Last month (July 11, 2016) was International Edcamp Leader day. Not only was I super excited to be part of this day, learn from and be inspired by local Illinois leaders but the organizers of the Edcamp thought it would be fun to have ignite speeches after our lunch. I jumped at the chance to give an Ignite Speech (actually I squealed in happiness and then thought what the heck have I gotten myself into…eeekkk). After a day or two of brainstorming I had my theme. As I wrote the speech, I knew I wanted to use this opportunity to really push myself as a creator and as a presenter… not only would I share a belief I am deeply passionate about, I would draw the entire ignite speech.
My daughters never cease to crack me up. Their perspective of life…even the littlest moments, the ones that seem so routine, the so everyday can leave us in giggles. So when I asked my daughters to put away some laundry, empty a laundry basket and bring it downstairs for me I couldn’t have imagined the on the floor belly holding giggles it left me in and a life lesson I felt compelled to share…one big sister to another!
…see more #SuperFunDoodles here
I don’t know about where you are at but winter has gone from …
“Ohhhh look at all that snow! Lets go play in it”
“We’re stuck in the house againnnn??!!”
“Moooommmm she’s touching me again!”
“Mooooommmm tell her to leave me alone!”
“Do I have anything warmer then an undershirt and a long sleeve shirt and a sweater and jeans and socks and boots and a scarf and mittens and a down jacket…cause I’m still cold!”
“Are you kidding me?! Is this ever going to end?!”
“I’m moving to Florida!!”
…but even with all of that obvious love for winter Moose has his own opinions
She left it in a spot she knew I’d look as soon as I got home.
It stared back at me and a smile took over my face. I quickly opened it and saw the hand written note. I knew exactly who it was from. I was instantly warmed by her thoughtfulness and the lovely surprise after a long work week. I clutched and embraced it in delight as I was filled with happiness.
I yelled to Francine upstairs,”FRRRRAAANNNNCIIIIINNNNNNEEEEE”
“Yes momma!” I love when she calls me momma…. makes my heart melt
“Come here peanut!”
“In a second I’m putting my cupcakes in the oven!”
Thump…thump…thump…at the bottom of the stairs our eyes meet and we were lit up by each other’s smiles.
” I saw that note,” I say grabbing her hand and pulling her in to squeeze her close and kiss her cheek
“Thank you! It was sooooo sweet!” I say this time embracing her cheek to cheek and adding another kiss.
“You’re welcome momma,” she answers with a straight face
“Nothing,” she answers.
“Francine what is it?”
“Nothing……” she answers again.
This time with a fake smile. She looks at me. This time hers shouting do you get it momma. Do you know what I need? I paused and stared at her searching her eyes for the answer. The card she wrote flashed in my head.
“You really miss momma don’t you! Has it been hard on you, daddy taking you to practice this season and mom taking Olivia to swimming? We don’t get much time together these days do we?!”
“No!” she bursts confirming my words.
“Mom will be home all weekend! We can spend tons of time together.”
Saturday afternoon came around and my 7 week old nephew was coming over to spend a couple hours with us while my sister and her husband went to a surprise party. Olivia complained of a sore throat and stomach ache. I texted my sister and told her it was probably best if we came to her being that Olivia was not feeling good. With the ok from my sister I spoke with my husband explaining what happen the night before with Francine and the note.
“Do you want to come help take care of Callan tonight, just you and me. ”
That night at my sisters it was all about her… and a lot about my nephew too… she picked her favorite dinner, we all snuggled and watched Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (one of her favorite movies) and High School Musical (another favorite) were the movies of choice. We snacked on popcorn and played Monopoly. She smiled and giggled and we laughed together in between moments of being a smidge jealous of the time had to spend on my nephew and her buying up all her favorite avenues and street and collected her rent.
At the end of the night as my nephew tried to see if he could out last both of us, Francine laid on the couch snuggling up with me as I fed him. I smiled and gazed into my nephews eyes and took moments to rub Fracine’s back as her eyes opened and closed fighting off sleep. Just as I thought she had finally surrendered to the sand man I looked down to see her staring at me. She looked up and just stared at me and smiled.
