Priceless

Good morning! 

We go to the library every Friday morning to check out books. 

One of my 6th grade students needed a more appropriate reading level book from the library to read in my class.

They all participate in a literacy program called Reading Counts. They read a book.Those that can. Take a test on the computer. And get charms on a chain necklace for points as they pass them.

This particular student had gone to the library with his 6th grade homeroom class weeks prior and picked out a book. This book.

A chapter book, just like all the other 6th graders were reading, but unfortunately for him, he could not read it. The words we’re too difficult for someone with an intellectual disability. So he carried it around for weeks.  He’d open it up to a different page each time he “read” it. He’d pick out a few words he could recognize on the page and then close the book.  In his mind, he had “read” his book.

I finally found a moment where just he and another 5th grade boy were in my classroom alone together.  I asked him if he would go to the library and get a book to read. One for my class. One that he could read most of the words in a sentence.  

I asked him if he knew where the books were located in the library that were at his reading level, and he did not, so I asked the fifth grader if he would mind taking him to the library and showing him.  This 5th grader is a good kid, very shy and quiet, but I knew he was responsible enough to handle the task.

 in my classroom peer mentoring goes a long way. I have 2nd through 6th graders, and they help each other.

They both readily agreed. Off they went. About seven minutes later they returned back with a book. A much more appropriate reading level book. I asked how the experience went, and this is what I heard.  

The sixth grader shared with me that his homeroom class came into the library shortly after he had chosen a book. He did not want them to see him with such a beginner book, so he gave it to his friend, the 5th grader, who graciously carried it back to the room for him. It was priceless! His honesty, and his newly made friend’s loyalty to hi’s cause. 

I used that moment as a teaching moment to explain to them both that no one should ever be embarrassed by who they are or where they are in life. To hold their head up proud, but to a 6th grade boy my words only fell on deaf ears.

I thank God for my 5th grader that day, and I thank God that my 6th grader now has a book he can truly read.

Literacy. Or better stated, illiteracy.  It’s no joking matter. It’s very real in our public school systems today. In our cities, our states, and our country.  

Let’s all do what we can to help stamp out illiteracy. Read to your children and grandchildren. Teach them to love books. Teach them not just the alphabet and words, but their meaning and practice comprehension as well.

Reading does not come naturally. And certainly not easy. Especially to those with an intellectual disability. 

Those that cannot read miss out on experiencing so much in life. Life for them is a daily struggle. Poverty and illiteracy go hand in hand in that struggle. And the struggle is real.

Those folks are just as priceless to God as you or I. We all are equal. We may just not be equal on the reading level. 

Here’s to those that reach out to help those that cannot read. Here’s to those struggling.  Don’t give up. Even when it’s hard. If you can read this blog, thank whoever taught you to read. And thank God for the intellect to make it possible.

You are priceless to me.  I love you and honor you, so I will trade other people for you. I will give up other nations to save your lives.                                Isaiah 43:4

Love and laughter, 

Sandy

Advertisements

Open Door Policy

Good Morning! 

As part of the demolition process for our home remodel, we removed the doors and casings off of most the rooms except our personal bedroom and bathroom. 

And then there’s my big golden retriever who feels the need to come in and open the door every time I enter my bathroom by  pushing it with his nose. 

We are operating on the open door policy.

The door is always open at our house.

That’s not a bad way to live. My mother taught me that outlook on life. Always welcome others into your home regardless of their color or status with an open door. Be available to others. Hide nothing. Live so anyone could see your actions. 

An open door policy actually means admitting people of all nationalities or ethnic groups to a country upon equal terms.

That’s how it is with Jesus. Everyone is welcome. We are welcome to come in, sit down, and have a chat with him anytime! And he is always available to listen. 

Let’s all live with a little more love and acceptance and a lot less locks and closed doors and closed minds.

Come on over. Our doors are always open!

I know your Deeds behold, I have put before you an Open Door which no one can shut because you have a little power, and have kept my word and have not denied my name.    Revelation 3:8

Love and laughter,

Sandy

Fair

Good morning! 

Fair doesn’t necessarily mean  everyone gets the same thing in my class. 

I have 2nd through 6th graders. At all different levels. I have to differentiate my teaching.

Fair in my class means getting what you need. 

Fair.

Today the fair comes to town. The Tulsa State Fair. Many of my students are going. It’s all they can talk about. Many of them are not. Due to poverty. So the fair is coming to Mrs. Carnes room. It’s only fair. 😊

We are having Fair Friday. We’ll begin our day with writer’s workshop, writing about what we would do at the fair if we were to go. We will then each have our very own corn dog. With lots of mustard. We’ll dip our breakfast apples in caramel. We will have cotton candy. We will watch a video from The Tulsa State Fair petting zoo from years past. We will watch a video of a roller coaster ride from the front seat. We will listen to a song from one of the performing bands. All in the name of social studies. We’ll use play money to buy our food and our ride pass for the roller coaster in the name of math.  And we’ll read from Charlotte’s Web for our read aloud, a favorite of mine, that much of it takes place at the local county fair.

When life doesn’t afford you the same privileges as others, you improvise. You bring the experience to life in your mind.  That’s why I teach.

Sometimes life just isn’t fair. But fortunate for us, our God is. He’s bigger than the state fair. His blessings endure forever. Not just for 10 days.

Here’s to Fair Friday!  But here’s to our God! He’s got it all in his hands.

I hope you enjoy your 10 days of fun and food if you go to the fair. And while you’re there, have a fried something on a stick just for the fun of it! Because you can! For my kids. 

God is fair and just, he corrects the misdirected, sends them in the right direction, he gives the rejects his hand and leads them step by step.          Psalm 25:8-9

Love and  laughter. 

