Loving Tributes – My 2nd Grade Students

My second grade students thank the women in their lives with love, honesty, humor and heart…Happy Mother’s Day!

 

Me with some of my students, purest of hearts and their beautiful smiles...Go Angels!

Me with some of my students, purest of hearts and their beautiful smiles…Go Angels! May 20, 2014

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Happy…A 2nd Grade Version

I am incredibly grateful and honored for the gift of being able to spend the majority of my day with the most amazing 7 & 8 yr olds (my second grade students) I know.

In addition, I am beyond thankful for all the parents who have trusted me with their most precious creations.

I put together the following video of my second graders and all the other second graders at my school to share the treasure of their jubilance and love for life…Enjoy!

To My 2nd Grade Students: ‘I Believe In You and I Love You’

To my 2nd grade students,

When I first started teaching I did so because it was exciting and each day was always  different. I enjoyed the challenge of planning new lessons each week. I loved setting up my room at the beginning of each new year. I enjoyed the opportunity to find and read new books. I loved the anticipation of new faces, new names, and new families. I enjoyed the many stories you all would share with me. Little did I know that almost 14 yrs later my mission, my goal, my objective, my deepest desire would be for you all to know that you are loved. You make each hour I share with you the most trying, most unpredictable, most cherished, most comfortable, most honest, and most genuine six hours of my day.

Each day you show up full of energy, full of stories and each day I reflect on how best to show you, tell you that I love you. You need to know that each lesson, teaching math, language arts, science or social studies is really a lesson about life. Honestly, each lesson can help us understand how we are all connected. How we live. How we survive.

I have challenged and pushed you in so many ways and with each challenge you have inspired me with your tenaciousness and goodness. I realize there is so much more to your lives than the time we share at school. I know about your parents not having enough money to buy you shoes. I know about how cold you are at night because the blankets are not enough to keep the cold at bay. I know you are afraid to go to the park near your houses because of the shootings, drugs and harassment that happens there.  Please know your heartaches break my heart. Your worries, your fears, your tears rip me to shreds, leaving me wounded with scars that can tell each of your stories.

There are years, days even when I question myself and feel as though I am not doing you any good. I feel completely responsible for supplying you the necessary to tools to navigate life. The question ‘Am I making a positive, healthy difference?’ is a constant one.

But I know I am making a difference. I know this because I see your everyday random acts of kindness. I hear the kind, loving words that you use to lift up a friend or classmate. I see how you self-correct or give a heart-felt apology when you’ve hurt someone’s feelings. I see how you work so hard at making others feel a part of the classroom family. I see you sharing. I see you helping each other. I see empathize with others. I see your smile. I hear your laugh.  I see the light of genuine excitement and understanding in your eyes. I see the light of knowledge on your face. I see you giving and I see your love.

If the only thing you were to learn and know is that you are loved, then that is worth every ounce of effort in my body. You need to know you are all WORTH it!

I’ve asked you what love is. You each shared your thoughts with me in such beautiful ways. Know that I believe love is learning about yourself through others. Know that it’s because of your love I know who I am and I continue to learn and grow and experience more love because of you all.

I believe in you and I love you.

Your Teacher,

-J

Smiles and love to you. 12-20-2013

Smiles and love to you. 12-20-2013

My students and I put together theses videos as gifts to their families. We hope you enjoy them as much as we do. Wishing you all endless love, peace and joy.

I don’t want my students to always rely on being fed someone else’s stories. I want them to know they have the power and ability to tell their own stories. So as an extension activity to lessons we had done on land, water, pollution, contamination, kindness, giving, wants and needs  I asked them to dream BIG. To allow their imaginations to soar and show me what they could possibly dream up for the world they live in. We put this video together to share what they came up with and gifted it to their families.

This video features the songs: Imagine by John Lennon, Man in the Mirror by Michael Jackson, and Calling All Angels by Train

Our days have been jam packed with discussion after discussion and lessons on wants, needs, responsibility (the ability to respond), gratitude, giving, kindness, land, water, the earth, environment, pollution and contamination. The objective was: for my students to develop an understanding of the world around them. Define “gratitude & love” and practice experiencing and expressing gratitude. Define, model, and practice appreciation for another person and the natural environment. As an extension activity my students answered the following – When I think about ___________ I am happy. What does love look like? What is love? They drew out their responses and we put this video together as a gift to share with family and friends.

This video features the songs: Think Good Thoughts by Colbie Calliet, Where Is the Love? by the Black Eyed Peas

Reignited by running – Passion for life…focusing on what can be, rather than what is not

Diva Half Marathon - Dec. 8th, 2013

Diva Half Marathon – Dec. 8th, 2013

Race Results 12_8_2013

Race Results 12_8_2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today I tackled one mile at a time until I reached 13.1. However, half-marathons, marathons, and any other road race doesn’t simply end at the finish line. The goal setting and persistence it takes to run and finish a race is something that remains with me in my everyday life. I’ve have a greater sense of clarity and trust myself because I run.

JoyceBeforetherace1

Before the race

MeandMyBabyGirlBeforetherace

Me and my baby girl before the race

At one point after mile 10 during today’s half marathon I was suddenly overcome with emotion. All that I have gone through and accomplished these last couple of months finally hit me – I am surviving because I am strong, I am kind, I am grateful, I am Diné and I have the blood of my ancestors running through my veins. The same mental characteristics needed to run and not give up are the same characteristics needed in life. I’ve learned life is like running – you get out of it what you put into it. I had filled my life with fear. I had flooded my life with doubt. As a result that is exactly what I was getting back – fear and doubt. Being honest about my fears then facing them down, acknowledging then divorcing my doubts  has reignited my toughness, my creativity, and my generosity. I have reignited faith in myself and the ability to dream on a grander scale.

AtTheFinish_12_08_2013

At the finish and feeling great! 12-08-2013

All smiles after the race 12-08-2013

All smiles after the race 12-08-2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When I run, I will myself to be the best I can be. The courage and endurance that it takes to get through a long run has seeped into my life in every way. I am able to motivate myself when I am down. I am able to endure difficult times with resiliency, and kindness. I have learned to take the measure of myself, and no longer allow others to define who I am.

I am Diné…and will always be Diné!

I am a daughter…and will always be a daughter!

I am a grandaughter…and will always be a granddaughter!

I am a niece…and will always be a niece!

I am a mama…and will always be a mama!

I am a sister…and will always be a sister!

I am an auntie…and will always be an auntie!

I am a friend…and will always be a friend!

I am a student…and will always be a student!

I am a teacher…and will always be a teacher!

I am a runner…and will always be a runner!

Wishing you all love with all of my being,

-J

Love and light 12-8-2013

Love and light 12-8-2013