Robin's Blog

The adventures of a quilter, who is also a high school teacher.

Hello My Quilting Friends,

We are rapidly coming to the end of another school year.   Seems like just yesterday I was posting the pictures of my classroom for Open House.   Now we are into registration, end of course exams and state mandated testing.   

My students are busy bees as usual.  I have 7 who won their state level competition back in March and are working on raising the money to go to the National FCCLA meeting in Tennessee this summer.   Hopefully with car washes, donations, yard sales and such we will raise the money we need to get there.    Two of the groups going worked on community services projects all year.  One was a group of three who plan and prepared activities for a local assisted living facility.  The Facility house a little more than 20 of the sweetest little ladies you have ever seen.   We've garden, painted fingernails, had pie tasting, Valentine's cookies and I don't know what else.  The other group has worked with a group of preKers at our local elementary school.  They're gone and read stories and then planned activities to with the stories and backpak activities to sent home with the children to keep to work on skills like letter recognition and such.   Some of the children touch my kids hearts so deeply, especially a pair of little boys who are autistic.  The girls have learned so much from these children not just about teaching but about human needs as well.  

Additionally another 6 went to state with this bunch and did such a terrific job with their events, and they were such a joy to spend the week with.  All of them medal in their event, with a total of 10 more golds, 2 silver and 1 bronze.  I'm very proud of their accomplishments.    This week we will have our annual banquet and each will be recognized for their accomplishments.  

The kids are equally excited as the year comes to a close with so many events quickly rushing past us.    Grad bash was Saturday night,  Prom is this coming Saturday, the end of May brings Graduation, which is particularly bittersweet as my youngest will be joining the Senior Class in that walk into adulthood.   I am so very proud of all she has accomplished and the young lady that she is becoming.   It is sure to be a time of few tears and many smiles.  

I hope you all have a blessed day and a sweet time stitchin.

Robin

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I haven't post for awhile about the adventures of my school life.    So, I thought this morning I would take a moment to share some of the things by kids got done before we left for Christmas break.  It seems like a good idea in the light of the events that happened prior to our Christmas Break that make the world look so dark, that they have seemed to dim everything else.

My kids (FCCLA Members and students) were very busy prior to the break since exams were already schedule for the four days prior to Christmas break.  But I'm a firm believer that true learning is beyond a textbook and a classroom.  I also believe that busy children are learning something much more valuable than repetitive knowledge most of which they can look up on a small handheld device in their pocket, knowing how to do, what to do and that you should do is unlimited knowledge. Unfortunately,  in this age of testing this is not the common view point.   So in addition to finishing up our studies for the semester and preparing for semester exams.   The students took on some special projects:

First they worked with some other student groups on campus and held a can food drive for the local food bank.   They collect over 500 can good items and made over $150.00.

Second they made various things to honor teachers.  It October the culinary class did Halloween Cupcakes, November the Early Childhood Classes made cute little magnets for each teacher and staff member and in December it was back to Culinary to make Christmas Cookie bags for each teacher.    I'm not sure what will happen in January.  

Third students went to read to a local preschool class, T'was the Night before Christmas and made mouse ornaments with the children.  They're going back in January, February, March, etc. 

But Fourth, which is an annual event for us the a Christmas Party at a special needs school.  After doing this for over 25 years, I have yet to see it not make the difference in the lives of my students.  The school house students with extreme special needs, but a love for life that is precious and simple.   Each year we go and take party items and presents for each child.  We then prepare and serve treats, this year our chorus tag along and sang, and of course we have a present delivery by the big man himself.     Every year things happen that shows me my students are going to be able to survive and make it in the world.  Whether its the way they interact with the children, some who are as old as they are, or the way the cover a child who was left off the list to make sure that everyone gets a present or the simple fact that many times they realize how blessed they are and simple it is to look beyond the differences and find the commonalities.    This event is the true start to my Christmas.  

So, how do you top that,  you can't.    But January is coming and there are more stories to read, scarves to be made for the ladies at the Senior Citizens center, and flannel blankets for the Health Department.  And those are just the first things that pop to mind.    But keeping busy, keeps me out of trouble.

Hope you all had a Merry Christmas and Wishing you a Happy New Year

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The students come on Monday and my classroom is ready whether I am or not.    Not as I start my 26th year of teaching Family and Consumer Sciences (home economics)   I am as excited as ever, and a little nervous too.   But that is not really unusual.   Fortunately I can work on my crazy quilt block all weekend or a couple of Harry Potter Blocks.    Here are some pictures of my classroom.

