Labels

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Friday, November 13, 2015

Check out @WeAreTeachers's Tweet: https://twitter.com/WeAreTeachers/status/665274281245483008?s=09
Check out @HeinemannPD's Tweet: https://twitter.com/HeinemannPD/status/665275565499424768?s=09

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Do now and never will do.

I've been quiet, as a blogger
Of late;
Life filled with busyness, happiness, 
With sadness
Has filled my days
Then, when you get out of the habit of writing,
The ideas are still there,
But it is hard to put fingers to keyboard.
Yet,this weekend, I attended
A Google Tech Summit
Taking with me lots and lots and lots and lots
Of high tech ideas and Google supported apps
That I will share soon.  

I also am reminded from interacting
With peers and our environment.
I took a photo of this Accountable Talk reminder
Resting on the table.
I've already implemented this idea.
I also took a photo of a "reading levels" chart
Posted proudly in that same classroom.
Children reading from Levels C to O.
I already know how that level C student feels
Each time her eyes glance up to the chart.
I'm assuming this chart was mandated.
I will never implement this idea.  
I hope you will never have to implement this idea.

High tech...low tech....a do now and a never will do! 
That's the sign of a good weekend!  


Friday, October 16, 2015

Who's talking more?

More than once, I've said, "There is too much talking going on in here!" when referring to the noise level in the room!
Yet, more than once, I've "drifted" while sitting in a class and the teacher has droned on and on and on........

It's made me think about who is talking more and who is talking less.  If we hope to increase student engagement, in many classrooms teachers should talk LESS and students should talk MORE!

Some interesting ideas!

http://thecornerstoneforteachers.com/2014/09/8-ways-teachers-can-talk-less-get-kids-talking.html

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/22095854397092277/

http://calculate.org.au/2015/08/07/10-hints-for-turning-teacher-talk-into-student-talk/

Sunday, September 20, 2015

#celebratelu15 Celebrate: Patience


For 100 weeks, Ruth Ayers has been encouraging us to "Be gentle with ourselves," and to "Focus on the small celebrations of our lives."  

This week, I celebrate PATIENCE.  

I'm not by nature a "patient" person.  I like to get things done and done "right." I'm not one to procrastinate; in fact, I can become a bit "anxious" when it takes "too long" to get to a "goal" whether it is "getting our program up and running" at work, "getting the house cleaned," or "waiting for a special event." I've always loved getting up early with the excitement and promise of a full day ahead. Perhaps that is why I've always been intrigued by the last stanza of Longfellow's Psalm of Life which my Grandmother recited frequently:
Let us, then, be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
   Learn to labor and to wait.
This week, I have been "reminded" in all aspects of my life that patience is hard and requires letting go of expectations and timelines. Patience requires us to "trust" that it will all work out in the end.  Patience requires us to accept that "we" are not in control of everything that happens.  

This week, I celebrate the great things in life that are absolutely worth waiting for!

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Celebrate: Reading Workshop

Today I "celebrate" the concept of a Reading Workshop!

For many years, professionals have battled over the "best" way to teach reading; however, the idea of a Reading Workshop, where learners are engaged in authentic learning activities has endured for 20 years!  

It works because it stresses students interacting with texts.  It has whole group, small group and independent reading experiences.  There is modeling, thinking aloud, strategy instruction,targeted instruction, and ongoing assessments.  It works because there is a predictable structure and guaranteed time for daily reading, sharing, and questioning.

Reading Workshops begin with a Mini-Lesson that lasts 7-10 minutes.  Each mini lesson has a specific focus on "teaching point." Usually the teacher will model or demonstrate the skill or strategy and then give students a chance to practice it by themselves or with a "talking partner" during a "turn and talk."  Often the teacher uses chart paper as a visual record and reminder of the lesson. During this period of "active engagement" there is an expectation that students will attempt to use this strategy during their own reading time. Classroom read aloud texts often become mentor texts through rereading or referring to previously read sections.  

