What Do You Think?

Good Thursday morning, friends!

How’s your week been so far? Busy, busy, busy around here!

I’m thinking of starting a series in which you share your thoughts on a particular subject – titled, “What Do You Think?”. I love hearing different perspectives and thoughts! Here we go…

This week is state standardized testing in our state. My kids are asked to answer a variety of different questions in a range of subject areas – reading, english, writing, math, and science – in a certain amount of time. The objective of these tests is to measure their knowledge against the standards they are supposed to know at the end of third grade.

A good idea, right?

Then, when results are returned, school officials are able to see how well our school did compared to other schools in the state or country. They are able to see areas of strength and areas of weaknesses. Again, a good idea, right?

I don’t know though. Is it a true reflection of a child’s abilities and knowledge if they are unable to answer the questions in the time provided? What if a child is a slow worker? They are penalized. Or if they are bad test takers? They’re penalized again. Not only that, but teachers are then “measured” by how well their students perform on the test.

Ahh...standardized test season. Love that my reputation as a third grade teacher is in the hands of an 8 year old.

So, what’s a teacher to do? Do we teach to the test? Making sure students know how to take a test, how to work quickly, and know (very well!) the information that will be tested?

OR do we teach in an authentic way – using real life experiences and examples, allowing children to explore in order to learn, allowing them to fail – and it be ok? After all, we all learn from our mistakes, right?

Sadly, this is the truth =/

On this Thinking out Loud Thursday, I want to hear your thoughts.

Let’s Chat…

1. What are your feelings about standardized tests?

2. Do you think it’s fair to measure a child, teacher, and/or school by how well students perform on ONE test?

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Thinking Out Loud {4/24/14}

How is it Thursday already?! Of course, I’m glad it’s Thursday, because that means tomorrow is Frriiidaayy! But, I need this week to slow down! I’ve got lots to do before this weekend rolls around! I’ll fill you in on that in a bit.

Since today IS Thursday, I’m going to participate in Amanda’s Thinking Out Loud par-tay today. My brain is pretty much always a mumbled, jumbled mess, so this is perfect for me. Winking smile

1. I may or may not have a problem.

Photo Apr 23, 7 45 59 PM

And I may or may not have almost had a crisis on my hands the other day. Good thing I stopped by the store to restock my “stash.”

2. My sister came in town today to attend a “meet and greet” with my school system. In my dreams, she would get a job at my school and teach next door to me. Never say never, right?!

3. On my “mental health” day last week, I decided to paint my nails for the first time in forever. I LOVE the polish color! My sister gave it to me for Christmas, and I kinda forgot about it (gasp! I know…). It’s Essie- Lady Like.

Photo Apr 18, 7 19 11 PM

4. Why is that I can never have a leisurely drive to work in the mornings? I feel like no matter when I leave, I’m always in a race. Maybe it’s the competitor in me? I don’t know.

5. So, this weekend we are celebrating my mom’s 50th birthday! It’s kind of a surprise. She knows we’re having a family get together, but it’s going to be a bit bigger than she expects. Seeing as my dad is taking her to the beach for her birthday, and they headed down yesterday, I’m left in a bit in charge – with lots of help from the siblings of course. Hence the reason I need the week to slow down juuuuust a bit. I’ve got lots to do…including setting up a candy bar similar to this one I found on pinterest.

50th birthday candy bar

I’m also planning to make a board like this one…

50th Birthday party chalkboard. - modify for 70th birthday - this is cute idea!!! fun research for the kids to do! ;)

In addition to making some cupcakes, a banner, a book from all of us kids, among a few other odds and ends. (I know she won’t be able to read this, so, I’m safe posting it! ) I’d better get busy!

6. I wanted a quick workout to do the other day. I came across this one from Popsugar. I mistakenly thought it would be quick and painless. It was quick, but it was deceivingly more challenging than I assumed.

I'm exhausted just reading through this workout.

source

7. I typically don’t require much sleep (thanks dad), but I know I haven’t been getting enough lately. I always have good intentions of getting to bed early, but it just never happens. Recently I haven’t been falling asleep until about 11 or 11:30, and I’m back up at 5:15-5:30. Walking zombie much?

