Monthly Archives: October 2017

Trick or Treat: What to Give a Diabetic to Eat

Blog Diabetes

My teacher friend says Halloween is her favorite holiday because she LOVES seeing all her elementary students dressed up in their costumes.  During my ED 346 Children’s Lit class, a few teacher candidates recently shared the book Trick or Treat For Diabetes. Oh my…did it bring back memories.

My daughter, Jamie, was diagnosed with Type I diabetes at the age of four. However, this certainly did not stop us from taking her trick or treating. She got lots of candy, which we would sort through at the end of the night. We would make two piles…one pile was the treats she could keep, and the second pile was treats we did not allow her to consume. The candy that was off limits was sold to her older brother, Kyle. We all know who really paid for the candy, but Kyle still enjoyed the bounty of sweets he received.

At the same time, Jamie would get plenty of treats that she could keep. Our church family was the best. We made sure to stop at their homes as they had special treats waiting for Jamie. We fondly remember the Biever and VandeVoort families. They would have Diet Mountain Dew® waiting just for her. She loved stopping at those two families’ homes. A BIG thank you to both families for making her childhood trick or treating experience extra special. ❤

We reminisced a little more and came up with a list of other special treats that she remembers getting from people who also blessed her. People such as her grandparents, her teachers, the neighbors, Sue Wathen, and the Nepp’s. We felt tons of small town love, that is for sure!! Below is a list of some goodies she remembers getting…

  • Fruit snacks
  • Sugar free gummy bears
  • Gold fish
  • Bags of chips or pretzels
  • Sugar free gum
  • Any sugar free candy (but she says to eat this in moderation because it can cause intestinal issues 😀 )
  • Stickers
  • Color crayons
  • Pencils
  • Gift cards (she remembers certificates to Pizza Hut)
  • Microwave popcorn
  • Fruit Roll-Ups

Hopefully, this list will give a few ideas of what treats to give to the diabetics in your classrooms or schools or programs, or those kids knocking at your doors.  What treats will you be handing out this year? I will be giving my usual…Mott’s Fruit Snacks…just in case there might be a diabetic ringing my doorbell and shouting “TRICK OR TREAT.” Happy Halloween on Tuesday, everyone. 🙂

Blog TrickTreat1

Stay Calm & Have Fun Trick or Treating!
Profs Dr. Wendy & Dr. V. 

Dear Dr. V. and Dr. Wendy: Questions From Our Teacher Candidates

SS Methods 2017

We asked our teacher candidates to imagine that they are sitting across from us individually at a table in the student center enjoying a cup of coffee or a soda together. We then asked them to write down one question they would like to ask us during this coffee date. No limits…ask away. What would they like to know?

The questions were incredible. So many of them to answer…so little space to write in this blog. Though we wanted to answer every question because each one holds its own uniqueness and importance to the teacher candidate who asked, we picked just a few to add to this blog…maybe there will have to be a Part II.

Teacher Candidate (TC): What was your biggest fear when starting out as a new teacher?

Dr. Wendy (WS): My biggest fear was not being prepared. Every year in August, I would have the same recurring dream…that I showed up on my first day of class with nothing ready to go. Thank goodness some dreams don’t come true.

Dr. V. (SV):  Not knowing it all.  Then I finally figured out that I would not know it all, and I shouldn’t know it all.  I did not fail my students when I said, “I’m not sure of that answer.”  I was helping them grow as learners and modeling for them when I then said, “Let’s find out together.”

TC: In our first year of teaching, how do we obtain the countless games, resources, decorations, etc. that will be used in our rooms? Do we need to obtain these ourselves before teaching or is it part of the budget?

WS: In my first year, I had a room full of ‘stuff’ that the retired teacher left behind such as the cursive alphabet on the front wall above the chalkboard/whiteboard and a few bulletin board borders.  I also had some materials from college that I still have and use today. Our budget allowed us so many dollars each year to purchase items for our classrooms. Just know that teachers supplement their classrooms with their own money.

SV: Put your loved ones to work.  I enlisted my little sister’s services.  She was just a “college” student at the time so I used up her free summer time prepping my classroom.  Most of it was my budget along with the good will of mentor teachers and the local Good Will.  There was a small classroom budget, but with my optimistic idealism, I needed more.  Hindsight: Less is more… it is you, the teacher who learners need… the colorful room is just an extra.

TC: My boyfriend lives in Kansas and moves all the time with his job. How do I deal with this with licensure requirements?

WS: Whatever state you move to, visit their Department of Education Website. Their licensure requirements are listed on there somewhere. My daughter graduated from and taught in Boise, ID for a few years. She then moved to Minnesota. She visited the MN Department of ED website and began to fulfill all the requirements that they have listed. Yes, she had some frustrations, but she got it accomplished and has been teaching in MN for 5 years.