Independent daily reading time where students are engaged in self-selected texts is a critical piece of a Reading Workshop.  Depending on the classroom structure, students may not always be sitting at a desk when they are reading.  It's important to be comfortable and focused; thus, reading carrels, pillows and reading corners are all important in setting the stage for reading.  Shopping for books in the classroom or the library usually takes place at set times in order to assure maximum reading time.

Students share their reading progress through sticky notes, Conferences with teachers and or book logs.  A reader's notebook is also an important tool in helping to understand students' thinking about books.  

Differentiation takes place through Guided Reading and Strategy Groups.  While most are reading self selected texts, the teacher is of guiding small groups of students reading at the same level to practice strategies that will allow them to progress as readers.  The teacher also brings together small groups of students at different levels to work on common strateiges.  
Effective workshops end with a closing or sharing session where students and teachers can share with partners, talk about what they are reading, or revisit the mini lesson strategy.  .  
Some great links:

https://www.heinemann.com/shared/onlineresources/E03744/GSP_UoSR35_samppage.pdf

http://www.nesacenter.org/uploaded/conferences/WTI/2012/handouts/Moon.pdf

http://www.holmdel.k12.nj.us/humanities/pdf/rw_parent_workshop_jan12.pdf

http://www.readersworkshop.org/

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

#sol15 Time for Reading and Writing

Long ago, when I was first teaching, in the days when Language Experience ruled, we made butter from creme, wrote about our experience and then read about it, all in the same day.   I suspect we spent about 2 hours a day in our "ELA" block.  During the "Whole Language days" we focused on ELA all day, every day.  In the era of Reading and Writing Workshop, we reserved an our for reading and 45 minutes for writing - every day.  We even did word study in a separate block.  
As we start this new school year, with science, math, technology, physical activities, art, music, and social studies crammed into ever day, I have become increasingly concerned about the amount of time "left" in the school day for reading and writing.  I get that math is important and teachers need their breaks (specials).  I "get" that learning how to "code" is the future for many of our students and as the momma to an engineer, I "get" the importance of STEM for all students

Yet, there is one thing for sure: we learn to be readers and writers by reading and writing.  It's the foundation of all learning. We need to have dedicated focused time where we immersed young readers and writers in print and model the strategies of readers and writers.  We need to have time for readers and writers to experiment and practice. to take risks with print.  We need to give them feedback and support each and every day.  It's all important; however, reading and writing is the foundation of all learning.  Either we add minutes to the school day, or we stop and revisit our priorities!  


Sunday, September 13, 2015

#celebratelu 15: Celebrating This Week

I thank Ruth Ayers for hosting this weekly celebration as no matter how challenging, crazy or sad some events in our week might be, there is always something to celebrate if you stop to notice.  
  • This week began hot and humid suggesting that summer's wrath was still upon us; yet, this week ended with a clear, certain assurance of fall's impending arrival.This morning, there are crisp leaves on the ground and I am reminded that this time of back to school-sweaters-and apple cider is my favorite season.
  • This week, I screened what seemed to be about "a zillion" new arrivals to my school. One little girl smiled when I pulled out the Fountas and Pinnell Assessment book and said gleefully, "They have that same book at my old school!"  I smiled at her excitement and thought about the teachers in Brooklyn who were likely doing Fountas and Pinnell assessments right along "beside" me on a Friday afternoon!  
  • This week I celebrate football in spite of my angst each time helmets clang and shoulder pads clash. I know players and coaches have worked very hard, for months, preparing for each play.  Each and every tackle, by each and every player represents a small personal victory. There is something magical about Friday night crowds dancing and cheering under the lights. 
  • Last week was four (school days) long, thanks to Labor Day and this next week is three (school days) long thanks to Rosh Hashanah. I could get used to this!
  • I haven't read A.A.Milne's classic in a while; however, his words danced through my head as I endured heat, assessed students, and watched football this week.
  •                             

Friday, September 11, 2015

9-1-1: Reflection

I can remember every moment of that morning......the incredibly beautiful September morning.  The sky was aglow. There was a sense of hope and love that September morning.  My life was full and busy . My son was in college and my daughter in graduate school.  I had a job I loved and was in a graduate program that would take me into Manhattan.

