Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Photo #243: Mailbox

This is another photo I took I my neighborhood walk. Actually, I go past this mailbox every single day, and the contrast between the white mailbox and the purple grass always catches my eye. It sure looks better than my mailbox, which got hit by a snowplow a couple years ago, so it sort of sits at a cockeyed angle.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Photo #242: A Sunny Disposition

I decided to take a walk around the neighborhood to find a photo for today. This cheery face is hanging on a neighbor's fence around the block from me. The dark weathering just makes it all the more interesting.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Photo #241: Sunday Breakfast

This morning, I turned on the oven for the first time in a long time. I have hardly cooked at all this summer. Besides the fact that it has been too hot, after parenting for all these years, cooking just for me is a very different experience. I decided to make my Denver Omelet Pie. This is a breakfast casserole that I used to make frequently. Not only is it delicious for the first meal, the leftovers are great warmed up in the microwave. I really enjoy a nice leisurely breakfast on a Sunday morning, with a pot of my favorite Absolute Almond tea, buttered toast, and the Denver Omelet Pie. It's a great way to start the week.

Here is my recipe. It is adapted from a recipe from Taste of Home's, Quick Cooking Magazine.

Denver Omelet Pie

• 6 eggs or 2 cups of Egg Beaters or other egg substitute
• 1/2 cup chopped onion
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/8 teaspoon pepper
• 3 cups frozen shredded hash brown potatoes
• 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
• 1/2 cup diced fully cooked ham
• 1/2 cup chopped green pepper

In a large bowl, beat the eggs, salt and pepper. Stir in the potatoes, cheese, ham, onion, and green pepper. Pour into a greased 9-in. pie plate. Bake at 350° for 4 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Yield: 6 servings.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Photo #240: Class Blog

Here I am hanging out again at Caribou Coffee. This time I'm working on a new post for our class blog. The kids decided what should be included, and I'm doing the writing. My job will get much easier next week, when they collaborate to write our weekly post.

It was out with the old and in with the new. We've only been in school two days, but I was able to take lots of photos, so I could update the blog with photos of this year's class.

Once again, my trusty little netbook handles it all. And my Mango Black iced tea, keeps me going,

Friday, August 27, 2010

Photo #239: iPad Joy

My school purchased ten new iPads at the end of the last school year. Today I introduced them to my class. While I worked on problem solving with the rest of the class, students rotated through the iPad stations. We used only the four math apps that we have installed. You could not hear a peep! They loved it. Each child had just ten minutes today, but I managed to put an iPad in the hands of all 28 kids in my class. They did not want to stop.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Photo #238: The First Day of School

Today was the first day of school, and it was a resounding success. Everyone was excited to get back to school. Of all the photos I took today, this is my favorite. We created a social contract after talking about how we wanted to be treated. These kids are signing the poster indicating their agreement. I love the collaboration that is going on.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Photo #237: Me

Every now and then, I try to get a decent photo of myself, to use as an avatar. I employ the "hold the camera in front of yourself with one hand method." I have to take a lot of shots, sometimes on multiple occasions to come up with something I can live with. Usually I try it in the house, but I generally get better photos outside. I always hope none of my neightbors are looking out the window when I'm doing this. This one is pretty good.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Photo #236: Open House

Today was the second work day for teachers, followed by open house from five to seven. I spent today getting the last of the bulletin boards up, labeling the mailboxes, setting up the lunch chart, and taking care of the many other things that teachers do at the beginning of the year. This is a photo of my room about ten minutes before parents and students began to arrive. I was able to meet 26 of my 28 students and their families. Everyone is excited for school to begin.

At this point the room is ready, but I don't have a clue what we will be doing that first day. Fortunately we have one more teacher work day. Please let the morning meeting be short.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Photo #235: Which of These Folders Is Not Like the Other Ones?

Today was my first day back at school. The kids don't come until Thursday. I took some photos of our first staff meeting of the year, but I forgot my camera on my desk. Instead of trying to go back to school, I decided to use my phone and find a photo on my trip to Walmart. When I was in the school supply section, these folders caught my eye. I find it rather disturbing that Marilyn Monroe is being marketed right beside cute puppies, Wonder Woman, and Toy Story. Who do they think their potential purchaser will be?

