Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A close game

to say the least. But, in the end, the Tigers WON!!!!!

Josh was in the starting line-up for the first time. As the team ran out of the locker room, I watched Josh run through the warm-ups. I was pretty sure his face would crack, he was smiling so big! (So was his proud momma!) While it wasn't Josh's best game, the Tigers fought hard and came out with the win in this close game.

My favorite part, of course, was the introductions.....

Monday, November 17, 2008

Play it again, Jake

Last year, when Jake expressed interest in beginning band, I was thrilled. I wasn't crazy about his choice of instrument...the trombone, but, finally, there was an activity that I could relate to. I had such fond memories of my time in band, and wanted to give Jake the opportunity to experience them too.
This fall, when school started, Jake was able to be talked into playing trumpet instead of the trombone. He has enjoyed the twice-weekly lessons at school. I am hoping this may be a long term activity for him.
Tonight was Jake's first band concert. Here are a few pics of the proud musician....

And for the starting line-up for the Tigers....

Yep, you guessed it, Josh is starting for Tuesday's game :)

Saturday, November 08, 2008

An explanation of National Boards....

I am often asked about my school work. I will frequently refer to it as a thesis, since that is something more people can relate to. This last year of my Master's program is not a thesis, however. At the university I attend, graduate level special education majors have two choices for their capstone, or culmination, year. They can chose to either write a research-based thesis, or complete and submit a portfolio for the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. I chose the later option for a number of reasons:
  • both options require a huge amount of effort and work,
  • if I submit a passing portfolio, my certification will change to a Specialist in Special Education,
  • the state of Illinois has passed an unfunded mandate that will pay Nationally Board certified teachers a $3000/year stipend (meaning, teachers get the money if it is available),
  • the portfolio required directly relates to the work I am doing in the classroom and will directly benefit my students, which is the reason I went back to school in the first place,
  • if I successfully certify, I will be able to "mentor" teachers going through the process and receive payment for that work through the state, meaning more money to be made in the future.

So, there are a number of reasons that I chose this option. It has been a difficult process, as writing for the National Board portfolio is much, much different than writing research papers. The process began this summer with learning to write in that style. I am led through this process by an incredible woman and supported by my classmates. We met this summer to begin learning the process and writing our first entry. This fall, two more entries must be completed. Then, in the spring, the last entry will be done, and we will submit our portfolios by the deadline on March 31st. Following that submission, we will study for the assessment center exercises, which I will most likely complete at the end of May. Then the waiting game begins....scores are not announced until November or December. So, I will know if my hard work paid off in about a year.

In the mean time, I will graduate with a Master's in Special Education in May. We are required to submit a viable portfolio, but graduation is not contingent on receiving a certifying score on the portfolio or the assessment center exercises. In addition to the time and effort involved, there is a substantial financial investment in the process. In addition to the tuition I have to pay, there is a $2565 application fee that had to be paid just to submit a portfolio. The state of Illinois, in an effort to encourage teachers to go for the certification, provided subsidies of $2000 to help with the application cost.

Here is a link to the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards website, if my rambling on was not enough to put you to sleep....



I thought I was dreaming. A little voice calling "Mama!" I look at the clock....4:45 a.m. This is supposed to be the one morning I can sleep in, but here I am, awake. What kind of dream was that?

"MAMA!" Oh no, it's not a dream! I stumble over Gracie as I grope my way toward the door. DH is up too, and we meet at the door and head to Jake's room, where the calls are coming from. Jake is leaning over the garbage can, retching. Poor baby has the flu :(

He is old enough that he has managed to get all the mess in the garbage can. I get him a fresh can, and a wash cloth. He rinses his mouth and settles back into bed.

I climb back between my flannel sheets and sigh....before, I had always brought the boys to bed with me when they were sick. But now, they are too old for that. When I commented on this to DH, he pointed out...."But, you did notice who he called for....mama." Content that my boy still needs me, I drifted back to sleep.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Game 1

Josh's first game was a loss to Bloomington. While disappointing, it was definately exciting for all of us. When I asked DH if he was ready (to leave for the game), he said, "I have been ready for this day for YEARS!" LOL!!