Saturday, November 30, 2013

Celebrating two weekends!

                           So excited to join Saturday Celebrations with Ruth Ayres!
                It is fun to live my week thinking about what I will celebrate on Saturday!
Discover. Play. Build.
Celebrations are everywhere when we slow down to notice them:
Thanksgiving eve devotional with friends from many faith communities 
 Sleeping in on turkey day
Having a young friend join us for the holiday
Enjoying Thanksgiving lunch at a restaurant
Heading upstairs to see Catching Fire
The guys for setting up and lighting the Christmas tree  
Lance's homemade pizza (thanks Sara & Will for inspiring him)
Time to play Yahtzee and Chicken Foot
Ryan's coconut macaroons dipped in chocolate
Touching base with loved ones by telephone and email throughout the day
Our friend's time & technological expertise (space again for taking pics on my phone)
A black Friday pajama day perfect for grading papers
Waking up this morning to another weekend and Saturday celebrations!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Teacher-Created Chaos

Today I join my fellow bloggers in "serving up a slice" 
to the Tuesday Slice of Life sponsored by Two Writing Teachers.
It was one of those rare, quiet moments in my 4th /5th period block of 19 boys and 9 girls. Quiet is something that is rarely achieved in this classroom.  Everyone was engrossed in his or her Mock Newbery book and anticipating lunch.
Suddenly, I heard that annoying sound!  Another student with hiccups.  We've had an epidemic of hiccups  in our classroom lately.  Some are the loud, gut-wrenching kind that disturb the entire class.  This afflicted student was a bit quieter which is why most of my students didn't hear her and become totally distracted.
My dad always claimed that a good scare was the best cure for the hiccups.
So... I crept up behind her, shouted "BOO!" and scared the living daylights out of her and the entire class!
My students wanted to know why I was crying.  I explained that hearty laughter always brings tears to my eyes.
Once everyone calmed down, I asked the afflicted student if she still had the hiccups.
Nope, they were gone!

Saturday, November 23, 2013


                           So excited to join Saturday Celebrations with Ruth Ayres!
                   It is fun to live my week thinking about what I will celebrate on Saturday!  
Discover. Play. Build.

A quick celebration before tackling the work of the day:

1.  Celebrating the encouragement I received last week from fellow bloggers to exercise.  Although I didn't exercise five times, four times is definitely moving in the right direction.  Makes me think about how important it is to celebrate approximations toward a goal, not just accomplishment.  (Could I please move my mountain climber four hundred feet up the mountain?)

2.  Celebrating a new opportunity to serve in my faith community.  After spending seven years of Sunday mornings with young children, I'm sad to leave them.  I know I'll be challenged by this new direction.

3.  Celebrating time to talk with my daughter before school yesterday.  After two years of PA school and the same time zone, I had grown attached to our early morning check-ins.  Now with her move to the east coast, she's already at work when I get up at 5 a.m.  Glad her road trip yesterday gave us time to chat!  

4. Celebrating a Saturday morning phone call from my son.  He's headed up to campus to study and I'm grading papers.  We lead exciting lives!

Take a few moments to join us for Saturday celebrations at Ruth Ayres Writes!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

7 Questions for Tuesday Night!

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

A meandering slice of random thoughts . . . stick with me for the book recommendation!

1.  Are authors contributing to a generation without a proper understanding of capital letters when  they refuse to use capitals in the titles of their books?  Am I clinging to an old fashioned notion by still insisting that first words, last words, and all other important words in the title are capitalized on reading logs?

2.  How do people keep up with the flood of email?  Our new email system continues to baffle me, emails elude me by hiding in unusual places, and emails started (but not finished) slink away to the draft folder instead of staying in my current mailbox.

3.  Wasn't life simpler for middle schoolers and their parents without teacher updates, assignments posted on Schoology, and grades entered on Skyward?

4.  Since I didn't reach my goal of exercising five times this week, do I just give up and try again next  week?  Or do I celebrate each day that I exercise knowing that some is always better than none?

5.  How can one book be filled with so many memorable lines?  From the optimism here "Never let someone tell you that you can't do it," to the bleakness here, "All reality, I decide, is a blender where hopes and dreams are mixed with fear and despair," to the wisdom here, "Every person has lots of ingredients to make them into what is always a one-of-a-kind creation."

6.  How can one book break my heart, celebrate life, create quirky characters I'll never forget, and stay with me long after I've turned the last page?

7.  How can I resist purchasing my own copy of this book so I can mark it to my heart's content?  My advice, treat yourself to a wonderful reading experience and pick up a copy of counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan!  (It was hard, but I typed that title with no caps.  Just don't tell my students!)

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Floating out of the grocery store!