8. Does anyone watch American Idol any more? I had the TV on last night while I was prepping my lunch and waiting for John to get home from his tennis match, and American Idol happened to be on. I remember watching it religiously back when I was in high school/college. I haven’t seen it in years, but is there still the following that there was 5 or 6 years ago?

9. I’m a little hesitant to say this, but I think we’re officially past the cold weather. Woo Hoo!!! Every day this week, the highs have been in the 80s. Thank goodness! I’m ready for summer!

10. I don’t really have a tenth thing to add, but I really didn’t want to stop on #9, so…

Have a fabulous day friends!

Let’s Chat…

1. Do you chew gum? What’s your favorite brand/flavor?

2. What is a quick, yet challenging, workout you’ve done lately? I’m always in need of a quick, sweaty sesh.

3. How much sleep do you typically get?

I Surrender All

Oh, my… I have so much on my mind.

Yesterday, I went to Birmingham (if you’ve been reading a while, you know I drive, every other Wednesday, about an hour and fifteen minutes to my therapy and nutrition appointments as part of my ongoing recovery from an eating disorder) and met with 2 of my favorite ladies. My therapist and nutritionist are so much more to me than their job description would lead one to believe. They are my friends, my support, my accountability, a source of guidance and a light on this path to full recovery, and sometimes a lot of times, my sanity.

While I process things that are going on in my little world and how I am going to deal with upcoming challenges, I want to leave you with this thought

All to Jesus I surrender, all to Him I freely give. I will ever love and trust Him, in His presence  daily live.

I need a constant, daily – no, hourly – reminder that HE is in control, HE is trustworthy, I need only to surrender ALL control and live in His presence. To freely give over all control – much easier said than done, I know!

Have a blessed Thursday, friends!

Thinking Out Loud {3/27/14}

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve participated in Amanda’s Thinking Out Loud. Since I’ve got lots of randomness on my mind, I’m joining in again today.

Thinking-Out-Loud

1. Don’t you just love family time? My mom, one of my sisters, and one of my brothers drove down for the day yesterday, and I just love spending time with them. We have so much fun together and constantly keep each other laughing.

Photo Mar 26, 12 05 02 PM

2. Sometimes, I just hate the fact that I have such a hard time letting go of control and just living. Do you ever struggle with this? I know it would make life so much easier if I’d just lighten up and let go sometimes. I’m oh-so-much better than I used to be, but I’m definitely still working on it. #lifeisforliving (my family thinks it’s hilarious to add random hashtags to our conversations…)

3. My little brother is no longer little. He’s officially taller than me – by a lot. And he’s pretty cute too, ladies…if anyone is looking for a sweet, generous, super-fun 15 year-old. Winking smile

4. Speaking of my baby brother, he ended up spending the night with us last night! He’s so fun and we love having him around. My sister and mom had to go back to Birmingham. I asked Jake if he wanted to stay, and of course he said yes. I am his favorite sister, after all. My husband turns into a little boy when he’s around. They spend the whole evening playing video games, looking up cheats, and discussing deep issues like how to outrun the police.

Photo Mar 26, 5 23 47 AM

teaching my sister how to play before she left (ignore the junk, please)

5. I am OBSESSED with the china cabinet we refinished yesterday! I mentioned that my mom had bought it for me, and she was coming down to help me paint and re-do it. It turned out SO well! Here’s a sneak peak…

Photo Mar 26, 1 40 02 AM

Photo Mar 26, 3 49 22 PM

I decided to let it dry overnight before painting one last, final coat. I’ll post a picture of the finished product soon, hopefully!

6. I’ve mentioned it before, but is it weird that I have a Pinterest board entitled “When I plan my sisters’ weddings”? I find so many beautiful things and ideas that I love! And since I clearly can’t use them, they’ll get to benefit. Smile

7. On that note, is anyone else glad they didn’t have Pinterest around when they got married? I had a hard enough time making decisions…I’d never have been able to decide on anything if I had Pinterest at my disposal! Heck, it’s hard enough now to decide on a recipe I want to make or a workout I want to do!

