September 17, 2015

Stuff and Thing 9/17

Stuff, Things, etc.

+Every week now there seems to be something that sucks up all my free time.  Last week, I absolutely positively had to finish an ebook from the library before they snatched it back from my Kindle app.  That's motivation.  I was up until 11pm most nights reading because it was so good and I just had to, you know? This week, it's midterms. Maybe next week I'll be able to blog...

+I spent way too much time looking at public school rankings the other day. I became obsessed with hunting down the best districts in the states I've lived in.  Aspen is #1 in Colorado.  I'm almost bitterly jealous.  Of course, $69k is not exactly the salary dreams are made of when you're living in Aspen; homes there are millions of dollars and the cost-of-living, I'm sure, is extreme.  However, to work for a place that is considered the best in the state...

+Speaking of school rankings...I wrote a post last week about race/low test scores/school integration/etc and it all stemmed from a podcast I listened to.  I mentioned that I have a really hard time blaming demographics for low-performing schools.  My exact reasoning that I didn't mention: the school I went to is an all-white school and is in the bottom 7% of Pennsylvania districts. Don't get me wrong, I loved my years there and would've taught there in a heartbeat had they offered me a job. But I'm saying that it's not just inner-city, segregated schools that struggle. I think my own experience is what makes me skeptical of the causes of low test scores.

+I was in Denver on Saturday for a Girls on the Run training.  All coaches need to go through a training session and, while it seemed silly to be trained to teach, it was nice to learn about the program.  I'm not in charge of it at my site, obviously, and there's three other coaches. Two have done it for a few years now. I could tell you a lot about this organization and why I believe in it, and I've mentioned before that I don't do volunteer work because I feel that I spend a lot of time serving the public in my everyday job.

However, I've known about GOTR for years and I always have runners in my 4th grade classes.  It never fails.  They run track, they run cross-country (one set a state record a few years ago), they just love to run. My school in Alaska offered every sport imaginable for kids and here that's not the case.  When another teacher mentioned that this new school of mine had GOTR, I knew I had to do it. While I may not like to run, I'm a proponent of physical activity. And, let's face it, I need to spend more time outside. The whole program takes place outside.  And I like interacting with kids in a setting that's different than the classroom.  It's refreshing.

When a co-worker said that he could've warned me about signing up for GOTR (it's a 10 week commitment), I felt bad. Would it be too much for my already stressed schedule? And then when I told Scott about it he said Why would you NOT do it? HOW could you NOT do it?

And that's exactly it. We all have something to give back and this, to me, is the most worthwhile use of any time I choose to spend giving back.

+Have you heard of Art Crate?  It's a personalized service in which you can have a new piece of art mailed to your house every month. You take an online survey, they customize a piece of art to fit your tastes, and ship it to you.  It's framed and ready to go on the wall.  You pay a flat rate each month, depending on the size of the pieces you want.  This is a foolproof way to decorate your home, especially for someone like me who doesn't like driving from store to store, browsing for home decor.

The great people at Art Crate sent me the survey and a custom piece of art for free.  The survey took less than 5 minutes and was fun to do. Their website was really easy to navigate.

This print is perfect for my office space, and was such a fun surprise. Thanks Art Crate Team!

If you're interested in trying out the service, Art Crate is offering a discount code until October 15th. Use the code EnjoyArt20 for 20% off an order.

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  1. Girl, I feel you on something always taking up the time. No lie - yesterday I helped host a wedding shower after work and came home to do laundry, unload the dishwasher and make dinner. Sometimes I feel like that should be a full day! It's always interesting to me to see what others have to say about test scores. We're a country so obsessed with test scores before actual learning and it saddens me.

  2. I've heard of the girls on the run program before--I even see the girls running around here sometimes. Such a great program--good luck, lovie!

  3. I have been finding all kinds of things to do besides blogging lately too, but your reasons are better than mine, lol!

  4. What you said about MV is exactly the point I was making in our exchange the other day. I'm glad you knew what I meant even though you just said it waaaaaay better! lol

    That is a really cool print! How fun! :)

  5. I've heard so much about Girls On The Run that I looked into it for my daughter, but she's not quite old enough yet. She needs social activities!

  6. I have never heard of art crate but I am definitely going to check it out.


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