Gratitude Challenge: Something That Makes Me Smile

     I smile all the time. So when it came time to pick something that makes me smile to write about, it seemed like it might be hard to pick. But then, I thought about my days at school lately, and I knew what I needed to write about. 

    I am so grateful for all the love that comes my way through drawings and letters from my students. I have a wall behind my desk that is dedicated to being a gallery for things I am given. It is overflowing with drawings and little notes. Each time a student gives me something, it makes me smile. I am sure that is why I keep getting things. The students in my classroom see how it makes me smile when I get things and they really love to make me happy. 

    It is sometimes hard to remember why I like doing what I do. These little notes and drawings help to bring focus to why I am there. Each small gift from a student gives me a small moment to celebrate. That is priceless. 


Celebrate This Week-11/12


It’s Saturday and that means it is time to reflect on the week and celebrate things both big and small. Join our community and celebrate this week by linking up or just stopping by the host Ruth Ayres’ blog to read others’ celebrations.

My Classroom

This was the first week in the school year that we made it through the whole week without anyone storming out of the classroom or having a meltdown and needing to be removed. In fact, a couple days this week we actually got through all of the learning that I had planned. This is huge! I have been slowly and calmly working to earn the trust of my most needy students. I am working to chip away at their knee-jerk reactions and impulse to talk back and argue about everything. I am coaxing them to give things a try and work to develop a growth mindset. And we are making progress. It is slow progress, but it is happening. 

There is never a day in my classroom in which we achieve full silence. There are just too many kids that can’t do it. Someone somewhere in the room is wiggling or making noise at all times. So it isn’t surprising that when kids are starting to gain confidence with something, they loudly call it out. Our math lessons this week were joyfully noisy, because those impulsive kiddos were starting to understand the area model that we have been working on and then loudly proclaiming their success. I worked hard to patiently admonish them for their outbursts, while at the same time celebrating with them those successful moments that are much-needed boosts to their confidence. 

I also want to celebrate the exuberant noise of our board game time. It gets loud. Very loud. But, through the noise, we learn to play with each other without conflict. We learn to have fun with classmates that may not be the people we play with outside for recess. We spend time enjoying our community. 

I added a gratitude box to our daily reflection sheet and I loved some responses this week. 

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Last, but certainly not least, I want to celebrate the love that I am showered with every day. I must’ve received at least 20 pieces of student artwork this week. I can’t remember the last time I had a class with so many students so eager to draw me pictures and write me notes and cards.  It is a reminder about the fact that sometimes the most difficult students are the ones that need the most love. 

At Home

I am just celebrating a nice weekend with nothing special planned. I enjoy the time to relax and rejuvenate. 

What do you have to celebrate this week? I would love to hear from you in the comments!


Gratitude Challenge: Quiet

     Every morning, I spend an hour with myself. I use the quiet hours of the early morning to read, write and reflect while I drink coffee. As an introvert, this quiet time by myself is like a battery to charge my soul. If I don’t get this time, I am a little off the rest of the day. 

     For the last year or so, I have also added meditation into the morning routine. Taking the time for stillness has really helped me to learn control of my emotions at high stress times. I use guided meditations to help me to center myself and begin my day in a peaceful place. 

    I am thankful that I am able to have this morning quiet to begin each day. 


Gratitude Challenge: Technology

     I vividly remember the first time I heard that people were working on a technology to create the internet. I was in my first year of college, in 1996, and fascinated by the fact that I could send message to my friends at other universities. At that point in time, the University of Minnesota had come up with an e-mail system that could be accessed from ones university account. It was like science fiction coming to life. We were hearing rumors about this thing that would exist where people could look up information right from their computers. It seemed so unbelievable that something like that would exist. 

This scene from Back to the Future 2 was one that I remembered well, because the idea of video calls was so fascinating. It seemed like that would never actually happen. It was such a thing of Science Fiction.

       Fast forward to 2016. We have computers that fit in the palm of your hand, maps that are scary accurate at telling you where you are, virtual tours that make you feel like you are in that place, and video calls that let you see your loved ones face to face and feel like you are in the same room. Twenty years have passed, and hardly anyone can imagine doing things the old-fashioned way. Many people have a smart phone and look things up all the time. I pull my iPhone out during many conversations to look something up. We have apps that track our health data. There is an entire library of music on our phones or in our computers or both. It is incredible how these technologies have continued to improve. 

    I am grateful for the technology that helps us be informed and to keep track of our loved ones. 


Gratitude Challenge: Hobbies, Work, Friends and Family

I am a few days behind on my gratitude challenge, so I will catch up in this post. Today I am grateful for hobbies, work, and friends and family. 


I am thankful for my blog. I started it to keep the assignments for Teachers Write the first summer the program was offered. Then, I continued to post in it in order to have a forum to make book suggestions to my middle school students. It has morphed and changed throughout the years.  Now, it is a place for me to reflect. There are two regular posts that I keep up with for the most part each week. A Monday collection of what I have been reading, and a Saturday celebration of the week. I enjoy taking time to write reflections and I definitely benefit from looking for celebrations. It has helped me be more mindful. 


Teachers have a very difficult job. It has become more difficult in the last few years, with more paperwork and more expected of us.

