Tuesday, April 25, 2017

#sol17 To Read

Last month was Dr. Seuss's birthday,
Yesterday was World Book Day,
Today is a Rainy Day,
Rainy days are Tee Pee Days,
Sick with Stomach Flu Days,
I am stuck at home
I cannot go outside days,
Climb inside a toddler-sized-tee-pee
With a stack of upside-down books
Rest your head on a cozy pillow
Pull up a comfy blanket
Learning to be a reader kind of day.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

#sol17 Shoes That Make Me Smile

It was a Back-to-School-Monday-After-Spring-Break kind of morning and I lay in bed wishing, of course, like teachers everywhere, for One-More-Day!  Delaying the inevitable departure into the highway-traffic-adventures ahead, I checked my email knowing that at least one of my grad students was likely to have sent something for me to read in the overnight hours.

However, on this Monday morning, I found nothing from grad students, but something from Amazon that made me smile! I am not sure exactly how Amazon knows what they know about me; however, it seems there may be some smart "cookies" in cyberspace that know not only what we are searching for, but also what we talk about!  

Amazon is right. I have been searching for a new pair of spring-type "fun" shoes to carry me through his last quarter of the school year.  This pair is a bit more "flowery" than I was searching for, but they did make me smile!

L'Artiste by Spring Step Women's Fray Flat Sandal
Amazon is also right about this image that popped up in my feed! right.  I've noticed glittery shoes of late thanks to a little girl who points her own glitter-encrusted sneakers at every opportunity! I guess Amazon not only knows what I search for but also "hears" my discussions with a Little Miss! Surely, on this sunshiny morning, glittery Mary Jane shoes with wiggling butterflies would make someone I know smile!  Come to think of it, they make me smile, even though this last pair does not come in my size!

Mini Melissa Kids' Ultragirl Fly Mary Jane Flat

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

#sol17 Writing Through Tough Times

We ask students to share their "hearts" and write about the special small moments in their young lives early in each school year thinking that sharing "Personal Narrative" stories might be the easiest things to write!  As I reflect on my own difficulties writing through tough times, I've decided this is a practice we might want to reconsider!

Sure, for MOST students whose summers are filled with special moments at camp or family vacations, finding a "moment" to describe makes sense.   But, when your life is focused on sadness or sickness or anger or hurt, it can be difficult, perhaps even impossible to notice and write about those moments amidst the strife.  It can be hard to trust that your audience will understand or may even want to hear your story!  

Sure, I can write about my elderly Aunt's tough times.  I can write about my students and their challenging journeys. I can even write about flat tires.  I'm guessing most of you can connect on some level with those tough times.

 At times, I've wondered if I should share  about my own "tough times" wondering if my own story might help someone else?  I've wondered if it might even help me? Yet, as I am returning to writing and this SOL community,  I've chosen mostly to share about the "easy-to-write-about" moments that I can now notice.  Perhaps some day, I may share my tough times, but for now, I'll just ask you to consider how hard it must be to notice the small, easier to write about, personal moments when you are not sure your audience will understand.  


Sunday, April 9, 2017

#celebratelu Trudging Through Tough Times

I just want to go home
She said ,sadly
I get a little better
Then, something happens
I try to do
What they say
I get tired, though
When, I am exercising
I was never in the army
When I was young
I just want to go home
To watch my shows, when
I want to watch them
To eat what
I want, to eat
When I want to,
I'm tired
Of trudging through
Tough times

Me too
I said, sincerely
Thinking about
Taxes, Google Docs
Papers, boxes, cleaning
I too try to do what they say
Then, the tough times
Come, as Annie's
Theme song begins
The sun will come out

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

#sol17 Daily Dose of Words

"How can I make my child read? 
How can I make them like reading"
Parents ask me.
Expecting a magic cure,
A just right list
Of Books, Apps, Games, Tricks.

"Read to them, talk about books,
Tell them what you are reading,"
I suggest.
"Children imitate
Adults they admire
Let them see you reading
They will want to do what you do!
They will want to explore your book
Your magazines and newspapers."

