When God Provides a Window…

When Kritterman andgod-opens-a-window-meme EmBug were little we would ask them, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Over the years EmBug has wanted to be Taylor Swift, an artist, and a “Cat Lady,” yes, a “Cat Lady.” Kritterman has wanted to be a Lego designer, an astronaut and a video game designer.

As a parent you wonder will their aspirations and dreams become a reality. Do their gifts and talents align? And then you are given a gift, a window to see the possibility. We all believe in our kids. We do our best to provide them every opportunity. We celebrate their accomplishments and we hope upon hope that their dreams will become a reality.

em-lion-kingLately our home has been a bustle. EmBug began the school year as part of the cast of the Northwest ISD Middle School Musical Production The Lion King. She had practices every day after school and even a Saturday for the first four weeks of school. All the while she kept up her school work and managed all A’s by the end of the first marking period. She loves the stage and every piece of what makes theater, theater.

Between this event and now she has had a choir concert, another theater performance Attack of the Zombies, planned and put on a school dance with her Student Council as STUCO president, practiced for an upcoming piano competition, all while prepping, practicing and trying out for All-Region Choir. She is my workhorse. She is efficient with her time and her resources. She excels at whatever she puts her mind to do.

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As a mother, though, I wondered… what is it that she really wants to do? What does she see herself doing? Recently EmBug has been talking passionately about wanting to be a secondary Choir teacher and more specifically a Region clinician. Her experience last year at all-Region Choir, UNT Choir Camp this summer and the ongoing impact of her Choir teacher Lauren Wilemon had spurred her to this new found path. I was excited for her, but I wondered if it was the environment or it was innately her.

Then God gave me a window. It wasn’t during a performance. It was at all-Region tryouts as the group warmed up. Her face was in complete love of what she was doing, she wasn’t just “warming up” she was feeling the music, she was moved by the notes and the story the song was telling, every part of her was in-tune to the notes and the song… she may have been in the middle of the gym floor with twenty something other girls around her, and yet it was if no one else was there and a spot-light was on her. In that moment I saw her as the Secondary Choir Teacher and Region Clinician she desires to be. I saw the promise of her future.

With Kritterman being a bit younger and having a sister that is passionately into everything, it concerns a mother, if his dreams and passions also being developed. While EmBug and Kritterman are very different, the same hope and desire for him to find what he aspires to be is there. With Kritterman is hasn’t been as hard to determine where his interests lie and what he wants to do. He’s my linear, mathematical, logical thinker. Anything that has to do with building Legos, solving puzzles, playing video games and trying experiments, especially with “how things work” he is “ALL IN.” So being a Lego designer, astronaut or video game designer isn’t a surprise. He too has had experiences and influential people in his life. The many summer Techno Camps where he has built and programmed Lego Robots, the opportunities he has had to teach others both in person and through video tutorials about how to build and program Lego Robots, and the teachers who have recognized and encouraged his passion for the mathematical/logical through activities and projects has only encouraged his desires to create and design through the use of technology. He excels with anything that involves design, mathematics and problem solving. He tells his dad and I he wants to be a Computer Science Engineer or a Film Director (while flying in space… he’s learned he can be the other and be an astronaut, logical, right?)

kritter-determines-the-volume-of-a-cubeAs a mother, I wondered if the math and programming is just what he is good at, or is this something he loves… is he passionate about it? Then his current math teacher Courtney Baker, emails me an image of his work where he figured out the volume of a box before he is taught the formula. He is able to problem solve how to determine the volume without being taught it. Was the strategy most efficient? No, that is what the formula provides. However, he determined how to get there, much like the original mathematician who determined the formula.

A few weeks later, after many afternoons after school spending time in the same teacher’s flex space of her classroom, trying, trouble shooting and fine tuning he programmed a “Dash and Dot” to do a behavior that was inspired by a “YouTube Video.” It was a complete synthesis and redesign of a pop-culture social media sensation transferred to a computer programmed technology device.

Once again, God gave me a window. I never doubt Kritterman’s resolve. He knows himself and his strengths. When he successfully combined the programming of the “Dash and Dot” with the influence of a “viral” YouTube with his own twist of humor, I saw how limitless his future will be. Who knows, one day he may be flying in deep space, programming computers and sharing via video with his own twist of humor using the knowledge he gained both now and through the completion of a dual major in Computer Science Engineering and Film Production.

 

It is exciting as a parent to see your children pursue their passions, it is even more exciting to be given a brief window into what the future may hold for them. It is very possible their future may look very different from what it appears it could be right now. I may have a passionate future Secondary Choir Director and future Computer Programmer/Film Producer on his way to Infinity and Beyond. It is fun to think of the possibility and at the same time I am enjoying the present and the joy in both their faces as they both fully invest in the joy of living and learning. I love it when God gives us a window and allows us to capture these moments, much like Mary who “pondered these things in her heart.”

 

 

Kritterman’s Top 15 of 2015

Never a Dull Moment when we can Dubsmash!

