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Welcome to kindergarten! Join me as I share my experiences in the classroom, my professional learning and reflections and my love of teaching. Teaching is an exciting journey - come along as I share mine!


Sunday, June 30, 2013

Chalk-a-bration!!!

It's Chalk-a-bration day!  There was a break in the heat, finally, so we gathered up the chalk and the bubbles, piled into the wagon and took a walk down the street to Grandma's house.  We drew pictures, wrote words and left messages for Grandma to see.  Check out all the fun!

My 7-year-old Sweetie

 My 10-year-old Sweetie
 My 5-year-old Sweetie...look at that concentration!

 Even Baby Girl got in on the chalk action!

A little music please!
We even played with our shadows a little bit!
 


 Twirly Girly!

Notice the exclamation mark at the end?  That's her new T-Ball medal!

And finally, my chalk contribution, a little chalketry...



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Friday, June 28, 2013

Memories Tumble

Memories Tumble

Memories tumble
through my mind
like leaves from trees
gathering briefly
for me to collect,
reuse and jump into.

The memory pile
a safe haven
a quiet place in a storm
playing like movie reels
to relive the moments
to remember the joys
and haunting sorrows
to re-feel the past.

The memories float
they blow like dandelion fluff
for only me to capture
cottony soft and free
to touch once more
memories tumble
through my mind.





Bubbly Amy at The Poem Farm is rounding up the poems on this Poetry Friday. 

Don't forget to put your chalk to the pavement on Sunday, June 30th and join Betsy's Chalk-a-bration!




Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Amazing All Write - Day 1






I’ve been trying to write about All Write for a few days now.  I’m so filled with thoughts and ideas that I need to write about that it is all a jumbled mess.  I read a quote once, and included it on my resume even, that said: “Education is not the lighting of a fire, but the filling of a bucket.”  I don’t remember now who’s wise words those are, but I have thought of them many times in the last week or so.  After attending All Write last week, I can honestly say that my bucket is more than full.  It is overflowing!

My trip to All Write began with a relaxed car ride with fellow teaching buddies, Tina and Betsy.  We chatted about being many things, even which sessions we wanted to attend at the conference.  But the real fun began when we checked into the conference.  Betsy and I both spotted Elsie right away in the vender room.  Seeing a fellow blogging friend’s real live face in the crowd was great but I wasn’t brave enough to introduce myself to her just yet.

As we left the vender room, excitedly whispering our “Did you see Elsie?” comments to each other, who should be standing before us?  It was Ruth!  

“Hi Betsy and Robin!” she said with a wave and a smile.  We made plans to meet up in the hotel lobby before dinner.

The slicer/twitter friend dinner was nice.  It was so interesting to meet the people I feel like I’ve gotten to know through reading their words; to put faces with stories.  I sat at a table with fellow slicers LeAnn (Elsie), Ramona, Nanc, Cathy and Betsy.  Linda, Ruth, Christy and Mary Helen were at the table next to us.  And then…guess who joined us at the end of the table?  Carl Anderson!  When does this ever happen?  It was a bit surreal.
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And the next two days were just as amazing!  The conference began with a keynote given by Carl Anderson.  He spoke about cultivating creativity through writer’s workshop.  Even though his address was interrupted by a fire alarm, it was motivating and thought-provoking. 

Next, I attended Amy Ludwig VanDerwater’s poetry session.  She was so bubbly and exciting!  I wrote several things in my notebook during her session that spoke to me.  She said, “Fill up on poetry and fall in love.”  Doesn’t that sound lovely?  “Look at a picture, read something, allow yourself to have a memory.”  Yes.  Amy is dynamic.  There is no other word that I can use to better explain her sparkle.

After Amy, it was back to Carl Anderson for a session on focus and elaboration.  It was just as good as his keynote and we didn’t have to leave in the middle for a fire alarm!  

