Tuesday, June 27, 2017

She's Baaaack! {SOL 6.27.17}

We waited at the end of aisle outside the doors in the international terminal at O'Hare Airport marked Exit A. There were lots of others waiting there with us, stretching tall up on their tippy toes every time the doors to Exit A opened to see if their loved one was on their way out.

Behind those doors, I imagined long lines of passengers waiting to claim their luggage and pass through the customs screening. I'm sure many were weary from hours of travel but also excited to walk through the doors to see their dear ones waiting on the other side.

People from all different worlds streamed past us. Many stopped to hug a friend or family member waiting in the crowd. Then there were also others who simply walked out, pulling their suitcase, trying to find the most unobstructed route to the exit doors because they did not have anyone waiting in the crowd.

We continued to watch the doors of Exit A flap open and shut.

Open and shut. Open and shut.

I kept glancing at the clock.

Waiting. Waiting......

Open and shut. Open and shut.

Then we saw her....our Hannah was back.
{Thing 1 is Hannah, our German daughter. She stayed with us for the 2015-2016 school year. Thing 2 is our American daughter, Kara. She stays with us all the time. Hannah is back to visit for the month of July unless we can talk her into moving here permanently. We just love her!}

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Making Connections {SOL 6.20.17}

It's almost here....!!!

Tomorrow, I will pack up the car and head four hours east toward Warsaw, IN for the ALL WRITE conference.

This year is my 4th year attending and I couldn't be more excited!

When I went to my first All Write conference four years ago, I went completely alone. I did not know a single person. (And, I might add, I was pretty darn proud of myself for being so brave to go it alone!)

My bravery paid off. I was quickly swooped up by a group of amazing ladies -- Linda Baie, Mary Helen Gensch, Ruth Ayres, LeAnn Carpenter, Leigh Ann Eck, Christy Rush-Levine, Kim Barrett, and others that I'm sure I am unintentionally forgetting -- and welcomed into their group.

Looking back, I think my professional life really started to change when I went to my first All Write conference. I feel like I found my tribe. I connected with other educators who believe in the same things I do -- the power of writing and leading a literate life.

Tomorrow I will see many of these ladies again in real life (versus on blogs, Twitter chats, etc.). I am so looking forward to it.

But I wanted to tell you.....

If you are going to All Write, especially if you are going alone, let's connect! I'd love to meet you and welcome you into our tribe. Look for my "Teach Write" shirt. Send me a tweet (@laffinteach) or stop by my session on Friday and say "Hey!".  I'm presenting on "The Cartonera Project: Every Student an Author" during the final session on Friday.

Safe travels!

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

The Door {SOL 6.06.17}

This is the door to the classroom where I have taught for the past nine years.

Beyond this door is the classroom where I learned along with 208 fourth- and fifth-grade students.

We wrote magical stories in this room.

We learned how to divide fractions in this room.

We pursued passion projects in this room.

We went on adventures with Pax, Edward, Ally, Ada, Bud, Melody and Auggie in the books we read together in this room.

We held family meetings in this room.

We learned about explorers, space, Native Americans, the Revolutionary War, the human body systems, the Ice Age, energy and good nutrition in this room.

We learned how to solve problems, how to help each other, and the power of the word 'yet' in this room.

We made cards for sick friends and celebrated birthdays in this room.

Last week Friday, I walked through this door into this room for the final time.

I had made the decision to leave the classroom and teaching to start and grow my new business, Teach Write, last November. I had plenty of time to prepare for this day -- the last time I would walk through this door into the room that held so many good memories of the past nine years.

The last nine years have been simply amazing. I wouldn't have changed a thing.

At the end of the day, I walked back through that door and headed out, never to return.

I'm not sure what the future holds, but nine years ago when I first walked through that door into my new classroom, I didn't know either.

And it all turned out okay.