Tuesday, November 29, 2016

#sol2016 A Different Holiday

 I really wasn't sure IF I wanted to do anything?
I could watch the parade and eat turkey soup.
No guests, no holiday requirements.
No worries about icy driveways.
No welcoming far flung children, 
Parents, siblings, to my home.
I had not admitted the sadness, even to myself,
As I faced another,
Different holiday season.

Then, in a turn of events 
I could not see coming,
The stars aligned 
In an unlikely way.
I found myself 
Care-giving for my Aunt,
Who never wanted to do anything 
Other than watch the parade, or 
Eat a turkey sandwich
On that food and family filled holiday.

However, this year,
She was we joined not only by me,
But also,
By a great-niece she had not seen in many years,
A great-nephew she had never met,
A shedding dog with endless kisses,
A great-great niece, taking her first steps,
"Eating" her first Thanksgiving dinner.
Piles of roasted, not mashed, veggies,
Dressing, fresh from a box,
Homemade cranberry sauce,
Squeals, laughter and a
Football game on TV.

"Bye-bye," they waved, as the guests,
Exhausted from travel,
Plates, laden with food,
Pie, with a side of ice cream,
Walking all over the place,
Licking, smelling, the new place, 
Providing entertainment,
Headed on a long journey home, 
To bed or crib!

"It was the best Thanksgiving in at least
25 years," she sighed,
 As I helped her into bed
And thought how Out Of Her Comfort Zone
She must have been.
"That was fun!
I'll sleep well tonight!"

I smiled a happy smile,
As happy tears rolled
Down my cheeks,
 As I took care of dog hair
On the carpet,
Bits of corn 
On the floor,
The pile of dishes,
 We made.

"Families grow, suffer losses, 
Holiday tables and gatherings 
That is the way it supposed to be,"
I thought
Sadly at first but also
Remembering, happily
Those not with us 
Because they too were needed 
At other tables.
Remembering, loving, 
Those who have passed from Earth,
Remembering, sadly 
Those we have loved and lost.

"Thank goodness I stopped for those pies," 
I smiled as I sipped my end-of-the-day tea.
Some things do not change!


Saturday, November 5, 2016

Post Halloween in Classrooms

We were deep into a lesson that started with "shared reading" of the first few pages of The Surprise in order to engage my reluctant-to-read-texts-that-appear-hard first graders who were trick-or-treating 24 hours earlier.  They were fully engaged in the shared part of the lesson, so I felt comfortable that the syntactically predictable text was going to be readable for each of the readers around me as the lesson morphed into a "guided reading" lesson.  

Confidently, two of the readers became engrossed in the story and appeared eager to get to the surprise ending.  As I leaned in to hear the student to my left whisper read and asked a few questions about the text, the little reader in the middle reached over and quickly "tapped" the pages in the book where this little reader wrestled with words.

I gave him one of those "glances" that teachers use to replace words and he went right back into reading...or so at least I thought....for about 30 seconds...and then reached over and tapped his neighbor's book again.

So I gave him a glance but this time leaned over and asked what he was doing? 
"I don't know," he responded as he began whisper reading.  Yet, seconds later, he was tapping his neighbor's book again even with my attention and focus on him!

"What's going on," I whispered as I pulled his seat right next to mine? 

"I don't know," he shrugged this time looking a bit remorseful.

"You have to be respectful as your friends read," I reminded him.

"I think my hands are fulled with energy," he said sadly, "I can't keep them with me."

"What did you have for breakfast?" I asked already pretty sure I knew the answer.

"A candy bar, a Twix bar, gummy bears, and a couple of Starbursts," he smiled remembering the sugar laden post-Halloween splurge.   

There was no response and no "look" that could offer to help him get through the "sugar high" he was clearly experiencing. So I wrapped my arms around his and softly began sharing the reading with him.  At this post Halloween moment, this little reader would need a little more support in order to get to the Surprise at the end of the text.

At that post-Halloween moment, I was in concert with teachers and parents everywhere who had to give a little more, hold students a little tighter, and watch a little closer as our students recovered from that holiday where we scare them, rile them up, excite them, and fill them up on more candy than they could ever eat on their own.  

Fortunately, the next day, his candy had "disappeared" and he "had" to eat Cheerios for breakfast!