Dressing and Educating: Days 6-10

IMG_3618

Day 6: August 22, 2016

My first true Monday of the school year and I caught the struggle bus on the way to school. I forgot just how short a two day weekend feels. I really needed to replenish my lost sleep from last week, but I had a sick child all weekend–so that did not happen.

Adjusting to my new schedule is also exhausting me. I’ve really enjoyed getting to know my students and getting back into the routine of going to work, but by midway through the day my energy level tanks. This year 4 of the 6 classes I teach are back-to-back in the morning and I eat lunch with only two periods remaining in the day. The front end of my day is hectic and it takes a lot of willpower to keep from taking a nap instead of eating lunch during my break. I’m still in adjustment mode as I align my body to this new schedule.

For my Monday attire I went for my navy and white Market and Spruce dress from Stitch Fix. I paired this dress with a draping vest and Sperrys. I also liked the way my Premier jewelry brought some much needed brightness to this outfit.

IMG_3630

Day 7: August 23, 2016

The theme of the day was data. From the beginning of my first class period until the end of the final bell my day consisted of students taking tests to give me data points and analyzing data from previous school years and standardized tests. Twice today I met with my data teams to interpret numbers and to make plans for moving forward. I felt like every other word out of my mouth all day was a synonym for data.

For an English and History teacher a day of data analysis was akin to a pulsating migraine. In fact, it actually caused a bit of one midway through the day. By the time my lunch period rolled around I found myself craving caffeine. I almost gave in to that desire, but kept myself busy to avoid hopping in my car and driving to the nearby Tim Hortons. I worked through my lunch period (I may have to explain a little soup spill on my data sheets), and I logged over 12,000 steps before I finally made it home.

On a more positive note, I’m beginning to recall student names and faces and some of their personalities are starting to sneak through their scared freshman facade. I shared a few laughs with some classes today and thoroughly enjoyed discussions with my honors students about how they want the class to be taught.

It was school picture day. I have no idea why I stress more over picture day as a teacher than I did back in my day as a pupil, but I do. Last night I laid out several outfits and decided on my chambray top I received from Stitch Fix and a pair of red jeggings. I’m so glad I had my gray lace Toms to get me through a day of running to every corner of my large campus. They were almost as imperative as the term “data” was to my vocabulary today.


Day 8: August 24, 2016

Pre-assessment day!

I spent a majority of my day administering pretests and evaluating those pretests. I used each class period to score the one before and spent just about three quarters of my day reading student essays.

I always find it interesting the knowledge my students bring to my course.

Today I wore LulaRoe leggings, my navy tunic from The Limited, and a pair of silver flats I bought two years ago for my sister’s wedding. It was a comfortable, yet professional look for the day.

Also, I took several photos this morning, but I had to laugh about the one above. Right as the camera took the shot another teacher popped in the room and caught me red handed. I had to explain to him what I’m doing on the blog and I’m pretty sure he left my room contemplating my sanity.


Day 9: August 25, 2016

With pre-assessments Out of the way I’m now free to begin teaching my course content. I introduced new vocabulary today, had students analyze an article in small groups, and had a chance to really observe student interaction. I loved seeing personalities come out for the first time this year as students were given permission to ask questions and to go a little deeper with ideas specific to the courses I teach.

Today, I also enjoyed visiting with some former students during their study halls. It means a lot to me when students from previous years make the time to stop by the freshman building to see me and fill me in on their lives.

Today I wore black skinny dress pants from The Limited, a blue tank top, and a cardigan I purchased this summer in England at Primark. I completed my outfit with my favorite black and white Sperrys.

IMG_3746.JPG

Day 10: August 26, 2016

My first casual Friday!

You have to love the days when you can dress down at work. Although I love getting all dressed up throughout the week Fridays are always a breath of fresh air as I can create outfits that are more functional for my active teaching style. Everyday I log over 10,000 steps before lunch time. I rarely sit during class periods. I use a lot of energy throughout my day. Because I’m such an active teacher I love to wake up and throw on a pair of jeans and a t-shirt. Most Friday’s I wear shirts that display my school spirit, but today I decided to go for a different look.

