Monday, May 14, 2018

#sol2018 Old Vocabulary?

"What does it mean," I ask as we add what might be an unfamiliar word to our "fat stack of tap-able words!"
"I know, I know," a student responds as he leaps from his chair!
"It means a hashtag for when you want people to know what you are writing about!" the six-year-old responds confidently!  I nodded as if that was what I was thinking, even though I was thinking of that hateful midweek dinner (from my childhood), corned beef hash!
Image result for corned beef hash
Not too many hours later....

"What does it mean," I ask the second grader tapping out two syllable phonetically regular words.
"I know," the reader responds confidently. "It's a red velvet delicious cake! I nodded as if that was what I was thinking even though I was ready to offer velvet as a fancy material for special occasion dresses!

Yes, our language is a changing and/or my vocabulary is getting old! 

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Thinking about Moms

Mother's Day may be among the most emotionally charged holidays. Even IF we have reason(s) to celebrate, this one seems to dredge up memories and scratch wounds. We all know someone who is/has struggled with infertility, loss of a child, or loss of a mom. 

While I celebrate my many blessings the day, I do find my mind drifting to thoughts of my own mom. During the last years of her life, I was her caretaker providing/arranging for transportation, meals and companionship. She was often in pain and frustrated by the ravages of aging and chronic illness  To be honest, she could be quite cantankerous; yet I stopped by or called every day knowing that she could live just a little, vicariously, though my adventures at school and in traffic!

Talk about cycles of life! My mom passed quietly in the weeks after I became a grandmother for the first time. I've wondered if on some level she wanted me to be able to spend a little less time care-giving and a little more time with my own grandchildren! Who knows, but moms would do ANYTHING for their children!

I do know that this flower-grower-fueled, filled-with-emotion holiday is not the essence of motherhood and that no one can imagine the journey of being a mom. So for all those new moms, suffering moms, wanna be moms, pseudo moms, aunties and mothering dads, take a bit of advice from my mother-in-law:
             Do a little something nice for yourself EVERY single day, you deserve it!

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

#sol18 Danny and the Dinosour

Danny and the Dinosaur (ebook)

I read the first part of Danny and the Dinosaur today with a reluctant reader.  While she, predictably, read each page with increased fluency and confidence, my mind wandered to the first time I "used" this now OLD book to empower a beginning reader! Long ago, Jason* was starting to read even though he did not want to be a considered a student nor a reader! He was mad at the world and sad that his dad would not ever come home from the war in Vietnam. Jason* was, however, a dinosaur expert, a fan of fantasy, and a thinker, outside of the box!

Marie*, who was unofficially my mentor teacher because she taught in the room next to mine, suggested I try Danny and the Dinosaur.  Marie, who had a zillion years of experience, noticed that Jason wore dinosaur tee shirts daily and she also knew he was challenging me and my efforts to encourage him to read! Jason still had many behavioral issues, but after reading Danny and the Dinosaur, again and again and again, he began to see himself as a reader.

I don't pull Danny and the Dinosaur from the stacks often these days, even though my rewrites of this story are Teacher Pay Teacher worthy! It's possible that in future  years, no one will ever pull it out of the leveled resources boxes. It is hard, on some levels, to justify using a text that refers to Indians rather than Native Americans, Eskimos rather than Inuits, and bundles rather than bags!  Yet, there is something VERY empowering about those old Syd Hoff stories that makes them seem to surpass time.

Image result for smiley faceSo on this Tuesday,  I am remembering the contributions of authors like Syd Hoff who long ago, in the 1950s, created texts that started off easier, to build confidence, and then grew more complex.When children finish that first 64 page book they feel like rock stars and their teachers breathe a sigh of relief.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Last Classes

Image result for summer

In just a few hours
It's the Last Class
For this semester
Always bittersweet.

We've read, written, reflected
Gotten to know each other
Learned from each other
Now we hold onto the big ideas
And go our separate ways.

I'll reconnect with a few students
In the fall,
In the future. 
I'll be teaching a First Class
Before you know it!

I'm probably
More wistful than usual,
Reflecting more deeply,
Than normally,
I will be walking out of another
Last class
Image result for summer

Friday, April 27, 2018

#sol18 April 27

I've been thinking about "favorite places" to read since a twitter feed about  where others read, which said, a bar, public transportation, a library, a bookstore, and a park were other's favorite spots!   Interesting that most of those places are very public and perhaps even noisy! 

