Wednesday, July 31, 2013

A haiku for July Chalk-A-Bration

Here's my first attempt at joining my fellow bloggers for Chalk-A-Bration.  I waited until our administrators had left the building and then put my haiku on the front sidewalk.  Hopefully, the custodians won't wash it away before our principals see it tomorrow.  It captures the awakening that we're starting to feel as we gear up for another school year.  Next month, I plan to take along some children to share in the fun with me!
Check out the fun at Betsy's post!    

July's warmth lingers
Summer slides into August
School supplies beckon!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Seeking Summer Readers!

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 off to the library in a few minutes.  I'm partnering with the teen librarian at our public library to host an evening for middle school readers.  I hope some students show up.  We decided to do this after school was out.  We posted flyers at our local independent bookstore and the library.  I walked around Island Celebration on July 13th with flyers.  I think I saw two students.  I emailed parents from last year's class about the event.  I've promoted it on my Sweet Summer Reads blog.

I have my own WTR (want to read) pile, books to recommend, books I've read, Newbery possibilities, and of course, sweet treats.     

 These bags are new at our library,
and you check them out for a year!
How cool is that?

Keep your fingers crossed!  If they don't come, at least I'll be surrounded by good books, some sweet treats and a fellow book lover!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

We dream of July and summer tomatoes!

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.

Yesterday I spent a few moments with my one tomato plant of the summer.  A few summers ago I planted my first container plant tomatoes along the edge of our driveway.  Last year, a son's wedding (a few days after school was out) prevented me from procurring any tomato plants.  I was convinced that there were no tomato plants left anywhere, but a dear friend called around town and lovingly gifted me with two tomato plants, probably the last two left in Seattle and yes, I planted them in July, thinking all the while, I'll never have tomatoes this year.  Although my harvest came late, I enjoyed tomatoes in September!

In a session at the All Write conference in June, Penny Kittle shared Sarah Kay's spoken word poem "Montauk" with us.  The technology failed (just like real life in my classroom), so she read us the poem.  She encouraged us to find a line, a phrase, a place that triggers something inside of you that wants expression.  "... her eyes as big as summer tomatoes..." was the trigger phrase for me.

Here's my quick write from my writer's notebook at All Write:
I am ten years old.  We drive for miles in the white '59 Chevy so that Daddy can buy tomato plants from his favorite organic gardener.  We return home with crates of tiny plants.  He plows the rows of already prepared soil with the hand tiller.  I stand beside him as he digs each hole, we add fertilizer, and then tenderly empty each plant from its green plastic holder, drop it into the hole, and pat the soil back around each plant.  When we finish the first row, we drag the green water hose over to splash water on each newly planted tomato plant.  We dream of July and summer tomatoes.

This next quick write was composed today for this Slice of Life:
I am fifty-plus years old.  I finished my grades the day before leaving for the All Write conference in Indiana.  I returned home to two days of CCSS work with my grade level colleagues.  I sprint through one and one half days of chores and piles, swatting at whatever task screams the loudest.  We're headed to Portland for a much desired weekend with my daughter and a longed for leisurely trip to Powell's Bookstore.  My son-in-law arrives at the designated time, ready to leave.  I'm embarrassed that I'm not ready.  My own children are quite familiar with my before-trip frenzied state, but my son-in-law isn't.   I quickly finish packing, throw my things in the car, and then drag out the plastic bag of Miracle Grow, the empty container, and my tomato plant.  We quickly empty the bag, dig a deep hole for the plant, shake it out of its green plastic holder, drop it into the hole, and then pat the soil around the plant.  I retrieve the wire cage from the garage and we place it over the plant.  I fill the blue plastic bucket with water several times and splash water on my one tomato plant of the summer.  As we pull out of the driveway, I dream of August and summer tomatoes.

I check on my tomato plant daily.  I talk to my tomato plant.  I love watching the yellow blooms turn into tiny orbs of green.  I walk away from this morning time with my tomato plant, rub my hands together, breathe in the smell, and I'm ten years old again!
And this week, the first blush of summer arrived. 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

I can't resist a kid with a book...

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 so excited about my post at Sweet Summer Reads that I wanted to link to it on Slice of Life also.  I interviewed my first guest reader yesterday, the result of a serendipitous meeting in June at my doctor's office.  When you read this post and hear Callum's wise words, you'll understand my hope that all of us will have some students like him in our classrooms when we return in the fall.  I know that it takes a village to raise a reader.  Kudos to the entire community of parents, family, friends, booksellers, librarians, and teachers who encourage young readers.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Currently I'm . . .

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.

Listening:  to Nancy Pearl On the Books That Keep Young Readers Interested (go to 13:40 of this broadcast to get Nancy's great recommendations)
Needing:  to work on the paper piles (as soon as I finish this post)
Anticipating:  daughter's four day visit and Summer Celebration
Hoping:  for comments on our Sweet Summer Reads blog
Reading:  assigned pages in Notice and Note for tomorrow's PLC
Longing:  to begin The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, our August book club selection 
Striving:  to follow Linda's advice (one of my Dumbledores) to read fast and write fast
Loving:  this quote from Peter Pan, "Do you know," Peter asked, "why swallows build in the eaves of houses?  It is to listen to the stories." 

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Indulge your inner child!

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 like to remember when I was a kid and summer was a long, stretched out, luxurious event marked by time at the pool, weeding the garden, snapping bushels of green beans with my mom, morning walks to the library, canning peaches in a house without central air, and afternoons spent lounging in the family room with our room air conditioner cranked on high, a cool drink, and hours to spend in a favorite book.

This is my first week without a school obligation on the calendar.  Monday morning, July 1, I kicked off my month of independence from school with a walk in a neighborhood where my friend and I rarely walk.  As we returned to her car, I coaxed her into a neighborhood park.  She has a grandson so I told her we needed to explore it and see what was there.  Tucked into one corner of the park, not visible from the street, were two swings.  After looking at the play structures, I settled into one of the swings, pushed off, and pumped away.  I convinced my friend to join me, but her halfhearted attempt was explained away by the fact that swinging makes her dizzy.  I was holding my water bottle, but flung it to the ground so I could throw my whole self into the experience.  I recited in my head the words to a favorite poem, "How would you like to go up in a swing? . . ."  I became my inner child as I giggled, pumped ever higher, and longed to fly over the trees and above the water!

I have long lists of things to accomplish in the summer - the boxes in the garage that my husband always wants to get rid off (I have to go through them first), closets to be purged, desks and tables with piles of paper to be sorted and filed, the boxes of stuff I lugged home from school to organize, endless appointments to make, and home chores that get ignored during the school year.  However, I insist that summer fun be a part of each day.  What are you waiting for?  Quick, make a list of ways to indulge your inner child.  Turn to it every day and make summer fun happen!