As you can see above I wore a Classic T from LulaRoe and my dark denim is from Charlotte Russe’s line and there I go again with my classic Sperrys boat shoe. I dressed the casual look up just a bit with a long beaded necklace and a gold bracelet from Premier.

At the end of my second week I can now say I’ve learned all my student first names, graded at least one assignment per class, and begun teaching content in both of my courses. I’m starting to get into a rhythm for the year and some of the students are beginning to open up just a little bit. I’m excited about the school year and all 170 days that lie ahead.

Thank goodness for the weekend so I can catch up on some sleep and much needed family time.

Here’s a quick recap of my outfits this week. Which is your favorite?:

The Ameri Brit Mom

Why We Are Roman Soldiers

During our summer visit to England my husband and I heard about a new phenomenon sweeping the YouTube world. Countless times we introduced ourselves to people and said that we were from Columbus, Ohio and were met with questions about if we know Roman Atwood. Prior to our trip neither of us had a clue who this Roman guy was and why people in England were so fascinated with him and his family.

And then we watched a vlog…

Let me just say that we were completely blown away. We asked each other, “How have we never heard of him when we have a hometown celebrity so close by?”

So who is Roman Atwood?–If you aren’t already a Roman soldier (the name he gives to his fans) let me explain to you in the best way I can about this outrageously popular and positive YouTube channel. I know my description won’t do him justice, so please check out his YouTube channel if I even somewhat pique your interest.

Roman Atwood first became famous through his outlandish tricks and pranks. Some of his first videos involve him going up to strangers and doing some pretty messed up stuff to get their reactions on film. I won’t lie some of his pranks are ridiculous and I would NEVER recommend trying them on complete strangers. He’s worked with some of the guys from Jack Ass and so if you are familiar with that at all you kind of have an idea of his background.

After his pranks Roman began a second YouTube Channel where he vlogs his daily life and uploads a video just about every day. Most of his vlogs involve the members of his family and their every day lives together. It seems boring, but there is something so inspirational about the Atwood family that has drawn millions of fans to his page. Roman has been through some rough life situations and come out of them with a new and positive perspective. To watch his vlogs you can tell he is just a dad who loves his kids, treats his long-time girlfriend respectfully, and enjoys having a good time.

He has created a brand called Smile More which has also taken off. The store is housed on his family property and run by family members and friends. The goal of Smile More is to help people, like Roman, who are facing obstacles in their lives, to keep a positive perspective. I think the reason so many people have become addicted to watching the Atwoods and Smile More is because they are a real life example of the power of positivity and love and they are spreading messages that everyone needs to hear.

My husband and I have made it a habit to watch these vlogs each night as we are winding down for bed. It’s so uplifting after a rough day to hear Roman’s closing speech at the end of each vlog. No matter how tough your day was there is always something to smile about. Roman oftentimes also speaks about being yourself and not letting people tear you down or change you.

It’s so fun to watch a local guy become a celebrity from a positive message.

Check out the Roman Atwood Vlogs and let me know what you think.

“You are beautiful. You are one of a kind. Smile More!” -Roman Atwood

The Ameri Brit Mom

(photo credit: romanatwood.com) Noah, Kane, Brittney Smith, and Roman Atwood

Slowly But Surely…

IMG_3754

The school year is now in full swing and I am ready to get back into my personal reading habits. The first few weeks of school involve a lot of adjustment and resting once I finally get home. As I am beginning to settle into what will be my new routine I feel myself craving to be lost in a good book. Over the summer I was constantly reading. Some weeks I finished two or more books and now it’s been a while since I’ve been able to catch some solid reading time.

This week I’m going to get back into my Book Challenge mode and pick up where I left off. Currently, I’m about one-third of the way through The Crown, the last book in The Selection series by Kiera Cass. This has been one of the first series I’ve EVER finished. I am so bad about reading consecutive books with the same characters so I’m excited to say that probably by the end of the week I will have finished this series. I was able to read this series because I alternated between a book from the series and a book from my challenge. I didn’t read the whole series straight through.

