Saturday, December 31, 2016

Running Wrap Up for 2016

 "Running is the greatest metaphor for life because you get out of it what you put into it."

As 2016 comes to an end, I have been reflecting on the past year and setting new goals for 2017.  On January 1, 2016, I was having a pity party for myself.  My way of getting out of my funk was to sign up for a challenge - "Run the Year."  The challenges was put on by Run the Edge and it meant that I would attempt to complete 2016 running miles during 2016.  I decided from the beginning that I was only going to count my intentional running miles.  It averaged out to be just over 5.5 miles a day.  That seemed manageable.  Even if I missed a day here or there, I would have some long runs on the weekends.  I also hoped that I could bank some extra miles during the summer (spoiler:   that didn't happen!).

To everyone who thinks, "I could never...."  I encourage you to TRY!  Whether your, "I could never..." has to do with running or anything, set a goal and go for it.  The journey will be worth the work.

I didn't quite meet the goal of 2016 miles but I am really happy with what I was able to finish the year with.  I stayed healthy and never went more than 2 days in a row without running.  I couldn't have done this without the support of my family (Rog, the kids, my dad, my sister, etc.),  friends (the ones who came to run races with me, the ones that showed up at finish lines to surprise me, the ones who ran to train with me, the ones who encouraged me to keep working toward my goal), co-workers (who knew my goal and believed that I could possibly do it), and even strangers!  My running journey this year has been amazing.  It helped me balance life so much better than in years past.

So  I didn't meet the mileage goal of 2016 but here's a summary of what I did accomplish:

4 10Ks

1 15K

2 10 milers (including a crazy TRAIL run)

3 half-marathons

Best Mileage month:  November (200)

Total Miles for the Year:  1941
Avg miles per day:  5.32
After the Mississippi Riverview 10K --1st place
96.3% complete----In grading terms that would still be an A.

75 miles short....

January - 143 miles
February - 108 miles
March -158 miles
April - 132 miles
May - 160 miles
June - 159 miles
July - 168 miles
August - 177 miles
September - 175 miles
October - 171 miles
November -200 miles
December - 190 miles

Day of the week with the most miles - SUNDAYS with 327 miles

Will I attempt this challenge in 2017?  DEFINITELY and my sister is joining me!!
Goals for 2017:
-Run a double-digit long run at least once a month
-Complete Core de Force 30 day program before my 1st half on April 1
-Run a sub 1:50 half at some point this year
-Drink water  (this one is probably the toughest one for me....)

Mel from Fellow Flowers (Just completed their challenge to move you a** for 30 minutes EVERY day), had a live video as I was finishing up this post and she challenged us to answer these 4 questions:
What was your biggest lesson?
What have you left undone?   What still isn't figured out?
What did you accomplish?   What were your really great wins?
What should you let go of?  What can you leave in 2016?

Minneapolis Hot Chocolate 15K
2016 taught me many lessons (as do all years and experiences).  I think my biggest lesson is that PERSPECTIVE is a powerful and important thing.  I love the commercial  where the characters say the exact same things but they mean VERY different things.  I like to think of myself as an optimist but this year I learned that I need to work on my perspective.  How I am viewing things and feeling because of things hurts me when it doesn't need to.  The year also taught me that my favorite distance is 13.1 miles.  In 2017 I am going to focus on halves---6 races at that distance.   The first 4 (April, April, June, and July) will allow me to wrap up 40 halves in my 40th year!!!! (I'm super excited about that---especially since I was NOT a runner until my mid 30s.)

I have left some miles undone and some things I don't have figured out is how to improve my communication with others.....I'll keep working on that.

Accomplishments are many.  I made it through a big family vacation and I'm still talking to my sister ;-)   just kidding.   We had an amazing time!  I ran almost 2000 miles!  I traveled on my own but also with friends.  I tried running with people (very hard for this introvert who really uses running time for the quiet solitude).  I was a 1st place female in a 10K. I have continued to grow and learn and try new things (including a zumba class--outside my comfort zone for sure).  I have continued to laugh and love hard.  My biggest accomplishment this year is that I still have passion for the things I do.