“What?!” I giggled as I stared back at her.
“You’re really good at that momma,” answered sweetly.
I smiled at her kissing her forehead her and tucking her in again as my heart melted.
“Thank you sweetie. I try,” and I kissed her good night one more time.
Piloting being a 1:1 iPad classroom* and being an almost completely paperless classroom left me filled me up and wanting more. It inspired me to be a risk taker, it inspired me to follow a brewing passion (technology…duh?!!) and it pushed me to go big, prove to everyone, to show everyone that if the students in my classroom can accomplish this, do this, be successful at this then anyone can…everyone should!!! Quite frankly, the end of last years’ school year was career and life changing for me.
When the new school year began this year I was filled up with idea, inspiration and a ton of tricks I was going to try in my classroom. We were going to seriously rock it as a 1:1 iPad. Only I forgot to do one thing…. I forgot to check to make sure that I would even be able to be a 1:1 iPad classroom. Call me naive, call me dumb, say duhhh Carrie, but I seriously believed that if we seriously rocked the 1:1 iPad pilot …I mean rocked it so hard the audiences would cheer and clap and break down the stage if we didn’t come back out for an encore rocked it there would be no way that our technology awesomeness could be denied. Well it was and not just in a just wait a bit it will happen or maybe next year style…it was a road block. Full on stop traffic.
I thought about crying in a vat of coffee and piles of chocolates or get so mad I’d bust, but really neither of those would solve my problem…coffee and chocolate are so very nice though. We were a classroom full of skilled iPad users/paperless classroom with some access to iPads and we would no longer be able to be paperless. What was I going to do…
I decided that I was going to ignore this stupid road block and take it upon myself to find away around it. It might take longer, it might mean I’ll have to ask for direction, it might mean we have to conquer some mountains but gosh darn it we were loading up the car and we were going to get there. We were going to get back to being a 1:1 iPad classroom.
First I reassessed any students who were not already being evaluated for assistive technology. Were there any other students (last year we identified two) that if we took the technology away from them it would significantly impact their organization, their access to information, their participation in class etc. We identified two more.
Second (and this was super hard for me) I had to have a talk with my students who would not qualify for assistive technology. I explained to them the situation and told them that we would still be using technology, we would work together to pick a preferred technology tool and they would become an expert at it. It would have to be a tool that was accessible by desktop. We would also go back to hand writing notes and worksheets.
Third I decided I needed to stay ahead of the game. I needed to continue to use all the new tools and techniques I was learning about. I needed technology stayed ever present and an active part of every period, every lesson, conversations…an ever present tool.
Fourth (and final) I was going to make sure I made and took opportunities to teach others. I was going to make sure I took opportunities to work with my peers, help them figure out technology, how to use something, how to create with something. I was going to work with our tech person to make opportunities for me to help her or for me to teach staff some of the tools I use with students.
…most of all I was not going to give up. I would keep sharing, keep talking, keep asking, keep moving forward with as much technology because road blocks can’t last forever and if they do I’ll just find a way around them!
A Note about the post… I am fully aware of how very lucky I am as an educator to work in the district I work in. I am also extremely grateful for the tools and technology that I have to teach with. Technology is an amazingly fantastic tool that is powerful and has so very much to offer students. When you know the technology is there and you know its potential its hard to not have it. I also know money doesn’t grow on trees!
*A classroom that each student has their own individual iPad to use, in many cases (in mine) the students are allowed to also bring them home to use
“Really? Sunday?! I don’t know,” he said with a deep sigh “Our Sunday is already so packed busy and there’s football. I’d miss it! “
“That’s okay. I talked to my friend and she said we can move it ourselves,” I replied confidently.
Sunday came along I was ready to do it all by myself.
“I’m coming with you,” he insisted. “I want to make sure you can drive that truck.”
“I’ll be fine. I’ve driven U-Haul moving truck before. I can do it,” I insisted back giving him the stare…you know… the I’m serious about this stare because…
I could do it all by myself!
“Ok, I’m still coming with you,” he said like he knew something I didn’t.
