Tuesday, May 29, 2012

soLs: to be healthy

Slice of Life Stories hosted

life takes
a turn and slows
when one little-one
is sick.

the whole month
and then the other
had an ear infection.

just not feeling
just needing
to be held.

one needed
one wanted

i'll be so
when summer

to recapture
my healthy

even though
i know
i'll be working
harder at home.

i just
healthy again.

Summer is coming and I'm hoping everyone remains healthy!  Please share your ideas to help me fill my summer calendar with my 2 year old twin girls!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

soLs: bittersweet

Slice of Life Stories hosted

What does one need to know in order to throw a great celebratory party?

Delicious food.  Check.
Fine wine.  Check.
Great people. Check, check, check.
A standing ovation.  Check.
A little rockin' music.  Check!

Last Friday night, three teachers from my school celebrated their journey of teaching.  Planning such a night can be bittersweet.  It's a celebration of their dedication, hard work, blood, sweat and tears for a combined total of 102 years!  Yet, uncertainty as this BIG chapter concludes . . . all the while knowing many new chapters are waiting to begin.

It was such a special evening to honor these three women through words and songs.  Story after story after story that was shared, confirmed their dedication to teaching and compassion for kids.  As Auggie (the main character in Wonder - by the way, a MUST read!) states:

"Everyone deserves a standing ovation at least once in their lives."   

And I completely agree -- these three women deserved the cheers of acknowledgement.  Teaching is more than just a job.  When it comes right down to it, it's about making connections with kids.  It's about always believing, providing a pat on the back, a word of encouragement.  It's about being there, gently pushing kids forward, knowing when to slow down.  It's about providing opportunities to learn, to show, to practice, to do independently.

I can only imagine the roller coaster of emotions all three almost-retirerees are feeling - excitement, of course!  There will be so many things they will miss, like the kids, colleagues, learning, and laughing.  Yes, there will also be plenty that they will not miss, and that list is a lot longer!! 

A night none of the three will forget for a long, long time.  It was an evening filled with a delicious dinner and dessert, fine wine and drinks, great people from family to colleagues to longtime friends, special words of praise, standing ovations, and great music and dancing capped off the evening!

What a journey it has been and I'm glad I was able to enjoy the ride with you for a couple of those 102 years!

Cheers to you three!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Do You Have Any "Pinterest"?

A little peek at the blog post I wrote that was published today on the IRA Engage Teacher To Teacher website:

*   *   *   *   * 

Teacher Tips: Do You Have Any "Pinterest" in Learning More? 

Teaching is hard.  Really hard.  There is not one teacher that will deny it.  Of course, I love it – most days.  I love the kids.  I love the daily challenges.  And I’m constantly learning to be the best me in the classroom to push through those challenges and meet the needs of my students. 

But why try to do it alone? 

There are a number of engaging social networking sites that can connect us with educators and literacy experts.  I’ve learned that there are MANY smart teachers across the world that I can connect with and learn from daily.  Building my personal learning network (PLN) has been a goal of mine this year and I have found a fun way to do it!  

*   *   *   *   * 

I hope you check it out in its entirety, especially if you have any interest in learning more about the Pinterest craze!  It is crazy fun!

Thank you for your 
and comments!  

For you, 
one of my favorite pins:

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

soLs: a (proud) little secret

Slice of Life Stories hosted
Come here.  

Come closer.  

I have a secret to share with you.  I'm really excited about it and I haven't told anyone except my mom, my hubby, and my friend, colleague, and writing buddy.

I receive notifications of comments on my blog on my email at school.  I think all of you will agree, it's always exciting to see that a new comment was left behind.  It never gets old.  Everyone loves a visitor, a voice that let's you know that you've been heard, and a comment that keeps you writing.

I know I don't say it enough, but I really appreciate when YOU stop by and YOU leave a little note because YOU matter to me.  

Most comments pour in on Tuesday as slicers are doing their very best to read and leave a supportive note that day.  A few comments trickle in the rest of the week.  One comment that I received last Wednesday was from Lara.  This was not a name that I recognized as a weekly slicer, but the community has grown so much . . . Maybe just a new visitor?  However, this comment was different.  She was requesting that I contact her in regards to doing some writing . . . for the IRA -- the International Reading Association.

What?!?  Did I read that correctly?  

An excited, yet hesitant, smile consumed my face.  Me?  What could I possibly write about for the IRA?  Deep breath.  Maybe I could write something.

