Tuesday, November 29, 2022

#sol22 November 29 Cabbage, Onions, & a Good Book


"Why do you always bring us books, Meme?" he asked with a tone that put books in the same category as a gift of onions or cabbage.  "I don't like books, I don't like A, apple, /a/, and I don't like to read," he said in a huff that made my heart sad, even if I wasn't surprised.  

I grew up in an era when books were pretty much the only escape from real life and the only way to learn new things. These 3rd decade of the 20th Century children just ask Google if they have a question and have infinite avenues that will entertain them.  Yet, I know that reading and writing are still at the epicenter of learning and living, even if it's the 21st Century!

"I think you might like this one" I suggested holding the new book so that his name, along with his sister and brother's name's were in the title.  I did not read the title, but his big brother recognized the family names and appeared a wee bit interested.  The big brother moved away from his Lego-building, holding onto his build in progress.

"This one is me, this is you," the big brother concluded as he read the title and they opened the book and began to explore the pages where they were heroes and heroines.  "This one is where we are hiding!" they said excitedly as they scanned and explored the book the same way they would go after a box of chocolates. 

I hung up my coat, picked up the baby, and returned to find the reluctant reader, his siblings, and his father lost in this new "personalized" book.  I wanted to interject something about the magic or power of books.  I was tempted interject that THIS was why I bring so many books. However, I  acted as I would have if they were suddenly eating onions or cabbage and enjoying it!    

PS This time I used Wonderbly but I am neither endorsing the site or the books. The payment part was  tricky and they kept trying to double charge me until I corrected it manually, but the book is cute.  

PPS Thank you to TWT for continuing to sponsor this site and encouraging me to document the small moments of life. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

#sol22 Thankful, Grateful, Concerned, and Hopeful, too


It's been a while since I blogged but l am thankful for a most special "reader" who nudges me to blog,  the opportunity to share with the next generation of teachers, and a tiny miracle who will be gracing our table (along with her parents, grandparents, siblings and cousins) this year (even if she is not yet eating food).


I am grateful that I pulled myself out of my solitude and into the cold weekend where I found a bit of holiday spirit,  I'm pretty sure my Mom was smiling as we sipped clam chowder and I'm pretty sure it was not just luck that I won a 50/50 raffle at the Community Orchestra's Holiday Concert, because I never (usually) win.


I must admit I am (and have been) concerned about the many hate crimes, blaming words, and destructive behaviors that attempt to pit one group against another and paralyze our nation.  I must admit I am devastated about the continuing gun violence that shatters lives and families while stealing the peace our forefathers hoped they were working towards. 


Finally, I am hopeful that I will make the time to reflect and write more often.  I am also hopeful that each of you who finds themselves reading this blog post finds some peace and joy during this week of reflection on our many blessings even amidst our many challenges and strife.  I am hopeful you will take the time to count your blessings and open your heart like those Wampanoag Native Americans we celebrate this week.

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."