Playing for Research – Wise Words Wednesday

“Play is the highest form of research.” – Albert Einstein

Do you remember when jumping off a moving swing taught you that you couldn’t fly?

Do you remember when lightening bugs taught you that they die in a jar (even if you poked holes in the lid)?

Do you have any idea when you discovered that people don’t like to play with someone who smells “funny”?

I can’t say that I remember these exact experiences from my own life. I do know that it took a couple of these “real life” experiments for the lessons to sink in.

One such learning opportunity came to me in 2nd grade, as three of my classmates played “Annie.” They liked to pretend they were the sad and overworked orphans, while one acted as the mean and bossy Mrs. Hannigan.

Continue reading “Playing for Research – Wise Words Wednesday”

Bloggers BeLOnG – October 19th, 2020

Hello friends in blogging,
Our next Bloggers BeLOnG session is on Monday, October 19th from 6:30p.m – 7:30 p.m. Central Standard Time.

Our first three sessions were very insightful and fun!

If you are not a blogger yet, but would like to give it a try, JOIN us!

To register for this free, virtual session go to https://mrrl.org/index.php/event/bloggers-belong-virtual-1

I hope to see you there,
Melanie A. Peters

P.S. If you have any friends interested in blogging or building a website, share this post with them.

Condoleezza Rice, will you have lunch with me? – Sincerely, Intentergy

Dear Condoleezza Rice,

I would like to cordially invite you to have lunch with me. My desire for this lunch date is so sincere that you may choose the day, time, and location that works best for you.

You and I share some very similar interests. We both love to sing and love our nation. We share the belief that good leaders listen, stand up for what needs to be done, and that sometimes simple solutions are all that is needed to make big changes.

Your mom was a teacher, and I am a mom and a teacher. So we both value education and moms.

You’ve written and published children’s books and having children’s books published from my pen is on my bucket list. (Maybe you could recommend a good literary agent.)

You are much better at golf than I, but maybe you could give me some pointers as we dine.

A love of laughter and sincerity are also things we have in common, and I know we could both use a sincere conversation and laugh right now. (People tell me I’m pretty funny, so I’ve got that to bring to the table.)

Continue reading “Condoleezza Rice, will you have lunch with me? – Sincerely, Intentergy”

Uncomfortable Can Be a Good Thing – Wise Words Wednesday

I know that 2020 has been a year of discomfort. And that’s not okay, but in reading Brené Brown’s Daring Greatly, I was kindly reminded that some of the greatest opportunities for growing and learning come from uncomfortable situations.

When speaking to her students about vulnerability and shame, Brené warns them ahead of time, “If you’re comfortable, I’m not teaching and your’re not learning. It’s going to get uncomfortable in here and that’s okay. It’s normal and it’s part of the process” (Brown 203).

This warning made me smile because it reminded me of the supply lists for incoming students to my English I class. After typing up and printing the nice, neat lists, I would carefully (in the scariest handwriting I could muster) write “FEAR” in red ink at the top of each list.

You can only imagine the delight I experienced in seeing the eager faces and ready hands grab at the waiting lists from the holder outside my classroom and then the quick flicker of surprise as that word “FEAR” registered in their already-panicking minds.

Continue reading “Uncomfortable Can Be a Good Thing – Wise Words Wednesday”

Isle of Storms – An Epic 5th Grade Collaboration to Benefit Special Olympics

There is nothing better than a good adventure story, except when there is a GREAT adventure story created through the collaboration of an entire 5th grade class AND the proceeds from its sale go to Special Olympics!!!

Prior to their school year being cut short by the Coronavirus, Mrs. Rebecca Harvey‘s 5th grade class read The Man Who Loved Clowns by June Rae Wood.

Isle of Storms 4

The class was fascinated by the character Punky. In the book, Punky is the uncle of main character Delrita. The story revolves around Delrita’s desire to go unnoticed by society because of the embarrassment she feels over Punky’s behavior, while still loving his childlike ways. Punky has Down Syndrome and the challenges of living with and loving someone who has an intellectual disability are shared in an honest and compelling manner.

