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Showing posts from June, 2011

Feathers in my Brain

June 28


Feathers in my Brain
(inspired by Jack, Mrs. Stretchberry,
and, of course, Ms. Sharon Creech)


I was in a funk.
My brain hurt.
Twitter overload,
I think.
I need an escape.

"In my head are so many
bells and buzzes and yips
all jingling and clanking around
bumping into each other.
Very noisy in my head."

Then . . .
to relieve me from
this stress and chaos
I picked up a book to take me
on a journey.

Hate That Cat
by Sharon Creech
was the perfect
quick
and
e  a  s  y
read
before the girls
woke up
from a nap.

I fell in love
with Jack again as
"he writes about . . .
the small ordinary moments
that you don't notice
until you read his poems."

My head was clear.
The funk had lifted and
I was feeling revived:
"I felt like there
were feathers
in my brain."
I was itching to write.

Love a good book
like I love to teach
I said I love a good book
like I love to teach
Love to read when I'm in a funk
love to say
"Thank you, Sharon Creech!"


[Words in italics are q…

Twitter Dilemma

I'm a very organized person.  I have my piles, but I have organized piles.  But I'm running into some organization issues this week.  You see, I've been blogging for almost six months. I have blogs and awesome educators and writers that I follow daily, reading posts, thinking, reflecting, and commenting if I feel the need to respond.  That's all been manageable.

This week I joined millions of other world wide users:  I'm on Twitter.  Many have referred to it as microblogging.  You receive a snippet of information (140 characters or less) and usually a link to read more.  I really do love it and understand now why so many people utilize this social networking service to deepen and extend their knowledge.  I've made many new connections and I'm learning more each day. I realize that those "voices" out there have great ideas, books, and strategies to share and they are really just like me:  a teacher who wants to make a difference.

So, my dilemma:  I…

SOLS: Summer is . . .

Summer is . . . inspired by Ruth's SOLS from last week.



Summer is . . .
a no-set-schedule kind of day
     To the zoo?  To the park?  To the pool?  To the library. (Air conditioning!)

Summer is . . .
uninterrupted time with family and friends
     without stress about checking off items on the to do list

Summer is . . .
an excuse to tell myself I can do "that" tomorrow
     whatever "that" might be today

Summer is . . .
a time to clean out and reorganize
     those closets and cupboards that so easily manage to get cluttered

Summer is . . .
wishing for cooler nights on the screened in porch
     with a cold drink in hand, sipping slowly to keep the lips moist

Summer is . . . a lack of worry that I'm staying up too late reading or writing
     because there is time to sleep in a few extra minutes in the morning

Summer is . . .
numerous opportunities to rest and relax
     with my eyelids closed softly, listening to the sounds of the neighborhood

Summer is . .…

Tweeter Twitter Tweeterific

Part of my mission when I jumped into this blogging world was to become active in the online community of educators that have so much to offer and share.  On the Stenhouse blog, I listened to a podcast that described a Personal Learning Network (PLN) as your own personal teacher's lounge with great educators and colleagues that you have hand selected: to be inspired, to be challenged, to learn from each other, to grow together, and that have experience, enthusiasm, and great ideas to share!


That is one reason why I started writing my own blog.  My initial goal for the blog was to share powerful lessons and creative learning opportunities with students.  I'm doing a little of that, but I've really taken ideas shared by others and created my own writing journal to practice my writer's craft so that I can better teach my students.  All thanks to the Two Writing Teachers and their supportive community of writers!  In just a few short months after I started blogging, I learn…

Revolution for the Tested: Found Poem

I love when I stumble upon words that speak to me.  Months ago, I stumbled on the Two Writing Teachers blog.  Ruth's words spoke loud and clear:  Stop waiting and start a blog!  And look where I am today.  
photo © 2007 Gisela Giardino | more info (via: Wylio)


No, I'm not on the beach drawing in the sand.  (I could only wish.)  But today I am in love with writing and blogging!  So through my searching and browsing the many blogs I follow, look what I found!  I happened to stumble upon this on the sidebar of the Catching Readers blog.  True inspiration for both kids and adults!  Thank you Kate!


Revolution for the Tested Copyright 2010 ~ Kate Messner

Write.

But don’t write what they tell you to.
Don’t write formulaic paragraphs
Counting sentences as you go
Three-four-five-Done.
Put your pencil down.

