Tuesday, February 27, 2018

#sol 18 Almost the eve of March

It's back from winter break weak
Report card are due week,
Strep throat got me week,
Preparing for income tax week,
Waiting for Nor'easter week,
Lots of writing entries 
Waiting to be read week.

And, it's one day and a wake up

Warm up your fingers
Set up your headings,
Rearrange your calendars,
Set your alarms,

t's one day and a wake up

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Rocking Vaca!

Even on vacation, school seems to attract teachers and students! So it was at the musical, School of Rock! 
The first clue this was going to be a special experience was the number of children in the audience. In true confession, I never took my children to a Broadway production, so perhaps I was feeling a little guilty waiting for the show to begin! 
The next clue was the number of children in the cast and the number of tutors they have on staff as we perused the program! 
Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical was 2 hours of singing, dancing, and music played live by the cast!  Yes, the 10-15 year old in this show (along with the rest of the cast) really do play their electric guitars, pianos, and drums live throughout the show!  Amazing!  

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Writing in Kindergartens

This is a link to Tim Shanahan's recent post about writing in kindergarten classrooms.  Yes, kindergarten children are eager writers.  Encoding sounds in words precedes always supports decoding sounds in words,

Sunday, February 18, 2018

How do you teach writing effectively?

Dear Grad Students,

The essential question for this semester's writing class is: How do you teach writing effectively?

SO this morning, when my "virtual" friend, and writing guru, Stacy Shubitz's post popped into my feed with the "answer" I wasted not time to read it!

I "know" Stacy through her Two Writing Teacher's site's Slice of Life sharing. I "know" snippets about her family, her struggles, her joys and what makes her "tick" and I already knew the answer I would read in her Stenhouse newsletter post! 

In fact, I have hinted at the answer to you, my grad students.  I've "made" you write, share and comment in blogs and Google docs for the past 6 weeks.  I've asked you to infuse writing into your classrooms and into content areas.

I've encouraged you to consider the roles of mentor texts, interactive writing, and assessment. 

In truth, Stacey's post, above, it the essence of this class you have paid a lot of money to take! 
In truth, Stacey's post is why I will be trying to write every day during the March Slice of Life Challenge. 
In truth, it's why you need to write to be an effective teacher of writing!


Thursday, February 15, 2018

How do you solve a problem like violence?

Long ago, when I was a student,
There were concerns,
The news included death counts,
A war was dividing families,
Protests littered the news,
However, we felt safe
In our schools.

After decades in education,
There are more concerns,
Than ever before,
The news includes threats,
Shootings, death counts,
Violence is infiltrating
Not only our society,
But also our schools. .
It's devastating families,
Taking our future leaders,,
In spite of brave teachers,
Security personnel,
Lock-out, lock-in, drills,
We need to find ways
To assure our students 
Are safe.

I'm pretty sure armed teachers
Are not the solution,
I'm pretty sure armed students
Will not fix this,
I'm pretty sure political barbs,
Will not solve this problem.
Perhaps we should look 
At other countries?
At models of what we want to be?
At ourselves?


Image result for one year old cakeToday, the third of my four miracles morphs from a "baby" into an official, one-year-old.

He's toddling around, but he knows crawling is faster.  As I watch him move, I am hopeful that he will always focus on doing what is best for him.

He's can stand his ground with puppy dogs, his brother, and other children. As I watch him go quietly for the car/truck left behind, I am hopeful he will always be able with stand his ground and do what is right, for him.

He's a bundle of eager anticipation for life.  He eats, sleeps, smiles, and embraces all opportunities for hugs as if THIS was his job!  I'm hopeful he will always live life fully and focus on opportunities for happiness.

On a day when we have every reason to focus on what is not-so-good in our world, I'm hopeful this little one is making and will continue to make our world a better place. 

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

#sol2018 February 13 Heatless

Heatless is an adjective describing a lack of warmth.  It also describes my house these days.  It's not a hopeless situation nor am I homeless!  It's not a happy situation, though.  Seriously, I am hopeful that heroes from the home heating company where I have a heating contract will help the situation out at my home so that I can have heat! !  

Yet, my situation is a "first world" kind of problem. I have a roof over my head protecting me from the rain and walls protecting me from the wind. I have plenty of  electricity, a gas stove, and mild weather working with me!  I have long underwear, wool socks and fuzzy bathrobes helping me!  I have homemade chicken soup specialty teas to warm my insides.  And, any moment, the heat repair people will be here!  

Heatless is a thin slice of my life; however, it's a reminder to keep those who do without all the time in our thoughts and prayers.

PS I am now heated!


