Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Yesterday was one of those days!

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

A long time ago in a meeting I attended, my colleague inquired about a date for a January field trip for our team.  We agreed to the last week in January.  For some reason, our field trip ended up being scheduled for Monday.  Who schedules field trips on Mondays?  My teaching partner, apparently!  It wasn't until last week that I connected the dots and realized that Monday, January 27th, the day the Newbery Awards would be announced, was also the day of our field trip.

Since the ALA midwinter meeting was on the east coast, and we're on the west coast, that meant I got up Monday morning at 4:45 a.m. to listen to the live webcast.  My cat was thrilled that I was actually sitting in a chair so early in the morning.   I took careful notes so I could share the results with both blocks of my students in a quick meeting from 8:30-9:00 before our scheduled 9:15 departure for the field trip.  I was excited to see that the webcast would be available at 11:00 Eastern time, 8:00 Pacific time.  That meant I could fast forward to the Bink and Gollie clip and watch the webcast to the end with my students in the 30 minute time slot available to us.

When I arrived at school, I took my computer to the library, hooked it up to the document camera, and hoped that the stars would align so the webcast would arrive on time.  I took our Mock Newbery books to the library along with the other Newbery possibilities that I've been sharing with my students.  As the winners were announced, I would move them to a special display table.

In between setting up books,  picking up meds, securing a bin for sack lunches, and packing my backpack for the field trip, my colleague popped in and asked if I had picked up the registration form from her room that she had been filling out for the field trip.  After a quick look at my desk, I replied that I hadn't picked it up, but I would help her look for it. You see, I am the queen of lost items and so I have great compassion when others end up in the boat with me.  Unfortunately, we didn't find it before the bell rang at 8:20.  I dashed off to let my students in the classroom and began frantically searching for my list of award winners that I had compiled that morning.

When I didn't find it, I decided that I must have left it in the library when I set up the book display.  I walked my students to the library and found that my students from the other block had already arrived.  Unfortunately, my list of winners wasn't in the library.  A quick look at the computer screen revealed that the promised archived webcast still wasn't available increasing my need for that list of winners.  I left our library clerk with 60 sixth graders, sprinted back to the classroom and found the page.  Thank goodness!

Unfortunately, in another meeting a long time ago, I had committed to reporting to our PAC (Parent Advisory Council) about our Mock Newbery project.  I did realize at the time that the meeting was the day the Newbery awards would be announced.  I thought it would be fun to share the Mock Newbery project with our parent community on the same day that the Newbery award was announced.  Unfortunately, I didn't know that we would have a field trip on the same day.

Fortunately, it was a great field trip!  We arrived back on campus for some of my 6th period planning time.  I managed to snag some former students to help me put up paper for our upcoming "Share the Newbery Love" bulletin board.  Unfortunately, I forgotten all about the PAC committee meeting after school and that I had planned to spend 6th period collecting my thoughts for the presentation.  Fortunately, our co-principal found me to sadly report that the meeting was cancelled because too many of the parents on the committee were unavailable.  He was a bit surprised at my glee over the meeting cancellation!

And I wish that I could report that was the end of my crazy day.  But unfortunately, a student arrived at my door after school asking about her lunch bag from the blue bin.  I checked in with the two teachers I had borrowed bins from (one bin was not big enough), and discovered that only one of those bins had made it back to school.  My colleague had phoned me at the Science Center to say that she had picked up my bin, not knowing that I ended up with two bins.  Fortunately, when I called the Science Center, they found the bin.  And that was the end of my rather exhausting, but extremely active Monday.  Fortunately, I can report that I managed to accrue more than 12,000 steps on my Fitbit, so I didn't need to add walking to the end of my day!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Sunshine, Sunsets, Food, and Books . . .

                            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 week filled with moments to celebrate and remember!

1.  Sunshine and more sunsets . . .
     This week we had several days when the sun broke through the clouds.  It's amazing how my spirit lifts with the arrival of the sun.  It encourages me to leave school before dark and to glimpse the setting sun as I drive home.

2.  A delicious lunch provided by our parents . . .
     This month they chose a tailgating Seahawks theme.  I love the food, the chance to visit with teacher friends who don't usually join us for lunch, and connecting with parents of "my" students (current and former) who serve the lunch.  I mentioned the lunch when I returned to my classroom, and several students chimed in that their parents had contributed to our delicious lunch.  Go Seahawks!  Go Parents!

3.  The arrival of The Art of Holly Hobbie on an interlibrary loan . . .
     A conversation with Nancy at Island Books led me to this book (out of print) and the discovery that I could purchase it for $68.99.  That sent me scurrying to my library web page (not in their collection), so I pushed a few keys and the book arrived this week from the Tacoma Library.  I love KCLS (King County Library System)!

4.  The last caramel from the snowman jar . . .
     A dear friend sends us homemade caramels each year.  One of our favorite holiday traditions is one caramel a day.  These well-traveled caramels from TX arrived in WA, traveled to DC in a suitcase, and traveled in a Christmas box to NY where a few made it into a suitcase for travels to England and Scotland.  It was a special treat to savor my last caramel this week.  

