Sunday, December 30, 2012

Most Important People--Grandma Anne

Holy Moley!  How did I go almost an entire year without posting ANYTHING!?!?!

That's really scary.  I've accomplished much, gotten too little sleep, and spent too much time working...but there's been a lot of fun, too.

Now, I face a new calendar year, new challenges, new adventures, and new sorrows. 

Back in September I wrote the following piece about my Great-Grandma Anne.  I didn't ever publish it here, or send it around, or anything, as it just didn't quite seem like the time.

The time is now.  Grandma Anne just turned 100 on the 27th, but missed her own party due to broken ribs, an outbreak of influenza, and pneumonia.  She's gotten more and more tired, confused, and sick.  We think the end might be near, and while she's lived a long and full life, we want her to stick around in our own.

September 8, 2012

I’m sitting outside, wrapped in a gift from one of my Most Important People…my great grandmother.  This afghan is one of my favourite things…a safe thing…a “I Am Special” thing.  I love this blanket.

My great-grandma is nearly 99 (according to the Canadian government), or 100 (according to her mother’s Bible).  She’s almost a century old!  She has had great loves in her life, two husbands (who, coincidentally had the same first name!), six children, 17 grandchildren, 44 great-grandchildren (at the last count of which I am aware), and 3 great-greats.  We are so very blessed to have her!

As I understand it, my great-grandma never completed the fourth grade.  She started working, taking care of younger nieces and nephews, travelling to Canada, and working for others.  She raised her children well.  She has supported her entire family…and many “practically family” members as we have completed many different endeavours.  Whenever any of us was going on some fantastic educational trip, or a mission project, she helped with ticket costs.  She told us she’d always wanted to be a missionary, but didn’t have the chance. When I became a teacher, she told me she’d always wanted to be a teacher, but didn’t have the chance. When I was teaching overseas as a missionary, she sent me money for stamps, so that I could send her letters.  My great-grandma prays faithfully for her entire family, grieves when things go wrong, and rejoices when things go well.

My great-grandma didn’t stop making pierogies and doughnuts by the hundreds (sometimes thousands!) until she was well into her 80s, and regrets that her room in a nursing home doesn’t have a kitchen for her to keep going.  We regret it, too!

She’s losing her memory now, and feels terribly that she can’t do as much or remember as many people as she used to.

She tells us that she’s not sure where she is, that they treat her well, but she wants to go home.

She tells us that she’s not sure what she’s supposed to do anymore…and then will turn around and say that she spent over 90 years getting up early every morning, and no one is going to stop her from sleeping the day away if she wants to!

She doesn’t always remember our names, but she’s never forgotten that my Mom and I are teachers, my sister is a nurse, my brothers are a firefighter and a paramedic, and my Dad is a doctor.  She doesn’t always know how we belong to her, but she is proud of us.

She tells us that she hopes she never has to live through losing one of her children…and we don’t remind her that she already has.

She loves to meet the new babies in the family, and everyone treasures every moment.  I pray that my own babies will get to meet her, and worry that I won’t have my own family before we lose her.  I envy the family members who have had these opportunities…to have her at their weddings, meeting their children…

I hope to be just like my great-grandma.  I want to be as wonderful a missionary as she has always been.  I want to be as excellent a teacher as she has been for nearly a century.  I want to love my family so much that I never want to stop doing things for them and with them.

I want my own children, grandchildren, and as many greats as I get to see, to know that I loved them…and hope that they will see me as one of their Most Important People…just like my great-grandma is for me.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

New Year's Resolutions...Grades Five and Six

More funnies from the grade 5 and 6 students!  They were assigned (as a time filler after the rest of the Social Studies material for today was covered) a worksheet titled "My New Year's Resolutions" with the task of filling in at least two resolutions in each category on the page.  I present to you the highest highlights in each category!  Spelling and grammar are unchanged (and yes, I'm shaking my head over some of it, too!).

Resolutions to live a healthier life:
Do not eat candy.
Work out.
Shower a couple times every week.
Do a work out

Resolutions to help my parents:
Sower every day (shower)
Behave and obey
Do better to clean out the house

Resolutions to do well in school:
Right neter
Lern how to spel  (hahahhah.....*cough*...hahahha!  Same student for both of these so far...)
Don't slack off in my work.
Write neeter
Do my homework at night and not get homework

Resolutions to live a happier life:
Sower more (shower)
eat good
Lose a couple of pounds
Don't argue with my brothers
Get all Pokemon in Pokemon Heart Gold
Play more games
No homework

Resolutions to be good to my friends:
be nice
be good
Help my friends with there problems
Be nicer
go to their birthday

Resolutions to protect the environment:
Don't leter
conseve energe
Don't step on plants.  Except for grass.

