Monday, March 27, 2017

If only

Youngest and I were "kickin' it old school" today. He got to experience the joys of microfilm.

I have to say I am grateful old newspapers have been saved. It is fascinating to see how they have evolved over time. And if they hadn't been preserved, I never would have known my great great grandmother supposedly set the family barn on fire. Or that, according to the article printed, insanity runs in the family. 🙂

But technology has spoiled me. Since holding the actual paper isn't possible, I would like to read it on my computer screen that I can manipulate size and contrast easily. I want to scroll with a little mouse wheel and not a button that advances too fast or too slow or in movements that are too jerky.

I would love if someone would digitize those old 35mm film reels. How hard can it be? I

I know some people have digitized their papers. Why can't the papers I need be digitized?

I want to know who the 15 year old daughter was that drug great great grandma away from the flames, because I do not have a great aunt who would have been that age.
I want to know if and when they rebuilt the barn.
I want to peruse the happenings in their little hamlet of Tracy.

And I can't do that at a computer screen, that is showing 35mm images, of 130 year old newspapers, that are located only in a filing cabinet, 2 hours from my couch.

And while I'm at it, let's not forget Ctrl F where I can simply type in the name I'm looking for and have every occurance highlighted so I can easily skip to them?

Old school is tedius!
Boy am I spoiled! 😀

Sunday, March 26, 2017

This is the search that never ends...

I have been scanning photos this rainy Sunday. Photos of my ancestors. It is so interesting to start to recognize faces and places -- it almost starts to feel like I know them somehow. Over the two weeks I plan to do some library research. I hope to find deeds or some other proof that will link my Great-Great Grandfather to who I believe his brothers were. 

I want to know if there was a plea put out by the church to take in my great grandmother and her older siblings after their father died. 

I want to know if there was an announcement of my great grandparents wedding to go with the photos someone sent me. 

I want to find out if my great aunt married the pastor or if he was just a student who then married my great aunt. And if the announcement they were moving to Kansas was in the paper. 

And I am hoping my son can find the story of the star that fell in my grandmother's yard in 1920. We have a tiny ring box with pieces from the star and a piece of tape with the date 1920 on it. It was a show and tell item every year. I'd like to know if it was big news or not. If possible.

Detective work awaits and I have 14 day to find out all I can. Until summer of course when I'll have 8 weeks. And then Christmas ....  :-) 

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Plans for Spring Break

Plans for our two week break

Walk every day though it's hard out here in the country

Genealogy research and making my son help (bribing with the promise of Culvers) by visiting my hometown.

Genealogy research and making my son help (again thank you Culvers) in Fort Wayne.

Eye doctor.

Find a dentist.

Trip to camp.

Work around the house

Clean the yard (but I'm not mowing until at least the end of April)


Scan heritage photos

Sleep in

Friday, March 24, 2017


When a small team of brave individuals come together for the greater good, the powers-that-be will sometimes come to their senses and hope becomes the light at the end of the tunnel.

Spring Break starts now. Hope begins April 10.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Why writing is hard this month

This years Slice of Life challenge has been so difficult!

The first year I participated the entire month was 5 years ago. It turns out my father passed away on the 14th of March that year. There was so much to write about then...authentic writing. Easy writing.

Four years ago, there was a difficult class we were dealing with and there was all the emotions that go with getting to the first year milestone of the death of a loved one. Again, between the two of those things, the writing came easy.

Three years ago my mom had health issues and today is the 3rd anniversary of her passing. That year we also had the worst class in any ones memory. They are still the most challenging. This is the class that caused my friend to have migraines, so frequent and severe, that she has nerve damage to her inner ear and can no longer work. I had much cathartic writing to do and the challenge of writing daily was fairly easily accomplished.

Last year I had to deal with the loss of my friend and the one who treated me as a partner and not just some incidental helper. I had to deal with a teacher who treated me worse than an incidental helper. I was someone who should wait to be told what to do and she judged, criticized, and talked about me negatively behind my back. I increased my anti-depressant dose this year because I wasn't sure if I would be subjected to her abuse again. I changed to a new blog in case last years writing was too cathartic because it was easy to write every day.

This year, while things at school are better  in that I am not with that teacher again, they are just status quo. I am in a class with a teacher who taught the last 3 years in 5th grade.  She doesn't get along with her teaching partner who is also new to our kindergarten this year. The K teacher I am with is also going on maternity leave soon. She hopes to get another week after Spring Break before she is done for the year.

My other friend from the other Kindergarten room left before school because she got a job closer to her house and the culture in our building made it easy to leave.

Because of changes as to "Push In" or "Pull Out" services and the medical concerns of a child, I am fragmented and disenfranchised even further.

So much is happening that I want to blog about, but don't have the gravitas to pull it off in such a public forum. Broad generalizations are not authentic and I need to write specifics to get across the frustrations and challenges that have led to the crisis we now face.

So I struggle to find something to write. I can't find it in me to write about little things or small moments every day when there are huge issues going on that I can't put out in the universe.

So tonight I write about the struggle.
It's real people.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017


Secrets kept
Games afoot
Fears held close
Prayers spoken
Hopes they are answered soon

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Reading Woes

What is the goal of reading?

If you are in school, the goal is to achieve a certain reading level.

"Just Right Books" is a phrase kids know all too well.

There is such an emphasis on going up levels, that I see kids missing out on the wonder of story. The Magic of story is lost.

We test and test and, at our school, do "flight checks" with A to Z reading.

Second graders, and even first graders, are in such a hurry to read "chapter books" that the second they are allowed to check them out, they don't ever want to go back. Think of all the wonderful picture books they will never read because they consider it "too easy".

Just because a child is a level "R" in guided reading terms, doesn't mean there are any appropriate books for their age or maturity level.

Our second grade had to use Frindle as a read aloud. I LOVE Frindle. The conversations you can have with 4th, 5th, or 6th graders with this book can be deep and enlightening. Second graders can like the book, but will they really "get" it? Maybe a couple, but not in a group setting like that. And so many will never revisit it because they read it already. They will miss the "experience" because they already had a taste.

And then 4th graders will want to read the Hunger Games or Twilight series.

Rigor is killing reading.

As a family we have thousands of books. Literally, thousands. I am the "Book Whisperer" at our school. I bring the books my family has bought and read to share with kids. It breaks my heart when kids don't want to even look at a book that is completely appropriate, and that I know they will enjoy, because it isn't the latest teen love story novel.

The Book Whisperer was absolutely right when she said kids just need to read in order to improve their reading ability. We need to stop all the testing and teach how to discuss what they read. We need to build community around story and validate picture books as legitimate literature. That is when we will create greater understanding and comprehension.

Because THIS:

Now is Read to Self
Now is Read to Someone
Now is Listen to Reading
Now is 20 minutes of reading at home
Now is time to fill out reading logs
Now is time to do a flight check
Now is time to write about what the character felt when...
Now is time to take a test
Now is time to compare two works with each other
Now is time to do the five finger test--Is it just right?

is killing reading.

The difference between learning to read and reading to learn used to be JOY. In our quest to build readers at younger and younger ages, the difference between learning to read and reading to learn will only be the age of the participants.

Joy of story and quest for knowledge should be the goal for all ages.

Let's stop with the RIGOR and instead breathe LIFE.