8. These made me laugh, and since we all need a good laugh every once in a while, I thought I’d share.

those darn bobby pins!  #truth

put that shirt with these pants….no?Ha!!

The first five days after the weekend are always the hardest.Amen! Smile

This made me laugh so hard!

9. How is it already Thursday of my spring break!? And why, oh why, can’t regular weeks go by this fast?! I guess the good news is there are only 2 months left until summer.

10.John and I have been talking about taking a vacation this summer. We always go to the beach with my family, so we want to go somewhere OTHER than the beach. Some places we’ve talked about…Charleston, SC or Savannah, GA, Disney World, Las Vegas, New York City, a cruise (possibly). I’d love to hear from you! What are some the best vacations you’ve been on??

And, with that, I’m off to get in a workout and soak of the last bits of spring break! Have a great on friends!

Let’s chat…

1. What are some things that have made you laugh recently?

2. Vacations! Tell me what you’ve loved…

3. What are you looking forward to in the next few months? Summer! I don’t know what it’s been about this year, but these students are SO much more immature than in the past. This sounds awful, and I DO love my kiddos, but I’m ready for the year to be over.

Brain Dump–Thinking Out Loud {2/6/14}

Well, it’s that time again friends, time for some Thinking Out Loud…hosted each week by the lovely Amanda over at Running With Spoons.

I’ve had SO much going through my brain recently. I love these random posts where I can do a “brain dump.”

1. Thank you so much for your feedback on this post. It seems like lots of you fall into the same trap I do…trying to do it all, which in turn leads to lots of worry and exhaustion. Gees, I need a reminder to let it go daily hourly!

2. I have a serious problem. I started folding this laundry on Monday. It’s still not folded, in fact, I haven’t touched it once. Oops. Just practicing what I preach?? Can’t do it all! Winking smile

pic 5

3. This week is Read Across America week. It coincides with Dr. Suess’s birthday (March 2nd) each year. To celebrate, we are encouraged to invite special guest readers to our classrooms. Look who came to read to my class yesterday! My mom and brother!! The kids were SO excited and so was I! Mom read Horton Hears a Who. We then watched the movie, during which my mom and brother helped a few kids at a time make a pencil craft designed to look like a clover from the book. Seriously too cute!

Picture one

pic 2

4. Speaking of my brother, I’m pretty sure he’s grown 6 inches since I’ve seen him! The baby of the family is officially taller than me. Sad smile Not such a baby anymore, I suppose.

pic 3

5. John had his first tennis match last night! He’s playing in a local league, and excited to get back to playing competitively. Since it’s chilly and damp outside, I sweetly told him I’d be his cheerleader on a warmer day!

6. I did a barre workout last night via Brittany over at My Own Balance. Oh.My. It was a fabulous workout, and I’m still feeling the effects. Yowwwch!

7. So, you guys have heard of the recent scam that happened at Target over the holidays? Where a lot of their credit card machines were compromised? Well, I got an email from my bank yesterday telling me that my card was potentially compromised, thus they are issuing new cards to all those potentially effected. I’m BEYOND grateful that they watch out for their clients, however, I’m a little bummed that I’m going to have to learn a new PIN number and I’ve got to re-set all my automated payments with the new card number/exp. date/security code. Kinda stinks. I hope I don’t forget one!!

8. Try these. Seriously.

9. I’ve been curling my hair a lot recently, and I totally love it! I always thought that it would take too long to do or that my thick hair would pull out the curls. But, you guys…it doesn’t! I’m loving that I can change it up from straight to curly from time to time.

pic 4

10. Daylight Savings Time is this Saturday night. While I’m bummed to  miss an hour of sleep, I’m super pumped that it’s going to start staying daylight longer!! Just another sign that spring is right around the corner!

Let’s Chat…

1. What’s something that you’ve let go of this week because you can’t (and sometimes don’t want) to do it all?

2. Best workout you’ve done recently?

3. Would you rather… Give up breakfast foods for a year OR give up all things chocolate for a year? While both would totally suck, I think I’d choose chocolate…gasp! I do love my chocolate, but I think I need my breakfasts more!