Wednesday, March 18, 2020

A little Disney magic...

So Dr. lets us collect ourselves and then meets us in the office.  We get a pink notebook where we are to write down all of our questions.  Where do I even start? Next step is an MRI so we can locate the exact location of the tumor. We need more information: how big, what stage, is it in the lymph nodes, how do we collect all this information?  I am trusting these doctors and I have faith there is a reason for all this, what can it be?

We leave with our heads spinning and Kaile is texting and Carson and how am I going to tell them?  We say we will talk about it when we get to the house and they know. It was a quiet ride home and we will face it all head on.  We will go to the doctor appointments, listen to the advice, and come out on the other end a stronger family.  We tell the kids and Kaile goes WIDE right, from 0 to 80, and there is nothing I can do as her mom to comfort her through this news. Carson is hearing the news but is he listening? I want to go to Disney. I know it sounds crazy but we got the news and really what am I going to do sit around and cry all day or worse reading on the internet? No I want to go to Disney World Hollywood Studios.  I want to ride my favorite rides. I want to walk with my family. I want to feel that Disney Magic. We get in the car and drive over and it is a quiet ride.  We get there and ride Toy Story Mania. I lose of course and the thoughts of cancer are there but I just can't explain it. I needed this time away with the ones I love the most.  We ate at Sci-Fi Theater and it was great! Luckily we got to sit in the car and watch old black and white movies while eating cheeseburgers and drink milkshakes. We spend the day at Hollywood Studios and then back home.  I tell them this was not how they wanted to spend their day but Thank you because it was how I needed to spend my day.  I love my family and for them I would do anything.  We will get through this together as a family.

Friday, March 6, 2020

Next step and then wait to hear...

We tell the kids the truth and they are worried. Of course they have questions but we try to calm their fears the next step is a biopsy and then we wait.  The biopsy was alright. The nurses were calming and the technicians talked through each step and before you know it it is over. Then we wait to hear the results from my OB/GYN. So in true style I book fast passes for Hollywood Studios to celebrate after the doctor visit because I am that sure she is going to say everything is fine. We go in, wait and when walks in she asks how we are doing. We are alright just anxious waiting for the results. Then she says, "There is no easy way to say this, you have breast cancer." Tim and I look at each other and I am in disbelief at what I have just heard. No, I can't have breast cancer. I crossfit like 7 days a week most week. I eat healthy-ish most of the time. I don't drink. I don't smoke. I just had a mammogram last year. How can I have cancer? How are we going to tell the kids? I can't have cancer! What am I going to do about school and the kids? I can't have cancer! I need like another 30 years with Tim. What am I going to tell my mom and dad? I can't have cancer. I look at Tim and we hug and he tells me everything is going to alright. I cry a few tears and I have never loved him more.

Thursday, March 5, 2020

Seriously I will schedule time to blog...

I have let life get in the way and days turn into weeks into months into years, well no longer here we go back to blogging and sharing my journey with the world.

This is my 4th year as the STEM special area teacher at Cypress Creek Elementary and it has grown in so many ways.  I can't wait to share with all of you and brag on these students and teachers here in Port Orange.  Before I get to that I am also getting back into blogging for a selfish reason to share my story, my why as Tech Ninja Todd would say.  You might not know him as Tech Ninja Todd but Todd Nesloney. He will always be a hero to me from way back to the Miami Device days.  He now podcasts Tell Your Story and you should subscribe it you don't already. I could listen to him all day.

My story changed in September when I was diagnosed with breast cancer 3 days before my 48th birthday.  I went in August for my annual mammogram and then they asked me back for a 2nd one.  I thought it was odd but alright they error on the side of caution right?  I was sitting there in the pink gown along with 2 other ladies waiting to hear if we needed an ultrasound next.  The nurse walks over to the first lady and tells her they are alright and will monitor at the next mammogram. Another nurse walks over to the second lady and tells her the same thing. In my mind I said oh great I am going to be the 1 in 3 that needs an ultrasound. Sure enough I get called back for an ultrasound, a closer look, still believing oh it will be fine.  I ask if my husband can go in with me and was told no so I had to lay on that table by myself. It was so scary and of course the technician cannot tell ou a thing but they click and click away taking images. Finally the radiologist comes in and says we are sending you in for a biopsy. I remember it is alright and make sure to breathe.