Then, as I assessed a reluctant reader, the Vice Principal delivered ta quiet message that a plane had gone into the World Trade Center, Don't tell the kids. Come to the office as quickly as you can, There are parents to contact.  We need your to bring your cell phones.  

I could not begin to understand the impact of her words.  We were less than 20 miles away in our suburban school.

There were families in our community whose lives were shattered that day....and in some way...we all were changed....to a more cynical...more critical...yet kinder and gentler version of what we were before....We made call to parents....we planned for dismissal...we rode buses home to be sure no child was left alone....and then we hoped and prayed that there were survivors...and we remembered to tell our loved ones we "loved them" and to live each day to its fullest including random acts of kindness.   

Monday, September 7, 2015

#sol15 A new chapter

As the sun set,
I knew it was time.
To begin writing, again.
The long summer,
Filled with prayers, reflection, endings,
Was over. 

We've been back in school,
It seems like for weeks already. 
But the "summer" ,
Really seems to end
When we cross Labor Day off the calendar.

There were many wonderful slices
Of life this summer in spite of the sadness.
I missed writing about
Watching "summer theater" at its best,
Young thespians performing
The Wizard of Oz on a summer night.
Weddings, glittery and grand, small and intimate, 
Tears of joy, miracles, hope, love.
Parties, showers, gatherings,
Days, evenings with friends and family. 
The blankets, 
Quilted and knitted with love, 
The play dates and shopping trips,
Snacking on ice cream at the library
Buying strollers at Buy Buy Baby.

I'm not yet able to write
Of this summer of sadness,
But fall signals new beginnings,
Fresh starts, hope, potential.
For those of us in education,
Every year,
For my family,
This year
Fall is the beginning 
Of a new, adventure filled,
Exciting and unforgettable chapter.  


Thursday, September 3, 2015

Sometimes, things happen that make you sad...

I haven't written much lately.
I've been a bit overwhelmed with life.
I've been trying to figure out
Why sad things happen,
Things that hurt, or don't make sense.

Today, I realized that my "dark cloud"
Sad things that happen,
Things that hurt, or don't make sense,
Went to school!  

Today, they threw away
My big, red, floor cushions,
The ones that came
From a side of the road,
Discarded Pottery Barn couch.

The cushions that have provided
A reading spot for many, many, many
Emerging readers (and their teacher).

You can see me sitting on them 
A few years ago
As a student found her rhythm.
You can see them resting,
Behind Beary,
Waiting for kids to enter and grab books
To settle down and read.
"They are a fire hazard," they said.
"They encourage reading," I thought.

They are gone, but not forgotten.
I am not sure what I am going to do,
But sometimes things happen
That make you sad.

"I guess it's a good thing they blamed
Fire Safety," I thought,
"I do want kids to be safe,
But I want them to be comfortable,
Relaxed and to read."

Sometimes things happen
That make you sad,
So make the best of what you find,
Along the road of life.
Memories on discarded cushions,
Lemonade from lemons.

Friday, August 7, 2015

REposting....the Storms of Life

This is a repost from 2012
http://drferreri.blogspot.com/2012/08/rainbows.html

Drought, heat, humidity,
Strong winds, intense rainstorms,
Scorched lawns, fallen trees.
Tragedies, illnesses,
Fires, moves, challenges,
Sadness, silence, anger,
Lives disrupted.

