Dare to Care

create, communicate, collaborate, and think critically

11/Jul/2017
by Denise Krebs
4 Comments

My Husband

My husband talks a lot and makes me laugh. Here are some snippets from our Friday afternoon.

While I started the car in the stifling ground level garage, Keith carried the hefty, plastic shopping bag overflowing with garbage toward the dumpster. When he came back to the car, he noticed I had opened my sunglasses case and had it sitting on the center console, ready to grab when we pulled out of the dark garage. He started in, “Now, what am I going to do? You know that’s my job. Are you taking my sunglasses job? Now, I guess I’ll just have to do my other side car driving tasks.” I began driving through the cramped garage. “Watch out…Don’t hit that wall…Careful, there’s a car…Ooh, that was close.”

“OK, wise guy, you can keep your job.” When I got to the door of the garage, I handed him my regular eyeglasses and waited for him to pass me the sunglasses. I put them on and pulled into the narrow alleyway, into the 110-degree heat. (It feels like 113, so the humidity isn’t that bad today.) “So, which mall should we go to?” I asked my husband, who is exponentially more opinionated than I about such things.

“Let’s go to the little fancy mall in the Seef district,” my husband said, “It won’t be so crowded on the weekend.” I turned the car toward the mall of our Friday afternoon walk.

As we rode along, I said, “OK, I have some advice I could give you about church today, if you are interested. About prayer.”

“Yeah, go ahead.”

“Well, when all the pastors and elders were in front praying for individuals, you were the only one I could hear.”

“Oh, no, did I leave my mic on?”

“No, the mic wasn’t on. I think you just need to work on your whisper.”

“Ah, I was projecting! I learned that in seminary.”

“Yeah,” I laughed, “but you shouldn’t broadcast the person’s prayer request. ‘God, help this sister get over her drug addiction.’ Just kidding. I didn’t really hear that.”

“You maybe just heard my voice above all the others because you are so in love.” I could sense him staring and batting his eyes.

“Oh, yes, that’s it.”

Lots more side car driving, “50…50…50…the speed limit is 50!” And later, “I would have gotten off at this exit.” That sort of thing until we arrived at the upscale mall.

“Oh, look, Denise. This place was named after us!” It was a chocolate fountain restaurant called Dip N Dip. We had to stop for a selfie:

At this point, I remembered my little writer’s notebook I was planning to carry this month for Teachers Write. I said, “Hey, I need to write down some of those things you’ve been saying that made me laugh today, but I’ve already forgotten on the way here. Maybe I’ll write about you today, funny guy. Can you remind me what made me laugh today?”

“Just write everything I say. You can actually record it. Keep the audio going all day long. That way when I die you can listen and laugh anytime, or cry maybe.”

“Oh, never mind!”

We took a lovely walk around this high-end mall. High-end, yes: For instance, I walked into one small shop with an “up-to-90%-off” sign in the window. I was curious. The first thing I saw on the rack was a long, single-knit teal dress with some embroidery through the middle. It looked like a prom dress. BD1780 was the original price, and the marked down price was BD178 (What? Almost $500!)

“Thank you,” I said, as someone came up to see if they could help me. “I just wanted to take a quick look.” I slipped out after looking at only one price tag. This place was out of my price range, even with 90% off.

When I told Keith about it, he said, “We’ll come back when it’s 99% off.”

It’s a good thing I don’t need a prom dress.

     *      *      *      *     *

On the way home, we enjoyed listening to music on a playlist that Keith created.

It has Beatles, Kansas, and lots of his other favorites–pop, rock and roll, and gospel. I’m not really big on music, but one day, I did say, “How about Gordon Lightfoot and Simon and Garfunkel?” My old time favorites. The next time we went in the car, he had a new playlist including some of my favorites.

Today, when “Rainy Day Lovers” came on, I asked him if he even likes Gordon Lightfoot.

“He’s OK,” he said. We talked about rainy days and loving.

     *      *      *      *     *

When we came back, I baked chocolate-dipped peanut butter cookies to bring to a dinner tonight.

Keith exercised and then came into the kitchen to drink water. Afterwards, he dug into the dish drainer looking for his coffee pots for tomorrow morning. “I’ve never seen anyone who can stack dishes like you. You are super talented in that area! No one else can stack like you, Denise!” He began putting some dishes away. He finally made it down to one of his coffee pots. (I think he has a half dozen). He shook the water out of the pot and gave me some advice, “You know, for dishes to dry, it’s best not to use the super burial method of stacking.”

     *      *      *      *     *

It’s a work day for him tomorrow, so he was ready for bed before me. “Good night,” I said. I wanted to stay up and finish this blog post before I went to bed. “I love you.”

“Yeah, that’s what she says now.”

“Thanks for making me laugh.”

“Yes, I am a Dad joke.”

That you are, but I wouldn’t want you any other way.

“Rainy day lovers don’t hide love inside, they just pass it on.”

27/Jun/2017
by Denise Krebs
2 Comments

Summer’s Here

Well, I haven’t written since the 9th of May. In April, I had determined I would keep up writing on Tuesdays with the Two Writing Teachers’ Slice of Life challenge. My commitment lasted a few weeks.

Today I’m back. No promises for the future of my Tuesdays, but the summer looks hopeful. This is my first summer since I moved overseas that I won’t be going back to the U.S. for most of the summer. We took our trip home in May for my daughter’s wedding, so I’ll be in Bahrain for the whole hot summer.

I’m actually looking forward to the time to:

    1. Read Bible stories and pray more than I watch political news
    2. Participate in Teachers Write – I’ll join a community of teachers who write together this summer. Starts on 10 July.
    3. Read! I have a pile of more than a dozen elementary, young adult and professional books to read.
    4. School work! It will be my first summer in years that I like take time to really reflect on last year and then do what I need to do in order to make next year great.
    5. De-clutter one cupboard or drawer each day. (Where did I get this list? I’m afraid I don’t know.)
    6. Walk 10,000 steps on as many days a week as I can–at least 4 a week.
    7. Cook and bake more than I get to during the school year.

