Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Love This!!!!

I love this video for a number of reasons:

1. It's hilarious.
2. It reminds me of my time in England with Nicole.
3. House is one of my favorite shows ever.
4. I'm sure there are more--tell me why you like this video!!!!


Monday, August 29, 2011

Observations: Part Two

The second Monday of the year is done. Deep breath in and out. And now for some more observations (in no particular order):

1. Mondays make me feel like I'm running a marathon...ALL. DAY. LONG. Why is that? I'm not a fan.

2. I do love my job, but it doesn't really make waking up at 5:45 easier every morning. That alarm clock is not my friend.

3. Junior high children  boys should not wear jeans and sweatshirts when it's over 100 degrees outside. My room SMELLS! Just sayin'...

4. I am getting used to the diversity at my new school, and I'm quite enjoying it. It'll do me good to learn about some new cultures.

5. Some of my kids are more well traveled than I am. Wow. I assigned them a five paragraph essay about themselves last week and I found out some amazing things. I have kids who were born in the Philippines, Ecuador, India, Mexico, Uganda, etc. Many of my kids traveled to these places and beyond this summer.

6. I went to junior high with the big sister of one of my students--small world!

7. I have a fly ninja in my class--last week he caught a fly in between his thumb and forefinger; today he smashed and killed another one on his desk.

8. I still (miraculously) have some energy left to go to the gym in the afternoons--let's pray this continues.

9. I feel slightly more confident now that I've taught this same curriculum before. Last year I felt like I had to make up everything as I went along because I had never done it before. This year I, surprisingly, don't have that panic (yet). I wonder how great it'll feel after I've taught for years and years.

10. We get our textbooks tomorrow (yeah!), and I'll begin the Gateways program the following day. This is a whole new curriculum that I'll do with one of my sections of kids. Pray that I'll handle it well and be able to do right by the kids.

11. I had to stop what I was doing twice today to control my laughter. I have some funny kids. Unfortunately, I also have a bad memory, and I can't remember why now. I'll have to get back to you on that one. :)

Hope you enjoyed the Monday observations. There shall be many more to come.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Voice Doppelganger?

A friend revealed to me today that I sound EXACTLY like Stevie Nicks. Take a listen and cast your vote.

Do I? Or do I not? Leave a comment and cast your vote!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


Day three of year three at my third school is now complete.

Here are some of my observations (in no particular order):

1. The Warren staff is pretty amazing, including Bella the dog. They have really been welcoming and helpful.

2. The technology in my room needs LOTS of TLC, or its own spot in the dumpster, but we're working on it--hopefully.

3. I forgot how much junior high kids make me laugh.

4. One of my dear students from two years ago is now at Warren and came into my room yesterday and today to say hi. I almost cried. I realized how much I truly miss all of my kiddos.

5. The Warren staff had a pinning ceremony today for the newbies and it was really sweet. The bestest librarian in the entire wide universe said a few words about me, and I was really touched. Love her.

6. It would be more convenient if Diane was at Warren, but we're still working together through email. PLC at it's finest!

7. I have a ninja in my class--today he caught a fly in between his thumb and forefinger. It was still moving around when he raised his hand to tell me about it.

8. One of my sweet girls told me today that I'm her favorite teacher. Let's hope she feels the same way in a few weeks.

10. I have a ton of kids (something I'm trying to get used to). One of my boys has to sit in the table in the front for lack of desks. He bumped his head on the cabinet yesterday and I asked him the typical questions: What's your name? What year is it? Who's the president? He seemed to be fine. Today he forgot a question he wanted to ask me, so I asked him if his concussion was acting up. I'm not sure he got it. ;)

Ok, time to hit the hay. Hope you enjoyed my observations thus far. I'm sure there will be more to come.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

My Bags are Packed....I'm Ready to Go...

...well, ready or not, here we go!

My clothes are picked out and my lunch is packed, what else is there to worry about? Oh, just the dozens of children that will walk through my door tomorrow and be under my care for an hour and a half each day for the next school year.

I could easily get freaked out and overwhelmed and super anxious (and I'm not saying that that won't happen--I'm sure it will), but right now I'm resting in the promise that God loves those children more than I can, and He'll care for them through me (I could never do it on my own).

I take comfort in the words that I read in Jesus Calling today (a devotional written by Sarah Young). This is actually the devotional for tomorrow, but I peeked ahead, and it's quite appropriate:

Trust me, and don't be afraid. I want you to view trials as exercises designed to develop your trust-muscles. You live in the midst of fierce spiritual battles, and fear is one of Satan's favorite weapons. When you start to feel afraid, affirm your trust in Me. Speak out loud, if circumstances permit. Resist the devil in My Name, and he will slink away from you. Refresh yourself in My holy Presence. Speak or sing praises to Me, and My Face will shine radiantly upon you. 