OK.  I will try and write something . . . but what?

I contacted Lara and my brain was spinning with possible ideas.  I'm very enthusiastic about many areas in the literacy world, but currently, I'm most passionate about my personal professional development.  I personally believe that I have to take responsibility for my learning --

Hey, that's in the school pledge that our students and staff say every day.  I wonder if other teachers think about this? "I will take responsibility for my learning . . ."

As I was saying, I think it's so important that I'm creating, developing, and building my own personal learning network (PLN) through blogging, slicing, reading, tweeting, sharing books, and even pinning.  Not sure about pinning?  Here's another little secret - that's what I wrote about in my post!

So, tomorrow . . . could you do me a favor?  

C'mon back and visit my blog - I'll add a link once it's posted, or go directly to the IRA Engage/Teacher to Teacher blog.  You will be able to read the entire post, but you have to login if you are a member of IRA or create a login to leave a comment:  Teaching Tips: Do You Have Any "Pinterest" in Learning More?

And by the way - I just visited the Engage site 
to copy the web address to link and noticed in the
bottom right hand corner:  "Coming up on the blog . . . "
and my name is just below Donalyn Miller!?!

Please share it.  Please tweet it.  Please leave some love!  

Pssst:  THANK YOU!!!  Guess it's not a secret any more!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

slow it down

Slice of Life Stories hosted

Rarely do I ever just slow it down to celebrate.  I'm a quick celebrator:  "Yeah--but, what about . . .???"   I'm always thinking ahead:  How can I improve?  What can I do differently?  How am I going to reach this student?  How am I going to push that student?  And because we are in crunch time now (a month of school left!), it was refreshing to hear these bits of conversations happening in my classroom:

I started the day asking a group of first graders: Why are WE here?  Everyone replied, "To learn."  Then K. added, "And to fill our brains with words."  This led us to an awesome discussion about how smart this idea was because filling our brains with words helps us when we are talking, reading and writing!

Two second grade boys were having a conversation about oral reading fluency: "It's not about how many words you get, it's about how you read them," L. told K.  K paused and then replied, "It's a little about both."  I agreed with both and added it's a lot about understanding those words!

Five out of my nine fourth and fifth graders participated and completed a month of writing in March.  The same five continued writing for the month of April and now into May. Woo-hoo!  A few of their reflections on writing every day:

Writing every day was just easy because you write a slice of what was your day.  My thought for writing was when you are finished writing, you realize you had wrote a lot.  And I think I am feeling like a writer.

It is fun to write every day because you get to reflect about something that happened.  Yes, I think I'm a writer because I am expressing my writing skills.

Writing every day was easy because I am smart.  I am a writer because I wrote for 2 months.

Even though I work with developing readers and writers, I have high expectations.  They prove to me every day how smart they are!

Thank you, kiddos, for these reminders to 
slow it down
 listen and 
our daily learning!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

A Reading Convention Pondering

The International Reading Association Convention is in Chicago this week.  I felt the sense of urgency to attend, to learn more, to meet with colleagues from across the world with the same passion for teaching literacy that I possess.  Oh, and I should also note . . . the convention is being held less than an hour from my house.  I need to go.

I have much to process and share about the two days that I attended.  However, on the first day this is what I found myself pondering on the train ride back home.

a conference

Ready to learn
to hear from some
of the great ones
in the field of literacy.

Excited to be
with a sense of
validation and conviction.

Digging deeper into
my own learning and
understanding -- pushing
my thinking to application.

And then I arrived
to a buzzing frenzy
of a 'marketplace' with
every vendor known to teachers.

Each company trying
to outdo their neighbor.
Who can create the biggest -
tallest - techy-est - comfiest booth?

And the free goodies, samples, bags --
Really? How many bags  does one need,
even a teacher?  I saw a teacher with
at least 10 bags on her shoulder . . .

For all the MONEY
spent on the marketing,
the booths, the freebies --
I only wished for one thing:

Books. Books, books, books.
That money could have -- no,
should have been spent on books
for students all across the world.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


Slice of Life Stories hosted

2 years

731 days

17,544 hours

1,052,640 minutes

63,158,400  seconds

an unbelievable amount of

joy  love  laughter  hugs  pride 

all times two for we were blessed with two

happy birthday to our beautiful, precious girls 

who have connected us to what life is all about --

I'll make a wish--but wait! My wish has already come true.

I love you baby girls!! Happy, happy, happy birthday to you two!!