Saturday, July 21, 2007


I think that I am taking a few days to read Harry Potter. Merilee, how do you post links to, say, yours and Boston's blogs?

Evie and the Apple

Photo by Elise Hird
Evie and the Apple Tree
By Monique Fullmer
Inspired by Grandma Jack

A long time ago, like about ninety years, in a far away place called Oklahoma, there lived a little girl named Evie. Evie lived in an unusual place called a farm, where plants grew and the stores and restaurants of the town were very far away.

On this particular day, Evie’s mother needed to go to the store. Before she left, Evie’s mother called her over to give her some instructions. You see, Evie’s mother knew that her daughter loved apples, any kind of apples; sweet or sour, red or green, juicy or dry, with sugar or salt. Evie loved apples. Evie’s mother also knew that the green apples on the tree outside of the kitchen were not ripe and they would give Evie a giant tummy-ache. And, she knew that Evie would eat them anyway.

So, the first thing on the list of Evie’s instructions (because, of course there was a list of chores to do on the farm) was
After that, there were things like sweep the floor, milk the cow, bake a peach pie, don’t forget to feed your little brother, hoe some weeds, and feed the chickens. After all, this was a farm, a very long time ago in Oklahoma.

Well, Evie’s mother left for her long trip to the store and Evie decided that she better do the things her mother told her to do. She swept the floor and milked the cow without ever once thinking about that old apple tree outside the kitchen window.

But when Evie started to slice the peaches to bake the peach pie for dinner, (Evie’s Daddy loved pie) she couldn’t help but look out that window at the big, old apple tree loaded with apples. True, the apples weren’t ripe yet, but as peach juice dribbled down her fingers, she could almost taste the tart-sweet, sour juice of a crisp-green apple on the back of her tongue. Evie did love apples. Of course, she remembered her mother’s instructions before she left for the store,
So Evie went on with her chores.

As Evie fed her little brother lunch, she imagined munching on a sour apple with salt. As she chopped down weeds in the cornfield, she tasted the cool trickle of sticky apple juice and oh, how she wanted an apple! By the time Evie fed the chickens, she was nearly desperate for one of those green apples hanging from the tree. Suddenly, it struck her. Mother had said,
She would not disobey her mother, but she simply had to have an apple.

Evie slowly meandered over to the apple tree. She didn’t want to attract attention. At the base of the tree, she looked around to make sure no one was watching. Evie quickly climbed up into the tree. She already knew the perfect fork in the branch where she could sit. She looked around and spotted a plump, shiny, green apple and very carefully, so as not to pluck the apple from its stem, she began to sink her teeth into its firm green flesh. Oh, it was wonderful! It was sour and sweet and puckered her mouth and tasted like crunchy heaven. Evie continued to gnaw away at the apple until only a skinny, scrawny core hung from the limb above her head.

The apple tasted better than any she could ever remember. However, now that it was gone, Evie began to realize that even though she had followed her mother’s instructions, she might still be in trouble. She worried about what her mother would say when she got home. As Evie worried, she felt a little knot in her stomach start to grow.

The longer Evie waited, the more her tummy started to hurt. Soon, the pain in her stomach forced her to go to bed. It was there her mother found her when she got home from the store. Mother realized almost immediately what had happened. She started to tell Evie how disappointed she was that she had disobeyed. Evie quickly pointed out that she had not actually disobeyed her mother. She had not picked any apples. Mother looked out the window at the big apple tree. She saw the skinny, scrawny core still hanging, firmly attached to the tree. A slight smile stole across Mother’s face as she stifled a laugh deep inside.

Evie learned a lesson about life that day. She learned that her mother would often tell her things that didn’t seem to make sense. Yet, if she listened to her mother, she would save herself from tummy aches or headaches or even heartaches. Evie’s mother learned that her daughter was very intelligent and she needed to be careful and very specific when she gave her instructions.

When Evie grew up and had her own little girl, she told her this story. That little girl grew up and told her little girls and now I’m telling it to you. Pass it on.


Ok, this is a letter I wrote Tom Horne our state superintendent of public schools at the beginning of June. He has never written me back. So, now I am posting it here in, what is it? the blogosphere. This problem really ticks me off.

