Friday, March 30, 2012

UCLA--Ultimate Cancer-Less America

Today marked our annual Warren Jr. High Relay for Life. Of course, this was my first time participating in such an event at school--but it was a first for my kids as well. We didn't know much beyond the fact that we were supposed to be spirited; and, spirit my kiddos can do!

Since our "class college" is UCLA, we decided to incorporate that theme and came up with the saying "Ultimate Cancer-Less America." UCLA's cheer (if you will) is U-C-L-A FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT, so we also incorporated the fight theme.

Cancer is a good thing to fight, right?

Each kiddo made their own sign (cardboard style) that depicted for what he or she was fighting. Some fought in honor of someone. Some fought in memory of someone. Some fought for a cure, for hope, for more birthdays, etc.

This was my sign:

We had large signs in the front of our pack:

We had a banner bringing up the rear of the pack:

And all of the kiddos wore (and some modified) their UCLA shirts:

Here they all are before the big event with all of their individual signs:

And here we are out on the track:

I know it's a bit tough to tell from this picture, but we yelled and danced and cheered the entire time. Many of us lost our voices, but it was well worth it...


Because we won for being the most spirited! Great job, little Bruins. Mama bear is so proud! :)

But, what's even greater than that? Our school raised over $4,000 for the American Cancer Society, and these kids got to experience what it's like to fight for a cause.


Sunday, March 25, 2012

Bleach Pen T-Shirts

I have made bleach shirts in the past, but never with a bleach pen. I decided to embark on a new adventure this weekend--bleach pen t-shirts. I bought a black shirt and a bleach pen at Target and whipped out this bad boy on Saturday morning:

(Part of Psalm 139)

I was quite please with how it turned out, so I couldn't just stop there.... 

For those of you who would like to embark on this bleachy fun filled activity, I'll walk you through it step by step.

You will need:

* A t-shirt of some sort (I decided to bling out some of my gym shirts instead of buying anything).
* A bleach pen (you may want to keep some extras on hand because you'll want to do this again).
* Magazines or cardboard or wax paper or something to keep in between the layers of the shirt.
* Chalk (optional)

* A window you can crack so you don't pass out from the fumes.

(I used magazines because they were right there and provided a nice solid surface)

Let the games begin!

1. Trace a design on your shirt with chalk (some say that it helps the bleach from running; some say it helps you know where to put the bleach--I say it's a waste of time). 

2. Give the pen a few shakes and test it out on a paper towel (do this periodically throughout the process to keep the bleach at the tip of the pen and hopefully prevent bubbles).

3. Begin tracing your chalk design with the bleach pen, keeping the tip of the pen off of the fabric like you would puff paint (or, if you're not using chalk, just start free-handing it).

4. Continue until you are please with the design and wait!

5. Before long, you'll start seeing the fabric change colors.

6. Let the bleach set for 10 or 20 or 30 or however many minutes you want... (it differs depending on the fabric, but you'll notice when it has changed).

7. SOME people say to then rinse out the shirt in cold water, but I say that's another useless step--just march that sucker to the washer, drop it in for a short wash (maybe a second rinse), and BAM!

There you have it!

I really have no clue why the spots where I actually placed the bleach stayed purple and the areas surrounding them turned pink, but it looks cool to me. 

Aaaaaand, like I said, once you start, you won't want to stop. :)

Here is another gym shirt I transformed shortly after the first....

No chalk on this bad boy---I just went to town.

 You can really see the colors of this one turning...

And BAM! Here it is after the wash! 

Again, I'm not sure why it stayed blue where the bleach was and turned white around the edges--it must be the kind of fabric--I bet I couldn't do that on my own if I tried. :)

Go ahead---run your little self to Target right now and get your supplies. I'd love to see your finished products if you so dare. 

Oh! And one last thing...

May the odds be ever in your favor.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Keep Calm and Carry On

Keep Calm and Carry On...

That was the mantra of our staff last year at Thompson. I have the saying on a shirt. I have it on a tea towel, that I actually purchased in NE England, hanging in my classroom now. I look at it constantly throughout the day....

I knew the saying and design originated during WWII in England, but I never knew the history behind it. Thanks Nicole for posting this video...

It's a great reminder as we're on the downhill slope of the year and the students are raging with Spring Fever.


Sunday, March 11, 2012

Almond Blossoms

This weekend, I traveled up north to visit my tax man (aka Grandpa). The madre and I had quite the adventures on the train up and back, but that's a whole other post...

For now, I'll leave you with some pictures of the gorgeous almond blossoms from the ranch.

 Don't you just love them? I certainly do...

 These little boogers make the magic happen (and make me run around the car while I'm trying to get in--terrified of them!). 

 Most of the blossoms are gone, but I found a few to capture.

Pomegranate trees in the foreground, almond trees in the background, and brand new almond trees on the right (recently planted). So cool!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

A Few Formative Folks...

On Friday night, I had the opportunity to go back to my alma mater (Stockdale High School--go Mustangs!) to watch the Spring play--Once Upon a Mattress. The show was excellent. It's playing next weekend as well, and I definitely recommend it. But, that's not the purpose of this post. The highlight of the night? Spending time with three of my most favoritest people of all time...

