Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Gala Week!

my speech from last year's gala. 
really excited for Friday and all the possibilities it brings. 

J* is a student in my second grade class at Benton Heights Elementary School.  He comes from a single parent, Spanish speaking home.  When he enrolled in our school as a kindergartner he was unable to speak English.  He worries daily about whether his family will have food or whether the electric bill will be paid.  I don’t know about you, but I didn’t have to worry about the electric bill until I bought my first house this year. 

Despite the challenging circumstances at home, J comes in every day ready to give me a hug.  He is a friend to everyone and laughs easily.  And while he struggles with reading, he excels in math – in fact, he had one of the top scores in the second grade. 

At the beginning of the year, I sit down with each student and set a goal.  My goal is to empower each child – to help them realize that they can work hard and achieve goals they set for themselves.  J's goal was to become a reader – a voracious reader.  Every day I encouraged him to keep practicing at home and reminding him that his goal was within reach. 

In Title 1, low income schools, students are required to keep daily reading logs.  Each child needs to read thirty minutes at home each day and record what they read.  Early in the year, J brought his reading log to my desk.  In the space meant to record the book title, he had recorded a soup can label.  It caught me off guard – what child would read a soup can for their thirty minute reading practice? 

Problem is, J doesn’t have books at home.  And he doesn’t have any way to access them, but he was so focused on reaching his goal that he read the back of a soup can label.

How can we require something we don’t have the resources to support?  At school we are rich in resources.  We have classrooms of school supplies, a library full of books, and teachers available to support learning in every room.  At home, many students don’t have the resources to access books, even though reading practice is a requirement.    In many cases, their parents are illiterate. 

I have one year – one year to inspire twenty kids to reach their goals.  One year to empower them to be successful.  One year to ignite their passion for reading.  I only have one chance to provide my influence in their lives.  The most important thing I can do is to provide them with a long term resource – that’s what First Book did for my class this year. 

First Book’s mission is to give children from low income families the opportunity to read and own their first books.  In the last three years, First Book-Charlotte has distributed more than 80,000 brand new books to children in Mecklenburg and Union counties.   Three weeks ago today, 370 children at my school received six books each, and the students are given books based on their individual reading level, to ensure successful reading habits at home.  The sponsors and donors from last year’s Gala made it possible for these kids to bridge the gap between reading at school and reading at home – creating a lifestyle of literacy.   

In the coming school year, First Book-Charlotte wants to distribute another 50,000 books to children in the Charlotte metro area – but we can’t do it without your help.  My second graders on the video said it best – they want to be challenged and they need the resources.  They already love learning.  It is now our opportunity, tonight in this room, to empower them through the gift of a book, and be a part of creating the next generation of readers… 

(He is such a studmuffin that I can't stand it)

*to date FB-C has granted a total of 166, 973 books
*in the past year (since last years gala) we granted 65, 470 books 

Sunday, May 15, 2011

life as I knew it.

It was 90's day at school because we want to be a 90/90/90 school. 
90% Poverty, 90% ESL, 90% On Grade Level
Benton Heights WILL be THIS!

Here is my favorite little munchkin. 

What is this world coming to? 
I do secretly hate (love) the song Never Say Never. 

feeding the ducks with hayley bailey. 

Loving my life. 

Until tomorrow when I start 4 classes in 5 weeks and finish up the 2nd grade school year. 
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Friday, May 6, 2011


Wednesday: "Miss Slagle were you so tired that you didn't put on your makeup this morning?" 
Thursday (90's throw back): "Miss Slagle that BRIGHT BLUE eye shadow is so pretty. You look so pretty with pink cheeks and lots of blue paint on your eyes."

Lovely we have such opposite tastes. 

a few years ago a friend introduced me to something that I quickly became obsessed with...

I went in to refill my foundation and mascara (hands down best mascara EVER) and ended up walking out with this

Now, I realize I am only 26, but I have been told by multiple people that I should start preserving my skin now. I just don't ever want to look back and say "I wish I had bought that eye cream that day at the mall when I was 26." 

When I first started teaching, it was such an adjustment (esp in Union Co) that I would go to bed very early.  A friend of mine used to refer to me as Grandma and would ask me if I wore cold cream yet. I always denied it and denied the need for it until NOW.  It was joking matter then, but not anymore:)

I have an obsession with beautifying/freeing things. For example, I love the idea of ear candling. I have never done it, but the thought of a good ear cleaning is interesting to me. Is that odd? I also love the feeling of massage (obviously it feels good) because I like the feeling of "releasing toxins from my body." I like getting my hair cut because it just feels healthier.  The more I write this the more strange I realize I sound.  I am also an easy sell (for somethings, but all things Trish). Trish talked me into the vitamin C and I want it to reduce the puffiness and the black circles from getting 5 hours of sleep a night. 

So call me Grandma or make fun of my eye cream, I don't care. I can own it. 

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

1% Changes

Making too many changes is overwhelming, but making 1% changes each week makes it sustainable and much much easier.

Here is my first week of 1% changes. I joined a CSA. Thank you Absolute Organics. For 30 big ones I got ALL of this amazingly organic fruits and veggies AND it was delivered to my DOOR.

2 days before my box came, I got a list of the items in the box with suggested recipes. Tonight, I made sweet potato black bean enchiladas. They were delicious. If I made them again though I would add a spicier salsa.  
Super easy. Super healthy. Super 1% Change. 
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naptime diaries: MOTHERLOAD GIVEAWAY.

