Saturday, August 19, 2017

#celebratelu2017 Still Holding on Tight

Did you hear? 
I'm moving to a new to me house,
With a new to me porch,
With new to me floors,
With new to me doors,
With a new to me room.
Can you see?
They're packing my toys,
The ones I play with,
Packing my blankets,
The ones I snuggle under,
Packing my pots,
The ones I bang together,
Packing my clothes,
Into boxes and bins.
Did you see?
I'm holding on tight
To my cars,
The ones that fit in my pocket,
The ones I push and fill with sticks,
The ones I ride to the "store"
Until they load the last load
Into that BIG truck.
Until they take me
Holding tight to all my cars,
To MY new to me house. 

Monday, August 14, 2017

Reposting: How to reach all readers

This is from 3 years ago; however, it is good to think about as we gear up for another school year and readers who deserve our best.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

SOL#17 Hold on Tight

These are certainly busy times
As we embrace a new school year.
Considering ways to ensure learning
For diverse learners
Researching means of creating
Respectful learning environments.

These are certainly challenging times
For our country, our world.
Asking us to  
Consider ways to ensure kindness,
Embrace patience,
For our diverse melting pot, 
Imploring us to
Research means of creating
Respectful living environments.

These are certainly times
When we need to be kind
When we all need to hold on tight
To the Golden Rule,
And to that red, fire truck
If you are not quite two.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Literacy Learning - Snippets Along The Journey

I should have written down all the funny things students have said over the years.
I'd be rich.
I should write down all the silly things my grand-miracles are starting to say.
I'm enriched with the opportunity to witness the journey of literacy learning without the stress of parenting this time!

What’s your name, sweetie,” the clerk asked?

Eeee peed on the toiy-it,” she responded in toddler-speak.

Good girl,” the clerk clapped assuming, erroneously, Eeee was her name and accurately that something had happened in the bathroom.

And so the clerks and the toddler joined in a round of applause for someone named Eeee, thinking, foolishly, that the story teller in front of them had accomplished great things in the bathroom that day!

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

#SOL17 One Step And Then Another

A reminder:

Go, even if you are relunctant,
Continue, even if it is hard,
Through the rocky passages
Along the steep cliffs
Through the misty clouds
Along the winding path
Climb those mountains
One step and then another.
The journey might be tough
The reward for persistence

Saturday, July 8, 2017

#vocabulary Sharing EDUTOPIA's ideas

Yikes, I haven't posted in a while.

But, today I read this article from Edutopia on Twitter about VOCABULARY.  I have certainly heard teachers complain about vocabulary instruction but I think the article hits a "home run."

One reminder is that  "less is more." Long lists do not stick. Memorizing word lists is just that - an exercise of memory.

Another reminder is that you must use the words to own them!
You must display, revisit and use those words if you want them to STICK and of course you do.


Tuesday, June 13, 2017

June Happens

      In these parts, summer break starts at the end of June, after the longest day of the year and long after the peonies have lost their glow. Summer break starts after some hot and humid days in classrooms without air conditioners. June can be a long month and yet in some ways, it flies as we rush to finish curriculum and measure student progess .  Every year, like clockwork, there are students who progressed slowly for 9 months and then, as June happens, they begin to blossom, like late blooming peonies! Perhaps that is why I say, "In my reading room, things heat up in June!"

      "That doesn't sound right," she said with an intonation that was eerily familiar, "Maybe I should switch the sounds."
     "Beginning to monitor for meaning and attempting to self correct," I write on her reading record  thinking, "It's June, so NOW this first grader is taking off!"

      During the next group of formerly reluctant learners, I hear, "Can we write today?" as they reach my table.
      "I guess we could," I respond as I smile a grateful smile and adjust my plans remembering that not so long ago, these emerging readers and writers did not understand the concept of a word!

