Sunday, August 28, 2016

Celebrating Pedagogy

As we head back into our 21st Century classrooms, where Pinterest-worthy decor and research based programs are expected to co-mingle, there are voices on the horizon reminding us to think about the pedagogy of teaching and to consider not just what we do, but also how and why we spend precious classroom moments doing what we do. 

It's easy to get caught up in the "physical space" and how it looks to others in an era where teachers are "assessed" on their "use of space."  It's easy to focus on maintaining the "fidelity" of "research-based" programs in an era of responsibility and accountability.  Yet, at a recent meeting, I heard an administrator talk about respecting "pedagogy."  Then, in my PLN, there was a recent graphic on the pedagogy of teaching.  

Perhaps, with just the right "push" from those of us in the trenches, the pendulum may swing ever so gently back towards a balance between practice and pedagogy because our students are not simply "buckets" to be filled with knowledge.  They are individuals with diverse strengths and unique learning needs.  To meet the needs of all students, teachers must choose from the array of potential strategies and methods and differentiate their instruction, materials, practice and assessment. Pinterest-worthy classrooms and research based programs are not enough to assure learning for all. Teachers firmly grounded in the why and how learning occurs are the essential element in 21st Century classrooms everywhere.      

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Happy Day To You

Today I celebrate  
Coffee, scrambled eggs,
Gently used gloves, tried and true clippers,
A screw driver that is smarter than I am,
A rake that knows what to do,
And friends through thick and thin,
Good times and yucky times.
Over the years, I have celebrated 
With back to school shopping,
Folders, notebook, school clothes,
Swimming days, lobsters and mussels,
Yet, I have never felt more blessed,
Never celebrated with laughter and tears,
Never put my gifts to work before sunset.
Today, I celebrate the power of friendship
To unearth a hiding Mum,
Lost among weeds,
Found thanks to tools
That already knew what to do,
And friends who know what you need.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

The Chapter Where I Swam With Stalactites

I learned to swim in a tiny, poured concrete pool in the mobile home park where I lived.  I suspect "Ed Smith," who owned the lot where mobile homes were headed onto postage stamps, built the pool by hand.  I suspect that swimming the length of it was really no big deal: however, five year old me envisioned myself as nearly an Olympic swimmer when I first finished the distance. 
My mom did not swim, did not like water, did not like to be around the pool; however, my dad, whose swimming roots were in a tiny turtle-filled pond on a farm, had other ideas about the potential of swimming for his young daughters.  So, after he got home from work, we went swimming.  We jumped in off the rough concrete sides again  We laughed as the cool water licked our faces.  We had daddy -daughter time and pool-time almost every night in those days before we had TV, in those days before we could even read to ourselves on summer nights. 
Yesterday, however, I inched my way into a new and unfamiliar swimming venue.  Yes, there was a wee bit of "I'll do it but then you have to get in too happening." Yes, that's me swimming in an "invigorating" cave. Yes, it was cold and dark in that place where the sun doesn't shine.  

Yes, it was an experience I will treasure for a lifetime.  Cold, clear and captivating water envelopes your body as you descend the stairs.  Yet, after you adjust, the cave becomes your own God-made-stalactite-filled swimming hole! 
I suspect my dad and the one who made that swimming hole were smiling as we  paddled around

Ps Thanks to the stranger who offered to take a picture as there was no way you could get out and then face re-entry!  

Thursday, August 4, 2016

SOL16 New Chapters

The sky was as blue as it could be,
The other day,
A gentle breeze served as a reminder
A new chapter was beginning
July was over,
August, the season of new beginnings
Was here.
The mood, juxtaposed to the sky,
Mixed. excited, scared, reflective, unsure,
As often is the case
When one chapter ends,
And another begins.

Someone finished a chapter,
Of their life, the other day.
Leaving their comfort zone, 
Facing new challenges.
Holding tight to the memories,
Laughter, love and tears.

Someone finished a chapter,
Why does every good story have to end?
How do you looking ahead,
Rather than backwards?
How do you hold tight to the good memories,
Overlooking the sad ending?

Someone began a chapter, 
Starting a new year of living,
Filled with potential, hopes, and dreams.
Celebrating as it should be,
With mementos, slobbery kisses,

Someone also began a chapter,
A new way of living,
Filled with potential, hopes, and dreams.
On a street where everybody
Knows your name,

Goffle Brook Park - Hawthorne, NJ, United States. A serene view from the bridge of the water fall. Usually duckies will go on the rocks bellow. The waterfall is from the lake.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016


Jane Yolen

Read to me riddles and read to me rhymes
Read to me stories of magical times
Read to me tales about castles ad kings
Read to me stories of fabulous things
Read to pirates and read to me knights
Read to me dragons and dragon book fights
Read to me spaceships and cowboys and then
When you are finished - please read them again. 

Read To Us

Read to us Beachbabies Wear Shades
Tell us about Clifford and his escapades,
Read to us Snuggle Puppy and  
Goodnight Moon,
Read to us softly with voices of characters
Right here in this room,
Read to us while we snack, safe from harm,
Read to us while we rest in your arms,
Read to us now
With our heads resting next to your heart,
Read to those tales over and over and then,
Read us our favorites again and again!