Welcome to Quest4Hope

Here you will find my personal quests that give my life meaning. As I have searched for purpose, it is my hope that my life becomes everything it was destined for- first for my family and then for my friends that God has been so gracious to send to me.

***Names and places have been changed for internet security.

The 5 Chaps

The 5 Chaps

Monday, June 9, 2008

Walnut Grove Plantation--Back In the Day!

By G-man and Olivia

Walnut Grove Plantation was built by Thomas Moore in 1783. Today it still stands with the kitchen, schoolhouse, slave quarters, and more. We visited this plantation to experience what life was like in the 19th century.

This is living room the main house. Our guide is showing us how they snuffed out a candle with a special tool that looks like tweezers. They never blew out their candle for fear of sparks flying. This room was used for reading, playing games, quilting and talking.


This is the parents'bedroom. We learned that they would take a hot bed pan heated from the fire and place it under the bed to help them keep warm. On the floor beside the bed, they had a trundle to pull out for the small children to sleep. They also kept a pot close to the bed to go to the bathroom until morning. It was too dark to go to the outhouse . They may not find their way to the house or a wild animal could come attack.

This is the dining room. It was attached to the back of the house close to the kitchen which was several yards away from the house. The kitchen could catch on fire easy, so they placed it away from the house. Across from the dining room, they had a warming room to prepare and warm the food brought from the kitchen.
G-Man's Thoughts- Touring the main house of the plantation was awesome. Seeing the house upstairs and downstairs was interesting. My favorite part was thinking about how everyone had to go to the bathroom during the night.
Lily's Thoughts- My favorite part of the main house was seeing the kids' bedroom upstairs. All of the kids had to sleep together in the beds all in one room. I would like sharing a bedroom.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Science In The Kitchen


The The 5 Chaps' have been studying atoms and molecules in Chemistry this week. We have discovered that atoms and molecules make up everything in the world. Scientists call these things materials which can be in the form of solids, liquids, or gases.

Today, we made a chemical reaction of a liquid and solid and created a gas called carbon dioxide by mixing vinegar and baking soda in a bottle. First, we poured about 1 cm of vinegar into a bottle. Then we poured 1 teaspoon of baking soda into a balloon.

Finally we put the balloon on the top of the bottle and shook the baking soda inside. The balloon began to blow up. Afterwards, we experimented with different quantities of our materials, like 1 inch of vinegar and 3 teaspoons of baking soda. When we increased the ingredients, we created more carbon dioxide.

Carbon dioxide is a gas. When we created carbon dioxide in the bottle, the balloon captured the gas. Normally, a gas's molecules spread out and bounce about so fast and escape without anyone seeing. Today, we were able to see the gas try to escape.

Lily said, "It was sooooo cool!"

G-man said, " It was fun and exiting to watch the chemicals explode into the balloon like a rocket!"

Monday, March 24, 2008

"Teach Like Your Hair's On Fire"

I want to review a wonderful book that I thoroughly enjoyed reading by Rafe Esquith called "Teach Like Your Hair's On Fire." Esquith is a veteran and highly acclaimed teacher in Los Angeles who has been recognized nationally for his passionate methods of mentoring his students beyond the "typical school day."

This is a challenging must read for educators that outlines how Esquith goes above and beyond the call of teaching to reach his students. He gives new insight for a fresh, young teacher searching for the best teaching methods and challenges the most experieced to press beyond their comfort zones in reaching their students.

I particularly enjoyed reaquainting myself with methods in reading and writing I have used in the classroom in past years and determining how I might "tweak" my plans as I re-enter the classroom. I love the way that he looks beyond his standards that he is teaching and integrates life long lessons for his children in his class. He takes his daily and weekly expectations and weaves them through his students' lives to prepare them for college- even in an elementary classroom.

Chemistry Has Begun!

This week at the "Chapman Academy", we are exploring atoms and molecules and the materials that they make. We explored some online activities working with the different properties of various materials. G-man and Lily have taken their Science Vocabulary and have made diagrams and charts to display their work as we learn more about Chemistry in their mini-presentation folders.

Please take the time to enjoy one of the activities we worked on today as we explored different responses of materials.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Strengths Finder #3- Harmony

The third strength I have discovered by reading "Teaching With Your Strengths" is harmony. My mind reverts back to the old Coke commercial as people from all over the world sings out "I'd like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony....I'd like to buy the world a Coke and keep them company."
This strength focuses on finding common ground and looking for consensus. A strong value of colloboration and working on a team is a motivator for the harmonic personality. I have often looked for ways to bring people together and find a middle ground of agreement if there was much opposition.
I believe I will be able to use this strength in a variety of ways as I work with students, parents, and staff.

Strength Finder #2- FOCUS

According to "Teaching With Your Strengths" by Liesveld and Miller, I have found that another strength I can use in the classroom is focus. I tend to be guided by goals and objectives which forces me to be efficient. I tend to measure my activities by the value of asking, "will it project me to my goal?" This strength can be useful in the classroom as I help students set their own benchmarks and teach them to measure them. I want to impart the value to showing students that today's behavior will bring tomorrow's results as we celebrate our small successes and put them together to bring us to an awesome finish.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Strength #1 Achiever

In the book "Teach With Your Strengths", I found that one of my natural strengths and abilities is that of an "achiever."

Liesveld and Miller define an "achiever" as someone who is driven by accomplishment. It is someone who must achieve something tangible every single day in order feel good about themselves, even days of rest and vacation. It is like an internal fire that constantly drives a person to the next goal or objective. I live by checklists and visual organizers. My mind is constantly turning focusing on my next objective. Finishing my checklists and completion of projects are sweet victories for me.

As an achiever, I must look for ways to capitalize my investment of determination and diligence so that my efforts align with my ultimate goals. This would be particularly true for extra projects and events. Sometimes, because of my drive, I have taken on an extreme amount of busywork that wastes my time. I must center my mind on the most important goals and zero in on them.

I am a self-starter who needs little external motivation to see a project to completion. However, I must learn that not everyone is wired like me. There are times that I get frustrated with those who seem to need more external motivation. It is of upmost importance that I continue to explore ways to motivate my students and understand that it is necessary to use several sources of motivation to challenge an underperforming student.

One of my core values as a teacher is that of progress and improvement. I want to have benchmarks for my students to achieve and challenge them to make continuous improvement. I get much satisfaction seeing student improvements charted on visual organizers. I want to take this internal drive and give students the extra push to reach the "right expectation" and not just a high expection so as to refrain from frustration and keep my students thriving at all levels.

A caution was given to "Acheivers" to take the time to celebrate their accomplishments and give time to let others do the same. Acheivers always look ahead to the next goal rarely spending time enjoying their success. The pace of life and work is always full speed ahead, but as the leader in the classroom I must recognize that students may need a "break" and need a more leisurely pace in order to thrive. There are times that I recognize that I have gotten frustrated because the children, or even adults that I work with, can't seem to work as quickly as I do. If I can learn to vary the pace in my classroom, I should be able to have my students and co-workers keep up with my full speed when it is enforced.

Finally, I need to learn how to celebrate sweet success. If I could learn to slow down enough to pause and drink in the satisfaction of completeing a project; I would be more contented internally.