   Rainbows,
    Reminders,
    It doesn't "rain" forever, 
      Life, relationships,people are fragile,
       Each day, a gift, not to be repeated.
 We are not promised tomorrow,
    Yet, there will be rainbows,
  After the many
Storms of life.
Reflection:
This blog was started to share writing with graduate students in a 21st Century kind of way.  However, my life is full of adventure, sadness, happiness, and drama; thus, there are lots of small "emotionally charged" moments about which I am writing! 
Meanwhile, the CCS ask us to shift our focus to more informational writing..  On one hand, I applaud informational reading and writing as an easier and certainly a worthy genre for many of our students; however, I do not want to give up personal narratives, personal poetry, and fictional texts based on personal experiences.  Writing and sharing has helped me share smiles during the great days and has helped me cope with the darker ones.  Diverse writers need to have opportunities to try it all as they grow and travel the storms of lfe.   Writers are as complex, different and ever-changing as the rainbows that emerge briefly from the sky after a storm.     

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

#sol15 One Day in August

 One day in August,
I was cleaning the attic!
Perusing old pictures,
Lost in memories,
Finding long, lost
Slices of Life
When I came across
This snipped of writing.

I could hear the prompt
Nestled in this long ago,
"On Demand" writing
About a snowman
Who came alive.

One day in December,
I made a snowman.
It came alive.
He wanted to go in my home.
We were licking candy canes.
We looked in my room.
He put on my baseball tee-shirt.
The End

The long-ago six-year-old
Who penciled this short piece
Managed to insert a wee bit of himself
And his thoughts of spring,
On a cold December day
When forced to write
"On Demand"
For his teacher's purposes.

I plan to remember
All year long
We all write best
When writing on
Personally meaningful topics!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Sunrise-Sunset

This morning, I caught this spectacular sunrise as I sipped my coffee preparing my head and heart for a new day!  I couldn't help but feel the promise of perfectly reflected sunrise on a still lake. 

This evening, I caught this most spectacular sunset from my porch as I sipped my tea reflecting on the day!  I couldn't help but reflect on my own growing family as the lyrics of Sunrise, Sunset  danced in my head.   

Is this the little girl I carried?
Is this the little boy at play?
I don't remember growing older
When did they?
When did she get to be a beauty?
When did he grow to be so tall?
Wasn't it yesterday
When they were small?



Sunrise, sunset
Sunrise, sunset
Swiftly flow the days
Seedlings turn overnight to sunflowers
Blossoming even as we gaze




Sunrise, sunset
Sunrise, sunset
Swiftly fly the years
One season following another
Laden with happiness and tears

Sunday, July 26, 2015

#sol15 15 Bubbles and Books

"Someone's trash is someone's treasure," they say, and "someone's closet clearing finds are someone's treats," I say!  So it was at this weekend's garage sale where we transported, dispersed, and used our advertising, marketing, merchandising and socializing skills to "recycle" family "clutter."

To be honest, it's a lot of work to haul, price, display, and schmooze with customers.  No matter how "low" we priced things, people wanted to "bargain" less and less and less again!  To be honest, it's also a bit "sad" to relive the memories so many of the items we sold evoked!"  There was Grandma's Correlle ware and her 60's glassware as well as old sewing machines, tools, pots and pans. Each was part of our family's story. Yet, I hope that in the days to come, I will remember sitting on the stoop watching Bubble Girl and Book Boy!

Bubble Girl was wandering through the piles when she found a used bubble wand and asked us what it was.  We spent a long time showing her the intricacies of bubble making and entertaining her with blowing and catching bubbles encouraging her mother to "shop" for $15 worth of merchandise!  As they pulled away from the curb, Bubble Girl's smiled brightly and waved. "Thank you for making my day," she seemed to say.

It was late in the day, nearing closing time, when Book Boy started reading some children's books strategically placed near the sidewalk while his parents shopped.  At 10 cents a book, his mom told him to pick out 5 books; however, you know the reading teacher in me was ignited by the sight of a child reading....and so you know that he left with a BAG full of all the books I thought he might like.  As they pulled away from the curb, Book Boy was already engrossed in his stack.  He never looked up but I know HE made MY day!


