Walk Your A.S. Off

It’s not often I duplicate my posts over my two blogs, but this one is important to me:

For four years, my daughter and I have danced at Lake Area Dance Center. Over the years, we have gotten to know its owner, and primary teacher, Miss Maria, pretty well. We’ve also gotten to know a bit about a disease she has, Ankylosing Spondylitis (A.S.), that makes it painful for her to not only dance, but often do every day activities. Some days are better, and some days are worse. By the end of many nights, it is painful for her to even sit, as her spine gets inflamed easily. She continues to teach dance 7 days a week. Although she tries to hide her pain, I sometimes see her wince during our adult tap class, and I can see the brave face she is putting on for the sake of her students.

As of right now, there is no cure for this disease. Miss Maria takes a plethora of medications and vitamins every day to try to manage the symptoms. She has tried diet changes, juicing, and living a “healthy lifestyle” as many people like to tell her she should do. Nothing helps completely…

She has joined a team (of mostly women) from all over the country to help raise awareness of the disease. I have decided to join her in this effort. The way we are doing this is by joining a movement called “Walk Your A.S. Off.” Teams from all over the world are doing this virtual walk by logging our steps each day. The goal for our team, “Spondy Ladies”, is to walk 1 Million Steps in the month of April.

While fundraising is not required, I am of the opinion that awareness itself isn’t enough. Raising money to help researchers find effective treatments, and even a cure, is going to go so much further than walking and spreading the word about the disease alone!

You can help by joining our team, or by donating. You can donate a flat amount by clicking the link, or by giving me a check made out to SAA or Spondylitis Association of America, which I will mail for you. You can also pledge a certain amount based on the number of steps I take over the month, or a certain amount for making my goal (240K steps is my personal goal for the month). Donations are tax-deductible. Some employers may even match your donation!

Thank you for your support!

*Note: There are several S.A. organizations out there you could choose to donate to. SAA is the one Miss Maria chose, and I did as well. If you prefer to donate to a different organization that researches treatments and potential cures for Ankylosing Spondylitis, your support is appreciated. :-)

2014 in review – Moments of Brilliance

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 12,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

#Kinderblog – What’s in Your Wallet?

OK, that’s not quite the topic for today, but close enough! One of the two topics posted for today is: 5 things in your backpack/purse/briefcase/tote bag.

Well… I could tell you 5 things in my purse, but that would be boring, and totally unrelated to anything on this blog. I think the point is, what are 5 things a teacher can’t live without having at all times. Here’s my list:

1. My Surface RT – you can click on that to find out why I always have it with me when I go to work.

2. My school calendar. Every summer, we get a calendar pre-printed with our training dates, PLC meetings, payroll due dates, and dates that school is closed, we have conferences, etc. I refer to this calendar often! I also have the entire school year’s plans for centers, the homework assignments and dates, and the list of objectives we assess tucked inside the calendar. Lots of important info for me there.

3. Hand lotion. As many times as we wash our hands a day, my hands get really dry. Lotion is a must!

4. Advil. I love my job. I love preschoolers. That doesn’t stop me from getting headaches almost daily. I usually end up taking 2 ibuprofin around lunch time.

5. My laptop. Until I get my laptop and Surface synced, I usually have my laptop with me to work on before school or during lunch. I never know when I might need access to my files.

Bonus item 6. Chocolate. You never know when you just might need a little chocolate to help you through the day! ;-)

2013 in review – Moments of Brilliance… or not

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 10,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Impressed by Bill Gates

059Recently, I had the opportunity to hear Bill Gates speak in Fargo, ND. I couldn’t believe just how much he impressed me.

Before it was Bill’s turn to take the stage, they had “Bill Gates Trivia” with some of the children of the Microsoft employees who were invited to the event. They asked many questions that I had no idea what the answers were. One thing I didn’t know, was that Bill Gates dropped out of Harvard as a junior, in order to start Microsoft.

Once Bill was introduced, he spent a few minutes talking about Microsoft as a company, and about the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. He then took questions from the employees in the audience. The questions took him all over the place. He bounced flawlessly from questions about Microsoft, to questions about the Foundation, to questions about the economy, to questions about competition in the business world, and about the diseases the Foundation is trying to eradicate. He was very passionate about every area he covered. His passion seemed very genuine. He didn’t seem like he was just trying to say the right thing. Someone in his position often comes across as arrogant; he didn’t.

I appreciated his sense of humor. When talking about some of the ways they are working towards eradicating malaria across the world, Bill said “Mosquitoes are pretty easy to kill. They don’t have any skin.” I couldn’t help but crack up at that! He talked about one thing they are trying to do is along the lines of an invisible fence. Mosquitoes apparently can’t fly higher than 12 ft. high. Imagine an invisible fence that goes 12 ft high surrounding your yard. The “fence” could detect the exact frequency of the beat of a mosquito’s wings, determining it from other insects. The “fence” would then zap only the mosquitoes, allowing potentially helpful insects to live. Here in MN, we could certainly use something like this too, though the ramifications wouldn’t so much be saving lives (as it is in Africa and other parts of the world), as something of a convenience. Of course, developing this kind of technology isn’t cheap.

070He talked about how when he started Microsoft, he had good financial advice from a sister who was an accountant, and legal advice from his father who was a lawyer. He had a pretty sizable loan to start the company. That loan was never used, and is still in the bank. Bill Gates’ goal was to always have enough in the bank to pay his entire payroll for a year if all their clients went belly up. To this day, Microsoft has enough money to pay the entire payroll of Microsoft for a year if they suddenly lost all their business (to the tune of $20 billion). This despite all the money also being given for research to eradicate diseases such as polio, measles, and malaria. How many other business owners could take some lessons from Bill Gates and Microsoft?

Since that day, I’ve been learning a bit more about Bill Gates. The more I read about, or hear him speak (thanks to Youtube, TED Talks, etc.), the more impressed I am with him. Here’s a TED Talk by Bill Gates on Teacher Feedback. He’s quickly moving up my list of heroes! Here’s a little reality check from Bill Gates as well: 11 Rules You Will Never Learn in School. If you’d like to see what else Bill Gates is up to, you can check out his web site that has his blog, reading list, etc. at thegatesnotes.com.

2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 4,400 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 7 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

Peeing in the Snow

yellow-snow-warning1I enjoy sharing moments that happen in the classroom. I have shared some funny or touching moments in our class here and here.

After a snowstorm of 15″, a boy came in to our class and told us that his dad let him pee in the snow. He told us that the snow turned yellow. He then informed us that you should not eat yellow snow!

I was laughing so hard… I was walking out of the class where the rest of the parents were waiting for us to open the doors, and got some some funny looks. I told them not to tell their kids to pee in the snow, unless they want us entertained by it. A few parents laughed, and few looked horrified. I told them they’d be amazed at all the things we hear!