Memory (-ial Day) Lane

Is it possible to get jealous of your former self?

I took a walk (get it?  It’s a play on my blog’s name!) through my old entries, and I wished that I had recorded more from the last few years.

So, I getting back on the trail (I SLAY myself!)

Today, I took some selfies with my parents during our Memorial Day festivities.  Enjoy!

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My mom, Dona, and…

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…my dad Russ.  I think I am a good mix of the two :).

Happy Memorial Day!

Toasted Coconut Porter

This post is part of my month-long quest to cut out junk food.  Check out the first post here.

Breakfast– Leftover fajita steak and veggies (Feeling: Happy because it is a good, protein and veggie-filled meal.  Ate it in the car on the way to work.)

Lunch: Amy’s Organics Enchilada meal (Feeling:  Tense, because I am only twenty minutes away from parents-teacher conferences.  They have not given us the report cards yet, and I know parents will be knocking down my door any minute. I always end up loving PTC, but the pre-game leaves me twitchy.)

Dinner: Plowman’s lunch at The Box Bar in Plymouth.  This meal comprises of two sausages, a pretzel, and assorted cheeses.  I have noticed that when you avoid things with fries and pop, a whole part of the menu that one may never consider opens up.  I also enjoyed a Paw Paw Toasted Coconut Porter (DE-LISH!)   If you live in the Metro Detroit area, The Box is a fantastic place with more types of beer than you will ever be able to drink and great food.  The company was also pretty stellar, as our friend from Midland was visiting.  Downtown was abuzz with people eating on the street and families playing in the square.  (Check out the pictures that I linked to Plowman’s lunch.  I could eat like that every day and love my life!)

Victories:  In downtown Plymouth there are two wonderful dessert places: Just Baked (where I got my wedding cupcakes!) and Kilwins, which has the best scoop ice cream around.  Even though one in our party got a cupcake, I was happy with a taste of his gingersnap cookie.

I rate today: 7/10  The nacho cheese that came with the Plowman’s lunch wasn’t exactly gourmet and I tasted that gingersnap.  However, I did avoid snacking after work, and fries and pop at the restaurant, so I consider today a win.

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Paw Paw Toasted Coconut Porter- Tastes like dessert!

Ps. In the spirit of Outonawalk, I even got out on a nice stroll with my husband around sunset.  Hello spring!

Button-bursting Realization

Sometimes in life, you have a “WTF” moment. I had one yesterday sitting in my new doctor’s office.  I was wearing a dress that had at one time belonged to my sister when she was working on a beautiful island vacation spot as a hostess.  Over that summer, she shrunk out of that dress, as there were no cars allowed on the island so she had to walk everywhere.

I, on the other hand, have been growing into it.  And growing.  And Growing.  Growing until I was sitting on the doctor’s exam table, with a mirror to my left, seeing myself sitting sideways in all of my near-button busting glory.

Now, I’ve been priding my self on my new gains in self-esteem.  I really give myself credit for being able to break away from the diet culture that has plagued me since middle school.  I refuse to count calories ever again.  I refuse to be told that fat is bad for me and low-fat carbs are healthier.  I’ve moved past that, and, society has begun to move past that.  (Check out these guys if you don’t believe me, check out Mark Sisson and Tom Naughton to name a few.)  On top of that, I have a husband who relentlessly lets me know that he loves me and lets me know that I am beautiful, and that has been healing.

But, the sacrifices I’ve made for my mental health have been affecting my physical health.  Though you cannot tell me that I am not beautiful anymore, you can tell me that there are things I need to clear up with my health.  So, this month I’ve decided to ditch the junk food and blog about it.

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Classroom Makeover, Round Three (After!)

Welcome back for the big reveal!  Check out my “before” post here!

First: I had to clear out all of the junk…

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Ta-da!  It doesn’t look like much, but it isn’t supposed to be.  This is the open space that I will use for drama!

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The north side of the classroom before…

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…and after!  I’ve opted for cooperative learning tables this year.  Each table is named after a famous author!

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I started with the table signs hot-glued to the tables.  However, I have now moved them to strings hanging above the tables.

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So I can keep tabs on both sides of the classroom, my desk area is in the middle.  That old-wall stripe had to go!

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I painted the wall green, and added a clause in my syllabus about not crossing the tape line without my permission.

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The desk that I inherited was originally black, but it was pretty dingy after years of tape and dings.  So, I used some chalkboard paint, and drew my name on with some sidewalk chalk! Also, I hot glued my “Work Hard and Be Nice” sign to the front of a super-dated file cabinet.  The result was an inviting work area!

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I have inherited two air conditioning units (one for each side of the room,) and fortunately for me, they both work!  I came up with the idea last year to use this space as my word wall, so I added some chalkboard paint…

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…and voila!  On the top portion of the unit, I write “Cool Words,” (get it!?) and use all sides of it for vocabulary!   Also, on the left hand side is a board for student work!