Then I had the luxury of listening to Mary Helen and Tammy Shultz introduce me to a stack of beautiful picture books.  This is the third presentation I’ve seen from them and they never disappoint.  Now I think a trip to Amazon is in order!

The day ended with Ruth Ayres and Deb Gaby.  Ruth spoke about journeys.  She even gave us time to write about the topic ourselves.  (I posted my journey poem here on Friday.)  As Deb talked about conferring, she shared a quote from the book Courage by Bernard Waber.  “Courage is what we give to each other.”  Isn’t this the heart of slicing?  The comments we give to each other are little morsels of courage; courage to keep sharing our stories because our stories matter.  

After the conference, it was on to dinner with author KateMessner.  Kate spoke of the importance of having mentors, whether they know they are your mentor or not.  She had many great things to say but these words struck a chord with me.  She said “Writing for my students provided them with a mentor text.  Writing with my students made me a mentor.”  If that doesn’t make the power of writing hit home, I don’t know what will!
It’s hard to believe that all this happened in just a day and a half and there was still another day of the conference to come!  Stay tuned for more!


Friday, June 21, 2013

Journey

The All Write!!! conference is amazing!  During a session, Ruth Ayres prompted the group to write on the topic of journey.  The words came easily to me this time.  Amy Ludwig Vanderwater had just finished speaking about poetry..."What goes in is what comes out," she said.  Here is what came out:

Journey

a path to travel
a fork in the road
decisions to make
choices to behold
whatever the destination
the journey's the heart
pick up your pen
jump in and start

I'm jumping into Poetry Friday today to share a little piece of my journey.


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Just a Tuesday



My day…sarcasm included.

I know I’m very lucky to have four healthy, happy children.  But, today was a day to get through.

Each day my children are up by 7:30.  Yes, they know its summer but still they rise and shine with the roosters.  Mostly, I don’t mind but 8:00 might be nice once in a while.  I try to remind myself that they will only be little for a short time and someday I will wish they would get out of bed at 7:30. 

Today we had doctor appointments at 11:00.  A reasonable time, I thought, to get four children out the door and to the designated location.  But instead, today was the day that the middle two decided to sleep in.  [Really?]  They both trudged out of the bedroom with sleepy eyes at 9:00, just as I was about to wake them.  Not so late, I know, but I kept hearing the clock ticking away the minutes before we needed to be out the door.

Muffins for breakfast?  Sure.
Did you brush your hair and teeth?  Yep.
Let’s go get dressed.

It would figure that today is the day that little middle wants to wear a long sleeved dress.  Only a long sleeved dress will work.  It’s going to be 75 today. 
Fine, then I will wear shorts but I won’t be happy about it.  And, only the pink ones will do.  [Thank goodness they were clean!]

Mom, can you help me find a soft shirt?  Oldest has a bad sunburn on his shoulders from swimming with his cousin earlier in the week.  [Why his aunt, the nurse, thought my pale boy should swim all day with no sunscreen on is still beyond my imagination.]  Ok, try this jersey. 
It hurts, Mom!  Can you find me a different, softer shirt?  [Departure time?  Two minutes and counting.]  Sure, let’s go find you a different shirt.  New shirt, day saved.

Into the van we go.  1, 2, 3, 4 buckles.  Set!
-----
Does she have an appointment?
I called last week and asked for her to be added so that the doctor could see both girls back to back.
Well, she’s not on the schedule.  We are really busy today.  I don’t know if the doctor will see her too.
Well, they said on the phone it would be fine and she was all set.
I’m sorry.  I just don’t know if he will do that.
Ok.  [deep breath]

Ten minutes later….
The doctor said he would see her too, but I need to check her in and add her to the schedule.   [So I can be billed for her too, I figure.]  No problem.  Ok, the doctor will be in shortly.

Meanwhile, I do my bestest mom tricks to entertain the 5- and almost-2-year-old and the oldest two have their noses in DS games.  Yes, please play your game if it keeps you quiet and still while I deal with the other two who aren’t either quiet or still.  No problem.

