Saturday, April 28, 2012

reading helps too

On Tuesday I wrote about my stress-filled days at school.  I actually scribbled this little overwhelming vent about a week ago in my notebook and decided to write it up. . . because it's true.  Writing helps.

Later that evening, the phone rang.  I checked the caller ID and it's my parents.  I picked up the phone.  I felt a pit in my stomach.  We have set times to talk, otherwise it's back and forth via email.  Why are they calling now?

"Hello?" Holding my breath.

"Hi, pumpkin --"

"What's wrong?" I quickly interrupted.

"I read your blog today."

"Is everything okay?" 

"I wanted to tell you that I love you."

"Oh --" Tears filled my eyes.

"I just felt really bad and it seems that you had a tough day."

"Thanks Dad."  smile crept across my face.

And so, my dad, a man of few words, took me on a roller coaster ride of emotions.  All because he loves me.  Thank you Dad for reading my writing and knowing just when to call.  I love you!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

soLs: writing helps

Slice of Life Stories hosted

If I'm feeling overwhelmed . . .

                                                                    Words Their Way
                                          Common Core
                                                                                Literacy                     RtI                                    
                      Homework debate
                                   Team meetings                                       Mainstreaming
                                                                   Tier 1
                                                                                                   Professional development                      
                                                    Loving reading - not AR                                                                                                       
                              Determining what is important
what to teach
how to teach it
did kids get it

That's how it feels in my brain right now - a jumbled mess.  Not sure where to start or what is the priority.  So, I write.

I'm constantly reading, researching, learning -- but my brain feels full today.

I want to be the best me in the classroom. But I also feel that I have a responsibility to help the school be the best school.  I want to help teachers be the best in their classrooms. The kids to be the best kids.

But today I'm tired.  Overloaded.  Unsure.  Wondering.

However, I am already feeling better.  Now that I wrote about it.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

soLs: voices from the lost and found

Slice of Life Stories hosted

Poetry fun! I've been perusing a variety of poetry books with my students.  I only read the title "Voices from the Lost and Found" from the book Don't Read This Book Whatever You Do: More Poems About School by Kalli Dakos and I knew I wanted to try it!  Every 'thing' needs a voice.  (The formatting is giving me some trouble!)

                                                                           "Hey! Wait! What are you doing?" 
The lid opened, tossed inside.
Darkness.  Silence.  Set aside. 
                      "Helloooo???  Oh no."

Yawn. S - t - r --e-- t - c - h.
Oh, what a catch!

"Ahem. Hello. I'm the president                      
of the lost and found at this instant."                 "Oh, hi. I won't be long.
                                                                          Chloe will find me, I don't belong."

"Yes, well, welcome to the lost and found.                
Are you coming from the playground?"            "I can't believe I'm stuck in a stink.
                                                                          It's quite crowded, don't you think?"

The door cracks open just a bit
with hopes and joys of being picked.

                                                                          "I'm here! I'm here! I'm the same!
                                                                           So glad you're here, glad you came..."

But instead, one mitten did appear
tears rolling down. . . drip, drip, fear.

"Welcome friends. You will see,                       
we are quite the family."                                     "Where, oh where, is my other pair?             
                                                                           Are you in here? It's just not fair."

"Don't you worry or shed a tear.
I hope to give you some cheer."                          "What am I supposed to do?
                                                                            There is no way that I can make do."

The lid opens again once more
A student wondering, that's for sure.

"Show yourself as best as you can
Don't get covered . . ." he began.

Digging, diving, tossing, and turn.
Lifting, searching, hoping to churn.
                                    "What color is -- Is this it?
                                       No, I guess that's not a fit."

The lid slams shut. It's quiet again.
Then, all of a sudden, the cries began --

                                                                               "Who will miss us? Who will care?"
                                                                               "All we want is to do our share."

Thursday, April 12, 2012


This is one of the "stories" I captured yesterday on my way to work while stopped for a moment at a red light.  Again, reminding me of that one child and the two children who have constantly been on my mind.

a boy walking
head down
hoodie covering his face
hands shoved deep in his pockets
backpack heavy reaching to the ground
forcing his shoulders down

to pickup his chin
push back his shoulders
look him in the eyes
smile to let him know
it's a new day, a fresh start
let's begin again
for you are not alone

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

a thousand stories

"Everybody walks past a thousand story ideas everyday. 
The good writers are the ones who see five or six of them. 
Most people don't see any."
--Orson Scott Card

This quote has been swimming in my head recently....

