Wednesday, October 18, 2017

#SOL17 I Can See Clearly Now

"We're done," he volunteered cheerily as he came back into the house. "They may be a little stiff at first, but you are going to like how they are easy to clean" he continued showing me how the tilting, high tech 21st Century window worked.  I thought about explaining that I HAD 21st Century windows in my old house, in my old life, in a world I left behind, but I didn't. I thought about telling him that my son washes windows, but I didn't.  Instead, while he demonstrated the push, tilt, wash features, I noticed that I could see more clearly, now, than in quite some time.
Andersen Double Hung Window Parts |

I noticed the leaves drifting softly to the ground creating a colorful old quilt on the ground.  I noticed the old chairs on the porch rocking empty now that colder weather has reappeared.  I noticed the mailman almost skipping down the street and that fall wreath that needed to be hung on my door.  I noticed that I was looking ahead and at that moment, I could see clearly! It's been a while since life seemed as clear as it did at that moment. Perhaps there was even a song of joy in my heart as those broken old windows with their chains and death defying drops left with a promise that the glass and the wood would be recycled! Don't worry, I did not sing aloud but for a moment, as the fog of life lifted, as the stress of an unexpected turn in life lessened....I could see clearly......
I can see clearly now, the rain is gone,

I can see all obstacles in my way
Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind
It's gonna be a bright (bright), bright (bright)
Sun-Shiny day.

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Saturday, October 7, 2017

Have a Nice Day

When I got there, all three bays were busy and there were 2-3 cars in each of the lines; thus, I almost kept on driving delaying the oil change and tire rotation for at least another week. "This is going to eat up the rest of today," I thought.  But, there was a book on the passenger seat and the service light had been on for a month; so, I decided to step out of my usual "busy" mode and wait. The time flew as I first cleaned my bag and then got lost in a good book stopping to glance at times, at the packed, aging Dasher wagon waiting beside me.  In a flash, my car was being waved into it's bay as if I were an airplane pilot headed into the hanger.

After scanning my car's ID, they greeted me by name and began the "complimentary" safety check of the lights and tires as someone deep below the garage floor began emptying my "old" oil.  They kidded me about my ultra high mileage and then asked if I wanted a battery stating that Mazda issue batteries are 36 months without even knowing that my daughter's Mazda issue battery had passed at 38 months not that long ago!  How did they know?

I was thinking about getting a book on car repair so that I could do my own oil change and repairs next time as I watched the total add up on the screen inches from my car window and handed over my credit card,  And then, as he returned my credit card, he said, "I thank you for coming in today and letting us serve you.  I really hope you have a nice day and find time to enjoy this long weekend for teachers and students. You teachers really do make a difference." 

I left with a smile and some deep reflection on the power of our words and the potential of kindness to make a difference. I forgot the DIY idea and promised to return for my next service in 4 months.

valvoline instant oil change medina mn
it's all up to you.
You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make." -Jane Goodall

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Highly Efffective Student Engagement: Petting a Mouse?

Perhaps it was that solar energy
Spurred by a magical stop in my tracks,
Against my will by traffic moment
Crossing the Hudson.

Full Hunter's Moon of October

Perhaps it was the the lunar energy
Powered by an October Full Moon
Before a 3 day weekend of 
Questionable determination

Perhaps, it was
A topic of yesterday's faculty meeting:
Student Engagement
Lingering on my brain.
We can all agree that student engagement
Is a critial factor in good teaching 
As well as student learning.

Yet it was in the hallway
On the dreaded morning duty
That I watched a classroom greeting
Through a warmed up lens.
Not individual handshakes
Not empty good mornings,
But, a carefully executed
Attempt at student engagement
By a seasoned teacher,

I am pretty sure I noticed
What was 
A four out of four
On student engagement
On any APPR rubric.

I know

It happens every day

They are eager to be learning
You can't pet a mouse and be uptight
It's a supernatural delight
Petting a mouse in the early morning light!

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

SOL17 Some assembly required?

Cozy Coupe®
I spent a good amount of time attempting to assemble a "toy car" that says, "Some assembly required!"

After 38 years on the market , there must have been TENS of THOUSANDS of these peddle-less cars assembled across this country! I am positive that exhausted parents as well as individuals who can barely read have assembled these. I am certain that some families have assembled more than one! I have an advanced degree in literacy and have assembled IKEA bookcases, a gas grill, and a picnic table!  "I can do this," I thought as I opened the box.

But, it's still wheel-less at one week  I am trying to persist; however, at this juncture, it is STILL not drive-able!

So, it was with trepidation, I opened the other Little Tykes box to find out how bad the other gift, for the other two-year-old was going to be! According to Amazon, it is a NUMBER 1 BEST SELLER!   I assembled it in minutes!  I was so excited.....

But I noticed something interesting as the two sat side by side.  The Cozy Coupe, hard as it is to put together, appears to be made to last a lot longer than the basketball hoop....that I suspect will likely have a life-cycle measured in months!

Of course, like so many life experiences, there may be a message gleaned from all this time with Little Tyke plastic: Things might be a little sturdier, a little more valued, and perhaps more stable if they are a little harder to achieve.  Or, perhaps I am just reading too much into this "some assembly required " Cozy Coupe challenge me during this once-in-a-lifetime-season of toddler birthdays!

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Why Write?

I write to remember
Small moments
Special sights
Strong feelings
Savory images
Spare tires
Sappy conversations
Second birthdays
Can merge onto
A highway of life
Racing through time.

