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."

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Dear Week...

Dear Week,

For future reference, late nights + early morning + meetings + many unrelated but stressful events = nasty. 

Week, you are killing me!

Is it Friday yet?



Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Seven Things...

As I don't know how to properly insert a link to a set of blogs...I'm just not cool like that...I've just copied and pasted the badge...and am taking Michaele Sommerville's ( ) request/meme to heart!  Thanks, Michaele!

Here are seven things you may not know about me.

1.  I read Nora Roberts and JD Robb books voraciously...and have been known to hide them behind a layer of more academic texts on my bookcases when the need arises.

2.  I have become hooked on Pinterest, and could spend hours finding exciting projects for which I am never likely to find the time.

3. I love to quilt, and have at least 4 projects on the go at the moment.

4.  I remember my dreams vividly, most of the time.

5.  I am fascinated by anthropology (especially archaeology), and if I ever get the chance to upgrade my anthropology minor, it will be in that field!

6.  I actually do regret the year that I spent in the mission field.  It was a terrible year.  There were wonderful parts to it, but overall it was not a good experience.  Does that make me a bad person?

7. I spend more time planning on a weekly basis for my approximately three hours of teaching each day than I did all of last year when I was teaching full time and not doing any administrative work.

So now, to those of you reading this blog, it's your turn!

Justin Bieber...Rowan Atkinson...The Nylons...Restful Sleep

Three of these things belong together.
Three of these things are kind of the same.
One of these things just doesn't belong here.
Now it's time to play our game...time to play our game!

What do three of these things have in common?  How are three of these things kind of the same?

I woke up this morning remembering vivid dreams of being at an entire Justin Bieber concernt.  Yes, I remember the entire thing.  Don't remember any songs, just teeny-bopper screaming from the adults in the audience.

The concert was at a church.  Yep.

Rowan Atkinson, as Mr. Bean, was the opening act and intermission entertainment.

Justin Bieber got put in the "time out" chairs for being too rowdy during Mr. Bean's performance. 

Yes, that's right.  Time Out chairs, in a church, at a Justin Bieber concert.

The concert ended with the entire audience (again, mostly adults) spontaneously bursting out into a very excellent rendition of "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" by The Nylons.

I also dreamed a long dream involving running away (well, driving away) from people who were out to murder all of the dolls that were in my car.  ??????????

This doesn't bode well for lasting through a long the school from 7:00am-9:00pm...

You can't make this stuff up.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Good Morning, World...

As one of my former students says:  "Good Morning, World, and all of it's inhabitants...I'm ready!"

While I may or may not be "ready", things are going well!  I miss having my own class, but am enjoying teaching a wider variety of things.  Next week marks the beginning of my distance learning classes, which will mean that I am teaching students from Grade One to Grade Six online, over the phone, and in the classroom.  Woohoo!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The First "Real" Day...

Today I got to spend a couple of hours teaching, and now think that I'll survive the year.  These Science, Socials, and Music classes are going to be AWESOME, even if I lose sleep with the prep!  Next week is when the Distance Learning part of my job will kick in, and that will be great, too. More Science and Socials!

Now, I just need to find the right books to read to my fifth and sixth grade Science/Socials class. We're learning in Socials about being good Global Citizens, and what it means to be a "Global Citizen", so I'm thinking books about children living in different parts of the world.  But, not boring books...excellent books, which I will enjoy, too!  For this curriculum the books need to be mostly current, rather than historical.  I sense a trip to Chapters in my future!  Criteria: suitable for 10-12 year olds, acceptable by conservative Christian standards, not used in the Language Arts program, exciting rather than boring...

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

At a loss...

It's the first day of school! 

I don't have a class of students.  It feels so strange to be listening to the noise of introductions and learning, and to not be directly involved.  It's actually very hard.  I knew that this would be a huge challenge, and I know that I will enjoy the teaching that I will be doing, but not having my own class to introduce to routines, procedures, and the classroom just really stinks.