5.  A four day week filled with books . . .      
We had our final Mock Newbery book discussions on Wednesday and finished evaluating the books in our WRN (writer's reader's notebook) using the Newbery criteria.  Thursday we used the Newbery criteria to write a paragraph nominating the book we felt should win the 2014 Newbery Award.  Small groups of students defended each title in fishbowl discussions on Friday before we placed our online votes with the YCTNN at King County Library System.  Did I mention how much I love our library system?

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Seasonal OLW Intentions

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

I was inspired by Beth's post today sharing her monthly OLW intentions.  
I've been thinking about my OLW and how to keep it a part of my life for the entire year.  
I know creating a visual reminder would be a good strategy, but I'm not artistic.  
So I created a seasonal check-in time for my OLW.  
I consulted the calendar and discovered a 
5th Tuesday during April, July, September, and December.  

I love that each 5th Tuesday falls during a different season.  
Spring, but in April, after our daily SOL challenge in March.  
Summer, but during July when most of us have finally calmed down, 
and not yet headed back to school (mentally or physically).  
Fall, at the end of September after the initial back-to-school rush, 
but when we still feel that anything is possible this school year.  
Winter, after the holiday rush, but before we march into a new year.  

  I'm choosing to savor each season of 2014:
Winter finds me savoring comfort foods, sunsets, chocolate, 
a book club retreat, and writing for the March SOL challenge.  
As spring begins I'll be savoring poetry, blossoms, bunnies, laughter, and birthdays.  
My best summer solitary savoring 
is lunch on the deck with book in hand, sunshine caressing my back.  
When my solitary savoring craves company, I'll join family and friends 
to savor fireworks, hiking, Island Celebration, picnics, and Music in the Park.
Fall finds me savoring walks filled with gorgeous colors, 
trick or treaters (hopefully I'll have some), 
my many blessings, and the celebration of my Savior's birth.  
I know that by living with intention I will discover more to savor each season!  

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Celebrating in 17 minutes!

                            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 week filled with moments to celebrate and remember!

1.  Celebrating that I called a friend this morning who mentioned that she had just returned from a funeral.  This comment threw me into a tailspin because I was supposed to have a dessert at the church by 1 p.m..  I had totally forgotten this commitment, but I stirred up my famous cookie bars, showered, and delivered them to the church in under an hour, so surely I can write this post in 17 minutes.

2.  Celebrating that I found my student's paper.  We both knew she had turned it in, and she even remembered where she handed it to me (the front of the room).  My students know better than to hand me a paper because it often gets lost before it makes it to the right spot.  After looking for two days, I took a couple of moments before leaving school to check the front table again and there it was (under some other stuff).  A relief for both of us!

3.  Celebrating our independent book store.  I stopped yesterday to purchase a baby gift and had a delightful chat with my favorite book seller.  We love to talk books!  I'm glad we have an independent book store in our community.

4.  Celebrating late cards and Christmas trees.  My husband commented week before last that we were finished receiving cards, but this week several arrived in the mail, along with a note from a dear friend.  Real mail always brightens my day.  On my way home from Island Books, I drove by a house with a Christmas tree still glowing in the front window.  It made my heart glad!

5.  Celebrating what I savored when I left work before dark on Wednesday!  I chased this sunset from the south end where our school is located to Slater Park on the north end. This is the same spot where I discovered a serendipitous Saturday sunset and my OLW, savor.  Cathy mentioned that it yells "writing spot."  I'm committing to some writing time there soon.  I've also decided to savor this spot throughout the seasons, so I hope you won't object to future pictures taken at the same place.  

Looking forward to some time later to read your celebrations of the past week.
Have a week filled with moments to celebrate!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Savoring a Reading Conference

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

Savor, my OLW, found me a week ago last Saturday on January 4, my mom's birthday.  I wanted to write a thoughtful and reflective post today about my OLW.  I've twirled ideas all week long, kept a list near my computer, and even pondered writing a poem about how I'll savor 2014.  But tonight I find I'm too tired to write this post.  I still have some emails to answer, a lesson plan that needs tweaking, and a bed that is calling my name.
So I'll share the best moment of my day that occurred during a quick reading conference with a student.  My Mock Newbery unit goes contrary to my gut instincts about choice since students read from a list of Newbery possibilities selected by the children and teen librarians of King County Library System.  As I chatted briefly with a student and looked at her genre list, I could see that this unit had kept her from pursuing new genres of her own choosing.  I apologized, reminded her that we were almost finished, and that soon she would be choosing her own books again.   She reassured me that even though she's been reading assigned titles, that they are all good books and that she has enjoyed reading each of them.  Her smile reminded me that projects like this are worth the effort.  
With a little luck, one of our titles might be selected for the 2014 Newbery Award or as a Newbery Honor. However, regardless of the outcome on January 27th, this student's response about the good books she's been reading was a moment that I'll continue to savor!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Pausing to Savor on Saturday!