SV: Start by getting your MN licensure. Do not go through all the work to get there and then almost get there but not get there. Get it?!  Once you have your degree and licensure in place, pack your bags!  Okay – not quite so quickly… Check with the Department of Ed for that particular state as each state has its own requirements.  If you do well on your edTPA and are licensed in MN, that will take you places.  MN has high standards for educators so all the torture you go through to get your license, pays off.  Your learners are counting on it!

TC: Did you ever struggle financially with a teacher salary?

WS: When I first began teaching in 1987, my salary was $17, 800. Quite honestly, I thought that was a lot of money then. I had worked in banks as a teller and my teacher salary was WAY MORE than my bank salary. My mom, who had been working in the same bank for almost 30 years, was only making $18,800 in 1987. I started just a thousand dollars below her. I was proud and so was she.  So, NO, I have never struggled on my teacher salary. In my lifetime, my teaching salary has been MY highest salary ever. Others may not agree.

SV: Yes – struggled with finances at times but never with my calling.  Teaching is a profession of the heart.  You have to be ready to sacrifice some for the good of others.  I started at a private school in 1998 at $17,600 – so just below Dr. Wendy about a decade later in life.  It was great at the time since I earned about $2,000 as a teacher’s aide previous to that while earning my licensure.  It goes up from there – so perspective is everything.

TC: If you were hiring a new teacher, what is the most important thing you are looking for?

WS: I would want someone who is able to build positive relationships with students. Someone who will always be a champion for children.

SV: Positive game-changers who are willing to lead by example and put learners first.  It is important to care for one’s self as well – so don’t get me wrong there.  What I am talking about is an individual who is compassionate and has a passion for teaching and learning.  They aren’t there for summers off.  They are there to change the world one student at a time, one day at a time  – even when it is hard.  Believe me – some days will be like that.  Effective teachers know this, embrace this, and teach anyway.

Remember…we told them they could ask us anything they wanted to so let us end with these two questions that have nothing to do with teaching…

TC: What does marriage really take to be successful?

WS: After celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary, my husband and I talked about this very question. What made our marriage thrive? If you want to know the “WE DO’s” of our marriage (Example: We do choose to be ‘we and ours’ not ‘mine and yours’ in everything except our underwear :-)), please check out my blog on this very subject…

 SV: Collaboration – just like any relationship.  Work hard. Play hard. Agree to disagree sometimes.  Set goals and celebrate accomplishments.  Be the other person’s cheerleader even when you don’t feel like cheering.  Don’t keep secrets – except for surprise gifts.

TC: What kind of soda do you like?

WS: An ice cold Coke in a glass bottle just pulled out of a cooler full of ice. YUMMO! 🙂

SV: 7-Up or Dr. Pepper or Root Beer… I actually don’t drink a lot of soda, but when I do, I enjoy a fizzy fountain pop with ice.

Teacher candidates…even though we were not able to have coffee or soda together…let’s make a date to get together in the near future. Until then, we hope these answers will help you grow professionally and personally.


Stay Calm & Keep Asking Questions!
Profs Dr. Wendy & Dr. V. 

Making Memories and Telling Stories … Homecoming

It is a quiet sound…the soft sound of a music box.  The one in my hands is not mine, but it brings me back to a time when I held my own music box as a little girl.  Imagine – a satin-lined, pastel pink box that could be held in the hands of a young girl.  Inside is a ballerina who spins to the music when gently opened.  Holding this music in my hands that is not mine brought me back to being in the middle of my yellow-accented bedroom more than 30 years ago.  This instant time travel was simply from the chime of a few beats of this quiet music. My mind picked up the memory, and started telling a story within seconds.

Amazing what a memory can do – it can tell our stories.  Recently this past week, author/speaker, Tracy Nelson Maurer, spoke on the campus of Southwest Minnesota State at the Southwest Minnesota Reading Council’s Fall Conference.  Tracy shared three keys to writing success: inspiration, information, and imagination.  She sparked our memories and helped us see our stories.  We all have stories to share.


This past week was full of stories at SMSU sparked by memories as we celebrated Homecoming 2017.  It was not a standard week of Homecoming festivities at SMSU this year, however.  We are celebrating our 50th year as an institution, a community, a family.  This week allowed us a time to share memories, tell our stories, and make new memories to share in the future.

Here are a few highlights of the memory-sharing and memory-making week…
The 50th SMSU Charter Signing

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Door Decorating Contest — School of Education was awarded second place!

Guest Author/Speaker Tracy Nelson Maurer

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School of Education Alumni Tent, Parade, and Football Game Festivities

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All-School Reunion

We all have a memory and a story to share.  Continue to share them – as we connect with the past and storytell in the future.  Let us inspire, inform, and imagine together. Listen to the soft music, and let it play.

Stay Calm & Make Memories!
Profs Dr. Wendy & Dr. V.