“Ok. If you really think you need to!” I answered.
We picked up the moving truck from the local U-Haul. It was big but not too big. I was confident that I could drive it myself. So what if it was raining cats and dogs. So what if I had to take the highway to get to my friends house. So what if I could only use the side mirrors to change lanes and couldn’t check my blind spots.
I was going to do it all by myself!
Satisfied that I would be okay driving the truck (or done arguing with me about what I can and cannot do) he followed me in the car to my friends house.
I managed to make it to my friends house without running anybody off the road, cutting anybody off, having to slam on the brakes, or causing any crashes…and I didn’t get lost! Win Win Win!!
See I could do it myself!
Safe and sound at my friends house I could hardly wait to get it onto the truck and get it home.
“It doesn’t look too heavy,” I say with a smile looking up to see my husband give me the are you freakin’ kidding me look?!
An easy push down the short entryway to the front door, through the front door and over the first step…
“That wasn’t too bad!” I said smiling, “It was easy.”
We could have totally done this all by ourselves.
“Easy???” My husband said as sweat drips from his forehead.
“Maybe he lifted it more than I thought,” I considered for a second… “nahhhhhhh”
Down the second step my husband gives me another…seriously you really got this look… followed up with an I’m the real muscle here Carrie gaze. I ignored him and kept pulling it down the sidewalk pathway toward the truck.
We could have totally done this all by ourselves.
Up steep ramp that it just barely fit up and almost fell off of.
On to the truck.
Secured in the truck.
Another 30 miles to our house.
As we backed the truck in our driveway, I remembered the ramp it would barely fit down, looked at the pathway to our front door, saw the two stairs up to our front doorway and was suddenly giddily relieved to see our neighbor pull in his driveway and over joyed when he asked if he could help because…
DON’T TELL MY HUSBAND!
“Mommy come color with me,” Francine asks after dinner.
“I’m sorry sweetie mommy has tons of chores I need to do. You can color and I’ll come when I am done.”
I turn to see an understandably frowny, disappointed face. My hands reach for the sponge and the next plate that needs to be washed. The kitchen is suddenly silent.
“Mommy what can I do to help you finish your chores faster?” Francine inquires
After lifting myself off the floor in shock…
I turn to Francine and smile, “Really, you want to help Mommy?!”
“Yes, Mommy,” she smiles and says in the sweetest and most sincere five year old voice.
“OOOOOkaaaay. You can start by helping make the lunches.”
As I rinse the last dishes, move on to the load of laundry that needs to be washed and the other one that needs to be folded Francine puts pretzels into sandwich bags. I send out reminders of what to do next from the laundry room. I pick up my pace, working faster to get these chores done so I could sit and color with her.
With time left to spare and a couple of chores left for later, because seriously how can I possibly let down a little girl down who is willing to help Mommy with chores. It was time to color!
I still never know what is going to happen when I craft or color with my girls. I am constantly inspired by them and blown away by their imaginations. This night at the table was no different. After taping together and coloring two cardboard toilet paper rolls and a paper towel roll (don’t ask… she’s five… it’s her vision. I don’t ask) we did some free drawing. After doodling a bit the pink crayon called for me. My mind took me back to a note I had made for myself months ago. My hand faught me. I had never been any good at drawing with crayons. Before I know it the crayon is in hand, obeying my movement and Fred was born.
Fred has dreams…big pink accessorized, leotard and legwarmer dreams. Dreams of toes pointed, tutus and twirls and pirouettes…
. . . . .
My daughters inspiration does not end here…
I seriously can not tell you how incredibly..oozing with excited I am for the coming weeks. My daughters… Olivia 7 and Francine 6 are going to start joining me here! They are going to take their picture, drawings, stories and life experiences and start to share their words here too!
I can hardly stand the wait… the wait for Olivia to share her words with you. Her illustrations will take you to fantastically magical worlds that intertwine her life’s experiences with creatures, superheros and magical worlds of her imagination.
