Tuesday, May 17, 2022

#sol22 May17 Sand, Shaving Cream and Grad School

While often cited, even by me, most likely, the number's cited in Dale's Cone of Learning are at best estimates of any individual's learning.  Clearly there are differences in an individual's ability to learn as well as engagement in the task at hand.  

Yet, experiences, engagement and discussion do seem to increase student engagement, learning, and retention of materials.  It is why we do so many "turn and talks" at every juncture of the teaching learning cycle!  It is why we create charts and models with our students rather than before class.  It is why we plan for hands on learning experiences whenever we can do so.  

Yes, even in graduate school, even when you are working towards a doctorate, experiencing a multisensory approach is a powerful learning experience as my students found while they practiced letters in sand and shaving cream.  Plus, as they found, it is fun.


Tuesday, May 10, 2022

#sol22 May 10 Jokes


I remember telling jokes as we walked home from elementary school. I was not a joke master by any means and relied on a few jokes copied from library books to keep up with the crowd.

In my professional work with children who found reading and learning challenging, I remember trying to teach the magic of word play through jokes.  For most of my students, jokes were hard and they relied on a handful of memorized jokes to keep up with the group.

But, I do remember the power of jokes for my niece, who consumed joke books. Later on, I remember sharing the magic of word play with her girls and their cousins.  I remember their belly laughs and how they would save jokes to trick me!  

Now, I am savoring the magic of grandchildren who are starting to "get" jokes and memorize joke books. There really is something magical about the power of words that sound similar or have different meanings.  

While I am still not a joke master, I shared a belly laugh when my grandchild called to ask me a joke that clearly has roots in the Disney classic, Moana.  

"What did one volcano say to the other volcano?

I lava (love) you!

I have a dream I hope will come true
That you'll grow old with me and I'll grow old with you
We thank the Earth, sea, and the sky, we thank too

I lava you,
I lava you,
I lava you.

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

#sol22 May 3 Happy Birthday


No, it's not my birthday and even though my sister, brother, niece and nephew have all had birthdays in the last week, this post is not really about their birthdays.  Instead, it's about someone in my early morning aquacise class whose birthday was also this week.

She comes often on the days I come to jump around in weightlessness and push that heavy water away!  In those fleeting moments before class she shared that it was her birthday and she was proud to have made it to class. So as class began, we spontaneously burst into song as we warmed up.  She smiled, thanked everyone and got right back to exercising with all her might. 

As the class ended, she leaned over and offered, "I'm pretty sure I'm the oldest in this class! I'm 87 today!"

"Really," was all I could manage to utter. "You are an inspiration to exercise," I followed up.

Truth be told, I have not consistently exercised in my life; however, the message was loud and clear on her birthday for me and for all those relatives sharing this birthday week: exercise is powerful.

Tuesday, April 5, 2022

#sol22 April 5 Jeans That Fit


I debated,
Did I really need to go?
I almost didn't park the car,
Did I feel safe?
I took a deep breath,
Considered an online attempt.

It had been
More than 2 years.
Some stores gone,
Common areas eerily quiet,
Some prices outrageous.
Many sizes unavailable.
Went to a few familiar haunts,
Still masked, still wary,

Left with new
Shirts and  jeans
That fit.

Thursday, March 31, 2022

#sol22 March 31 This Ending Leaves Me to Ponder


I tried to notice, grab, write about,
What I saw, experienced, felt,
The moments I wanted to remember,
As boring as I think my life is these days,
I left a lot of slices (experiences) out,
I also left out times when
Anxieties, worries, concerns, issues,
Filled my heart and mind.

I am reminded that writing
Is like exercising, eating healthy,
It's easier when it's a regular part
Of every day.

 I am left with many questions
About writing workshop
In real classrooms in real schools
Where time is crunched
Where writing time is often
Where writing gaps are often

This ending leaves me
To ponder
How to help all students
Notice, grab, write about 
The moments they want to remember
Even if their lives are
Filled with worries
Or thought to be boring!

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

#sol22 March 30 Not a Perfect Momma


I think of  ou conversation whenever that old Saturday Night Skit pops up on social media.. The younger Momma strives to be "perfect" like her own mother. Her mother tries not to break the illusion while reassuring her daughter that she is doing a great job. Whenever this pops up, my mind hops way back in time to a conversation with a fellow Not-Perfect-Momma.