                               1                                                                                         2                                                                           3                                                                       4

1.  My door.  It was plain last year so I got this idea from some stuff off pinterst.  Love it.

2.  I can't believe I painted this bulletin board.  I think the courage came from reading so many post on this website.   I'm in love with butterflies, so the tree and my room is covered.

3.  My desk area is new.  I tried to high the mirror area last year.  This year I'm just trying to camflougue it.  My classroom use to be the clothing lab so it's left over from then.   It's now a Early Childhood classroom.

4.  The peg board has been a challengene to make useful to the subjects I teach.  I think I finally have.  I've at least dressed it up a bit.

One last highlight I now have a brown accent wall. It really makes the room have a center of focus, hopefully this will keep everyone on task.

Got to share a gift I got this week from a student.  She made this for me this summer while she was visiting family in Italy.  The saying is Italian for have a nice day.

One last highlight.   This year is my youngest daughter's senior year.  I caught her and two of her friends at open house Thursday evening and wanted to share.

  My daughter is the one in the middle. 

 

Hope everyone has a great day!

 

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Well it's that time of year again.   Last week was our annual National FCCLA convention.  This year it was in Orlando, Florida, so it was close to home.  For those of you who don't know I am a Family and Consumer Science Teacher at the high school in my home town.  Family and Consumer Science is what they use to call Home Economics and FCCLA stands for Family, Career and Community Leaders of America, which use to be Future Homemakers of America.    I annually take kids to state and national meeting to compete in various competitive events that have to do with the various areas of our subject.  

This year I only had one group competing in an event called Life Event Planning.   They have to plan an event including budgets, comparison shopping, theme and resources.  The two girls in this event did very well.  They received a gold medal which is the highest level of achievement.    A third student present a presentation on the chapter's community service project called Sew Much More.  Students in the chapter worked together to make toiletry bags for woman and children at a local battered woman's shelter.  Additionally they made no sew (or tie) pillows for the children who winded up in these shelters.   The students presented this project at our local state meeting in March and received a gold medal but was not selected to compete at nationals.    A fourth student (who is also my daughter) when as a Florida state officer and participated in a variety of leadership activities.  

I am very proud of my students and their accomplishments but I am even prouder of their desire to make their community a better place.  I am amazed at the ideas and partnerships with other organizations that they want to form to help not only our little town but the world become a better place to live.  

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The two young ladies that I am always writing about in relation to making quilts, and keeping me sane are set to walk across the stage Friday night and to receive their diplomas.  Both are graduating with honors and they both finished all the certification for my program.   Additionally they have earn multiple gold medals in state and national competitions for their community service projects.   They have been very bright spots in my day for the last four years and it simply doesn't seem possible that it is time for them to leave.   They are both going into nursing and I am sure that they will be a credit and asset to the profession.   I have only ever made quilts for two other students in my teaching career one an inspiring teen mom and one another lovely young lady who was a state officer several years ago. 

These are the quilts I made to give to these two

.

As you can tell I am very attached to these two and not real sure what I'm going to do without them.   

However,  as this year started we had a very happy ban of ninth graders join us.  We affectionately call them "the Littles" , now you may think that would be insulting to them.   Oh no not them!  They love the nickname and have proclaimed to wear it forever.    Not to be out done by my seniors they came at the end of the year wanting to learn how to make quilts.  So three of them is in the process of learning how to make disappearing nine patches. 

So......  I will begin again.   I'm just wondering if I need to go ahead and get started on more quilts because there are five littles and only three years left.

Robin

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Today is one of those days you just wanted to live over and over.

I took a group of students to a school for mentally and physically challenge children.  We go every year and do a Christmas party for the kids.   My kids buy snacks and presents for every child.  Our high school jazz band comes along and provides music for entertainment.    This is one of the best days of my Christmas Season.  Not only to I have the joy of doing for someone less fortunate than myself,  I get the additional joy of watching my students grow as people.   It is amazing how they play with the children and interact with them.  It always starts off slow, my kids not really knowing what to do, the other kids eat and listen to the music.  They clap and sometimes sing along.  Then Santa comes in the presents come out and the whole room changes.  My kids go with the child they bought for and they help them open the package and get out their presents from all of the packaging toys come in these days.  Then the all play.   Relationships form and bonds are made.  The trip home is about my child this and my child that,   and some of the children at the school are as old as my students.    

Today as we were getting off the bus and I was reminding them this was about the kids I shared this quote which I believe is so true.

"It is good to be children sometimes and never better than at Christmas when the mighty founder was a child himself."     Charles Dickens

Just had to share.

Robin

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It's the time of year that we get really busy.