Remember that there is no condemnation for those who belong to Me. You have been judged NOT GUILTY for all eternity. Trust Me, and don't be afraid; for I am your Strength, Song, and Salvation. 

James 4:7; Romans 8:1-2; Isaiah 12:2 

(Click here to see more details about the book)

Thanks, Nicole, for introducing me to this amazing book. 

To all you teachers out there, remember that these are God's precious children that he is entrusting to you for a time. Content is really important, of course, but loving them is the most important thing we can do. Trust that God will never leave you nor forsake you, and have an amazing year!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

For I Know the Plans I Have for You...

"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope."

-Jeremiah 29:11

I know God's promises are true. I trust in His sovereignty and plans, but this particular promise has been a balm to my soul this week. If you have been reading the blog in the last month or so, you know how hard this school move has been on me. If not, you can catch up here. The range of emotions I have experienced this past month has been vast--fear, anxiety, sadness, longing, hope, excitement, contentment, joy, peace. 

This past week, the last five emotions have been dominant. If someone would have told me that would be the case just a week ago, I wouldn't have believed them. But, God knows the plans he has for me, plans for welfare and not for evil, plans to give me a future and a hope. 

Right now, my immediate future is at Warren, and it is good

I have been immensely blessed this week with people who have come alongside me, helped me, guided me, reached out to me, and laughed with me. God has surrounded me with some amazing Christian women who love junior highers just as much as I do. What more could I ask for? 

I absolutely adored my time at Thompson, and I know God had me there for a time and a reason. I still miss it. I made some friends there that I will be friends with for as long as they'll have me. 

But now, He has me at Warren, and I am content--no longer sad and fearful. I have already developed some friendships that I can tell will be long lasting. I have an administration that I deeply trust and respect. I have the greatest librarian in the whole entire wide universe and beyond. And, I have kids coming next week that I already love. 

I have a hope that'll God will do amazing things this year. I'll be sure to keep you updated. My first "official" day is tomorrow. Adios, summer! 

For now, some more recent classroom photos (hope you're not sick of them):

 Gateways posters

 AWESOME quote! I even put it up by myself!

 I put the "Dare to be Remarkable" quote on the board

 Organization! I labeled everything today. 

 Backpack area--no where near their desks!

 Tardy sign in and make up work

 This was the "practice" decal that came with the quotes. It looked cool, so I put it on the door!

 Painters tape to keep the desks in place. And for you pessimists out there, I moved the desks over a bit so the kids can get in and out a bit more easily.

Heck yes!

Friday, August 12, 2011


This morning, Christy, Cathie, and I went back to Thompson (sad) to meet with Diane (my teaching partner from last year) to snag some files off of her computer (yes!). After talking with her more and remembering a lot of what we talked about and planned last year, I began to feel a bit better. Now I'll just need to sit down with my team, take what I have and mesh it with what they do, and come up with a solid plan. I'll feel much much better when that's all figured out.

We jetted over to Actis (Cathie's school) to unload some boxes and put Diane's files from my flashdrive onto Cathie's computer. This is collaboration folks! Three schools working together? I'm pretty sure the PLC people would be proud...

Then it was on to Baja Fresh and Talbots (for some good teacher pants) and GW (the teacher store). Christy and I picked up a few gems that we just couldn't live without (see pictures below) and headed out to Warren.

Here are some of the ch ch ch changes we made to my room...

 I moved the "hello in different languages" signs from the side cupboards to the tall cupboards--I like them much much better over here. 

 Christy and I both got this figurative language poster at GW. She put it up in the front of the room for me after moving the picture below.

Christy moved this picture from the wall to the counter by the TV.

 I also got these parts of speech posters at GW. I LOVE them! I'm beginning to feel more like an English teacher now that I have some more academic posters up. 

My schedule!! It's difficult to make these super straight without a yard stick. We did the best we could. It looks better in person--I see a few crooked lines in the picture. We didn't have enough of one color (and I wasn't about to go buy anymore) so we used green and white. Christy said it looked like a football field--hence the "field goal" writing on the right. Oh, and why is Friday red, you ask? Well, because Friday is always a red letter day! ....or....maybe because I ran out of white and green, but no one else needs to know that. :) 

Oh, and I even walked into the office with confidence and made a few copies. I just may be ok, people.... 

Groups: Revisited

I believe I found a configuration that I like--a mix between rows and groups. Christy and Cathie were at school with me yesterday and we played with the desks for quite some time before figuring out what might work....

 (Christy acting like a sleeping or bored Junior Higher)

(Cathie trying to revive my prehistoric computer)

Now everyone is facing the front; yet, they can easily whip their desks (or bodies) around for group discussion. I think it should work--but, we'll have to wait and see! What do you think?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

This Definitely Made the Top 10 List of Life!