I have never read in bar, but I can admit I love reading, thinking, dreaming, and wondering on the train or on a plane, which are busy public places!. However, my favorite spot to read, think, dream, and wonder in nice weather is alone, on my porch and on less perfect days, alone, in my favorite chair. Sometimes, I wonder how I grew up and learned to read, think, dream, and wonder without a quiet porch or a favorite chair! 

Recently, I rediscovered the joy of reading under an old quilt draped precariously over furniture. It's a quiet special reading, thinking, dreaming, wondering spot! 

If you are one of the masses who likes to read in busy, loud places,you might want to try a just for you spot! 

Saturday, April 21, 2018

# celebratelu When the Grabber Arrived During Nap Time!

At about half past nap time, the "town" arrived to haul off the old bushes and the piles of sticks.  There was a part of me that wanted to "wake up" toddlers in my care.  They would have been thrilled to watch the "big trucks" and the men in the green vests!  They would have sat on the steps mesmerized by the grabber and the dumper!  It might have been the single most important day in their lives! 

Yet, I knew that nap time is a critical factor in "happy" toddlers and "content" parents.  So, I sat on the steps with the dogs and watched the piles disappear into the huge bin destined to be mulch for the town just like my boys would have done if the branch grabber had not arrived during nap time. 

I hope they are awake next year! 


Saturday, April 14, 2018

#celebratelu This time, it's not snow.

We're outside
Rain, snow, sleet,
Before the start of school
Holding placards,
Saying good morning
To parents and students.

This Friday morning
We were met with gentle
White flakes
Sticking to the trees!
Making teachers smile!
 Even without a contract!
This time, it is not snow.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Can't take it with you.

I used to read, write, and sew in my spare time.  In fact, when my grandchildren were on the horizon, I dreamed of creating clothes worthy of  Jacadi or Dolce and Gabbana  but instead, my spare moments and my table have been consumed by estates!

I've sold stocks, consolidated accounts,  created spreadsheets, paid taxes (including taxes that I never heard of before). I've learned enough about the ins and outs to not only write a book but to also do this as a retirement job!

I'm sure there will be surprises uncovered as you handle most estates and I'm confident that those who have left this world would be shocked at the way estates dissipate during processing.

Most importantly, I have learned that as hard as you might try, you can't take it with you! You can accumulate, invest, and save, but the government and legal system sees what you left will wants an appropriate piece of your pie!

Drink that Starbucks in the morning (if that is what turns you on).
Travel to distant places and explore the world (if that is what turns you on)
Go out to eat a little more frequently (if that is what makes you happy).
Buy yourself flowers, just because (if that is what makes you happy).
Buy the shoes or that shirt or that jacket (if that is what makes you happy).
Spend generously on those you love and care about (while you can).
I guess you can take your credit cards and your checkbooks (but you can't use them).
I promise you can't take your savings nor your investments with you!

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

#sol18 SPRING Semester

In these parts,
Everybody is complaining
Protracted the winter weather
It has persisted into what should be 
Spring Weather.

Yet, as someone who has lived
The college semester system
For many, many years,
I think Mother Nature
Is just confused because 
She's back in school,
Stressed and working late for an 
Advanced Degree!  

For colleges, universities,
Spring Semester
Starts in the dead of winter
It's dark when grad school starts
We are assured of slick drives home
In weather that is not really 
Yet, the Spring Semester
Ends with flip-flops
Nights when it is too lovely 
To go to class!  

Yet, this weekend,
In spite of the cold,
I saw certain signs
That made me sure
Those days when it's too lovely
To go to class,
Are closer than you might think
When you wake up to snow.  

I sure hope someone
Reminds Mother Nature
You have to keep up the day joh
When you go back to grad school!

Friday, April 6, 2018

Writing Assessment

Dear Grad Students,

SO, on a snowy-spring break morning, I found this really interesting link to a writing assessment from the state of Oregon's Literacy Framework.

It's a 70 page document about K-12 writing assessment with focuses on formative and summative assessments from multiple data sources. 

One of the interesting ideas in this document is that
"unlike reading assessments that have been clearly designed for four specific purposes – to screen students for reading difficulties, to monitor students’ progress toward the achievement of grade-level reading goals, to diagnose specific reading difficulties for the purposes of developing and implementing individualized interventions, and to determine whether or not students have met grade-level reading goals – the distinction between types of available writing assessments is not as clear. "

You should really check out this assessment because we are going to be looking at it in class! 

See you soon!