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Showing posts from February, 2017

Slice of Life: A Good Change May Still Leave You Heartbroken

I click send and, just like that, my classroom is closing. From my kitchen, I hear pounding and sanding going on in the front room. My husband, the carpenter, coaxes wood into agreeing to be my new home office desk. "Do you want to look out the window or away from it?" he calls.
I want to look out the window, I tell him. I'll be alone more often now.

My own children will be off to school. My classroom children will be somebody else's. It will happen subtly. One day one of the children will say, "Remember Mrs. Moran? She was funny." or something like that.

I love being a teacher. I love saying I'm a teacher. Whenever Christmas break comes around, I miss them and can't wait to hear about their stories when they return. I live for those moments when a kid comes rushing into class to tell you something funny because he knows you'll get it. That delicious moment when it's just the two of you, laughing your head off at the way his baby brother at…

Slice of Life: Book Life

I can get so involved in a book that I lose touch with reality, so much so that coming back to real life feels more like reading a list.

Make dinnerTidy upGrade papersThen you may go back to your life––in a book.  I can always tell when things in my real life aren't sitting right with me because I have trouble getting into a book. I start them and don't finish them. I wander a bookstore and don't come home with anything. It feels uncomfortable and makes me angry. Like, "Listen life, I need my books! So you better wise up and get easier." Picture me shaking my fist at the sky.

Recently I've been working hard to make some changes in my life and it's clearly affected my reading life. I've picked up and put down no less than five books over the past month. I've started watching my nemesis––TV.
While visiting my mother this weekend, I sat in front of her bookshelf desperate to find something that worked for where I was, in this moment, in my life. Then…

DigiLit Sunday: Relationships

In the light of the moon, a little egg lay on a leaf..

On Sunday, I interviewed a woman named Julie Lindsay. She lives in Australia and started a company called Flat Connections. Her message to me was that Web 2.0 tools have changed the face of education. It brought the walls down so that we could all reach each other.

On  Monday, I read a book by Pernille Ripp, a teacher living in Wisconsin. In Reimagining Literacy through Global Connections, Ripp's message to me was to keep it simple when going global, the students just need to know they can connect and share who they are.

On Tuesday, I voxed Julieanne Harmatz. "Let's do this!" I said. "I've got a fourth grade, you've got a fifth. Mine is in Maine, yours is in California. Let's read together and share thoughts." She agreed.

On Wednesday, Julieanne emailed suggestions for three books she had multiple copies of. I book talked them to my students that afternoon.

On Thursday, I worked online with…

Poetry Friday: The Whole Story

“In the beginning I was so young and such a stranger to myself I hardly existed. I had to go out into the world and see it and hear it and react to it, before I knew at all who I was, what I was, what I wanted to be.” Mary Oliver
Breakage
Mary Oliver

I go down to the edge of the sea.
How everything shines in the morning light!
The cusp of the whelk,
the broken cupboard of the clam,
the opened, blue mussels,
moon snails, pale pink and barnacle scarred—
and nothing at all whole or shut, but tattered, split,
dropped by the gulls onto the gray rocks and all the moisture gone.
It's like a schoolhouse
of little words,
thousands of words.
First you figure out what each one means by itself,
the jingle, the periwinkle, the scallop
       full of moonlight.

Then you begin, slowly, to read the whole story.

Slice of Life: Too Much Stuff

Yesterday we got around 20 inches of snow. School got cancelled the night before which is always a treat. My kids are happily playing outside, so I race upstairs to get rid of old toys.

I can't do this while anyone (including my husband) is watching because it will go like this, "Oh that! I forgot I had that. Don't get rid of that. I love that!"

On my way upstairs, I pass a large tote filled with hats and mittens. I dump it out on the floor in the dining room and bring the empty tote with me. Now in my son's room, I pull out games from his closet and sort them. I find stuff no one is ever going to play with again. Candyland, Headbands, and Qwirkle all make their way into the tote.

All this money wasted, I start to think, but quickly stop myself. It is what it is at this point. We buy things for Christmas or whenever hoping we've hit the jackpot and sometimes (apparently a lot) we're wrong.

By the time I finish, his room looks incredible and the tote is o…

Slice of Life: Action Research

On Tuesdays I try to join Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life because it gives my week focus and helps me connect my life to education.
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I glance around the room making sure to record who is at the table: curriculum coordinator, GT coordinator, principal, teacher, teacher, Me. Got it. The meeting agenda for the Gifted and Talented Advisory Council is underway. I won't say I dread these meetings, but i don't set the bar high for them. We move from agenda item to agenda item:
Students who've recently been testedPaperwork needing to be filedWhat we've been doing with students in the classroom The topic of how we have students who teachers think should be identified as gifted, but because of circumstances like poverty, lack of advocacy, and cultural differences, will probably never be identified. The tests aren't finding them. Their schoolwork, while interesting, isn't mind-blowing when compared to the students who have more exp…

Poetry About Refugees: Sixth Graders Speak

Today I showed this video to my sixth grade students. Then I asked them to respond in poetic form.


I care about Syria.
It is cruel to reject exiles
That are yearning to be free.
They are escaping from their country
Because it is not safe for them to stay.
3.8 million people - including thousands of children -
Are trying to stay alive, but our government thinks that
They are dangerous and will not let those poor refugees
Cross our border just because our government will not save
Over a million lives. That needs to change. We need to change.

This. Is. Not. Okay. (Charlotte)

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Syrian refugees crossing the border,
yearning to escape the cruelty.

Exiles have no decision,
to leave their own country.

Trying to save their families,
trying to earn back their dignity.

they understand,

that freedom isn't free. (Stacy)

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Wanting freedom.
No hope
No escape.
Syrian refugees.
3.8 million out
Yet only 36 allowed in
Big decisions
Risk y…