Yesterday I did one of the most amazing things I have ever done--flew over and into the Grand Canyon in a helicopter!! I was able to cross off two things from my (never written down) bucket list: ride in a helicopter and go see the Grand Canyon. This was truly an epic way to kill two birds with one stone so to speak.

The van picked us up at our hotel at 0635. We. Were. Tired to say the least. We rode to Henderson airport, checked in with the company, hung out a bit, and were separated into our different groups. We were going to go on this adventure in the hands of Pilot Jake Arnold.

We went on another quick van ride, got some instructions, took some pics, strapped on our floatation devices (in case we accidentally landed in Lake Mead or the Hoover Dam), and loaded up. Mom and I got to sit right up front with the pilot and I was stoked!

As we lifted off, the music playing in our headsets was "Come Fly With Me," and I seriously couldn't stop giggling. I was like a little kid getting a pony for Christmas. I knew instantly that I had fallen in love with helicopters. I need to learn how to fly one--seriously seriously seriously. New life goal.

We flew up and out toward the canyon and I giggled--a lot. Our pilot probably thought I was a nutcase. :) We got to see Lake Mead and the Hoover Dam. We saw lots and lots of desert and dry land, and we came upon the canyon grande. We actually flew down into the canyon, pretty close to the side, and I was just slowly dying inside from excitement.

The copter landed in the bottom of the canyon and we were able to get out, walk around, take pictures, enjoy a bit of a picnic, and hang out with the other folks from another copter. The whole time I just couldn't believe it was real.

After about 25-30 minutes, we strapped on our floaties, buckled in (the back this time--we had to share), and took off again. We stopped about 15 minutes later to fuel up, and then went on our way. I was so so sad when we spotted the strip and realized that my epic adventure was too quickly coming to an end. As we touched down, "Happy Trails to You" was playing on our headsets. Loved it.

It was my first helicopter ride, but I assure you, it will NOT be my last. I cannot recommend this highly enough. We went with a company called Maverick Airlines , and I was nothing but pleased with them. Check it out if you're planning a trip to Vegas in the near future. I will leave you with some amazing pictures to assure you of the epicness and awesomeness of this adventure. To see all of the pictures, click here!

 Mom and me--all geared up!

 Pilot Jake Arnold!

 Yah, we were that close!

 The Hoover Dam

 Lake Mead

 Approaching the Canyon

 The Grand Canyon


 Getting lower and lower

 After we landed, walking around

 Madre and me with our sweet ride


If I had 10 thumbs, I'd give this 10 thumbs up

Sunday, August 7, 2011

who am I?

"The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing."

~Zephaniah 3:17 (ESV)

The commentary in the ESV study Bible reads: "The previously weakened nation is in the presence of the mighty one, God himself, who, unlike human warriors and heroes, does not lose heart. Instead of fleeing in the face of danger, God can save his people from it. This verse remarkably adds that God himself will rejoice over you with gladness, indicating that when God's people seek him and follow him, and rejoice in him and trust him, then God personally delights in them. This is not an aloof, emotionless contentment, but it bursts forth in joyful divine celebration: he will exult over you with loud singing."

As I read this last night, I kept asking the question: who am I? Who am I that God would save me, rejoice over me with gladness, quiet me with His love, and exult over me with loud singing? Nothing, I'm absolutely nothing; yet, an answer not of myself overwhelmed my soul--I wrote these words in my journal last night.

You are my child. You are chosen and dearly loved. When you seek me and follow me, this is the result. Like Israel, you stray and turn away and sin; yet, my love for you never fades. There is nothing you can do to make me love you any more. There is nothing you can do to make me love you any less.  There is nothing you can do to win my love or approval--that's what's so amazing about my grace, it's free and forever. I love you so much that, not only do I rejoice over you with singing, but I sent my one and only Son to die so that you may have eternal life. I gave you life--and not just life, but life abundant. Now, child, live for me. 

As these incredible truths bathed my soul and humbled me, I also wrote:

How can I not, then, live completely for my God? How can I doubt his plan and sovereignty? How can I not shout this from the rooftops? I have His grace amazing; I have His unconditional love; I have life...

We all go through periods of doubt. Brian, our pastor, actually spoke of that this morning.

"...for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything."

~1 John 3:20

My God is greater than my doubt. He is greater than my wrestling heart. He knows me completely. He loves me unconditionally. He saved me not because of any "good" I ever did (good will never get me into Heaven). He rejoices over me with gladness. He quiets me with His love. He exults over me with loud singing. 

What incredible truths. What amazing grace. What overwhelming love. 

...and it's free....completely....because of Jesus Christ. 

I pray that these truths speak to your soul as they have to mine. 

