Archives For Teaching

Breaking Silence

Weeping may endure for the night,
But JOY comes in the morning.
~Psalm 30:5b~


But just think . . .
Of stepping on shore
And finding it Heaven.
Of touching a hand
And finding it God’s.
Of breathing new air
And finding it celestial.
Of waking up in glory
And finding it home . . .
We’re finally home.
from Finally Home
by Don Wyrtzen


Photo Backstory: Last week my author friend Beth Vogt invited followers to share their creativity by crafting Spine Poetry. I put these entries together on a whim & ended up encouraging myself along the way. Amazing how powerful words can be!

curriculum map 1aNow this week I’m working on my curriculum mapping as I make ready for another great school year. (This is not for the faint of heart—any teachers out there? You know!) Prep can be tedious. But it also makes me eager for Fall & all that it brings—especially seeing my wonderful students again! And I think I may use the Spine Poetry idea as a way to enliven English class. Can’t wait!

What are you doing today, friends? I’d love to hear.

[For the Curious: The books used to make this poetry encompass Christian fiction, popular fiction, true stories & inspirational studies in the Word—The Clouds Roll Away by Sibella Giorello, Edges of His Ways by Amy Carmichael, Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand (true story, graphic), The Blessed by Ann Gabhart, Breaking Silence by Linda Castillo (crime drama, gritty, strong lang.), Choose Joy by Kay Warren, We Shall Not Sleep by Anne Perry, Coming Home by Stacy Hawkins Adams, Where the Heart Is by Billie Letts, Radiance by Anne Maybury, Blinded by Travis Thrasher, and Heaven by Randy Alcorn.]

This week I’m linking up with Miscellany Monday, Splashin’ with Sara, Tuesday Muse, WW Create with Joy, WW Catch My Words, WW That Suburban Mama, WW Ms Mystery Case, WW Heartbeat Magazine, Wisdom Wednesday, Wholehearted Home Wednesdays, Wordless Wednesday, Wordful Wednesday, Wordless Wednesday BlogShe, Woman to Woman, WW Books & More, WW Tales from a Mother, WW Mom’s Own Words, WW Stacy Uncorked, WW The Crummy Mommy, WW Better on a Budget, Jenny’s Wordless Wednesday, Suitcase Sweethearts WW, My Organized Chaos WW, Raising My Boys WW, Toronto Teacher WW, Winsome Wednesday, Wise Woman Wednesday, Works for Me Wednesday, WW @PD Mama, WW @Heartsie, WW Blogspot, WW 5 Min for Mom, Wednesday Hop @Adorned from Above, Rurality Blog Hop, Thursday Favorite Things, Thriving ThursdayLittle Things Thursday, Hearts for Home, Thoughtful Thursday, Raising Mighty Arrows, Share the Joy Thursday, Time Travel Thursday, Create It Thursday, Desire to Inspire,Thrive @Home Link Up, Grace at Home, Faith-filled Friday, Photo FridayFellowship Friday, Friendship Friday, Freedom Friday, TGIF Blog HopWomanhood w/ Purpose Friday Link Up, TGIF, Friday Company Girl Coffee Link Up, Essential Friday Link-up, Still Saturday, Sunday Snapshot, Heart Reflected, Fresh-brewed Sundays, Sunday Collective, and The Sunday Community.

“Enjoy the little things for one day you may look back and discover they were the big things.” Sometimes life flies by so quickly, I have to take time out to remind myself how I spent my time. So here are the favorites from my week . . .

Reading some great books with my lively junior high class. We’re loving The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare and The Giver by Lois Lowry.

Celebrating my sister’s birthday. My brother-in-law picked up a pizza. I baked a cake. And we brought the party to my mom at her nursing home. (Of course, we shared with the staff who have been so good to Mom.)

Mom, me, my sis

Mom, bro-in-law, my sis

The dump cake doesn't look like much, but it's Yum!

How about you, my friends? What have you been up to?

I’m linking with Friday Favorite Things.

DIY: Dump Cake Recipe . . . 

  • Pour 1 can plus juice of crushed pineapple into cake pan.
  • Add 1 can cherry pie filling.
  • Pour  dry yellow cake mix over top. Spread evenly.
  • Drizzle with melted butter. (Or be generous.)
  • Bake at 350 until golden brown.
  • Enjoy!

What’s in a name?

Renee Ann Smith —  March 3, 2011 — 76 Comments

My morning classroom

As a classroom teacher I’m typically highly conscious of time usage, scheduling, setting goals, and taking the steps to meet them. When I worked full-time, I arrived at school early and stayed late so I could study, plan, prepare. Sometimes I’d be so into that day’s tasks that when the students arrived, they seemed like an interruption.

I remember that during the early years of my teaching career, I considered teachers’ conferences a mixed blessing. I did enjoy the speakers and the restaurants and especially the book table, but it was an awful lot of time away from studying and planning and preparing . . .

Anyway, at one conference, I was privileged to hear the unforgettable Jack Layman, a professor from Columbia International University in South Carolina. He began his talk with a series of questions to ‘wake us up.’ He asked us what’s the longest name in the Bible and who said some obscure quote and other things that sent us on random, amusing thought trails.

Then he said, “Who can name every child in your classroom?”

I and the teachers near me began busily scribbling names from memory. I hoped there was a prize for this one because I had the list down cold, even after only a few weeks of school.

Once we stopped buzzing, Dr. Layman continued, “So what’s the name of every child in your classroom? Jesus Christ. Because the Bible says, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you have done it unto Me.’”

Those words changed my focus and became the touchstone of my teaching. Soon I was trying to follow the principle of that verse for every group of people I encountered in my life.

Dr. Layman opened a door for me that day, and I’ve never regretted where it led . . .

*This is a repost from my early days of blogging in August 🙂


A door of opportunity

Renee Ann Smith —  September 8, 2010 — 13 Comments

Upton Lake mural which greets me at the start of each new day

Two years ago on Labor Day weekend, the Christian school in which I had taught for nineteen years abruptly closed its doors, leaving me stunned and unsure of the future. But God’s faithfulness never wavered. He provided tutoring jobs and a time-consuming hobby (writing), stretched my finances, and gave me precious time with my best friend Nancy during her last months of life. I didn’t think I needed another school position. God, however, saw things differently. Continue Reading…

What’s in a name?

Renee Ann Smith —  August 2, 2010 — 2 Comments

As a classroom teacher I was highly conscious of time usage, scheduling, setting goals, and taking the steps to meet them. I arrived at school early and stayed late so I could study, plan, prepare. Sometimes I’d be so into that day’s tasks that when the students arrived, they seemed like an interruption. Continue Reading…

I decided I wanted to teach literature that would not only expand the kids’ academic experience but also touch their hearts. I wanted to do it all: provoke discussion, inspire sacrifice, encourage right thinking, stimulate writing excellence . . . and all with an eye toward thinking outside the box as far as literature was concerned. And I wondered how I’d know if a piece of literature was ‘safe’ unless it was written by a Christian author.

Continue Reading...