                          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 week filled with moments to celebrate and remember!

I'm celebrating babies this week.  A colleague stopped by school with her new baby and we were delighted to see her, big brother, and baby sister.  Our staff had two babies in November, another one due this month, and a new pregnancy announced this week.  Our church congregation has welcomed many babies this past year, after years of having only a few.  Last Sunday, I watched with delight as a sweet baby girl held her mother's hymnbook and intently watched the song leader.  It was precious and there were more than a few of us watching her instead of the song leader.      

I'm celebrating words this week.  It was through reading many of your words at Two Writing Teachers that I finally found my writing voice.   My OLW (One Little Word) for 2014 found me last Saturday evening.  I'm inspired by your OLWs and look forward to the word journeys we'll share this year.  Take a moment to see some of the words we've chosen at Cathy's post and add your OLW to the comments if you missed Cathy's call.  It's a great place to round up our One Little Words for 2014. 

I'm celebrating my students this week.  I asked them to read a Mock Newbery book over winter break.  Almost all of them returned ready for book clubs this past week!  Final book clubs will meet on January 21st, followed by fishbowl discussions in defense of each title before voting in our Mock Newbery, and we'll enjoy a celebratory breakfast meeting on January 27th as we listen to the announcement of the 2014 Newbery Award.  Yesterday, we enjoyed a little more time than usual to dive into our final book club titles.  I love a room full of engaged readers!     

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

My Serendipitous Saturday Sunset

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

I'm one of those folks who struggles with never having enough time in the day, so I vacillate between doing the onerous task of grocery shopping first thing on Saturday morning or doing it later in the afternoon when I've run out of steam for other tasks.  This past Saturday I attacked the papers to be graded early in the day, posted to Saturday celebrations, graded some more, and suddenly, it was time to squeeze in the weekly trip to the store before cooking dinner and taking care of preparations for Sunday.  Knowing that I was running late and that dinner would be later than usual, I dash out of the house for a quick trip to the QFC. 
As I pull onto the road, I glance to my left and spy a gorgeous red sunset.  I manage  to steal several quick glimpses through breaks in the trees before reaching the road where I usually turn right for the grocery store.  
I decide to squeeze in a quick detour and continue up the road toward my friend Renae's house.  Several years ago, my son showed me a lovely vantage point from her road for viewing the lake and the setting sun.  I stop there, pull onto a side road, and snap a few pictures.  It's at times like this that I wish I was a skilled photographer so that I could capture what my eye sees!  Although my picture doesn't do justice to the gorgeous red of the setting sun, it can visually prompt me to recall this moment in time so I can revisit it often.  I sigh with contentment and gratitude for this moment and head to the grocery store.  
However, my car develops a mind of its own and makes a left turn toward the water.  I find myself searching the side roads for a small, public pocket park.  After several wrong turns into private drives, I find the spot I'm searching for, park my car, and amble down a rock path to the water.  And there I'm treated to a few more moments with my serendipitous Saturday sunset.  And that's when I settle on my OLW for 2014 from a list of several words that I have been considering.  I'll write more about my OLW later, but for now, pause and SAVOR the view with me!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Celebrating remnants of Christmas Cheer!

                        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 week filled with moments to celebrate and remember!

1.  Packed up Christmas this year on New Year's Day!  You have to know that I hate undecorating the house because it makes me sad.   Usually my daughter helps me do it, but this year she wasn't home.  Blake and Stefi left too early for me to be ready to pack up.  So I did it all by myself in one day, except that Lance did help me pack the fake tree and carry it to the Christmas closet.

2.  Packed everything . . . except for a few remnants that I keep out to brighten short winter days: 
  • The metal tree that displays our Christmas photos.  I love enjoying pics of friends and family for a while longer.  Some will eventually make it to the refrigerator gallery, but for now I keep them displayed on the dining table.
  • My snowperson collection.  I moved them from the dining room to the family room.  Snowpeople,  greenery, and white lights - that's winter decorating at its best!
  • The red basket that holds Christmas cards and letters.  I love the late arrivals that dribble in during the next few days/weeks.  Each is cause for celebration,and there is no need to be ashamed that they didn't get mailed on time.  The late ones get even more attention.
  • The white lights on the deck - short Northwest days need light!  Feb. 1st used to be my deadline for taking them down, but gradually I moved it to Valentine's Day, then the end of Feb. and one year I sliced about them in March!
3.  Joined Sara and Will for a snowy Saturday hike in NY via pics on FB and my phone.  

4.  Celebrating that we didn't return to school on the 2nd this year like we did last year.  I've loved these few extra days, and now it's time to return to some long postponed grading.

5.  Trying to follow Linda's advice to write fast.  I started at 11:11 and finished at 11:33!

6.  Back to add one more - Mom's 92nd birthday is today!  We always had angel food cake on her big day.  She had a special skill for loving people.  I miss her so, but feel so blessed to be her daughter.