Saturday, 30 April 2016

Day 121 Saturday Fun

The kids and I have been volunteering at Storybook Theatre for years. We truly love it. Today we volunteered in th concession with tempting Crave Cupcakes and cookies! We sold a lot!!
The play today was Goodnight Moon. It was meant for preschool aged children and definitely thrilled their target audience. I got a real kick out of hearing the kids guffaw loudly at the silliness and the jokes. It was really great.
Tonight was our ward's Cinco De Mayo party. It is one of the best parties our ward puts on all year. Tonight didn't disappoint either.

After the party, Allen and I went to the at of C to listen to Aritha van Herk. She is the author of the book my book club is reading this month. I didn't take this picture. I borrowed it from their website:

It was a lovely lecture! It reminded me of how stories are everywhere, waiting to be told and renewed my desire to become a better writer.

Here what the website had to say about it:

Hosted by the University of Calgary Senate, Lecture of a Lifetime showcases the talent and achievements of leading academics and celebrates outstanding service to the university, its students and the greater community.

This year’s lecturer, Aritha van Herk, is an acclaimed Canadian novelist who has enriched the lives of readers across the globe. Here’s why you should attend:

1. van Herk evaded the law to pursue her passion for literature.

Born to Dutch immigrant parents in central Alberta, van Herk was raised to believe that education is the most important aspect of your life. Her parents were adamant that all their children would have a solid educational foundation and life on the family farm led to a childhood that combined physical hard work with a respect for learning.  

Her passion for literature emerged very early, kindled by a family that valued and treasured books, and by literature teachers who encouraged her to write stories and recite poetry. van Herk could read before she could walk, and spent her childhood immersed in a world of books that transported her to all the worlds she wanted to learn more about.

Although van Herk’s parents had strong aspirations for her to pursue a more formal career path, such as law, she was determined to turn her love for literature into a flourishing career as both a writer and professor.

And she’s done just that. Alongside her work as an award-winning novelist with 13 books under her belt, van Herk also boasts an extraordinary teaching and academic career. She is credited with helping to develop the University of Calgary’s nationally and internationally renowned creative writing program, and every single one of her grad students has gone on to publish his or her own book.

2. She will captivate your attention with exceptional storytelling.

Recognized for her innovative approaches to prose and cross-genre writing, van Herk is a storyteller who is eager to share with the audience the invitation that story offers. She is often asked if her stories are made up. But to van Herk, the line between what is real and what we invent; what we perceive and what actually happened; and what a story tells us and what we get out of a story is permeable.

“Whether it’s real or made up, the power resides in the story,” says van Herk. “The stories that insist on writing themselves into our lives are also the stories that we are fascinated with.”

van Herk will explore the secrets of good storytelling and more as she delivers the 2016 Lecture of a Lifetime.

3. She has witnessed tremendous transformation in her 33 years on campus, and will no doubt have entertaining stories to share.

Since joining the University of Calgary’s Department of English in 1983, van Herk has noticed a new-found sense of confidence and pride, and a university that is growing, changing and embracing possibilities for improvement all the time.

“We don’t just follow a plan that gets imposed from above. The university engages a real sense of spirit,” she says. “From the people that work here, the students who come here, the community that surrounds and supports it, there is a very strong pride that wasn’t here 30 years ago.”

van Herk's rich experience and writing talent are two reasons she was asked to pen the University of Calgary's 50th Anniversary commemorative book. She felt it was important to communicate all the different elements that have made the university the place it is today and used her signature writing style to capture a condensed and energetic version of what has happened to the university over the past 50 years.

This commemorative book will be unveiled during the 50th Anniversary weekend, and will be available for purchase following van Herk’s lecture on April 30, along with her other works and her latest book of prose-poetry, Stampede and the Westness of West

4. van Herk has taught, given lectures and travelled all over the world. Her passion for travelling is contagious and you can bet she will have plenty to say about her experiences. 

Located in a quiet corner on the 11th floor of the Social Sciences building, van Herk’s office reflects her passion for travelling. Alongside hundreds of colourful books rests a figure of van Herk as a witch that a student in Germany made for her; a tiny polar bear with real seal skin from her travels in the extreme Arctic; and a number of other interesting mementos van Herk has collected from her adventures around the globe — all with a unique story signifying a special occasion, moment or stop along the way. 

Her most prized collectibles are tucked away on the very top shelf — dusty old carrying cases representing the first briefcase she ever owned along with her first typewriter case. And yes, van Herk still has a little portable typewriter that she uses every once in a while to hammer on the keys.

“There is something therapeutic about pounding away on a manual typewriter,” she says.

5. This is an opportunity to check out the new Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning.

Following the official grand opening on April 18, Lecture of a Lifetime 2016 will be the first public event held in the new Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning. This innovative building will transform how the University of Calgary engages in creating, experimenting with, and assessing the impact of teaching and learning that represent not only best practices, but also leading-edge next practices.