My class this year has 27 students. 5 of those students have anger management issues, 3 students are newly arrived refugees who are learning English, 6 of those students have IEPs, and many of those students have attention issues and extremely short attention spans. According to our first district assessment, 4 students are on level in reading and 4 students are on level in math. Everyone else needs extra support to get to grade-level. I don’t say all this to complain, just to paint a picture of my current reality. I am exhausted at the end of every school day. 

It is true that I have to work extremely hard and that my job sometimes (always) stresses me out. Yet, I am extremely thankful for the opportunity to be a teacher. I thrive on the challenge. I know how much these little souls need consistent love and encouragement and I know I can do that. It is rewarding to see the lightbulbs come on, to receive the hand-made presents and the sincere and tight hugs. I can honestly tell you that I am making a difference in the lives of many kiddos. That is powerful stuff!

Last Spring, I read Sir Ken Robinson’s guide about finding your element. I found the ideas very enlightening, but I didn’t really need to do the exercises. My element has already been found. I am very grateful for that. 

Friends and Family

I am grateful for all the people that I love. I have a great network of supportive friends and amazing family. 

Celebrate This Week-11/6


It’s Saturday and that means it is time to reflect on the week and celebrate things both big and small. Join our community and celebrate this week by linking up or just stopping by the host Ruth Ayres’ blog to read others’ celebrations.

My Classroom

There are so many things that happen every day that cause me to step back and celebrate. My favorite thing this week was the time we took to learn about student stories on ClassDojo. I am looking forward to using this feature to help kiddos to make a digital portfolio of their learning. The students enjoyed taking selfies and posting them. 

I also want to celebrate the chance I got this week to organize part of my shelves. It is something that really drives me nuts each day, so getting my organization on made me very joyful. 

The last thing I want to celebrate in the classroom is the fact that I have hit upon a diffuser blend that seems to be working for us. I am diffusing a mix of Balance, Serenity, and Cheer. All three of these oil blends are specifically formulated for aromatherapy to act as the names say. I really think we have more peace and less toxic negativity when this combination is in our air.

At Home

I had a very successful meeting on Saturday morning and I am excited about where things will go from here. I now have some great prospects for ways to share doTERRA with others and I am looking forward to it.

I made a Paleo pumpkin bread recipe that tastes amazing! I love that I am eating something healthier for me than the traditional recipes while also getting to enjoy pumpkin spice and the yumminess of that.  I need to experiment more with baking gluten free goodies for myself. 

What do you have to celebrate this week? I would love to hear from you in the comments!


Gratitude Challenge: Transportation

     I am thankful for our cars. It is nice to be able to afford two vehicles so that we each can get to the things we enjoy. Although we could get by with one car, I am so grateful that we are able to continue to have two cars. 

   I absolutely love our Toyota Venza. We bought it new last year and it has all the bells and whistles. It is so nice to have a car with extra cargo space. 

I am grateful for the cars that we have that help us to get to the places we want to go. 



Gratitude Challenge: Something I do Every Day

    I am so thankful for the ability to read. In recent years, with my diagnosis of Relapsing Remitting Multiple Sclerosis, I have been much more aware of how lucky I am to be able to see well and think well and read every day. 

   Reading has always been the thing I write under hobbies on surveys. I read avidly and voraciously. I love to read so many different types of books. 

   I read self-improvement books in the morning each day and then throughout the day I find time to read novels. If not any other time of day, I read for at least 30 minutes before bed. Because I am a teacher, I believe it is part of my job to read young adult and children’s titles. I love breezing through new children’s books and connecting to other teachers to share the love. 

I am thankful for reading. 


Gratitude Challenge: Something I Use Every Day

Today I am writing my gratitude post about something I use every day. For me, the most life-changing thing that I now use every day is my doTERRA essential oils. I love how oils support my health goals and help me to deal with aches and pains.

doTERRA oils are so amazing and I love using them every day in many ways. I take a drop of Frankincense each morning, roll on InTune for focus, put on my roller that I made for supporting my MS, take an OnGuard beadlet, and put Breathe on my chest, and Balance on my wrists. These oils start my day and get me out the door with extra support for my immune system. 

During the day, I diffuse every day in my classroom. I really think the diffuser helps all of us to maintain our balance and keeps us all calmer. The blend I use this year almost every day is Balance, Serenity, and Cheer. I love the way the oils clean our air and give us a good smell. I also love the way the oils help all of us to regulate our moods. 

Learning about oils has been one of the best things that I have done in my life. I love being able to deal with my health issues with oils instead of always reaching for over-the-counter medicine. I have changed my home cleaning routines, and my bath and body products to reduce the toxins in my environment. 

I am so grateful for my doTERRA essential oils and the opportunity they give me to share oils with others and educate them about wellness. 



Gratitude Challenge: Nature

Fall is my favorite time of year. The leaves are so beautiful. It is a crisp and clean feeling in the air. 

The apple orchards and pumpkin farms that people visit are so much fun. I love to taste apple and pumpkin everything, especially pumpkin bars. 

Getting out to experience nature is always such a great way to relax. I absolutely love living in a place in which I can actually experience all four seasons. I am so thankful for that.