Next on my TBR list is a new in 2016 book: Tru and Nelle by G.Neri. This book is about the real life friendship of Truman Capote and Nelle Harper Lee. I cannot tell you how pumped I am for this book! I was at a professional development session this summer where a librarian book-talked this book and I immediately tracked down a copy for me. I can’t wait to read it and review it for you!

Following those two reads I’m looking at Murder on the Orient Express as my mystery novel for the book challenge. I am in love with Agatha Christie’s books. I don’t mind that her books were written in the 1930’s. In my mind, she is still the Queen of Mystery and I don’t think that will ever change. My favorite mystery book of all time was And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie and I’ve heard that Murder on the Orient Express is just as captivating.

So there is a quick update on my reading life and what I hope to accomplish by the end of September. I need to get back to reading constantly and not let my job interfere with something I love so much.

What books are you hoping to read soon?

The Ameri Brit Mom

A Brain Chemistry Story Map: The Irresistible Novel

Thanks for staying with me, readers, for the past 23 Saturdays as I’ve read and reviewed each chapter of The Irresistible Novel by Jeff Gerke. We started out the first part of the book reviewing grammar and writing practices. Now in the second part of the book we are taking a look at the human mind and how studies on the mind can improve our novels. We have a month left before we finish the book and I’m excited to announce that starting next week you can enter to win your very own copy of The Irresistible Novel. I’ll be doing my blog’s first giveaway as a result of having spoken to the author and I’m so excited to give one lucky reader a chance to read through this book free of charge. Stay tuned for that giveaway!

IMG_2368

A Lesson in Brain Chemistry

This chapter opens with a brief discussion on the brain chemicals released during the course of reading a novel for most people. From start to finish, many readers will experience the release of dopamine, adrenaline, oxytocin, testosterone, glutamate, GABA, and serotonin. In this section he explains the feelings attached to each chemical such as the feeling of empathy that releases with the presence of oxytocin. It’s a lot of hypothesis and science talk so I’ll move on the next section.

The goal of a story’s beginning to is create a connection between the reader and the protagonist of your story. If you can get your reader to release oxytocin they will quickly form a bond with the character based on feeling of empathy and understanding. This is also sometimes called transportation. It is the ultimate goal of any story’s exposition.

The middle of the story is important for building anticipation. This is often done by a series of events that take the reader on an emotional roller coaster in preparation for the climax that lies ahead. During the middle of the story the reader can experience any of the following brain chemical reactions and oftentimes will feel more than one: dopamine, adrenaline, oxytocin and testosterone.

By the end of the story your reader should feel some sort of calm relief as they come to terms with the way the character’s battles have turned out. The chemical associated with calm relief is known as GABA and if the calm is associated with happiness or excitement for the life that lies ahead for the character the reader may also experience a wave of serotonin.

The following is a glimpse into the story map developed by Gerke based on the scientific principles acquired through the brain studies performed by Dr. Zak:

  1. Attract the reader’s attention through the dangerous and new
  2. Show the protagonist in a struggle everyone can relate to
  3. Give the reader an opportunity to form a tight bond with your character
  4. Add some tension on the way to the climax (anticipation, curiosity, rests)
  5. Send the hero on a journey where they are able to experience change
  6. Create a rewarding ending

My Current Project…

As much as I struggled in school to comprehend science and anatomy I found this chapter on brain chemistry to be informative to me as an author. There is much to be learned from the study of neuroscience as it applies to reading and writing fiction and this chapter only scratches the surface.

After having read this chapter I can already think of ways to tweak the plot of my novel to help meet the neurological needs of my reader. I’m looking forward to inserting more tension and anticipation to the rising action and climax of my novel.

The Ameri Brit Mom

 

Five Minute Friday: Loyal

This week the topic for the Five Minute Friday link-up post is Loyal. What is a link-up? Essentially a link-up is when you join other bloggers and write on a similar topic. You share your blog posts with one another and begin conversations via a host site. You can head over to Kate Motaung’s page to check out other entries from inspired bloggers. Here’s my five minutes of uninterrupted, unedited writing on this week’s topic:

Cristina-Re-600x600

Proverbs 21:21– Whoever pursues righteousness and love finds life, prosperity, and honor.