Resolutions to be a good citizen:
Save power
Help the Citizen in the Town

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Life According to Grades 5/6

Life According to 5/6 Grade Students:

Humour abounds when discussing the “olden days” with kids.  Today’s discussion was an introduction to electricity and the role it plays in life.  The corresponding assignment required students to think of five electrical appliances, describe their purposes, and then tell what people did before they had electricity.  The students took this very seriously...and fortunately I decided to not even glance carefully at the answers until the kids were gone!  

(wonky formatting!  The responses are in the following pattern:

What People Did Before Electricity )

Get rid of facial hair                          
They didn’t

Make toast                                          
Did not make toast

Boil water                                             
Didn’t boil water

Warm stuff up                                   
Didn’t warm stuff up

So you can eat                                    
No way to warm up food

Coffee Maker                     
Makes coffee                                     
Didn’t make coffee

Shows funny stuff                            
They would hunt

Video Games                      
Play stuff                                              
They built houses

Work personal favourite...
Shows the world                              
They probably threw stones

Friday, December 23, 2011

A Crazy Idea...

I have an idea.  It's a bit overwhelming, a bit crazy, and a whole lot of work, but I want to do it.

First Topic:

In my valley (mine!  All Mine!) there are 6 small SDA schools within about 250 kilometres of each other...and who interact very little.  With one exception, all of the schools are just Elementary/Middle schools, and typically it is only students in older grades who get to be a part of multi-school events.  This year I initiated and facilitated The Great Resource Exchange, swapping everything from tables and chairs to textbooks.

New Topic:

In my life I have been blessed to be a part of many choirs who have performed a lot of great music.  One choir that stands out was Auntie Nancy's homeschool choir where we performed the Christmas Messiah for Young Voices and the Easter Messiah for Young Voices.  I was fortunate enough to be able to direct two different choirs in performing the Christmas Messiah, one in Saipan and one in Kelowna.

Third Topic:

I love directing musicals of all sorts...but am rather sick of the somewhat inane performances that seem to be ubiquitous with elementary schools.  So...I thought...

Combining the Topics:

...Let's do an all-school performance of the Messiah!  That's right! Let's do a wee bit of editing to combine the Christmas and Easter Messiah for Young Voices (meaning, I'll do it), get all the schools involved (if they're willing), pick a somewhat neutral location (for several of the schools argue and bicker with great regularity), and just go for it!

The Crazy Idea:
Pick several songs that all schools will do as a mass choir (Hallelujah, For Unto Us A Child Is Born, etc), assign a couple of songs for each school to do individually, assign the speaking/reading parts to students from each school, and have at it!  Pick a Sabbath, have a group church service/potluck lunch, do a quick dress rehearsal (for the mass choir songs, especially), and perform it Saturday evening for all of the school and church families.  Wouldn't that be amazing?  It's my plan for next year (2012-2013), in March, hopefully.

It's crazy, it's a bit overwhelming, but it just might work!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Emergency Birthday Gifts

Today I had an "oops!" moment...of epic proportions.  Two of the youngest students have birthdays this week, one yesterday and one today, and I forgot to buy a gift for each of them!  I had planned out what I was going to get but forgot to do so.  They knew that today was the day to receive the gifts, as I had a music class with them...

So, what was I to do?  After a bit of clever word-work (in my opinion) convincing them that they needed to wait until the end of the school day, I came up with a Making Kit. 
In each kit (ziploc bag) I put:
rubber bands
scotch tape
electrical tape
a styrofoam ball
a bunch of wooden beads
paper clips
ornament hooks
popsicle sticks
a handful of new crayons
a little flower pot (one of those that's not a lot bigger than my thumb)
and a partridge in a pear tree.

Ok, so I left out the partridge.  And the tree.

The note that goes along with the kit says "In this package you will find many things for building monsters, machines, vehicles, or whatever you choose!"

This kind of gift would have been a big hit with my group in PH...we'll see how it goes over here!

Monday, November 14, 2011


Here I thought that I'd kept up pretty well with this blog, but then I looked at the "last post" date. 

I had my best day of the year last week when I was subbing in for one of the teachers at my school.  All day as a classroom teacher in a Grade 1-4 class.  A few more days, or even part days, like that, and I might survive this job! Yes, subbing in is different, but she'd left me a very minimal plan for the day (after we'd discussed and agreed on it...not as a nasty surprise!), and I was able to just be the teacher rather than the sub.  It was a beautiful thing.

Next year, between a likely downsizing of the school staff, a maternity leave for one of the teachers, and my own preference for being in a classroom, I may be able to be a classroom teacher again, with only a bit of my time being "administration".  Does it make me a complete sucker for punishment that I'm praying it happens that way?  

Monday, September 26, 2011

You Know It's Monday When... have to log into your own online class as a student, unable to grant speaking/writing privileges to anyone at all...with the user name "Ms. Gerber Can't Get Online.  No Class. Check Your Email."