I need to let go of worry.  I need to leave behind feeling like I need to control things so much.

Thank you, 2016, for the lessons.  I am moving into 2017 in a great place!

PS--- I had to edit this to add a pic of me with my sister.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Newsletter for the Week

Check out the newsletter HERE

Persuading Santa

Our class has created Santa Disguise ideas and we wrote letters to send along to Santa.  Check out this one:

December 7, 2016

Dear Santa,

My disguise is a Vacation Dude with a white beard. I have 3 suggestions on where you can go with an awesome outfit.  You could go to the mall, an amusement park,and a beach.I hope you choose this outfit because it would be great for you!!
First, I think you should choose this outfit because you can lounge on the beach without crowds chasing you asking,”Have I been naughty or nice?” and ”What are you giving me this year?” Besides you’re not wearing a sweating hot suit!
Second with this rockin’ outfit you can ride roller coasters without people chasing up the tracks. You can also eat lunch without people bothering you and you can go to the gift shop
without people asking, ”Is that for me?”or “Hmmmm who’s that for santa?”  One amusement park I suggest is the Wisconsin Dells.  I’ve never been there but if I went I’d go to the Kalahari.
Last, you would be able to go to the mall without crowds of people chasing you everywhere asking ”hmmm santa who’s that for?” or ”where are you taking that santa?” You can go shopping  for your fabulous wife and those hard working elves. You could also go to a pretzel stand or maybe take your dogs to the dog park.  
I really think you should choose this outfit because it’s really comfortable, good looking, and nobody knows it is you! Well I’m gonna wrap this up, but before I go I have a few questions:1,how do you get into people’s homes? 2,what kind of  cookies should I leave out? 3,what food do you feed the reindeer?  Anyway Bye-bye!!!!     



Friday, December 2, 2016

Friday, November 11, 2016

Newsletter and Weekly Wrap Up

Thank you to all the families that took time to come to conferences.  I enjoyed talking with you about your child's successes!

Check out the NEWSLETTER Here!

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Weekly Wrap Up

Tomorrow is an early release day.   Need something to do?  Head to the Schreiner Memorial Library to watch Big Hero 6 at 1 pm.

Read about our week in our NEWSLETTER Here!

Friday, October 21, 2016

Wrapping Up the Week

Check out some of the highlights and read our NEWSLETTER!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Weekly Wrap Up

Check out the newsletter for the week HERE

Early Release day in Lancaster means a free movie and popcorn at the Schreiner Memorial Library! A PG rated movie will be shown on Friday afternoon starting at 1pm. Tomorrow's movie will be voted on by the kids attending... come and make your vote count!

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Weekly Wrap Up

It's been a great Homecoming Week.  Read more about our week HERE.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Newsletter for the week

Routines are being established and I am so proud of all the great work that the 4th grade crew has done this week.   Read our newsletter to find out the details.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Wrapping Up Our First Week

It is hard to believe that our first 6 day rotation is nearly complete.  Great things are happening as we go running through 4th grade.  Check out the newsletter to find out more.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Beginnings are everything!

Today was our first day.  I can honestly say that I never sleep well the night before the first day.  NEVER.   It doesn't matter how prepared I am or how "ready" I feel.  Last night I was up 3 different times to check on different things that crossed my mind.  

Thank goodness for that Jitter Glitter that I had sprinkled under my pillow.  Without that I might have slept even less than 3 hours!

Once the day got going, all was good...maybe I could even say GREAT!
We talked about all the different feelings we might be having before the day.  Then to help us make our "graph", everyone put there post it up to show what feeling they had before school started.

I had play doh waiting on the desks as the students came in.  They had to create something to tell me about their summer.  This was a floating raft to represent time spent swimming and tubing.   You can see more of the creations on our facebook page. 
You should see all the great thoughts:  microphone for all the singing, cow for the cattle that I showed at the fair....Oh so many great creations with just a little jar of play-doh!

