Saturday, April 14, 2018

#celebratelu This time, it's not snow.

We're outside
Rain, snow, sleet,
Before the start of school
Holding placards,
Saying good morning
To parents and students.

This Friday morning
We were met with gentle
White flakes
Sticking to the trees!
Making teachers smile!
 Even without a contract!
This time, it is not snow.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Can't take it with you.

I used to read, write, and sew in my spare time.  In fact, when my grandchildren were on the horizon, I dreamed of creating clothes worthy of  Jacadi or Dolce and Gabbana  but instead, my spare moments and my table have been consumed by estates!

I've sold stocks, consolidated accounts,  created spreadsheets, paid taxes (including taxes that I never heard of before). I've learned enough about the ins and outs to not only write a book but to also do this as a retirement job!

I'm sure there will be surprises uncovered as you handle most estates and I'm confident that those who have left this world would be shocked at the way estates dissipate during processing.

Most importantly, I have learned that as hard as you might try, you can't take it with you! You can accumulate, invest, and save, but the government and legal system sees what you left will wants an appropriate piece of your pie!

Drink that Starbucks in the morning (if that is what turns you on).
Travel to distant places and explore the world (if that is what turns you on)
Go out to eat a little more frequently (if that is what makes you happy).
Buy yourself flowers, just because (if that is what makes you happy).
Buy the shoes or that shirt or that jacket (if that is what makes you happy).
Spend generously on those you love and care about (while you can).
I guess you can take your credit cards and your checkbooks (but you can't use them).
I promise you can't take your savings nor your investments with you!

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

#sol18 SPRING Semester

In these parts,
Everybody is complaining
Protracted the winter weather
It has persisted into what should be 
Spring Weather.

Yet, as someone who has lived
The college semester system
For many, many years,
I think Mother Nature
Is just confused because 
She's back in school,
Stressed and working late for an 
Advanced Degree!  

For colleges, universities,
Spring Semester
Starts in the dead of winter
It's dark when grad school starts
We are assured of slick drives home
In weather that is not really 
Yet, the Spring Semester
Ends with flip-flops
Nights when it is too lovely 
To go to class!  

Yet, this weekend,
In spite of the cold,
I saw certain signs
That made me sure
Those days when it's too lovely
To go to class,
Are closer than you might think
When you wake up to snow.  

I sure hope someone
Reminds Mother Nature
You have to keep up the day joh
When you go back to grad school!

Friday, April 6, 2018

Writing Assessment

Dear Grad Students,

SO, on a snowy-spring break morning, I found this really interesting link to a writing assessment from the state of Oregon's Literacy Framework.

It's a 70 page document about K-12 writing assessment with focuses on formative and summative assessments from multiple data sources. 

One of the interesting ideas in this document is that
"unlike reading assessments that have been clearly designed for four specific purposes – to screen students for reading difficulties, to monitor students’ progress toward the achievement of grade-level reading goals, to diagnose specific reading difficulties for the purposes of developing and implementing individualized interventions, and to determine whether or not students have met grade-level reading goals – the distinction between types of available writing assessments is not as clear. "

You should really check out this assessment because we are going to be looking at it in class! 

See you soon!

Thursday, April 5, 2018

April is Poetry Month: Why poetry?

Yesterday would have been Maya Angelou's 90th birthday.  I think we can all agree her writing and in particular, her poetry, has influenced all of us.  In the many links posted in her honor, I came across this short video of Maya explaining the power of writing poetry.  Perhaps Maya Angelou's most passionate argument in favor of our students writing poetry is the need for concise writing!

I smiled at the both practical and logistical need to write in a concise manner in this busy world where Twitter characters are important glimpses into ideas and news. I remembered an article I read last summer.  I also thought about the power of learning to write poetry in my own life thanks to Two Writing Teachers and their Slice of Life Sharing!   I thought of ALL the copies of Shel Silverstein books students have worn out over the years.  

I am sure reading and writing poetry are important for language development and creativity.

I am sure writing and reading poetry are important for vocabulary development and critical thinking.

I wonder how we can assure reading and writing poetry are part of what we encourage?

I wonder how we can assure writing and reading poetry are part of every month, not just April.

Poetry Matters! 