If I could sum up the frustrations of my day today I could do so using the single word: loyalty.

Someone I know asked me to make a decision that I felt was not aligned with my personal values. Immediately I knew that the decision to go along with their plans would be a mistake and the consequences could be substantial. By no means am I trying to state that my moral compass is always attuned to True North, but I have a hard time ignoring my conscience when it senses something is not right.

All of this to say that sometimes it is difficult to remain loyal to what I believe. Temptation is something we all struggle with and I wrestle with certain temptations regularly. A downfall of mine is that I like to please people. Generally, I filter actions through one of two questions: “What will people think of…?” and “What would God say about…?” And I’m embarrassed to say that more times than not the first thing I think of isn’t God’s view on the situation, but rather man’s view of me.

For some reason, today, my heart was convicted to ask about God’s view first, and thankfully His Word and His Truth kept me from making a decision that would have burdened me with regrets. It can be hard to say “no” to people. I get very uncomfortable when I feel like I’ve disappointed someone or made them upset. But in the end I made the decision to remain loyal to the virtues of righteousness as God’s Word so clearly outlines.

Being loyal to values will always win in a moral dilemma.

I am so thankful for a God who protected me from making a decision that could have hurt my witness and testimony.

The Ameri Brit Mom

Dressing and Educating: Days 1-5

IMG_3456

Day 1: August 15, 2016

It’s back to school day for teachers in my district. It was a full day of meetings. I work in a freshman building for my district and so after all the meetings were over we held Freshman Orientation. Knowing that my first day back was going to be a twelve hour work day I knew I needed something comfortable to wear to make it through.

My top is from The Limited. It was on sale last weekend for $19. (I may end up buying more in different colors because it was so comfortable.) I also decided to wear a pair of LulaRoe leggings. My school colors are navy and gold so my whole ensemble had a Go Vikings! feel about it.

Finally, I finished my outfit with my red Toms from StitchFix. I would wear Toms every day if I could. They are the most comfortable shoe around.

It was a busy day of meetings, announcements, and orientation. But even though I’m exhausted I’m looking forward to a fantastic new school year.

 

IMG_3462

Day 2: August 16, 2016

This was a big day for my family because my daughter started pre-school.

We woke up early and took her to breakfast before Teacher Work Day #2. Dropping her off was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do as a parent. I’m not sure why I was nervous and why I allowed it to affect me so much because she was excited and I knew she would love every minute. But it was still a hard day.

As I prepared my attire for the day I thought about ways to minimize my time getting ready so we could manage the time for family breakfast. I also knew I had quite a bit of setting up and moving to do in my classroom so I chose something what would be conducive to those tasks.

I wore a Randy shirt from LulaRoe. This shirt stood out to me at my Pop-Up Boutique because it is in my school colors. So just like Day 1, I was dressed in school spirit for Day 2 of the school year. I finished the look with a pair of jeggings and charcoal colored Toms.

 

 

 

IMG_3507

Day 3: August 17, 2016

This was my first day with students. I decided to dress comfortably for the first day as I know it can often be a rough one on my body. On the first day of school a teacher has a lot to do in regards to setting expectations for the year. I always spend the entire day on my feet and I walk far more than usual. Instead of wearing a dress as I usually do on the first day, I decided on a pair of light-weight, high-waisted pants and a thin cotton t-shirt from Primark in England. My classroom temperature varies throughout the day so before I left the house I grabbed my new Lindsay Kimono from LulaRoe. For the comfort of my feet I decided to skip heels and go with my black sparkly Toms with a lace overlay.

I’m glad I planned for a day of active walking and moving when choosing my outfit because I spent the entire day on my feet. From leading the class in Get-To-Know-You activities to ushering lost freshman around the building I met my daily 10,000 step goal as tracked by my Fitbit.

