About Me

My photo

I am a wife, mother and first grade teacher. I am so blessed and love my life!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

slicing over at Klinger Cafe...


Ahhhh and it is here.... the night before school eve.

The classroom is ready name tags all hung in a row.
A map of our school awaits so we’ll know just which way to go.
The children are home watching the sun set with dread.
And moms are dads everywhere are hollering “It’s time for a bath and bed.”

Ok I could go on, but I think it has already been done before. As you have probably guessed tomorrow is our first day of school. Am I ready? Ummmmm no probably not. I’ve checked and double check, but somehow there is always something I forget.
I've added a  few shots of my kitchen table. New lunch bag from 31 even though I just live around the corner-check. Math Journals- check. Work Activity folders- check. Writing folders- Check. Labels to stick on tomorrow- check. Our new “Dollop of Our Day” journals- check (I know much like slice of life). Lesson plan book-check. Filled with incredible lessons….uhhh sure check-check. Some REALLY great new books to read-check, check, check, check, cheeeeckkkkkkkk you get the picture. And a too cute not to snap photo of Kodi who’s going to miss me tomorrow-check
I am excited to see my new kiddos tomorrow, but I always have this feeling before the first day of school of “what if I don’t know what to do?” “What if I forget something?” “What if I can’t remember their names?” “What if I over sleep?”
There will be no sleep for me tonight, but I’ll bet there won’t be too many of those kiddos sleeping either.
Ahhhh it is the night before the first day of school.
And I think this year is going to be really cool!

On a side note. I hope all my blogging friends in Indiana are ok after the terrible storms you have been having. I hope none of your family or friends were caught in the tragedy at the state fair and Sugarland concert.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Dot Dot Dot

“Seriously?” “You’re watching that again?” “How many times have you seen it… like 80?” My daughter grumbles as she meanders through the living room on her way to the kitchen (the only time she seems to venture from her room these days).  “It’s a great movie.” I tell her. “Whatever,” she grumbles. I hear her open the refrigerator and stand in front willing it to produce something appetizing.
“It’s iconic,” I tell her from the living room.  I can feel the eye roll from here (I told you the brother got it from her). “It’s a historic movie about mothers and daughters, relationships, growing up, love, commitment and second chances; what could be better?”
She perches on the arm of the loveseat as she pauses on the way back to her room, looking at me but glancing toward the movie. She hur- umphs, but her eyes stay focused on the screen. I wonder if she doesn’t secretly like it…just a bit.
“It has that girl in it you like, the one from Robin Hood.” I coax.
Silence, but she stays a little longer as I quietly hum along.  
“Iconic huh, how do you figure?” She challenges. “It’s just a dumb movie.”  She looks my way. “A musical no less,” and scowls as I start wiggling and singing along. I try to contain my cadence and need to dance!  
“It’s the only movie EVER written solely from songs of a rock group, one of your uncles’ favorite in the 70’s.” I explain. “It was a Broadway musical AND it has Meryl Streep and Pierce Bronson in it…DOT,DOT,DOT!”   I can’t hold it back any longer as I join in with- “Mamma Mia here I go again. My, my how can I resist it…”
She gets up and leaves. “It’s the best movie EVER” I yell at her closed door.
I grin and wonder if she’s dancing on the other side. I think she is.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

A clip of yesterday

I ran my hand across the top of his head, just like I do every time before I start to cut. But this time, this morning, the feel- the texture of his baby soft hair transfers my thoughts to another place… another time. “Your hair feels the same as it did when you were just barely two.” From his perch on the chair I hear a hump and see a slight eye roll (much like his younger sisters’) when I glance down. “You used to love to love to come to the shop and have your hair washed in my shampoo bowl.” I didn’t add- like all the little old ladies that frequented the shop. “Do you remember?”

It was before I was a teacher. Long before he sat on this chair in the kitchen- before he became a young man on the brink of adulthood, most of the way there, with his own ways, his own views, yet still somewhat grounded in the familiarities’ of his youth.

I placed the booster seat in the chair for him to climb into. “Close your eyes,” I coax “and stretch way back, like you’re great big.” He leaned back as far as he could and scrunched his eyes tight, as if waiting for a blow. I grinned down at him as I tested the temperature of the water. “Okay?” I ask as I lay the nozzle against his scalp. His head nods, but his eyes stay tightly shut. “Hold still” I warn. He settles in and I begin to softly scrub with the tips of my fingers. His little face relaxes as I peer down at him.

I start the cascade of water again and he raises up. “All done?” he asks. “Noooo” I laugh as the water hose goes wild like the water wiggle in our backyard. Me, the mirror, his back, the floor, and almost- the lady beside us- are soaked. “You have to wait until I say ok.” He stretches back once again.

“Ok” I say after we rinse. I wrap his little head in a towel and do my best to dry us all off.

I turn him so he sees himself in the mirror. He grins at the reflection of his towel covered head. “Ready for your cut?” I ask. He grins and nods some more. I trim the feathery soft wisps from around his ears and away from his eyes, then comb it with a part and away from his face, like my mom used to do my brother’s years before. I gaze at his reflection; he looks so big, so grown up. Where has the time gone?

“Do you like it?” I ask. He nods and says “tank you” and just as quickly hops down in search of his sucker that was promised.

The ladies in the shop ohhh and ahhh over his “new do” and he climbs up on my lap; suddenly shy.

He comes back with me the next day. After a while he comes up beside my chair and asks; “we do dat uhgin?” I laugh and say; “ok, but you have to hold still.”  

His dad walks through the kitchen. “Do you remember how he used to like to have his hair washed in the shampoo bowl at my shop, and how all the ladies thought it was so sweet and cute?” His dad chuckles and says, “yeah I’d forgotten all about that.” 

A breath of exasperation his heard below the clippers. “Will you just cut my hair please?” But I see him smother a grin.

“You don’t want to hear about how cute you were? The eye-roll again. “Fine” I say, “I’ll just write about it on my blog.” Now a groan.

He may be a young man on the brink of adulthood ready to graduate college and begin his own life, in his own way, making his own path. But when my hand touches the downy softness of his hair- he will always be my little boy. I bet if I still had that shampoo bowl he’d still lay back, eyes shut tight, not moving at all .
Where has the time gone? 
Fall 2010

Kanten Zayne 1990


Friday, July 15, 2011

Door Prize!

I wanted to offer my slicer friends a chance at my "door prize" hop on over to Klinger Cafe to find out what it's all about! http://www.klingercafe.com/2011/07/wooo-hooo-and-door-prize.html

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

trends of the time

I went to my classroom today. The first time this summer. My goal for this week is to clean one file drawer a day until I have gone through every file. I started at 8:00 and left at 10:30. It wasn't that the drawer was that full it was that first I had to chat with Mr. Bob the janitor. I then walked into my classroom and decided I needed to move a shelf, move my reading table, move my polka-dot rocking chair, measure the desks for these cool shelves I want my hubby to build me, drew a picture of the shelves, made a list of the cool storage crates/chairs I saw on another blog (check them out here- http://whattheteacherwants.blogspot.com/2011/07/i-gave-in.html), I think I will make some for my "square table" my kiddos use to read or write on.  Finally I opened a file drawer.
I have been teaching ten years. When I started teaching my good friend and my children's first grade teacher retired and "left" me her room and almost everything in it. I have gone through much of it kept most, traded some, and replaced some. But I have never gone through all of the files...
until now. I searched every folder, every packet she had (in one drawer).
It was filled with lessons and worksheets. I have used some of these through the years, but as I went through each I couldn't help but wonder if I've been doing them justice. Both of my children were in this first grade. They have always been awesome readers and students, and I have always contributed it to having the same first grade teacher. I can remember them bringing stacks of papers home every day. My students on the other hand do not. I too have had many awesome readers and students through the years.
So I am pondering what makes the difference...are some kids just destined to be great students? Is it the input from home? Is it the teacher? The amount of work vs. authentic reading time? Debbie Miller and Patrick Allen ensure us it's the conferring and time. But my children's teacher did not confer, she had leveled reading groups, and didn't have independent reading until the second half of the year. I do confer, have flexible reading groups, and have a lot of independent reading time from the very beginning. I don't do a lot of worksheets, but my friend did (and so do other teacher's I know) and if you think about it they are reading when they do worksheets. So who are we to judge?
I could justify it and say it was because of her and our support at home that my kids did so well, but it wasn't just my children, it was many.
It almost leads me to believe that kids learn regardless of the teaching or teacher. Kids are just naturally observant and curious, and they adjust their learning styles based on what is being presented and how. And maybe ten years from now the trend will turn back to worksheets and ability groups because someone somewhere will decide "that's the best way for kids to learn."
Well that's what I almost believe....almost.
I wonder what I'll discover to ponder tomorrow?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The day after

