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Showing posts from July, 2011

SOLS: I'll Think of You When . . .

I'll think of you when . . . it's the beginning of your day as I drop you off with Miss Kate and quickly exit. I'll hear your cries echoing in my head. My heart aching that I have to leave you both.

I'll think of you when . . .
I have arrived at school.
Reassuring myself
that you'll both be just fine.
You are in good hands.


I'll think of you when . . .
it's the middle of the day and
lunch is being served. You will be nourished with food, play, and love.

I'll think of you when . . . I am on my way home in the late afternoon to pick you up. To love you. To squeeze you. To kiss you. To hold on tight -- until tomorrow.

Simplify Blog Reading

Ok.  I haven't been living under a rock.  I did recently have twin daughters a little over a year ago, so my research and professional development were centered around different topics (i.e. newborns, multiples, what do I do, how do I survive, when will it get any easier.  I'm still trying to find answers to some of those questions.)

Last year I was just trying to balance life at home with life at school.  (I think that is a never-ending struggle.)  I stumbled into the blogging world late 2010 - must have been during the girls' nap - and joined the blogosphere in February of 2011 from a little nudging from Ruth over at the Two Writing Teachers.  (No, it was a personal nudge, but it sure felt like she was talking to me when she declared it: "Stop waiting to start a blog day".)

Little did I know that I was missing out on so many knowledgeable colleagues and authors that share oodles and oodles of great resources and ideas!  I'm sure I'm still missing out b…

Cyber PD: Conferring - Part 3

It has been a great couple weeks conferring with various colleagues across the country about Patrick Allen's book Conferring: The Keystone of Reader's Workshop.  I'm amazed at the "walk-aways" that others share in their reflections and thinking.  Some ideas are similar to my own.  Maybe an additional twist or take on it.  Other ideas dig deeper and make me think beyond the surface.  Thank you for your insights and learning!  

PART 3: WHAT EMERGES FROM OUR READING CONFERENCES?
"We need to slow down and get back to the business of knowing children,
of knowing readers." (Allen, 181)
Listening is important.  So is sharing rich conversations and pushing thinking forward.  However, of equal importance, when conferring, is the walk-aways for both the teacher and the student.  What do students walk away with after a conference?  What do I walk away with as their teacher?  This is critical because the learning for both student and teacher shouldn't stop after a…

SOLS: In the Backyard

In the Backyard [Inspired by Lisa Schroeder's verse novel: Chasing Brooklyn, p.57]

In the backyard

There is a warm breeze trying to shift the stifling air.
There are cicadas singing in the heat of the day.
There is a brilliant blue sky without a puffy cloud in sight.

In the backyard

There are kids giggling and splashing, trying to stay cool.
There is one LARGE sycamore shading us from the sizzling sun.
There are toys, bikes, trikes, and more scattered throughout the grass.

In the backyard

There is a moment at dusk when tired and quiet lay their hands upon us.
There are fireflies surprising us: glowing and blinking here, then there.
There is a mosquito -- smack! -- buzzing by my ear.

In the backyard

There is a constant reminder to sit, relax, and stay awhile.

Cyber PD: Conferring - Part 2

Friday.  Finally, a moment during the girls afternoon nap, that I can process and think about the insights and knowledge that Patrick Allen shares in his book Conferring: The Keystone of Reader's Workshop.  [Ah . . . deep breath.]


PART 2: WHAT ARE THE ESSENTIAL COMPONENTS OF CONFERRING?

"As Peter Johnston reminds us, the word assessment derives from the Latin word assidere, meaning "to sit alongside." (Allen, 112)
Teacher. (Check.) Student. (Check.) Book. (Check.)  That's all I need, right?

I'm all about structure.  I like things in order, lined up, ready to go with a plan.  I feel as though everything Allen says is so obvious that, of course, we should be doing this, but maybe just like kids, we need explicit instructions and scaffolding.  Thank you Patrick for doing just this!

Patrick shared his thoughtful structure of his reading conferences, the RIP model.  As I thought about each component of this model, I felt validated in many of the areas.  Shaking …

SOL: Just Passing Through

The sun was slowly rising in the east, peering through our back windows.  Light and bright, more and more as each minute passed.  Before my husband left for work Monday morning, he warned me.  He said they were coming.

"I know. I know." Shaking my head.  Pretending that I heard him.

"Good morning, sunshines!" I whisper to my daughters in delight. "Let's have breakfast!"

As we enjoyed our bananas and cereal, the clouds moved in. Blue skies and sunshine were pushed out of sight and replaced with gray, dark clouds that rolled in quickly.

"Wow. Where did our beautiful sunshine go girls?"  The winds picked up. The trees were limboing to see who could sway closest to the ground.  The rain pelted the ground.  A flash of light lit up the kitchen.  The tears of fear began to fall.

I swooped down and grabbed both of my girls.  Holding on tight, we scampered down the stairs into the dark, dark basement.  Their cries became louder and louder unsure of…

Cyber PD: Conferring

My stack of professional to-be-read books is leaning.  I added one more to the top of the pile this last week as I couldn't resist joining a group of educators on a journey through a new forum of #cyberPD. We are reading and responding to Patrick Allen's Conferring: The Keystone of Reader's Workshop (Stenhouse, 2009). Whenever I read PD books, I am always thinking about how I can utilize the information learned in my own classroom (a resource classroom where I work with small groups of students).  In addition, I am also thinking about what and how I can share new ideas and strategies with my colleagues.  This may just be a great book study to discuss this year!


I still do not have the actual book in hand from Amazon, any day now.  I have read all that I could of the online preview on the Stenhouse website . . . foreword (written by Debbie Miller), prologue, introduction, and chapter one.

When I first spotted this book months ago, I thought it was about conferring with writ…

A Conversation with My Writer Self

I don't know what to write about today.
[Scratching head.  Bulging eyes staring at the blank screen.]

Write about the ordinary.
Write about the little things.
Just write and write.

I know, I know.  But I don't know what to write.
[Shoulder shrug. Clicking fingertips on the keyboard.]

Open your writer's notebook.
Search for an idea, a seed, a spark.
Let it grow, ignite and you will write.

My writer's notebook?
Oh, that little book that has been
ignored?  Unattended?  Left blank?
[Digging and searching for my notebook.]

Live the life of a writer.
Ideas breathe all around you every day.  
In and out.  In and out.

I know. I know.
[Dusting the notebook off. Cracking it open as if it hasn't been opened in years.]

It's time to revive the notebook.
Open your eyes and ears to your world
that's waiting to be captured and shared.

I know what to write about today.,
but first, let me write down a few ideas.
[Bringing my writer's notebook back to life.]

photo © 2008 Al | more inf…