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Knock Out 3.0

It’s fun to think about the games I used to play as a kid and watch the way my students play them now. For instance, I remember the great fun of playing Knock Out at basketball camp each summer. It’s a fairly simple game. Everyone gets in line. The first two people have basketballs. The object is to make your shot before the person behind you does so that they don’t “knock” you “out.”

Today at recess, I was feeling especially sprightly (must have been the 60 degree weather and non-high heeled shoes), so I joined my boys in a game of Knock Out. My first turn up to the line I heaved up my shot, missed, and went to follow up but the student behind me already sank it from the foul line. Out already? Bah.

I walked to the side line to wait until the next game, when one of my students called, “Mrs. Greene, you still have three lives left.”

Perplexed, I asked, “Lives?”

“Yea. You know. Like video games… you started with four lives but you lost one so you have three left. You’re allowed to get back in line and keep playing.”

I didn’t argue or pull out the, “In my day…” statement, though I wanted to. I graciously accepted my offer to return and played the time away until my colleague blew the end of recess whistle. We never ended up with a winner. No one came close to loosing all of their lives. All of my boys were just happy to play non-competitively and I was glad to be brought up to speed.

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Relaxing

There is nothing quite like a quiet night at home. These days, they are so few and far between that I savor them like the chocolate under the hard Cadbury Mini-Egg shell (love those things!). After the hustle of teaching and the bustle of preparing for tomorrow, I’m happy to finally be home.

Tonight, I have spent my evening curled up on my couch next to my dogs and my husband, eating grilled cheese and tomato soup, watching America’s Funniest Home videos in between the last set of the top 36 American Idol Contestants. I have laughed aloud at people falling off tables and have booed with the audience when Simon said something mean. I have done nothing productive (excluding producing this idea for a slice) and for once, this isn’t bothering me in the slightest.

The other day while I was getting my hair cut, my stylist finally said to me, “Well I know you teach because that’s all you ever talk about, but what do you do for fun?” My answer? At first I thought read professional literature (which yes, I do find to be great fun, but I don’t think that’s what she’s asking for). Then design new interdisciplinary units of study popped in my mind. Write… Redesign my class website… Am I lame? Every answer that came to mind was school related.

It dawned on me because apparently I’ve never realized it before. School is my fun. Maybe it’s time for me to do something non-school related. And so, tonight’s evening of comfort food and mildly entertaining television came to be.

I finally have an answer for my stylist’s question. “I’m trying this new thing called relaxing. It’s quite nice every once in a while.”

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SOL: Reasons to Smile

It’s March 2nd. Applications for the graduate program at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill were only due yesterday, though I submitted mine weeks ago. I talked myself into believing I wouldn’t hear anything until April, earliest. So imagine my surprise when I opened my mailbox and found an over-sized yellow envelope with a UNC- School of Education return address.

When I got back in the car from emptying the mailbox, Bret asked in his usually chipper voice, “What’d we get, hun?” My fingers were too busy ripping into the envelope to respond (miraculously though, no paper cuts). I pulled out the thin stack of papers. My mind was too busy scanning for “congratulations” for it to have figured out that any additional papers at all would have been a good sign.

“I got in!” The proud smile beamed across my face as I turned to my husband for a congratulatory hug.

Yea for Graduate School

“Huh? Got in what?”

[REALLY?!?!]

“Carolina. Graduate School. I’m in!”

[Now it clicks] “I told you you had nothing to worry about. [a pause] Didn’t waste anytime with that envelope though.”

After phone calls to my parents and Bret’s parents and Facebook comments on my status (thanks friends!), I have many reasons to smile. I get to be a student again; I’m going to share my experiences and insights with other educators who want to further their education; best of all, I will learn and think more and so will my students. Master’s in K-12 Literacy, here I come!

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SOL: Ikea Kitchens

Kitchen RightI love Ikea. I think it’s the eclecticness (of both the furniture and shoppers) that lends itself to my enjoyment of these sparse trips. Walking through the kitchen showroom, I couldn’t help but feel wafts of calm happiness.

I gazed at the set-ups- each one unique and intricate. I ran my hands along the smooth granite countertops. I opened each and every drawer and cabinet and flicked them shut. I eyed the beautiful organization of staged pots and pans, longing for such order in my own kitchen.

Someday, I will buy these cabinets to redesign my kitchen. For now, just visiting them will have to do.

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