Chinese Excitement

One day, in the middle of the summer before I began 4th grade, I was riding my bike up and down the my street.

Hark! There is a girl on the steps of her house! "She must be new!" I exclaimed.

At that moment the new girl became my best friend.

For 5 years, we lived three doors apart.

She then moved to Bolivia, and didn't move back until I was senior in high school. Regardless, we kept in touch the entire time. She came back to "the States" once a year, during the summer. Just like old times, we'd spend long days swimming, sweating, and being silly in general.

Andrea and I have been friends for 20 years.

Andrea is now a fourth grade teacher at the International School of Beijing. During my semester
of interning in the fourth grade, we set up pen pals with her class in China.

Why the excitement?

Tomorrow - she is coming to visit the class. All the way from China! I can't wait to hear the questions, see the confused but excited faces, and learn the activity from a teacher that teaches on the other side of the world.


Holiday Cheer in a Picture


Mind Block

I have finished my first placement in my PDS program. Part of the process during internship is the creation of a 5 - 7 page reflective essay about this experience in relation to myself, as a developing teacher, demonstrating my "ability to reflect upon and analyze your development as a teacher."

Okay, great! I'm reflective. I am evolving through this program. I can write about this.

Except I can't. I've been staring at the same paragraph for hours.


I walk away from my computer, throw in some laundry, distract my mind for a few minutes...
only to come back to the same paragraph. There is a wall in my mind, and I can't break through.

I re-read previous philosophies and case study reports.

I walked my dog.

I started a new blank page -one without the paragraph - the paragraph I am hoping is my wall.

Nope. There it is again... the mind block.

My candle wick is a little low. I know I can pull it together and get it done, but I wonder how authentic, expressive, reflective it will be when I am having such a hard time creating it.

Meanwhile, I'm coming up with great alternatives to this anthology review (all of which would create the same mental block, I'm sure). Video anthologies, art work or reflective photography display, AH! Reflective blogs! Dr. G - what do you think?

I only hope that when the wall breaks, the flood will be overwhelming with reflective statements and great writing prompts.

Here it goes again...


The Great Purging of Post-Its

In response to a classmates story: "I liked the way you used excavation marks."

Visualize at will.


Today I was talking to a class about reasons why people move. We focused on reasons why they landed here, in Annandale.

The discussion, as you can imagine, was lively and interesting - hearing all of these various stories about families: reasons why they moved to the U.S. or Virginia. It was clear for some students that they were spouting off stories told to them by parents... when they were mere babies during the transition. Regardless, I was intrigued... as was the class.

Some things we shared:

I heard about bombings,
mothers moving to go to college and falling in love with fathers
(and on to birth mini-4th graders),
parents moving for jobs, leaving mom and baby at home to move later,
moving closer to relatives,
planned relocations to the states for a new life in a rich country,
good hospitals and medical care (for a child with many surgeries in his past),
military relocation,
"family want American dream."

I got goosebumps. I also went with a student-initiated tangent about military relocation.
We talked about why this area might attract military personnel, and why military bases are common around here as opposed to some other places in the country. Being from a Navy family, my first example was about a naval base.

Shoot forward 5 minutes - after we had moved on.

Hand raised. I call on it.

"If there are *navel* bases, does that mean there are Belly Button Bases? Because navels, in this one book I read, meant belly buttons."

Discovery: Navel does not mean the same as Naval. And no, there are no such things as Belly Button Bases. Brainstorming activity turned homophone lesson.

The Dog Protest

How could I possibly disturb him?

He spent about two hours curled up next to it,
paws casually stretched out across the cover.

He's been very understanding of his owner...
accepting the brief walks,
the rushing outside between reflections,
no tummy rubs, late nights of lesson plans...

But today, he had had enough.
He wasn't going to lose out to another
night of reading and school work.
He pulled out the big guns.

And for 10 whole minutes, it was glorious.

Letting it go

I have been festering about something for days.

I started simply reflecting,
strategically tip-toeing around my thoughts
trying to figure out a way to approach them
and slowly disect out the negative
while leaving just the positive and slowly carrying it away.

But that negative just won't budge.

So I stew, bubble over, steam,
until I have a crinkle in my brow.

I'm sure I have a new wrinkle, right there in the middle of my forehead.
The wrinkle that represents


I have given myself a deadline. A deadline until this, although unresolved, becomes



Homework, I Love You

Homework, I love you. I think that you're great.
It's wonderful fun when you keep me up late.
I think you're the best when I'm totally stressed,
preparing and cramming all night for a test.

Homework, I love you. What more can I say?
I love to do hundreds of problems each day.
You boggle my mind and you make me go blind,
but still I'm ecstatic that you were assigned.

Homework, I love you. I tell you, it's true.
There's nothing more fun or exciting to do.
You're never a chore, for it's you I adore.
I wish that our teacher would hand you out more.

Homework, I love you. You thrill me inside.
I'm filled with emotions. I'm fit to be tied.
I cannot complain when you frazzle my brain.
Of course, that's because I'm completely insane.
~Kenn Nesbitt



Yesterday I was looking at my college online library database.
Just for kicks? Nah.
I was curious as to what kind of school psychology articles had been published about a certain topic… so I got a start.

Well, I came across this study that discussed how self-monitoring behavior in children helped them in classroom management and, I’m inferring here - increased learning. What they did was interesting.

The researchers gave some 3 students in a special ed classroom a device…

The MotivAider.

This device would buzz (vibrate) every so often, reminding the students to self-monitor their behavior.

Imagine that. Instead of “Jimmy, check your body language” or “Sally, use your library voice,” teachers can just have each student wear a monitor that buzzes at timed intervals to remind them to be on task, and to snap them back to earth.
Or you push a button and it buzzes.

I realize the implications, and the invasive measures this involves… but I am interested more on your reaction to the thought of such a device.

Buzz. Focus.
Buzz. Stop talking.
Buzz. You’re doing math.
Buzz. You should be reading.
Buzz. Hi.



Curtsy, Then Bow. Don't Forget To Smile.

This is a picture of my backyard neighbor's house.

The lights are for me.

I mean really, who else could they possibly be for? It's not like they hang out on the deck in the winter. I'm the only neighbor that can see them.

So... therefore, I have deemed them mine. They are thanking me for the wonderful recitals that I perform throughout the house - dancing from end to end with all the lights on.

Talk about pressure...

You perform. You're rated. You breathe a sigh of relief.

And then you learn new lines, new moves, and

start your new show on a new stage.

Thanks for the lights.

*Photographers note: I didn't realize until after I took the picture that my shutter was still open. That is the reason for the blurred shot - the crazy lights - and the illusion that it was actually light out when I took the picture. They are regular lights, not magic, a lit tree in the window, and it is actually pitch black outside at the time of the shot. (The lights seem circular b/c I was moving the camera in that motion).