Tuesday, January 29, 2013

How to gain 29 lbs. in 3 hours!

Today I join my fellow bloggers in "serving up a slice" to the Tuesday Slice of Life sponsored by Stacey and Ruth from Two Writing Teachers. 

Two of my students (fraternal twins) shared with me several weeks ago that they would be going to the ALA Midwinter Conference with their grandpa who works for a major book company.  I asked my students if it might be possible for their grandpa to get their teacher a pass to see the exhibits.  They asked, he agreed, and on Saturday morning, I was off to the exhibit hall in Seattle.  Three hours later, I stumbled out of the convention center and headed for the underground bus terminal with an overflowing bookbag and a backpack filled with treasures to share with my students.  I weighed the bookbag and backpack when I got home - thus my 29 pound weight gain!

The best find from this treasure trove has to be The Runaway King (sequel to The False Prince) which won't be published until March.  Many of my students have read The False Prince and are so excited to read the sequel.  So today we'll have a drawing to see who gets to read it first and second and so on.  One student even offered me $20 to let her read it first!

We watched the live feed from the Youth Media Awards presentation on Monday.  We were excited that three titles from our Mock Newbery list (created by King County librarians) won Newbery recognition today.  Bomb was challenging for my students, but they learned so much reading it.  Three Times Lucky was not a kid favorite, but I loved it and blogged about it earlier this year. 
http://pleasuresfromthepage.blogspot.com/2012/10/counting-myself-lucky.html  Finally, The One and Only Ivan was our 2nd place winner (Wonder took first place).  My students feel a special connection to Ivan since some of their parents can recall seeing the real Ivan as children.  They have loved reading the Newbery possibilities over the last three months.  I'll share more about this process in a future post.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Instead of Progress Reports . . .

Today I join my fellow bloggers in "serving up a slice" to the Tuesday Slice of Life sponsored by Stacey and Ruth from Two Writing Teachers. 

I can always find something to read and distract me from the nagging task at hand.  This week it was the Science Times section of the NYT (which incidentally, I read on Friday, even though it comes out on Tuesday).  I'm a solid Language Arts/Social Studies kind of gal, so reading the Science Times section is my version of Science Light!

From page D3:
Study Measures Impact of China's One-Child Policy - We are studying China right now in SS.
Wet Wrinkled Fingers Evolved for Better Grip - Those prunelike wrinkles allow a better grip on wet objects.  Curriculum connection - we study early man in SS.
Giant Squids Ready for Small-Screen Debut - The videos will appear on Jan. 27 on a Discovery Channel Show,  "Monster Squid:  The Giant Is Real."  I must remember to share this with my students.
Equation of Time Solves Mystery of Gray Mornings - This article explains the analemma, that uneven figure 8 on globes in a deserted part of the Pacific.  Does it seem like there's more darkness in the morning and less in the afternoon?  It turns out that earth's orbit and axis cause delayed sunrises even as days lengthen.  No wonder it's still so hard to get up in the morning!
This Was Supposed to Be My Column for New Year's Day - Yes, I saved the best one for last.  This article explains that positive procrastination may all be in the mind, but it can be effective.  It turns out that it works best for those who feel guilt for their procrastination and need to assuage it.  The author mentions that positive procrastination will likely work for you if you're the type of person who cleaned your dorm room before exams.  Not only did I clean the room, I could often be found mopping the floor in my dorm room when I needed to write a paper.   Unfortunately, I told my husband about this once, and so he now refers to any of my positive procrastination behaviors as "mopping the floor."
Hmmm - perhaps reading the Science Times is another version of mopping the floor for me.  Guess it's time to face those progress reports!

Monday, January 14, 2013

My third graders!

Today I join my fellow bloggers in "serving up a slice" to the Tuesday Slice of Life sponsored by Stacey and Ruth from Two Writing Teachers

When I returned to the classroom after staying home for more than a decade, my daughter was in middle school, and I taught third grade.  Since our middle school got out 40 minutes before the elementary school, she would walk across the field to my school and hang out in the back of the classroom getting an early start on her homework.
A few years later when she was a senior, she greeted me with these amazing words, "Mom, your third graders are freshmen now!"  I had to remind her often that my "third graders" were now "high schoolers" just like her.
This past week, a colleague stopped to introduce me to her student teacher.  When she said my name, the student teacher exclaimed, "You were my third grade teacher!" We had a few lovely moments remembering the 1998-99 school year.  She shared updates on several classmates.  We reminisced about reading the first Harry Potter book that year and having an end-of-the-year  Harry Potter party.

I woke up in the middle of the night wondering about a bound book from that class and went in search of this special keepsake.  This book of bios and photos of each student on the first day of school was a favorite classroom book for the entire year.  I found it and shared it the next day with the student teacher who took it home to share this lovely picture and her bio from third grade with her mom.

And so this past week I surprised my twenty-six year old daughter with the words, "Sara, one of my third graders is teaching down the hall from me."

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Listening to my gifts!

Today I join my fellow bloggers in "serving up a slice" to the Tuesday Slice of Life sponsored by Stacey and Ruth from Two Writing Teachers

Here's my stack of gifts from the holidays.  I moved them from the breakfast table to my desk and then to the bureau in the hall.  Day by Day I Notice and Note the book love expressed by those who know me so well and gift me in the way I love best.  The Carpenter's Gift begged to be read with my daughter on Christmas Day.  We marveled at the illustrations and realized that our years spent reading together are the best magic moments ever.  I look at these friends longingly as I pass by and promise that soon we'll spend time together Like an Old Friend from Far Away.  I promise that I won't wait for The End of Your Life Book Club, but today I will choose one from the stack to be moved to my bedside table!

Wednesday Update:  Notice and Note scrambled to the top of the pile, journeyed to school with me yesterday, and will now be my daily traveling companion.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

One Little Word

Today I join my fellow bloggers in "serving up a slice" to the Tuesday Slice of Life sponsored by Stacey and Ruth from Two Writing Teachers

I'm awash in words.  How to CHOOSE just one?  I've never done this before, but I've loved reading your posts about choosing one little word for the year.  As I REFLECT on 2012, I can sum up my incredible journey with the word  plunge.  March was the month that my students and I took the plunge to write every day.  I had never posted to Two Writing Teachers before, but with an incredible group of students by my side, I joined this group and I've never looked back.

It's been fun to DISCOVER that I'm a writer.  I SAVOR Tuesdays when I join my fellow bloggers to LISTEN.  Your words ENCOURAGE, ENRICH, and INSPIRE me.  I feel your EMBRACE through the kind words you leave on my blog.

I'm in search of a FOCUS that will help me CAPTURE the GROWTH that beckons for 2013.  I want to become less scattered and find more BALANCE, to go SLOW, to CELEBRATE more often.

I love words, so this task of choosing just one is overwhelming!  I'm trying to DECIDE which word calls loudest to me.  And I think it's the word that has no voice to call, but instead beckons me to a quieter path, one that asks me to LISTEN to my own voice more often, to trust that I can make progress bit by bit in this new year, to LISTEN to the voices around me, and to LISTEN for the gentle spiritual promptings that can guide me on my daily journey.

I plan to spend a few days LISTENING before I commit to my one little word for 2013.