Friday, March 2, 2018

Slice of Life Day 2: Sharing Words

Today, my students and I are celebrating Dr. Seuss's birthday and Read Across America Day!  I love this day!  It started last night with making a shirt for my student teacher to wear today.

This morning includes a trip to Mrs. Smith's incredible breakfast of green eggs and bacon (instead of ham). She is one of our amazing 2nd grade teachers who makes marvelous treats to spoil her students, parents, co-workers, and family.  We gather, eat breakfast, drink some coffee read each other's shirts, laugh and celebrate that we made it to Friday, March 2nd!!!

 My next goal for our day is to fill it full of words by reading, blogging, and sharing our love of story!  After the bell rang, we snuggled into our Friday routine of working on our stamina.  My fourth graders read for one hour, 26 minutes, and 23 seconds.  At the beginning of the year, their time was 5 minutes!!  We have come a really long way!  

Since it was a day to celebrate reading, I invited various adults to join our group of learners to share their favorite stories.  Chris and Tenille Shade are two of my favorite people!  They brought love, laughter, and magnificent sentences in the forms of a new picture book called  Love by Matt de la Peña and an old favorite, The Original Adventures of Hank the Cowdog by John R. Erickson.  

If you haven't experienced this book, go get a copy and read it right now!  Hearing my precious friend Tenille share the beautiful pages and her personal story brought smiles, some tears, and joy to my heart.  Mr. Chris is an entertainer, so I was thrilled that he decided to share a couple of chapters from The Original Adventures of Hank the Cowdog by John R. Erickson.  He delighted our ears with sound effects and peaked our curiosity of the life of a cowdog.  

This afternoon, Ms. Morrison came to share her love of reading with us and our kinder reading buddies.  Kathy is another one of my favorite people who loves sharing words with our students, so she brought many books!  She read Dr. Suess and practiced our onomatopoeia, a book about being brave, inspiration came from a book about a boy architect, but the bit hit was Whose Nest? By Victoria Cochrane.  The kinders and fourthies loved guessing which animal was represented by the nest, clues, and illustrations.


I am so thankful that these wonderful people gave some of their time to share words with our kids!

After they left, we got back to our blogging.  My kids get time every Friday to blog about their reading, life, and learning.  They love blogging days.  Tenille said she would read their words, so my kids were excited to share their words with her.  I love reading their blogs.  They aren't usually very long and wordy, but many times I find out more about my students in the few words that they share on their blogs. 

I am thankful for days of celebration!

I am thankful for educators who give more of themselves than we can even imagine.

I am thankful for words that are written, spoken, and shared.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Slice of Life Day 1: Change is HARD!

I think it is time for a change, but change is pretty hard for me.  Honestly, I may need your help.
By the end of last year's challenge, I decided I was going to switch my blog from Blogger to a Word Press blog.  I created this one, posted a couple of blogs to this one throughout the year, and left the other one as is.  Honestly, other things became more important than the change.

At the end of last March, I was excited with the idea, but I have spent the last three years blogging on my Blogger site.  Therefore, I knew it would be a challenging move. I have not spent money to purchase this blog.  So, it seems my options are limited, and it seems that only the paid sites can add the plug in that would seamlessly move my posts.

It has been years since I have built blogs and websites using html.  I loved the time I spent doing it, but since I knew it was going to have to relearn to read it, I have put it off.

And so...

My old posts sit over there while I navigate 2018 in Word Press.

Here's to change....


Did I mention that change is HARD?

Friday, March 31, 2017

Why I Write #SOL17

So, as I sit down this morning to pin my last March post, I am wrestling with the question.... Why I do this challenge?  The first time, it was because a beloved friend, who also happens to be a colleague, encouraged us to do join the challenge.  Tenille is someone I look up to because I love her zeal for literature, writing, and sharing.  So, I jumped in....and struggled through.