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Photo #234: An Updated Dresser

I have a habit of folding my laundry and leaving it in baskets, instead of putting it away. Then I have to go fishing through the baskets of folded laundry, searching for the clothes I want to wear. I decided to fix up an old dresser that was stuffed in a closet, so I would have more storage space. I painted it and put on new handles and knobs. I think it looks pretty good. I've started putting everything away. How long do think my vow of neatness will last?

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Photo #233: Dessert at Panera Bread

Tonight, I had dinner at Panera Bread with Mom and Jacci. The food is delicious, but it is really difficult to walk past that dessert counter to order just a salad. I did it, though! I didn't order dessert, but I'll probably eat some ice cream now that I'm home.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Photo #232: Egg Recall

I just found a message on my voicemail from Costco. My eggs have been recalled. I guess I'm glad they called, because I don't want to get sick. I'm just not sure how I feel about them keeping these kinds of records about the things I buy. Is that the upside of technology or the downside? I'm not sure.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Photo #231: Hy-Vee Flowers

The Daily Shoot for today was to take a photo of something you eat, and make it look appetizing. Unfortunately, I didn't read that until after I had finished my dinner, and to be honest it wasn't that great. I decided to go up to Hy-Vee for one of their steak dinners. I've gone before, and it's been pretty good. It runs from 4 to 7. I would suggest you go closer to 4:00, because things were pretty dried out by 6:45. Instead, I took a photo of these yellow flowers that were on each table. It's kind of difficult to add ambiance to a grocery store cafe.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Photo #230: Heart Dish

It's been a busy day! I started out the day working at Huntington at Jordan Creek. It's a nice change of pace, and I'll be going back tomorrow. I also spent a few hours at Caribou Coffee, working on things for school. I took a few pictures today, but I wasn't happy with any of them. I took this photo, when I was at Cedar Rock in July. This beautiful heart shaped dish was in the living room of that Frank Lloyd Wright house.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Photo #229: School Begins Next Week

Teachers do not officially go back to school until August 23rd, but I had my first committee meeting of the school year today. Afterwards I spent some time working in my room, before I had to go to work at Huntington.

Things are coming together. The computer center is hooked up and everything is working, the desks are arranged, and the nametags are on them. Text books have been passed out, and they are waiting for the kids to arrive.

I put up my Three Dogs on a Porch bulletin board. This will be our word wall. After teaching the vocabulary for a story, we are supposed to select three important words that we continue to display throughout the year. This came from the Jo Robinson PD that many teachers in our district went to back in June. I decided to take it literally and make three dogs on a porch. I will put the words on dog bones to display them. I liked the way it came out.

I have lots more to do, but the room will be ready in time for Open House, one week from tonight.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Photo #228: Patience is Rewarded

This is the week of the Iowa State Fair, and the fair is a big deal around here. The State Fairgrounds are located on our side of town. My Aunt Barbara and Uncle Mark came up from Kansas to go to the fair. My cousin's daughters have been showing horses and competing in the Cowboy Queen competition, so my Uncle Gary and Aunt Lola have also been in town. We got together for dinner at my mom's house.

We were enjoying some taco's from Tasty Tacos (another Des Moines institution) and little Shelby wanted her share. She waited patiently and finally she was rewarded with a few tortilla bits from my Aunt Lola's plate.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Photo #227: Blooming Hostas

My Hostas are blooming. I love the foliage of hostas, and this year they have been particularly lush because of all the rain. The blooms in late summer are an added gift. At first glance, the blooms are pure white, but on closer inspection you can see the purple in the unopened bud, and on some of the petals.

Photo #226: Welcome Cards

This is my post for yesterday, Saturday, August 14.

There is only one more week of summer vacation, and then it's back to school. I'm working on my list of tasks to be completed, before teachers start back on August 23rd. One of the things all the classroom teacher's do in my building is to send a welcome to school card or letter to each of our students.

I always make my cards. Sometimes I use my rubber stamps to design the front of the card. For the past two years, I've opted for the computer. Last year I put a Wordle of the kids names on the front. This year I made a word cloud using the website, Image Chef. I create my cards, and many other things for my classroom, using the program, The Print Shop, by Broderbund.

