Saturday, April 23, 2011

"My soul is sorrowful to the point of death."

Here is the link to a helpful article that explains why Jesus was "sorrowful and troubled" in the Garden of Gethsemane... (Matthew 26:37).  Click here to read!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

John 4

This morning, I read part of The Gospel of John and this passage (John 4:4-26) spoke to me in a way that I can't really articulate.  I don't have some profound insight or response, so I just want to share the passage.

Now Jesus had to go through Samaria.  So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of the ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph.  Jacob's well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well.  It was about the sixth hourWhen a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, "Will you give me a drink?" (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)  The Samartian woman said to him, "You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman.  How can you ask me for a drink?"  (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.) 
Jesus answered her, "If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water." 

"Sir," the woman said, "you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep.  Where can you get this living water?  Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his flocks and herds?"
Jesus answered, "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst.  Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life." 
The woman said to him, "Sir, give me the water so that I won't get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water." 
He told her, "Go call your husband and come back." 
"I have no husband," she replied.
Jesus said to her, "You are right when you say you have no husband.  The fact is, you have had 5 husbands , and the man you now have is not your husband.  What you have just said is quite true." 
"Sir," the woman said, "I can see that you are a prophet.  Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jersualem." 
Jesus declared, "Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.  You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews.  Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.  God is spirit and his worshipers must worship in spirit and truth."
The woman said, "I know that Messiah (called Christ) is coming.  When he comes, he will explain everything to us."
Then Jesus declared, "I who speak to you am he."

Summer Goals

Being on Spring Break this week has me thinking about what I'm going to do with my summer off.  Granted, it's the shortest summer ever in the history of teaching... my current school district goes through June 22 (because they don't start school until after labor day in September) and the district I hope to work for starts school the first week in August.  Still, 6 weeks off is 6 weeks off, so I'm dreaming big.

Daily bike rides on the Lake Shore Bike Path
Some extra time with a couple of my favorite stay-at-home-moms
Learn to sew.  Projects: curtains, duvet cover
Scrapbook our wedding album (so far, only 4 pages down.... wah wah)
Try at least one new recipe per week
Pack/ prep for our move to Nebraska
Read read read!

Any other ideas?

Movie Fridays

I have instituted "Movie Fridays" in my classroom.  Whenever I tell people that I show a movie once a week, I feel like I have to justify that seemingly poor teaching decision.  Movie Friday started mainly because of poor attendance on Fridays at our school (an inner-city phenomenon of which the effects are greatly underestimated).  Anyway, at first, we did tests/quizzes every Friday, but because so many students were absent, it was a hassle for make-ups.  (I guess tests were not a good motivation to attend class.)  When so many students are absent, it's hard to teach something new, so then I would do review.  Well, the students who come to school on Fridays are the kids who do not need review... naturally.  Thus, movie Fridays.  Movies about music, classic must-sees, etc...  Some are educational in the traditional learn-something-new way and some are "educational" in the part-of-your-cultural-expansion way.

Currently, I'm showing The Sound of Music, which most of my students have never seen.  It falls in the classic-part-of-cultural-expansion category.  For each Friday, there is an assignment that accompanies the movie (yep, I'm one of those teachers).

Disclaimer: I LOVE this movie.  I watch it 4 times per Friday, once with each class (which is a little overkill).  When I was little, we watched it all the time, and sang the songs all the time.  I have most memorized.  (Music geek confession)

Anyway, watching it with my students opens up a whole new side to the movie.  I have never before realized how funny it is.  Here are some scenes and their reactions to those scenes.

When Maria leaves the convent to head to the Captain's house for the first time, she sings the song I have confidence.  Towards the end of this song, she is dancing down the street swinging her guitar and travel bag, singing all the while.  One student explained, "Ms. Cook, if you saw a lady doing all that down 79th, you would call and have her committed.  She too excited."

Then, at the end of the song, Maria arrives at the captain's mansion.  Several students responded, "Dannng."

When the Captain first appears on the scene, he bursts through these double doors between the parlour and balroom, where Maria is snooping around.  As he burst through the doors, my students burst out laughing.  I never thought of that scene as funny.