The next year, I joined because I realized how reluctant I was to just sit down and start writing.   I am one of those kids who wants to wrestle with words and sentences, but I truly want them perfect from the beginning.  So, when it is time to blog, I want it to be something useful, reflective, thought provoking..something relevant.

Last year, I used this blog to process through cleaning out our family's homestead and closing out a pair of lives that built an amazing legacy in the 90+ years of doing life.  It is refreshing to look back at those posts, relive the days that I spent with my sister,  and see my raw emotions from sharing this season with our families.  

This year, I just HAD to do the challenge.  I felt like my career and my heart needed to stop, sit still, wrestle with thoughts, and write.  I decided to email the staff at our school to see if anyone would join me.  My dear friend, Carol, has walked through this journey with me.   It has been fun to have someone to share the struggles and joys of putting our thoughts down.  

Over the years, March has turned into a refreshing month of growth.  Pushing myself to write every day has changed the way I see daily writing time for my students.  The writing process has been a cleansing reminder that my words are important, and I should share them.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Moments of Joy #SOL17

Sometimes, there are no words.

Life seems to be heavy, and there are simply no words.

So, as I came home, I was perplexed, frustrated, and sad that I really had no words to put down on my blog.  Our school week has been long, and we are all tired.  However, my husband had words for me as I walked in the door this evening.

Currently, he is working at the same company as his Dad.  It has been a joy to listen to the conversations that have built bridges between them.  Jason has gotten to hear stories of family members who have passed.  He has gotten to know another side of his mom, dad and their relationship.  They have shared their words.  Precious words that should be shared between family members, but all too often, we are too busy or self absorbed to ask and listen.

Today, he found out that his grandfather played baseball for the city as a young man.  Jason was delighted with this information.  He grinned from ear to ear telling me about how he must have gotten the love of the game from his Grandpa.    Precious.  

Words were shared.  History was remembered and is now being celebrated.  Stories.  

We all have beautiful stories to share, relive, and celebrate.  I think March and Slice of Life Writing Month is my absolute favorite month of the year!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

The Morning After #SOL17

The morning after.  

Today is the morning after a STAAR writing test and a spring storm that woke my family up at 2:45.  It is the morning after.

The morning after is an unusual time of stillness, quiet and reflection.  As I get my morning started, I wonder what today will hold.  Will all of my kids come to school today?  Was there damage done to anyone?  What do we need to rise from the storm?

As the sun rises, we will begin to check and see if homes and/or cars got any damage during the storm.  As the sun rises, students will realize that they were able to make it through the hard test, stronger and experienced.  

We will survey to see if there was damage to the neighborhood and our friends' and families' lives.  We will reflect on how the challenges have shaped us.  We will realize that we were stronger than the storm.  We will begin to rebuild and regroup. 

All will be clear the morning after.  

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Storms #SOL17

According to the meteorologists, we are in the path of spring storms tonight.  They are putting out warnings and telling everyone to stay tuned for the latest update.  The color coded map makes it very easy to know what time the atmosphere should change and to be prepared to take cover.

How would our lives be different if we knew storms were coming?

I wonder if it would be better or more daunting to know that a strong wind of change and possibility of complete destruction was about to hit you and/or your family.

I think back over my friends and family who have endured raging storms, many of them survived on their knees.  Would they have wanted to know what was coming?  Would knowing have changed their last moments before the first drop fell?

Storms are something we all endure.  Sometimes we get the refreshing rain that rebuilds our strengths and focuses us on the right path.  Other times, the storm is so devastating that we can't get up, and the world as we knew it will never be the same.

How would our lives be different if we knew the storms were coming?

Monday, March 27, 2017

So Much More #SOL17

Tomorrow is our STAAR writing test.  I hope my 4th graders do well and show what they know.  However, it is just a day.  This test does not change their smile or what I think about them.  It does not define their future or what they are capable of achieving.  It is merely four hours of their life.

One day.

One chance to show the state what they know and what they have learned.

I pray they know how precious they are to me.  I do not see them as the score that they get.  They are so much more.  

So, tonight as a I reflect on what to write on here, I can't get my writers off of my mind.  

