Monday, April 30, 2012

Slice of Life - a Video Reflection

Slice of Life is sponsored every Tuesday by Stacey and Ruth from Two Writing Teachers

Running behind today and thinking about how to write a slice of life on the same night as grad school, research paper writing, studying for finals, etc. Decided on a video instead. Just a short one on reflection at school year’s end.

By the way – those of you that record video blogs in public are my new heroes. (Mr. Schu, Mr. Sharp, I’m looking at you here.) I’ve never felt quite so foolish as when I was speaking to my phone in the middle of a field as college students walked behind me likely wondering what I was doing.J

Sunday, April 29, 2012

It's Monday! What are you reading?

I’m joining Jen & Kellee (and many other bloggers) in discussing what we are reading this week. Join us! Go to their site and link up your own blog.

Man alive – I still didn’t finish Crow. That shouldn’t be an indication that the book isn’t wonderful, it is. More like it shows how crazy your life is at the end of a school year and as I prepare for my own finals and write final papers as well. Ugh! Only a few books read this week but lots of reading was accomplished:
·      Blog on reading, running, and teaching
·      Twitter – daily. Sometimes hourly.
Facebook – ditto.
·      Magazines – Midwest Living, Better Homes and Gardens
·      Book responses from my students – online and in their journals
·      Articles online like this one about Pearson and their stranglehold on testing
·      And a few books – see below (an * by any favorites.)
o   Waterless Mountain Laura Adams Armer
o   The Curious Garden Peter Brown *
o   Young Fu of the Upper Yangtze Elizabeth Foreman Lewis
o   Nate the Great Marjorie weinman Sharmat (* a reread)

This week I really want to finish Crow and The One and Only Ivan – reading that one with my boys. Grad school two nights, three little league games, and one open house conspire to make it a tough week but we will muster through!

Have a great reading week everyone!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Poem in Your Pocket

Today is Poem in Your Pocket Day. I was so excited to celebrate until I saw that....

·      My student teacher is in take-over and I’d be testing students.
·      We had an 11:10 dismissal.
·      We had an assembly in the morning and 2/3 of my students wouldn’t even come to my room today.

So, I celebrated in a different way today. I shared my students’ poems from their poetry unit with teachers in my building. One of those students, Sophie, gave me permission to print her poem here to share with all of you. I loved this poem because it showed me that even when you don’t think that students are listening to the many lectures – discussions - you have with them, some of them are. Thanks Sophie! J


This is not
Just a poem
But a story
Of a life
Scared of reality.

Always buried
In the rough
Until the day
She thought
“Why Not?”
To finally be noticed.

She dropped it all.
Friends that didn’t fit anymore
Clothes gone out of style.
Grades she worked so hard for
Went in the trash pile.

She watched
And watched
Then the same she did
Until she finally
FINALLY! Blended in.

Then just as quickly
Pushed away
Buried in the rough

It’s truly sad
She doesn’t know
It isn’t really so.
All the glitz
The glam
The pampering
Won’t make it so.

Be yourself.
Have your own.
Never give up
Your identity.

For anyone
Or Anything.

All will be well.
It will work out.
Don’t let life hurt.

There’s nothing wrong
With having lots of friends.
But there is
When you’d sacrifice anything
                                       For it.

Be a leader
Not a follower
Or a copy-cat.

Make your own decisions
Don’t let their opinion
Influence you.
They won’t always lead you


Written by Sophie
Fifth Grade
March 2012

Monday, April 23, 2012

Slice of Life - Reading Funk

 Slice of Life is sponsored every Tuesday by Stacey and Ruth from Two Writing Teachers

I love reading. The fact that I am a reader is so closely associated with who I am that many people ask me what I’ve read lately before asking how I’m doing. You know, the normal, “How are you doing?” question that you automatically respond with, “Fine. How are you?” I usually get that AFTER being asked, “Read anything good lately?” Which is great, most of the time. Except when you are in a funk. And I am owning up here, I am absolutely in a reading funk.

You would think this would depress me, cause me to search for answers, to panic, and more. But I embrace this crazy funkalicious mood I’m in. The reason for that is simple – like most things in life I see a teaching moment buried here. See, as much as I adore reading I think my students believe I read more than I actually do. I think they probably think I go home, read, stop – make dinner, read at the dinner table, clear the table, read another book, lay down with the boys, read, go to bed, read. That is their description of my life. And while I read a lot, it isn’t quite that much. So for me to share with them that I’m in a reading funk? Powerful stuff my friends.

My plan this week is to share with them my problem and talk together about why I think I’m feeling this way and how I plan on getting out of it. My goal is that maybe some of them will see themselves in me. But also, I want them to see that I recognize that right now I’m not in the mood to read and that I plan on working to change it. I think that is a lesson they need too.

So what are my thoughts about why I’m in this funk? Many things:
·      Too many books I want to read so that I feel paralyzed by the choices.
·      Books I HAVE to read but really don’t want to right now. (I’m looking at you my #nerdbery friends.)
·      The end of the year with due dates for grad school, projects for school, and a plethora of items on the “to do” list that are making me panic.
·      The fact that I’ve read some of the best books of my life in the past few months and nothing seems like it can measure up in comparison.

Finally – and what I think my students need to see – how do I plan on getting out of this?
·      Try and get some items on that “to do” list done so I can relax a bit.
·      Read some “easy” books (picture books, graphic novels) so that I feel like I’m making my way through some of my stacks.
·      Give myself permission to abandon books that I’m not enjoying. (I do this for my students but have a hard time doing that for myself.)
·      Set aside a set amount of time each day to read to get back in the routine.

How about you? What causes you to fall into a reading funk and how do you get out of it? I’m hoping this book will pull me out – I’ve been reading it for a few days and enjoy it but need to devote more time into diving into the pages. Hopefully tonight will be the start of a better reading week.  

It's Monday! What are you Reading?

I’m joining Jen & Kellee (and many other bloggers) in discussing what we are reading this week. Join us! Go to their site and link up your own blog.

Another week is gone? How did that happen so quickly? As the school year is quickly winding down, so are my final classes in grad school. I fear the homework for those classes will be putting a crimp on my reading life in the next few weeks but once graduation comes, my time will be all mine again. As for finishing The One and Only Ivan with my boys, we didn’t get it done. Maybe this week but nights of grad school and little league practice are getting in the way. Soon.

This past week I focused on several new (to me) picture books and one Newbery for #nerdbery (* by favorites from the week. A ** by my favorite.):

·      Blue Sky by Audrey Wood
·      A Giant Crush by Gennifer Choldenko
·      My Rhinoceros by Jon Agee
·      Brownie & Pearl Grab a Bite by Cynthia Rylant
·      The Art of Miss Chew by Patricia Polacco **
·      Fly Guy #11: Ride, Fly Guy, Ride! by Tedd Arnold
·      Gideon by Olivier Dunrea *
·      Gideon and Otto by Olivier Dunrea *
·      Penny and Her Song by Kevin Henkes *
·      Pete the cat: I Love my White Shoes by Eric Litwin *
·      The Cat Who Went to Heaven by Elizabeth Coatsworth

This week I want to move on to Waterless Mountain, another Newbery winner. I’m also almost done with Crow and really enjoying it. Have a wonderful reading week, everyone!