I LOVE THIS BLOG and ALL of the item giveaways.

naptime diaries: MOTHERLOAD GIVEAWAY.: "Here it is, friends. The day I've been waiting for, for quite some time. Let the massive Mother's Day motherload giveaway begin! Here a..."

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

how firm a foundation.

I talk to my parents everyday on the way to school.  Well, almost everyday because now they have to be healthy and fit and go to the gym while I drive to work and I am money wise and carpool to work some days.  Our typical conversations are either: A. "Hi. I am on my way to work. I am exhausted. I am envisioning my car running into the car in front of me I am so let me concentrate and drink my 32 oz. tervy tumbler of coffee." Or B. "Hey! Oh my gosh! Guess what...let me tell you what I did last night and what I learned yesterday and what are you going to do today, etc. etc."' Most of the time our conversations are more similar to Convo B.  I typically have a good amount of energy in the morning and have really cherished the conversations with my parents.  Many a mornings I have cried the entire way to work to them and they have listened and tried to be supportive.  Some mornings, I am angry, angry, angry and they calm me down on the way in.  All in all...I love talking to them in the mornings and it is something I have done regularly for 6 years now.  Everyday. 6:15am. On speaker phone so BOTH of them can hear me.

All of that to explain this...One day, I was particularly excited about who knows what and I was rambling on about my latest most brilliant idea and when I stopped to take a breath, I realized that my mom had not said anything about it. My response was immediately, "Why are you not excited for this great idea I have?" Her response was jokingly...

"You always have great ideas. You are always coming up with something new. I am not sure what to get excited for."

I do plan big. I plan a lot. Sometimes it happens. Sometimes it doesn't.  Sometimes it is successful and sometimes I fall flat on my face. (Uptown Hopper ring a bell? What about EB Marketing? Or Absolute Learning?)

In reflecting on my life recently and my upcoming China trip and how that came about it is ironic that on Sunday the message was about vision and dreams.  It hit home. I cried. (Shocking.) So, I am going to do my best to recap it with a little bit of commentary.

David Docusen from Center City Church in Charlotte, NC 
Brittany's inner thoughts and feelings

If God is who I trust in  then why don't I make my plans large? 
Would I lay down everything I built up in my life or prepared for and chase after Jesus? 
What if that "thing" I am laying down is the only thing I am good at?

David retold the story of Noah and the ark and that the rain came after 7 days of them being in the boat.  Noah built this ridiculous boat because of a dream and then got in the boat with his family and then sat there for 7 days with NO rain.  (lesson: HOLD ON if I have a dream in my heart because the dream will happen-I just have to be faithful)

I dream big and often, but currently I am at a loss of what the next step in the dreaming process is.  Where do I go? What do I do? How radical of a decision do I make?  What if it costs me? Can I make a wrong choice?  How will I know what to do?

Some of these questions I know the answers to-or at least I know the pat answers that most people give.  In my life I have realized I am either 100% or not at all.  Now, that can go both ways I know.  I feel like this dream-my future is going to require a radical decision.  Most people are not ok with that. Sometimes...I am not ok with that. 

How to Chase Down Vision: 
We are being strangled out with religion and we often forget everything except the true message of Christ. Chase after God. Chase after your dreams. 

1 Corinthians 3:10-13 "By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. 

Obviously if you read the Bible you figure out how to accomplish your dreams, but how? and what?

David gave the analogy of a building and that our dreams and visions for our lives are like an architect's building process.  
1. Drawing plans
2. Building a foundation-laboring in the foundation is ok.
-we need to count the costs
-start sharing our dreams
-realize that we will be tested
3. fulfillment of the dream will be greater than the original dream. 

-It is great to dream big dreams, but build a firm foundation
-don't be afraid to work hard
-often we may have structure in our foundation, but we are not ready to continue building

I realized that maybe for my dream I have some type of plan and foundation built and maybe some structure, but I am at a pivotal point of waiting and dreaming until I realize what else needs to be done to my foundation before I put any walls up.

The idea that the fulfillment of my dreams being greater than I imagined is refreshing. Clearly, my dreams are not only my dreams, but dreams given to me for a purpose and a reason.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Does the shoe fit?

I have been searching for the perfect shoe to wear to the Gala in a few weeks. It has been a long search...

Here are the options. 

Option 1: Comfy yet pricey. Maybe not fancy enough. 

Option 2: Cute, comfy, cheaper than option 1 by $5 (minimal I know) but sparkly gold and I was leaning towards more neutral shoe color. 

Option 3: My most favorite. I just want to wear these everyday (and be able to walk).  They make me think of fancy gala shoe and cute principal suit shoe. A twofer....I don't care how much they are. Downside-quite tall and even though E is tall and I will never tower over him AND I know he would be happy to hold me up all night--I just don't trust my self.  I can't stand it when girls clomp around in shoes and they don't know how to walk in them and I just can't bring myself to potentially do that as well.  There is an invisible line of my stiletto capability.  It lies somewhere between 3 and 3.5 inches.  These 4 in heels and I could potentially not be friends and I am not sure I am willing to take that gamble. 

Option 4: The price is right. The color is right. They are unique. They are low enough that I could "run" laps in them. I did test this. (Shamefully, I admit that I have them in navy and wore them for the FB distribution and ran laps around the school that morning) 

So, here is where you come in.  Which ones should I or did I get? Which shoe would you get?

And coming tomorrow.... a post that actually matters on vision, goals, and ambitions. 

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