Category Archives: Writing Workshop

When August 1st comes . . .

The last few days of summer

During my first few years of teaching, school didn’t begin until around Labor Day. In fact, when Youngest was born, I left the previous school year pregnant and came back to work with everyone else. (He was born less than 2 weeks after the end of the school year.)

Now August 1st means that summer is basically over for me. I know that school is going to begin within a week or so. Usually I’m at the school getting my room ready by August 1st. This year I decided to treat myself to not coming in until the first day I had to be back at work.

I can’t show one photo to describe my August

When I walked into my room on August 7th, I walked into tablehedge, not Stonehedge.

Tablehedge

One of my co-workers came to my rescue and got the tables down.

I quickly rearranged my furniture so that the room is functional.

This room is a resource room. Students come out of the rooms for pull out services. I need to only have a minimal amount of furniture. As the school year continues, I will be decorating more of the classroom.

Case in point, this bulletin board has the two basic rules expected in all classrooms. I asked the students to write down ideas on ways they can demonstrate those rules. I love this because students feel as though they have a role in creating the rules in my room.

Now that we are testing for baseline data, my room has been torn apart to be put back together after testing.

The current state of my room. Each student has been given a shelf in the cubbies in the back of my room. It’s going to help with organization.

One of those bulletin boards in the back of the room is going to be the cool down / calm down corner. I have some brown paper board paper that is going to be hung up on the bulletin board with some suggestions on how they can calm down. Our community has been through so much trauma in the last few months. A tornado and then the shooting in downtown Dayton have rocked the area since May.

So many have rallied around our community. However, even with the rallying around us, these are 9, 10, and 11-year-old children. Some of them do not know how to deal with the trauma so it’s imperative they have a place that will help them cool down.

The word wall is basic sight words. When they don’t know how to spell a word, a way for them to get some movement is to walk to the back the room to look at the word wall. I have clipboards so it is easy for them to write.

Now You Know What a Teacher’s August looks like

My room would never be Pinterest worthy. However it is functional. Students get what they need to help them become better fourth and fifth grade students.

When a student tells you, they can’t wait until you begin to teach them math because you made them think last year. You know the look of your room does not matter. What matters is how you make the students feel while they are in your room. Are they feeling welcome? Are they feeling like they are learning? Are they feeling as though they are loved?

Have a magical day,
Traci

Where are they?

Before the boys were born, I went white water rafting twice. Both times, we camped out with the Scouts Venturing post.

Imagine a camping site located in a valley.

Then there was a torrential rainstorm.

So what do you think happened?

The water pooled into my tent.

Oh, I forgot to give you one piece of key information. One of our friends and my father-in-law had traveled with us down to West Virginia.

So the water was pooling in my tent. Hubby, our friend, and my father-in-law were no where to be found. Cell phones were not as popular as they are now plus there would be no service.

I was freaking out and getting wetter.

One of the other people camping out with us had a camping trailer with them. So they invited me in the trailer so I wouldn’t get sick.

Finally they show back up.

They had been driving around looking for a hotel/ motel for me. A hamvention type of event was going on in the area so there was limited hotel/ motel rooms available. Or should I say, they found only one room.

It was a honeymoon type of room. There was one bed and a whirlpool tub. All 4 of us were sharing this room.

Hubby and I shared the bed. My father-in-law got the couch in the room. Our friend got the floor. The whirlpool tub was not used. 😥

The few photos I have of this camping trip.

There was video made of the trip. They included this song by Green Day. Whenever I hear this song, I am reminded of this camping trip.

Have a magical day,
Traci

My Favorite View – Summer 2019

This summer has been a different type of summer.

The boys are getting older so there wasn’t very many day trips. Let’s take that back – We’ve done day trip. I’ve done some road trips with each of them individually.

The Memorial Day tornadoes change the dynamics of my summer. Even though it didn’t directly affect me, it affected the area I teach in so that made me upset.

Continue reading My Favorite View – Summer 2019

Into the Mist

A few weeks ago, the Youngest and I embarked on his 14-year-old trip and my EPIC trip with my friend. I made the decision for us to all ride the Maid of the Mist.