The class was so moved by Punky’s story and connections they made to individuals with Down Syndrome that they decided to do something for the Special Olympics. They just weren’t sure what it was yet.

Continue reading “Isle of Storms – An Epic 5th Grade Collaboration to Benefit Special Olympics”

Bloggers BeLOnG – Community Development for Bloggers Event

Blogger BeLOnG image

If you are a blogger, have ever considered blogging, or just want to meet some folks from the blogosphere, join us for Bloggers BeLOnG on July 20th 6:30-7:30 p.m.

This Zoom event is sponsored by the Missouri River Regional Library and will be hosted by Melanie A. Peters of www.intetengy.com. It’s free and a terrific chance to build your blogging network and practices.

To register or for more information CLICK HERE.

Bloggers BeLOnG 1

The Hurt in Handy Rationalizations – #ThoughtfulThursday

 

Handy Rationalizations 2

I will be honest. We have turned off our TV this week. (Mostly because I feel like the first five days of violence in America’s streets were enough to give my kids the understanding that things are not okay.) Secondly, it has allowed hubby and I to turn down the noise of the media and have serious and sincere discussions with our children about what’s going on and the ugly history behind it. The truth is we can’t turn off the ugliness in our world. There is no universal remote for peace, kindness, or equality. We can, however,  turn up the discussion on what must change and tune into what will make our world a better place.

Currently, I am reading Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah. I began reading this before George Floyd’s tragic death, but the book’s contents have rang painfully true for me in these times. Previously I’d read about the history behind the apartheid in South Africa and the impacts of Nelson Mandela’s release from prison, but never did I give the circumstances of those who lived it much consideration. In my mind, it was as if a switch must have been flipped in South Africa, one day the apartheid ruled and the next day things were hunky dory. The problem with my thinking on that situation is as wrong and hurtful as those who are allowing generalizations and stereotypes to rule their reactions and beliefs about the protests and riots today. I am grateful Trevor Noah’s book provided me with the opportunity to grow in my understanding.

Handy Rationalizations 1

Noah does a terrific job of addressing his life experiences and the viewpoints of the South African apartheid in a candid and witty manner. I with that everyone would follow his lead and use this perspective to see the race situation for what it is and eliminate the handy rationalizations that allow the division of people’s to perpetuate.

Continue reading “The Hurt in Handy Rationalizations – #ThoughtfulThursday”

20 Books of Summer Reading Challenge – #20BooksOfSummer20

I learned about this #20BookOfSummer20 challenge from one of my favorite book bloggers Fictionofile. The Reading Challenge was created by Cathy at 746books.com and I am excited to give it a go. I plan to double dip my reading though as I join my kiddos in participating in the local library’s summer reading program too.

The rules are simple:

If you want to join in, just nab Cathy’s Books of Summer image, pick your own 20 books you would like to read and link back to her Master post from 1 June to let her know that you are taking part.  She’d love your support and hopes some of you will join in the summer reading fun!

Choosing your list of books is half the fun, as is following along with everyone’s progress on this years new #20booksofsummer20 hashtag.

The challenge starts off on Monday, June 1st and finishes on Tuesday, September 1st.

Most of the books from my #20BooksOfSummer20 Challenge

Because life is CRAZY I’m not sure I can pull off 20 titles before September 1st, but here are the books I hope to devour in my efforts:

  1. Born a Crime by Trevor Noah
  2. Daring Greatly by Brené Brown
  3. Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance
  4. Three Weeks With My Brother by Nicholas Sparks
  5. The Weight of Blood by Laura McHugh
  6. The Wolf Wants In by Laura McHugh
  7. The Way I Heard It by Mike Rowe
  8. Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Afterlife by Eben Alexander
  9. Fierce, Free, and Full of Fire: The Guide to Being Glorious You by Jen Hatmaker
  10. The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown
  11. The Full Scoop by Jill Orr
  12. Watership Down by Richard Adams
  13. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee ***I’m re-reading this with a group of friends as an informal Book Club.***
  14. Educated by Tara Westover
  15. Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
  16. Bettyville by George Hodgman
  17. The Light in the Forest by Conrad Richter
  18. Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid
  19. The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes
  20. Light Years by James Salter

*I hyperlinked titles to the Goodreads’ description for each book.