We had Family Night last month, Prematurity Awareness Week all week, District Meeting yesterday and we went out to visit our ladies at the nursing home.   They were very excited to see us and get their fingernails done for the holidays.  I spent my time visiting with a lady who has two precious daughters but neither live close enough to come see her weekly.  She was very happy to share the story of her life and I was glad to listen.   The kids were very busy painting nails and talking with the other ladies.   It is amazing to watch the interaction between these generations.    I love knowing that in the mix of the craziest we call life their are kids who will make time in their life to serve their community. 

Yesterday we learned that the lady who is working on the Cathedral window is all alone in this world.    She is actually on her second quilt having complete one for her twin bed she is now working on one for the owner of the home.  However, she is limited in materials and supplies, so we're going to put her a sewing basket together for a Christmas present.   Then we will restock it with fat quarters throughout the various holidays.   We have enough materials that we should be able to keep her stocked for years.   I am very excited to be able to help on a more personal level. 

December brings to one of my favorite projects which is the Christmas Party we do for special needs kids in our community.  We get a list from the school for wants and then go over and do a party for the children complete with Santa Claus.   I love the kids faces when he arrives.  They get so excited.  So many of them do not get a lot of opportunity to have one on one contact with people outside their small circle.  So this is is such a valuable experience for them.  For my kids I have seen it be life changing.  Many of them realize how truly bless they are even if they don't get that new whatever for Christmas.   They realize their blessed because of the gifts they were born with and that they have much more to be thankful than they realize. 

I can't wait!!!!!!  

Robin

 

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Well, it is official my students are up and running.

This afternoon we went to a local nursing home and visited with some of the sweetest ladies in our home town, while visiting we painted fingers nails for any of the ladies who wanted it done.  Can you believe 75% of them were absolutely delighted.   They had the best time talking with the kids about the colors of the polish and how long it had been since they had  had it done.  Several comment on how pretty it made them feel.    I thought it was precious.   One lady there is making a Cathedral Window which she started last spring so the kids were delight to see her and that it was almost twin bed size.   She is a sweet lady who takes all of the time in the world talking with the kids and sharing with them her experiences.

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School opened on Monday and my dreams of quilting all day has been put away until Thanksgiving Break when I plan to observe National Day of Quilting Elm Creek Style.   Until then I will work in snippets here and there.  The kids were on their best behavior at the start of school.  I love the fact that the first days are such a precious testing of the water. 

Tomorrow is the beginning of the second week and we will see what the year is really going to be like.  However, if last week is any indication I am once again teaching the brightest and the best.  For 24 years I have been blessed to have the opportunity to teach students who are bright, talented and energetic.   This year I will be teaching 2 sections of Early Childhood Education 1, 1 section of Early Childhood Education 2, 3, and 4 mixed together, 2 Ninth grade homerooms, a Teen Parenting Class and 1 Foods class.

As for my quilting plans are to work with the Teen parents in class for each them to have the chance to make one for their child and for FCCLA to make some for the Pregnancy center in our home town.  We also have plans to make bags for the Refuge House a shelter for batter women, pillowcases for the pillowcase challenge and tie pillows also for the refuge house.  If we get all of that done I will be surprise and impressed.    I can't image what else we will find to get into.

Robin

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I am happy and thankful to be home for the National FCCLA meeting in Anaheim, CA.   The trip was really very good but tiring.

We were blessed to have smooth air travel and cool temperatures the whole week.   California is a beautiful place to visit, but the time difference gets me every time. (No pun intended)  My students loved every minute and was absolutely the best.   We even an a city bus adventure that was a little iffy, but they handled it like seasoned professionals.     

I guess I should explain why a teacher would spend a week of her summer taking students across the country.   As sponsor of an FCCLA chapter, I help students compete in various events like Fashion Construction, Community Service for Children, Entrepreneurship and so forth.    I had 6 students win the right to represent the state of Florida at the national convention, which was held in Anaheim, Ca.   So we worked all summer raising the money to attend the conference so they could compete.   I was blessed that by husband and two parents also accompany us and helped with all of the details. 

We arrived in Cali on Saturday and left the following Thursday.  One student who is a state officer disappeared to the land of never ending duties and we went off to discover what there was to see.   We went to Disneyland, Huntington Beach and ate at a lot of fun places.   We manage to squish in attending various conference meetings, exhibits and workshops.  But the highlight of the trip was the awards ceremony, which unfortunately we had to leave early.   Luckily some people were kind enough to fill in and text us the results.  All 6 competing received a rating of 90 and above, giving them Gold Medals.    This includes the two girls who made the quilts for the crisis center that I wrote about earlier this year.    The student who competed in the Fashion Construction competition with a lovely knit dress and Duck Cloth jacket combination received a perfect score.   Who said sewing was dead?

Anyway they were very happy children and I am a very tired and happy teacher.