Dear Tom Horne,

I am writing to express my concern to you about the timing of AIMS DPA testing. I am a parent of elementary age children as well as an elementary school teacher.
My concern is that the timing of AIMS DPA is causing difficulty for students and educators. As a result of early April testing dates, the entire set of standards for each grade must be taught by the end of March. As I work on my curriculum map, I feel strongly that it is a misuse of time to rush through challenging lessons with my students, not allowing them the necessary time to develop their understanding of standards and concepts. However, in order to teach all standards before AIMS, that is exactly what I must do.
Additionally, attempting to teach all standards before AIMS leaves the rest of the school year, the duration of April and May, to “fill in” rather than teach. Depending on the school that I have been at, I have been instructed to either begin teaching the next year’s curriculum, or go back and cover the “less important” standards that I had to bypass in order to ensure students achieved understanding of certain “power” standards that are covered more strenuously on AIMS. In each case, the students (I teach 6th grade.) seemed to believe that schoolwork was no longer important, because they had already completed their testing for the year.
Finally, I understand that it is important to have timely results of assessment. However, at this time, test results become available in June. While I’m sure that there is much going on that I am not aware of, it seems that the middle of summer is an odd time for test results. I have spent some amount of time researching on the Department of Education website to try to discover the relevance of the test schedule. I have been unsuccessful. It seems to me that if AIMS were completed either at the end of April or beginning of May, more time would be available to teach the standards, less of the school year would be wasted on teaching what will be re-taught the next year, or should have been taught earlier in the year, and students would not experience the level of “check-out” that they seem to at this time.
I greatly appreciate you taking your valuable time to read my concerns. I have spoken with many, many educators who feel similarly about this situation. I have yet to hear a convincing argument that negates my concerns. I would appreciate your input on this matter that deeply distresses me.


Monique Fullmer

Next project

Ok, I think I'm going to do a Mom thing for my next scrapbook project. I just came up with this, so we'll see how it goes. Anyway, I'll randomly brainstorm it here.

Things I got from my mom

The best potato salad ever
Chicken noodles
knowing how to cook without "having" to use campbell's cream of whatever soup
knowing that sometimes it's ok to use campbell's or top ramen or whatever
splotchy legs
lack of chin
sadly, not her body shape
a love of music
a love of family
some patience, but not to the same level
a soft heart - I've seen the woman give a dollar to a homeless man when I knew full well that was the only one she had, and not really sure when she would have more.
a tendency to clutter
if only I had her energy for cleaning
the knack of buying, writing, addressing, stamping, and never mailing thankyou notes
the inability to turn down a plea for help - oh wait- I may have gotten over that one - sort of.
a keen sense of the spirit - I should point out here that she is 25 years ahead of me in everything. Sometimes they seem like light years.
I can drive with my knee- she's better at the turns.
a love of asparagus, but not brussell sprouts, sorry mom
AWESOME GRANDPARENTS! I miss them so much.
a great working knowledge of how to give my kids a guilt trip when they need it
I can't believe I got this far down the list without getting to lemons and salt yet, mmmm
the smell of dirt and rain
a great childhood
I know how to sew
I love to read
I will forget whatever I read by the next day
walking barefoot through cool grass
cracked, gnarly heels
I know how to bake bread
I've seen her grind wheat
I know that I should be kind
A love for my Heavenly Father and Jesus (these are not in order of importance, obviously)
I did not get her love of gardening, but I do appreciate the fruits of her labors and will keep trying.
I fall asleep on the couch watching t.v.
I don't want to go to sleep, because I might miss some good conversation.
maybe someday I'll be able to forgive like her
we could talk and laugh and shop all day
we love color (yes, mom. Brown is a color.)
a little touch of 19th century
appreciation for quality
strong fingernails
a true sense of self
She always told me to finish college. It took 17 years, but I did.
speaking of, smarts
an awesome grandma for my kids
a puppy
the ability to look on the bright side
and stay calm
an understanding of others
manners (please and thankyou are the magic words)
lyrics stuck in my head - "I'm did, I'm didn't. I did obey. I didn't. I'm happy, hap, hap happy all the while. Not me"

Well, this list could continue, I'm sure. I hope that it is taken how it is meant, with all the love in my heart for the best mom possible.