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Showing posts from January, 2014

The Laundromat

When my family first arrived in the U.S. from Cuba we had very little that we could call our own. Not only did we rent a small apartment, but whatever furniture we had in our house we either begged, borrowed or stole (the last one metaphorically speaking, of course).
In fact, if you sat in the living room of our home, and all the doors to the rooms were wide open, you would be able to see into the two tiny bedrooms, the kitchen and the bathroom. I shared a bedroom with my older brother. It was all we could do to walk around the bed without bumping into each other or the bed itself, the only furniture in the room.
Needless to say, we didn't own a car.
And, then there was the laundromat.

Because we didn't own a washing machine or dryer - and even if we did there was no room to put them in our apartment - we took a weekly family trip to the laundromat. We did own a shopping cart that did double duty for haul…

Writer's Block

I'm experiencing writer's block.

                                                  It's good to have this happen once in a while.

                                                  So I can keep in mind how students feel at moments like this.

What do I write about?

                                                   I have no ideas.

                                                   In fact, I don't want to write anything.

I'd rather read.

                                                  Or play around with the spacing of this poem.

Writing is so hard sometimes.

And, now I'm done.

Cross posted to Two Writing Teachers - Tuesday Slice of Life

Driving and Letting Go

I think I'm a good driver. 

I'm careful, alert and follow traffic regulations. That's why I get annoyed when other drivers aren't the same way. When someone cuts me in traffic without signalling, speeds down a busy intersection, or is reckless in their driving, I get mad. But, I don't just get mad and then move on. After all, I have to pay attention to the road. No. I stay mad. I start cursing under my breath and I look around me, wondering why the other drivers aren't visibly foaming at the mouth, too.

But before I go much further, I guess I should explain that driving in Quito, or in many other parts of Ecuador, can be challenging. Up until recently, many drivers didn't go through a certified driving school, have a "real" license, or follow, much less know, the traffic regulations in the country. There was no speed limit and getting to where you were going faster was the only l…

Writing Club and Letting Go

Tuesday, after school, was the first day of writing club, an after school activity modelled after writing workshop. I had four students, three girls in grade 3 and one boy in grade 4. Whenever I've sponsored a writing club in the past, I've gotten at least 40 kids. This was in my previous school in Calgary when I offered writing club during the lunch hour. This is the third time I've offered writing club at my current school and to have a total of four students register, again, was disappointing to say the least.

Nevertheless, I decided it was important to offer these students a quality writing club experience so I pocketed my disappointment and planned for the first day.

I modelled how to choose a topic by writing down two or three big ideas and smaller, more manageable sub-ideas below these. I used a think aloud strategy so that my students could listen in on how a more experienced writer selects a writing topic from a sea of potential ideas. Then, I had my students do t…

More Homework Meme (AKA Sunshine Awards)

Thanks to Bill Ferriter, who tagged 10 bloggers and then opened this up to any of his readers who were interested, I decided to take the challenge and participate in this blogging challenge.

Here are the rules:

acknowledge the nominating blogger (Bill Ferriter)share 11 random facts about yourselfanswer 11 questions the nominating blogger has for youlist 11 bloggers to nominatepost 11 questions for the bloggers and let them know they have been nominateddon't nominate the blogger that nominated youpost back to the nominating blogger with a link. So, here it goes.

11 random facts about me:

I worked for three months with ACORN (Association of Communities Organised for Reform Now) right after graduating from college in 1981. I was based in Durham, N.C.I was born in Cuba and am fully bilingual.I have lived on two continents, three different countries, and 10 different cities during my lifetime.I have two daughters and one son aged 26, 22 and 9, respectively - all from the same father.It i…