We talked about things that take a long time and things that happen quickly.  I told the class how I had been waiting for them to get here followed by You're Finally Here! by Melanie Watt.
These fabulous fourth graders were able to breakout of 8 locks by solving different tasks: 
T - E - A - M - W - O - R - K!
We did cheers to all the possibility of the new year and then we had a little Jitter Juice to celebrate finally feeling less nervous.

By 3:12 when we walked out I think everyone was feeling like the day had been a success.   I am excited for the possibility of the year ahead.   Follow along with us as we go Running Through 4th Grade!

Thursday, August 11, 2016


This week was Week 2 of summer school.  It was a truly MAGICAL week!  I have 3 "classes" that I teach each week.  I teach a reading class twice and then I have magic followed by minecraft.  All of my classes are really fun to teach and I hope they are just as fun to be in.

I want to take time right now to talk about my magic class.  I started the week with a similar activity to how I start many units:  4 corners.  I put a poster board in each corner of the room.   Students rotated around the 4 corners and answered the questions that were on each poster:
What is MAGIC?
What tools (props) do magicians use?
What would your magic name be?  Ex:   Harry Houdini, Margaret the Magnificent...
What magic tricks do you hope to learn this week?

You should have seen the answers!  These kids were ready for class!  Not only did they fill the whole poster board with answers for the what is magic and what tools do magicians use, but they brought me magic tricks that they already knew and they came each day with tricks to show the class.

After we had made it around to all the posters, I told the class that I had an amazing trick that they would be leaving with.  I introduced the Magic Wheel.  (Thank you, Mr. Scarano, for teaching me this trick 18 years ago.....It is still my favorite!)  As we worked to cut out and assemble the magic wheels, time slipped away.   There was a line at the door waiting to get in for minecraft....I still had a card trick that I had planned to teach on Monday but it was going to have to wait until Tuesday.  The magicians headed out to their next class but that didn't mean that they weren't practicing their skills and illusions as the day continued!

I was so excited for day 2!  Kids brought magic wands and tricks to show the class before I began my instruction.  Today it was time for a card trick!  
The kids were able to practice this card trick for a few minutes and then we had some volunteers perform it for us.  These kids really are magicians in the making.  I completely expect to see a few of these kids on America's Got Talent in a few years.  Speaking of AGT, I did share 3 of my favorite magicians (illusionists) from this season with the class.  

Now please know that when we talked about magic on Monday, one of the things that the kids said was that some magic is really just a kind of prank.  It's true.  Sometimes we are entertained by what is a "trick."  I appreciated the willingness of students to serve as kind assistants to practicing magicians even when the result was a wet face or some other small moment of embarrassment.

Remember those props I was telling you about?  Would you believe that one amazing magician even shared his famous magical rabbit with the class on the last day?  

This magician that you see in the picture above even stayed with me during a time when she could have gone to another class.  She helped to teach the amazing quarter trick to everyone!
What really became the magic was when one of the little learners does an EXTRA trick for the class that she learned on her own.  I loved seeing her so motivated.

It will not surprise me at all if I see one of these kids on America's Got Talent in the next decade.

I have a summary of all the tricks that we learned during the week that I will try and share soon.  Until then remember this:

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

My Summer So Far

Since the school year ended on June 3, I feel like I have been on speed mode.  My 2 kiddos have each done 2 sports camps (that required me to drive them daily) along with summer rec baseball, softball, and the beginning of soccer.  I have done 1 work day with my 4th grade team.  A day was spent at the Palace Pool.  House chores are slowly getting caught up on.  I will say that I am loving how clean my bedroom looks right now.  Please don't expect it to be that clean 3 weeks from today.  I have also read 4 novels.  My favorite one was Just Like Me by Nancy Cavanaugh.   We haven't seen any movies yet but I am hoping that changes tomorrow night when we head out to the HWY 61 Drive-in to see Finding Dory and Zootopia.  With all of this fun stuff I have to tell you about what has been the MOST fun for me - attending day 1 of the Keystone Premier Education Conference.  Last year I had the opportunity to attend this conference with the Lancaster Community Schools Innovation Team.  When the email about it came out for this year I knew it was where I wanted to be again this year.  This year's first keynote speaker was Todd Whitaker.  He has over 40 books and it was worth going even to just get to hear him speak.
After an awesome start to the morning I headed up to a session about Flipped, Blended, and Project-Based Learning.  These presenters (Bev Berns, Jarod Borman, and Melissa Wicklund) did such a great job of showing what these buzz words are and what they aren't but they also had us truly DOING these things:

