Friday, March 24, 2017

What's Your Theme Song?

Music brings people together. Music makes memories. Here's my dream road trip...

or this...

My friend Holly wrote a blog post about theme songs. I loved it. I got lost in the music. Her post inspired this post. I texted my family and a few friends and asked them what song is their theme song. After much discussion, I got lots of good answers.

Josie & Jillian: Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, Cyndi Lauper
Kate: Brown Eyed Girl, Van Morrison
Mom: Imagine, John Lennon
Mary Jo: Stand By Me, Ben E. King
Natural Woman, Aretha Franklin
Mary Ann: Having a Party, Southside Johnny
Danielle: Ain't No Mountain High Enough,
Marvin Gaye & Tami Terrell
Love is All Around (Theme song for MTM)
Henry: Simple Man, Lynryd Skynyrd
Christine from Colorado: Guaranteed by Eddie Vedder
Jessica: Lean on Me, Bill Withers
Christine: Bless the Broken Road, Rascal Flatts
Jenny: The River, Garth Brooks Erin: Insane in the Membrane, Cypress Hill
Karen: Brown Eyed Girl, Van Morrison

Some of these answers fit perfectly, while others surprised me. Music tells a story. I find it fascinating which story people choose to tell with their song choice. By the way, that list represents a brand new playlist for me.

For my sister, I'd pick the Mary Tyler Moore theme song, "Love is All Around". As a toddler, she loved that song. I will forever think of her when I hear that song. "Imagine" for my mom...perfect choice. It's exactly what I would have picked for her. The music, the lyrics...they fit her perfectly. 

What about my theme song? My all time theme song remains the amazing "Sitting on the Dock of the Bay" by Otis Redding. 



The song begins with the sound of the ocean and talking about the early morning, sitting by the ocean. That's my favorite way to begin the day. This song transports me to a different place and I feel calm whenever I hear it.

Every year, I pick a word of the year. This year my word is RISE. There are a couple of songs that remind me of my word...






What is your theme song?

Thank you to the Two Writing Teachers for this amazing platform to write and share writing! What a wonderful community you've created! I'm honored to be part of it. Join us at Two Writing Teachers.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Sixth Graders Save the Day!

I messed up. I really messed up.

Let me explain, for the past week and a half we have been writing, researching and revising to create original picture books. This project has been going well and the day finally arrived...the groups were going to get the book to publish! Except, I made a HUGE mistake. Numbers got me again!

I miscounted the pages in the picture books. I thought sixteen pages meant there were sixteen pages that would turn into thirty-two pages! NO. Sixteen pages meant eight pages with two sides. More than fifty sixth-grade students have been working on these projects for awhile and I felt TERRIBLE! A student discovered this problem at the end of the third block. She brought the book to me and showed me. I was flabberghasted. How could I make a careless mistake like this?!?! When fourth block students came to class, I hung my head and explained my goof. I apologized. I told them how terrible I felt. And then I asked them for help. Students came to the rescue. There was no anger or frustration. They totally got it and they started to think. Suggestion after suggestion popped up from these students... some brilliant, some silly, some magical.
This discussion made me smile. In the middle of it, a student yelled out, "We still love you." Another student performed her "Worm Rap" to cheer me up. I couldn't help but laugh. Finally, my student who is always able to sum up a situation said, "Ms. Haseltine, can't we pick our own solution? Isn't that what this project is about, anyway? Can't we just do it our own way?"

Yes. Yes, you can. Some students are publishing their picture books digitally using google slides. Other groups are publishing their story with videos and some are continuing to publish with paper and pen. THEY solved my problem. They did it! I created the problem and my students solved it. And not only did they solve it, they worked to make me feel better about my goof. They made this project better than my original plan. What has this taught me?!?!

1. Count more carefully. (Hahaha!)
2. I teach the BEST students in the whole wide world!
3. Listen. Listen. Listen.


Thank you to the Two Writing Teachers for this amazing platform to write and share writing! What a wonderful community you've created! I'm honored to be part of it. Join us at Two Writing Teachers.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

My Day in Notebook Entries

The school day moves quickly. If you are a teacher, you live that life daily. At the beginning of my sixth-grade classes, we spend a few minutes every day writing in our notebooks. We call it Sacred Writing Time. (In my notebook entries, you'll see my abbreviation, SWT.) It truly is a precious time to me and my students. Here are some blurbs from my entries on Tuesday. Judge for yourself. Do you spend any time writing with your students on a daily basis? If not, I urge you to try it...it's life changing... 

Here's why I wrote, "I love Jessica"...


Spending the beginning moments of a class, writing together has so many benefits.

1. We live like writers. We show up to the page every single day.
2. Routine breaks down the resistance to writing.
3. We build ourselves as writers...word by word, sentence by sentence, page by page.
4. There's calm and quiet in the middle of chaos and pressure.
5. We learn to have faith that the words will come to us and the page will always be there.

Thank you to the Two Writing Teachers for this amazing platform to write and share writing! What a wonderful community you've created! I'm honored to be part of it. Join us at Two Writing Teachers.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Flexible Seating

Writers need
quiet and space
to focus
to think
to write.