So, get ready, kids! The cards are in the mail. It's almost time for school.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Photo #225: Flawless Paws

It was Bailey's day to go to the groomer. I wanted to get him there one more time before I go back to school.

He went to a brand new groomer today, called Flawless Paws, and he came back adorable. She did a great job, and he'll be going there again.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Photo #224: Central Iowa Tweetup

I went to the first Central Iowa Tweetup tonight at the Overtime Neighborhood Hub in Urbandale. I got to meet @MrsBMG, @johnccarver, @DeronDurflinger, @jerridkruse, @russgoerend, @AngelaMaiers @jamiefath, and see @shannonmmiller again. I also got to meet the adorable @HenryG.

There was even a doorprize made by @MrsBMG (Becky Goerend). I won for coming from the farthest away--the east side of Des Moines, maybe ten miles away. It will be going on my car soon.

I'm looking forward to the next one, which will be the second Thursday of September, same place, same time.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Photo #223: Four Mile Creek Takes Over

My plan was to stop at McDonald's to pick up some breakfast, and then shoot up East 33rd to school, to work in my classroom. That was a bit a problem however. After three nights of thunderstorms and heavy rain, I knew there was flooding, but I was not prepared for what I saw. Not only was East 33rd flooded, but so was part of Hubbell.

In the thirty years I have lived here, I have never seen Four Mile Creek this high, including during the big floods in 1993. Water was half way up the sides of the trailers in the mobile home park on the north side of Euclid. Taylor House, which is a hospice, was flooded as were the new buildings near by.

My mom said she received a phone call at two o'clock in the morning from the police, telling her to evacuate, if she was close to Four Mile Creek. They called everyone within a mile radius. Thankfully, my mom's house is safe.

Every place I drove today, there are houses with hoses draining water from their basements. Water is bubbling up through manhole covers and sewers. To top it off, the current temperature is 91 degrees with a heat index of 104.

Sadly, this flood has turned deadly. A sixteen year old girl died when three cars were swept off the road, just east of Altoona. She was a student at Southeast Polk High School, where my nephew is also a student. My thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends.

I hope this is the end of it, but more rain is forecast for Friday. I feel fortunate that my basement is dry and I have a new air conditioner. I am thankful that my family is safe. I can't imagine the frustration some of these people are feeling as they deal with the third round of flooding so far this year.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Photo #222: New Bulletin Boards

Preparation for going back to school has begun. I already have the desks arranged. Tomorrow I'm going into school to put up bulletin boards, attach name tags to the desks with clear contact paper, and hook up the computers.

When I was first teaching, I created some elaborate bulletin boards, but I haven't done much of that during the past few years. Mostly I've just slapped up some posters or displayed student work.

Back in June I attended a literacy PD. The presenter talked about focusing on three important vocabulary words after you have taught the vocabulary for each story. These words should continue to be displayed on the word wall. She called this "Three Dogs On a Porch." When I stopped by school a few weeks ago, my principal told me that our school district wants everyone to do this. It is a "non-negotiable."

Last week, when I was in my classroom, I was trying to figure out where I was going to put this word wall. I decided to use the three small bulletin boards at the back of the room. Then I got the idea to turn the bulletin boards into a porch, and put three dogs on it. The vocabulary words will go on dog bones. So I have been working to draw the dogs and create the parts for the porch. I got out my scrapbooking books and materials, and I've been have some fun with it. Here is my work in progress. If it all comes together tomorrow, I will photograph the finished product.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Photo #221: If You Give This Teacher a New Mousepad . . . .

If you give this teacher a new mousepad, she'll want a new mouse that coordinates with it better.

I picked up this Frank Lloyd Wright designed mousepad when I was at Taliesen. It is based on one of his glass designs. It bothers me that my red mouse clashes with the colors. I probably won't get a new mouse though, unless this one quits working.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Photo #220: Colin and Lisa

Lisa and Colin were in town this weekend. They cooked dinner for my Mom and I. Afterwards we went to Java Joe's for a while, to listen to music. We had a great visit, but it had to be short, because Colin is due back at work this afternoon. I snapped this photo before they left for Minneapolis.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Photo #219: Lisa and Her Backpack

Lisa and Colin were in town this weekend. They recently returned from their vacation, which was a backpacking camping trip near Lake Superior. Lisa is modeling her unloaded backpack for me, here.