Friday, September 2, 2011

That was easy!

Last week I read a post on one of the blogs that I follow (, and was both amused and saddened by the author's experience at Staples.
I love Staples.  It is one of those places that just makes me happy.  However, I have also felt the "shame" of not donating to whatever school supply drive is going on.  99% of the time the "shame" comes despite the fact that I KNOW how much of my own money I spend on things for students!  Then, yesterday, this happened.

I stopped in at my local store so that I could buy all sorts of things (though without a list as comprehensive as when I taught in a PH and had to take supplies for all of my students with me), and was irritated to hear a long spiel being given to every other customer. NOT that I think that the school supplies drive was a bad thing, or that they SHOULDN'T be asking for donations, but because I was dreading being asked.

I got to the register, emptied my cart, and pulled out my teacher identification so that I could get my 15% teacher appreciation discount (Yay for the last discount day!)...and she didn't even ask. No spiel, no guilt, no assumptions. Whether she refrained because she saw what I was buying, because of the identification, or because she was just sick of asking people, it doesn't matter!

Kudos to the cashier at register 1.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

If I had a magic wand...

If I had a magic wand, I would...

...clear out all of the junk in my new classroom with a swish-and-flick.
...make people answer phone calls, or, at least, return them!
...finish sorting and unpacking all of the clothes in my apartment.
...make new students appear out of the woodwork.
...create a paperwork system which fills out and files itself.
...add four "sleep hours" to the day.  Not work hours, sleep hours.
...have a self-filling and self-warming coffee cup.

What would you do with your magic wand?

Monday, August 29, 2011

From the Principal's Chair...

Life really does look different from the other side of the "big desk"...the paperwork, the troubleshooting, the being-the-one-who-has-to-be-responsible.  I'm really enjoying it...but at the same time I am bemoaning the fact that, while Being Principal is only 1/3 of my job, it is eating up all of my time so far.  This is the list of things I'd rather be getting accomplished because they have to be done before school and they are more fun than phone calls:

1. Clearing out my new classroom.
2. Setting up my new classroom.
3. Decorating my new classroom.
4. Creating hallway bulletin boards.
5. Getting my course outlines finished.
6. Contacting the families of my distance education students (Grades 3-5, fun stuff!).
7. Finishing setting up my new apartment.
8.  Making the office look less ugly (as I described to my Mom...finding art/decor which works with, yet doesn't clash with, the ugly!).

As you can tell by numbers 1 and 5, the office work is getting really old.

That said, school starts in one week!  Bring it on!  Just...not yet.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Could it be?

Could life really be beginning to settle into some semblance of normality?

Here I go:  new community, new jobs, new apartment...according to the Holmes and Rahe stress test, I currently rank a 329...which is high.  Very high.  Not as high as some, but very high.  And yet, it seems like things might be calming down.

1. My new administrative job still includes classroom teaching.  Bonus!
2. My new community is only an hour away from my family, not 12 hours and a ferry ride.
3. I now live in an area where there is shopping!  Hockey!  Staples!  Starbucks!!!  Chapters!!! 
4. I will be working with people who I already know that I'll work well with. 
5. The cost of a lot of stuff is lower, and I don't have to travel 4.5 hours to buy a pair of shoes.

1.  My job is all over the place (not physically all over the place, but still).  I will be working about 1/3 of the time as a principal, 1/3 as a classroom teacher, and 1/3 as a distance learning instructor.  Can anyone say balancing act?
2. Rent is a heck of a lot higher. 
3. Because of my job, and the fact that it is a Christian school, I am now part of three major boards/committees...meaning that I have meetings almost every Tuesday night (threeTuesdays each month).  I hate meetings.

But here's the good news, blog wise...being that I'll be in the office more, I should have more of a chance to keep this thing updated! 

