Saturday, February 22, 2014

Two Tickets to Paradise...

 This winter has been brutal. Two months of snow, sub-zero temperatures, and more than 2 weeks of missed school makes this winter one for the books. So...what's a girl to do, but head off to the sunny and warm state of Florida for a few days. After a 2 hour delay (this has been a familiar phrase this winter), we landed in Florida. 

Sandman instead of Snowman

Sandpipers looking for food
Residence Beach, Marco Island, Florida
Fit2Run in Naples where we picked up our race packet
Race shirt, bib, and medal

The race started and ended at the Florida Sports Park, home to the famous swamp buggy races.

Paradise Half Marathon Race stared at sunrise. The race was fairly small with only about 650 runners running the 5K, half, and full marathon combined. 
Alligator warning along the course
Such a beautiful half marathon course!
Lely Resort, Naples, Florida

Our shadow running buddies

Stopping for a picture at mile 12
The finish line is just ahead!
Finishing in front of the stadium

Finished our first half-marathon in 2014 with our longest training run only being 5 miles
Our official time. We stopped twice for potty breaks and several times to stretch. and of course take photos.  Used a run/walk ratio of 1:1 
Iced mocha and chocolate filled donut after the race. Not the best recovery food but it sounded good!

Walkway out to the beach
Interesting sign, but so true!
Only in Florida!
Jolly Bridge connecting the mainland of Florida to
 Marco Island
Standing in the driveway of Kevin's mom's house on
 Marco Island looking down the beautiful street lined with palm trees and lush tropical foliage. 

Beautiful homes and yachts on our boat ride out to the Gulf

Look closely at the lion on the right. He's wearing sunglasses! 

Made friends with the owner of this mansion. He asked us to come back and visit him when we return in March.
And yet another stately mansion

Sunset as we left Florida, heading toward stormy Indiana

This is what greeted us when we landed in Indiana. Over 6" of fresh snow on top of icy roads.

As they say, if you don't like the weather in Indiana, just wait a day because it will change.  Just two days after this snow storm we had 50 degree weather and severe thunderstorms.  

Sunday, February 9, 2014

REO Speedwagon...A Step Back in Time

Friday night, we traveled to Ball State University to attend the REO Speeedwagon concert. It was a step back in time for us as we re-visited the campus where we received our master's degree back in 1989.  More importantly though, it brought back memories of listening to the music from our youth. For those too young to remember, REO Speedwagon is an American rock band that was formed when they were students at the University of Illinois in 1967.  They are identified by their most popular songs; "Keep on Loving You", "Take It On the Run", and "Can't Fight This Feeling." As I looked over the crowd in the auditorium I was surprised to see so many young faces.

A mixed age group of fans

Bruce Hall (bass guitar) and Kevin Cronin (guitar)

Neal Doughty (keyboards the only original member since 1967), Bryan Hitt (drums), Kevin Cronin (lead vocal), Bruce Hall (bass guitar), and Dave Armato (lead guitar)
Bruce Hall's solo
Bruce Hall and Dave Armato dueling guitars
Back for an encore performance
Kevin Cronin, Bruce Hall, and Dave Armato 

Music truly does bring generations together. 
Oh, what a night! Wait, isn't that a song from Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons?  I guess I really am telling my age!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Becoming a Better Teacher

Each year at this time I attend the National Reading Recovery Conference held in Columbus, Ohio with my Title I team.  The weather always poses a problem and this year was no different.  We woke up Sunday morning with over 8" of snow over hard packed ice.  With a 3 hour drive in front of us, we planned on leaving at 6:30 am to arrive in time for the 10:30 keynote speaker. However, erring on the side of caution, we waited until snow plows had a chance to clear some of the roads. The drive was treacherous for the first 40 miles but after that, roads were just wet. We missed the keynote speaker and our first seminar, but made it to hear our last seminar of the day.  Most importantly, we made it back to our room to watch the Super Bowl game with time to spare.  Unfortunately, our Broncos didn't fair well.
 Waking up to 8" of snow

 Columbus Convention Center

Classroom teachers, principals, Title I interventionists, literacy coaches, and Reading Recovery teachers from all over the United States and Canada gather each year in Columbus. We come together to learn new strategies to implement in the classroom.

Our goal is to create lifelong readers starting with our youngest students.

Oral language is a key in reading success

World renown literacy specialist, Sharon Tabinski, the keynote speaker talks about the importance of oral language in the development of our children.

The importance of early literacy intervention

Heated walk-way from conference to our hotel. It was wonderful not having to wear a coat!

Brian Pinkney, author and illustrator was our last keynote speaker.  He is an acclaimed artist whose illustrations have won him Caldecott Honors along with multiple other awards.

Demonstrating his skill as a drummer.  Throughout his youth he played the drums in the marching band, which then led him down the path to the formation of a rock band.

His love for the drums led him to his book; Max Found Two Sticks, which is about a boy who finds sticks and uses them as drumsticks to foster his love of music.
He used his family as models for illustrating the characters in this book.

Wrapping up his presentation
Next year's presenters and speakers.  These women are pioneers in literacy. Hope we have funding so I can go!

Freebies and catalogs

We left Columbus early to beat the winter storm that was tracking our way.  The snow started just about an hour after we arrived back in Indiana.  This storm dumped another 9" of snow on our already 8" from Sunday.  Needless to say, we have missed school since then.  I can't wait to get back to school and implement all the new strategies that I learned at the conference!