Saturday, August 30, 2008


Hubby and I went to our first (ok, MY first, his first in a long time) Capoeira class. WOW! Yep, that about sums it up, just WOW! It was really hard and I ended up using pretty much all the muscles I knew I had and then a few I didn't even know were there, but it was so much fun! If you have no idea what Capoeria is, first go check out a few videos on YouTube. Just punch in "Capoeria" and there will be a bunch! This one is really cool, and I like this one too, but I think the main reason I like it is because it's a kick-ass girl!

From my understanding (and someone please correct me if my info isn't quite correct), Capoeira originates in Brazil where slaves weren't allowed to practice any form of martial arts. So, those sneeky Brazillian slaves disguised thier fights as dances and thus Capoeira was born.

This was a free demo class given by a guy Hubby met online who is starting to give classes. THe problem is that the only place he is having classes is about 45 minutes from our house on Saturday mornings. 45 mins sucks, and Saturdays are when I have my marathon training runs, there is NO way I can get into both on the same day. Luckily, he was able t give us the number ofa girl who gives classes a little closer to us and on several days throughout the week, so who knows, this could become a habit!

Today was also the first day of group training for Team in Training. Knowing I was going to go to this class with my hubby, and that I have a 10K tomorrow, I only walked. Trust me, I got plenty of exercise at Capoeira, and tomorrow I'll run 6.2 miles (or if my muscles ae still ticked off at me from today, I'll waddle for 6.2 miles).

For now, I'm going to go soak my poor poor muscles!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


As a Special Education teacher, I often see students who struggle with longer reading passages which have comprehension questions which they must answer. Students who struggle with the very act of reading don't know how to attack a passage and be successful with it. Here is a strategy called RUNRAVEL that I have used with both special education students as well as basic ed. students:

R read through the questions first.
U underline the title and look at the pictures.
N now predict.
R run through and number the paragraphs.
A are the important words circled?
V venture through the story.
E eliminate obvious wrong answers.
L let's prove our answers.

The first things the students need to do is to flip to the back and read the questions first. The main reasons they need to read the questions before ever reading the story is so that they know what to look for while reading. Good readers attack reading differently when they are reading for pleasure than when they are reading for information. If you are reading for information, you need to know what information it is that you are looking for. Reading the questions first will let the students know what information they will need in order to answer the questions.

After they have read the questions, students underline the title. This is mainly to get the students to actually read the title. Many times students jump right into the story and never even look at the title which often gives many clues to what the story is about. After they have read and underlined the title, they quickly flip through and look at all the pictures.

The title and the pictures should give them plenty of info to make a prediction on what they think the story will be about. This can be done either orally, written in the margin or however you want. Predicting is an important skill that students will need to know how to do as they progress through school.

The students should number the paragraphs so that later on when they are proving their answers, they can quickly and easily list what paragraph they found the answer in.

Important words can be names, dates, numbers, places, etc. that seem like they may be important in the story. Students should quickly skim and either circle or underline words that they think may be important. Often students need to be taught how to skim because they don't know how to quickly run their eyes over a passage without actually (slowly) reading it. As with predicting, this will get the student's brain ready to read.

When students venture through the passage, they actually read it. Rather than jumping right to this step, all the previous steps makes students slow down a bit and prepares their brain to comprehend what they are reading.

After they have finally read the passage, as they are answering questions, students should be taught how to identify and "throw out" any obvious wring answers. For example, in a multiple choice question, there are typically 1 or 2 answer choices that are way off base. If students can mentally toss those out, they are left with only two possible answers leaving them a better chance of figuring out the correct one.

Proving answers means the students go back into the story and actually FIND the answers rather than guess at answers they think they remember. The answer, or the clues used to come up with the answer can be underlined in the text with the question number circled next to it. The paragraph number can be placed next to the question so that you can easily find their proof. By making them prove their answers, they are less likely to get questions wrong, and you can easily see why they may have chosen the answer that they did.

This strategy has worked very well for students of all abilities and walks of life. It has worked so well that I thought I would pass it along to anyone who may be interested in helping a child with reading homework!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Fay, Fay, Go away...

Rain, Rain,
Go Away,
Come again some other....well...scratch that...
You don't have to come back ever again!

Tropical Storm Fay has hit, and apparenty she likes my little area of Florida so much that she has decided to stay a while - and like a bad houseguest, she just doesn't get the hint when it is time for her to leave. Even though TS Fay was a slow moving storm from the get-go, Fay has seriously not moved all night! It started raining Tuesday morning and with the exception of the couple of hours on Wednesday morning when we were in the eye of the storm, it has rained solidly since. The news is reporting that we have had over 24 inches of rain so far, and there is more to come. A little further south of us has had over 30 inches already! They (the powers-that-be who understand these kinds of things) are now predicting that Fay will (hopefully) have moved on by tomorrow morning, but of course there is no guarantee, she was supposed to have been gone by yesterday after all. And let's not forget that Hurricane Charley a few years ago was supposed to hit Tampa as a Cat 2 but instead turned into a Cat 4 and slammed into Punta Gorda where we were living at the time. Do I seem like a storm magnet or what??