My brain is a little exhausted from learning 120 new names and faces, but it was a great day. I enjoyed getting to share about myself and my passions with my new students. Also, my homeroom had a blast doing Brain Teasers and playing games. As I think about the 177 days to come I get excited about connecting with each of those new students. One thing I love to watch every year is how freshmen change throughout the year. They all enter my class on the first day with wide eyes and fear written across their foreheads, but as time passes they begin to open up and I get to appreciate their uniqueness.

My hope is to maintain my level of excitement that I am portraying in today’s photo!

 


Day 4: August 18, 2016

I had an interesting start to Day 4 as my daughter was sick. I spent the night checking her rising temperature and force feeding her fluids. I woke up for the day exhausted from barely sleeping the night before, but refused to let the fact that I was running on fumes ruin the second day of school.

This day brought me to a couple of realizations. First of all, I am so thankful for my circumstances. Every year I have my students tell me a few things about themselves. Some of them opened up in huge ways about tragedies and victories in their lives. I have students who have faced the loss of a parent, homelessness, and debilitating illnesses. For them to open up to me about these things in the beginning of the year is huge for the grade level I teach.

Second of all, I realized that I work with great people. We all traded stories we learned today to help one another build connections with students. Each person on my team is passionate about their students and their well being and it was clear to me today that we all understand that we have to reach each students individually.

Above I am wearing a top from my latest Stitch Fix, leggings from Old Navy, Sperrys, and a kimono from Macy’s.

 

img_3594

Day 5: August 19, 2016

The first week finally came to an end. Not that I had a bad week, but I was exhausted.

On Friday, I paired my students up to work on activities to witness how well they worked in small group environments. My English students read picture books and shared them with classmates. My History students took a tour of their textbook and completed a “Pop Quiz” over world geography. Overall, it was a fun day getting to watch the students interact with one another. Some of the nervous energy is starting to wear off and the students are beginning to let some of their true colors show if even just a little bit. I enjoyed the day, but I was depleted of all energy and in need of a weekend by the end of the last class period.

Usually I wear jeans and dress more casually on Fridays, but since it was the first week of school I decided to skip the jeans today. Instead, I wore a pair of cropped pants from The Limited and an oversized sweater from Kohls (a gift from a few years ago.) For shoes, I wore Toms for the fourth time in five days. Oops. Clearly, I have an obsession with Toms and own more pairs than most people would consider to be “normal.”

Here’s a recap of Days 1-5:

Which look is your favorite?

The Ameri Brit Mom

Bible Journal Update

A few weeks ago I purchased a new Bible Journal and shared some of my earliest studies and artwork with you. Today I wanted to take some time to share some of the things I’ve been reading and creating lately as an update on how I’m using my Bible. At the end of July and beginning of August I studied the book of Daniel. Using the She Reads Truth app I read through the book and was challenged by many of the ideas presented. Through studying Daniel I was pointed to other scriptures as well such as 1 John 2:15-16 and 2 Peter 3:9.

 

  1. IMG_3224

IMG_3230 (1)IMG_3288

 

After I wrapped up my study of the book of Daniel I began another study which walks through the life of Moses beginning in the book of Exodus. Currently, I’m still reading through the this study using She Reads Truth as a guide for my daily reading and devotions. Here is a look at some of the major ideas that have spoken to my heart in Daniel and the beginning of Exodus.

IMG_3292IMG_3314.JPG

Each day that I sit down to study God’s Word I bring my Bible, journal, and a plethora of art supplies. I read through my daily passage and devotion. Then I pray over what I read. Some days that time of reflection leads me to a specific image or work of art. I spend another twenty minutes or so focusing on what the scripture says and how it applies to me as I create my works of art. In the pictures above I’ve used pens, colored pencils, crayons, water color paints, stickers, and stencils. I am an artistic-minded person and so I get so much joy out of this time interacting with God’s Word and my illustrations help me to remember the passages and tattoo them on my soul. I’m excited to branch out with my illustrations and try some new tools and materials in the future. I’m also learning so much as I walk through the Old Testament.

The Ameri Brit Mom