The Maid of the Mist is in the New York side of Niagara Falls. We were staying on the Canadian side of the Falls. We were left with 2 choices: drive to the Maid of the Mist which on my GPS unit said was 10 minutes or walk which was about an half hour.

The GPS saying that it would take 10 minutes did not take in account of us probably getting turned around, going through border patrol, and trying not to hit all of the tourists. So it could have taken us about the same amount of time as walking.

So we walked over to there. The Youngest took a point off the experience of going to the Maid of the Mist because of the walking.

I’ll save my story of going through border patrol for another time.

We got to the Maid of the Mist as they were getting ready to depart. We were told to HURRY and get on the boat so we didn’t have to wait for the next boat.

Trying to get the poncho on, take a few photos of my friend, and then put my DSLR camera in ziploc bags inside my backpack under my poncho was a feat.

Luckily my phone is water resistant so I was able to get photos and videos until we were under the Falls. Once the water was coming down us in buckets, my phone was put into another Ziploc bag and put into my pocket under my poncho until it was safe to bring it out again.

The Youngest stood at the very front of the boat for the majority of the trip. He enjoyed getting wet and the whole experience.

When it was time to depart, he was ready at the gate. As he was standing there trying to wipe of the water from the gate in front of him, one of the workers was also doing the same thing as him. I don’t know if the Youngest noticed but I did. I thought it was cool.

After we got done with the Maid of the Mist, my friend and the Youngest got rid of their ponchos. I still have mine.

Oh and the Youngest gave the Maid of the Mist a score of 9 out of 10. The only point off was for the walk to and from the attraction.

Have a magical day,
Traci

A Little Kindness Helps

I’m currently on a 14-year-old trip with the Youngest. HE turned 14 on Saturday. When his brother turned 14 two years ago, he went on a trip to Hershey Park.

Back in March, I asked the Youngest where do you want to go? He had 3 criteria – a foreign country, a beach, and Disney. We almost had a beach and Disney but those plans fell through.

So we decided we were going to road trip to Canada. He has a youth passport that allows him to travel to Mexico or Canada by land or Bahamas by sea.

He then decided he wanted to see Niagara Falls again so we are going to meet up with a friend at the Falls.

On Friday, we are traveling to Erie, Pennsylvania for his beach visit.

We found a Disney Store in London, Ontario so he did get his Disney fix. He doesn’t ride the rides so just having some of the magic helps.

Onto my story:

When planning out our trip, I noticed we could go through either Detroit via the bridge or tunnel or travel north for about an hour or so to Port Huron. There is a beach there so we would be able to fulfill his wish.

I pulled up to the gate and noticed that it would cost me $20 to use the beach because I was from out of state. We were only planning to be there for such a short time. It was basically a rest stop on our trip.

I explained to the young lady that we were on our way to Canada and that we were only going to stop there for a little bit. We had never been to Lake Huron and hadn’t had a real get out and walk stop since the Michigan Welcome Center. She allowed us to go on in without the payment.

I thanked her and let her know we were only going to be there about half an hour which we adhered to that promise.

Sometimes kindness goes a long way.

If I didn’t have that time, I wouldn’t have gotten this shot of my Youngest. We are going to print it out and frame it.

Have a magical day,
Traci

So Many Stop Signs – Videos of the Memorial Day Destruction

For today’s writing prompt, I decided to share some videos that I have been taken after the Memorial Day tornado outbreak.

After the tornado outbreak, at least 80 traffic lights were blown out or were not working because of the lack of power in the area. As a result, many major intersections became four way stops. I remember reminding Hubby to stop on N. Fairfield, a major road close to us. On a normal day, so many people drive on the road.

People had to learn to slow down and be patient while navigating throughout the northern part of the Miami Valley with those stop signs and lots of road closures.