Don’t write to fill in lines.
For a weary scorer earning minimum wage
Handing out points for main ideas
Supported by examples
From the carefully selected text.

Write for yourself.
Write b…

Where Will We Catch You Reading?

A few weeks ago, I shared an awesome prezi that my colleague, Chris, created.  Well, we just knew we had to share it at school to motivate our students to read this summer.

Our school day starts off with a morning broadcast.  A team of fifth grade students and our awesome LRC teacher work together to share daily school news updates, reminders, birthday announcements, and occasionally, they also introduce guest anchors.  Chris and I have become part of the news "family" and are quite comfortable going on the broadcast  -- even though their budget doesn't include hair and makeup.  

Time to reach all the students and teachers.  The last week of school, we made yet another debut on the news.  We shared the prezi.  We promoted summertime reading.  We suggested fun places to read.  We encouraged everyone to take a picture.

To spark some creative thinking, we also created a bulletin board asking: Where will you read this summer?  We enticed many of our small group work student…

Why Not Write?

Why Not Write?

The writing challenge made me more aware more attuned more in sync with my world happening around me.
I filled up my writer's notebook an idea here a meandering thought there a playful list a captured memory.
What's holding me back now? My only excuse is life. It continues on as I try to keep up with every day tasks. And I forget to be in the moment.
Life happens at an ever-increasing rate. Never slowing or stopping. Never taking a deep breath. Always on the go like a never ending merry-go-round.
I must make the time to sow the seeds of life into ideas that blossom into stories to share, moments to remember forever.
Writing brings me joy and peace as a mother, as a teacher, and as a writer. I will stop to smell the roses, close my eyes and breathe deep the scent of goodness and life.
I must discover the small moments again play with the words and build ideas into a piece worth sharing. Life and time: Two of God's greatest gifts to {Discover. Play. Build.}

What's My Excuse?

photo © 2010 john.schultz | more info (via: Wylio)

Fear is (almost) gone.
But I have . . . Priorities Kids Students Responsibilities To do lists Running Laundry Cleaning Dishes More laundry Playing Laughing Reading Dinner Responding Shopping Garbage Bills Errands
Oh. Me? I come last. Time goes by. Life goes on.
What to write? What could I possibly share? I dunno.  <sigh>  What did I do today?
Wait.        Wait.             Wait.
Oh!  I have an idea -- Nah. Maybe something will come to me tomorrow.
What's your excuse for not writing today?
Check out Ruth's inspiration at the TWT blog: {Discover. Play. Build.} She gives us permission to be free of our excuses and just write!  Thanks Ruth!

Run Like a Fifth Grader

I did it.  We did it.  It was as much about me as it was about them.  I mean, I only started running six weeks ago.  And I'm not a runner.

It may have been Elizabeth sharing her Run Like a Mother attitude.  It may have been my husband encouraging me to push a little farther every time we ran together.   More than likely, it was signing up to be a running buddy for a fifth grader for a 5K in Chicago.  I had to think I could be a runner.

I talked with my running buddy a few weeks ago.  So, are you a runner?  Yes.  Are you a fast runner?  Yes.  Promise you'll help me out?  Yes.  (Giggle.) 

Our school participates in a powerful program with our fifth grade girls.  Girls on the Run encourages girls to take control of their health and body and builds self-confidence and self-respect through running.  Girls on the Run culminates at the end of the school year with the girls running a 5K.

The day arrived.  It was June in Chicago: hot, sticky, and humid.

I think we were all a bit nervo…

Book Recommendations: Inspiration for Aspiration

How are we going to get better at reading?  Yes, by reading and reading more! 

As a reading teacher, I'm always encouraging students to read:  Find an author you love and read all her books.  How about a series that intrigues you?  Read the whole set!  I dibble and dabble and share various titles and some of my old favorites.

But lately, I'm feeling a bit defeated.  Deflated.  De--not-so-sure about all those great books to share.

My fellow reading teacher, Chris, is a master chef when she's cookin' with books.  I want to 'grow up' to be just like her.  You know the type:  the "Netflix" guru of children's books.  She knows titles.  She knows authors.  She knows the first book, the sequel, the prequel, and any books in between.  She can retrieve all that information in a click of a button.  If you liked that, try this.  Have you seen this one? What about that?  You'll love it.  This is a good fit book for you.  She's a know-it-all when it …