Some people look back on their high school years and remember awkwardness, drama (negative drama of the peer variety), too much homework, and a longing to get out.

While I'm sure those elements were a part of my high school experience, they aren't what immediately comes to mind when I think back on my years as a Mustang.

What does come to mind? Friends, football games, Bible club, drama (of the theater kind), and three incredible people--Mr. Grueber, Mrs. Grueber, and Ms. Pope.

Mr. Grueber, the gentle giant, GDawg, Grandpa Grueb, Mr. G., I'll never forget the first time I really met you. I was sitting in Algebra when a call slip came from the office. I had to go to your office. I had no idea why, but I wasn't nervous because your reputation proceeded you. When I walked in, Ashley was there, and you sat me down and told me that you just wanted to meet me. I was blown away--it was the first of many experiences with you that simply blew me away. Your doors were always open, your M&M jars always full. You never missed a game, event, or performance. Your arms and heart were always open, and you always had a listening ear. I remember (at least once) coming into your office in tears, only to leave with renewed strength and confidence. I cannot even describe in words how much you cared about me and all of your students--it never went unnoticed. I love all of the high school memories I hold dear that involve you and your dear wife--but what's even more dear to me is that those memories continue. I am so incredibly blessed to still have you as a part of my life. There's nothing quite like a giant hug from your loving arms.

Mr. G and me outside of a theater somewhere in LA on a field trip in high school.

Mrs. G., behind every amazing man is an even more amazing woman. That would be you. Now, I don't exactly remember the first time we met, but I'm sure that the moment I laid eyes on you, I immediately knew I'd love you forever and always. I was right. You were always by Mr. G.'s side; therefore, always there to support us, love us, encourage us, and lift us up. In high school, I loved seeing you at every event or show or game. Knowing the love you had for me and for all of the students inspired and encouraged us all. You taught us more about what it meant to love and laugh and live life to the fullest. Your strength and grace are simply beautiful, and I am a better woman and teacher because I have you in my life. I love every moment I get to spend with you.

Mr. and Mrs. G (I believe at a scholarship banquet at the end of my senior year)

Ms. Pope, not many people get to spend all four years of high school with the same teacher (and not many people would want to), but I consider myself completely blessed to have had that opportunity with you. From the moment I stepped into that theater and into your life, I knew I was at home. You taught me so much during my time at Stockdale. You not only taught me about theater and acting, but you taught me how to get up and try again after not succeeding. You taught me how to get out of my comfort zone. You taught me strength, leadership, flexibility, and how to work hard. I can never thank you enough for these life lessons, and I can never thank you enough for giving me a chance, for believing in me, for helping me reach my full potential. I absolutely love your heart towards your students and your craft; I absolutely love your compassion and strength; I absolutely love your laugh (it would always put me at ease when I was on stage); and I absolutely  love that you are still a part of my life.

 Pope--I stole this picture from Sam's FB because I love it and you look beautiful!

Amy, Lindsey, me, and Lorie during 7 Brides my freshmen year.

On stage--You Can't Take it With You--senior year.

Mr. and Mrs. G. and Pope, thank you for being such a formative part of my life during my high school years. I am who I am today in large part because of the three of you. Thank you for continuing to be such a special part of my life. I cherish each moment we share. I love you all!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

How Would You Define Respectful?

Spring is coming...

Hormones are raging...

Kids are becoming too comfortable...

Thus, we had a COME TO JESUS meeting today (in the middle of which some kid told me I should write a book--I'm pretty sure it's been done).

My students needed to be reminded that only respectful behavior is allowed in our classroom. Rude behavior is not tolerated. We talked about who they want to be, who they want to be remembered as, and how their actions affect themselves and others not only right now, but into the future.

I told them a bit about my junior high experience--the students I remember fondly and those whom I would not want to run into at Target even now and why. I'm hoping they'll take a some of that to heart.

It breaks my heart to watch them treat each other (and me on occasion) with such disrespect. I just hope and pray that they will come to realize (soon) the impact of their words and actions and have a change of heart.

To make this "chat" more relevant, I posted the definitions of respectful and rude up in the room and had the students come up with an example for each on a post-it.

The respectful sign and examples are up in the front of the room on the board. I told the students that this is the behavior that we want to have in the forefront of our minds all the time.

The student who used "they're" correctly on that orange post-it makes my heart burst with pride...

On the flip side, the rude sign and examples are in the back of the room by the door and the trash can--obviously because that behavior is trash and not allowed in our room.

Surprisingly, I noticed quite a difference today. I'm sure it's because my words were still blazing in their minds (the short term memory hadn't kicked it all to the curb yet), but I can only hope and pray that some of those words will stick. I'll keep you posted...


Happy READ ACROSS AMERICA DAY tomorrow! This is the first book I ever read on my own--thanks Dr. Seuss.

And in honor of the big day, I'm helping the madre make these gems for her little ones...

(Thanks Pinterest)

Perhaps I'll find a few minutes to have story time with my big little ones tomorrow. Oh the Places You'll Go seems quite relevant. :)