When children
Live with, learn from,
Who share the power
Of reading
A Daily Dose of words
They will learn to love them
*My cousin,
A faithful reader
Known as Grump Grump,
Shared this precious image
Of a precocious reader
Holding HIS newspaper
In just the right way for him.
Clearly, he is approximating
Reading behaviors of those he loves.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Important Research About Beginning Readers

I do love the way Twitter can lead me to learning and research such as this Pathways to Begining Reading study reported recently.  

Researchers from Canada, Oullette and Senechal (2017) are reporting a significant reading-writing connection that collaborates what Marie Clay (1982) reported in her landmark study.  
Invented spelling can make all the difference 

Invented, or temporary spelling as some of us would like to call it, provides "mental reflection and practice with words."  The human brain gets better at whatever it practices. 

"Reflection about how to spell a word allows the child to actively practice making decisions.memorizing. This active practice likely results in synaptic changes in the child’s brain by strengthening neuronal pathways for long term-retention of spellings to be retrieved for reading and writing."

Using temporary spellings, children start out approximating the sounds in words, like they do when learning to talk, and then get more accurate and understandable as time goes on. 
In recent years, some leaders in the educational field have considered invented or temporary spelling to be the cause of bad spelling rather than a route to reflective spelling. There has been a strong push to encourage memorization of words and phonetic patterns. While I am certainly not suggesting we abandon some "direct instruction," this does suggest we should look for ways to encourage meaningful, personally directed writing for our beginning writers.   
Ouellette and Sénéchal conclude that invented spelling facilitates literacy growth. It integrates phonological and orthographic growth. 

Please spread the word.

Friday, March 31, 2017

#sol17 Not Alone

I wrote every day
          Although I  didn't think I could
I remembered the power of writing
          Although I didn't think I had much to say
I learned that my words still matter
          Although I did not think they did
Thanks to my students
          Who think outside all the boxes
Thanks to my children
          Who send me precious slices of their lives
Thanks to my baby and toddlers
          Who are reshaping my perspective
Thanks to my nieces
          Who slither into my heart  
Thanks to my fellow slicers
          Who encourage and spur my thinking 
Thanks to this Daily Slice of Life Challenge
          Which has helped me to reflect
          Which has forced me to notice
          Which has spurred my own thinking
          Which has encouraged me to see what I was overlooking
          Which has reminded me: I am not alone
My words matter
          Although I had forgotten
I am a writer

Thursday, March 30, 2017

#sol17 Day 30 To feel HOPE

It's been dark, gloomy 
In the evenings
When I get home
It's been dark. cloudy
In the morning,
As I head to work
For months

Then, yesterday
The light in my driveway
From the sky above
Called me to come out
To walk for a bit
To smell spring
To feel HOPE
Late in the day
I did.

Then today
I saw a peppermint pink sky
Wispy purple clouds
The golden sun
Calling me to notice
To feel HOPE
Early in the day
I did. 

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

#sol17 Day 29 City Mouse Country Mouse

I'm sure you  know the classic tale of City Mouse and Country Mouse.  My second graders are have been working on determining "central messages," and their take-aways from this Aesop fable made me smile!

"I think it's about how you should not say mean things to people.  Like in our morning message we promise to be nice to each other.  You shouldn't say you don't​ like someone's bed and you shouldn't say their bed is too hard or too soft or just right and fall asleep on it"

"You should be nice to people in the city and in the country, too.  You should be nice to people everywhere!!"

"I think the author means you should not try to sleep in places like barns because it might hurt.  And you should not sleep in the city where there are too many people and it's noisy. You should sleep in your own bed."  

"I think you should be happy.. You shouldn't want to live anywhere else but where you live."

I offered another perspective about how how a peaceful and happy life might be best based on how the City Mouse had to live in fear, paraphrasing, second grade style, Aesop's moral: Better beans and bacon in peace than cakes and ale in fear.  But I must admit their ideas are good messages too. 

#sol17 Day 28 Lost in my book

After a long day
of learning and play
After my bath
with boats and bubbles
After brushing my teeth
for a good 3 minutes
Snuggled into my chair
just my size
Under my blanket
just my size
Lost in my book
Bob the Builder
That's where I'll be