I wonder if they know.  

Have I told them?

Do they know?

All of them are SO much more!

Sunday, March 26, 2017

The Struggle to be Related #SOL17

I am in my fourth semester of graduate school through Texas A&M, WHOOP!  I have loved the experience of being a student at A&M, again.  I have gotten to know some amazing educators, and learned some fun things.  After this semester, I have 6 hours to finish my masters in Curriculum and Instruction.  

Online grad school has been very different (sometimes difficult) because I am not sitting in a class, and I have to push myself to log in, connect and find commonalities with other students.  However, I have enjoyed the experience.  

However, today, I am struggling through an assignment that reminds me so much of what my students teachers face in their classes for lesson planning.  My content is problem.  I just finished teaching these TEKS to my own fourth graders.  However, the requirements for this lesson activity is crazy!  It feels so out of touch with what we really do in the classroom.  I never sit down, create a power point of examples and non-examples and write up 4-6 pages for each activity.

One of my greatest fears is to get set in my ways and become close minded.  I pray I am always open to the new and innovative ways of teaching and presenting content.  I pray I am always a learner who is looking for a way to connect, stay important and significant.

I want my lessons and class to be relevant.

I want to be pertinent.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

My Stack #SOL17

I have read some amazing blogs this month, and usually, I remember to link to the ones that I plan to reference.  Unfortunately, I totally forgot to do that this time.  So, if anyone reading this knows who to give credit to, please comment below.

We have learned a ton from each other, but this great post was about the stack of books on her bedside table.  After I read her post, I looked around my classroom, and I realized I could tell a ton about my students if I took time to look at their stack.  

Therefore, I decided that I absolutely must do this post, too.  

So, here is my current reading stack...minus the graduate books that I am using to write an assignment.

The Last Kids on Earth and the Zombie Parade is a sequel, and my kids are loving it. So, I brought it home.  The first one was wonderful!

Some Kind of Courage  is a Bluebonnet nominee, and I have heard amazing things about it.  So, I brought it home, too.

Three years ago, I had two boys who begged me to read Riordan's books.  I put them off all year, and then the summer after they left me, I picked them up.  NOW I can't tell you enough how much I love Rick Riordan's work.  So, his two latest ones have made their way to my stack.  The Hidden Oracle and  Hammer of Thor.

I am a lover of 80s rock, and if I had been born five years earlier, I would have been a total groupie on Sunset Strip...or I would have tried REALLY hard to be.  I read an article about Carol Miller, and went to the library to grab her biography.  I have slowly been working through it and her perspective of 80s rock.

Soar is another Bluebonnet nominee that was recommended to me, so it was added to the stack.

Present Over Perfect is the bible study that my dear friends, and I are working through right now.  I highly recommend it if you are in a season of life where you need to refocus.

These are the friends that sit next to my bed each night.  I think it is time to close my computer and open a book!

Friday, March 24, 2017

Birds Are Singing #SOL17

My motion sensor in my room just shut the lights off.  All at once, the birds began singing in the garden outside my window.  I love their tunes.  All of the unique calls that grab my attention and thoughts.  I wonder if we sound as unique to them.

Growing up, my grandparents had an amazing back yard.  They would work the grass and flowers until each one was perfectly healthy and showing their best colors. The birds loved their yard, and my grandparents loved the birds.  They were a welcome guest to the garden of splendor each day.  The bird bath was always full of water, and their feeders were bursting with fresh seed.  It was a beautiful place to grow up.

Confession time, my yard does not measure up!  Honestly, it makes me so sad.  It is full of weeds and my beds are currently bare.

I love buying the plants and getting them in the ground, but after that, I fall short!  Maybe this is my year to create and enjoy a beautiful space to welcome our birds.  I need a plan!  Guess I should get my journal out and come up with a plan!  I am energized at the thought, and I am so thankful that today is Friday.  I have two days to work on my magical garden.

Maybe this year, the birds will be singing in my yard!