 "Some days, I just want to run away from all this mommy business," my friend said as we finished a brisk, much needed walk through the neighborhood. "I never would really do it, you know, but I think about it a lot.  I'm tired of thinking about laundry, meals, activities, money, work.....all of it.  Do you  ever think of running away?" 

As often happens, our children grew up in spite of our many parenting gaffes and those times we were just worn out and frustrated. 

To be honest, I thought a lot about having a launderess and a cook and I know I was not a "perfect" Momma. I graded papers during basketball, read books during baseball, and hide my eyes during football games. I got angry about messes.  Sometimes, dinner was "English muffin pizzas" and often it was "left overs." I bought cakes for bake sales and forgot permission slips. 

Yet, I have thought of that conversation as I watch Mammas navigating into car seats, encouraging healthy food, and wrestling into beds. I've thought of it as I watch children grapple for lap space, desired junk food, and coveted attention. I think of it as I read SOL posts from busy Mammas sliding in just before midnight and bed. 

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

#sol22 March 29 They're Back


Shivering in spite of winter coats, gloves, and scarfs, it's hard to believe that Spring has already sprung.  Last night, a snow squall caused a white out; yet the robins seem to be excited about something. Today, it's still too cold for outdoor recess! Lawns are still soggy and freezing temps make even thinking about gardens hard; however, there is one sure sign promising that a real spring season is near: landscapers.

Around these parts, a few trucks began dotting the landscape last week. This week, however, landscapers  are back in full force with noisy blowers, determined rakes and a spring clean up bill eagerly left at the door! 

It must be a lucrative business as the landscapers around these parts sport new trucks, fresh mowers, and the latest in blowing machines, They descend from the truck clad in ear protection and a swarm of landscapers make spring clean up look easy, even if they are also wearing winter coats, gloves, hats and scarfs as they deliver that first landscape bill of the season! 

Monday, March 28, 2022

#sol22 March28 Cold & Wet


In my effort to be "fit and healthy," I regularly join a group of like-minded adults for early morning running, stretching and jumping in a local (indoor) pool. Most days, it's 50 minutes of exercise followed by a quick shower and dry clothes. 

When the smoke alarms goes off at the end of aquacize, the exit is a bit more complicated and a lot colder!  Dressed only in wet swimsuits, wrapped in well worn towels, and wearing flip flops, we exited the pool and were told to only grab our coats before we were escorted into the lobby where our teeth chattered as we moved slowly towards the door. It was 24 degrees when we went into the pool and we were confident it was not much warmer. 

Those who had been treadmilling or riding the bikes that go no-where headed outside, some with but mostly without coats. The 20 or so swimsuit clad individuals moved ever so slowly towards the door as if moving slowly could stall our exit.

Eventually, we moved slowly outside, still clad in wet suits and soggy jackets for what seemed like forever but was actually just a few minutes of our own version of a "polar plunge." 

"Shivering is good exercise, too," we laughed as we finally headed back to the locker room after a "false alarm." 

Sunday, March 27, 2022

#sol22 March 27 Another One Bites The Dust


Yesterday's walk included a podcast about KMart, which is down to 3 stores from a peek of 3000 in the '90s. Those of us who remember their iconic "blue light specials" where for just a few moments, you could get real bargains, and the live pet sections, where you could get turtles and fish, know this is a model that will not likely be repeated! 

They were affiliated with Sears, which has already disappeared along with Gimbles, Woolworths, Radio Shack, and even Blockbuster videos. It does not seem possible, but someday, Costco, Target and even Amazon could disappear.

Then, because my mind wanders as I walk, I thought about little bitty St. Peter's college, right here in NJ, which tonight will try to dethrone the mammoth, North Carolina, during the March Madness basketball tournament.

Then, the image of a current first grader, in the future,  upsetting an aging Jeff Bezos made me smile all the way home!. 

Saturday, March 26, 2022

#sol22 March 26 Treasure Amid Trash


It's day 26 of the month long, TWT, writing challenge.

 I started cleaning a closet
Even though it doesn't feel "spring" today,
Great plans to get rid of my cold and the old,
To organize too much stuff,,
Keep, Goodwill, trash, organize,
Found a treasured memory book
About my brother 
Hiding, treasure amid trash.
I sat on the floor, tears in my eyes,
I remembered.