As I am riding home with my hubby all I can think about is how and what are we going to tell the kids.  Kaile is 18 and Carson is soon to be 16.  Kaile's best friend recently had a mom pass from breast cancer and another friend's mom was stage 3 rare strain and given 6-12 months to live.  She is my heart for sure, my first born, the strong young lady changing her college plans, another story another day. We are  going to tell them the truth and it will be fine.  We are doing what the doctors think is best and really I am healthy, work out daily, eat right, don't drink, and don't smoke so we will be fine.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Back at it again...

Well fast forward to 2019 and here we are in Port Orange teaching STEM at Cypress Creek Elementary.  I wanted to write about a situation that occurred a few weeks ago and has me thinking.

I prepped the STEM classroom with Lego WeDo sets ready on the tables, objectives posted, calming music playing while the 4th graders walked in and then I heard it, "Oh I already know how to do this. I know what we are doing. I can do it." It struck me right in the heart. Legos, how in the world could you already possible know what we are going to do-Legos have a million and one in possibilities. How can anyone else get a word in if you already know and are you going to let me do anything?

How many of us walk in to any number of situations and think yay I know this. Then it came to me, if you walk in to a situation and think you know it all, you won't learn a thing.  Seriously, take a minute to let that sink in. I talked to the class and shared my thoughts.  We talked a few minutes about learning new things and I pointed out their teacher talks about the growth mindset in class.

Maybe just maybe we can take a moment and not know everything.  After 25 years of teaching I am amazed at how I learn from students every day and even teachers.  I recently attended the Get Your Teach On conference in Orlando.  Saving that one for another blog post but let's just say I am still learning.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Top 10 for 2016-2017

Well that school year flew right by...
I decided to maybe do a Top 10 of my absolute favorite STEM activities from the year, after all I have like 9,000 photos saved on my phone. Yes, you read that correctly 9,000 photos. New plan Top 10 for the last 10 months and we start with September. So take a wild ride these next few weeks as I catch you up on the BEST year ever...being the STEM Special Area teacher for Cypress Creek Elementary.

After talking about being a digital citizen and getting to know one another the first few weeks the 1st challenge was posed to the intermediate students.  They had to make a crayon organizer out of available materials.  We needed to have a common definition of organized and what better way that Kahoot!  It was so much fun showing various pictures and hearing the oh my! and what? when the kids saw them and had to decide is it organized or not.  After that students were given  list of available materials and the planning started.
How big was the organizer going to be?  How would it organize the crayons? What about color pencils?  How would you decorate? maybe label? oh the possibilities were endless.
Since we only have 35 minutes it took a few sessions but the results were amazing!  More to come on that.  One of the materials was toilet tubes and from he donations received my trusty assistant made sure they were all cleaned up for the students.  Isn't she just the best ever!  The kids love having her volunteer every Wednesday and she absolutely has the BEST time with the kindergarten kiddos.
The primary students took part in  #globalcardboardchallenge  One of my favorite teachers, Amy Spies introduced me to Caine's Arcade.  Caine is an exceptional young man that used problem solving, creativity and perseverance to make the world a better place.  If you have a moment watch:

The challenge was to make something, anything out of cardboard and the wheels were turning from the word go.  Ethan was on a mission.  He wanted 26 pieces of cardboard and Ahma was on duty to help cut those pieces of cardboard.
Finished product: a set of alphabet cards and he was so proud of them.  Ethan is a kindergartener with a little sister and I know those cards were put to good use.  I was so impressed with his will and determination through the whole process.  It was going to be an amazing year.
Cypress Creek has PLC weekly for teachers to meet, learn, and collaborate which gives special are an extra 20 minutes with each grade level.  I had a buddy that let me borrow a set of Build to Express kits and I am telling you it turned out the be the BEST thing ever!  The kids loved building, creating, talking, sharing, and groaned when it was time for "diassemble and clean-up." 
Seriously this smile is worth a million LEGOS right?
Caleb loves our custodial staff.  He is the most helpful young man and created a scene of custodians.  I couldn't wait to share it with Mr. Gerry and Ms. Lori.  You never know the impression you leave with a young one.  
Back to the crayon organizers and cardboard challenge, it was a workshop of materials, movement, and you could feel the energy.  The students were impressive with their thinking, their willingness to help one another, and their creativity.  Cameron wanted to create an arcade game to score points by throwing a ball.  Aha got in on the action and it was so cute.
Cameron's next steps are to add point labels and he has some work to do.  One thing I learned quickly was storage! Where was I going to store crayon organizers and cardboard projects for all these students.  Just a glimpse into the storage room.
The T is STEM is for technology so where is the technology?  Up comes Goformative and it is a game changer.  I need to do a whole write up to give it justice. So make sure to check back.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Spring Break 2017

