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Showing posts from September, 2015

Elevating My Standards

Every Tuesday, I participate in Slice of Life, started by Two Writing Teachers. It helps me create, evaluate, review, reflect, and revise.
Back in 2012, I heard about a woman named Kate Messner who offered to host some teachers who wanted to try to write over the summer. I'm not religious at all, but I put my 4 and 5 year old kids in the bible camp across the street from 9-12 and got ready to write. Those mornings spent drinking coffee, writing in my kitchen, and getting to know Gae Polisher, Jen Vincent, Jo Knowles, and Kate Messner really changed how I thought about myself. Since then I've been slowly but surely growing my writing community and working hard to spread the word about how important it is to be a teacher who writes.Recently I've been reading lots of books by Kate Messner. I have adored these:
Then I met Kate at a library conference a couple of years ago. I was mesmerized by her workshop about observing the world through your own eyes to help establish your per…

Teacher Observations of a Farm to Table Restaurant

Last Saturday I went to The Lost Kitchen. It's a spectacular farm to table restaurant located in Freedom Maine. The building is made of old hewn wooden boards with big wide beams. It sits on a river, so you must cross a bridge by foot to get to it. It is a price fixed restaurant, so they just keep bringing out food tastes on beautiful plates. We sat at the only four spaces lined up at a counter overlooking the chef cooking.
I tasted small bites of swordfish with plums and greens, fried oysters with aioli on cabbage, three different kinds of beets with candied walnuts and goat cheese, loads of different kinds of tomatoes, and lamb on lentils. With each taste, I thought about how important it is to give tastes to people who are learning. The more tastes of anything people have, the more choice they are given. I came home craving change in the way we spend our eating time. I baked bread and made a simple risotto with onion, arborio rice, vegetable stock, and parmesan cheese. I felt m…

Busy busy busy...

Today as every Tuesday, I am writing with my friends at Two Writing Teachers for Slice of Life.
I have too much going on and because I love everything I'm doing, I am not sure what to cut out. Here's the run-down:

Gifted and Talented TeacherTwo Gifted and Talented graduate courses to complete certificationWriting education content for Academic PartnershipsTaking a course called Upping Your Game about writing for publicationsTrying to start up a writing groupBeing on the leadership committee for the Maine Writing ProjectPreparing for teaching a workshop about depth and complexity for a conferenceEditing an article coming out in marieclaire.comWaiting for more info about an accepted article for good.is
This is in addition to being a good partner to my husband and being a good mother to my two children who are just 8 and 10. The thing is that I love being too busy. I just like it more when I am super organized about what needs to get done when. As I read through Two Writing Teache…

Emoji Stories

Last night I was in a class I'm taking to complete my GT certification. One of the first things we did was tell about ourselves in that getting to know you kind of way. Except, the teacher (who happens to be my friend and colleague, Ruth) showed us something really cool to do. I think this is something all kids could really get into. She shared this cool emoji representation of inventions throughout history. Then we each created our own Emoji history explaining what the symbols meant. It was engaging, interesting, simple to set up, and thought provoking.

recognition

We all know our parents will age. This moment of realization, though, still takes us by surprise. Each of us feels differently about it because we all have different relationships built with our parents.

My mother is funny, very funny. She is smart. She is charming, very charming. She and I have had our struggles. She has been challenged by being someone who buys stuff in order to feel happier. It has sometimes consumed her. It has certainly affected my life as well.

Last week, on Wednesday, I got a call that she had fallen and was in the hospital. She doesn't have any family closer than I am. So I got a sub for two days and off I went two hours down the road. Turns out she had broken six ribs. Ouch.

What struck me most was the expression on her face. She was scared. Getting older can be scary, I think. I like to have control over things and it seems like when you get older you need to let go of your control a bit. This recognition of what was happening to her. This empathy I imm…

Stepping Back on This First Day

Today is the first student day of school. Usually this is a time when I can barely think about my own children. I am consumed with making sure the first or second graders coming into my classroom are greeted with joy and a beautiful space. This year is different though. This year I am separate from the beginning of school, in a sense. I am the gifted and talented teacher which matters, for sure. But I am a firm believer in classroom culture. So I am stepping back for a couple of days to let the students learn about their classmates.

This means I have more time for my own children and they are grateful for that. They cannot believe that I will be able to walk them into their school this year. Their gratitude makes me wonder how hard it is to be the child of a teacher. This is the year I will be able to give more to them and for that I am the one who is grateful.

This time today also reminded me that I had not considered how to develop my own classroom culture in the 30-60 minutes a WE…