Those moments,
The laughter,
The smiles,
The tears,
The joy,
The peace,
The sadness,
Blur with time,
Become lost with living,
Are buried under daily chores.

I write
To remember.
Do we share that with our students?
Do we show them the magic
Of revisiting our words?
Our moments?

We also write to understand
To explain and to convince.

I write to remember
Color cookies
"How you doing, baby,"
"I'll be right backs'"
Scarves and necklaces
Singing, rocking, loving,
My Birthday Girl.
This png image - Happy BirthdayCake PNG Clipart Picture, is available for free download

Monday, September 18, 2017

#sol17 Duty Calls

I was early,
For the opportunity to 
For hours, longer,
In a hard chair amongst
Too many people
Too close together
Coughing, texting,
Carrying briefcases,
Conducting business,
Caring for loved ones.
Cell calls about boredom
Where are you froms?
Amongst trapped people.
Sharing strange connections
Political perspectives,
Most of us, I suspect,
Our service would end
Before it began. 
I tried to read 
Below the flashing florescent lights,
Tried to watch Kelli, Rachel
The Price is Right,
With text delay from afar.
Watched the time tick
Ever so slowly
Thinking about all I should,
Could, might be doing
Along with the possibility
Of deciding someone's fate
In the juror holding room
On the 3rd floor. 
At least the view
Through the window
Was as gloomy as
The mood in the room. 

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

#sol17 Remembering and Respecting

I was remembering the sights, sounds, smells, and pains of that bright, clear morning as I pulled into the station for petrol for my hungry Mazda.  I noticed the price was higher than the last time I filled up and remembered the disasters in Texas and Florida thinking, "At least I have gas," I handed over my credit card on a morning etched into not-just-my-memory.

I might have been still deep in thought as I decided I deserved a coffee and entered the "Mobile on the Run Coffee Zone." Then, I noticed him lingering at the open door.  This young man, likely still in preschool 16 years ago, held the door open for me as he offered, "Hope it is a good day for you!"  I noted his smile and his "respect," for me, someone he did not know and who would not likely cross his path again.

I thought of him again, later in the morning, as Steve Max implored our students to be respectful and kind as we "kicked" at our character building assembly.  I thought of him later that afternoon as I worked with "C" whose summer slide did not happen because he played word games with his dad all summer long! I thought of him as I asked "L" to read just one more book and to bring home a brand new word ring with some old familiar words.  I thought of him as I played "decorate the rock" and as I "rowed the fake boat at the gym."  I thought of him as a read blog post from those whose lives were changed forever that day.

He may have been far too young to remember the bright morning sky on 911.  Or he may have lost an dad, mom, grandparent, uncle, aunt, family friend that day. I'll never know.  I do know that I remember and that HE respects not only me, some sort-of-old-lady-buying-Mobile-on-the-Run-Coffee who was deep-in-thought-about-the-life-changing-memories-of-that-day, even if he is too young to remember that horrible day.

Monday, September 4, 2017

#sol17 Commencement Day

Image result for marble notebooks
I purchased my eight,
Distinctive, marbled notebooks,
One for each of my groups,
One extra, just in case,
Space for goals, plans, 
Running records,
Conference notes, 
Informal assessments 
Planning for progress monitoring
Way back in July 
In anticipation of this day.

Image result for plaid talbots dress
I purchased a new, 
Back-to-school-style dress,
Sleeveless, just in case it's hot,
At an end-of-the-summer sale
Then cleaned out my closet,
Organized shoes,
Sorted mismatched socks
Knowing I will not need them for awhile,
Way back in August
In anticipation of this day

Image result for swimmer cartoon

I swam, yesterday, even if it was cool,
Noting I would be in school in 24 hours,
I soaked up the last rays of summer vacation,
Before I showered and headed to bed,
Noting I would be leaving home in the dark,
I felt those ol' familiar butterflies of excitement
Mingle with saying goodbye to a long respite
Filled with new adventures, sights and books.  
Image result for commencement day cartoon
I cleaned the fridge,
Did a load of laundry,
Loaded the dishwasher,
Ran the vaccuum
Gave myself a pep-talk,
Promising to find time to exercise,
Pack lunches, eat breakfast,
As I headed to bed, 
Anticipating a fitful sleep.
Image result for snow day cartoon

Grateful for another opportunity
To make a difference.
Thankful for this
Commencement Day.
Thinking that good endings
Make good beginnings
Yet, secretly wondering about
The chance for a "snow day?"   

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Sharing a link about Teachers Advocating for their Classrooms

I read article in the NYTiems, and I have many things to say about how this might be a good idea and about how this might be dangerous to the public school system in America that seeks to provide every child with a chance to be ALL they might be....

For now, I am sharing this link.....but I will have more to say!

Friday, September 1, 2017

Ready to take on this world

I missed this week's 
Slice of Life
Because of him,
But that is OK with me.
He already nuzzles into my shoulder
As if it were an old favorite.
He already gazes into my eyes
As if we were old buddies.

I gaze at him and wonder,
How can I love him 
As much as I love his sister?
As much as I love 
His cousins?
Is he an old soul?
Yet, brand-new, 
Fresh from the oven
Ready to take on this world.

He's still so tiny,
Yet, he's melted my heart,
Rocked my world,
Filled my soul
With scent-of-miracle.

I wonder, as I hold
My miraculous grandchild,
If my Grandmothers felt this way
As they held their
Children's children?
Were they too
Filled with happy tears
As they nuzzled, long ago, 
Each of us?
Then, I smile
As I nuzzle, because
I already know the answer.
Your heart grows 
As they emerge
Ready to take on this world.