Love

My Super Cute (ok… cheesy) Valentine’s Day Present for My Husband

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This is the Valentine’s Day gift that I made for my hubby this year. We don’t do big, fancy gifts for Valentines (or really ever, except for maybe Christmas) but I always try to get him something small and thoughtful that I think he will like. This year was the year of the food gifts. I picked some of his favorite junk foods and attached some cheesy sayings to them that were a play on words related to the snack, put them all in a basket, and- voila! – a deliciously cute gift my husband adored! (I gave it to him a little early since I won’t be home on the actual day.)

Here’s what I bought for my basket

  • Flaming hot Cheetos
  • Mountain Dew
  • Swedish Fish
  • Hershey’s Kisses
  • Snapple
  • Turtles
  • Coffee

Then I found and created some cute things to put on the tags to match the items.

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But his favorite part of the whole thing was this goofy card I made him

 

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I wish I could take full credit for that, but I did get the idea from Pinterest.

Now I just have to figure out what I’m going to do to top this next year…..

Happy Valentine’s Day! ❤️

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Teaching

Speaking a Smarter Language

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My English department recently had a guest speaker talk to us about teaching grammar in the high school classroom. The speaker was a college professor who had his doctorate in something to do with linguistics. I’m sure it was much more specialized than that, but that’s really what I remember. He talked a lot about how grammar, which was once seen as all important, has been almost demonized in our education system. There were years in the early 90’s where almost no grammar was taught at all, and that had a devastating effect on how kids read and write and blah blah blah.

I’m not saying he wasn’t an engaging speaker (actually, he was incredibly entertaining!)… I just don’t necessarily want a grammar history lesson. It doesn’t seem to have anything to do with how to actually teach writing or speaking. Then he said something that really stuck with me:

We all speak several different languages every day.

Wow. He’s right. And subconsciously, I knew that. I know that the way I am “speaking” on this blog is not the same as the way I speak when I text, or email, or give a presentation, or a million other ways that I communicate every day. But I never thought of it as a whole separate language before.

I loved the way that he described our different communication styles as new languages so much, that I told my students all about it that same day. We are, after all, just beginning a formal, persuasive research paper. We had talked about grammar a little bit (as much as my very limited knowledge of how to teach grammar and not bore the pants off my kids would allow) and even talked at length about why writing well matters for the future, but it wasn’t really coming across to them why they had to use certain words in their writing, or omit certain words, or not use text speak, etc.

As we had our class conversation on speaking different languages though, in a moment of true teaching how-did-I-think-of-that-just-now awesomeness, I said that writing a formal essay is like speaking our “smarter” language. So we can’t use words like can’t, because that’s how the every day us would speak. And we can’t say your or I, because we have to find a way to elevate our language, and make a point without making ourselves the center of everything, or generalizing that you will always agree with me, or pandering to our audience.

Essays, college applications, job applications, cover letters – they’re all our smarter language. “Speaking” through those mediums is the way that we want people to perceive us. We’re intelligent, we’re articulate, we’re educated, and so much more. We’re better than that other guy who made seven spelling errors and used incomplete sentences. Hire us instead. Let us into that highly competitive program instead.

Good writing matters. It sets us apart from others. It makes us the smarter versions of us. And who wouldn’t want that?

Until next time,
Kayla

In a more lighthearted look at how writing matters, I showed my class the following Grammar Fails presentation. If someone does use it, could you let me know! I would love to see if other kids enjoy it as much as my students did!! Thanks!

Grammar Fails ppt

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Santa Tulle Wreath

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I love Christmas! It is absolutely my favorite time of the year. I know that it has been over now for a few weeks, but I was on Pinterest today pinning away stuff for next Christmas when I looked at a pin I had added just before this Christmas. It has been re-pinned 168 times! That may not be a lot when you consider that some posts are re-pinned thousands of times, but I’ve never had anything that I have personally created shared more than maybe 5 times. So it’s a big deal for me!

The Santa tulle wreath that I made was so easy and fun to do. I found an old Santa hat that I had bought from the dollar store and pinned it in place on a styrofoam wreath I bought at Hobby Lobby for around 3 or 4 dollars. Then I got some sparkly white tulle from Hobby Lobby as well. I bought it half off ( as I always do with tulle) so it cost me about 3 bucks.

When I make tutus or wreaths I always take a side of a case of Coke that I cut off a long time ago. I wrap the tulle around it and then cut on one end so all of my tulle is the same length. This little hack I found on Pinterest makes life so much easier.

Then it was just a matter of tying the tulle pieces in double knots all around the bottom of the wreath. I made mine pretty full, but you could use as much, or as little, tulle as you want. I found the little stocking pin in a box of jewelry my husband had bought at a local auction. I think it makes the whole wreath that much cuter!

I got so many compliments on it that
I’m thinking of making more next year to sell at some local craft fairs, among other things.

If you’re like me, and enjoy crafting, but don’t find that much time to devote to it, this little wreath is perfect. It won’t take too much time, but it looks great! Happy crafting!

Until next time,
Kayla

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Juniors and Fear of the Tongue

A new semester has begun, and, being the mean teacher that I am, I have assigned my Juniors an informative speech due at the end of this week.  The assignment is simple enough: Find information  to share with the class on a college, trade school, military branch or other after high school alternative of your choice using three different resources. Present a 3 to 5 minute speech  on your findings.

