Thursday, September 8, 2011

What I did

...after I left school yesterday.
I helped my neighbor save our kayaks,
tried to get DoT to come out and help with a culvert back - up...with no luck, being told that water draining off the hillside from a backed-up culvert isn't their problem. This morning it became their problem since the hillside is now on their road.

With school closed, I took off at 8:15 on my bike, going to breakfast at the Ithaca Bakery, before traveling the city from one end to the other looking at...

water, brown and swift-moving water.

Ithaca Falls Stewart Park bridge, looking toward the golf course

Stewart Park, looking toward the lake

At the Golf Course, looking to the lake

At the train trestle across from the high school

At the Haunt, looking to route 13

On the bridge, looking to the inlet.

Finding boys enjoying a day off fishing at the Farmers Market

An overflowing something at the Farmers Market, with a front view for Mr. Devoe: their garden under water (here's hoping Groton's garden wasn't!)
Cascadilla Creek at the old P and C
Ending at Six Mile Creek

Note same picture: it has less than 12 inches before it breaks the wall, and that was around noon today!
I got lots of curiosity satisfied and good exercise in, while even attaining new knowledge (I learned how to take pictures off my phone.).

A good day!

Sunday, August 14, 2011



Like so many things in life, we can be like KGB.

We can grab life with both hands, going for all there is, holding on, and enjoying all that life is.

That's what it's been like for me these past four years with the blog. I started this hoping to interest students outside the classroom by having their work and photos for all to enjoy, while using technology that was of their generation and not mine.

I've used vidoes, links and google documents. It went from a fun blog to a blog where, last year, students had to go on for a grade, using the blog for a lesson in reflecting. So much in 4 years is in this blog. I grabbed what I could of the tool and held on with both hands.

Hopefully, the blog was as good for all of you,my students, as it was for me. I used it in the classroom to teach and as a tool to clarify what needed to be taught and how to teach it. By the end it was not only an instrument for reflection for you, the students, but for me also. For your parents, it was a 'window into the classroom', as one parent put it.

It's been a good four years, and I want to thank you all for being here with me.

But, sometimes, it's just time to 'eat it', as KGB does here.

Sometimes, it's better to just go with it, to eat it, and in doing so, let it go.

The changes and challenges have been tremendous these past few years. Two years ago, it was 6th grade Reading, a class I took to and loved. Last year, it was again the 6th grade Reading and a Learning Lab, a challenging class until I found how to work with the students to better prepare them in reading, editing, writing and math, while throwing in some science and history.

Each year I took what was given and worked to the best of my ability, while keeping on with working with you, my 8th graders, and moving us ahead while making changes as the need warranted. (Have you noticed yet that technology has made our lives so much faster? The needs of my students, you, have changed just as quickly!) The blog was a big part of it all. Then, this spring another round of teacher (not administration) hits happened.

From the lows of that round of teacher cuts (losing Mr. Lott, Mr. Devoe, and Mrs. Dovi to the high school, while seeing Mr. Giroux cut totally), Mrs. Filzen found a way to challenge us who were left in the middle school and move us forward. I was so excited by the thought of taking on both levels and turning it into a 2 year course. I believe that the students were excited by this idea of one core set of teachers teaching them for two years. Think of the extra learning that would have been available to us all! Even with the sadness of losing such fine teachers from the middle school, we had found a way to continue to grab life with both hands, and I was ready to do it all, including the blog.

On August 4, though, less than a month before school was to begin, I was informed in a letter that, no, due to "challenges with the [high school] master schedule", I would only be teaching two 7th grade classes. In short, instead of dynamic, visionary thinking, focusing on the student, the administration did what was easiest. I was, once again, just a teacher being given, once again, whatever classes fit: an 8th grade teacher who just happens to have been given 2 other classes.

Through much of life it's best to grab with both hands, hold on and enjoy it for all its worth. Sometimes, though, life gets the better of us, and we realize eating what's been given is best.

I look forward to a new year of great students, surprising changes and challenges to keep us all trying our best. I will enjoy, just as a I have every year, the students in my classroom. I am ready and so looking forward to those students! But, for now, the blog has come to an end.

There comes a point where 'grabbing for it' becomes, without support and understanding from others, a time when it's best to just 'eat it'.

Yours in wonderful years of blogging,

8th grade English teacher
(who just happens to teach two other classes)

Thursday, June 23, 2011


...8th graders.

You will go on to high school, great things, your life. Go, enjoy. Struggle a bit, laugh a lot, love so much. The world is yours.

But, for me, you will be 'forever young', forever 8th graders. Here's to you now!

End of the year

...poetry project.

I am so proud of your efforts!

Thank you for my 30th year of teaching being one of my best!