 Who knows better than anyone what the day is like when Spring Break starts at 2:05? A teacher of course.  However we need to use every minute given to us to share and teach our students.  It just so happens to be a challenge for teachers to find something so engaging the students can't help but learn and then walks in  An online whiteboard where you can write, share, collaborate and send in or post your whiteboard images. A special thanks to Cassandra Stewart for sharing the possibilities during a DLTL meeting.
Our 3-5th graders will be taking the state test on the computers and I have planned several lessons on technology to get them familiar with the computer and mouse.  I used a math picture puzzle from @mathmashup to have them solve using the math principals they know.  They received a link for a clean whiteboard from me through Seesaw.  
Their next task was to solve and then download their image to Seesaw so I could see their progress.  It was amazing!
 Do you even see a friend helping another get to use the features ofAwwapp and then posting to Seesaw?
As far as our kindergartener friends and 1st graders, I thought it would be fun to get the green screen out and let them tell you their plans.
Check out the video here: 
Our leaders Dr. L and Becky P. are amazing and every year they put on a staff wide picnic thanks to Christ the King Church which uses our school for their facilities.  We have such  great time laughing and celebrating the end to another successful nine weeks.
Mrs. Nuzzo led us in a prayer to thank Christ the King for their time and dedication for this wonderful lunch.
Church members cooked and fed us all.

There were various games on the tables and we enjoyed a little time to let our hair down.
Did I mention the church also gave out gift cards to 3 lucky winners?  
We enjoyed a yummy treat from Ritter's Frozen Custard after the picnic.
Richard is our hard working Principal Secretary but oh so much more! I know I learned my first few years to make sure to friend the office staff, custodians and cafeteria workers. Richard has the pulse of the school at any given time. There are so many behind the scenes for which none knows he puts it all together and without the gratitude we should have for him. He is our district 2016 Superintendent's Outstanding Achievement Award winner and we are so very blessed to have him with us. I made a promise to myself I would catch this blog up over Spring Break so the first one is the hardest step right? Stay tuned...

Monday, February 6, 2017

Red Ribbon Week 2016

Last year our Guidance Counselor retired and we were blessed to hire Rachel Jeffreis.  She is amazing! A guidance counselor spends hours planning Red Ribbon Week and it can influence a child between making bad choices and better ones.  I was so excited to get around all week and take come of the cutest pictures of our otters and even some of their parents as we celebrated.

Monday was I’m “RED”y to be me
Wearing red has always been a staple of the week but it was a sea of red and made a heart proud!  Don’t get me wrong I do love the uniforms but there is something about all the kids coming together for a cause. 

Tuesday was Good Character is my SuperPower
There were super heroes galore. Here I am with my teacher BFF Mrs. Mussard.  We make a great super hero pair!  

I had to take Wonder Women selfies especially with the cutie kinders.

  I have to say Kindergarten students and families go all out.  Is it because it is there 1st year at school and everything is new.  Are parents on top of every occasion?  Maybe but there were plenty of super heroes throughout the school to show their good character. 

Wednesday is Pair Up and Increase Confidence
Twins Day was a 1st for our school in 10 years.  Yes, this is year 10 for Cypress Creek Elementary. Cuteness x2 was a treat.  How cute are these teachers Mrs. Nuzzo & Mrs. Walker.  There aren't words for how appreciative we are for our Business Partners and these bestie dressing up as Kona Ice workers was adorable.  
  So this is one of my all time favorite people, Coach Glover.  I have bus duty with him in the afternoon and asked about the George Clooney stapled to his shirt pocket.  Just as serious as he could be, "It is twin day."  Oh my! he had me laughing out loud and smiling from ear to ear.  What a sense of humor Coach has! It is so great to be surrounded by such amazing people!

Thursday was Decades and Decades of Good Choices
You know you have school spirit when the parents dress up to participate right?  We have the best parents at CCE.  Kids are learning by watching us right?  We were modeling decades of good choices for sure. 
Here are some highlights from around the school.

Friday was Team Up to spread Kindness
Team Jersey day is always a favorite and of course it is the school wide walk-a-thon as well.  There were too many cuties to not share so sorry if this is overload.