Each Wednesday (or thereabouts) I’ve been recording a Curiosity Journal to recap the previous week using these tag words: reading, playing, learning, reacting and writing. Sometimes I mix up the order, just to keep you on your toes.
Care to join me?
I hate assigning letter or percentage grades to students’ writing projects.
I’d like to say, “Forget grades. Let’s just write. Give me your best work, and we’ll see how to make it stronger.” But our homeschool co-op families need grades for high school transcripts, and we want those grades to accurately reflect a student’s work in each class, so I review papers and then, at the end, have to make a decision.
I hate it. That last step makes me want to quit.
My time to write has been swallowed in big gulps by writing class tasks.
Though I cannot go into detail about health issues any of our family members are dealing with, I will report that I am currently sitting in a waiting room while someone I love is under the knife. I’m told the injury and resulting surgery are common. I appreciate hearing people tell us that; we are somewhat comforted knowing we aren’t facing a rare and difficult procedure.
We have no reason to doubt that all will go well, but still…while this may be common for the surgeon, it is not common for for us. So we sit and wait and pray and hope that all goes smoothly.
I’ve had so much fun taking my eldest daughter on a couple of photo shoots. Even though I took these a few weeks ago, I thought I’d share a few today, with her permission.
If I don’t write something down, I forget it. This goes for everything from remembering to leave for an appointment to remembering to take a multivitamin. I keep it all on my smartphone these days, using a to-do list for tasks or prayer requests and a calendar for regular reminders. The silliest thing I’ve scheduled is a weekly reminder to tell my son to take a shower the night before our homeschool co-op. Be assured he takes showers more frequently than once a week, but I want to ensure he will be clean and fresh for the next morning; and because I forget so many things, I just scheduled it in.
To ensure I remember to pray daily for two people who are dealing with particularly hard situations, I decided to schedule that, as well. Every day at 3:20 p.m. Eastern time, my phone’s calendar flashes a reminder to “Pray for ___________ and _________ ” (names protected for privacy). This has worked well. The phone vibrates or beeps a reminder. Even if I have the sound set to mute, the message will flash on the screen for me to see.
One day I was standing at the counter of a hip clothing store chatting with the owner, a visual artist, about graphic design. Though I’d come in to pick up some sweatshirts, my daughter and I wanted to pick his mind about his line of work. While we talked, I set my phone on the sweatshirts. Just as I was about to ask my last question, a customer came up to the register to pay. I slid down the counter a bit so she could have space.
She leaned against the counter and pulled out her credit card to pay, but the owner had to go to the back of the store to grab something for her. We were all standing there with nothing to do, so I turned to say something to my daughter, and just then, my phone flashed “Pray for ___________ and _________.” I quickly turned to swipe away the alarm but not before the lady spotted it. She was staring straight at the screen, reading the words. I avoided eye contact and grabbed the phone. After I fumbled with it and stuck it in my purse, I peeked at her again; she seemed pensive as she processed this odd alert. I looked away quickly, wondered what she was thinking. Self-conscious, I imagined that she was wondering if I was indeed praying for ___________ and _________ right there at the counter. I was trying, but having my prayer life on display left me a bit distracted.
After she paid and left, I wondered if she would go home that afternoon and tell her husband and friends about the woman at the T-shirt store who scheduled prayer for two friends at 3:20 in the afternoon. Just so you know, I did manage to pray for ___________ and _________. But later, driving home, I wondered if that woman whispered some simple prayer of her own for my friends…and who knows? Maybe the next day at 3:20 she thought her own friends and prayed for them, as well.
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You’re invited to “pin” in a way that links back to this post.
Right now I am praying for someone, too!
Do you have a rubric or grading scale that you use for assigning grades to student work? It definitely helps keep you objective, and it gives the student a concrete reason for the grade and concrete ways to improve.
I use the 6+1 traits. And when I present something specific, like how to create in-text citations or MLA Works Cited page, I expect the students to turn it in correctly, holding the bar higher.
The class is intended for juniors and seniors in high school.
Megan Willome says
Your two friends are lucky to have you in their lives.
I set the alert for 3:30, but my phone sends out all the alerts ten minutes prior. 🙂
For the record, I do pray for more than just two friends, but those two seem like they are in an especially hard place. I’m honored to pray for them.
Dena Dyer says
So much good stuff here, Ann–as usual. I have to write down everything, too. I love my Iphone’s alerts. I have used them for prayer, but I need to start doing it regularly. I love your daughter’s photos. She’s beautiful–and looks a lot like you. See you SOON. Can’t wait!
You should see my second daughter–we get comments all the time. One time a fairly good friend of mine was driving down the road and saw all three of my girls riding bikes with their little brother, and she mistook that second daughter for me.
“I honked and waved,” she said, “but you didn’t wave back!”
