Friday, September 28, 2012

Prior Knowledge

This semester, I am teaching a course on Literacy and Special Education at Concordia College in Bronxville, NY and a course on Literacy across the Curriculum at Fordham University.

When one discusses reading with pre-service and beginning teachers, you discuss the strategies for before reading, during reading and after reading. Yesterday during my class at Fordham we spoke about prior knowledge. There was animated conversation about the importance of providing students with information needed to understand concepts-we shared strategies such as Direct Instruction, Anticipation Guides, KWL charts, Exclusion Brainstorming, Tea Party, Quotation Cafe, Prediction Path and IEPC-Imagine, Elaborate, Predict and Confirm. Many of the students had experience to share and were able to talk about how they have used the technique or would use the technique with students. During my class at Concordia, the other night we were discussing phonemic awareness and phonics and how even if students are in the older grades, it is important to make sure they have these necessary skills so that they can decode and read the text before them.

Any good teacher has to figure out ways to find out what background knowledge students have and then ways to provide certain information to students if they don't have it. Teaching takes a lot of work and planning. But I do believe it is all worth it.

Thinking and discussing prior knowledge made me reflect on my relationship with Jesus- I have prior experience that he has been there for me so I need to remember that when I'm struggling and turn to my friend.

Sr.Jeannie Humphries, osu

Monday, September 24, 2012

Nuns on the Ferry

Today I attended the Nuns on the Ferry Rally in NYC. 

We heard Sr. Simone Campbell, SSS, talk about the importance of a faithful budget for our country.  It would provide reasonable revenue for responsible programs, put American back to work rebuilding our roads, bridges and schools and that all people pay their fair share of taxes.  We want to affirm the life of all God's Children.

Sr. Simone spoke on the Manhattan side of the ferry and then a crowd climbed onto the Staten Island Ferry where we went and sat on Borough Hall's steps where Sr. Simone spoke again and so did various community leaders of both the civic and faith communities.  It was great to be with so many people who are working for the dignity of the human person and truly caring for all as brothers and sisters. 

The Nuns of the Ferry event is  branch from the Nuns on the Bus movement which focuses on faith, family and fairness. Check it all out on

Here's some pictures from today. First you will see Sr. Simone, then Sr. Maureen Welch, OSU who was with me today and then one of me.  Next to me you can catch a bit of Sr. Aine  O' Connor, RSM. You will also see a picture of Sr. Geraldine Kennedy, osu with Sr. Simone and one of  group of us -myself, Sr. Maureen Welch osu, Sr. Germaine Price, osu and standing up you see Sr. Michele Morek, osu. I wish we had one of Sr. Alice Marie Giordano, osu but she was busy being our photographer.   Enjoy!!

Sr. Jeannie, osu

Thursday, September 20, 2012


For the past few months, I've had to be involved in physical therapy-first for my back, then for my knee and now for my neck. I'm not really sure what happened other than I did have a fall and hurt my back and now there appears to be a bulging disc which I guess is causing my body to be out of whack and alignment.

First of all, let me just say, I'm so overwhelmed by the time and energy that is required to do the simple exercises and routines of applying heat and massage, stretching and moving, then holding the stretch, next doing it a number of times and finally applying ice and ending with putting on BioFreeze. I know it's important but I have to admit it is beginning to become a big of a drag.

However, I'm struck too by how much better I feel after taking the time to do the exercises and routines and go to the physical therapist.

As I've mentioned before I'm a real head person-I teach, and am in the process of writing a dissertation so much of my day is spent concentrating with my brain on reading, thinking, and writing. I honestly am finding this year I'm being asked to stretch my thoughts both for the teaching of graduate classes and my writing. I have to say I like this kind of stretching where I'm stretching my mind- I find it a challenge and believe it's important.

My body though is now beginning to get through to my mind and making me realize that I also need to physically stretch the body; mental stretching is not the only kind I should be doing.

Stretching both the mind and body-those are becoming part of my daily routine!! I also am beginning to see their importance and relevance.

In what way, are you being asked to stretch today?

Sr. Jeannie, osu

Monday, September 17, 2012

One's Very Presence

Many of us in religious life have connections to sisters from various congregations around the world. Since there are less people entering each congregation/community, many of participate in intercommunity formation programs where we have the opportunity to meet and network with other sisters. Also I am a member of the Core Team for Giving Voice (a group of younger women religious) and through that organization I meet many other sisters from various orders and places in our country and our world.
Check us out at
I also have to admit each day I log onto Facebook to see what's happening with many of these sisters and my other friends from all over. Today, I noted that my friend Sr. Nichole Trahan, S.M. (a Marianist Sister) wrote a great quote about the importance of our words and actions. So I'm going to use part of her quote on our blog today.
Check out Sr. Nicole's blog-The Life of a New Sister- http: //
The Importance of Word and Actions
No matter our particular job or ministry, we teach by our very presence in the world - people learn from us whether we realize it or not. The question is what are we teaching by our words & actions?
Today is the Feast Day of St. Robert Bellarmine, S.J.  May we learn from the great teacher and theologian how to teach (in word and deed) with love.
My words and actions need to show love, peace, reconciliation and compassion-That is what Angela modeled and I have vowed to follow in her footsteps so I better keep trying harder to live out her words and actions along with St. Robert Bellarmine’s.  I always knew his name because my cousins attended this grammar school in Bayside Queens.   
Blessings to all,
Sr. Jeannie

Monday, September 10, 2012

Caring for one another

Today we had the funeral for one of our dear sisters, Sr. Mary Clare Curry, osu who for many years taught in parish and Ursuline schools in the Bronx, New Rochelle, Middletown and Malone, NY. She also was a librarian for the Academy of Mt. St. Ursula-that is where I met her during my freshman year when I spent time in the library doing research or working on assignments. She was always so kind and friendly to me.

At her funeral today, I noticed another kind gesture going on. One of our sisters, Anne Curry, osu was standing up a long time during a part of the service and you could see she was getting tired. So Miriam Cleary, osu went over and whispered something in her ear and then both sat down in chairs. When they sat down, they exchanged smiles and eye contact. Both these sisters are in their 80s and there one was taking care of another but doing it in such a gentle and respectful way.

This is so Angela-she talks about the importance of being kind and compassionate to one another at all times.

Being kind, compassionate and respectful-that's what I want to be remembered for so I better start acting that way.

Sr. Jeannie Humphries, osu