Tuesday, August 30, 2011

SOLS: One Day in My Life

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SOLS:  One Day in My Life

Up before daylight breaks
morning exercise (or snooze)
Hop in 'n out of the shower
dressed and ready to go
Rise and shine girls
two more primed for the day
Breakfast next 
then time to play
Pack up the car
zip to Miss Kate's
Drop off quick
blowing kisses goodbye.

Race to school
mind spinning
with a long list of to-do's
Morning meetings
colleague chats
Teaching kids
reading, writing
reflecting, thinking
all day

School's out
evening fast approaching
Rushing home
to see the girls
Kisses, hugs, and love
comfy clothes change

Prepare, mix, and make
dinner on the table
Dishes to do
lunches to make
Toys to pick up
laundry to start
Library books to return
library books to pick up
Laundry washer to dryer
Bills to pay
emails to respond to
Twitter to check
blogs to browse
Laundry to fold

time for just 

Books to read

e  y  e  s


And I wouldn't change
one day in my life.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

SOLS: Just Go

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I was holding one in my arms and the other slowly walking beside me up to the door.  It was day three of visiting the day care.  Just thirty minutes of observing.  Allowing time for the girls to adjust, to feel more comfortable, to make the transition easier.

Who am I kidding?  The visits were more for me.  I needed to observe.  I needed to adjust, to feel more comfortable, to make my transition easier.  I'm not feeling it.

It's hard to trust someone that you are suppose to trust, but you don't really know.

I opened the door and we walked into Miss K's home.  One clutching my chest, the other suction cupped to my leg.

The worry in their eyes.  The tears started to fall.  And not from me.  Yet.

Miss K mumbled something under her breath.

"What's that?" I asked, not really knowing the routine, still trying to scoot inside and close the door.

"Just go."  Miss K said matter-of-factly.

"Just go?" I whispered.

"Yeah, why don't you just go?  Then the girls will know that when they come here, you will not be staying."

"Just go." I had to tell myself again out loud.

She pried one from my leg. The crying.  She released the suction from the one on my leg.
The screaming.  She turned me around and nudged me out the door.

"Just go."

I walked away hearing their screams.  Oh God.  What did I just do?  I trudged down the driveway back to my car where my mom was waiting.  She stared at me with a puzzled look.

"She told me just to go."  The tears began to drop like a water fall.

Thank goodness my mom was there to comfort me.  Her kind words.  Her knowledge and experience.  Her supportive advice.  The mocha frappe, her treat.

We picked up the girls a half an hour later.  They were calm, until they saw me.

"Momma!  Momma!"

We all survived. Looking back, I'm glad Miss K told me to just go.  And my mom was there.  Moms are always there when you need them the most.

Right girls?  Momma came back.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

SOLS: Ready or Not

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The buzzing chatter
Excitement over a new year
Refreshed and rejuvenated

Meetings begin
Classrooms unwrapped
My head already spinning with ideas

Exhausted -- early to bed
 Can't even keep my eyes open to read tonight
Asleep as fast as I can say --

"Is that the alarm already?"
Up bright and early for day two
A new day full of wonder

The possibilities
The opportunities
One child at a time

I'm ready.
Are you ready?
Ready or not, our students are!


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Picture Books: August 10 for 10

Check out other favorite 10 for 10 Picture Book Lists

I love picture books.  No, you don't understand. I really L.O.V.E. picture books!

It is an obsession . . .  to read, to borrow, to purchase, to savor, to share, to read again     . . .  and again . .  . and again.  I need them.  I want them.  I have to have them!

That is why I had to participate in this event!  Cathy and Mandy are hosting August 10 for 10: The second annual picture book event.  They suggested to pick the 10 picture books that I can't live without in my classroom and library.  This is quite an undertaking, but I've got my favorites to share -- as of now -- in no particular order. I'm sure this list will be amended as I learn and read and fall in love with other favorite picture books.

But for now -- 
[drum roll please]

These are my go-to books.  
My love-to-read-over-and-over books.  
My just-can't-live-without-them books! 

 Yo! Yes! by Chris Raschka

A fun, simple book about friendship.  I love using this book to discuss punctuation, size and color of text, and reading with expression.  A lot of emotion is placed on the simple one or two word interactions.  A great read along book for all ages!

The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear
by Don and Audrey Wood

The title says it all.  However, I love how the reader is invited into the story from the very beginning.  A conversation of sorts with the little mouse.  The illustrations are precious. What will the little mouse do to hide the red ripe strawberry from the big hungry bear?

Stellaluna and Verdi by Janell Cannon

Two stories of survival. One adorable fruit bat and one hip snake.  What can I say about these two favorite characters beside they have so much character!  Kids love the antics of Stellaluna -- living with birds and eating a grasshopper -- and Verdi -- a super 8 flip-a-roo.  I love the rich language and vocabulary sprinkled throughout each book.

Something Beautiful by Sharon Dennis Wyeth

What is your 'something beautiful'?  In this story, a girl is searching for her something beautiful because all she sees is ugliness in her neighborhood.  She knows that something beautiful is "when you have it, your heart is happy."  Great conversations had about this story and deep thinking about what is something beautiful to you.  What makes your heart happy?

Fly Away Home by Eve Bunting

First of all, choosing just one Eve Bunting book was difficult.  Again, another great read aloud that encourages great conversation.  A superb text that allows modeling multiple reading comprehension strategies.  This is a story about a father and son who are homeless.  It describes what life is like living in an airport.  Powerful story with the glimpse of hope.