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

"Why I'm Not Going to French Today"

Today's laugh is a long one...brought to you courtesy of a small girl who didn't want to go to French.  My response to her insistence on this point was "If you aren't going to French, you have to write a letter to the French teacher explaining your reason.  It has to be six pages long, because you are six years old."  It sounds harsh, I know, and the other students chose going to French over this "torture"...but this little one took me up on it.  She did convince me, however, that six pages was long enough that I needed to write her words down for her.  I was practically shaking as I tried to contain my giggles.  The letter is, as follows, exactly as it was dictated to me.

"Dear Mrs. Wood,
I've learned enough for awhile and so I am going to skip French, but I'll do it next French day.

And, I will try my ardest and listen as good as I can.

But, some of my work might not be as good as you think, so I will try my hardest.

I will do what you say and I will try my hardest to do that.  If you give me a treat if I'm very good I will not take it.  I will give it to someone who's very very bad at their work because I'm a nice person.

Because they will be nice to me because I was nice to them, but they might not.  If they are not nice to me still I will treat them even better so they might do it.

If they still aren't nice, I will still treat them nicely and maybe one day they will be nice to me.  So, that is why I'm not going to French.


I'm sending a copy home with her Mom.  This deserves to be saved!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Life Changes!

Sometimes life happens and it changes the game plan.  For me, part this change involves resigning my position at my current school effective the end of this year, moving back home, and hoping/praying/applying for a new job for September!  Uncertainty stinks, but so does being isolated and alone.  Fortunately, I have the option of going back home to a supportive situation!

On another note, we've been very in the classroom!  Stay tuned this long weekend for a photo tour of the past couple of months in Kindergarten/Grade One!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Spring Break Blues

Specifically, I have the "Spring Break is OVER" blues!  I spent the last week having wonderful visits with family, geocaching, and doing just enough shopping to drain the budget...but the holiday just wasn't long enough.  I'm finally feeling ready to spend time planning the next few months in more detail...however, school resumes tomorrow.

This evening's mental debate makes me realize that I need a little more time off.  It went, as follows (regular text is the first voice and italics indicate the more rational voice in my head):

"I'm hungry.  I want tart shells.

I can't eat just plain tart shells.

Ok, so I'll make tarts.

I don't have what I need for tarts. Except for shells.

Ok, so I need to think of something else to put it the shells.  I want hot dogs in them.


Ok, that would be foolish.  I'll make vegetable soup and put that in the shells.  With hot dogs.

Soup is too thin.

I'll thicken the soup.  Oooh, I want cheese, too.  I'll put that on top of the soup, in the tart shells. It will be like shepherd's pie.

In tart shells.

*soup tarts go in the oven*

I'm not hungry anymore.


Friday, February 18, 2011

Valentines and 100th Day and Monkeys...oh my!

I knew that I was in for quite the week rather early in the school year when I discovered that Valentine's Day and the 100th Day of School would fall in the same week. Then add in an enormous (for PH) snowfall, a school-wide skating afternoon, and the week felt like a non-stop party (Also known as draining.  Very draining.).

However, parties and party events can lead to excellent learning opportunities!

Decorating for Valentine's Day allows us to talk about symmetry and balance...

...and to learn about balanced diets (and eating the healthy stuff first!).

The 100th day of school...

...allowed us to count out 100 books, figure out how many each student should carry to the gym to make the loads fair, and to stack them up to see how high the pile was...

...before laying them out end-to-end to see how long the line was!  

It stretched across the gym then almost all the way back again.

Streamers, of course, make everything more fun!  Unfortunately, all of my balloon fun pictures, and images of other activities, have the students featuring prominently.  Great for their parents, but not for my blog.  :)

Then there was Curious George.  We watched the movie over the course of the week (about 25 minutes each afternoon Monday-Thursday) to replace our Rest Time, and loved it completely!  It was absolutely darling, the music was great, and appealed to the all of the children...and to their teacher!  We've been reading Curious George stories, so watching the movie was a logical choice this week. 