21st-Century PD: Retention, Reflection, and Redistribution of Knowledge | Edutopia

21st-Century PD: Retention, Reflection, and Redistribution of Knowledge | Edutopia

Reposting: Thanks Facebook for reminding me that my words are timeless

THIS IS A RE-POSTING FROM 3 YEARS AGO -

http://drferreri.blogspot.com/2012/07/with-sadness-with-joy-with-hope.html

I have been participating in a Teachers Write"virtual" writing group.  I wanted to increase my own writing and maybe "finish" one of the many stories that are churning in my head; however, I also wanted to "practice what I preach" and conduct a little "action research" about writing.  One thing I have observed is that poetry is a means to express what we think.  Sometimes, poems emerge as we are trying to write about other things!  



With Sadness,
I remember sharing, laughing, living,
Clueless as to what was ahead.
I remember tears, angst, pain,
From life-changing words,
I remember saying good-bye,
Wondering what lay ahead.

With Joy,
 I remember gatherings,
Too many people, too few plates,
Too much food, too much laughter,
I remember pop-ins that lasted for hours,
Drop-ins just in time for dinner,
I remember having so much to do,
Lives filled with activity and anticipation.

With Hope
I remember people are capable
Of loving more than once,
Of endless caring,
Of forgiveness,
  I remember that what lies ahead,
Is potential for peace and happiness,
I remember we can and do change our course,
Many times within each life.
"With a new day comes new strength 
and new thoughts." (E. Roosevelt)

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Check out @edutopia's Tweet: https://twitter.com/edutopia/status/624112025275400192?s=09

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

#sol15 A Slice of Blue and a Slice of Gray

In days to come
A tiny miracle 
Will be wrapped 
In slices of blue and gray.  
Pieced, stitched and filled
With love

In days to come, 
I'might share Owen,
Cuddled in a rocker,
His sweaty head
Nestled in my neck
I might even make him
A handkerchief for school
Stitched and filled 
With love.  


Reposting:Windows

This is another reposting - thanks to Facebook's On This Day Feature...

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Through clean windows I see!

Through clean windows I see!

I take to heart Gibran's words,
"Your children are sons and daughters of the universe
yearning for their own paths."
Choices, decisions, theirs, not ours.

I did come on strong about education,
to fulfill dreams you cannot yet imagine,
I did come on strong about the Golden Rule,
the need for God, prayer, thanksgiving in life,
the value of patience, towards self and others,
the power of love, laughter,
the strength of friends, on this journey,
the benefits of a career you enjoy, at least most days,
the need for persistence, through the hard parts,
of family, with all its ups and downs.
of finding joy in each day,

My children have found diverse paths including:
Engineering, teaching, inventing,
Leading, researching, coaching,
Dishwasher and car repairing, sewing,
And, alas, a professional window washer!

Yes, as the sun streams through my window this morning,
I am glad that I did not determine paths for my children,
I didn't even know I would treasure this,
Yet, Gillian Strickland's famous line (morphed)
jumps into my head:

Grateful am I,
Through clean windows I see -
I have a child
who washes windows for me!


Sunday, July 19, 2015

#celebratelu15 Promises of Hope


This has been one of the hardest and longest weeks ever, filled with sadness and punctuated with anxiety; yet, interspersed in the darkness, there are glimmers of light and promises of hope!
  • Her caregiver found out that my mother loves California rolls (and wasabi), so she tamed my cantankerous mom with some!  She sure didn't have to do that!  
  • Common Core curriculum writing can be challenging; yet, our team crafted some pretty incredible frameworks this week.
  • Bolts of beautiful fabric always makes me smile. It was hard to choose when there is so much beauty in such a small place, but I did!
  • Clouds, somehow outsmarting the setting sun created some magnificent sunsets, the kind that take your breath away.
  • A double rainbow (I did not capture it because I was driving) appeared in the sky after a nasty storm the other day, reminding me of God's promise and miracles on the horizon.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Sharing Edutopia: status of those CCS

Check out @edutopia's Tweet: https://twitter.com/edutopia/status/619763441025290240?s=09

This is an interesting perspective embracing the CCS and their goal is deeper thinking.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Responding to MY reading: Choice during independent reading time?

