Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Mid Week Pick-me Up...

I have been loving the "Mormon Messages" videos the church has been putting out lately. Here is the newest one; it's sure to put your life back in perspective today. Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Lessons Learned in Middle School

I always tell people that my middle school experience wasn't all that awkward, which is why I'm now a middle school teacher: I wanted to go back and try for some more embarrassment and awkwardness. This year is coming to a close very quickly (and I'm SOOOO ready for summer). At the end of a school year, I usually ask my students to reflect on what they have learned, so I thought I'd do the same thing. Here are a few of the things I've learned from my students this year:

1) Brain Quest is a great way to pass a few minutes at the end of a class period. Plus, kids will do just about anything for a Jolly Rancher (incidentally, Jolly Ranchers are more popular than bubble gum and Hershey's Kisses...don't know why).

2) The best way to make ninth graders have a class discussion is to throw a bean bag snow leopard at one who you know will have something to say, and then make the students throw the leopard to someone else. That way, the kids can't get mad at you for putting them on the spot, because you didn't. Ironically, although they sometimes shrink at getting the bean bag, they always find something useful to say, and they have no qualms about inflicting the pain of participation on their best friends. :)

3) The kid who is most often asleep in your class is the most likely to be bouncing off the walls on the way in and out of class. More irony...

4) Students respond much better to a quiet, respectful voice than yelling...usually.

5) Ninth graders will pretend to hate any book you have them read just because it's not cool to read, but they will often tell you that they secretly enjoyed it in their personal written responses. Don't give up hope.

6) Seventh graders have more energy that ANY other age group, I promise. Get 35 of the them together at the end of the day, and just run for cover.

And, here are a few good quotes and experiences from the year:

*I gave my students the assignment to write similes about love for Valentine's day based on the "How Do I Love Thee" poem by Elizabeth Barrett Browning. My two favorites were...
I love thee like a tiger, ferociously
I love the like pi, infinitely

*"Miss Wright, can I do a jig on my desk and see if I fall off?"

*Student: "So, what do I do with this paper?"
Me: "Read the directions."
Student: "Oh." (as if that was such an unexpected answer)

Oh, there are so many more, but I have to think about it longer. Maybe if I come up with something amazing, I'll add a to be continued. Otherwise, I hope you can laugh at the crazy things my students do and get a glimpse of the chaos that is my life. Surely, they keep me entertained. What will I do without them all summer?

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

My mother is one of the most amazing women I have ever known. I have learned so many things from her. For example:

1) If you say you're going to do something, do it.

2) Find out what you're passionate about and go after it.

3) Darth Vader wears the color false.

4) It's okay to be spontaneous sometimes and just have fun!

5) Laughter is really good medicine.

6) If at first you don't succeed in baking cookies because you put in 1/2 cup of baking soda, buy new ingredients and try again. :)

7) Scrabble is the best game ever!

8) Jesus Christ is my best friend.

There are so many other things I have learned. I am so grateful to have been blessed with a mother who has been such a great guide and support as well as a really good friend. Love you, Mom!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Bibliobibulus Strikes Again!

I am a bibliobibulus (bookaholic). I have read for hours on end, into the middle of the night even, to finish a book I love; I laugh out loud when I'm reading to myself and talk to the characters as if they can hear me; and I sometimes look up words in the dictionary just for fun. I's weird. Thankfully, I know that many of you who will read this are as weird as I am. In order to cement my status as a word nerd, I thought I'd post some of my favorite books as of late as well as a few cool things I've found online lately.

Book Reviews:

The Wish List: A fast-faced, fun novel by Eoin Colfer (of the Artemis Fowl series), this one is the story of a teenage girl who is killed accidentally during a robbery she is committing and gets stuck between heaven and hell. She has to go back to earth to help the man she was robbing in order to earn her way into heaven. Not doctrinally sound, but it raises interesting questions about human nature and the problems of waiting until it's too late.

