Saturday, May 30, 2015

Celebrating Endings {5-30-15}

Another week down and another chance to celebrate life with Ruth Ayres.  Thanks, Ruth!
Yesterday was our last day of school.  It was very bittersweet.  I truly enjoyed this group of students and will miss them.  Their spirit was like no other group I've ever had.  They worked hard, embraced a growth mindset, and supported each other's learning journey.  I would often hear  "Way to go" or spontaneous applause would break out in support of a student's success.  I didn't teach them this.  I didn't need to.  It's just a part of who they are and I will miss that.
What are you celebrating this week?

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

I'm Ready {SOL 5-26-15}

I'm ready...

To wake up to the song of the Barn Swallows who line up on the rain gutter to sing to the rising sun.

For roasting marshmallows over the fire pit on a Saturday night.

For floating in the pool --  the cool, soft water both relaxing and refreshing me.

To read new books that fill both my mind and my imagination.

For homegrown veggies from my garden -- tomatoes, peas, lettuce, and melon.

To listen to the sound of distant lawn mowers and garden sprinklers.

To stare up at the blue sky, watching the birds soar and the clouds dance.

For my flowers to decorate my yard with their bright and cheery faces.

For dinner on the patio when time is unrushed and conversation is unleashed.

To fall asleep to the sounds of the croaking Bull Frog and the creaking of the crickets.

I'm ready.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Celebrating this Week {5-23-15}

Thank you to Ruth Ayres for hosting this weekly celebration of life!
This week, I celebrate...

* The risk I took 10 weeks ago to give up using the Accelerated Reader program in my classroom and just encourage the kids to read.  Read anything...books, magazines, comics, non-fiction, fiction.  I don't care about the level of the book, as long as you feel you understand it.   There will be no quizzes to take when you finish a book.  The result?  A classroom full of readers who are much more relaxed and focused on enjoying reading for reading's sake.

* My student, M, who embraced this go-ahead to read anything....and did!  When he came to me, he was reading at a second grade level.  He is an English Language Learner and has some speech and/or language concerns (he didn't talk until he was six), but he has exploded as a reader this year.  He constantly asks if he can read one of my 'special' books (the ones I keep behind my desk to keep track of who is reading them) and devours them.  He loves to come and talk to me about what he is reading and can't get enough.  I couldn't be more proud of him!

* Four days of school are left.  I am not celebrating the fact that school will be over, but that summer will be arriving and that means time will become slower and horizontal again and I will be able to focus on my reading, writing and own learning.

What are you celebrating this week?  Head on over to Ruth's blog and share.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Home Alone {SOL 5-19-15}

My husband and two children were on a band trip to Ohio this past weekend, leaving me home alone to take care of our two dogs.

Home alone.


Since becoming a wife and mom, how often is it that I find myself in complete 'aloneness'?

The silence in the house was both sweet and deafening at the same time.  I could actually hear myself think.  But I also missed hearing my kids share a funny story from their day or one of my husband's jokes.

Meal time was interesting.  Not wanting to cook just for myself and not wanting to go out alone, I settled on ordering carry out on Saturday night and ate it on the deck in the company of my two dogs and the barn swallows that flew overhead.

I cleaned the house on Saturday morning....and it actually stayed clean for once.  I didn't have to remind anyone to remove their books from the kitchen table or to put their dishes in the dishwasher.

I fell asleep in the deck chair at 7:00 on Saturday night.  I awoke to the ring of my cell phone at 9:00.  It was my daughter, checking in after a long day of playing music and playing at the amusement park they visited after the band competition.  It was good to get her call.

My family returned at 2:00 on Sunday afternoon.  When I went to pick them up at the school, I was early.  I missed them.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

At War with Robins {SOL 5-05-15}

For the past four years, I have been at war with a robin.

Yes....a robin.

On my front porch, I have an old ladder that I put flowers and baskets on for decoration.  On the top of the ladder, I usually place a large potted geranium.  I love geraniums for their bright and long lasting blooms and it really brightens up my front porch.

Every spring for the past four years, a robin has decided that she loves my geranium too, and decides it would be a great place to build her nest.  Unfortunately, the two cannot coexist.  If I let the nest stay, the plant will die because I will be unable to water it.

Now I love robins, don't get me wrong, (I even had one for a pet when I was seven) but I also can't justify ruining a $20 plant when there are plenty of trees nearby in which to build a nest.

So every day for about a week, I would go out and move the new robin's nest to a tree.  Then I would come home from school, and the robin will have rebuilt another nest in the geranium.  This went on for several days until the robin got tired of building a new nest and decided to find refuge elsewhere.

This year, I was prepared for battle again.

Apparently, the robin was not.

Instead of building her nest in my geranium, she decided to build it on one of the ladder shelves, safely tucked behind a tin bird house.  I laughed out loud when I saw this.
In the spirit of compromise, I have temporarily relocated my geranium to the other side of the porch so as to not disturb the nest.  There are now three eggs in the nest and the momma robin spends a lot of time there.  

I do not want to disturb her important work.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

See Every Student

This morning I was reading through my email and came across a message from one of my favorite bloggers, Permile Ripp.

Pernille's blog posts are always thought provoking.  She often says exactly what I am thinking, but am unable to put into words.

Today's post is about those students in our class whom we don't necessarily "see."  You know the ones.  The students who are probably self-motivated, well-behaved, and/or high achieving.  They don't cause trouble, get their work done, and don't demand much of your time.  They raise their hands, participate often, and could possible teach themselves if you would let them.

So I started thinking...Who are these students in my class?  What are their stories? What do they need from me that they are not getting?  Do they know I care about them?

Pernille has challenged her readers to see EVERY student in our classroom this week.  I am taking that challenge because I need to, because my students need me to -- every one of them.

I don't ever want there to be a day when any of my students look back at their time with me and felt like they were invisible.

Because every student matters.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Unrealized Fears {Celebrate this Week 5-02-15}

The day that I had been putting off had arrived.

Six months ago, my dentist told me I need to have a skin graft on my gum to repair an area where the tissue had become thin.  "It won't be fun," he told me.  (Really???  Thanks for the encouragement...)

SKIN GRAFT...just the sound of it makes me want to run and hide.

I put off making the consultation with the oral surgeon.  I cancelled my appointment two times.  Finally, I went.

As time drew near to the day of the surgery, I had built up in my mind what a horrible experience this would be.  Pain...Not eating...Pain...Not talking...

        {Did I mention the pain?}

On Wednesday, I had that surgery and you know what?  It was okay.

I survived.

I made it through.

I didn't feel much pain. (Thanks to modern medicine and a pharmacist husband to made sure I took my meds on time.)

Was it fun?  No.

Could I do it again if I had to? Yes.

As it sometimes is, I had built this experience up into something that it never would become.  I had let my fear take over and control me.  This experience reminds me of one of my favorite quotes from Nelson Mandela:
I am glad it is over and I am glad that my fears were unrealized.  And for that, I celebrate.