Monday, September 14, 2009

Bulls Football

I'm suppose to be working but couldn't resist not posting this picture of the gang as we finished tailgating. Thought I'd post it here as I add it to my screen saver on my work computer. Our friends from Southern Illinois and Warner Robbins, GA are pictured with us. GO BULLS!!!

Sunday, September 13, 2009


I know, I know for most of you football fans the football season started Sept. 3rd. For me it started this weekend with a road trip to Western Kentucky to see my beloved USF Bulls play.

College football is my all time absolute favorite sport. I like high school football too and the benefit to that is that the play action is often slower that college ball so I can grasp more of what's going on.

It's hard for me to get into going to high school football games here because I don't have a vested interest in the schools/teams. I guess for me the atmosphere, relationships, social and emotional ties to the team is as important as the game. Maybe more important than the game. I can't imagine not watching games during the season but I guess I don't have to spend my Friday nights at the field to have that seasonal experience.

Although there are times when I miss that tie to the games and wish to go home and see my high school team play or see one of the local high school games where I grew up. And I desperately miss going to Ray J. and seeing the Bulls play. It can be depressing and that's probably why I just don't have an interest in the games here. (Another Friday night and I ain't got no "team".)

Fortunately there are college games day plans for our viewing pleasure. Last weekend the Bulls were on ESPN Gameplan and we had purchased the game. As typical to the last few years, the first gameplan game of the season doesn't just automatically work. We can't just turn on the digital cable box and TV and tune in. For some reason the connector on the pole outside get water in it every year and then the pay channel don't work until the cable workers climb up the pole and fix it. We always check the channels out in the morning and then call the cable company when it doesn't work. So last weekend we called because the channels weren't coming in. Well they were so busy with problems that they never came out and we didn't get to see our first game of the season on TV.

Luckily the game was on ESPN 360 and we get that with our Internet and phone service. (NO switching to the cable Internet service now!) I have trouble watching the game on the computer although the quality was better this year than in previous years. So it was a less than satisfactory experience for me. Keeping focus on the bigger picture, the Bulls won. YEA!!

Now to the Good Stuff
This year the Bulls were playing reasonable close to our home. So we planned a road game. Yea, baby! Doug message boarded his Bull Game friends. We found a good crew of people who were headed to the road game. Two of the families that went are people that Doug became friends with on the Bull Board, met in person at the various games and events over the years, and bonded with. I've spent time with them as well and have developed a friendly affection for them. So we were excited to be planning a road trip where we would connect with them. Some of the others Doug had never met but converses with them on the Board. It would be fun to put faces and families with the conversations.

The game was all we talked about this past week. We needed a game plan. Would we tailgate? Where? How would we meet up with our friends? What time would we leave home? We had to get travel food and drinks. What stuff would we pack in the van to entertain us as we traveled? We also needed to set aside out Bull clothing and find our Bull accessories (earrings, hair bows, necklaces, wristbands, pompoms, etc.). As it turned out we forgot our Bull horn. I just remembered it as I was blogging. Since it was banned at Ray J. we just never took it to the games and it sits on our shelf collecting dust. It would have been a great tailgating accessory.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Are you in a teachable place?

This year's motivational theme at school and our school goal, revolves around this statement; "Are you on a teachable place?". Several years ago we had a motivational speaker, Kirk Weisler, come and talk to our faculty and staff. At our preplanning, this 09' school year, Kirk returned to speak about being in a teachable place. A phase his wife coined. The idea is that as we make mistakes, poor choices, feel the need to change, and/or face the task of needing to learn something new, are we then open to the feedback and learning required to make a change.

While I was in my teachable place a number of unusual things happened prior to the start of school. I have to preface this by saying that we have very little student turn over at our school. Since families have to apply and we take students from all over the area most stay til they finish 8th grade and then head to high school. This year, in part because of the economy, we were informed in August that a number of students would not be returning to our school. We are probably talking about eight to ten students across the K-8 school.

My class list had 18 students at preplanning on August 13th. I knew that we'd probably get two more students before classes began on Monday. During preplanning my teaching assistant and I were working on all the type of items that that kindergarten children need their name on. We were making name labels for two sets of cubbies, class lists for record keeping, nametags, leader lists, attendance cards, etc. Some of them we laminate so we have another step to complete before they are ready to be used in the classroom.

At lunch my assistant told me that I had been misspelling one child's name. His name ends with a "k" not a "c" which is the more traditional spelling. She tells me she knew the spelling because she check it in our school database, Skyward. I just looked at her. You know the look and said yes, so did I but obviously it didn't help. So off we go changing all the things that are misspelled. This is not just a simple task. For some of the items I use certain colors of card stock. Some have cute stickers or cute paper backgrounds. Rarely is anything just plain copy paper. These items many times are often in limited supply as I am using up leftovers from previous years.

We get young Mr. C corrected, laminated, and posted in the correct locations. Now I have fixed the typing error in our 11x14 class list that is mounted on construction paper and laminated. I've tossed out the hard copies of my record keeping spreadsheets and corrected the misspelling in the document and printed five copies of this new document. I want everything perfect as I embark on my new school year. I'm quite anal at this point.

Literally right as we finish, my lovely Dean of Students stops by to tell me that one of two of my newest additions is not going to attend school with us. So now I have names for a child who is not coming. I asked that if we get another child could he have the same name, thus saving us some work, paper, ink, and laminating film. My dean of students laughs.

On Friday afternoon as I get ready to walk out the door and head home. I make one last quick survey of the room hoping that I don't have to spend the weekend at school getting ready for Monday morning. As I glance at the bulletin board right by my classroom door I see all the puzzle pieces with our students names on their own puzzle piece. I'm reading off the names, picturing some of the kids in my head as I already know some of them. Thinking about who is related to siblings I've had in the past and then wham! I see the name of a student whose brother was in my class a couple of years ago. I know she does not use her given name but a nickname. I've been typing Lizzie. I knew that it was an "L nickname for Elizabeth. Her nickname is Libby and once again my assistant has been using the correct name and spelling. So once again all the name documents I worked on are wrong.

Over the weekend I get an e-mail from our secretary that my newest student, replacing the one that is not coming, is named Andre. So I decided to get his name things made and at the same time I can fix Lizzie/Libby. I'm still in my we can salvage the year and be perfect mode. Off I go to school to get my last 1/2 sheet of green cardstock, smiley face dice cuts, etc. and make more name labels. I run the ones that need laminating over to Kinkos and take care of that too. I return home and check my e-mail. My Dean of Students has e-mailed and says she doesn't know if I got the message or not but my new student is Andrew. I immediately e-mail her back and say you have got to be kidding. I received an e-mail yesterday that my new student was Andre and I have just finished redoing my third set of class documents. After my Dean of Students has that oh no moment she call the principal and secretary. Sure enough the child's name is Andrew not Andre. I tell the Dean I am fast moving from that teachable place.

School beings and all the children are as lovely as their names. unfortunately one is absent. No one has heard from the family as to why the child has not been coming to school. By Wednesday I call the Dean of Students and tell her about this child's absences. She goes off to contact the family and ends up leaving messages for them. They return her call and inform her that they were planning on withdrawing this students but hadn't done it yet. Now my class lists are wrong again and I have sets of name items for yet another student who isn't coming.

On Thursday of the first week of school my final class addition arrived. The child is lovely and we waited till Friday afternoon when we had her parents spelling of her name before we plastered her name all over the room. Sometimes it doesn't pay to be efficient.