I had time to read and reflect on a Jennifer Serravallo's article on Independent Reading on Independence Day! http://www.reading.org/literacy-daily/post/engage/2015/07/03/choice-during-instructional-independent-reading-what's-a-teacher-to-do-

"I want to create conditions where students are at their peak level of engagement," Serravallo notes citing her own research suggests kids are not so good at monitoring their own comprehension! Thus, 
"...guide students’ choosing toward books that are “just right” (96% or higher accuracy, with fluency and comprehension) or “easy” with a rare exception for a book that’s a bit more of a stretch, in which I’m willing to provide extra support."


Yes, all of us steeped in Balanced Literacy would agree. We comprehend and enjoy books we can read!  Yes, all of us who work with young, reluctant, or struggling readers agree......Yet, I've also been rereading The Book Whisperer and am reminded that "Kids will read if we give them the books, the time, and the enthusiastic encouragement to do so....To keep our students reading, we have to let them. (Donalyn Miller, The Book Whisperer: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child)

SOMETIMES, kids are going to read "above their heads" and will struggle with comprehension because they are interested in the topic or because they just want to do so!
SOMETIMES, kids need/want to read "easy-peasy" books just for the fun of it.
SOMETIMES, kids spend an entire year reading Nancy Drew, Captain Underpants or The Babysitter Club.
SOMETIMES, kids read within their schema and sometimes they build schema by reading in foreign-to-them-territory!
SOMETIMES, kids will find magic, interest, and enjoyment in a text that is "just right" and will have maximum comprehension......

I guess I vote for SOME choice during independent reading time.  You shouldn't spend the WHOLE year reading above/below/outside of your head; but you shouldn't always have to read from the stack that is "your" level!  In addition, if you are "restricted" to a specific stack/box of books, you might just spend all your energy yearning for what you do not have and forget to enjoy what you have! I'm pretty sure that Serravallo would support some choice as well as some recommendations!


Tuesday, July 7, 2015

#sol2015 Patiently Waiting

I remember the day I "came down" with them. It was late summer and I was excited about my upcoming birthday (remember those days?) and returning to school (I loved a new notebook even then).

I was changing from my grimy "play" shirt to a cleaner "go-pick-up-daddy" shirt when my mother said, "What is that all over your back?" I suspect she felt my forehead before acknowledging, "You are burning up!" I suspect she wondered about the impact on my then baby brother and on the kids I had been swimming with earlier in the day.  I suspect she knew I would be better in 10 days but my siblings would likely fall victims in due time isolating us all for the duration.  I am guessing she never wondered if they would lie low awaiting a moment to return to me in their "adult" format!

I was totally stressed on the afternoon, many years later, when they, who had been waiting patiently for decades on my nerve endings returned with a vengeance.  Thanks to adds in magazines and on TV I was pretty sure what was happening when I showed up in "urgent care."  I left with a prescription for an "antiviral," an urging to avoid babies, and a promise that I would be fine in 3 days time.  The nurse practitioner assured me I had a "very mild case" and even suggested that her meds would help my stress!

In less than 24 hours, the stressors in my life were still pressing on my heart and staring me in the face; however, the itchiness and burgeoning line of spots was gone as quickly as they had arrived. The pain, however, continued to come in waves, some strong enough to take your breath away like those giant waves that sweep away sand castles at high tide.

I know now, that the Pox, lies patiently waiting in each of us who had the opportunity to "experience" it during our youth.  It waits for just the right moment when our bodies and our minds are distracted and then it comes roaring back.  It's course is shortened to hours, thanks to available meds; however, it often mirrors the "pain" and "hard-times" of life in its waves of pain.  