Saturday, August 6, 2011

i heart audio books...

Who knew? I never thought I'd enjoy listening to books on tape. I love reading books, not listening to them...or so I thought.

I kept seeing a commercial for audible.com and how I could receive two free audio books for going to www.audible.com/tvoffer or by clicking here. How could I pass up free? So, I checked it out. It's related to Amazon, so I just signed in with my Amazon info, picked two books, and they automatically downloaded into my itunes. I was able to then plug my phone into my computer, sync it, and start listening.

I purchased The Help...

and Soul Surfer. I started listening to The Help  right away and I fell in love with it! Not only is it an incredible book, but I get to listen to it in all the amazing Southern accents! LOVE IT! 

I never knew how often an audio book would come in handy: the gym, driving, cleaning, getting ready in the morning, cooking, getting things done around the house, going through the mail, etc. etc. etc. I love listening to this book....have I said that before? My mom finds it humorous that I walk around the house holding my phone listening to these amazing accents....I find it...well, amazing. 

Do it, people, seriously! It's free....how can you not? Even though I canceled my membership right after I purchased these books, I'm sure I'll go back and sign up for a membership because I'm a huge fan--huge. 

What else might I add to the list of what I can listen to while I do my daily tasks? Hmm...perhaps some C.S. Lewis, John Piper, the classics...the possibilities are endless. 

Ok, stop reading and go click on that link and enjoy this as I have. Let me know what gems you find so that I can add them to my collection! Deal? Deal. 

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Groups or No Groups...That is the Question!

I went to show Lauren my room today, and we decided to play around with the desks. I pretty much hate having desks in long straight rows (just a personal preference), so I wanted to try to mix it up a bit. This is what we came up with....

There are positives and negatives to having students in groups (as there are with any configuration). I know I'll have to meet my kids and see each class's dynamic before truly deciding what works, but should I leave it like this for the beginning of the year at least? What do you think? Yay or nay? Please take your votes below! Thanks!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

It's Beginning to Look Like a Classroom, Folks!

Well, Mom and I headed back to Warren this morning to tackle my overwhelming mess of a classroom.

Hello Warren. 

We unpacked, began putting things up, cleaned some walls, and got quite a bit accomplished before lunch. Here are the pre-lunch pictures. Sorry that they're kind of blurry, I took them all with my phone. 

 We re-arranged my desk area some from yesterday. I much prefer it this way.

 Mom put up my favorite book border under the board. Nicole used to have the same border in her classroom. 

 Mom braved the ladder and put up the giant "Dare to dream it. Work to achieve it." posters in the front of the room.

 She also put up the Language Arts posters on the cabinets. 

Time for LUNCH.

Mom went to meet a friend for lunch and I ran to Walmart to get a few more things for the room. I got back a bit before she did, finished unpacking all of the boxes, and arranged my desk. When she returned, we got right back to decorating. Here is all we accomplished after lunch.... 

 My desk area. It's quite different! 

 Family pics on the shelf, Europe collage on the fridge, lots of friends and family (and Brian Regan) on the board. Oh, my initials are also on there. :)

Close up  

 Here's the bookshelf to the right of my desk. I got those containers at Walmart during lunch. I don't have any drawers around my desk, so the containers work well to hold the "stuff" I might want near me.  

 Here is my desk. I love my desk calendar. 

 The bookcase in front of my desk. On the top are pictures of all of my little cousins and a picture of us with the dolphin this summer. To the left I will hopefully have an actual file cabinet to replace those plastic boxes. 

 Mom put up the encouraging posters above the windows.

 The picture above the board is of Edinburgh. It's AWESOME.

 This is perhaps my favorite corner of the room. Can you read any of them? :)

 Close up on the front of the room. Europe pics on the left, amazing map of the world in the bulletin board. 

 On the right hand side bulletin board we have some blown up pics from this summer. Durham top left. Paris bottom left. Prague top right. Budapest bottom right. And of course, we must keep calm and carry on. 

 Those things on the cabinets each have a picture of a child from a different country and how to say "hello" in their language. So cool!

 We (Mom) moved the wildcat above the door. On the door, I put adhesive dry erase circles. The top one says, "Welcome to Warren." The middle one says, "Read Read Read." The bottom one says, "Words of wisdom: Ms. Erickson is awesome." I have to start them on this line of thinking from the get go. :) 

Oh! This may tie for favorite part of my room--the painters tape that the kids cannot cross. Thanks Nicole for the great idea. Junior highers aren't too keen on the personal space thing--they need a physical reminder not to get all up in my grill. :)

Well, that's about all folks. My room is basically put together! I can't believe we did it in only a day and a half! I'll go back and work on a few last minute room things next week, and then I only have to figure out what to teach--easy (or not).