Saturday, June 29, 2013

A picture prompt

Carrie has made Wordy Wednesday tricky this week but I think it will make for some entertaining reading.  Don't forget to click the link above and check out the other party writers.  Comments are open, so feel free to join the conversation.  

This week's prompt: 

Share a favorite picture from your life (recent or not!), tell the back story and share the details surrounding the picture.

I suppose I should have rotated this photo but having it on the side sort of makes it more intriguing.  This photo of my shadow was taken 18 months ago.  It was the last teaching day of the 2011 school year.  The day began much like any other and as the year was coming to a close it was rather hectic.  I used to walk to our local train station and ride the train to work.  I would change my clothes when I arrived at school, but on this particular day, I had been so busy that I didn't have a chance to change.

My year 9 class was small in number but they were keen on seeing their final grades.  I passed out their assignments and we discussed their results.  I showed them the comments that I had used on their reports.  That was done and dusted in about 20 minutes so with the rest of the period to fill, I took the class outside.  It was hot in the Aussie sun.  We headed down to the oval with my camera, a box of books and a basketball.  A group of the students had a game going on the outdoor basketball court while others sat around reading magazines.  One or two of the kids took my camera and snapped several photos for our "Get Caught Reading" campaign.  They wanted to take a photo of me!  There was no way I was letting anyone get a shot of me in my walking clothes, so I told them they could take a photo of my shadow.  This started a series of shadow photos and pictures of students reading that didn't include faces.  We had a lot of fun just enjoying each others' company.

It was an interesting lesson.  It was nice to sit on the grass with my students and just chat.  I was completely relaxed because I had finished teaching them for the year and I didn't need to control the conversation or worry about the time it was taking up.  There were several classes out on the field that day.  Some were basking in the sun with books, some were playing sport games.  A science class was experimenting with model rockets!  There was an atmosphere of fun and discovery and fellowship.  It all felt a bit strange in the end.  I couldn't remember the last time I had seen so many classes on the oval without a major sporting event.  The image might seem a little strange, just a photo of a shadow.  But for me, this shadow reminds me of the atmosphere on the field that day.  I remember laughing and chatting with my students and catching a few of them reading.  The moment in time that is captured by a photograph is simply amazing. 

That's that then.  

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Inspiring Inspired Inspiration

Today I'm linking up with Carrie's Wordy Wednesday today.  Unfortunately this week's prompt was even more difficult than the previous one!  The main reason I struggled: inspire is a strong word.  I'm not sure that there is only one person who inspires me.  I'm not sure that there is someone who has inspired me more than the other people who inspire me.  So, please accept my slightly twisted response to this prompt.  

"Who inspires you? Write that person a letter and tell them about the impact they have had on your life."  

Dear Students, 
You are all unique and come with such diverse stories.  You walk into school everyday knowing that much of what happens in the classroom will be over your head.  Yet, you still come to school.  You inspire me to keep at it.  You inspire my frustration.  Your actions cause me to question my knowledge and skills.  Your words force me to reconsider my words.  Your anger causes me to stop and question.  Your needs inspire my sorrow.  So many of my days have ended in tears because of your heartbreak.  You inspire my work and my planning.  My tolerance is inspired by you.  I can deal with many difficult adults because it is more important to turn up for school and teach you.  There is so much you have missed; so many things you need before you leave school and enter the real world.  Therefore, I put all other things aside and I teach.  I do everything I can to give you a chance to learn.  Often you don't know how hard it is for me.  Often you don't care.  More important than your difficulties, more important than my frustration, every now and then, I see that look.  I see you understand and I am inspired. 
Thank you
Miss H

Not my best, but it will do.  

Don't forget to click on the link above and check out the other bloggers who have linked up.  

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Junior Soldiers Prayer Series Part 3

I realise it has been a little while since I posted the last entry in this series but patience is a virtue.  It has also been quite a while since we have met as a group and so much has happened.  For now, I will simply tell you about Week 2. 

Week 2: Praying for our Church Family

During week 1 (click here to get more details) we discussed the beginning of Ephesians 6:18 so week 2 was all about the second part of that verse.  The first part of the verse tells us that we can pray anywhere, any time, about anything.  The second part tells us that we should always pray and to pray for our fellow Christians all over the world.  We had already used a world map to place "sticky hands" on various countries that we prayed for during our lessons.  It is hard to explain who 'saints' are sometimes so we talked about praying for the Christian people all over the world and especially in our own church. 

We started out with the same game from our previous lesson, with a focus on people in our church.  I wrote the names of prominent people in our Church on cards.  The kids chose one card at a time and they gave us hints/ we asked questions to see if we could guess whose name was on the card.  The boys had enjoyed this game so much that we had to play it again!  It was quite interesting to hear the boys describing people in the church and the sort of things they notice about the adults.  LOL!

We made created another poster this week.  I wrote the focus Bible verse in the middle of the paper, with a title saying "We can pray for our church family".  You can see this in the picture below.  

Then the kids had several purple papers and several orange papers.  On each paper they drew/ wrote the name of a person in the Church.  We talked about the different situations of those people (leadership positions, relationships, families, jobs) and how we could pray for them.  The boys also suggested Christians from further afield such as missionaries, Junior Soldiers from other countries and Christian organisations around the world.  We made links to the people in our family and the people in our church and how we all look after each other.  The boys love drawing and "making" so they loved this activity.  

Next time... Prayer Rocks and our Ebenezer.  

