Monthly Archives: May 2015

SOL- May 26, 2015 Thinking About Summer Slide


SOL May 26, 2015

Thinking About Summer Slide

With 7 1/2 school days left my mind is naturally drifting toward summer. Last summer I was moving across the world, so I felt like I had little summer. School got out at the end of June then I had two weeks to get my apartment and life ship shape before moving thousands of miles away. Once I landed here I was immediately on the treadmill of finding a new place to live, getting phone service, etc before new teacher inservice started.

This summer I am here in Malaysia until July 2 because of Malaysian tax law, so my summer is starting a bit quietly. Once school ends on June 5th I will be working at summer school for three weeks. It is only half days (and the pay is great), so I think it will ease me into summer. I am leading two sessions a day of “Books, Books, Books”, one for 1st and 2nd graders and the other for 3rd-5th graders. My hope is that the first week I do not do any extra “school work”, but that in weeks two and three I give myself permission to do little bits of organizing (mostly in my brain and Google Drive). Then I will be off to the US for three weeks where I will visit with family and friends, attend nErDCamp, and possibly two other literacy oriented conferences.

The thing I love best about summer is time. Of course, I will read more (and share thanks to Donalyn Miller’s #bookaday. I will also participate in #cyberpd (and can’t wait to hear what the book choice is for this summer). I have a book stack so high I may never get through it, but that is one of the perks of summer- I might! I plan to do lots more writing (thanks to Kate Messner’s Teachers Write). I will also add to resources I have started collecting in my first year at a new school. I love time to look at new sites, apps, and assorted other resources. I will also have time to do NOTHING. I will happily watch the world go by and not wear a watch all summer long. I will have time for more walks, more conversation, more daydreaming.

This last week and a half before school ends, I am also thinking of summer slide for my students. I know they have exciting summers planned as well. Before school ends, we will share detailed reading plans (we make posters of the with who, what, where, when, why, and how of summer reading. Next week we will have a book swap. Our blogs will be open all summer and we will continue to write our weekly “It’s Monday, What Are You Reading?” Padlet to inspire each other. I have also put together a SQWORL of websites for summer fun and learning together for the students in case they need more ideas. I remember when my own kids were young we used to set aside about 30 minutes each day where we had “school” and they would read, write, practice math skills, and generally work on what they chose. I know it is important for kids to keep skills “sharp”, but I also wish for them a summer full of slide- where they can relax and do all the things they love that so many of them do not have the time for during the busy school year. I wish them lazy days, late nights, secret plans, and memories made.

It is almost summer for us and we are ready!

SOL- May 19, 2015 Same, Same But Different


Same, Same But Different

As I get ready to finish up my first year I am busily reflecting on how it has all gone. Every year is brand new for me as a teacher and this is part of what I love about this job. This year has been filled with change, but some things have stayed the same. The big similarity I am noticing is that kids are kids, wherever you go. Sure these kids are individuals and no two are the same, but I enjoy noticing behaviors, interests, styles, language patterns, strengths, challenges, and more that remind me of other students from other years.

Some things I want to remember for next year are (no particular order):

  • community is key- we spent lots of time this year building community and it matters!
  • awareness- I started playing around with mindfulness this year and look forward to using it more in our class next year
  • change- my one little word has kept me thinking about what I want to keep and what I want to change- I like this focus
  • welcoming- it is true everywhere, but I need to remember to keep an open mind and welcome new ideas
  • best practice- I need to make sure that I am doing what I consider best practice (or really have a good reason that I am not)
  • balance- the first year in a new school is not always a good one for balance- I am hoping next year will be better for this
  • choose wisely- I want to be more thoughtful about what I take on, so that I can do more better
  • celebrate success- sometimes in the hustle and bustle this gets forgotten
  • research- I like trying out new ideas and researching first hand ( I have written in the past about my students being great guinea pigs)
  • collaboration- this is something I enjoy and need to do more often
  • learning is a lot about love- everyone learns more this way
  • perspective- there are many ways and no one right way (usually)
  • books, books, books- all of the above relate to books in my mind- they really form the foundation of much of what is the most important to me (and really help distract me when I need to be doing something else)

In the next 2 1/2 weeks as we finish out the year I am going to try to add on to my list and make it more specific. This will give me some of my summer “homework” as I reflect on how to make the next year better…

teaching third grade

SOL- May 12, 2015 ‘Tis the Season


May 12, 2015

‘Tis the Season

‘Tis the season for reporting,

Fa la la la la la la la la,

Don we now our reading glasses,

Fa la la la la la la la la

Testing, checking, and comparing,

Fa la la la la la la la la

O’er the weekends we are writing,

Fa la la la la la la la la

Only three more weeks to go now,

Fa la la la la la la la la

Home life now is surely suffering,

Fa la la la la la la la la

Will we get it done we wonder?

Fa la la la la la la la la

Lucky that we love our students!

Fa la la la la la la la la

Happy last weeks to all and to all a great end!

SOL- May 5, 2015- The Many Ways of Love


May 5, 2015

The Many Ways of Love

I had a huge shock this week as one of my two cats was suddenly quite sick. Berlin and his sister Pele have been with me since they were adorable kittens 12 1/2 years ago.

 At his base he is a cat who thinks he is a dog- he runs to greet anyone at the door and demands to be noticed and loved- and really, who could not love this huge black and white giant with the loud purr. He is often not what you would expect – he can chase after a twist tie like it is a wild mouse and bring it back to you to play again.  Alternatively he will gently head-butt you when he feels he is being ignored. Bare legs send him into a tizzy and he can not resist a (sort of) gentle nip. He seems to really prefer the hairy legs of my sons.

When he was a kitten I had to childproof the kitchen for him (something I never had to do before, even when my two sons were young). I had to put locks on the floor level cabinets because if I did not I would come home to all of the food from inside the cabinets in a pile on the floor and Berlin proudly sitting in the cupboard. Watching him I was impressed with his dexterity- he would stand on his hind legs and hook the cabinet door with a front paw to swing the door open. He was not really after the food- just the space. He has always liked confined spaces. He could often be found in a clothes closet (left closed) perched on a pile of clean clothes, just snuggled in.

He has great chase instincts and takes great pleasure in running after mops, sheets as you try to make the bed, or anything else moving. e is also a nature lover- clicking madly at birds he sees, nibbling on stray bugs that wander in his path, and chasing moths and bees with glee.

Berlin is a people person and while he does not stay still on laps for long, he likes to be where the people are. He also has a fondness for water and has been known to jump in showers or baths before the original occupant is finished. Berlin is also a climber and being an indoor cat did not keep him from having fun. He was often on the top of high cupboards just enjoying the view. Berlin is a sun worshipper and will climb in the gap in the curtains to get to the most sun.

In some ways Berlin is also like a typical cat- he has to be the one to come to you and he plays hard to get sometimes, but he can always be lured with a rub under the chin or the promise of a brush and he is patient with nail clipping.

To see him suddenly so sick is heart breaking- he is so quiet, and while he still wants to be nearby he is most often sleeping in his carrier crate, which seems to give him comfort. He is not able to run and chase and his poor sister is confused, but supportive and is giving him his space. He does not like taking the pills that he must now twice daily, but he does not hold a grudge- he is steady in his love and patient as he sits and watches the small world from where he is lying. It is ironic that a cat so filled with love now has a heart that is failing him. I hope that however many last days he has, he can feel the love coming back to him