And there it is, the unavoidable groans and the faces turning slightly green with the idea of having to speak in front of the class. The arguments and promises that this is going to be horrific for all involved:

A whole 3 minutes?!?! Mrs. Bone, you must be crazy! That’s, like, forever! 

But I’m no good at giving speeches!

I am so going to do bad on this assignment. 

What if my speech is really boring?

And yet, the assignment stands because this is something that I feel passionately about. Students need to learn how to speak formally in front of a group. They’re all going to have to do it someday whether it’s at a job interview, during a college admissions process, or at their future jobs. Every single one of these students is going to have to know how to appropriately speak to another human being whether they are running for president, or asking if you would like fries with your meal.

It’s not that they don’t ever speak in my class. Quite the opposite actually. My class is comprised mostly of whole class and small group discussions. Something about standing up at the head of the class all by themselves is what sends my students into a tizzy. It’s not that they don’t know how to speak in front of their classmates, they do it every day when they shout across the room or participate in class, it’s that they don’t know how to speak FORMALLY. They lack the confidence to get up on their own and speak with conviction about something they have researched all by themselves. They are afraid of screwing up, using too much slang, forgetting their speech, saying umm far too many times, of sounding like an idiot. What if they sound like an idiot?!?

Well, what if they do? It won’t be the first or the last time that they will make a mistake when speaking to people. Yes, it probably will be a little embarrassing, but honestly, how many people are going to catch, or even remember the mistakes anyway? How many people sitting in that classroom are going to care that a classmate mispronounced a word, or took a bit too long of a pause when presenting? Why do so many of them suffer from selected glossophobia and how do I fix it?

My first instinct was to remind them that they speak in front of each other every day. To try to get them to understand how important and applicable public speaking was going to be once they left their little world of high school. I knew I could talk until I was blue in the face on the importance of learning to speak well, and the fact that it was okay to mess up a little, and they wouldn’t look or sound as bad as they had it made out in their heads, but none of the encouraging talk from me was going to be as good as showing them.

The other teachers and I put our heads together and decided on a plan of action. We would show the students a video on someone who was a terrible public speaker. It had to be someone they could relate to, a young star that most would recognize, that some would like. And it hit us: Kristen Stewart. Because she’s awful. Just seriously awful. Really.

So, we found this awesome article (with great video examples!) to present to the class in powerpoint form: http://www.thegrindstone.com/2012/06/04/career-management/dos-and-donts-strategy/10-things-we-can-learn-about-public-speaking-from-kristen-stewart-597/

And turned it into this awesome powerpoint: Kristen Stewart – Public Speaking (1) (Yes, we sited the article and told the kids to make sure they were not plagiarizing and that we didn’t plagiarize, etc.)

And told our students that they couldn’t possibly be any more embarrassing than that. The students loved it, and it actually made sense to them. Their selected fear of the tongue seems to alleviated for now, and I feel like a successful teacher for the day.

Until next time,

Kayla

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The change starts now

Today started out with a bowl of vanilla yogurt, a few teddy grahams mixed in, a bottle of water and a homemade Starbucks iced coffee. Maybe not the best breakfast, but for someone who rarely ever eats breakfast (and when I do, it’s usually a slice of Casey’s pizza and a 32 ounce fountain soda) it was a pretty good change from the usual. And that’s what this little blog experiment of mine is all about: change. I desperately need it in my life. My family needs it from me.

I am not unhappy with my life. It’s exactly the opposite, actually. I have a wonderful, loving husband and a beautiful, happy, healthy little girl. I love my job teaching high school English to Juniors and Seniors. There are many many things in my life that I consider wonderful blessings, but there is always room for improvement in anyone’s life. A person who tells you that they have nothing in their lives that they would change is either lying or delusional. The truth is, we don’t like to admit to other people that we want more, or that life could be better. Hell, most of the time we don’t want to admit it to ourselves.

I’m not talking major, life shattering, unattainable change. I’m simply talking about a few easy(ish) changes that will have a great impact on my life. My resolutions, if you will. But these resolutions aren’t just for this coming year; No, these are changes that I am determined to maintain for the long haul. This is my life renovation. And the change starts today with one little bowl of yogurt.

I am not crazy enough to believe that anyone will really read this blog, or that it will really help anyone make changes in their lives. I am simply writing this blog as a way to be accountable to myself. These are the promises that I would like to keep to me. But if you do happen to run across my little corner of the blogosphere, I hope you enjoy sharing in my journey. Until next time.

Wishing you plenty of changes,
Kayla

My Resolutions:

• Eat less junk. Be more conscious of the food I am putting into my body. Just because it tastes good doesn’t mean that it is good. This also includes moving more and sitting around less.

• Travel/experience more. Own/buy less. Things will only give me temporary joy. Memories will bring joy for a lifetime.

• Be more grateful. Complain less. Because my life is good, and sometimes I need to step back and remember that.

• Spend more quality time with my family. This means less time on our devises and more time actually together- not just in the same room.

• Keep the distractions at bay and do the activities I keep telling myself I want to do i.e. learning to sew, making crafts, reading, baking and cooking, learning sign language, or a new religion, or how to play piano, whatever. I have more time for these than I think I do when I am constantly distracted by tv and smartphones.

• Kick ass at my job. And be thankful that I have a job to go to in the morning when I don’t want to get out of bed. I have so many plans for this semester. I can’t wait to share them with my students!

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