Thirty minutes later…after much singing, [man, I hope they don’t have cameras!] dancing, [silent begging] and turning cartwheels [or something], the doctor arrived!

Complete check of 5 year old.  Lesson learned: if the child does not want you to look at her throat and won’t say AHHH, there is little that you can do to change her mind.  Sigh.

After checking her immunization record, she’ll need four shots.  Do you want them all today or would you like to come back for half another day?  [Are you for real?  I’ll just convince my 5 year old who doesn’t want ANY shots to get some today and come back again another day for more?  Sure, let me get right on that.]  No, let’s do them all now and get it all over with at once.

4 shots, sniffles and tears. 
Can we get lunch at McDonald’s Mom?
You betcha!
And it's onward to baseball tonight.
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Am I looking forward to All Write?  Yes!  After today it’s going to feel like going on vacation!  :)

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Bittersweet, My Little Birds

Some thoughts on the last day of school...

Last day
Bittersweet
images flood my mind
as I gaze around the empty room
remembering laughter
and frustration
hopefulness and love
20 little bouncing bodies
yearning for more knowledge

Through ups and downs
bumps and bruises
we found out way to smmer

I'll miss you my friends
your smiles
and hugs
your giggles

You will always be apart of me
My heart will smile
as I watch you take wing
and fly

Have a wonderful summer
my little birds


Tuesday, June 4, 2013

I Could Write About...

I hadn't yet even given a thought to my slice this morning as I read Linda's lovely slice.  Reading her slice immediately started my mental wheels spinning (Thank you Linda!).  With the end of the school year coming fast and furious, three children in t-ball/baseball, a busy almost-two-year old, etc., I feel like life is organized chaos right now.  I'm barely able to reflect on what just happened before the next thing is half over.  In fact, I'm probably late for something right now because I'm slicing!  :)  So, here are some things I COULD write about, but I don't really have the time today!

I could write about...
my daughter's spring sing coming up on Thursday.  She's so excited that she's had her fancy dress picked out for days...oh, and the shoes too.  They are safe for standing on the risers and match her fancy dress perfectly.  Because she's 7.  And clothing matters.

I could write about...
the beautiful flowers I received from a student yesterday.  He was so sweet and proud of himself!



I could write about...
the end of the school year.  Report cards are almost finished, paperwork is in process, classroom order is coming along, children are falling to pieces as they realize there are only a few days left of this known, stable schedule of school.

I could write about...
the fun bucket list we made in the classroom yesterday of all the things we want to do one more time before kindergarten is over.  We are plugging away through the list this week and enjoying each item!

 No amount of trying would rotate this picture!


I could write about...
trying to remember the game times for three children's t-ball/baseball schedule or how much "fun" it is to take the almost-two-year old to "watch" the three older children play ball games four nights in a row, for a month.

I could write about...
the awesome murals my students painted last week.  After our nonfiction unit, where we studied and wrote about animals, we painted two murals.  One scene is an ocean/iceberg setting complete with penguins, manta rays, dolphins, whales, sharks, an octopus, and a sea turtle.  The other scene is half forest and half jungle with a lovely pond in between and is the home to raccoons, lions, turtles, bats and snakes. 






I could write about...
Stacey's writing question.  I write for so many different reasons.  Being a writer helps me put myself in my students shoes and understand better what their challenges are.  No matter how big or small you are, writing can be difficult but it can be so rewarding.  It's easier to keep that in mind when when you are doing it yourself.  It's also been eye opening to realize how motivating comments are on my writing!  Receiving comments on my thoughts and writing has been a wonderful experience for me as a writing teacher.  That might be the biggest realization of all.

I could write about lots of things today but instead, I think I will go "watch" some baseball games with the almost-two-year-old...and probably get a little exercise chasing her around in the process.