Kritterman had a banner year in many ways. He took his first state standardized test this spring. Got his own phone on when he turned 10 years old and has taken on lots of new opportunities and responsibilities at school and at home. As mentioned, he moved from a one digit age into the world of two digit ages. This year’s list reflects not only his accomplishments and new responsibilities, but his ongoing passions and newly discovered passions.

Battle of the Books team 14

15. Early in 2015 Kritterman took the many hours of reading from a specific list of books and participated in Battle of the Books at his elementary campus. While his team did not win at the campus level, his dedication to read and work with a team of fellow readers further encouraged his love of reading.

14. One exciting new responsibility is helping Dad mow the lawn. That involves driving the tractor (or sitting lawnmower). In late February was his maiden “voyage” and he’s been helping Eric ever since… that is until the tractor bit the dust! Yes, we are on the hunt for some new wheels and nothing would make Kritterman happier than to be back in the driver’s seat!

Techno Expo 2015 Kritter

13. Kritterman continued to showcase his learning through his favorite medium… technology. For the fourth year in a row Kristopher presented at our district’s Techno Expo. You can read a previous post about him and his sister “#digitalLearning… It’s a Family Affair.” He continues to amaze us how he utilizes digital tools to emphasize his strengths and support other learners.

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12. For the third year Kritterman competed in Destination Imagination with his team. They practiced for hours months before the regional competition. It is amazing how much he enjoys this truly kid driven, creative problem solving competition.

spring soccer 2015

11.Soccer continues to be a love of Kritterman’s with him playing  Outdoor Spring, Summer Indoor and Outdoor Fall seasons, with a total of 3 1/2 years of soccer. He truly enjoys being able to play on the same team, the Firebirds, with the same coach for several seasons.

10. Kritterman spent the two previous summers attending the district Lego Robotics Club and his skills have grown exponentially. He was asked by special invite to join 4th and 5th graders to be part of his school’s Robotics Club. This led to him having the opportunity to be part of a presentation at Northwest ISD’s  Night of No Limits (a Problem Based Learning- PBL Showcase). He continued to attend the robotics camp in Summer of 2015 and earned half of what was needed to purchase his very own Lego EV3 Robotics Kit so he could pursue his passion for robotics and programming at home.

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9. While our aim is to always be at school, when we found out Kritterman had earned an award of Perfect Attendance we were both surprised and thrilled. It wasn’t our pursuit.. it just happened. So, when the end of the 2014-15 school year awards came around it was worth celebrating!

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8. Did you read #12 and #10? Need I say more? Attending his 3rd Lego Robotics Camp was his thrill… his bot did not win the battle like he had hoped but he has plans for this year. Watch out world… or at least all the other campers!

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7. This year was Kritterman’s “decade” birthday. We wanted to do it in style. EmBug and Mom were on a mission trip on his actual birthday, June 23rd, so to make a big splash a Minion Birthday Party was planned early in July for the opening weekend of the movie “The Minions” at the luxurious dine and watch movie theater, The Moviehouse.

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6. When you have your own YouTube channel, blog and have created video tutorials for robotics programming you might be asked to sit on a panel and be asked questions by educators wanting to know why technology in the classroom is important to how you learn. This happened this summer at an Educator Conference called 1:World where Kritterman with a handful of other students shared the importance of technology for their own learning.

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5. In September Kritterman took a road trip with Mom and Dad to go to the Texas Tech vs. Arkansas football game in Fayetteville. This was his first trip with Mom and Dad all to himself and he enjoyed being their focus of attention and celebrating the Hogs!

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4. Together Kritterman and Mom ran several 5Ks throughout 2015 (Reindeer Romp- December, Larry’s Run in Bentonville, Arkansas- September, and Run for Change- April). This has helped develop a new interest and a determination.

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3.Of course part of running some of the 5Ks were motivated by the challenge to run a total of 26.2 miles for the the Marathon Club he participated in the fall of 2015. He reached his goal of 26.2 miles when he ran his final 5K of 2015 at the Reindeer Romp. It won’t be long before he will be passing Mom and beating her to the finish line.

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2. How can it be said other than this boy loves Legos. No box of Legos can be left undone. Any extra cash, birthday money or Christmas money goes to a new Lego kit.

1. What do you do when you get a video of your son at a sleep over demonstrating his second time on a Pogo stick… and he has wicked Pogo stick skillz? You modify the Christmas list… 3 days before Christmas!

There are lots of other joys, celebrations and accomplishments that any grandmother, aunt or mother would want to share, but for the rest of us, if you are still reading, this list is already way to long and must come to a close. We are looking forward to 2016 and as this post is getting it’s final touches Kritterman is already accomplishing more things worthy of posting. Here’s to hoping, as a mom, Kirsten can capture the events in a more timely manner throughout 2016! If not, know we will have another list of Top Events next year… we may be too busy enjoying the moment to get it published on the blog.

It wouldn’t be a post on Kritterman if we didn’t say, “May the Force Be With You… and build on!”

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