Fay first hit land in the Keys, then it hit land again in Naples, it exited Florida right over myhouse (haha) and is now heading back onto land to hit land just north of here. So far that's 3 landfalls in Florida! The weatherman on TV just posed the question, "Wouldn't it be amazing if it went over into the Gulf and back into the Florida Panhandle?" Uhmm No, amazing wouldn't be my word for it.

My back yard is flooded. Hubby announced that in walking from the porch to the shed this morning water was coming up over his boots (not cowboy boots, but military-style boots so that is still pretty high). On the other end of our yard where it slopes it is probaby at least calf high!

The sides of the road in front of my house have turned into swift moving parallel rivers where you can't tell where the road ends and the ditches begin in many places making most people who drive down my street drive down the middle where they can actually see the road. This is definately a concern for anyone who has to drive. Luckily, school has been canceled for the past 3 days and I just got the notice that it will be closed tomorrow too due to all of the flooding also so I don't have to go anywhere. However, Hubby just took 4 garbage bags of clothes/socks/towels/blankets that we gathers from around our house to the Red Cross so I am hoping that he makes the 4 miles to the center and then home again safely. He wouldn't have gone out at all except that we really felt the Red Cross center could use these things that we aren't using... and he has a big redneck truck haha!

My Aunt and Uncle called us last night to check on us and I assured here that we were doing well and still had power. I may have jinxed myself since not 20 minutes later our power went out and stayed out for nearly 14 hours! Luckily it was night and once we started up our generator (strickly for the fridge so we don't loose all the food we just bought) we were able to sleep through most of it. We camp a lot so we have plenty of flashlights, lanterns, and roughing-it-type-supplies.

Although we have a lot of water in the yard which is driving all the creepy-crawlies into the house, at least we have no damage to the house or vehicles as of yet. Having been through a Cat. 4 not too long ago, this seems like nothing more than a mild annoyance and I thank God that He has spared us one again from any life-threatening situations. It's all in perspective :)

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Seeing the world through Elizabeth's eyes

A little while ago, a friend of mine, Elizabeth, wrote this blog that really got me thinking about the beauty around me and really seeing all that is around me. So many times we miss the truly extraordinary because we don't take the time to slow down and really SEE the wondrous sights there are all around us.

I work with disabled children on a daily basis and have no problem whatsoever seeing the beauty and wonders that lay within each precious child, so why is it so hard to see the beauty and wonders in my own life tat are right outside my front door?

I decided to grab my camera and take a walk outside in my yard to see what little pieces of Heaven I could find and these are the miracles that found me:

and I finally decided that this:

is where I think I would like to plant some pineapples to remind me of Elizabeth's blog which will in turn hopefully remind me to look for God's beauty everywhere on a more daily basis... not to mention eventually give us some yummy pineapples!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Hello, my name is... Michelle??

For the longest time, if someone mistakenly calls me by a name other than my own, it is probably going to be "Michelle." Why is this I wonder? My grandmother's second husband, Al, used to call me Michelle because he had a granddaughter named Michelle so it was a regular slip of the tongue. I got a High School graduation gift from a friend of my parents addressed to "Michelle" (I had to call and make sure it was for me before I opened it!), and once in a conversation on what names people look like, someone told me,without knowing my history of being called Michelle, that I look like a Michelle. I even wrote in my Senior memory book "I think I should name my daughter Michelle since everyone calls me that."

My neighbor just stopped over to ask my husband to help him move a refrigerator from his truck into his house. Since Hubby is on night shift and had crawled into bed only moments before the knock on the door came, and he wanted to pull on a shirt on before going to help. While he was changing, my neighbor, who I have lived next to and known for 3 years now, says to me, "So how've you been, Michelle?" When I smiled and corrected him, he just laughed and said, "I did it again, didn't I? I called you Michelle when I first met you too didn't I?" His daughter and I have the same name so why he messes up my name is a mystery to us all.

So why "Michelle"?? Should I have been named Michelle? I was adopted, but I've even asked my biological mother and had she kept me, she was going to name me either Lynnlee (a combo of her name and my biological father's) or Amy Elizabeth (Which she ended up using several years later when she had my sister). So no "Michelle" there.

One of my best friends recently changed her name. She always hated her name and was never to thrilled with the person who both named her nor the one she was named after. A certain name kept popping into her head and eventually she just finally went and legally changed her name. She's never been happier, and her name now suits her.

I don't want to change my name. I actually love my name, the people who named me, and who I am named after (even if I don't always get along with her - lol). In fact, if/when I ever have a daughter, I plan on passing down a part of my name to her.

I just wonder... why "Michelle"?