Monthly Archives: October 2015

SOL- More Than I Thought


More Than I Thought

October 27, 2015

Fortunately, my school is having two classes at each grade level pilot the TCRWP units of study,

Unfortunately, I did not get training (only two from the ES did),

Fortunately, I get to be in the pilot group,

Unfortunately, the resources did not arrive before the school year started,

Fortunately, we have a new ELA coach who is such a hard worker,

Unfortunately, not all the teachers are loving the units as much as I am,

Fortunately, I am seeing amazing growth in my students,

Unfortunately, I never feel there is enough time,

Fortunately, the students are working harder than I could have imagined,

Unfortunately, so am I- there is lots of prep work to get ready for each day,

Fortunately, I am lucky to collaborate with an amazing EAL teacher,

Unfortunately, she is only in our room part-time,

Fortunately, we love our jobs!

I am taking today’s quote about whatever I write being better than nothing and going with it today- sorry!

SOL- Custom Made


October 20, 2015

Custom Made

One week ago I missed the deadline for posting my SOL, even though I had it written- my excuse is the wifi where I was staying was in and out and after writing and “posting” the error message was too much for me to deal with, so what follows is my revision of what should have been last week’s post.


I know I am so lucky. For much of my adult life I have lived all over the world and I have had the opportunity to travel to so many amazing places (I will leave all the negatives about this rootlessness for another day). This week (now last week) I am enjoying exploring a bit of Thailand.

I decided it was time for my first ever solo vacation, so started small. I spend two days walking in Chiang Mai and I could not have picked a better entree into solo travel. The city is manageable, with surprises everywhere you turn- from fancy temples to outdoor markets galore. The people were friendly and I always felt safe. My hotel was a splurge and I really enjoyed the ambience. A rainy morning was spent reading in the outdoor living room.

After time on my own I was ready to join a friend and two of her friends in the hubbub of Bangkok. We meandered a bit and then hopped in two tuk tuks, to get around the city a bit faster. We had several places we wanted to see and our driver insisted that we take a peek at the fashion show.

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Little did we know, that this was a deal the tailors had worked out to get customers to their shop in exchange for gas coupons. As we were interested in perhaps getting some clothing made we took a look. Three of the four of us decided we were not interested, but the last was the dream come true for this bustling shop. She decided to get two suits made (which “came with” two shirts as well. After having every possible part measured we were out the door, set to return the next afternoon for a fitting. We were off for more sightseeing. The next day we embarked on a walking/tuk tuk tour of many famous sights of the city and even got to explore some of the canals. After returning to the shop for a final fitting we all liked what we saw.

Just before dinner I decided to see if it was too late to get some clothes made for myself (we were leaving town the next morning). There were sevearl shops on the same street as our hotel, so off I went. The first shop said anything was possible and quoted me a price for two blouses, the second said the timing was too tight. The third was a shop that my friend had used before- he too said it was possible. I got measured carefully in both shops after choosing the fabric. In one shop I found a picture of a shirt I liked, but I made changes to the design to suit my taste. I would return in just over two hours  for a fitting (while I was still being measured a man came in with a motorcycle helmet in hand- it turns out that he was the courier to take my fabric to the factory). In teh other shop he promised to open his shop early in the morning to meet me with the finished shirts before our 8:20 departure. As it happens all the shirts fit perfectly and I will get to wear one of them tomorrow.

From Bangkok we were headed to the beaches of Krabi. (This is where last week’s post would have ended). This week long break was just what I needed after weeks of haze in Malaysia. Looking back there is not a thing I would have changed- it was a good blend of quiet and active, alone and together, adventure and calm. Each place is one I would happily visit again and the memories are sustaining me as I struggle on in the haze. This was definitely a situation of being in the right place at the right time. It was just the right fit for me!

Parent Teacher Conferences


Parent Teacher Conferences

October 6, 2015

Have I mentioned I love my class this year? I have 17 students from all over the world and together they are such a fun learning community. Today and tomorrow I have the chance to talk to at least one parent from each family as we have our first conferences of the year. In my previous school we held “getting to know you” conferences in the first two weeks of school and the conference at this point in the year was a chance to share a progress report and a portfolio in progress. At this school, this is the first conference of the year and this year a decision was made (not by me) that the students in third grade would not attend. Although I really missed having the students involved today their imprint was everywhere. Lots of what I shared were their reflections and self-assessments on their work so far. Each of the students set goals that they would like to achieve in the first half of the school year. I shared a first day of school writing and we compared it to their published piece from last week. The students’ voices were there in their small moments. The growth was incredible. As we looked over a recent math assessment parents also had a chance to look over their child’s take on what they have learned in this unit and what they still need to practice. In reading the parents examined what the students feel they are doing well and what they feel they still need to practice. We looked at the ways we respond to what they read and discussed the new unit ahead. I got to hear about what parts of school come home in daily conversations and what parts of school the students keep to themselves. I got to hear about our community reflected through their child’s eyes. I got to hear what the students find challenging at home and what seems to really inspire them. I love this time helping parents to see glimpses into their child’s daily life- as one dad noted he sees his child for no more than an hour a day during the week. I also love learning more about what their home life is like and the connections they are making to their learning at home. I wish we had more opportunities to come together like this, to learn from each other. These kids teach me every day and it is great fun to share their learning with their parents. Tomorrow I conference with the remaining parents, then we have two more days of school before our October break. Already I can feel that the year is going too quickly- these conference days remind me to celebrate the everyday learning and share, share, share.