Hello Ms. Simmons' class! This is the first entry by your new guest blogger, Ms. Arneson. I love that your class is able to use blogging as a tool to learn and share ideas with one another. I started my first blog when I was in eighth grade too! That was when blogging first became a mainstream tool to communicate with your peers; it was around the year 2004. I never imagined that ten years later I would be writing a blog to communicate with my own students. It is so wonderful to be able to look back at some of the things that I've written over the years and to see the dramatic changes I have undergone as a writer and as a human being. When I look back at some of my old entries, I have a flood of different thoughts and emotions. At first I can't believe how immature and petty the things I worried about were. It makes me thankful to be able to look back and see how far I've come. My previous writings make me realize that some of the things that seem so incredibly important right now really won't matter a few years from now. I also feel a flood of nostalgia remembering all of the interesting things that have happened to me through the years. If you could write a letter to be delivered to your future self, what would you want them to remember about you? What things in your life do you think you will look back on ten years from now and realize weren't such a big deal? Where will you be and what will you be doing when you go back and read your middle school blogs from ten years ago...?
It's that time of year! The time when we're supposed to be thankful for all the good in our lives. I want to try something different today. I've been thinking about all the things in my life that have been stressing me out or causing a challenge. I wonder if I can re-think those things. Rather than being stressed about them, be grateful for them. Sounds weird, eh? I think you should give it a try.
I'm thankful for...
1. A house that's not always clean. I'm thankful for this because it means my child is making memories, like this weekend when we made a fort in the living room with blankets and chairs. It was a M-E-S-S, but we had a great time.
2. Students who always complain about school. My "kids", as I call them, have no idea what it's like to live somewhere where they don't have the opportunity to go to school. They think most things are "boring" and "something they'll never use", but maybe I should be glad they don't know the difference.
3. The hours and hours and hours of my personal time I spend working - grading papers, making lesson plans, trying to find ideas for class. Even though I might complain about this, I should be thankful that I have a job I love and a place I go every day where I can try to make a difference in a student's life.
4. My bills. What?! Why in the world would I be thankful that I have bills to pay?! I'm thankful for this because it means I'm living and I have responsibilities. I have a house that's warm in the winter and cool in the summer. It has lights, running water, indoor plumbing, and carpet. It has a stove, a refrigerator, a dishwasher and a washer and dryer. While they might not be the top-of-the-line, they work and make caring for my family easier. I have to pay for them, yes, but maybe that's not a bad thing after all.
5. The nasty callouses on my feet. They're ugly, I tell you. But you know how I got them? I danced from age 3-18 and started running after that. While my feet may not be the prettiest around, I'm thankful they're not because it means I USE them. My parents gave me the opportunity to dance and my love of running is now my lifeline. I'll sacrifice my feet for these things.
Now, you give it a try! What are things in your life that you often complain about? How can you change your attitude and think about why you should be thankful for those things?
Today is the day! It's one of my favorite days of the year! I love taking students to the public library in our city. The library is full of FREE resources that you can use for learning or pleasure. What I love so much about this trip is hearing students talk about it afterwards. Now, I realize there are some of you who will roll your eyes and think this isn't much of a field trip, but you have no idea how many students come out of the library saying things like, "I didn't know you could download free music!" or "I wish I would've known about that online Encyclopedia for my science paper!" or "I've never been to a public library in my life." All of those statements amaze me, but also excite me because now you know.
For those of you who had the opportunity to attend, what was something new that you learned while you were at the library? What resources do you plan to use now that you know they're available to you? What other "gems" are in our community that students at CCMS might not know about?
We had an unexpected visitor in our home this past weekend! If I told you I got to meet the fastest man in the world's massage therapist, would you believe me? It's true. For you sports junkies, Usain Bolt's name should ring a bell. For those that don't know, he is, literally, the fastest runner on earth! On Saturday, one of my close friends brought by a buddy of his that he met on a mission trip in Jamaica - meet my friend, Marland!
From the moment Scott and I met Marland, we knew he was a special guy. We clicked right away and loved hearing about his experiences here in the U.S. You know how cold it was this weekend. Let's just say a Jamaican is cold when it's 70 degrees. We bundled him up in a down jacket and hat before we took him outside to run and play soccer with our son! We had a blast and are so thankful we had the opportunity to meet him. Marland works with tons of Jamaican athletes; it was so interesting to listen to his stories!
I asked him what were some of the things he was surprised at after spending time here. One thing I wasn't expecting was his comment about how smooth the roads are here. Instantly I thought about how often I hear people complain about potholes in roads and how uneven many roads are, but to him, they're anything but in bad shape. Matt, our close friend who brought him by, also said Marland made a comment about how there was never a point when he was hungry while visiting. When he arrived, I'd just gotten back from getting bags of groceries from the store. A little humbling moment, eh?
The whole experience, coupled with the month of November and its theme of thankfulness, got me thinking. What are things I take for granted that I should be more thankful for? Here's the start of my list:
1. I'm thankful for a house with heat and air conditioning and a roof over my head.
2. I'm thankful for a clean city to live in.
3. I'm thankful for grocery stores available to me at any time of the day.
4. I'm thankful for a school filled with technology, even if it's not the absolute best.
5. I'm thankful for the ability to freely choose what I want to do with my life.
6. I'm thankful for my students who constantly complain about how "boring" school is. They don't know what it's like to live in a country where school isn't available for all children. They don't know what it's like to go to school in a school with dirt floors and no air conditioning or heat. They don't know what it's like to go to school in a place where no technology is available to them. They don't know what it's like to go to school in a place where only certain types of students have the opportunity to learn. Most middle school students in America complain about school, and even though it drives me crazy when they do this, maybe I'm truly thankful for it - because they don't even have the opportunity to know the difference.
Look around and think about it for yourself. What are at least three things (I'd love you to think of more!) you know you take for granted? Do not merely list them. After each thing you list, EXPLAIN what you mean. How do you take those things for granted? What should you do in your own life to make sure you realize the importance of those things each and every day?