My all time favorite.  When the Captain calls down the children to meet Maria for the first time, he uses a loud whistle with signals.  Suddenly, all the children burst forth from various rooms upstairs, line up by height and march military-style down the stairs into their appropriate line order.  In a couple classes, at least one person yelled, "aw hellllll no."   hilarious!

The Captain then instructs the children to march forward and announce their names when they hear their respective whistle signals (so that Maria can learn the whistle signals for each child).  As the Captain is whistling and the children are introducing themselves, at least one student in each class called out, "ugh, he be doin' too much!"

Have you seen The Sound of Music lately?  Stop by room 151 if you'd like a good viewing ;)

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Opera Success

The trip to the Opera was a total success!  The kids had so much fun.  All of them enjoyed it - some of them LOVED it... like, have not stopped talking about it, want to go back.  There were a couple girls who, when I asked what their favorite part was, replied "The whole thing!"  (in wide-eyed wonder).  I didn't tell them much about going (bad teacher!)  but it ended up working out because, as one student put it, "It was like a big surprise!"  in fact, I found out after the show that most of them were expecting just singers, or a choral concert setup.  They had no idea it would be more like a play, with a storyline, costumes, and scenery.  By the way, I found out that our tickets (main floor) were going for $247.00 each for the general audience evening performance that weekend... when I told the kids, one said "Girrrrl, that is the down payment on a car!"

On a different note, some of my students (who have grown up in the city of Chicago their entire lives) had never been downtown.  When one student told my mom this (she was a chaperone), she said she almost started crying.  You might have thought we were from Kansas- they were staring at the big buildings and asking if we could come downtown to just walk around again.

"Kia - smile!"  "Ms Cook, I don't smile for pictures."

Some of the group waiting for the bus... It broke down and I had to change routes last minute.  Yikes!

You should have seen the bus driver's face when my 20 students got on the already-full bus.  :)

All the kids outside the opera house before the show.

I told a few of them to walk to the front and look up so they could see how huge the theater is.

a bad picture, but the view from the front of the theater looking back at all the seats. 

Dinner at Pizano's

Proverbs for Teaching

I recently heard a sermon about getting healthy with family conflict.  The pastor differentiated between positive and negative conflict in the home and focused on ways to eliminate negative conflict, using various Proverbs from scripture.  Throughout the sermon, it seemed God was really speaking to me, but on a different topic.  (Does that ever happen to anyone else, or is it just me?  Like, I learn from the sermon, but then God shows me an entirely different area to work on too... yikes!) In this case, every Proverb seemed to relate to me as a teacher.  I started to delve more into this concept God was showing me - that there is lots of wisdom throughout the book of Proverbs, and I can use it specifically in the way I run my classroom and interact with students. 

The Word of God is TRUE whether or not someone believes it.  I remember my dad saying "The Word of God is working either for you or against you, but it's working..."  Whether or not you believe that the Bible is the inspired and perfect Word of God, it still is.  And the truths in it are happening in your life.  For example, "As charcol to embers, and wood to a fire, so is a quarrelsome man for kindling strife"  (Proverbs 26:21)  That is a fact - someone who likes to argue fuels bigtime strife just like wood fuels a fire.  I am ever amazed by the truth I find in God's Word. 

Over several posts, I'll comment on different Proverbs and how I'm using them in teaching.... here are a couple below. 

"Do not withhold good from those who deserve it when it is in your power to act."  -Proverbs 3:27  If you've heard this before, it's so true - every teacher has favorites.  It's hard not to!  The harder part is, however, to be fair and consistent across the board.  One side of this is bestowing good upon the kids that deserve it even if they are usually a pain in the butt! 

"Put away perversity from your mouth; keep corrupt talk far from your lips." -Proverbs 4:24  This verse affects me in 2 ways.  (1.)  I realized my students don't swear at me or cuss me out... in fact, when I overhear them using profanity towards someone else or just in basic conversation, they usually apologize.  Other teachers have to consistently write students up for cussing them out.  Solution - don't swear at your students and they won't swear at you.  Everyone benefits when you "put away perversity from your mouth."  (2.) Teachers are non-stop negatively talking about students.  I'm sure this happens almost everywhere, but it's so irritating to me!  In fact, I try to just stay away from those teachers all together... keep corrupt talk far from your lips.  (It's not helping anything anyway).

Do you use any Proverbs in your life on a daily basis?