What do you have planned for the summer?

I checked out library books for the summer! Looking forward to some reading and writing time.

A post shared by Denise Krebs (@mrsdkrebs) on

09/May/2017
by Denise Krebs
7 Comments

I Am Denise and Other Poems

I am open and questioning

I wonder why I’m so tired

I hear Inshallah and Shukran

I see the turquoise glittering buildings in Manama

I want to know the Truth

I am open and questioning

I pretend to know too much

I feel like screaming into my pillow

I touch my badge and shine it up

I worry that I can’t communicate with my students

I cry at night when I think too much

I am open and questioning

I understand that God is gracious to me anyway

I say God is love

I dream of a world of peace

I try to love

I hope for a bright future

I am open and questioning

I am Denise

 

I’m working on a variety of poetry formats with my class these days, so I’m making sample poems. The one I wrote today, I notice is a bit dark, but ‘I hope for a bright future,’ at least.

The “I Am” poem is an old form I used to use that was published by the ETTC (Educational Technology Training Center) of New Jersey. Does anyone know what happened to these great online poetry forms? Here is the BROKEN link that doesn’t work any longer. (And thanks to the tweeter at @RWTnow, here is a link to the archived list of the poems. They are even better than I remembered! However, beware–if you create a poem on one of the forms, it won’t be able to show it to you. You’ll have to screenshot it. Or just use the ideas for each poem.)

I typed up the “I Am” form for anyone to use. for their class. Click here for my Google Doc–just go to File > Make a Copy.

Found Poetry by Read, Write, Think, using the Word Mover Student Interactive.

You can choose one of the Japanese images that they provide. Or…

You can even add your own image. This is a picture I took from the Bahrain Bay.

Another poetry writing resource–writing a haiku on Read, Write, Think’s interactive Haiku form.

One last poem. Prepositional Phrase Poem

Beside my dying mom

During her last days

In her rock house living room

Next to the rented hospital bed

Because of my great love for her

With sadness in my heart

Without fear, but with God’s peace

Good-bye, Mama

 

23/Apr/2017
by Denise Krebs
2 Comments

What’s My Teacher Doing Here?

“Miss, I saw you yesterday at City Centre!” my student shyly said to me this morning.

After yesterday’s Labor Day national holiday, we came back to school and I was greeted by two children telling me something very similar about our separate chance meetings at the mall yesterday.

“Yes, I did see you yesterday in the food court! It was so nice to see you and your family at the mall. Did you have fun?” I responded.

It was fun to see my students. I was able to introduce my husband to their parents and see their sweet enthusiasm for seeing their teacher in an unusual place.

It reminded me of when I was in sixth grade and I saw my teacher at church one Sunday. It was so odd. Even though I spent hours a day, five days a week with the man, I remember this chance meeting like it was yesterday. I can picture him coming out of the washroom, and walking down the sunny corridor, smiling when he caught my eye.

We spoke very briefly, but it was so awkward for me. Even as a tween, I still had the idea that teachers belong at school. My compartmentalized life was getting shifted, like the young narrator in Judy Finchler’s Miss Malarkey Doesn’t Live in Room 10.

How about you? Do you have memories of seeing your teachers out of context? Or students seeing you?

This is a post for the Tuesday Slice of Life and from tell a story prompt for #edublogsclub.

18/Apr/2017
by Denise Krebs
5 Comments

Standards and Assessment

Standards and Assessment – A few random thoughts for this week’s #edublogsclub prompt.

I’ve taught with and without standards, but I prefer and believe we need standards-based education.

I also believe we need standards-based grading. We should be able to look at the standard and using descriptive narration tell how the student is and isn’t meeting the standard. It seems simple to me. However, I spend so much of my precious preparation time grading and recording numbers around learning. Sometimes numbers make sense, like recording how many sight words this child can read. More often than not, though, numbers don’t give any added information. For instance, in the following standards, how can a number help us know what the child can do?

Pose and respond to specific questions by making comments that contribute to the discussion and elaborate on the remarks of others.

Recognize and correct inappropriate shifts in verb tense.

Determine a theme of a story, drama, or poem from details in the text, including how characters in a story or drama respond to challenges or how the speaker in a poem reflects upon a topic; summarize the text.

I think a number does not show growth. Numbers tend to stop conversation. The student and parent are either happy or unhappy with the number, but not much else is discussed except the number.

Tomorrow we will have Student Learning Presentations, where parents, teacher and student come together and report learning. It’s a beautiful thought, but I know from experience, the numbers will trip us up at times.

This year one of the goals of our School Improvement Plan is “All students at Al Raja School in grades KG-5 will improve reading and writing in English.” We have chosen to measure our success on this goal using the fall and spring scores on our computerized standardized test: Measures of Academic Progress (MAP).

Last year we had only 26% of that age group make annual yearly progress. This year at the winter midpoint, I’ve just stopped to look at the data I had so far. This winter, we had 46% meet or exceed their progress goals.

So, there is an assessment that helps us see if we are growing. I’m pleased with the progress so far, but not satisfied, of course. We have work to do.

Fortunately for us, we aren’t driven by tests. We are new to standardized tests. It’s only our second year taking the MAP. We look at the data, and try to let it help us get to know, teach, and help our students, but it’s not the only measure.

I still hope we can eliminate grades and use paper and digital work, photos, video, stories and other evidence of the students’ learning to report about their learning.

I guess I feel the way we take the MAP test can help in that reporting, as well.

What do you think?

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