I suspect my primary care would have suggested a "shingles shot" at my annual physical - the one I cancelled first last July, then last October, then last December, then last March, then last May when stressors required me to be elsewhere!  I suspect she will suggest a "shingles shot" when I get there, hopefully in the next few days!

I guess there are messages in this week's "SOL." 1) Don't skip that annual/biannual physical; 2) Get your vaccinations; 3) Meds can take take down viruses in a matter of hours; 4) Stress can make you sick!


Friday, July 3, 2015

#Celebrate2015 The Watermelon Wedge

I had not planned to write a celebration post this week; however, the watermelon wedge got to me. Let me explain.

As I plowed through the Stop and Shop aisles on a hot afternoon, it caught my eye.  It was just a small wedge of seedless watermelon nestled among a pile of pre-splintered-to-make-sure-you-got-a sweet-one watermelon pieces.  Yet it "called to me" and so I popped it into my hand basket. 

It sat quietly on the shelf in the fridge for a few days until Fourth of July Eve, when it "called to me" again.

As I was savoring setting sun, the memories flooded back as if a "dam" had been opened. We always had some for her birthday and she would retell the story, of her mother as well as her own love for watermelon.  We often went to the Falls to celebrate with wet towels, sunburned noses, blueberries, and watermelon.  I'm sure we had cake; but I don't really remember it.  Instead, I remember the watermelon.  

She's been gone a long time; yet, she is still a model for who I would like to as a mother, grandmother and mother-in-law,  I can still see her whipping up frittatas or a "bit" of pasta for hungry grandchildren.  

Her enjoyment of life, was enormous.  I am sure everyone smiled when Kitty showed up at the Friendly Club each week.

Perhaps, her most important power was to knit us together, as a family. As I knit a few more rows on my own project, she will be with me.

So on the Fourth of July, her birthday, I celebrate my "other mother" who somehow, reaches through cyberspace and the clouds to empower a slice of watermelon to "talk to me."  Thanks Kitty, I needed the "call."  

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

5 Minute Microwave Playdough

Reposting from last year on this date

This is a repost from last July 1

http://drferreri.blogspot.com/2014/07/i-was-folding-laundry-late-on-sunday.html?spref=fb


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

During the toughest of times, just breathe

I was folding laundry late in the day when the clear sound of something awry,"THWAP," urged me to check it out.  "I bet its that screen door," I thought as I went to investigate, my arms laden with laundry.   Yet the screen door was shut, so I continued with chores until during one trip up and down the stairs, I realized that my husband was holding a shovel and staring at what appeared to be a small, gray-deader-than-a-doorknob bird on our patio! "He must have flown into the house," my husband said quietly, "but he is not dead!!  I looked closely, through the screen and indeed he was breathing. slowly. I must admit I found myself thinking of my father who loved to watch the birds tease the squirrels from his kitchen window.

Assuming nature would take her course, we ate dinner and did a few more chores before checking on our guest, who was was still lying there, breathing slowly but regularly.  I must admit I found myself remembering those long summer evenings, not so long ago, watching my father lying on his side breathing slowly and wondering if each one would be his last.

In the morning, the first thing we both checked was Birdie who amazingly had survived the perils of the night and was sitting up!  "He must have had the wind knocked out of his sails," my husband muttered, "but I'm guessing he'll be breakfast for the cats if he sits there long!"  We watched him slowly hop short distances and occasionally attempt to flutter his wings.  We left slid water through the screen door and left bread crumbs nearby.  He seemed unconcerned with our presence and phone-photos.  He appeared rather consumed with his recovery as he hopped around the patio, slowly but surely defying nature. We watched him, from afar, and cheered his progress still wondering how he would ever defy the forces of nature stacked against him.  Yet in due time, he quietly flapped his wings, slowly, and like a tiny 747, without looking back, he flew away. I smiled and celebrated his miraculous recovery. I must admit I found myself thinking of my father's perseverance through adversity, even when others had "thrown in the shovel" as I watched him fly into the woods. I wonder if the Central Message is this: During the really tough days, just breathe?  

