Friday, April 29, 2016

spring break

I'm wrapping up my spring break, and have been bringing the dogs someplace different each day to go hiking.

Today, we returned to one of my favorite trails, you've seen it before.  The one with lots of boardwalks and planks.  Last time, it was covered in snow.

Sadly the beaver dam remains, flooding one of the longest boardwalks. We still found plenty of other ones though.

 This is my favorite part of the trail.  There is moss all over the ground, so even though the trees haven't leafed out, everything looks lush here.
This is obviously the part of the forest where the fairies live.
 We came upon this new dwelling...just the right size for a sheltie!
Then we came upon the swamp, where the beaver lives.
This is the trickiest place to walk.  There is a narrow strip of land between two bodies of water.  Then more planks to walk.

I'm happy to report that both dogs made it across those boards safely and independently!   Forest agility course!

Here is a little creek that feeds into the swamp.

 I think we walked about 3 miles in all.  It was perfect weather for hiking, not too hot, not to cold.

Here is a little be more about the Rensselaer Plateau.  I'm lucky  to live at the base of the plateau. People who live at the top see a lot more snow than we do, and have a really tough commute down off the mountain.  The roads are very steep and twisty.  Don't know how they do it in the winter months.

A few of our students will have summer jobs here!  How lucky are they?
Thanks for hiking with us!  Now, we're hitting the hammock for a nap.  Gotta rest up for the final stretch of school.

Monday, April 4, 2016

we got snow!

We may have had to wait until April for real snow, but it was worth it!

OK, we had our winter fix.  Now we're ready for spring.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

three day quote challenge ~ day three

Thanks so much to Caren for nominating us for this quote challenge!  It has been great fun.

Since this is a dog blog, I HAVE to throw in some fun dog quotes!

One of my favorite quotes of all time,
"Happiness is a warm puppy."  ~ Charles Schulz
Puppies make my heart melt.  I dare you to be unhappy around a puppy.  It's impossible!

When I see a human baby...meh.  When I see a puppy....I have to put my hands on it!  Must be the fur factor.  I have the same reaction with panda bears.  I hear you can go someplace in China and for $150 they will let you hold a panda on your lap for 20 minutes.  Is that on anyone else's bucket list?

 Then there is,

"The average dog is nicer than the average person." ~ the late, great Andy Rooney

Which I guess is why so many of us would rather be home on the couch with our dogs than out on the town or, god forbid, a party!  Dogs are really good company, and they don't care what you look like, smell like (in fact the smellier the better), or what kind of car you drive.  Relationships with dogs are easy and they make you feel good!  Relationships with humans are tough, and they often make you feel like crap!  Dogs will never let you down.


"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went." ~ Will Rogers
I don't want to ever think about a life without a dog.

                                      Life is simply better with them.  Dogs rule.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Three Days of Quotes - day 2

Can I make up my own quotes for this challenge?  Not sure if that's allowed in the rules, but that's what I'm going to do!

Continuing on with my teacher theme.......

I'm hoping to get a student teacher next Fall.  I can always use help, and it's nice to have some youth in the room!

I was thinking...... what words of wisdom from my decades of experience could I give to a newbie?

What would my inspirational quote be?

What I really want to say is, "Why are you going into teaching?  Are you crazy?  Do you realize 50% of your yearly evaluation will be based on your students' test scores, and a first year teacher will get the toughest students?  Hope you have a plan B!"

OK, I guess that wouldn't be very inspiring.

These seem to be my most common quotes in the classroom:

"Play fighting leads to real fighting."

"Less talking, more writing."

"Can you wait five minutes to go to the bathroom/water fountain/locker/office/cafeteria?"

"Don't let other people ruin your day."

"Don't bring ice cream in my room.  We have mice." 

"That's your phone, THIS is your calculator.  Just in case you were confused." 

Hmmm....again, not very inspiring.

One teacher gave me advice that I have heeded, "Don't go in the faculty room.  The minute you leave they will be talking about you non stop."  I would suggest that as well.

I guess I would tell him/her:
"Pick your battles.  Most aren't worth fighting."
"Laugh a lot.  Kids are funny!"
"Use their slang words.  They will roll their eyes, but at least they're paying attention."
"If you get called a "gangsta" or a "pimp", take it as a compliment." 
"Most days are going to be really hard and exhausting, but every once in awhile you will see the impact you've had and it will be the best feeling on earth."

And that feeling will have nothing to do with a test score.

Ok.  I think I exceeded my quote limit.

Tomorrow, I'm going to have to do some sort of dog related quote!

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Three Day Quote Challenge one

I got nominated to participate in a 3 day quote challenge by Dakotas Den.  Three days, three quotes.

Thanks for nominating us!

I'm a teacher.

This is my 23rd year in the classroom, not including all the years I've spent as a student.  I think I've only been out of the school setting for 4 years of my ENTIRE life.  That's crazy.

Last week, I ran into a former student in the main office.  She's now 31.  My mom pointed out that that was the age I was when she was my student.  She has a 10 year old kid.  I think that makes me the kid's grandma.

As a special education teacher, I go into regular education classrooms to support the special education students and the teacher.  Over the years, this has given me the chance to work with dozens and dozens of teachers in all subject areas.  I've learned something from each teacher I've worked with, and am so indebted to many of them.  They shaped my teaching and inspired me.

Today, I will share two of my favorite quotes from two of those teachers.

The first quote came from a fantastic math teacher.   Not only did he inspire me with this quote, but he also gave me really useful tricks for figuring out word problems and translating systems of equations.  I can still hear him saying "money plus money equals money, and tickets plus tickets equals number of tickets."  Even though the curriculum has changed 3 times since I worked with him, I still use his tricks with my present students.

Not only was he a good teacher, but his classroom always had a really great vibe.

Here is his inspiring quote:
"Your students might not remember what you taught them, but they will remember how you made them feel."  

Really, this can apply to any situation, not just the classroom.   Shouldn't we always try and create an environment where everyone feels loved and respected?  I try my best everyday to make my students feel valued and important and loved.

Some days it is not so easy.

This leads me to my next quote from an English teacher on the verge of retirement.  In fact, I never really worked with her, I just used her classroom for one period a day in my very early years of teaching.
 "Be kindest to the student you like the least.  They'll end up being your favorite by the end of the year."

This is tough, tough advice....but I can hear that teacher in my head whenever I have a student who is not so easy to love.  One must always remember that we don't know what is really going on in someone's life.  They are probably acting a certain way for a reason.  A little bit of kindness can go a long way.  So, if someone isn't being nice to you, be nice to them anyway.

I run into that teacher at my farm stand every once in awhile.  Next time, I really should tell her how that one statement has shaped my teaching.

I will forever be grateful for all the teachers who gave me practical and useful and FREE advice.  I'm also indebted to the teachers I worked with who weren't so inspiring.  They taught me what doesn't work!  Which really is just as important.

As you can see in this old video, my teaching skills always need to be honed.

back to school from Sara on Vimeo.

We're supposed to nominate three other people for the challenge.  But, I'll just open it up to anyone who wants to play.