Owl Moon by Jane Yolen

A sweet story about a father his daughter spending quiet time together in the woods in search of the Great Horned Owl.  The language, the vocabulary, the illustrations . . . all take my breath away.  I'm constantly suggesting to listen to that again and rereading, or look closely at this illustration.  A masterpiece!

Scaredy Squirrel series by Melanie Watt

Just look at that smile.  Who can resist such a sweet, innocent little scaredy squirrel?  I love this little creature, as do all my students!  We laugh at his phobias. We smirk at his silly ideas.  We crack up when his very detailed plans don't go as he carefully outlined them.  Enjoy them all:  Scaredy Squirrel, Scaredy Squirrel Makes a Friend, Scaredy Squirrel at the Beach, Scaredy Squirrel at Night, Scaredy Squirrel has a Birthday Party.

The OK Book by Amy Krouse Rosenthal

OK.  Turn your head to the left.  What does OK become?  A stick person!  The illustrations are simple, but it works for this book!  In this deliciously OK book, we learn that we are OK at a lot of things in life. And, well, it's OK.  But enjoy the journey and adventures. "One day, I'll grow up to be really excellent at something. I don't know what it is yet... but I sure am having fun figuring it out."

How Rocket Learned to Read by Tad Hills

A fun and adorable read!  A silly little puppy who gets hooked on reading when his teacher, a little yellow bird, stops reading at an enticing part of the story.  This little yellow bird teaches Rocket how to read using many of the strategies that our students use to learn how to read!

No One But You by Douglas Wood

A new title added to my collection this summer shared by author/teacher Patrick Allen on his blog, All-en-A-Day's Work.
Between the beautiful illustrations and the narrative text encouraging a child to take hold of the experiences in our every day lives.

I'm positive that as I peruse the other lists, I probably will notice that I've missed a couple of my favorite books.  Other titles that crossed my mind include: Beautiful Oops!, Press HereThis Plus That, Bark George, Yes Day, The Wednesday Surprise, Little Pea.  Can't wait to see what other titles are shared!  Amazon wish list?  Open.  Picture book budget?  Nope.  (Just teasing honey!)

Be sure to check out other favorite 10 for 10 picture books
On Twitter: #pb10for10

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

SOLS: Picture Book Frenzy

Check out more Slices of Life at the Two Writing Teachers

This summer I have been reading up a storm!  MG stories, YA novels, and picture books galore!  (Oh, and a couple PD books as well, and lots of tweets and blogs too.)

Picture books are amazing.  I guess if I could do something more in my life, I would love to be a picture book author.  What fun!  I never really thought about that before (let alone tell the whole world about it), but I may have to start a new writer's notebook:  Picture Books . . . by Me.  Maybe this will revive my writing drought.

So with all this reading, I wanted to invite you to participate in the August 10 for 10: The second annual picture book event hosted by Cathy at Reflect and Refine and Mandy at Enjoy and Embrace Learning.  You can either read the posts or add your own list and link!  The more, the merrier!  (And my picture book budget will be sucked dry before school even starts!)

What picture books could you not live 
without in your classroom and library?

I'll be posting my 10 for 10 list here tomorrow.  


Yes, I had to actually pick only ten!  

Only ten?  But . . .

Yes, ten.

The ten books that I adore.  
The ten go-to books.
The ten love-to-read-over-and-over books  
The ten have-to-have them books.

Will you join us?  (Or at least leave a donation so that I can purchase more books?)

Check out all the favorite picture books of many teachers, authors, bloggers, etc.:  
Twitter:  #pb10for10  

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

SOLS: I Need to... I Want to... I Will

Like I need a new challenge.
I want to do it, but . . . is it the right time?
Hmm . . . When is it ever a good time?  I will do it.

Yesterday, Ruth shared about the Write Fifteen Minutes A Day (WFMAD) challenge hosted by Laurie Halse Anderson. Laurie explains that this writing doesn't have to be shared, and blog writing shouldn't count because we are thinking of our audience.  It's time to grab my writer's notebook and a snazzy pen.  I did it. I wrote for fifteen minutes last night and I thought it would make a great slice of life.  So, in this case I am sharing it!  Here's a peek into my first entry for this challenge:

8/1/11  New Challenge

Write for 15 min. a day

I need this - for me.  To open my writer's notebook. To record. To jot. To dabble. To plant seeds.

I'm a "real-life" writer. I write what's close to my heart, full of emotion.  I have never tried writing fiction. It doesn't seem to interest me much. I read what authors like Ruth and Kate go through to allow characters and stories to develop.  That takes heart, time, patience.  I need immediate satisfaction.  I'll stick to my kind of writing today.

Thinking about tomorrow's slice of life.  Deb had a great poem she wrote last week: a need to, want to, will do list for the rest of summer.  I need to start thinking about school -- feeling overwhelmed with all my personal professional development and learning that I've been engrossed in this summer.  Probably would be smart to record my goals for the year.  What do I want to change?  Improve?  I'm thinking I need an action plan.  Too much to think about at 9:30 at night.

Back to the poem:

I need to
organize those ever-growing piles

I want to
read lots more children's books and PD books

I will
spend as much time with my girls
before major separation anxiety sets in
for all three of us!

Almost fifteen minutes of writing.
And I have my slice of life writing ready to go!