“That’s because you were honking and waving at my daughter, and I don’t think she remembers you!”
Oh, and thank you for the comment about the pictures–she’s such a beauty! These shots look a little washed out. My other daughter, the one who gets mistaken for me, needs to edit them a bit.
Personally, I think the photos shown resemble her father’s side of the family except for the eyes–everyone has my side of the family’s eyes, including you!
Hazel Moon says
I think I would just give all the students and A, because it would be difficult for me to grade them too. Hope your loved one recovers quickly, and about the prayer reminder, I am sure the lady was surprized, but then that was a testimony to her of your love for Jesus, without you saying a word. Perhaps a good reminder for her to pray for someone as well. Your photos are quite professional and your daughter is so beautiful.
Hazel, that’s my inclination, as well–if the student made an effort, give him or her an A. Trouble is, some aren’t motivated without knowing a consequence awaits. So somehow I have to come up with a rubric that is fair and yet encouraging. Our co-op families share differing philosophies on grading, so it’s complicated. I hate it.
Thank you for your encouraging words about the prayer reminder–I do hope that the lady gained something positive from that moment.
And thank you for the compliment–the photos need editing, as the lighting is too washed out (although that seems to be a preference among young people–they kind of like that over-exposed look in photographs, where a lot of light illuminates the main object). By the way, I think she is beautiful inside and out. Hard working, eager to help, overall positive spirit, desiring to be faithful to God…the outer beauty is just bonus. 🙂
Diana Trautwein says
Your girl is gorgeous – just like you. And I am sorry for whomever is in surgery this day/night. Praying for you all, Ann. I’m going to get my very first smart phone next week and I’m actually nervous about it. I fear I will be technologically frozen!!
Diana, you are too sweet. Like I just replied to Hazel in the comment above, this daughter is truly a heart and soul beauty, making her external beauty just bonus.
Thank you very much for the prayers. The surgery went very well, but recovery is going to be a bear!
As for your smart phone? I underutilized mine for months, only using a few apps. Gradually, I began to see how this could be an even more effective tool. That’s when I started keeping my grocery list on it, and then all kinds of notes, and of course the calendar and e-mail. I had to learn not to check that too often, but I do appreciate knowing what I have waiting for me when I get home instead of sitting down to the PC and getting hit with a lot all at once.
I hope you like it. Just figure out the main things that you would like to try at first and ease into it. Here are some apps that I like:
* TheHighCalling.org (we have an app for that! Makes reading the articles and reflections super easy)
* Notes (my daughters use RememberTheMilk; I use Note Everything; lots of people use Evernote…I treat these as a repository for random bits of information, like someone quick gives me an address or a website or a phone number or the name of a book…or I create a shopping list, etc)
* Gtasks (this coordinates with the tasks on the Google calendar; it serves as my to-do list)
* Facebook (an app on the phone)
* Peep (I have a Droid and this is the app it uses for Twitter)
* Internet/Google (whatever the phone provides for looking stuff up–I use this often)
* GasBuddy (finds the cheapest gas prices near you using your GPS or you can type in a zip code)
* Navigation (my droid has a navigation app that tells me when to turn to get to my destination–I love the voice feature. It uses a ton of batteries, though, so I have my cord in the car to plug in and recharge)
* TheWeek.com (headlines, summaries and links pulled from many news sources; love this to keep track of what’s going on in the world–it provides daily updates throughout the workweek; the print edition comes out once a week)
* Voice Recorder (I use this more than you’d think–recently recorded my son’s cello lesson to share with his grandmother; I’ve recorded my parents as they tell family stories)
* Kindle (before I had a Kindle reader, I used the app on my phone)
* Adobe reader (lets me read documents that come as email attachments)
* Email (I love keeping track of e-mail when I don’t have access to my computer)
* Phone (oh, yes, that’s right…sometimes I make phone calls on my phone! 😉 )
Diana Trautwein says
That sounds both wonderful and absolutely overwhelming!! I’ll take it slow, I imagine, but I am looking forward to all those things you’ve listed. Just hope I can keep up. Thanks so much for these good tips.
It was fun to look in my phone and ask myself what I use–but, like I said, when I first got my smartphone, I just used the phone, text (with my kids, but I was very slow and mostly just replied simple, short notes like “Yes” and “Ok” and “See you soon”), and e-mail.
All those other things sort of “grew” as I experimented. I’ve seen a few people around the wealthy town down the road driving Porsches and BMWs at 30 mph. The car does what they need it to do in style and comfort, even though the car could do so much more. You could do the same with your phone–just drive it 30 mph for now, until you’re comfortable. Maybe you’ll add some things, maybe not. It’s possible you’ll just use a few features and you won’t ever have a need to rev the engine! It’s yours to use however you like. It’ll be fun.