Sandy 

Paper Clip Math

Good morning! 

Non standard measurement. That’s what we’re doing in math. We watched a video of a read aloud book entitled, How big is a foot? It taught us how the size of a foot can vary. Making it an unreliable source of measurement on its own.

Today we began measuring. Except we had no rulers. No inches or centimeters. We measured today with paper clips. Using nonstandard measurement.  We measured our foot. Our worksheet. Our book. And our chair.

And then some of us got really creative and turned our paper clips into chains to measure all areas of our chair then hooked it together and wore it around our necks.

I loved watching my students think outslde the box! All on their own! So engaged! They followed the directions I laid before them on their worksheets, then went a step farther. They took ownership of their assignments, and did them with excitement as they began measuring more than simply length. Using back to back paper clips, They moved to width. Their simple math had already surpassed the boundaries of their worksheet. They wanted to measure everything!

Tomorrow we move to string. Then we trade in our paper clips for rulers. And our string for measuring tapes. Then we understand why we use standard units of measure.

Did you know that’s how it is with God? He gives us direction then watches with excitement as we take off and take ownership of our assignment. He delights when we think outside the box. After all, his ways are so much greater than ours!

Let’s all think outside the box. Do what others say we can’t.  Prove them wrong. Take leaps of faith. Measure the immeasurable.  With paper clips. 

Stop trying to measure up. Stop comparing. We all fall short. Find comfort in that we have a God who loves us immeasurably. 

To infinity and back. Try measuring that with paper clips. I double dog dare ya! 😊

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.                      Ephesians 3:20

Love and laughter, 

Sandy

All by myself

Good Morning!

 This past week I wrote my first IEP. 

All by myself.

And I’m not speaking of the Eric Carmen hit from years gone by. I DID want to be all by myself! 

The thought of it was somewhat scary, but after all, if you walk in any store at this time of year, all you’ll see is Halloween decorations everywhere you turn. 

Don’t we all enjoy being scared? Just a little? So why not start now?

I had sat back and observed as two of my students’ IEPs were completed by my Exceptional Student Support Lead. Now it was time for baptism by fire. Time for me to dive in head first and give it a try! After all, if you make a mistake. it gives you error responses on each page as you complete them before you can save it. I couldn’t break it! I couldn’t hurt anything. I began with a prayer. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Then an hour and a half later I had completed it. Except for the dates on the final page. I called the teacher across the hall from me for help on explaining how the dates work, and my lead reviewed and fixed the things that needed fixing the next morning. It went remarkably well! It wasn’t as scary as I thought! 

How about you? Are there things in life that you procrastinate about? That overwhelm you? That paralyze you?

My advice to you is take a deep breath, put on your big girl pants, say a prayer (After all, we can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens us.), and dive in head first and see what you can accomplish.

I did! 😊 And once you accomplish that hurdle, just think of the places you’ll go! With God.

Together let’s enjoy the journey. Wherever life may take us. By moving forward. By learning. By growing.

For me, today, it’s IEPs. Who knows what tomorrow will bring? I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to find out!

By myself I can do nothing, I judge only as I hear, and my judgement is just, for I seek not to please myself, but He who sent me.                                  John 5:30

Love and laughter,

Sandy

Paid In Full

Good morning!

I recently got married. Two became one not only in our wedding vows, but we also needed to join households. Two needed to become one. 

So as you know if you follow my blog, my husband moved into my home with my father and me and sold his home. 

It closed last week. At closing they marked it sold. Paid in full! 

Just like my husband’s home sold, and his buyer paid the agreed upon price for it, Jesus paid the price for us. He died for our sin. So we could have eternal life. Our account is now marked paid in full just like the closing papers on the sale of my husband’s home.

How does that make you feel? Paid in full. Someone paid off your debt for no other reason than because they love you. That’s cause to honor God. With our bodies and our spirits.

Let’s all honor Him today. For all He’s done and all He’ll do. 

Paid in full. That’s a pretty great way to go through life. With no debt hanging over our heads that we can’t handle. Let’s celebrate.  Just like we did when our two homes became one. 

For you were bought with a price.     1Corinthians 6:20

Love and laughter, 

Sandy

Music To My Ears

Good Morning!

Friday evening I joined my husband and two other couples for a delightful evening out on the town. The evening included dinner, a concert at the PAC, and cocktails on the roof of the Mayo Hotel under the stars. 

We went to the concert expecting to see and hear Chris Botti, a talented jazzy pop trumpet player, who used to play with Sting.

But what we got instead was far more than what we bargained for! If he isn’t pleasing enough to look at and listen to, the talent ensemble he brought with him was phenomenal! The cream of the crop! The best of the best! There were performances from his pianist, Geoffrey Keezer, Andrea Bocelli’s own violinist, Caroline Campbell, guitarist, Leonardo Amuedo, Richie Goods on bass, Ben Butler on electrix guitar, his drummer, Lee Pearson, R&B singer, Sy Smith, each expressing their own expertise for us to savor! He engaged the crowd by venturing into the audience. several times, and even brought a child from the audience to the stage to play the drums!

The event was truly music to my ears! 

It got me thinking. What do I do that others could say brings music to their ears? 

How about you? What do you excel at that you can offer to others? 

God made each of us. Individual. Unique. We each have strengths and weaknesses. Hopefully more strengths than weaknesses. 

What are your strengths?

 I encourage each of you to find your strengths, whatever they may be.  To shine in this dark world with what you are best at. To bring your best to the table to share with others. To help make this world a better place.

Chris Botti and crew certainly did Friday night! 👍❤🎶🎺🎻🎤🎸🎹

Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might.                 Ecclesiastes 9:10

Love and Laughter,  

Sandy