      In these parts, June is filled with the culmination of 10 months of hard work. Learning blossoms as June happens.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017


This week
We said good-bye to the
9th of 10 for Anna and Jeremiah,
Born, raised on the farm,
Never went into the barn.
Teller at banks that no longer exist.
Follower of Days of Our Lives,
Fan of  theYankees
After the Dodgers moved to LA.
Connoisseaur of movies,
Actresses, actors, across decades
Bogart, Hepburn, Harlow, Stanwick,
Hanks, Depp, Pitt, Roberts, Diaz.
Lover of Hershey Bars and Kisses, 
Ice cream and Celeste Pizzas.
Making the best of what life sent her way/
My Aunt,
Sitting next to my grandmother
Holding my cousin,
Long ago.

Image may contain: 9 people, people smiling, shoes

Sunday, May 21, 2017

#celebratelu2017 Our Actions and Our Words Matter

You may not think so at first; however this post IS about teaching, as well as livig.

I noticed her, leaning close, reading to him as I entered the lobby almost every afternoon. He did not seem to be listening; his eyes stared into the distance as if he were looking into the distant future.  Yet, she continued reading, patting his arm at times, deep into the story.  

Then, one day, she was in the lobby, alone, just staring at the door.  My eyes met hers and I smiled, greeting her with a sincere, “Hello,” even though I had that sinking-pit-in-the-stomach feeling that he had gone to that spot in the distance.
“Good to see you,” she said slowly, her eyes filling with fresh tears and her voice shaking.

Somehow, I knew I had to acknowledge her missing partner.  “You’re not reading today?” I asked. 
“He’s gone,” she said, her voice no longer shaking, “but we finished The Silent Stream.  It was Tom’s favorite and I knew when I finished he would be ready to go. Thank you for asking about him.  It means the world to me that you care.”

I held her thin hand for just a moment sharing that Silent Stream had been one of my dad’s favorites as well.  Rachel Carson was a name bounced around dinner table conversations when I was growing up!  “Such as small world,” she smiled, “and I am so glad you stopped to talk today.  I miss him so much.”

I thought about the need to carry on the legacy of caring for the environment as well as the need to care about people as I drove home that night. "Our actions matter," my Dad said many times as we conserved water while brushing our teeth and composted long before it was trendy to do so.  

I thought about the brief interaction with a woman whose name I still did not know, as I drove home that night.  Our words matter, as Peter Johnston says, in the classroom, in the boardroom, in the doctor’s office, in the hallway, and in the nursing home lobby.    

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

#sol17 Jack in the Box

I remember reading books dedicted to grandchildren and articles about grandchildren written by those I respected in education such as Shelly Harwayne and Dorothy Strickland.  At that point, my own children were still finding their paths towards adulthood and grandchildren were not yet on my horizon.  I remember reading and wondering what made those children so special.....but now I get it.
Children and amazing miracles but grandchildren are that last chance to watch the miracle of life unfold.  Grandchildren are ours to love on, read to, listen to, dance wiith, sing with, play with, watch grow, laugh with, and learn from, one last time. Grandchildren are not only our last chance but also our greatest gift. We notice more, laugh more, and discipline less.

This is Jack, in a Box.  He is one of my 3 grandchildren who have rocked my world in the last 18 months and forced me to stop and notice not only language learning through the lens of academic research but who have also forced me to rethink the miracle of exploring a wonderful new world.

This is Jack, in a Box after waving Bye Bye to his mom and after settling in to play with his Mimi and a box.  Of course, most of your toys can fit in that box.  Of course, you can sit in a box and Mimi will read to you.  Of course, a box is where YOU can have your own house in the house your parents chose for you.  Of course, a Jack in a Box has meaning for those of us who grew up with such a toy; however, for MY Jack and his Box, it is a place where until it falls apart, you play, put your books, set your lovey, set your favorite toys and learn the power of environmental control.

 This morning, I give you MY Jack in a Box, my grandchild who adores dirt, rocks, and things that move, known as Vroom Vrooms.  Jack knows the power of an empty box filled with all his valued loveys and books to fill a rainy morning.