Thursday, March 6, 2014
Today my students had their dress rehearsal for their "Too Much Noise" singing performance. It was so sweet to watch them sing, stand together and smile so big. I look forward to seeing their performance tonight which will undoubtedly be even better.
My daughter is also in first grade this year, along with my first graders, and I was lucky enough to see her perform as well. It is amazing how children grow up so fast and watching her up there was a delight. She is such a little leader and did all her hand motions correctly. It isn't about perfection but it reminds me how independent she has become.
When all was "sung" and done we made our way back to the classroom for dismissal. I watched them all quickly get their things organized and ready. We filed out and I put them on their buses. I have had the privilege of watching them grow over the past year and a half and their independence amazes me as well.
As much as I have loved working with first graders this year I was reminded that in a few short six months I will start all over again with kindergartners. It will be such a shift but again a wonderful opportunity to watch a group grow, change and become little independent people.
Wednesday, March 5, 2014
If you only have a moment, instead of reading my slice, go see Kris, a new slicer and give her some blog love.
Last night I went to our Literacy Night. I ran into many colleagues and happy faces. One of which is a fellow writing friend. I reminded her it wasn't too late to begin the SOLSC and she lit up a bit.
"I just have to do it!" she said.
"Yes, you do and I will even help you."
We talked some more and by the end of the conversation she had determined she would write that evening.
"So...did you write?" I asked
"Yeah, I wrote about my son's boots." She was ready. She was ready to take the challenge and even make herself more accountable by sharing her challenge with her students. I went down to her classroom and we linked up her slice. She told me that she was going to have her students slice everyday in their notebooks for the month and they could hold each other accountable. Her class is a tough group and she needed something to motivate them when writing quick writes outside of their essay unit. I was so excited by all this and we talked for quite a while about tricks to get kids excited about writing, even if they act/feel helpless when facing a blank page.
Yesterday I sliced about conversations and relationships we have in our lives. I'm glad to have this relationship with a colleague who is passionate and caring when it comes to getting her kids to live their writing.
So, if you are still reading and want to comment, I would ask you to do this instead, stop reading, go to her blog and give her a comment. She is a talented writer and teacher who barely needed a nudge to get her words out there. Your words will keep her going.
Here is the link to her slice.
Tuesday, March 4, 2014
We had our Literacy Night this evening. I look forward to this every year. Watching children and their parents enjoy games, books and writing together. It amazes me that with just a few materials magic can happen between a parent and a child. I think this is a nice way to communicate the ease of literacy being a part of our everyday lives.
Afterward came the clean-up and shut down of the evening. It went quickly and families left smiling. When all was said and done I went to compliment our literacy coach, the coordinator of the event. We had a nice conversation about frequent questions writing teachers ask. I appreciated, even on a busy night, she was eager to talk "shop" with me and reflect together.
It comes down to these relationships that fuel us. Relationships with children, parents and colleagues. It takes all of us to figure it out and make these learning experiences something to remember, to grow from.
Monday, March 3, 2014
Something happened this year. It was new. I had guilt about it, major guilt. A student I couldn't connect with. I've always been able to find a way to love each child. I felt so bad that I had trouble connecting to him. He is a student that also struggles to connect. He struggles to problem solve and focus, but he is very bright with great potential. Motivation however, slim. I tried. I tried hooking him with different books, fun math games, writing geared toward his interests. Still. No. Connection.
Then today happened.
We were doing a ten frame math activity. He knew how to do the activity, not easy, but a good fit for his ability. He got right to work. What was different? I'll never know. He did his job. He showed me with a huge grin, as if to say, "See what I did!" I beamed. He beamed. We connected. I announced the accomplishment. When I make an announcement like this students know it is applause time. They applauded. He blushed. Grabbed his chest. Ran his hand over his head. Eyes bright. He was proud. I was too. I sent him to the office to show off. I was so proud of him, mostly because he was proud of himself. We hugged. I felt the love.
He will be featured on our school news program tomorrow for a job well done.
It was just a math activity, but it was so much more. We finally connected.
Sunday, March 2, 2014
My son checked out a book about crafting and different sewing projects from the library on Friday. He has been looking at the page depicting a cross-stitch project longingly.
"It says, easy as A, B, C, mom. I really want to do this one."
What could I say, except under my breath..."not as easy as A, B, C."
However, this would be a good lesson in patience. We made a trip to the craft store last night and got materials. We decided to get a small and simple kit so we would have everything at our fingertips and then get some aida cloth for practicing. The practicing began this morning and the hardest part began when we couldn't thread the needle. We needed a "needle threader." My husband was sure I probably had one in my great-grandmother's old sewing box. I began the search. No needle threader. But it got me thinking about other places to look.
What about the seat of her sewing machine?
But, no needle threader.
My husband, who had continued searching the layers of the sewing box was victorious! There was one threader that wasn't broken. Yay!
It makes me happy to imagine the many projects that were made with this needle threader and the many memories that are captured in these little boxes of her life.
Saturday, March 1, 2014
Here we go
to consume us
fill up with words
lines of slices
in our lives
where will you go
where will it take you
here you go.
I am so excited to continue on this journey with a writing community that will grow again this year.
Slice your life this month and it will take you places you never imagined existed. Words will flow from you that you never knew were there. I can't wait to read them.
Friday, February 28, 2014
Just last weekend I had the pleasure of visiting Dublin, OH for the Dublin Literacy Conference. I got to see old friends and even made some new ones too! While I was there I did a presentation on using poetry in the classroom. You might remember last month's chalk where I did a multi-leveled lesson and had the kids build a poem. Well, we did the same thing using a mentor text from George Ella Lyon and chalked our own Where I'm From poem.
If you haven't heard George Ella Lyon read Where I'm From, it is worth a listen and very inspiring. Below I have a video with Lyon doing the reading. It is quite unique.
Now onto the chalk! We started by talking literally about where we were from. Then we dug a little deeper. After listening to George Ella Lyon read where she is from, we were inspired. Those present wrote their own, Where I'm From, poem and chose their favorite line.
Here, Tony Keefer, a new poetry friend, tapes his line onto the poem that the group built together.
Below is the completed chalk poem.
Thankful for sadness,
mistakes and rebirth.
I'm from loving arms
I am from the connections of
friends and long stretches of
I am from playing with
in the evening hours.
I am from warm hugs
and licking the
batter off the spoon
I am from green
I am from pizza
Friday and summer camp.
Dublin was an amazing place to visit and have the experience of chalking together. I hope you will visit the other chalkers in the comments as well as all the Poetry Friday peeps!
Poetry Friday is hosted by Anastasia at Poet! Poet!
I have a question for you, do you want to order a Chalk-A-Bration t-shirt? I am in the process of trying to decide if there is enough interest for ordering. Here is a view of what the t-shirt would look like if you would like to order one online. The downfall of this is there would be a limited time to order and the cost would be $30 (no profit). The other alternative is for me to make a shirt that is less expensive but could be ordered through me, shipped to you or sold when I get the chance to meet you at a conference. Let me know your thoughts on the idea!