Monday, September 3, 2012

Slice of Life - Lessons

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

Slice of Life

When we look for them, there are lessons everywhere…

Luke and I spent the afternoon together. I don’t often split the boys up and spend one on one time with them; today reminded me that I should try that more often. As I think I’ve mentioned, I live in a tiny town, a tiny hamlet I like to call it. To travel to a bookstore, Target, any large store, we need to drive about twenty-five miles through the cornfields. Luke and I talked on the start of the ride, mainly about Cardboard by Doug TenNapel. I had just finished it and wanted Luke to give me a kid review. He began the book, pointing out things he noticed, predicted, questioned, as I drove.

Pulling up to Barnes and Noble, we entered and immediately went to the Children’s section in the back. I had a few books I knew I wanted, and Luke knew he needed Angleberger’s Fortune Wookiee. Then we browsed as I suggested a variety of books to him, summarized a few, pointed out several I thought he should get. He went with his own suggestion, so proud of himself. Over lunch we talked more about what he was reading and I could see how thrilled he was to have my full attention. And suddenly realized how old he seemed.

Classroom lesson – remember the importance of conferences with my students. The individual time with them is when you notice the growth.

Upon returning home I spent about two hours helping clean Liam’s room. Liam’s a hoarder by nature and tends to spread out his possessions all over his room. There was no rhyme or reason for anything he had around the room. We helped him hang some items he wanted on his walls, put away toys, cleaned, and purged some old items. When we were done Liam lay down on his bed and sighed with contentment. I asked him what he liked best and he said that he had decided where things went and knew where to put them away. We’ll see if this actually lasts but for now, he’s happy.

Classroom lesson – letting my students have ownership of the classroom – and the “spots” things go – give them a feeling of ownership and happiness.

At the end of our day we drove across town and went to visit my new niece. The boys took turns holding her and I caught up with my sister-in-law and brother. As I mentioned last week, the visit with these new parents drove home the idea that parents want what’s best for their children. As I watched them worry over Vivian’s little noises and discuss their feeding schedule, I smiled, remembering when parenting was new to me too.

Classroom lesson – parents are their children’s best advocate. When they express frustration, remember, you have their treasure in your classroom. Take a breath and cut them some slack.

It’s funny, I sat down to type tonight and my mind was blank. I had no idea what I wanted to write a slice about. But then I began reflecting on my day and I loved the idea that embedded in my daily life are lessons that help me as a parent, and a teacher. What a wonderful gift that is.