Lisa grew up camping, but our family's style of camping is of the modern restroom and travel with the relatives, who have a motorhome variety. In college she was a camp counselor at Camp Hantesa, so she has always enjoyed the out of doors. She said this was the most rustic camping she has done. Colin is an experienced backpacker. They saw some beautiful scenery and had a great time. Colin is also a great photographer, and I enjoyed seeing their pictures.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Photo #218: Pencil Bags

I'm not a big shopper, but today I went shopping for school supplies. I was delighted to find composition notebooks for only 25 cents each at Target, and the two pocket folders with the prongs for 15 cents each at Staples. These colorful pencil bags at Target caught my eye.

The big ouch was buying new ink cartridges for my printer. I always go through a lot of ink this time of year. I make name tags, locker tags, and all kinds of labels with student names, on my computer.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Photo #217: Watermelon

I saw these watermelons at Costco. I love watermelon, but this giant fruit is way to big for me. I always think that buying watermelon is a form of gambling. If it's good, you're in heaven, but if you get a bad one, that's a lot of mediocre fruit.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Photo 216: Arranging My Classroom

Today was a busy day. I spent about four hours at school, and the big thing I accomplished was figuring out how to fit all those desks in. I currently have 28 students on my class list, which is 4 more than I had last year. I decided to move my desk up against the wall to open up the space, and make more room for student desks. I don't sit at my desk much anyway. Most of the time I am either moving around the room, or sitting at one of the tables working with students. It took me a while, and I did a lot of furniture moving, and book moving, but I was happy with the results. It gives my classroom a whole new look. When I start this process of setting up my classroom, I begin to feel excited about starting a new school year.

After I worked at school for a while, I went to work at Huntington. Now my feet hurt, and I'm a tired girl.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Photo #215: How Does Your Garden Grow?

The Daily Shoot: How does your garden grow? Make a photo of something growing in your or someone else's garden today.

These aren't actually growing in anybody's garden. They were in a pot outside a local real estate office. I noticed them when I was on my way into Jimmy John's. I liked the little blue flowers.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Photo #214: My First Technology Conference

As many of you know, I have become a techie teacher this past year. It started with an on-line class last summer. Since that time I have tried lots of new things in the way of technology in my classroom. Some of you may not know that I have also become somewhat addicted to Twitter during that time. Part of my daily routine is to boot up my Tweetdeck to check to see what the educators I follow on Twitter are talking about.

Many of them have gone to Technology Conferences in Denver and Philadelphia, to learn more about using technology in the classroom. I have never been able to do that until this past weekend, when I attended my very first technology conference. It was a worldwide conference with people from 59 countries participating, and I never left Des Moines. Click here to visit my other blog, Prospecting for Treasure, to learn more about my experience.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Photo #213: Thomas Mitchell Park

This weekend I visited Thomas Mitchell Park. At 175 acres, this park is much smaller than Yellow Banks. It is located at 10509 NE 46 Avenue, outside Mitchellville, Iowa. This park is also managed by Polk County Conservation and it is much more familiar to me. Our Fourth Graders used to come here for a fall field trip each year, so I have looked for wildlife in the pond and hiked the trails, as well as supervised kids on the playground.

The tree sculpture is new. I don't remember that. I'm thinking this is a Morell Mushroom, but I could be wrong.

This park has nice picnic shelters, and some hiking trails. It has a campground with electric hookups and modern restrooms. There is a tenting area near the creek that runs through the park. It is green and shaded, but it is also close to the road. If you're looking for quiet and a more woodsy feel, Yellow Banks Park is probably a better choice. I do like the ambiance of the red foot bridge.

Thomas Mitchell Park is more of a groomed park than Yellow Banks. It is great for picnics and camping. There are some hiking trails, and a pond, but no fishing. It is a wonderful place to go, and it's just a short drive away.