting my religion and wondering where I belong. Tonight the mass intention was for my mother so my sister Kathi and I went to the service. One of the songs during mass was, “Blest are They” always a favorite of mine but also one my mom loved and sang proudly and loudly! It actually brought some tears to my eyes but to be honest I am not sure if they were for my mom or for my frustration over how our country is divided right now. Maybe a combination of both.

I got through most of the mass, listening to the readings (all based on the Beatitudes) thinking, as long as they don’t play mom’s absolute favorite, “Be Not Afraid” I would be fine. Kathi and I presented the gifts at mass and sure enough the song played. I couldn’t hold back my tears.

Here are the words of the hymn:

You shall cross the barren desert,
but you shall not die of thirst.
You shall wander far in safety,
though you do not know the way.

You shall speak your words in foreign lands,
and all will understand,
You shall see the face of God and live.

Be not afraid,
I go before you always,
Come follow Me,
and I shall give you rest.

If you pass through raging waters
in the sea, you shall not drown.
If you walk amidst the burning flames,
you shall not be harmed.

If you stand before the pow’r of hell
and death is at your side,
know that I am with you, through it all

Be not afraid,
I go before you always,
Come follow Me,
and I shall give you rest.

Blessed are your poor,
for the Kingdom shall be theirs.
Blest are you that weep and mourn,
for one day you shall laugh.

And if wicked men insult and hate you, all because of Me,
blessed, blessed are you!

Be not afraid,
I go before you always,
Come follow Me,
and I shall give you rest.

I couldn’t help my tears. I am afraid.

When I got home, I saw this statement from Pope Francis,

It’s hypocrisy to call yourself a Christian and chase away a refugee or someone seeking help, someone who is hungry or thirsty, toss out someone who is in need of my help. All nations must focus on service to the poorest, the sick (and) those who have abandoned their homelands in search of a better future for themselves and their families.”

This pope, who I have said since his first days, has intrigued me. His ways of thinking so different from so many popes of the past. I wonder what would happen if he and President Trump sat down and had a talk…

Chaos

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As kindergarten teachers, we often say that no one would really believe what goes on inside our classrooms and it would make a great reality/comedy show. Yesterday’s episode would have been titled, “Chaos!”

Thirty minutes before the end of the day the chaos began, with a wet floor in the class bathroom after one child missed the toilet. This caused the next child to  slip, but fortunately not land in it. I called for Mr. Leonel, our custodian who came with his big smile and took care of it for us.

Five minutes later, a child threw up right next to all of the coats somehow managing to not get a drop on them! Who ever thought that carpets were a good idea in a kindergarten classroom?? I got the child to the trash can and called for Mr. Leonel AGAIN. As he and Ms. Magnolia, (our other custodian) were pouring green sawdust –  which I have now named, “The Magic Germ Killer” – all over the carpet, they had a fascinated crowd of Kindergarteners watching their every move. While they were mesmerized by the custodians, I got all of the coats and backpacks to the other side of the room. They were quietly watching the vomit magically disappear when one screamed, “ANTS!!  Get the magic ant spray!” The focus was now off the vomit and on me. Ant spray to the rescue! We saved the ants from the vomit and instead of the aroma of vomit the air was filled with the scent of peppermint and eucalyptus. Crisis averted!

Yes, the throw up germ has reached my room. It happens almost every year right around this time. Right now, New Jersey is suffering from a Noro Virus outbreak and since it is spread in crowded, closed places through contaminated surfaces, it is no surprise that it has hit hard at our school.

Between that, strep throat and the flu, which all seem to be running through the school, there are a large number of students who are sick. One day this week, there were more than 25 students JUST in kindergarten who were absent! My class has been pretty healthy – until today, when five of them were out sick. Fortunately, we have the weekend to recover and air out the germs – I hope!!

Hand sanitizer, (or germ gel as we call it in Kindergarten) can’t kill the strain. Only hot water and soap seem to do the trick. Our custodians are working so hard trying to keep up with all of it! They deserve some sort of award – I don’t envy their job. As soon as the announcement calling for a custodian to the office is made – we know it has struck in another classroom. Yet I still see them with smiles on their faces! I don’t know how they do it! They deserve a huge THANK YOU!!

Daily announcements have been made on proper hand washing and the nurse has sent emails and letters home to remind everyone of “healthy precautions” and what warrants staying home from school, but trying to keep germs out of Kindergarten seems to be an impossible feat! Fortunately the oddly warm January weather has allowed us to open up some windows to let in some fresh air.

Hopefully this time it is short lived!

Movement

I said I was going to write each day. I thought I was going to make it easy on myself and do the photo challenges, but that hasn’t necessarily been easier!! I like the prompts though so I am making up the rules as I go along. I will use quotes, photos, stories…whatever I can to keep it going.

Today’s word is MOVEMENT.

There are so many changes going on in our country right now. Changes that don’t make me very happy. Changes in things that I feel I can do very little about. I don’t know exactly what I can do, but hopefully I will find something that inspires me!

If enough people take action – who knows what can happen. The Women’s March on Washington showed me that!
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Reflection

In a scary time, where I see nothing positive coming out of our new leadership, the photo challenge seems a bit trivial. The word of the day is REFLECTION. I chose a quote instead.

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