Monday, June 29, 2015

Reposting - it's still true

http://drferreri.blogspot.com/2013/06/paper-pencils-and-peas-too.html

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Show not tell


We've come to the end of "school road" in these parts.  Parents have been asking for workbooks. sites, remedial programs to support reading.  I get emails, phone messages, and notes to please send home "stuff" for them to do.

I say again and again, "Just read to them and with them, every day.

Then, on tonight's Twitter feed, I see the note above from "Think Different."  I know the message of teaching by your examples extends far beyond summer reading.  We show our children how to solve problems, overcome obstacles, and find peace by our actions, not our words.  

They are watching even when we think they are not.  So, this is some good advice, for me today, too.  Try to live, always, the way you want your kids to live.   When they are in a similar tough spot of life, they will likely follow your example.  

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

#sol15 Signs in the summer sky

It was an afternoon of tree toppling, nasty storms.
The power was out, again, as I sat on the quiet porch,
Reflecting on the prophecy of Sunday's sermons,
"Storms are parts of life,
While we are not promised rainbows,
There will be peace,
After the storm," he assured us.

The sky was eerily bright on the horizon,
I snapped a pic for posterity,
And then watched it grow.
As the sun disappeared behind the horizon,
The sky grew brighter and brighter,
"I hope this is a sign," I thought 
As I snapped a few more pics. 





As the sky filled with colors of hope,
The power returned, again.
"I guess that is a sign to go do a SOL post
Before I finish those Google Sheets," I thought.

Monday, June 15, 2015

#sol15 Tidying Up




Last week, a colleague mentioned she was cleaning out her closet Marie-Kondo-style  She showed me a New York Times review her book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.  I began to think about all the "stuff" in my life as I downloaded her book, a few hours later, and began reading.  
Certainly, I have too many clothes.  I can be a few different sizes, depending on the stress in my life and how often I am "hitting the gym."  I could get rid of some of the really small things I will never wear again, like that size 6 suit. Who am I kidding?  I could also get rid of a few TJ Maxx super-bargains that I never worn outside of the dressing room and a few party dresses never to be worn again. I could hold up each and ask, Kondo style, "Does this bring me joy?"  I could take control of my closet even if the sock folding project would NOT be sustained. (I can hardly match the socks up!
Certainly, I have too much fabric.  Now that the "kids" aren't around, a closet is filled with my fabric stash. I could/should/would do some pruning....and then, I remembered the feel of some of those fabric treasures awaiting me. The potential for quilts, skirts, pillows, pieced place mats....all those project awaiting a slow spot in my life...or perhaps retirement...and I stopped knowing I could part with some....but certainly not all as some will not give me joy until they are part of something bigger. I might be able to prune, but I did not think I could take control of it my fabric stash.  
Then, I looked up from my Kindle, and my heart began to beat faster and I thought of my office..... "Too many books," I said aloud as I fingered the classics that changed my thinking about teaching.  Conversations, read first on the beach in Ocean City. Transitions, read over the winter recess long ago. Marie Clay, Marilyn Adams, Lucy Calkins, Debbie Miller, Ardis Cole, Carl Anderson, Grant Wiggins, Ralph Fletcher, Donald Graves, and all the old and new voices that have shaped me over the years.  These are not clutter, I assured myself as I looked lovingly at my books. It's going to be very hard to do much pruning in this corner, I thought aloud.  I tried to assure myself, they "fit perfectly into the space that I have for them."  

I'll keep you posted; however, I am not sure I will be a Kondo-success story. I will try to prune and try to get organized; however, as long as I have a corner like this in a cozy office, I'm keeping Clay, Adams, Calkins, Miller, Cole, Anderson, Wiggins, Fletcher, Graves, and the rest, nearby.
 http://tidyingup.com/  
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/23/garden/home-organization-advice-from-marie-kondo.html
                  http://www.wsj.com/articles/marie-kondo-and-the-tidying-up-trend-1424970535