Books bring people together. I still love the practice of asking those I meet what they are reading. (Will Schwalbe is a genius.) I hope you find some quality reading time this summer and nurture your imagination and positive energy with some sweet or scary literature.

By: Melanie A. Peters

P.S. What are you reading?

P.P.S. Be sure to share what you plan to read this summer.

Quarantine: What Teachers Are Expecting from Parents

COVID Parent Expectations

As our nation faces another week of stay-at-home orders, mandated and self-quarantines, and growing fears for time lost from work or school, I recently had someone ask me, “What do you, as an educator, think about trying to keep school going at home?”

Well, I can’t speak for ALL educators, but here is what I know and believe.

First of all, we miss the kids. We miss the classroom. We miss being able to teach, interact, hug, listen to, and learn from our students.

The greatest hope we have for our students is that they are safe, secure, and still learning on some level.

While most parents don’t have degrees in classroom management or educational psychology, the majority understand what it means to be a kid. Maintaining awareness for their innocence and young minds needs to be in the forefront of our thoughts as we interact with them.

With regards to lesson plans, please just do your best. Try to provide opportunities for kids to make connections between what they normally would be learning in school and what they are getting at home. While there aren’t SmartBoards, extensive libraries, and gymnasiums in our homes, there are still plenty of ways to encourage our kids to keep learning. Some families don’t have computers or internet access. There are still ways to engage children in reading, math, science, and physical activity. Parents, allow yourselves to learn news ways to communicate positively with your children and let them know that change is hard, but we can make it easier together.

To those who say, “It’s not my job to teach. I’m not making my kids do homework,” teachers view all children as their own. When you refuse to put effort into helping your own child learn, you are refusing to help everyone. Please don’t take that from them or us. We all deserve to have knowledge and understanding as this pandemic impacts our lives. You are that child’s parent, and, therefore, you are their first teacher. Join us in the work we do to ensure bright futures open to continued growth and knowledge.

Finally, please remember teachers are people too. We have fears, anxiety, and questions that can’t be answered. We are doing our best to share as much information and as many opportunities as possible with your kids, while caring for/teaching/raising/coping with our own families. Please don’t let our efforts be something that is also lost during this time of crisis.

Again, I can’t speak for all teacher, but this is what I believe most would say. Be safe. Stay healthy. Read, write, experiment, exercise, love, and learn.

By: Melanie A. Peters

P.S. Parents, it’s okay to put yourself in detention if you need a time out, but don’t punish your kid if new Math is confusing. Teachers had to learn it too.

P.P.S. Parents, it’s also okay to give yourself an apple or a chocolate bar when you’ve done a good job of helping get through those workbook pages.

P.P.P.S. Teacher friends, thank you for stretching yourselves and adapting to these crazy conditions. You’ve all earned A’s in my book.

The “Eternal Punchline”

Eternal Punchline

We all have had times when we felt like everyone was laughing at us (and not in a good way). It feels terrible. It alienates us. It is not what anyone deserves.

Jose and his smile definitely brighten the day.

In one of my Oral Communications classes, my student Jose shared a powerful statement based on the personal strength he discovered in himself after years of feeling like the “eternal punchline.”

Jose is Mexican-American, hard-working, and a super talented speaker. He is not a traditional student in that he is not “fresh” out of high school, but he is most definitely a refreshing addition to his program and to all those he encounters.

The Oral Communications course is designed to bring awareness to interpersonal differences and strengthen communication skills. With most of the chapters in our text, I ask students to write a personal reflection on the content or how it applies to their own experiences. Chapter 6 is on unfair judgement and bias. I asked my students to share their thoughts on a time when they experienced bias in their own personal lives and how it has affected the way they communicate with or view others.

Jose’s response was so honest and so powerful, I had to read it a few times to wrap my head around his pragmatic approach to the unfair way others (even his closest friends) have spoken to or of him. Continue reading “The “Eternal Punchline””