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2016 - Bring It On!

I am a struggling writer. I struggle with topic selection, getting started and a lack of self-confidence. And, although I love to write, I realize that I love the IDEA of being a writer more. The process of writing, with its concomitant failures and less-than-perfect results, is not a selling point for me.

In my mind's eye, I can almost see a blank book cover with my name on it, even if I can't envision what the book is about. I can imagine myself a part of an elite group of teacher-writers who are disciplined, serious and have interesting things to say. I tell myself, "That could be you! If only..." And there my thinking trails off and I return to a state of numbness where "if only" becomes a long list of self-pitying excuses for why I will never write well enough so that others can appreciate and learn from what I have to say.

Now that I've confessed my deepest feelings of inadequacy, I can let them go. Just like that. I resolve to stop thinking about t…
Recent posts

What Needs to Change...

The concerns addressed in this post have been brewing in my head for a while.
I just hadn't sat down to articulate them...until now.
Any resemblance to recent or future contexts is purely coincidental.
What is depicted here is a generic portrait of institutionalized thinking around professional development..

This post is written as an interrogation between an imaginary reporter (IR) and a teacher (T).


IR: What do you learn in school wide teacher workshops?
T: What the administration deems important.
It's a one size fits all arrangement.
Whether or not it is a good fit for teachers
is not the point.
If everyone did something different,
how would the school keep track of that?
It would be too messy.
Besides, how would a school make sure
that there is consistency from grade to grade?
You see, differentiation and choice
are not meant for teachers.

IR: Who is doing the learning at school wide teacher workshops?
Some teachers, I'm sure,
but not everyone.
Take a teacher who already know this stuff.
I…

Earth Day

Earth Day is designated    

as the one day during the year to focus 
on the environment.
A day to honor 
Mother Earth.
A day to renew our commitment 
to the environment
by changing
habits and activities
detrimental to a healthy Earth.

The first Earth Day took place 
more than 40 years ago.
A lifetime for some,
but a second of time 
in the history of the Earth.

It's ironic, 
given the short sojourn 
of humans on Earth,
that we have done so much
to make the Earth vulnerable 
in order to make our lives easier.
We never considered 
what we might lose 
in the process.
Until it was too late.

Earth Day was born as a reminder
that we are on this beautiful planet
for only a short while.
So, we must be stewards of our home.
We must take care of it.
It's really as simple as that. 
Every day
and not just on April 22nd
of any given year.

Not only have humans 
accelerated climate change
caused changes in the ozone layer
accelerated pollution of all forms
negatively impacting animal and human life,
but we have lost a critical con…

Celebrating Wonderings

Celebrating Wonderings
Warning: this post is full of questions. No definitive answers, yet. Maybe never. This is an ongoing process. The answers change. The questions may stay the same. Either way, I'm on a constant search for improvement.




I'm currently wondering:

How to teach all that I know is important for the students I have this year. And, how to include my students in these decisions.How to make sure I spend just the right amount of time conferring. How to listen more and talk less.How to better honor student thinking. To understand without judging so all ideas are respected.Whether or not I'm making a difference in my students' learning. How can I know for sure?About the myriad ways that literacy and numeracy are connected, and can support and enrich each other.How to be more patient with myself and my students. Less rushed. More in the moment.How to be more efficient and effective with mini lessons. Conferring. Planning.Why I'm still pondering these same issue…

Waiting

Waiting is hard for me to do.

I've written about this before.
If not, I've thought about this before.
A lot.

I try to talk myself out of thinking about what I'm waiting for,
but I can't.

I try to be reasonable.
I say things like, "Let go. Let the universe take care of things."
But, I can't.

I take lots of deep breaths.
In. Out. In. Out. In. Out. In. Out.
But, I can't.

I try not to check my email every 5 minutes,
but I can't.

I try to do something else.
Anything else.
I read a book.
I watch a movie.

Then, I check my email.

Nothing.

And, the cycle starts all over again.

If I could truly let go of what I want,
then maybe it would come to me
when I'm ready to receive it.

Easier said than done.

Waiting is hard for me to do.


Electrical Storm

This afternoon there was an electrical storm.
Apparently, we'll be experiencing these more often this month
at the same time that the bad weather starts to diminish.
Hopefully, May will be a better month, for the weather
and for changes I am hoping for.

Winter here has never been like this before.
In fact, we've never had an actual weather report before.
The weather here is generally constant in the winter.
Sunny skies, rain in the afternoon, sunny skies after that.
Temperatures hovering between 15 and 20 degrees
with a strong sun in the middle of the day.

But, this winter all we've had is
rain, rain, and more rain.
Cold temperatures that linger and linger and linger.

Fortunately, today I worked late as I waited for my son
who was practicing for the school play.
So, I didn't experience the electrical storms
though I heard the noise but didn't see the lightning,
if that makes sense.

My husband was at home
and that was a different story.

There was a power surge.
The…

Reflections for Student Led Conferences

Today we spent most of the morning getting ready for student led conferences.

Rather than describe how hard students worked and how much they got done, which they did, I decided to let their words about reading and writing grace this post. What follows are a sprinkling of comments about their learning this year.

In response to the prompt, the most important things I have learned about being a writer this year are...students wrote the following:

To keep going on the topic and to hook the reader.Using more details is better so the reader understands the writing better.You have to research your topic before you write about it.When you are going to write something you have to do a lot of drafts before you publish it.If I read, I'm going to get better at writing
In response to the prompt, the most important things I have learned about being a reader this year are...students wrote the following:To always notice what the main character does so you can predict what is going to happen or what …