Driving to work this morning, 
the stories were here and there 
and everywhere I looked.  
I grabbed my notebook and 

Scribbled words. 
Scribbled ideas.  
Scribbled moments.  
Scribbled stories.

There are stories all around us
waiting to be told.  
Are you willing to slow down and grab hold?  
Find the words
to share a small moment.

Go on. Start scribbling a thousand stories.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

soLs: a wish

Slice of Life Stories hosted

A writing idea found on pinterest . . . 

i wish

i wish every weekend was three days of fun.
i wish for a constant bright shining sun.

i wish for a full moon every night.
i wish for the stars to shine ever-so bright.

i wish for a wish upon a shooting star.
i wish my parents didn't live so far.

i wish to watch over that one child.
i wish him to hold onto that smile.

i wish i could hold my babies forever --
i wish, but sometimes a wish will never . . . ever.

but i still wish.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Found Poetry: two children

On Tuesday, I wrote about one child.  One child that I worry about daily.

On Wednesday, my principal shared this poem with the staff:


Same family,
Same neighborhood,

Same school,
Same stress,

Same neglect,
Same abuse,

Sullen, withdrawn,
One shrinks,

The other grows,
Warm, popular.

One finds nourishment,
the other hardens.

What is the difference?

One found a caring adult,
The other did not,

One was encouraged,
The other was not,

One was expected to succeed, 
The other was assumed to fail.

One pops back, one stays down.

Both are children

Both are the future.

~ Thomas E. Baker

Wow . . . goosebumps, right?  I guess one teacher can make the difference as many of you commented. My reminder to not give up!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

student slicing

In the beginning of March, I shared the Slice of Life Challenge with my fourth and fifth grade groups.  All nine students were excited and wanted to take on the challenge.

9 students jumped in to write for
31 possible days with
15(ish) reminders during testing, over the weekends and
9 days over spring break
1 student wished he started 'slicing' in the beginning of the year to remember fifth grade
2 students asked me daily if I remembered to write
5 completed the challenge and wrote every day
1 happy teacher that all
9 participated and all
9 students want to try
30 days of writing in April

Many are wondering what will happen in May or June. What about the summer?  I already told them I'm not going to deny them the opportunity to want to write.  We'll figure something out.

Happy writing my writers!

The title page of our April Challenge Journal.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

soLs: one child

Slice of Life Stories hosted

one child

one child
     Is sweet one minute, then defiant the next.
     That just doesn't seem to care.
     Is negative in thinking, glass always half empty.
     That I struggle and fight to connect to daily.

one child
     With no one to count on.
     A dad in prison and life on the run.
     A constant uphill battle,
     Full of confusions and lies.

one child
     Can life get any tougher?
     Can he carry any more baggage?
     Can you understand why he doesn't seem to care?
     Can you even begin to blame him?

one child
     I'm easily frustrated by his choices.
     I'm constantly redirecting, refocusing, reminding.
     I close my eyes and take deep breaths
     To remember what his life is like.

one child
     I want to make the difference.
     I want this child to know.
     I'm here for you.
     I'm listening.

one child

Monday, April 2, 2012

More Three Words

'write down my name ...' photo (c) 2005, josef.stuefer - license:

More Three Words - Poetry Style:

Did you forget?
How could you?

Can't stop now!
Keep on trying.

Just do it!
Good for you.

What-cha waitin' for?
Move those fingers!

Don't you remember?
Feelings of accomplishment!

Write for you --
Just write now!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Trying to . . .

I'm trying to read more posts and leave thoughtful comments, but it is late and I'm tired. (Yawn.)

Comments mean so much to me (smile - reload - check - smile more), but my brain is exhausted.

I want to read a slice from everyone (you and you and you), but my eyes are  s l o w l  y
I was thrilled that the challenge concluded on a Saturday (more TIME!), but I thought I'd have more time.

Wishing I could pause the clock to just read (pointing remote to the clock), but something's got to give.

I wasn't going to write today (Nope. Not gonna do it.), but that (itch) habit (scratch) was there.

I'm happy about that itchy, scratchy feeling.  Because here I am, continuing to write.

Maybe I just need 21 days (or 31, like the challenge) to just read posts and write comments.

But that's with hopes that no one writes anything new.  Wait! (Huh?)  How can that be? (What?)

They are all writers.  For they will continue to write.  And that makes me smile.