The Taylor Institute is an integral part of the University of Calgary’s Eyes High strategy and will contribute significantly in the university’s journey to become one of the top five research institutions in Canada. This institute will allow the University of Calgary to better adapt to the anytime and anywhere learning needs of its students, shine a light on teaching excellence and serve as a touchstone for educational improvements across the country.

Friday, 29 April 2016

Day 120 Volunteers

One really great thing about my school is we make a concerted effort to work with parents. Parents are in on decision making. They volunteer in the classroom. They are very present....and it is a wonderful thing. 

This month our grade was in charge of the character bulletin board. I had parent volunteers cut out a billion hexagons. I had them trim around half a billion bees. Then another volunteer came in and put it all up. 

If we didn't have volunteers I would have spent hours in the evening and on the weekend cutting, then half a day on a Saturday putting it on the bulletin board.

It says BEE Responsible. On the white hexagons I had kids write down ways that they show responsibility. 

Now we just have to come up with something to do for an assembly!

Thursday, 28 April 2016

Day 119 Sick

Does this count as a picture for today?

I was ok until this evening......must.stay.very.still.

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Day 118 Sewing

Let the good times roll! It is time to start on Jill's grad dress.

Pray for me. 

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Day 117 Battle of the Books

This year I have headed up a little venture with grade four students. We made teams and all the teams were to read the same four books. Tonight we got together and had a battle!!

It is amazing how excited is can get over books!!! It really was a great time. I was so proud of them all.

Our surprise judge/scorekeeper was Sandra the Great! We sure have missed her this year. Everyone was thrilled to see her there.

Monday, 25 April 2016

Day 116 #EdCampYYC

I really love PD days. The EdCamp style of PD days is one I especially enjoy. The schedule is flexible and there is a lot of choice. The classs are discussions and practice time rather than presentations/lectures. The discussions I was a part of were on being a technology leader, helping struggling learners and how Google Apps are being used in the classroom. I finally got the info I needed to set up my planning in Google Calendar. I am very excited about that!!

This picture was taken from Twitter...a selfie taken by the key-note speaker, Lori Pritchard.

Sunday, 24 April 2016

Day 115 Happy Birthday Peirce!

Look at how tall he is!!

Happy birthday to my boy!! He was the easiest going baby. People always said to be careful and that I'd have to pay for the easiness one day. I'm still waiting. He's a joy to have around. Happy 14th Peirce Ackroyd!!

Saturday, 23 April 2016

Day 114 Fernie Meet

Every April, for years, we have been going out to Fernie for a swim meet. It is a really fun weekend because they plan team building activities along with the swimming. The kids all hang out all afternoon, checking out Fernie and having fun together. Saturday night they have a pizza party and games night. This just may be our last time going to this great event. I will miss it. I found myself wondering how I could get a vacation in Fernie once we no longer have this tradition. It is a beautiful place!

A few years ago we had some parent discord in the club. It was then that I discovered the Fernie library (had to get away from the angst!)  It has become one of my favorite places to spend a little time. It is a beautiful building! It does my soul well to hang out there. I'll be forever grateful for those tough years in the club because I found a real treasure because of it!

Friday, 22 April 2016

Day 113 Happy Earth Day

Today Jill and I ventured out to Fernie, BC. It is SO beautiful to drive through the mountains! All along, Jill would see some beautiful scene and shout out, "Happy Earth Day!"

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Day 112 Learning Conferences

Learning Conferences days are long ones, but great ones. Nothing like teaching all day and meeting all evening! 

I love the feeling of being a team with parents. I care deeply about my students and want them to succeed. I have had some wonderful relationships with parents and with students in my class. I'll be forever grateful for that. I'm pretty sure I have the best job ever.

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Day 111 Getting Ready for Ed Camp

Dr. Glasberg was one of my professors. I'll never forget him. He taught a General Studies class and used to come to class in character as major thinks through history. He was amazing.

His TedTalk is on the website for the EdCamp that I'm going to on Monday.

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Day 110 Learning at Chapters

Tonight Becky and I ventured out and joined a book discussion group at Chapters! It was so interesting. They are studying and discussing Brene Brown's book, Daring Greatly. I loved the experience!

Monday, 18 April 2016

Day 109 You get a book! And you get a book! And...

This is my favourite thng to do!! I go buy book club books for kids and the next day I get to hand out all the books. It is so fun!! I feel like Oprah.

Sunday, 17 April 2016

Day 108 Music

Today I did what I do quite often: I played the organ for the Sunday sacrament service. I really enjoy doing that. I try to be thoughtful about the settings, the volume and more. Today someone thanked me for being a part of the music. I was touched by the comment. 

Saturday, 16 April 2016

Day 107 Study Time!

Jill and I hung out at Starbucks today. A little Crenshaw, a little Lightening Thief and a lot of Notice and Note and Math 30. It was great!!