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Moving on to my classroom library!  I am a big proponent for a print-rich English classroom, so I make it a point to have a classroom library.  This year, I have a lot more space, and my collection has nearly doubled, thanks to our Scholastic Bookfair dollars!  Notice the cupboard doors.  You guessed it, they are chalkboard, too!  I use the doors in my classroom for class schedules.  Each class has their own door, and students copy down their homework from their assigned door.

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I make sure to stamp the inside cover of each book with my teacher stamp, and there is a sign out binder.

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Because I have moved rooms several times, I have inherited a good deal of teacher signage.  Below the book area, I have made a display of different genres.  Thank you to whichever teacher left these behind for me!

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I made these signs for my clock…

“Time will pass, will you?”

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I have also made a board in the front of my room for Common Core objectives.  I haven’t posted them yet, but I purchased a great set of Common Core posters for this board from teacherspayteachers.com.

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We are required to have a “data wall” in our classrooms.   So, I put my own spin on it!  I use fabric for my boards (a tip given to me from a teacher friend!)  My “Wisdom Wall” will feature student grades and other data.

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Finally, my doors.  The bottom portion is the same as my accent wall in my desk area.  The top portion is chalkboard paint.  Middle Schoolers are pretty forgetful sometimes about work that is due.  I use this space as a before-class reminder to grab any work that is due, and post any classroom news.

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So, there you have it! I am still primping and improving, but I am very happy with the result!  Welcome to Mrs. Curley’s room!

Classroom Makeover, Round Three (Before!)

I am now beginning the third school year at my school, and I am settling into my third classroom.  The joke is that I am the “classroom fairy,” I make a room over, and I get moved.  However, this move is particularly exciting!  I am now the proud tenant of a room previously occupied by my English teacher predecessor, who had enough clout to have a wall knocked out, and her room made into a double room.  Not only am I teaching 7th and 8th grade English this year, I am also teaching Drama, so the extra room has been a great resource!

Now, down to the fun stuff!  Here are the befores:

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This room was previously used for a special needs class and a latchkey program, and the previous English teacher left a lot of her stuff and it was never cleaned out.  So, I had a LOT of work to do!  This is the north side of the room…

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…and this is the south side of the room.  You may notice the random school furniture, including desks, tables, and lunchroom tables.

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This is a glamour shot of the things that I moved from my old room.  Check out the re-vamp of my old classroom here: Before and After 

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Notice the line where the wall used to be.

Obviously, this room was in need of some TLC!

Click here for the “After” post!

In the Presence of Maya Angelou

Yesterday, Detroit Public Schools held a session of their teacher’s symposium that featured none other than Dr. Maya Angelou.  Normally, I would bring a random notebook to my professional development workshops, but yesterday I brought my diary to take notes.  This morning, I felt that some of the quotes couldn’t stay tucked away for my own eyes, but should be shared with my friends and colleagues.

So, for your eyes’ and soul’s pleasure, here are some quotes from Dr. Angelou’s talk on August 22nd, 2013 at the Detroit Renaissance Center Marriott:

(She was brought out on a wheelchair.  We later looked up her age: 85.  She greeted us and told us that she would treat us as if we were on her porch having a chat.)

“God didn’t just but the rainbow in the sky; he put it in the clouds.”

“I will not be used, misused, or abused.”

She then told us a story about her half-paralyzed uncle, Willy.  He had taught her her timestables when she moved away from home.  Later, she met a man who had been taken under Uncle Willy’s wing and given a job in his store.  His mother was blind.  He later went on to be the Mayor of Little Rock, and owed his start to Willy.  After this story, Maya asked us: “How far is your range of influence?”

“I used to be a writer who taught, now I am a teacher who can write.”

She then told us about Ms. Flowers (who is part of the section of “I Know why the Caged Bird Sings” that I teach to my 8th graders!)  Maya was mute after being raped at a young age, and Ms. Flowers, the most elegant black woman in Stamps, Arkansas, made Maya read every book in her school’s library.  To this she said: “O can’t say I understood them, but I read them.”

“It is a blessing to be a bridge over troubled waters” -Maya’s reflection on the “Men of Vision” vocal performance.

“Being a teacher is being a teacher all of the time.”

About respecting students: “Be wise and be kind.  If you are threatening, they will close up.”

On respecting diversity: “Nothing human can be alien to me.”

On talking about her accomplishments: “I don’t waste any time on modesty.”

I know that this talk was a once-in-a-lifetime chance to be in the presence of a great person.  The gravity and conversational quality of the talk was gripping and inspiring.  I am thankful to have been a part of this with my colleagues and friends!

Finally, I will leave you with Maya herself: