Friday, May 23, 2014

Celebration Saturday

Each week on Saturday 
bloggers celebrate at Ruth Ayres Writes
Won't you join us? 
Some days it's not easy to write this is not one of those days! I feel full of joy and celebration today. 
I celebrate an amazing week with students who are funny, hard working, silly, creative, and wonderful! This week they took two state tests. We continue to prepare for our poetry celebration in June, PoetPalooza, by writing & revising & rehearsing original poetry. I continue to be amazed by the stories that sixth graders have to tell...they are full of joy, wisdom, pain, and hope!
I celebrate learning!
We begin Literacy Journey, our graduate course, with an introductory meeting in May. This is the fourth year that I'm facilitating. I celebrate the energy and enthusiasm that teachers brought to that May, during state testing, after a full day of school! They engaged in thoughtful conversations and I'm so excited to work with these teachers next year! 
Bella is cause for much celebration! 
We visited the dog park last week and she seems to be bonding to me. She climbs up into bed with me and she cuddles more. I'm so grateful to have found her. She's perfect for me!
I celebrate love. 
A dear friend of mine is getting married today. She started out just as my neighbor and now I think of her like a sister. She's found a kind, wonderful, loving man to marry. I'm overjoyed for them as they begin this new journey in life together! I'm grateful to be part of their celebration and I celebrate their love!!
Wishing you many celebrations this week!

Friday, May 16, 2014


Each week on Saturday 
bloggers celebrate at Ruth Ayres Writes
Won't you join us? 
One of my favorite parts of the week is blogging about celebrations and this week is no exception. Here are my celebrations for the week... I celebrate TWITTER! The connections that I've made on twitter have changed me and helped me become a much better teacher. I can't say it enough. This week, I reached a big number on twitter. I have 1,000 followers!!! I consider that an achievement and I'm proud. 
I celebrate my student POETS! We continue to write and revise and rehearse our poetry. Everyday I am inspired by my student poets. This week we began our state Virginia they are called the SOLs. Read this poem by Bryan about testing...
Preparing today for the standards of learning test
our teacher said you will be pressured.
We'd have to read and think during this SOL
and learn to spell stupendous, Mississippi, 
We need to remember figurative language
antonyms, synonyms, and imagery.
Recite all the types of genres
and learn to write a poem from scratch.
We'd have to speak fluently in English for poetry.
Learn how to make a great performance.
Remember all of the oldest folk tales,
and crack all the codes in the dictionary.
Then just when we thought that our heads might explode
from learning all the reading and comprehension
she told us the very best thing she could say:
that she was just kidding; this was the real English SOL.
I celebrate READING! Finding books that inspire me and bring out tears and laughter...I love that! This week that book was The Summer of Letting Go by Gae Polisner. It's one of those books that I drag out reading it because I don't want it to end...and it ruins me for other books. I'm having a hard time finding my next read...sigh.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Numbers ARE important...sometimes!

Monday, May 12, 2014

New Notebook #58

Slice of Life Challenge
Please join the challenge over at Two Writing Teachers!
Yesterday, I began a new notebook. I'd been dragging my feet, so I wouldn't finish my previous notebook. Changing notebooks stresses me out! (I never realized that I share this stress with others until I read Betsy's post last week!)
My notebook goes everywhere with me. When I look to purchase a new purse or bag, one of the considerations is always, "Will my notebook fit?" It becomes part of me...almost like a baby's security blanket. I feel incomplete if I forget it, and when I get home, I immediately need to "spend some time" with my notebook. OK, OK, maybe I sound crazy, but it's true. My notebook is where I am free to be me with no judgment or worries. It's where I figure out ways to solve problems. It's where I let go and I just let go my notebook, when I finish is sad and hard. At the risk of sounding like a crazy person, I miss my old notebook and everything it contains. Sometimes I carry around old and new until the new notebook has established a hold...contains enough to make me feel comfortable and safe. 
I have been writing in notebooks for thirty four years for a very long time! I'm particular about my notebook. My favorite notebook (lately) is hardbound 8 1/2 x 11 book...sketch books, as I prefer NO lines. I love when the cover has pretty art or an inspirational quote on it too. 
Notebook #57
For this notebook, I'm trying something different...taking a RISK. This notebook measures 8" square. The pages have lines, faint lines, but they are there. I LOVE the cover...
Summer's quickly approaching and I thought a smaller notebook might be better. Since I feel no connections with my notebooks early on, I spent some time this weekend preparing it...
Notebook number fifty-eight, here we go...

Friday, May 9, 2014

Celebrating Growth and Struggle

Each week on Saturday 
bloggers celebrate at Ruth Ayres Writes
Won't you join us? 
So much to celebrate this week! Last Saturday I added a new member to my dog, Bella. Today marks a week that we've been together and the adjustment is going well, mostly. (I forgot how hard the beginning part of this can be.) She's settling in and feeling comfortable...this morning, she even jumped up and sat in my lap to cuddle for a bit.
Sunday arrived and I got to meet one of my blogging friend real life! Catherine was close by and we met for brunch on Sunday. How amazing it was to spend time talking with someone and sharing stories about teaching, books, and life! What a perfect way to spend a Sunday!!
Tomorrow is Mother's Day. I have an amazing mother. She is sweet and smart and funny and kind and cute and I love her so much! We talk every morning and it's the perfect way to start my day! Living far away from her can be hard...sometimes I just want my mom, but she's always there for me! Like this...
I'm blessed with more mother figures in my life! My aunts always have been there for me and whether they know it or not, they have been role models and confidants for me. My life is so much richer because of them! 
Don't want to forget my amazing grandmothers...
Mother's Day also brings pain for me. Pain of what's lacking... I'm grateful for so many children in my wonderfully smart and sweet nephew, Jack and my beautiful and spunky niece, Jillian! 
Yesterday, a good friend sent me a card that made me smile...

Monday, May 5, 2014

Slice of Life: Introducing Bella

Slice of Life Challenge
Please join the challenge over at Two Writing Teachers!
Lazy Saturdays are my favorites! It was the last weekend of the poetry workshop with Chris Lehman and the amazing TeacherPoets. Being part of that workshop was such an amazing experience and I'm so sad to see it end! After the workshop, I jumped in my car and headed out. My hands shook as I drove and I found myself holding my breath, hoping everything would work out. After an endless eleven mile drive, I turned into the driveway and parked. Saying a silent prayer, I hopped out and sprinted to the door. After a kind greeting, I barked, I'd like to see a dog to adopt.  Down the hall and to the right.  I walked into the kennel where all of the dogs were and she was the first one I saw...relaxed and lounging on a doggie cot. She jumped up and licked my fingers. Her. I want her! I had picked her out online and my eyes didn't notice any of the other dogs. We visited for a bit. I filled out the papers. Left to pick up supplies and that's it...she's mine! Bella (formerly Belle) came home with me Saturday afternoon. She's a year and a half old (approximately, she was found scrounging for food in a parking lot). She's part hound and part beagle and she is perfect!  As I type this, she's fast asleep in her crate. She loves belly rubs and talking long walks! She's friendly and energetic and she's a love! I honestly thought it would take me much longer to get another dog after Leo, but she's the one! 
Look at that beautiful face!
She loves looking at the window!

Friday, May 2, 2014

Saturday Celebrations in May

Each week on Saturday 
bloggers celebrate at Ruth Ayres Writes
Won't you join us? 
I love Saturday celebrations! 
This week I celebrate my students and their creativity and enthusiasm. On the one hand, we are in the middle of testing season...but we counter that with our poetry. We are writing poetry and sharing it with each other. 
This week we began rehearsing for our PoetPalooza in June! I love watching them work in groups and find ways to entertain each other. The enthusiasm is infectious!
Speaking of poetry, I celebrate the final day of TeacherPoets with Chris Lehman. I revised my poem and I'm happy with the final poem. Please check it out here.  
Wishing you a great week filled with celebrations!

New School Retreat

This school year brings changes for me as I'm transferring to a new school. It's a brand new school. It's still being buil...