I slept in this morning. It was 7:30 before I stumbled out of bed, grogy from too much sleep. I hate it when I think I've missed the best part of the day.
The dogs are still sleeping. When I say their names they stir and stretch not yet ready to go out. They too had an eventful weekend.
It's already beginning to sizzle on the patio, and I scold myself for not getting out here sooner. But it is quiet, and calm. The aftermath of fun. I sit with my pen in hand ready to record the highlights of our weekend of festivities.
A surprise 75th birthday party for my mom, with the biggest surprise being most of her family home. She falls to knees when she sees her grandson and his wife. They are home on leave to celebrate her birthday. Friends have come to wish her well and surprise her on her special day.
A day of just family fun on Sunday, and a celebration of Independence last night made even more memorable when we look at our special guests. We know of the sacrifices these two and other families make, and we are grateful.   
I look around at the debris scattered across our yard. Just for a moment I pause, breathe in, and listen. I hear the baby birds calling for breakfast from their nest. Somewhere off in the distance I can hear a donkey braying. Someone slams a screen door. The cicadas and bees have their motors humming, and the peacock that lives up the road calls out just to let everyone know he is up. The train rumbling from town can be heard as it makes it way to parts unknown. The wind slightly rustles the leaves in the tree. I feel the heat of the sun as it hits the top of my foot. I smell fresh cut grass and the slight hint of black powder still lingers in the air and on the yard. I know my kids are sleeping safely in their beds, I smile. Their dad has gone to work so that he can be home early. My family and friends have all gone home (or back to the hotel) and the dogs are sleeping once again. This is the best part of the day. They are the best part of my life.
I open my eyes and think-"thank you."  "Thank you for giving me a life so rich and blessed."

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Whew Time to catch up... Final session of day 1 and Georgia Heard day 2

For the final session of day 1 I went to "The Top 10 Quality Teaching Tools." It was presented by a group of teachers from the area. It was VERY informative if not  a bit overwhelming. The presenters were great to listen to and happy to explain what we weren't familiar with (which for me was most of it). I thought the best way for you to grasp it would be to give you the link to the site they gave us where the handout and presentation is posted. I liked some of the concepts, and may put my own spin on them for my classroom (will post when I do). I couldn't help but wonder where they found time to implement all of the "tools." They assured us it is doable, and is best to take it one tool at a time.  http://wiki.gkb.k12.in.us/groups/spotlightonliteracy/

Georgia Heard kicked off day two. She had great ideas for showing kids how and giving kids the opportunity to "wonder" every day. She explained we need a permanent place for kids to go to every morning to ask questions, as soon as they come in the door. It can be as simple as a sticky note or as much as a whole area of your room. She then went on to say that we should pick one of these questions every week to make our "Wonder of The Week" ummm hmmm you guessed it..bag overflowing! She discussed that our "pondering time" should be exploring the question and then discovering how people find answers to their questions. Students should participate in shared research and writing projects. In doing that we hit the core standards for language arts.
Georgia explained we need to teach the difference of "heart wonders" in which everyone has a different response to, and "research wonders"-wonders that we can "look up" or "uncover" the information to. She believes that our libraries should be grouped according to heart and research wonders and that the students should be in on the grouping of our books.
I learned a lot from Georgia and can hardly wait to implement my "wonder spot."

Finally let me tell you what I learned about myself that day. I am SHY and not comfortable with initiating conversations with people I don't know, and that I feel inferior in groups of people I don't know (my biggest AH-HA not from a presenter). This would come as a shock to most people that know me, but it is true. And I think I need to change it. I say this because as I sat listening to Georgia I looked across the aisle- down one row, and who do you think I discovered sitting there? DEBBIE MILLER. By herself. Taking notes, like me. And so when Georgia asked us to "turn and talk" did I tap her on her shoulder and ask her what she was thinking??? Sadly, no. I did not. Did I do it the next time we were asked to share...nope not even then. Oh I wanted to, but I didn't want her to think I was some backwoods-country girl, teacher/author/presenter/idol- stalking goofball.  And now I think "why not?" It's not as if we would ever see each other again. It's not as if I didn't have anything to say, or wasn't interested in her thoughts. I just...didn't. But next time.....

And so you guessed it the next and last three sessions belong to Debbie. She was WONDERFUL (can you hear the lilt in my voice)!!! It's going to take some planning and rereading of my notes, but I promise I will get it posted ASAP!