Dare to Care

create, communicate, collaborate, and think critically

31/Oct/2017
by Denise Krebs
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Serenity

My one word for 2017

Serenity.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference. Amen.

This is my third blog post this year about my one little word–serenity. I introduced my word in January, and shared an update here this summer.

Today I feel encouraged because I chose to be committed to a couple of small things this summer, and those commitments are adding to my well being, my sense of serenity.

I decided to choose two goals that would possibly help me have more peace about the things I cannot change–particularly the politics of the United States at this time in our history. My goals:

  1. Take a challenge to read 40 books during the school year.
  2. Write 750Words at the start of each new day.

They seem fairly unrelated to our political climate. However, in 2016 and half of 2017, I was spending way too much time watching and reading political news. Instead I decided to read and write.

Recently, on 750Words, I broke my previous record of 62 days in a row, set in 2011. Today, I was up to 74 straight days.

It’s interesting how some outside lead measures have helped me to find serenity the second half of this year. Instead of searching for serenity, though, I write in the mornings, often praying for others and counting my blessings–10,000 reasons to say thank you.

In addition, I’ve read 7 books since school started, almost on par for my 40-book challenge. The frozen sea within me is getting chipped away.

I don’t have as much time for the news nowadays. Perfect. Instead of trying to say no to the drama and toxicity of our politics, as I had for so many months. I have said yes to writing, reading, praising, and reflecting. As a result I have more serenity.

 

17/Oct/2017
by Denise Krebs
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The Time of My Life

I nod my thanks to the driver of the black Yaris as I pull out of the side lane in front of him. “Go ahead. You can go in front of me,” he says silently. The busy mother with a young child at each hip hurries through the crowd to get to the bus stop on time. The girls’ starched uniform pinafores move like great church bells, their scurrying legs the clappers.

I’m sitting at the red light listening to the music my husband put onto the USB. Usually I don’t pay much attention to what’s playing, but this morning, this time, this song had such a sweet and melancholy effect on me. It is “Time of Your Life” by Green Day.

I thought of the story that brought us to Bahrain. We were in our late 50’s. No need to make such a radical change, right? But we did. It was so unpredictable. From the beginning it’s been right. Just right. A chance to meet and love people from scores of different countries. From backgrounds, languages, and cultures so radically different than mine. I’m learning so many lessons day by day. This sweet song spoke to me today.

Another turning point, a fork stuck in the road
Time grabs you by the wrist, directs you where to go
So make the best of this test, and don’t ask why
It’s not a question, but a lesson learned in time
It’s something unpredictable, but in the end it’s right
I hope you had the time of your life

So take the photographs, and still-frames in your mind
Hang it on the shelf of good health and good time
Tattoo’s of memories and dead skin on trial
For what it’s worth, it was worth all the while
It’s something unpredictable, but in the end it’s right
I hope you had the time of your life

Normally I walk to school, but today I drove because I needed the car after school. It’s just a 5-minute walk, so I always know if I will be on time when I walk out the door. However, when I drive I need to leave 20 minutes earlier to make it on time. Today, I missed the 20-minute mark. I was on the road at 6:48. Only 12 minutes to drive less than 1 kilometer. I share the road with many others–adults hurrying to work, delivery men loaded with parcels, parents and drivers darting with their young charges to get them to school on time.

As I sat in the long lineup of cars a few blocks from my school, my friend and colleague Victoria  walked by. She didn’t see me, and I didn’t even bother to roll down the window and holler at her to hop in for a ride the rest of the way to school. I actually considered how I might ditch my car and walk with her the rest of the way to school so I wouldn’t be so late.

The music played on. I listened to the Green Day song twice, and two other songs started and finished by the time I pulled into the lot behind school. I punched in about 5 minutes late. Not too bad actually.

I added to my photographs this morning–the still-frames in my mind that I take with me. So many beautiful images. The grandfather pushing the baby in the pram, as he lovingly gazed at the baby’s face more than the bumpy sidewalk he traveled on. The lanky fellow who tripped and stumbled a bit when he stepped off the curb. He caught my eye as I sat at the red light, and he passed an infectious belly laugh to me. Laughter and smiles. These are the sweet slices of life that I cherish.

It’s worth all the while. I’m having the time of my life.

02/Oct/2017
by Denise Krebs
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O, God, Save Us

I have a FitBit, and right now I am on a bit of a 10,000-step-a-day streak. I also like to keep moving for at least 30 minutes each day. Sometimes I keep going while my husband runs an errand. Today I kept walking while he went into the Viva store to take care of a mobile phone issue.

Last week, when I needed a few more minutes to hit my goal, my hubby stopped at the market to buy some cashews. I went in, but I kept moving, moving around the store. He told me I was like a cat underfoot, going here and there, needing herding.

Tonight we walked through the dark alleyways and narrow streets of Manama, where I am never afraid. It’s dusty and run-down and crowded with cars parked on the sidewalks and people going every which way. Cars squeeze through places you would never believe they’d fit. (I spent almost a whole lifetime thinking I needed more room to drive than I really do.)

I took a walk with my husband tonight, after we heard about the tragedy in Las Vegas. I am weeping that my own country seems so unsafe and broken nowadays. O, God, save us, I pray.

Evening walk in the souk. #bahrainwtc #10000steppartyonmywrist

A post shared by Denise Krebs (@mrsdkrebs) on

21/Sep/2017
by Denise Krebs
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The Reading Game

I am currently reading The 4 Disciplines of Execution by Chris Chesney, Sean Covey, and Jim Huling. It is a business book, but we are using it to improve teacher effectiveness at our school this year.

Last spring our innovative principal told me about the book and how it would inform our goal for the new school year. He recommended it, so I bought the book. It has been a slow read because it’s not what I’m usually interested in, but I’m plowing through and always asking how we can use the concepts in our school. Our WIG, or wildly important goal, is to raise our ELEOT scores in two categories from 2.8 to 3.2 by June 2018. Clearly a measurable goal from x to y by when goal. Meeting this goal will mean that children will be given a more equitable and high expectations learning environment than they had last year. If we succeed, students will be more engaged in learning, with more opportunities for differentiation and higher order thinking.
Continue Reading →

16/Sep/2017
by Denise Krebs
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“I Am” Metaphor Poems

In the summer I read the blog of Sara Kiffe, with the lovely name of Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast (Teaching Under the Big Sky).  On July 2, she wrote this post, “First Day I Am Poems.” Sara didn’t stop there. Check out Sara’s super summer posts for lessons on Fibonacci PoetryColor Poems and Saving Things Poetry.

I decided to try writing metaphors the first day of school too. I teach English to native Arabic speakers, and I had them only 45 minutes a day the first two days of school. After a mini lesson on metaphors and figurative language, each student wrote one metaphor using one of their senses, a metaphor about themselves. Most of them were able to understand and created their own metaphors.

We hung their first metaphors on a bulletin board in the hallway.

We are learners!

A post shared by arsgrade5 (@arsgrade5) on

The next day they wrote a whole poem about themselves using metaphors of all kinds. The images were so sweet and some were just beautiful.

I don’t know much about the Arabic language, but from what others tell me and what I’ve experienced, it is rich in figurative language. In previous years, I’ve noticed my students have always been good at similes and metaphors, and they use them spontaneously in their writing and speaking.

Thanks, Sara, for the inspiration.

First day of school metaphor slides
Student Samples
Templates – Students chose from these to help scaffold their writing

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