About eight months ago, I was carded at a restaurant (yes) when the waitperson told me that my driver’s license was expired. More than a year ago. In our state, this means you need to take the written driver’s test and pass. I haven’t driven our car for many months. Finally, yesterday, I had studied enough (there are many new rules and regulations) to take the test. Along with a roomful of 16-year-olds, I passed the test. I am grateful to be able to drive again. My husband is grateful, too.
Numbers have intimidated me for most of my life. Words are my comfortable space, numbers not so much. In high school, we spent a month in one class on extra sensory perception (ESP). Various scientists, mathematicians, psychics, and practitioners visited our classroom. I was especially fascinated by numerology, which purports to interpret the mathematical code running through each individual’s life. I learned how to do this, even charting people’s numbers at a traveling psychic fair, but years later I’m grateful that it opened the door for me to feel more comfortable with, even fascinated by, numbers. In this way, numbers led to stories which led to understanding. (Here’s a peek at numerology.)
We will travel to New Ulm today. At Martin Luther College, we’ll meet with teachers and librarians, members of the Southwest Minnesota Reading Council, who are gathering to hear author Aimee Bissonette speak about Everyday Heroes and Wonder Women. We are grateful for this opportunity. We admire these people who are passionate about encouraging our children to become lifelong readers. And then we’ll beat the blizzard home.
It was such a special evening. If you teach or you’re an education student or you work in a school library, you’ll want to be a part of the Southwest Minnesota Reading Council. Seriously. As I listened to their president, Dr. Cindy Whaley, welcome the students from Martin Luther College and Southwest Minnesota State University, asking them to share something about themselves, and thanking them for their commitment to the profession, I realized that this is a CARING community that dedicates part of their professional lives to educating, advocating, and supporting each other. They are so focused (you see what I did there, Jon Roux?) on making a difference in kids’ reading lives that I was brought to tears.
Aren’t school music teachers wonderful? They help us explore talents that might otherwise go undiscovered. They introduce us to music that will remain with us for the rest of our lives. They give us a vocabulary and a way to appreciate music that would remain mysterious otherwise. “Pictures at an Exhibition,” “Peter and the Wolf,” and “Carmina Burana” (are memories stirring?) stay with us because we remember them musically and visually. They tell us stories. My Flutophone led to a clarinet and the knowledge of what a musician in an orchestra or band experiences. I am confident many of us share the gratitude I feel for music teachers. For me, I am grateful for my elementary school teacher, Mr. Sundt in junior high, and Mr. Griebenow in high school. How else would I know about musical notation, John Cage, timpani, or Emerson, Lake & Palmer’s version of Mussorgsky’s piano suite? How else would I have learned enough to feel so blessed by music?
I am grateful for my friend Heidi Grosch who is one of the most ebullient, determined, warm-hearted, and talented people that I know. After moving from the US to Norway for love, she learned Norwegian, earned a master’s degree in education, raises Christmas trees, and, oh yes, teaches education at Nord University. Her current excellent idea is CyberBridge, short, daily videos inspiring ESL teachers in grades 1 through 7. Today’s video, singing “Do Re Mi” from The Sound of Music, is suggested for your classroom (done in sing-along style). Other videos talk about grammar, books to share, and learning activities. And remember, these are done by Norwegians for whom English is a second language. Heidi, you are simply amazing.
I am grateful to my sixth grade teacher, Gordon Rausch, who put an emphasis on spelling in a challenging and visual way that made it important for me. It was an honor to have your name on Snoopy’s doghouse for your spelling achievements. This image was large on the classroom wall, unavoidable, a quiet reminder of the goal. By the way, one of these words knocked me out of the regional spelling bee. Yup, I still remember that word (and how to spell it) to this day.