A gift from my mom

My mom with granddaughter Maria

For the past two years, my mom has written an email every Tuesday to her daughters and some of her closest friends and a couple of her siblings. My mom has a gift. She is an amazing writer. She is dedicated and determined. It takes her hours to write her email. Technology is challenging for her at times. She struggles with forwards and using yahoo. As she would say, “I have gifts but technology is not one of them.” But every week, as I open my email on Wednesday morning, there is always mom’s letter. My sisters and I are going to try to convince her to post her emails as a blog. She does not see value in it. I think her letters would give many a smile to know the happenings of our family.  The following is her email from this week. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. Thanks mom. I love you.

Merry Christmas week everyone, It looks very much like Christmas as I look out the window at 6 more inches of new snow. It is almost 30*, so it is sticking on trees. It is beautiful. I told Sara last night that I was glad it is going to be in the high 20s this week. She responded, “That sounds balmy.”

I was out at Tata Cece’s this past Thur. Baby Michael was not feeling the best and neither was his mom or me. Things are better now. Terry loves his Christmas tree. He and his mom keep decorating it and redecorating it – and Michael loves watching them and the tree lights.

Major problem at our church this week. Dad’s group( the folk choir) was to practice Tues. night. Well, Diane told Bev. the main choir was going to practice at that time- “Sorry,Bev” Bev disbanded the folk choir and they are not going to sing on Christmas day. I am hoping something will be resolved for the future but the Belgiums are almost as stubborn as the Irish. The reason the Norbertines first came here was to try to keep the Belgian Catholics from breaking away into their own little churches. A priest friend of dad’s asked him if he knew the difference between a terrorist and a liturgist? … You can negotiate with a terrorist.

It is a big week here. Patsy and Katie I wish you were able to join the rest of your sisters, but we look forward to a summer gathering with everyone here. We are expecting more snow so travel plans for everyone might change. I think we are ready. I pick up Sara at the airport in 2 hours, the Christmas News went to the P.O. today, the house is decorated, dad’s chili is made, Kelley and dad made another trip to the candy store, and there is lots of snow on the driveway for sledding.

I was looking at Bishop Morneau’s poems and I like this one for this week

LEVELS OF TRUTH a deep truth “I am” a deeper truth “you are” the deepest truth ” we are not alone”

We will not be alone with Jiff, Kelley, Bridg., Sara, Theresa, Cece and their families here.

Love to you all mom


Staying Focused

Even though the #30 Goals Challenge was intended as something to accomplish in 30 days, I feel a sense of worth as I continue to work through them.  I started the goals in July and now we are in December. I will finish the goals before December 23rd. Perhaps even tomorrow I might finish. It doesn’t matter when or if I finish to anyone but myself. There isn’t a diploma or certificate. No one in my building knows I’m even working on this professional development piece besides two of my co-workers who contribute on Twitter. I have not been doing any of these goals for anyone but myself and my students. I have so enjoyed the entire process. I cannot think of a better way to learn than if it is self-directed. In fact, I think I have put off finishing the goals because that will mean I will be done. Not that learning is ever finished…I have just felt that the goals have been attainable, challenging and meaningful for me. I fear it will take me some time to find another course that I will enjoy as much as the #30 Goals. Alas, all things must come to an end so I must contiune on to goal #28….Staying Focused.

Staying focused in general is challenging for me. I have a difficult time in lecture based meetings. I find my mind wandering to things that need to get done or what I’m teaching tomorrow or what I’m making for dinner. You see, I am not a linear thinker. My mind does not go from A to B to C. My mind goes from A to red to coffee to Paris. For some students, it is interesting to be in my classroom because of my continue battle to stay focused. One student said once, “I wonder what it would be like to be Madame.”  For other students, it is so difficult to be in my room. I never teach a lesson the same 2 times. My classroom is continually changing. This goes to staying focused.

My twitter network of educators (PLN) have helped me to find ways to focus my classroom. One is through web-branding. Through a group known as allofe,I have been able to organize my classroom to help stay focused and keep my classroom on goal. It has been very challenging and I am continually working on improving it. I cannot say enough good things about ALLOFE.

Also because of #30Goals, I submitted to participate in a technology conference. On March 22, I will be presenting at WEMTA. Because of this commitment, I must continue to stay focused on my technology goals for my classroom. By participating, it will help me to stay focused.

My goals for integrating technology in the classroom:

  1. Technology will be used to demonstrate learning.
  2. Tasks will be relevant and student-centered.
  3. No paper will be used in my classroom beyond a notebook for when technology is present.
  4. Each student will have a blog to use as a personal portfolio of their class work.
  5. Each student will receive a comment from someone outside of class.

I would love to hear other teachers’ goals for their classroom or suggestions on how to improve my focus. What are your goals for your classrooms? or schools?



Working with the #30 goals, I was encouraged to try a new web 2.0 tool. It is called magnoto. It is similar to wallwisher. Although I think that I prefer the flexibility and ease of wallwisher to magnoto. I did have a fun time putting together a little family album to share with others. I do recommend this as a free application but still prefer wallwisher.


Using Magnoto in class has been somewhat of a challenge. Because of the free beta version, I believe the site is still a work in progress. While trying to use the site, I had several students not be able to log in. It was a little frustrating at times. Here are some examples of student work.