The Black Pearl: So, this one is hard to review completely because I haven't finished it yet (due to a malfunctioning audiobook...GRRR), but I can safely say that I LOVE it so far. It a really a coming of age story about a teen in Mexico who wants to learn to dive for pearls as part of his father's business. Not normally the type of story I'm interested in at all, but I was drawn in by the story-telling style--I felt like I was sitting around a campfire listening to an old legend. The good news is that I just found a copy in my classroom (go figure!), so I can find out how it ends!

Maximum Ride: This series has been incredibly popular with my students this year. It follows a group of teens who are the victims of genetic mutation that has made them part human, part bird. Weird, I know. They are basically humans with really light bones, super strength, and huge wings. They have escaped from the scientists that created them, but they keep getting drawn back into contact with them for various reasons. Interesting concept, and I enjoyed the first one a lot. I will likely pick up the other three over the summer.


1. For those of you that have read The Lightning Thief, the fifth and final book in the series, The Last Olympian, came out this week. I can't WAIT to buy it. I LOVE these books! If you like fun, mythology, and clever writing that mocks everything about being a teenager, this is a must read.

2. If you want to read The Alchemyst by Michael Scott, you can download a PDF of the WHOLE book for free, thanks to Powell's Books. I'm reading the book right now, and I love it! It's a YA fantasy novel about brother and sister twins who find themselves mixed up in a centuries-old feud between the good and bad magicians of the universe. It's fast-paced and fun, especially if you like mythology.

3. In my family, the only thing that rivals books for use of leisure time is cooking, so to have a COOK BOOK is the best of both worlds. I was recently introduced to an amazing book, Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. It's a seemingly too-good-to-be-true concept that actually works! Easy recipes for DELICIOUS bread. Mmmm. I have made eight loaves out of two batches over the course of two weeks, and they are SOOO tasty. You can make basic round loaves, baguettes, and a large assortment of specialty breads. I've only done the basic so far because I borrowed the book from a friend, but I'm ordering one for myself so I can be a bit more experimental. Anyway, it's one of my new favorite things!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Spring Fever!

Now that it's warmer here in Utah (at least it's raining instead of snowing), I've ventured outdoors for some fun! I went to the Tulip Festival at Thanksgiving Point on Friday night, and I went and played with Addie and Ian on Saturday as part of my trip to the Beehive Bazaar (a cool hand-crafted boutique).
Last night, I went to Bravo Broadway at Abravanel Hall and listened to three fabulous Broadway singers do a revue of some great songs along with the Utah Symphony (That wasn't outside, but I thought it was worth noting). I saw the most beautiful rainbow yesterday, but it disappeared before I could snap a photo. Here are some pictures I did snap this weekend, as well as a list of some of the things I love about Spring.


1) The smell of rain

2) The sound of raindrops outside my window as I fall asleep

3) Being able to go outside without a parka on, and not having my breath taken away by the cold

4) Being reminded how many bright colors there are in the world, not just white, gray, and black.

5) Realizing that I'm on the home stretch of school, and summer vacation is almost here.

6) Gearing up for great summer fruits and vegetables that don't have to be shipped from Timbuktu

7) Seeing sunlight when I drive to school in the morning (nobody should have to be awake before the sun is)

8) Reading outside on a blanket in the sunshine (when it's not raining)

9) Planning summer vacations

10) Going hiking

I could write so many more, but I'll simply finish with one thought. Springtime always reminds me of a song I learned back in Primary. It's message is so simple, and yet I find myself singing it on rainy Sunday afternoons because it is so true:

Whenever I hear the song of a bird,
Or look at the blue, blue sky,
Whenever I feel the rain on my face,
Or the wind as it rushes by,
Whenever I touch a velvet rose,
Or walk by our lilac tree,
I'm glad that I live is this beautiful world
Heavenly Father Created for me.

He gave me my eyes that I might see
The color of butterfly wings.
He gave me my ears that I might hear
The magical sound of things.
He gave me my life, my mind, my heart,
I thank him reverently
For all his creations of which I'm a part.
Yes, I know Heavenly Father loves me.