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

#sol18 Living in the present

On Sunday, 
Eggs were nestled in the grass
Waiting to be found.
A neighborhood rabbit 
Stopped by with candy
A small bit of sand,
Washed from under the patio
Captured the imaginations
Provided enjoyment
Filled trucks with sand.

I thought of the week's sadness
I reflected on the holiday
I wondered how I could be so lucky
I pushed away my sad feelings
I forgot all the work awaiting me
I remembered my OWL
I focused on the moment
As I watched them dig

Do not grieve over the past
Do not be troubled about the future
Live in the present
Make it worth remembering.
  Ida Scott Taylor.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

#celebratelu Kindergarten Magic

I haven't joined this celebration in a while; however, "empowered" by March SOL and "inspired" by events in the kindergarten hallway last Thursday, I HAVE to come back!

I knew something special was happening when a one of our kindergarten teachers told me I had to stop by and visit her student's classroom library! I noticed quite a pile of obviously student-created stapled-paper books in the block corner, and to be honest, I could hardly wait to visit!  I grabbed my phone/camera on my way back down the hall; however, the magic in that room on the eve of spring break

"It's just like you write about on your blog," the proud teacher smiled, "writing for real meaningful purposes!"

I skipped back to my room knowing Lucy, Donald and the writing gurus were proud as well.

So on this first day of April, I celebrate teachers, like my colleague, who fosters reading, writing, and creativity in their classrooms while encouraging students to use their emerging knowledge of print to create their own versions of their world.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

#sol18 March 31 Looking forward

So, we're at the finish line,
End of this chapter,
End of this Writing Challenge
I'm a little sad it's over.
Writing ever day really
Makes me notice
Small moments in my day
Helps me remember
Wonderful times,
Helps me process
Sadness, difficult moments.

But, I'm a grateful
For the hour I'll gain,
For a little more exercise,
For this new chapter.
I'll be writing on Tuesdays,
Noticing, remembering, processing
My students, my family,
My life,
Empowered by this challenge
Looking forward.

**Please know I am very grateful for Stacey
and the SOL team for managing this amazing challenge.
NEXT year, sign me up to help!

Friday, March 30, 2018

#sol18 March 30 Many a Good Friday

I spent a few Good Fridays sleeping in, grateful for a day off from school!
Certainly, there were seasons where sleep seemed to be what I needed most. I'm not sure I reflected much in those days.
I spent a few Good Fridays finishing matching ruffled Easter dresses.
Surely, those little girls looked cute when I finished racing that sewing machine to the finish line.  I suspect I was so busy I had no time to reflect before I started cooking!
I spent a few Good Fridays doing the pedicure thing with my mom.
Certainly it was stressful to get here there, but she appreciated perfect toes even if they were hidden! She always picked a light pink color that would "last longer!"
I spent a few Good Fridays walking the High Line, visiting the orchids, and celebrating at St. Patrick's Cathedral. 
They were inspiring and uplifting days of walking, talking and loving.  I'll always remember them fondly.
I've spent a few Good Fridays missing those no longer with us.
Memories bubble over when you step off that treadmill of life and reflect.
I've spent many a Good Friday thinking, reflecting, praying, and grateful for this journey and for those on the journey with me.  
That is my plan for today.  

Thursday, March 29, 2018

#sol18 March 29 When Are You Coming?

"I haven't seen you in forever," he commented when we saw each other in the hallway.  "When are you coming to get me?"

He was clearly doing the slow-route-back-to-class-from -bathroom-visiting-studying-every bulletin-board-grate-and dust-bunny. I had not seen him in two days thanks to class play dress rehearsal and the day of production, but it certainly had not been forever!

"I'll see you tomorrow," I added cheerfully, "don't worry."

"Promise?" he asked.

"Oh, I just remembered.  I won't be here tomorrow," he smiled.

"Why not?" I asked wondering if he was serious or just kidding.

"I'm leaving for vacation on Friday," he smiled. "I'm going to Connecticut."

"Tomorrow's Thursday," I smiled, "so we can read together tomorrow."

"Unless I'm not here," he added.

"I sure hope you are here, tomorrow," I smiled as we parted ways and he resumed his hallway reading.

Sometimes, interruptions like class plays happen; however, my students often find ways to cope by hallway reading until we meet again. 

PS He was there on Thursday!