These three videos I’m sharing were taken on my Go Pro. I handed my mom the Go Pro while I concentrated on driving. I had not seen any of those areas since the tornado had disrupted life. I’ve driven on these streets many times in the past which you’ll hear me say while I’m narrating the experience of seeing the destruction for the first time. So all of those emotions and reactions are real.

The road I’m driving on in this video was one of the hardest hit sections in the Miami Valley. There was a shopping center that was almost completely destroyed. One of the businesses was a strip club so there has been a lot of jokes about that which is not good.

Riverside Drive has so many memories for me. I drive along the road at times on the way to or from work. When I was a preteen, we used to take public transportation to downtown Dayton. The bus we took would drive on Riverside Drive. As a teen, we would take Riverside to get to the Dayton Masonic Center when I was in Rainbow.

Shiloh Springs leads straight into where I work. Along Shiloh Springs is Hara Arena. Back in it’s heyday, a lot of concerts were held there. Some performers that held a concert there were Aerosmith, Rolling Stones, and Queen. Click here for a complete list of the over 300 performers who held a concert there.

A lot of graduations were held there. The Hamvention was held there.

In 2016, it was closed for good. A new buyer was in the works when the tornado struck. Now the buyer has backed out. It is estimated that some of the building can be salvaged. What is the future for the Hara Arena? No one knows.

Why am I sharing these videos with you? It’s been 2 weeks since the outbreak. People are still struggling to put their lives back together. This area cannot forget about those affected. We have come together as communities to help those who were affected. However as the weeks, months, and years pass, people will still be affected by this trauma.

I don’t want to forget my emotions when I saw this devastation. These are my memories that have been altered.

Have a magical day,
Traci

Vintage Antiques Sold Here – Memorial Day Tornadoes Photos

As I looked at the writing prompts for this week, I could not figure out which one of the prompts would go along with what I wanted to write/ share about.

Then I was driving around yesterday after the Memorial Day tornadoes, I was driving in one of the areas hit by one of the tornadoes. I drove past a back hoe that had the words vintage antiques written on it. I knew that would use that as my theme this week.

Back story: On Monday night, 13 tornadoes hit Dayton, Ohio and surrounding communities. The tornadoes ranged from EF0 strength to a very unusual EF4. The EF4 hit in the town I work in to places that I have memories from my youth.

An EF3 tornado hit 4 miles away from my house. It is a place where I grocery shop with my mom.

Some of the tornadoes that hit our area. The 10:41 pm tornado has been upgraded to an EF-4.

Right by my work – These were sent to me.

Some of the damage in Beavercreek, Ohio. They were hit with an EF-3 tornado. Roads were closed. Traffic lights were malfunctioning. Businesses were closed because of the lack of power. Buildings were damaged.
Sorry for the quality, it was raining outside.

I had to take the Youngest to dance which is located in some of the affected area. In fact, it was at the beginning of the Beavercreek Tornado which actually hit many areas. Riverside, Beavercreek, and Xenia

Here are some photos of some of the damage I saw in that area.

These were taken by the Youngest. This is a major road that runs from close to where I live all of the way to past where I work.

There are 3 signs on the road at this interchange. One is mentioning the Wright Patt Air Force base. The 2 talking about 675. The third and last one is missing. Then when you drive a little further, the traffic lights are gone.

My friend made a SOS call to us yesterday. He was without water because there is limited water in Montgomery County. Some people are without water and power.

He’s blind and lives with 2 disabled housemates so they were unable to go to the many places where water was being given out.

These are some photos from our drive to his place. There is 2 signs missing in the first photo. It’s supposed to have one mentioning Keowee / Valley Street, another one talks about 1-75 north, and the 3rd one mentioned I-75 south. The only one that is remaining is the I-75 south.

The other photos are of a sports complex that was destroyed in the tornado.

There was no traffic lights functioning in this intersection. People had to take their time and some lanes were blocked.

This is the devastation that the Oldest and I saw today. These were taken in the town I work in.

Please pray for Dayton, Ohio. Nothing like this outbreak of tornadoes has ever happened before. We’ve never EF-4 tornado hit our town.

Have a magical day,
Traci