Francine is also excited to share. A little of this, a lot of that and who knows what else?! She loves to help me cook and bake, but dislikes almost everything she helps me make. She can even show you which exact tooth is her sweet tooth. She is colorful, crafty and is always looking for the next thing to make out of anything she can find. I really never know what fantastically crafty, imaginative creation she will cook up.
Creativity is oozzing! We have so much more to share!
Three weeks ago EVERYTHING changed.
EVERYTHING changed and it is all your fault!
You see when I first started blogging I was terrified. I knew I wanted to be part of this space, but I was terrified. I was terrified to share to much about myself. Terrified of what others would think. Terrified I might mess up and post something really stupid. I was terrified, but I did it anyway… I wrote.
Then you came along.
and suddenly this world that was terrifying and unknown became fantastically beautiful. The fear I’d had about sharing too much and revealing my identity was replaced by confidence. Now this world is full of amazing new friends, a fantastic community of woman I have come to adore and only wonderfully fantastic experiences. Slowly everything I feared disappeared and this space has become a heck awesome place share, create, write and have fun!
So three weeks ago I did it…
After months of creating and designing it was ready.
The words flowed from my hands, easier and freer then I have ever experienced. The passion and expertise I had for my craft did not let me down. Before I knew it words filled my page.
I hit publish.
For the first time Carrie, Special Education teacher shared her voice as the deeply passionate Special Education teacher.
and I just want to say THANK YOU!
I am very excited to share this new adventure with all of you. It is because of what you all have done for me that I even felt brave enough to share my voice on this new space. While I know most of you do not come here to read about special education, education or teaching tools, from time to time I will share with you here my affair with my other blog. Quite frankly, it is a part of me I am deeply passionate about, I am giddy to be writing there and it is something I am very proud of!
Creativity has been oooozing for me and so have my opportunities for design. This time I got to work with teacher and it has been (has been because I am not quite done with one, but I’ll let you have a peek). Anytime I get a cance to work with woman and help them set up and create their spaces it is moving. Blogging and finding my voice has been life changing for me. So have the friend I have made. Each time I help another design their space I warmly smile because I know the same possibilities await them on their adventure.
This first blog I designed for a friend and fellow teacher who is a … Of all the designs I have created this one came the fastest to me. Channeling my inner Jen I was easily able to create a space that fit her personality,who she is as an educator and what she wants her blog to stand for. And to top it all off her tag line (I’m a tag line creating freak. Get out the thesaurus and weave words together in creative and fun ways! My kind on fun)… We hit it out of the ball park!!!
The second design I worked on…errr…am working on…errr I finally finished! It was also for another fellow educator. This one has been a labor of love. Tweeks and updates and changes and more changes and thinking it worked and then realizing it wasn’t just right. Unlike Jen’s, this design, has not come so simply (and after Jen’s I was kind of disappointed). Randee’s vision was very different then Jen’s. She wanted to start a community for fellow teachers to share and talk. S he had a vision, but is also very ambitious about what she wants to offer fellow teachers. She is eager to inspire, connect and bring out the best in fellow teachers. I wanted to create the perfect space for that.
It has been a fantastic journey and wonderful chance to work and connect with teachers.
So while I may not be here…
I am always busy creating!!
I am not actually much of a Valentine’s Day celebrator. It is however an excuse to make cards, eat candy and for me draw Moose and cupcakes!
What is not to like about that!
Today Moose wanted to make sure your Valentine’s Day was just right! He brought you balloons and a cupcake!
To help celebrate her birthday I have decided that I am serving cupcakes.
I have two free printables for you celebrating all things Kirsten…. cupcakes, life and friendship.
So please pull up a chair an help yourself to some!!
Download, print, share and then head over to Kirsten’s and wish her a Happy Birthday!!!
Friday night twitter introduced me to a whole new wonderful social media medium.
6 seconds of magically looping infinite addicting fun!
…and I am IN LOVE!!!
It is called Vine.
Vine is an iOS mobile service app that lets you create and share beautiful, short looping videos. It’s life in 6 seconds of looping motion. To me it is a fun and whole new way to share life with video and I can not wait to see where it goes! Here are a few of the ones I have made so far…
Saturday Night beverage