Saturday, February 10, 2018


I read bits of the NY Times every day!  I'm partial to the Education section (not too surprising after decades in education). A recent article about Yale University's, Psychology of the Good Life, captured my attention. One fourth of the student body has enrolled in this class! ONE PROFESSOR has 1200 students. So many smart, young people WANT to know how they can be happy?

Fortunately, there have been many, many happy moments in my life, such as: 

  • When a snuggly infant melts into your body as they drift into sleep.
  • When the sun rises over the horizon as the beach laps at my toes.
  • When the sun sets over the hills after hanging onto a summer evening
  • When a struggling reader pulls together the strategies and takes off.
  • When family gathers to banter, eat and make memories
Some happy moments become happy memories.
  • When a new life enters our world.
  • When a loved one, scores, achieves, creates, celebrates. 
  • When family members,no longer with us, gathered to celebrate.
  • When R.L (a former administrator) played Happy into school speakers creating a community that crooned, "Cause I'm happy!"     

I've been thinking about my own happiness and wondering what I would teach?  I'm pretty sure happiness is about moments rather than years.  I'm pretty sure happiness is about people rather than things.  I'm pretty sure happiness is a sensory experience that triggers a mind-body reaction! 

What do you think?

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

An extra lesson kind of day

We walked to the auditorium, quietly, a long line of colleagues.  We wore matching shirts, proudly, emblazoned with our logo.  We stood, solemnly, to make a stance.  We listened, politely, to the beginning of the meeting.  We watched, proudly, our spokesperson deliver a message of solidarity.  We showed our pride, enthusiastically, after our spokesperson finished.  We left, peacefully, leaving the scent of our message.  We drove home, to grade papers, fold laundry, write lesson plans, load dishwashers, collect materials for mini lessons, pay bills, begin report cards, pack lunches, answer emails, and work in our Google Classrooms.  We crawled into bed later than usual having fit an extra "civics" lesson into our day! 

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Where do I go?

I was up at the crack of dawn to take on the world! I had my affairs in order and a "nobody can stop me" attitude.  And then, I pulled into the bank parking lot, noting it was surprisingly empty!  I praised myself for my "good timing" and the promise of a "no wait" visit before I headed for the door of the dark and empty bank!  Staring me in the face was the sign, "We've moved."  

"To where," I thought out loud!  There was no new address or phone number!  I had been in this very bank just 5 weeks ago and nobody said they were moving!  I did what any 21st Century Smart Phone owner would do: I searched for this "new" bank! However, I could not find another bank with the same name nearby!  The nearest one was 26 miles away!

So, I headed to bank #2, where my plan was to also close out a small, no longer used account! Sometimes, truth is stranger than fiction.  I could not have possibly imagined this scenario as I turned the corner and saw 5 fire trucks with ladders drawn, "green" coated firemen and women directing traffic away from MY bank, and enough police to prevent a bank robbery from ever happening! I'm pretty sure this "old" bank branch will close after this assault of water and firemen! 

As I drove to a safe place to "Google" other branches of this bank, I thought of the tough lot of so many "smaller" banks in recent years.  They have been gobbled up by bigger banks, had their names changed, and sometimes moved without warning (or after events that are out of their control.  In some ways, I guess this is just the way "progress" works in the business world; however, there is a bit of sadness as smaller banks disappear and bigger banks mushroom into even bigger institutions!  Perhaps, I pondered, ever the educator, that is why so many smaller districts, would like to keep their smaller, community focused identity?  It may not be the best for "progress" or "business"; but, there is something nice about community that will be missed! 

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Let it go

"Let it go," she crooned  as if the toddler already knew what some of us spend a lifetime trying to figure out!

"Let it go,"she continued,"Can't hold it back anymore!"
"Let it go, let it go, turn my back and slam that door!" she finished confidently as if she'd just been cast for the toddler spin-off of Frozen!

 My mind wandered a bit thinking of the small, medium, and big stresses we all face as we trek through life.  There are lesson plans, reader responses, tests, illnesses, new jobs, money issues, and so much more! 

Some big stresses we HAVE to deal with (serious illness, paying bills); however, many of the other ones, we can: let goPiles of dishes in the sink?  Let it go...  Heaps of laundry waiting to be put away? Let it go... Mud/dog hair/dust bunnies on the rug?  Let it go... Lousy drivers cutting you off ?  Let it go?.... Reader responses piling up in your dreams?  Let it go, let it go, let it go!

I am not a fan of SOME of the lyrics such as, "Be the good girl you always have to be;" however, : the message to let go of all the little and medium-sized "stuff" that we all have to deal with on a day-to-day-basis  is an importnat one!