Sunday, June 16, 2013


I was Pinteresting this afternoon during a rare "I've actually finished marking the student assessment pieces and the dishes are done (thanks bestie) and I suppose I could finish the laundry but I will just see if there is anything on Pinterest that I could use for school tomorrow"  moments.  You know what they are like.  Anyway, someone had pinned "25 writing prompts" and said the list was, and I quote, "impressive".  Obviously, being the brilliant writer that I am, I had to check it out.  I landed at Carrie Elle's blog and found her ''Wordy Wednesday" link up.  Considering I am such a party girl (ha) I thought I better join in and liven up the place... Sense the irony people.  The prompt for this week...

"What is your earliest memory?"  

I am not sure that this is my earliest memory.  There are a couple of memories that sort of mash together like a clip show in the middle of a television series.  There are flashes of old faces and hands and clothes.  Then I see photos of those old faces and I wonder if my memory is of real events or pictures of real events.  I do know that this particular memory was not photographed so it must be real.  It must.

Mist clears
(Think: dream sequence on TV)

I am in a car seat; my mother is driving. Out the window I see the old tree that still grows on the edge of my grandmother’s backyard.  The car slows and stops near the huge Hills Hoist clothes line.  The familiar crunch of the handbrake jerks the car backwards.  My mother opens her car door and a winter chill slithers in.  I cough.  The back door opens and Mummy leans in, kneeling on the seat, “Come on my darling,” she coos.  I cough.  She bundles me in a blanket, rubbing my arms.  She covers my head to protect it from the icy air and whispers in my ear, “Will we trick Nanny?” 

Mummy, all warm and cuddly, envelopes me.  She draws me out of the car and carries me through the yard and into the house.  I sneeze.  All I see is her shoulder and the blanket.  I hear the beat of her heart and snuggle into her warmth.  There are grown up voices and the cold disappears.  Then I hear, “What’s that you’re carrying?” 
Mummy gently lowers me to the floor and I stand there under the blanket for a split second before throwing it off.  “It’s me, Nanny!” 
Nanny feigns a look of surprise.  I cough.

Cue the mist.

Don’t forget to check out the other participants in Carrie’s Wordy Wednesday Link Up

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Colour Dearranged Books

A growing trend has been circulating on Pinterest and home decorating websites for quite a while.  Recently the Heide Museum of Modern Art in Melbourne (Australia) exhibited a home library (pictured) that resembled a rainbow.  The books were organised by colour.  

The question posed by the artist: "art or heresy?"

There are quite a few crazy ideas out there in the land of modern art and home decoration.  Don't get me started.  Also, I am not the person to ask about home decoration.  My classroom is testament to that.  I organise with what I have and I decorate haphazardly as my mood takes me and if I ever own a home the design will never be finished.  However, I certainly know about books and writing them and reading them and designing their covers and organising them.  I know that books are not ornaments that we purchase simply because they match the curtains.  

Do you think an author ever said, "Wow, I just won a Pulitzer prize, now to conquer my other literary dream... I'm going to have a book in the blue section."?  No author ever said that.  Not one.  Authors write to tell a story, to share knowledge and to call their readers to action.  They do not write and revise and edit and rewrite and argue with publishers so that a decorator will line it up with a bunch or other books that happen to be the same colour.  

Ladies and Gentlemen... Books should not be organised by colour.  

Books should be organised by topic, author, genre, or even title.  Believe it or not people, books are not supposed to be tucked up on a shelf to look pretty.  No, books are supposed to be fingered gently, and slid out from between other books  Books are meant to be handled and opened and read over and over.  Books are meant to be thumbed through and yes, even sniffed.  Books are meant to be quoted and left open at the page.  Books are meant to be hugged and dropped and picked up again.  Books should be stared at (on the inside, mind you) for hours on end while the reader's eyebrows furrow and stretch and somersault over every twist and turn of the plot.  Books are meant to have several readers pull them off the shelf and flip to the index and run their fingers down the pages.  Books must be read.  Every single word in them should be pawed over.  Every word and sentence and chapter should be read and reread and pointed at and stabbed with book marks.  Readers should be writing in the margins and whispering over them behind the stacks in the local library.  Books should be owned by people who will read them.  Books are written to be read!! 

In case my meaning is not clear... I will say this one more time.  A book is a collection of words which have been extracted from the mind and the heart of someone.  The words have been written and re-written and edited for the soul purpose of sharing something wonderful.  A book is published for the express purpose of being read.  So, when you buy a book, please do so because you intent to one day read it.  When you place it on your bookshelf, please do so with purpose and kindness and intelligence.  Do not, I repeat, do not, shelve your books according to COLOUR!!! 

-End of Rant-

Saturday, June 8, 2013

I think I am turning GEEK!

A few months ago my 'wireless' mouse that connects to the computer via a small USB 'died'.  I prefer to have a mouse as well as a track pad available to me so, desperation caused me to 'make do' with a mouse that not only had to be connected to the computer but wasn't even wireless.  Considering, that I don't get out much, I have been 'making do' for quite a while now.  

On Thursday night, by pure coincidence, I found myself in the electrical section.  I needed a DVD player (that is another long story) to replace my old one.  While heading towards the small selection of DVD players, I happened upon some computer devices.  First was a 4-port USB hub (insert happy face here) and then ... I saw a BLUE TOOTH mouse.  "In the world of emoticons I was colon capital d," as Sheldon Cooper would say.  :D This means I can connect my mouse to my USB port limited laptop wirelessly via my blue tooth receiver.  

If you do not use computers for everything, you probably don't quite get the significance of this.  If you use computers for these types of things, then you are probably wondering how I didn't know about this delightful little innovation sooner.  So depending on where you sit, I'm advanced or I'm incredibly behind the times.  

None of that matters quite as much as the fact that my mouse is wirelessly and USB-less-ly connected to my laptop and that is AWESOME!! 

Yeah, there are definitely Geek cells taking over my analogue ones.  I can feel it! 

Happy Long Weekend.