Friday, 15 April 2016

Day 106 Quiet Night

Allen isn't feeling well at all so he went to bed early and I spent the evening with a book.

It could have been seemed like a great book....but blech!! What a waste of a Friday night!!

Thursday, 14 April 2016

Day 105 Kids Book Club

I have more than one project going at school with books and reading. The favourite, for sure, is grade three book club. Today we had a small group (it's always harder to get kids to come when it is so nice out) to discuss Pax. We really had a great discussion. Those kids are brilliant. I love hearing their thoughts on books.

After recess, we invite all the grade three's to come in and hear the book talks on the next two choices. This month the two choices were The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe and The Lightning Thief. They were very excited about the first one, but when I showed them The Lightning Thief, they went crazy! It won by a huge majority.

They all leave the room talking and excited and eager to get started.

I love it!!

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Day 104 Single Adults

No picture today. Taking one would have seemed kind of weird.

I went to a meeting with the single adult committee for the region. They ask for the Relief Society's support and I guess our stake is the host stake for the region. Sounds like a big meeting...but it wasn't. It was just me and another guy. It was interesting to learn about the single adult organization. They serve everyone who is single from age 45 to ???. They don't get a lot of people coming out, all for various reasons.

It's a weird spot for me to be in because when I've had an assignment to organize activities for people my goal is to always try to get a lot of people to come out. They don't seem to worry about that - which I understand.

This is going to be interesting to be involved with!

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Day 103 Famous Family

I got behind. I keep trying to get caught up, but it isn't working. I think it is time to do it the Fly Lady way and just start where I am. She always says, "You are never behind...just start where you are."

Bobby is taking physics. Today he discovered that Allen's dad is an author of his text book! What a surprise it was to him! 

Friday, 8 April 2016

Day 99 Sibling Friendship

I didn't take this picture today....but it seems like the right picture for today.

Peirce has wanted to go to the 21 Pilots concert for a long time. We told him he'd need to pay for the  concert himself. He tried and tried, but it just didn't work out for him to be able to buy the tickets.

Jill, being very sympathetic to the desire to attend a concert for your most favorite band, decided to step in. Secretly, she bought some tickets from a friend who wasn't able to go. She made a date with him to go to a movie tonight. When he got home from school, he moped around. He was really hoping that we'd surprise him with tickets. He went with Allen to pick up Jill from swimming and that's when she surprised him. He was soooooo thrilled. It was beautiful.

I love that they care about each other so much.

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Monday, 4 April 2016

Day 95 Hidden Beauty

What a fabulous day. I love holidays. But luckily, I also love my job. 

Today we had a PD day. We spent the morning learning about literacy and making plans for new exciting assessment tools. 

Nerd Alert! Yes. I do get excited about things like that!

Inconveniently, the community where we had our PD day was doing street cleaning - so we all had to find creative places to park. I parked in an alley a few blocks from the school. When I was returning to my car, I noticed something I hadn't noticed in my rush to get to our meetings. I thought it was just a dumpy old car with flat tires - but then I noticed it had some beautiful old cases carefully strapped to the top. It was as if they were on display: A gem in a unkempt back alley. I had to take a quick snap.

Peirce is an amazing photographer. He was my inspiration today.

Sunday, 3 April 2016

Day 94 Not Just a Pretty Face

We had a broken chair in our kitchen so I gave Jill the job of fixing it. I thought she was so funny in her Sunday dress, sprawled out, tackling this project.

It's as good as new now though!

Saturday, 2 April 2016

Day 93 Meet Ups

Gaylene and Sydney were in town today so we met up at Starbucks. 


Planting Seeds

Every Friday Bobby plays basketball with the Mandarine missionaries. Tonight, before they left, they taught him how to pray. I didn't understand a thing....but the spirit was very familiar.

Friday, 1 April 2016

Day 92 Authors, driving, schizophrenic dogs and kale salad!

This was Jill and Chico on the way home from the pool today. Traffic was really slow so Jill decided to "rest her eyes" a bit. It wasn't long until they were BOTH snoring!

Chico and I have spent a lot of time together this week. He comes with me almost everywhere. Today I went to the school to use the computer - mostly for a change of scenery and a more comfortable chair to sit in while I worked. I've been working on transcribing an interview for Sharp Magazine. It has been so interesting! The interview was with Joe Hill, an author. I love it when authors talk about their craft. I was so absorbed in what I was doing today that I didn't hear one of the maintenance guys come along - that is, until Chico decided he should reprimand him and try to eat him. Chico really doesn't make good first impressions. The maintenance guy had said, "Gee, he's really vicious." While Jill was holding him in the car she wondered aloud how anyone could think Chico was vicious.

I think perhaps Chico might be schizophrenic. There are many sides to that crazy dog.

Today's special treat was a great kale salad! We also had sweet potato fries and left over sloppy joes on toast. So good!!