 Not surprisingly, the students wanted to paint all over the walls like George did!  While this wasn't possible, we did have a blast on Friday painting all over the floor!  We measured off equal sections of the big drop cloth (more math!) which usually goes underneath our tables during art projects, poured out the paints (lessons in colour blending!)...

...and went wild!  You'll notice that a couple of the students wanted to work together, hence the double-sized section.  This activity also provided a lesson in natural consequences.  We practiced (without paint!) how to start at the top of the section and then work down, to avoid kneeling on the paint, before getting down to the art.  They all mastered this, though one sock got some paint marks...not bad! We also tested to see how thickly we could glop paint before it started to leak through to the carpet!  The results of that will not be known until I go to the school on Sunday.

Our finished masterpieces included everything from trucks and coconut monkeys and robots!

Of course, Curious George was a very important part of the finished product!

This activity was a great example of Teacher as Facilitator...and of interest-led learning!  I had nothing to do with the art or ideas, and everything to do with running around madly changing paint water, getting more paint, replacing paper towels, washing brushes, and generally trying to keep things clean.  Did I have "paint big scenes on the floor" in my lesson plans for the day?  No, I sure didn't.  I don't know if I would have ever even dreamed of taping down a big canvas and letting them go at it.  It's a lesson that I definitely plan to repeat!

Friday, February 4, 2011


Top Grade One Moment of the Day...while the students were playing with Playmobil and setting up a forest camp:

R, a very entertaining and precocious little girl, said, "The men need to go off hunting and the women need to stay and set up the camp."

When I questioned the reason for the traditional roles (not criticizing, just questioning), I was told that it was "because the women actually know what needs to be done!"

How do you argue with that?

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Mrs. G: Getting the Point Across

A post from my Mom's may recognize the premise of this assembly activity from an email which has circulated...but seeing it done has SO much more impact!  I couldn't be prouder of Steve...and don't think that it could have worked any better if they'd scripted the student responses (which they didn't).

Mrs. G: Getting the Point Across: "I have been thinking about what things are important to me as a teacher for quite some time. Leading up to the start of school in September ..."

A Voice from....a fish?

Out of the mouths of babes...

Yesterday, during a Bible trivia game for our school's assembly, two of my little darlings had the opportunity to answer a question.  They had to fill in the blanks of a Bible verse (I don't remember which one), which talked about "a voice from ______" (Matthew 3:17?).  The first small one, on my team, said "God!", which was the wrong answer...but was a good guess.  The second small one, on the opposing team, answered by saying...wait for it..."a fish!"

I am very proud of myself.  I hid my hysterical laughter.

I am very proud of the rest of the students in the school.  They only giggled quietly.

I am very proud of the little student, who was trying so hard to participate and be a part of the assembly...even if her answer was "a fish!"

The answer, by the way, was "heaven."

Friday, January 14, 2011


Good Gravy!  What to say?
Three different center time conversations are going on right now...
The first group is talking about making babies, and how the mom in their game got a fever and died.
The second group is talking about changing each other's "diapers".
The third group was overheard saying to the "mommy" in their game...wait for it..."good night Mrs. Slappy Boobs".

I'm ignoring, I'm ignoring, I'm ignoring...

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Oh, what a day...

You know it's been quite a day when two of your darling students run away from full sight and hearing of a police officer.

They got quite a lecture upon returning (this was right outside the school...not like they could go anywhere) about how SHAMEFUL it was to behave that way and WHAT did it make them LOOK like for the police officer to SEE them behaving SO BADLY...and how EMBARRASSING it was for them (I left out how embarrassing it was for me) to be known as the boys who RAN AWAY from their TEACHER in front of a POLICE MAN...and that they were SO LUCKY that I didn't take them out for a time out IN the police car.   

They were very repentant.  

One of the mothers told me that I should have "scared the snot out of them" by marching them out for a talk with the police officer about safety, responsibility, and obedience. I really should have. :)