On Monday
a student
completed project work
and decided to blog.

"Where did she go?"
I asked.
"Has anyone seen her?"
Two other students
pointed
to the back of the room
to the bookcases
and there she was
 
creating
writing
blogging

Tucked into the
shelves of the library
with her ideas
and her laptop...

Soon
others
joined
Brilliant.
Flexible seating
at it's best!

Thank you to the Two Writing Teachers for this amazing platform to write and share writing! What a wonderful community you've created! I'm honored to be part of it. Join us at Two Writing Teachers.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Starting Over

Notebooks # 70, 71, 72

This happened...a friend sent me this picture on twitter. It's from the Saturday Reunion at Teachers College...WOW!
I am a notebooker. I proudly wear that title.

Almost everywhere I go, my notebook goes with me. I'm on notebook number 72ish. (Notebooks keep popping up after I've counted, so that's frustrating. I'm not good with numbers.) I just started writing in this notebook on March 13th.

Starting a new notebook can be overwhelming, even for me. It occurred to me as the words came tumbling onto the page a couple of days ago,
After notebooking for so long, I know what I like in a notebook. I prefer blank pages and a hardbound book. My favorite notebooks to write in come from Barnes and Noble, but I love to try new kinds...or do I?

Number 72 is from Michaels...

Different kind of cover, rounded edges to the pages...I know it sounds like those are unimportant details, but they aren't. They matter. When I start a new notebook, it's like starting a new relationship. I pour my heart into the words that cover those pages. It's risky to start over. I looked back through my last two notebooks and this is a pattern...


It's the beginning. Somehow, these words feel more important...bigger. Maybe that's what stops lots of people.

...the pressure of being perfect. Hmmm, well now I have something to think about. I'm doing lots of writing about notebooks and this new notebook seems to be teaching me some new lessons. My students continue to teach me lessons about my own notebook practice. They love my writing. Last week they told me how beautiful it is. When I look at my writing, I see messy and mistakes. I yearn to have beautiful penmanship and make my "e"s better and on and on. It proves to me that we all see our own work with such a critical eye.

Here's a peek into the covers and title pages of my last three notebooks... 

Number #70
September, 2016 - December, 2016


Number #71
January, 2017 - March, 2017




Number #72
March, 2017 -







Thank you to the Two Writing Teachers for this amazing platform to write and share writing! What a wonderful community you've created! I'm honored to be part of it. Join us at Two Writing Teachers.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

A Day with a Friend (and lots of Chocolate)!


Yesterday I got to spend the day with my friend Stacey, and her two amazing children. I'd met her daughter before and this time I got to meet her brand new baby boy. They live close to Hershey, PA so we spent the day there.

Stacey blogged about our day together here. We had lots of fun catching up and spending time with the kids. Seeing Hershey and Chocolate World through the eyes of a six-year-old is magical!

I marvel at the friendships that have started because of an online connection. Twitter and blogging have introduced me to amazing people. Sometimes those connections turn to deeper friendships. Stacey and I met online through blogging. The first time we got to meet IRL (that's in real life) was at NCTE a few years ago. Since then we have attended a writing retreat together and gotten together a couple of times on our own. Here's an opportunity that would have been missed had our online community not existed or if I hadn't participated in it. Seth Godin writes about tribes and the importance of tribes. I'm grateful for tribes. I'm grateful for my tribe. Spending a day with a friend from one of those tribes...it's the best!




Thank you to the Two Writing Teachers for this amazing platform to write and share writing! What a wonderful community you've created! I'm honored to be part of it. Join us at Two Writing Teachers.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Conversations about Flamingos

I found many opportunities to talk with my students on Friday. Simple conversations. I listened to them, I took the time to hear their stories, to look them in the eye and to show them they are known. This is a luxury. What I mean to say is time is precious and there are many moments when I move on and I don't take that kind of time...on this day I did.


As I watched and observed my seventh and eighth grade students working on their projects, I noticed that I had two choices. I could nag and remind and complain about their choices or I could watch and encourage and talk to them. Gratefully, I chose the latter yesterday and I was treated with the most wonderful conversations and moments with my students.


One of my students who doesn't normally engage teachers in conversation started talking to me about the tv show Planet Earth. I was intrigued. He started telling me about the part with the flamingos getting frozen into the same lake, every single night. Night after night, they fell asleep in the lake and when they woke up, they were frozen into the lake! I couldn’t believe this so he said, "Let me find the video."





It's moments like these that are valuable and precious. I'm grateful that I took a beat and listened to his story. The video made me laugh and we shared a moment.

Life moves so quickly, I confess that there are many times in school when I'm not able to give a student my full attention. Holding on to these moments and noticing how brilliant, quirky, funny people my middle schoolers are...that is what makes me happy.

Thank you to the Two Writing Teachers for this amazing platform to write and share writing! What a wonderful community you've created! I'm honored to be part of it. Join us at Two Writing Teachers.