Thursday 3: March 15, 2018
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What a week! I have not had time to do anything but my real job. More details in number two below. Here’s three things I’m loving this week.
Do you remember when Mary Engelbreit took the ‘90s by storm? I adored her cheeky art with inspirational and funny quotes. My grandma and I had a page-a-day calendar and I loved tearing off the previous day’s page to reveal a new, clever quote accompanying a whimsical image.
I spotted this Rifle Paper Co. calendar in a boutique in the San Juan Islands last fall and immediately fell in love. It was like a more refined version of my beloved Mary Engelbreit calendars. The artwork is exquisite and the quotes spoke to my soul as they were full of hope and possibility, two things I desperately needed and desired to find in the new year.
The front cover is from this month. The quote from Emily Dickinson, “Forever is composed of nows”, is what initially caught my eye in the store. It reminds me to be present, which is a phrase that makes my eyes roll since it is so overused. Nonetheless, it’s a trendy sound bite that is actually good advice. I tend to be very future oriented and forget that the moment I am living in was at one time the future I had been planning. If I don’t at minimum notice and appreciate what’s happening in the present, I am dishonoring the time I spent dreaming, planning, and building what I am currently experiencing.
Some of the other months I like in the calendar are January and April. I like January’s because its quote from Rainer Maria Rilke is such a rosy sentiment: “And now we welcome the new year, full of things that have never been”.
I had accidentally flipped to April instead of March this month, and the quote from Louisa May Alcott read, “I am not afraid of storms for I am learning how to sail my ship”. It reminded me of the poem “Invictus” by William Ernest Henley, which I then used for this week’s Sunday Sessions.
Every month is full beautiful words and gorgeous imagery, and they make me happy to look at them. If you want one for yourself, the calendars are all sold out at Rifle Paper Co.’s website, but there are 2 left on Amazon if you hurry!
Report cards are due tomorrow at my school. I have to attend a professional development training, so that means report cards were due today for me! I am a huge procrastinator, so I did a ton of grading, inputting grades, and writing report card comments this week.
The ink in the pen I was using to grade ran out, so I turned to my stash of grading pens for a new pen. For years, I’ve been buying the huge variety package of Pilot G-2 pens at Costco, but this week I pulled out a color that I’ve never seen in the package before. It is this beautiful lavender color, and its hue made the drudgery of grading a much happier process. I can’t find it online, or else I’d buy twelve more of these pens!
This is my 30th round of writing report card comments. Let me tell you, writing comments can be such a pain! I’ve refined the process to writing comments for one student, then copying and pasting those comments for every other kid in my class. I add in and take away details depending on the student (a sentence about needing to improve on staying focused while working independently for one kid, a sentence praising the high quality of work turned in for another, etc.). Since we are all doing the same units and projects, I can keep a lot of sentences the same from child to another. I save these comments and use them again the next year, because we are usually doing the same things at each grading period as we did the year prior.
For some parents, this process may be surprising because you thought your child’s teacher really wrote a unique paragraph or two about all 25 students in his or her class. There are a minority of teachers who do this, and we in the majority call them crazy.
For teachers, you are probably yawning at your screen and saying, “Tell me something new, Caitlin.” You’ve got it! One of the biggest time sucks in my process is going through each set of comments and changing the names, pronouns, and numbers in data. Even with rereading all the comments a few times, I sometimes don’t catch every change that needed to be made. So poor Nicolas is called “she” and little Mary is called “Nicolas”.
29 times I’ve done this and I never came up with the idea I came up with last night. Instead of spending hours rereading all the comments looking for the changes I needed to make for each student, I decided to write my first student’s comments and highlight all the names, pronouns, and numbers used. When I copied and pasted these comments for the next student, I just changed the words that were highlighted to fit that kid. It made writing comments go much faster! The beauty of this is that the student management systems teachers use to input attendance, grades, and comments doesn’t support highlighting. When I copied the comments into our student management system, the words I highlighted weren’t highlighted in my comments, saving me the extra step of unhighlighting the highlighted words.
You can see an example of comments I highlighted below. These are comments I used from the 2015-2016 school year with a fake student’s name.
(Oops, looking at this picture, I see that I didn’t highlight everything that needed to be highlighted. But you get the idea.)
On Sunday, my little family and I ate brunch with my in-laws and then went on a hike at Bowman Bay. Even though he was an Eagle Scout and spent a lot of time hiking all around Washington in his youth, my husband hasn’t really explored Bowman Bay.
The trail there begins on the beach and later splits. One trail goes to Lighthouse Point and the other goes to Lottie Bay. I had been on the former trail, so we kept walking toward Lottie Bay. We walked for what felt like longer than the ½ or ¾ mile that was posted on the sign and found ourselves at a point looking up toward Deception Pass Bridge. It was a great surprise to stumble upon such a spectacular view of the bridge! Looking at the map, I see we had passed Lottie Bay and were at Lottie Point.
This place is definitely on our list of spots to return to this summer for a picnic. Just check out those views!
On our way back, we saw a spectacular sunset. What a wonderful way to end our weekend.
Has your week been as crazy busy as mine? Looking forward to relaxing this weekend!