 

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 The children left last Friday and so did I...

For a week long mission trip to Mashualville, MS.   Me and my 2 dd (16 and 20) headed out right after school and made it to Mobile, AL before calling it a day.  We arrived in Mashualville, Ms   We worked with kids who were improvished in spirit as well as lifestyle for a whole week.   I thought my heart would break on Friday when we left knowing that these kids could not leave the life they were given at this time.  The ladies at the day camp was a precious as the children.  Working everyday in the heat with no air conditioner to provide a two healthy meals and a safe place for the children to be during the day.   The children ranged in ages 3 to 18 and created and cared for each other like brother and sisters.  

Perhaps the one of the most poignant lessons for my daughters was to see plain old racial hate out in the open not camouflage by the niceness of society norms.   My girls have lived in the south all of their lives and been expose to unkind comments about people.  But in this case they actually witness unkind acts birth out of hate for another persons based on skin tone.   Fortunately they found this to be a prayer project that would probably continue the rest of their lives. 

We also worked with the Choctaw Indians.   Again the seeds of hate stood between us and them.  Fortunately by the end of the week there were seeds of hope planted by the children with us.   

We were joined in this adventure by a beautiful dance team from Cartersville, Ga., called Steps of Faith.  We were truly blessed by these wonderful young ladies their talent and spirit.   There adult leaders were a blessing to those of us, who were trying to lead when we had never been on a mission trip ourselves.

Anyway I'm home now and dividing my days between school (remodeling), quilting, housework and gardening.

 

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As the end of the school year is rapidly approaching the pace is ever so accelerated.  The seniors test and leave this week and are "freaking out" because of all the work there is to do.  Amazing!  If they had done it when it was given it would be so stressful.   Freshman can't believe we are still working, they have finished state testing and are confused since semester and final exams seem to be Greek words to them. 

Although the year is rapidly ending the new year is beginning with planning already way into full steam for the upcoming year.  I look at all of this activity and wonder what the teacher of the one room school house would think.

I'm currently reading a book titled "A Thread that Runs So True".  It is the story of Jesse Stuart's life as a teacher.   I am amazing at how the writing of his life dating back to the early 30's sounds and awful lot like mine.  There's budget cuts, teachers being paid low wages compare to the challenge their asked to take.  and school district with personal issues weighing the decisions instead of the best interest of the children.

So what does this have to do with quilting.  Not much except that because of the time I spend listening to the hum of my machine, rubbing fabric between my fingers and learning to balance time between two passions I find a quite sort of peace that is a rare commodity in these times. 

So let me go organize assignments and finals, so I can quilt a block or two.

 

 

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These are two of the quilts that my students made for the pregnancy center in our home town.  They actually made five.  This was part of their project for state competition and their now headed to nationals.   Fundraising ideas anyone??????

I am very proud of them they also did puppet shows at the local school and celebration.  They made 250 plus puppets to giveaway after the show.

They also knitted some little tiny baby hats.   I made the one below.

I guess I've been playing with my quilting to much!!!!  (If that's possible)  Because I am way behind on silly things like writing lesson plans, grading papers and such!

Or perhaps it has more to do with almost two weeks of state mandated testing, a week of travel to take the kids to a conference, another week of traveling for the school. I'm not sure were all my free time is suppose to be.  

But no more complaining, it sounds like I don't like teaching.  When the truth is I don't like it most days,  I LOVE IT.   Helping teenagers set and reach goals is a fabulous way to spend the day.  They're so funny when they use their imagination to create the unlimited project or idea and go for it.  As you watch them gain the confidence to do that I always gain confidence it myself.  My only wish is I had time to get all of them to see their potential.

Congrats by the way to my student who became a teen mom in her junior year, finish high school despise the lies that her family told her.  Last week graduated from the local community college with her professional credentials to work in a license daycare, called an ECPC here in Florida.   Way to go Dimesha, I'm proud of you.

They are truly apart of my life quilt.

 

I made her this quilt when she graduated from high school.   Purple is to remind her she is a member of the royal family.  

 

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Seems that I just posted the last blog.   I can't believe how fast May came.  I always heard adults say " The year goes so fast." and never understood that until now.  As a 40 something year old woman I now understand what they were talking about.   May came in so quietly as I rushed around getting the students ready for this and that.  The girls collected 10 quilts for the Pregnancy Center.  

This is their display board from state competition.  They came in second and get to go to the National Conference to represent Florida FCCLA.  I was very proud since  this is their third year and they worked primarily by themselves.  In addition to the quilts they made over 250 puppets and did puppet shows for 172 kids. 

So perhaps the the older time passes so fast when we are older because we are so busy teaching the younger to fill a spot in the world in which they live.

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