Sunday, May 26, 2013

Weekly Verse: 5/26

This week's verse is "Always be full of joy. Never stop praying. Whatever happens, always be thankful. This is how God wants you to live in Christ Jesus" (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 ERV).

It is so easy to be joyful when things are going well, life seems easy, and everything feels like it's falling into place! But what about the other times? The times when you're having financial problems, or work is grueling and wearing you down. These are the times when it is most difficult to be joyful.

Barrett and I have been struggling to start a family for almost 4 years now. I did not start this journey with a joyful heart. In fact, I was very bitter and jaded and continually asked God, "Why me?" I spent a lot of time trying to place blame or search for an answer, but I was not willing to listen to Him.

I turned my thinking around the last several months and have begun having conversations with God. Asking Him to give me wisdom, understanding, peace, and a joyful heart. I have turned to reading His word; studying it and meditating on it. Memorizing scripture and speaking it out loud. People around me have noticed a change. I'm happier! I'm joyful! I'm more kind and loving than I have been in 4 years.

No I'm not pregnant, yet ;-) but I know I that it will happen in His timing. As much as I LOVE to have control, I have given this need to Him. He will provide for me, and while I wait I will do so with a joyful and thankful heart.

Is there something you're waiting for? Have you surrendered and given God the control? I can honestly say that if you do, you may not get what you want immediately, but you will find peace and joy! Turn it over to Him, He can handle so much more than we can!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Weekly Verse: 5/19

A few weeks ago, I posted about the "dreadful Monday" postings that would soon begin filling our news feeds as people prepared for their work week.  Since then, I have looked forward to each Monday seeing the good in each busy one to come.  So just like the other Sunday nights, I went to bed last night with the intentions of having a great Monday.  Monday on the other hand decided to just be dreadful.  I won't give you all of the nitty, gritty details because this is not the forum for that.  However, I will tell you that my day turned around completely!

Late this morning I was wrestling with my old self (who would let anger, hurt feelings, and the power of a spiteful tongue take over) and my new self (the one who is forgiving, loving, and kind). As I was walking out of my office, headed to one of my best friends to vent, a song popped in my head, and then it stuck!  I could not stop hearing "You make all things work together for my good," playing over and over in my head.  For a few moments I just walked around in the computer lab humming this song. And then I realized, venting isn't going to make me feel any better and it could even ruin my friend's day.  So I marched back to my office, opened a new book "Mind Monsters" and began reading, meditating, and praying.  It only took a few minutes for me to realize that I needed to forgive, I needed to repent, and I needed to move on.

The song, "Your Love Never Fails" by Jesus Culture ends with the refrain "you make all things work together for my good".  This comes from Romans 8:28, "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose" (KJV).

I didn't have a Bad Monday; it started that way but I fought and ended up having a great afternoon that outshines the struggles I had this morning!  I am a better person because of what happened today, because the the challenge that stood before me and the action I took to make the right choice!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Mystery Skype in the Elementary Classroom

Mystery Skype is a global classroom learning experience in which two teachers schedule a video conference for their students.  The conferencing classes can be in different cities, states, or even countries.  This activity is suitable for all grade levels and students at Furr Elementary are loving this 21st Century Classroom Experience!

As our school's Technology Facilitator, I have worked with 2nd through 5th grade teachers in setting up their Mystery Skype sessions and teaching their students about research and problem-solving.  My Mystery Skype tasks have differed based on the grade level I am working with.

With Second Grade classes and one Third Grade class, I created open-ended questions.  These questions were shared with both Skyping classes ahead of time so the class could research the answers for their own school location.  Students were then assigned a question for the Skype session.  Our Skype session ran as follows:
Introduction:  The teacher or a designated student can introduce the class without giving away any specific information.
Question and Answer session:  Students are called up by corresponding question number.  The classes then alternate asking and answering questions.  With the lower grade levels, I sat with my laptop and recorded the answers.
Research:  The call is ended and both classes begin their research based on the answers given.  Once the class thinks they have determined the correct location they will create questions they would like to ask about the school/curriculum/activities, etc.  Laptops and iPads are provided for students to begin their research.
Call Back:  The call back is placed the same day or within a day or two of the original Mystery Skype (this depends on schedules).  During the call back each class will take turns guessing where the other is located.  Once both have guessed correctly we then have an open discussion.
Open Discussion:  The Open Discussion is a forum where the students can post questions to the other students and class.  Some questions and topics:  size of the school, grade levels, after school activities, local attractions, weather, and even testing.

Our upper grade levels (3rd through 5th grade) have taken the Mystery Skype experience to an expert level.  These students begin with a few scripted Yes/No questions, but then have to create their own Yes/No questions as the Mystery Skype progresses.  Each class tries to be the first to guess the location of the other.  For this advanced Mystery Skype, jobs are assigned for the students.  Similar to above, once the locations were guessed correctly students were able to have an open discussion and ask questions about their city, state, school, and lifestyles.

With the onset of the Common Core Standards in our school system, I have been asked how Mystery Skype aligns to the new standards.   These are the links to the Anchor Standards met:

Comprehension and Collaboration

Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas

Yes/No Questions (advanced Mystery Skype)
Open-Ended Questions (beginner Mystery Skype)
Jobs & Preparation

Monday, May 13, 2013

Weekly Verse: 5/13

Yesterday was such a sweet day for moms. I don't think it was possible to log on to a social media site without seeing someone doting on their mother. I was trying to find a verse suitable, and then came across this one late last night. It's simple, yet so much meaning is in this short verse.
"Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised." (Proverbs 31:30 NKJV).

We live in a society in which a woman's value is placed on her outward beauty. This day and age a woman can even alter her looks so she remains "forever young" and "forever beautiful". The first part of this verse is simple, beauty fades and it can even be deceiving, so I have chosen to focus on the latter part. "A woman who fears The Lord, she shall be praised." Or:

A woman who TRUSTS in the Lord...
A woman who PRAISES the Lord...
A woman who LOVES The Lord...
A woman who LIVES in the Lord...
A woman who REJOICES in the Lord...
shall be praised

Let's be women (or men) whose beauty shows through our Godly work. Do people look at us and see Christ in our lives? If so, then we are forever charming and forever beautiful. People will look at us and want to know "our secret" and simply we can say "I am a child of God."

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Weekly Verse: 5/5

This week's verse focuses on prayer.
"First of all, I ask that you pray for all people. Ask God to bless them and give them what they need. And give thanks." (1 Timothy 2:1 ERV)

In December, I started my first ever "Prayer List", when I did this I was reminded of my Grandmaw Spaugh. She has always had a prayer list. Removing and adding names as necessary, "I need to add so-and-so to my prayer list. They mentioned her at church today". I remember a little spiral notepad, worn and tattered; she still has a notepad and continues to add the names and needs to the list.
I enjoy having a prayer list. I can pull it out at any time and pray for those in need, add names, and remove them. My list may not be old, wrinkled, or worn, but it serves the same purpose.

Who in your life needs prayer?Do you know someone with a specific need? Can you give thanks for someone? Have you seen God at work in someone's life? Give Him the glory and the praise for His work!