Saturday, August 19, 2017

Small Moments of Celebration

Celebrating small moments today. My first celebration is sleep. I slept. It was a good sleep. The phone woke me at 7:30 and I felt rested. I love when sleep comes like that. If feels good and complete. 

I celebrate Bella. Her joy when she sees me at the end of the day, playing wholeheartedly with her toys, and enjoying her treats. Bella knows how to live. 

I celebrate new relationships. Working together with new people and getting to know them and allowing them to know me. It's been a joy already! We help and support each other. We listen to what we need and we work to provide that. 

I celebrate surprises! Yesterday was busy & stressful. I was at my wit's end and frustrated with some circumstances when a package arrived for me in the mail. It was a sweet surprise from my friend, Dana. The JOY that it brought me!!!! I couldn't believe how thoughtful this gift was and it reminded me to show thoughtfulness like this to others in my life. 

I celebrate books. It's important for me to celebrate them since I have a bazillion and I feel like I've been unpacking them for days and days. Haha! These books are an integral part of our classroom community. We are readers. 
I celebrate the classroom environment. It's vital to me that the environment be safe and comfortable. I want it to be a place where students enjoy coming and where we feel inspired to create and learn and grow. It's getting there. Every day I'm a little closer to the environment that I want to see. 

I celebrate today. 

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Room 734

The school year officially begins tomorrow. All teachers return tomorrow. I've been back already for a week and a half...moving buildings and setting up a brand new classroom. Going back early is like waking up in the early morning hours before the world is awake...the building is quiet(-ish), there's time to just be in my new space and imagine the year ahead.

When I stop and sit in the space, I imagine the students who will call this home for the next academic year. I imagine the conversations we will have. I imagine the learning that will occur. I think about the debates and the silliness and the messiness of finding out who we are that will transpire in room 734. I can't wait for those moments to arrive. Those are the moments that I live for...the reason I love working with students.

I'm not done. It's a work in progress. This is, at least, the seventh classroom that I'll inhabit. It will take some time to live in it and find the best way to arrange the space. That's ok. Yesterday, a friend dropped off some donated furniture. I've had a few friends donate some furniture and I'm grateful for their generosity. It takes a village to put together a classroom.

The world is a messy place. There's good and there's evil. We've seen evidence of the evil everywhere recently. Room 734 will be a place to explore what these things mean and who we are. We will CREATE a safe place to learn and to fail and to get up and try again. We will be LEADers who stand up for what's right. We will work to INSPIRE and MOTIVATE others with what we create and read and communicate. We will believe in the best of people, and most importantly, we will BELIEVE in the best of ourselves.

Room 734 is still a work in progress. Books still need to go onto shelves, furniture needs to be rearranged, bulletin boards need borders...but aren't we all a work in progress? Working to be better today than we were yesterday? Room 734 will be the place where we work towards that goal every single day. Welcome...

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, August 8, 2017

I'm Grateful

I'm grateful. 
I'm grateful for friends who help me move 38 boxes of books into my brand new classroom.

I'm grateful for my dog Bella who loves me unconditionally.

I'm grateful for daily phone calls with my mom who always makes me laugh.

I'm grateful to be aunt and Godmother to three amazing kids!
I'm grateful to be a writer.

I'm grateful for the community of writers that I've found and for their support.

I'm grateful for the quiet of early mornings.

I'm grateful for the precious pages of my notebook.
I'm grateful that I've learned the most important thing about life is showing up and being kind. 

I'm grateful.
I'm grateful.
I'm grateful.
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, August 1, 2017

Happy Birthday Month!

My mom turns 71 on August 13th. No one loves her birthday more than my mother! She celebrates the whole month.

Who am I kidding? Mom knows how to celebrate every day. Just this morning, I called her and she's having fun playing with her grandchildren who had a sleepover last night. Mom has a child-like spirit. Maybe that came from her years as a first-grade teacher. I loved visiting her classroom and seeing her read aloud to her students or work with them on their writing. 
Reading with her grandchildren.
Happy Birthday Month, Mom! 

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, July 25, 2017

My Textual Lineage

I get to spend this week in a home grown reading institute put on by Teachers College. It's an amazing opportunity that these brilliant staff developers join us and share their ideas and talent with us.

Yesterday we discussed our own reading lives. One of the activities we completed was to create a textual lineage for ourselves. I created mine in the form of a timeline. 

Creating a timeline of myself as a reader was fun. Here's the rundown of my textual lineage. It all began with weekly trips to the library with my Mom. We'd gather piles of books to read throughout the week. I can still remember the excitement I felt when it was time to go to the library. It felt like coming home. 

There were some negative experiences in my lineage as a reader... like the time Sr. Helen forced me to read "Misty of Chincoteague" and write a book report on it. UGH! To this day, I refuse to read that book. It made quite an impression on me. 

The moment that I treasure on this timeline is the moment from 1989 when I was a freshman in college. I was reading "A Handmaid's Tale". It was Monday morning and I was on my way to class, but this book... this book! I couldn't stop reading it, so I sat down on a bench and finished the whole thing. It was the first time I'd skipped class. I was there. I was IN that world. It's a moment that I remember almost thirty years later. 

Thinking back and reflecting on myself as a reader was enjoyable and reminded me of some of my favorite moments in my life.These stories, these books had a hand in making me the woman I am today. Revisiting books I've read is like reconnecting with old friends. If you've never done this, try it. What is your textual lineage? 

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, July 22, 2017

Creating from Cranky

Yesterday was a cranky day. I felt frustrated and lonely. When I tried to turn things around, something always seemed to go wrong. Days like that frustrate me. Yesterday, I found something that brought me some joy and a little peace. I crafted. I made some word stones. I've made these before, but I wanted to test out new techniques and methods. I used my typewriter and typed up some words. I gathered my supplies and got to work. Soon, the cranky feelings were replaced with wonder and joy. I puzzled my way through making these. It's a slow process because of the drying time. I think the slow helped me. Making gave me permission to redirect my focus from frustration to creation. 

When cranky days appear, I get into this negative headspace that's hard to escape. Writing helps. Walking helps. Listening to music helps. Crying helps. Yesterday, I found a new way to cope...create. Once I began making these stones, I noticed that my breath slowed down, I noticed a smile, and things seemed to calm. This morning I woke up feeling optimistic and when I came downstairs, I saw these stones and smiled. A word stone is a talisman to me.
How did I make them? 

Typewriter and a list of important words/phrases
Clear glass stones at Dollar Store or Michaels
Mod Podge (I use sparkle)
Nail polish (Cheap and sparkly)
Foam brush

1. Use Mod Podge to adhere the word to the bottom of the stone. Let it dry.
2. Use nail polish to cover the bottom of the stone. Let it dry.
3. Use Mod Podge to cover the entire bottom of stone. Let it dry. 

They aren't perfect. It's my first try. They will get better, but I love them. Creating more today. Any word or phrase suggestions for me?!?!

Thank you to Ruth Ayres for providing this space for sharing our celebrations. Please join us and share your own!