While this was just a short session, we really enjoyed meeting new people.  Imagine my awesome surprise when I walked out of this session to find Nathan Greiner of Design Mill.  8 years ago Nathan came to my 5th grade classroom at River Ridge and started presenting about Augmented Reality.  In the years that followed that first presentation, I always looked forward to inviting Nathan and his Design Mill team in to share their passion and expertise with my 5th graders.  It was a great joy for me to get to be Nathan's oldest son's teacher.   I loved reconnecting with Nathan and also getting to see his 2 new products that he was showcasing at the conference (The Solmill Eclipse Multi-User VR solution and the Torch Interpretive Projector System). The day moved quickly and I enjoyed every one of my sessions.


Culture of Excellence

High Impact Instruction

(You can read my notes from the sessions that I attended by clicking on the links.)

I left the Grand River Center and headed on my merry way to run just a quick errand before heading home for Will's baseball game.  With no time to change clothes before the ball game, we headed to the field and sat and enjoyed 5 exciting innings before returning home from the tie ball game.  Summer is just as fast-paced as the school year but what my time is spent doing is different.  Thanks for reading my recap of my summer so far.  Hope you are enjoying the events of your summer!

Shine on!

Thursday, May 26, 2016

A Final Newsletter for the Year

Hard to believe that a whole school year is nearly over!   Read our week's wrap up HERE

Friday, May 13, 2016

Friday, April 22, 2016

Earth Day

It's a great day to celebrate all of our natural surroundings!   Here is our newsletter for the week!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Thursday, March 31, 2016

This Week's News

As a little girl, one of my favorite books was The Little Engine that Could.  I knew it by heart.  As my mom would read I would whisper, “I think I can, I think I can.”  As I got older I used those words so many times to help me through situations.  Maybe you’ve done that yourself.  Can I tell you something though (I’m going to tell you anyway.)?     Sometimes we just need someone else to tell us that we can do it.  With the upcoming Forward Exam, please take time each morning to encourage your 4th grader.  I know they CAN do it and I will tell them, too, but hearing it from you might be just the thing they need.  We have had some fabulous days together this week.  I am so proud of the hard work that has been done.  Our reading story work focused on the 1906 Earthquake in San Francisco.  Students went above and beyond what we were doing in the classroom.  One student brought in photos she had found on the internet and additional facts.  A group of students began writing a collaborative historical fiction story.  Great things are happening and I can’t wait to meet with families at conferences.

Upcoming Events:
Thursday, April 7 – Evening Parent/Teacher Conferences
Friday, April 8 – No student attendance – Morning Parent/Teacher Conferences
Monday, April 11 – FOW Movie Night ---Zootopia at Grantland Theater
Thursday, April 14 – UWP Farm Field Trip
Thursday, April 14 ----For parents-----Andrew Gribble Presentation at Hillery Auditorium ---7 p.m.

Friday, April 15 – Andrea Gribble Presentation for 4th graders

Check out our newsletter HERE

Thursday, March 10, 2016

This Week in Review

I've been adding something new to our daily routine.  It's not exactly new but it's new to this school year.  It's actually something I had used for years and when I was talking with a former student (who is now 17), she asked if I still did ticket drawings.  I had sort of forgotten about them.

Here's how they work:  Each day we start with a word on the board.  Every time someone makes a poor choice or blurts or is disrespectful a letter is erased.  During the course of the day students who are being a good example and doing the right thing get tickets.  Each ticket is entered into a bucket.  At the end of the day we draw prizes for however many letters are left.  Here are some pictures from ticket drawings this week.

Check out the newsletter HERE