                           So excited to join Saturday Celebrations with Ruth Ayres!
              It is fun to live my week thinking about what I will celebrate on Saturday!  
Discover. Play. Build.
My week began with a book celebration that I knew would be hard to top!  Tuesday's long day (worked the phone bank at our schools foundation drive) was enhanced by dinner and the chocolate incentives in our volunteer packets.  Wednesday I attended book club even though I hadn't read the book.  An evening spent with these dear friends is always cause for celebration!  Thursday we enjoyed soup,  salad, and delicious desserts provided by our parents.  What could top the memory of that delicious lunch and a few moments to visit with colleagues?  Friday's chance encounter with a parent at the grocery store.  First, she told me who she was and mentioned her child's name (always helpful for me since I remember faces, but names elude me).  She thanked me for being her daughter's teacher last year and sharing my love of books.  She mentioned the Mock Newbery Book Clubs and their impact on her daughter's reading life.  My weary trudge into the grocery store turned into a buoyant celebration all because of these few words of gratitude!
Join us for Saturday celebrations at Ruth Ayres Writes.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Feeding my addictions . . .

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

A game night on Friday night, 
a birthday breakfast with two friends on Saturday, 
and a Sunday afternoon nap with time to read my Mock Newbery title, Counting by 7s
A totally delightful weekend!

I fully intended to spend all of Veteran's Day tackling my never-ending pile of papers.
And then, this arrived in my inbox from a new contact at Random House: 

"Please join the University Bookstore staff for a presentation 
of recent and forthcoming books for grades K-12!
Local representatives from Random House Children's Books,
Penguin Books for Young Readers, and Scholastic 
will provide lunch, door prizes and a dazzling array of the latest and greatest, 
including regional opportunities and Common Core suitability."

Anyone who knows teachers knows that we're hooked 
by lunch, door prizes, and a dazzling array! 
So I was off to University Bookstore to be dined, door prized and dazzled. 
The papers could wait while I took this break.

Here's the booty I acquired for my classroom: 
6 advance reader copies, 
my door prize - a hardback copy of The Twistrose Key (complete with a dazzling cover), 

and a Jan Brett bag to carry my precious loot home.  

by allowing myself the purchase of just one book from the remainders table
in the main bookstore!

I did browse the calendars and children's section
before the presentation began.
It was great fun to listen to the reps share
delightful books from their respective companies, 
bump into Susan who was our librarian for a short time,
and chat with the bookstore staff after the presentation.

Then it was back home to that pile of papers.
My heart sang each time I glanced at my bag
and thought of the treasures inside.
Tomorrow I'll share the dazzling array of new books with my students!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

What a Week!

                        So excited to join Saturday Celebrations with Ruth Ayres!
              It is fun to live my week thinking about what I will celebrate on Saturday!  
Discover. Play. Build.

Awesome Administrators
In today's challenging educational environment, I tip my hat to our building administrators who support our work in the classroom, make our building a pleasant place to work, and offer assistance in so many ways.  When I had my evaluation conference, my principal offered to drop by after school to help me out.  Not only did she offer, she pulled out her calendar and scheduled two afternoons!

Terrific Teammates
When I opened my Big Fresh newsletter this morning, I discovered an issue dedicated to theme, our content team's current focus.  Such serendipity on a Saturday morning!  I love Choice Literacy, but I'm not sure I've ever thanked my wonderful teammates there. They support my work, push my thinking, and arrive with the perfect topic at just the right moment.

I'm excited to be part of the Healthy Challenge team created by our social committee. We're scaling the mountain by selecting personal goals to work on each week and then moving our mountain climbers up the mountain as we reach our weekly goals.  They've even personalized our mountain climbers with our photos!

Sensational Students
We kicked off Mock Newbery book clubs this past week.  I love listening to the buzz about books as students discover new books and authors while reading Newbery possibilities for 2014!
My teacher heart sang as I observed one of my students greet a student with learning challenges as he passed by their table in the student center.  Because of the kind action of this student, everyone at the table paused to greet this student with kindness and respect.  I love my Superstars!

I hope your week was filled with many celebratory moments!  
Be sure to check out the celebrations at Ruth's blog.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Currently I'm . . .

Today I join my fellow bloggers in "serving up a slice" 
to the Tuesday Slice of Life sponsored by  Two Writing Teachers.
Thanking:  the workmen who arrived Sunday evening to restore our power 
Needing: a grading machine (I tell my students I am not one, but wouldn't it be grand to have one?)
Anticipating:  my guest post (last week's November nightmare) on Kirby Larson's blog
Hoping:  I find time for something besides grading on our upcoming three day weekend
Reading:  The Boy on the Porch
Wishing:  for more time to read blogs and hang out on Twitter
Striving:  to help my students understand theme
Joining:  the Health Challenge (with my own little mountain climber) sponsored by our social committee
Loving:  newtreemom's poem "Blaze of Glory" - I intentionally saved it for Poetry Friday on November 1 to kick off our month of gratitude in our WRN (writer's reader's notebook). Her final phrase is perfect for this time of year:  

"Autumn is arriving, filling my senses,
preparing my soul
for gathering together
for thanks-giving"

Sunday, November 3, 2013

A Windy Day at Home!

                        So excited to join Saturday Celebrations with Ruth Ayres!
              It is fun to live my week thinking about what I will celebrate on Saturday!  
Discover. Play. Build.

Celebrating . . . 
Our brilliant red Japanese maple!
Our generator that is still chugging away 12 hours after our power loss
keeping our home filled with light, warmth, a hot cherry pie, and a cold refrigerator.
The restored Comcast internet service allowing me to finish my blog posts!