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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

A Tank of THINK

I've been in this, what feels like a tank of "think," for over two weeks now. I realize I am always thinking and processing, reflecting all those things. This is different though. It's like I can't turn it off. Writing it down doesn't even help, it looms, it weaves its way right back in, maybe even stronger. I'm usually pretty good at turning things off and detaching from my thoughts, a good and bad trait. These are strong though and on top of it people have questions about them. Which now has me even deeper inside myself processing my opinions and ideas. See, I'm in the planning stages of working on some posts about preschool writing, a topic I haven't written about a whole lot. I've done much more work writing about kindergarten and though the two are fairly similar to most people, I realize they are different animals altogether. Preschool is not a watered down version of kindergarten. It is something set apart and different from every other grade level. Unless you have walked into a preschool classroom recently (or ever frankly) you might not realize how different. What bothers me even more is there is a push, a heavy push, to make it more academic...I should say this differently. The problem with more academic is that it already is academic. Play is the work of preschoolers. There is a lot that can be intentionally woven in that looks more academic to someone that doesn't understand. Preschool teachers are geniuses when it comes to making play intentional, but we don't trust them. It scares me what may become of preschoolers and their foundations. How are we to create students who love learning if we start putting flash cards in their face to make words? (To be clear, flash cards are not the enemy, but they are not the answer either). How do we encourage a love of writing if we are pushing students into letter formation and getting a letter on the page before it carries meaning? Why not create meaning through talking, drawing, playing, experimenting, failing, struggling and coming around to success? Why don't we recognize these struggles and failures as learning? We only see it as "not good enough." I hope if you know a preschool teacher you will direct them to my posts in February at TWT. Mostly because I want to inspire them to stay strong and not give up on what they know is right. I want to give them a resource to ideas and developmental practices that create budding writers, not children who robotically put letters on paper to please the teacher's critics. Ah, that felt good, thanks for listening. Now off to work on this more as I organize my ideas and prepare for teaching some preschoolers to love words and writing. And here I didn't think I had a slice yet today. This one has become a whole bunch of segments ready to be peeled and separated! :)  

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

A Coffee Oasis


She wakes me when I'm tired
or just want one more z.
She perks me up,
smile in a cup.
My best friend's name?
Coffee.

I'm on my third cup today. Cold, but still delicious. What is it about coffee that is so amazing? Oh yeah, the caffeine, the aroma and the deep flavor. Now I've stepped over the edge of Slice of Life and entered television commercial status.
Okay, so the reason I really need coffee today? My room is like an oasis on the shore of an iceburg. The heating and cooling system in my building is completely out of wack. You walk in my room it is HOT! You walk out to the hallway, you freeze. If I had my choice, I sort of would rather be more on the chilly side. At least I can throw on a sweater. But heat, there just isn't much you can do about that. I keep finding myself in the middle of an eye flutter while listening to students read. I'm so tired from the heat that I can't focus. You can imagine how it's working for my students. It should be better tomorrow. They are tinkering. I figure as long as there is enough coffee in the world, I should be fine.
Did I mention I love tea too? :)

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

A Flower Hair Clip


I had a memory today. A hair clip. I held it in my hand today squeezing the hard wood painted flower. I never wore the clip. Though it is beautiful, it is too big for my slippery hair. I love it though. Mostly for its memory and less for its looks.

I had a memory today. A scarf. I held it in my hand today squeezing the softness and smelling the sweetness. I never wore the scarf. Though it is beautiful,it is too square to wear around my neck. I love it though. Mostly for its memory and less for its looks.

I had a memory today. A story. I held it in my hand today squeezing it to remind me of the real words that are sprinkled on the blue paper. I wrote the story. It was the first story I remember thinking, "this is beautiful." I wear that story. I love it. Mostly for its memory and less for its looks.

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Monday Morning Message
STAFF MEETING ON TUESDAY: Bring in a sentimental item. 

I wonder. Hmmmm. Writing prompt maybe? What on earth am I going to take with me of sentimental value? Someone suggests my wedding ring. I already have it. No cause for concern that I might forget something. But, that seems too easy.

Monday Evening

"Ugh, I have to find something for my staff meeting that is sentimental," I tell my husband. 
He is engrossed in his own work and says something like, "That's nice."
Sigh. 

I go to the basement. Suddenly it hits me. I recently put all of our extra linens in an old entertainment center we re-purposed in our laundry room. Perfect, I know I just put my grandmother's old scarves in there. The scarves she would wear on her head while battling cancer. They still smell like her.

Wait, I think...didn't I write a story in college about her death? I look in my desk drawer...WHALAH! It appears as though it was meant to be read. 
I sit and read the story I drafted back in college while doing a writing exercise of sorts. Mist fills my eyes. As I read I am reminded of a flower hair clip that I reference in the story. I was holding it in the gift shop when my mother came to get me and tell me my grandmother had died.

Huh? I wonder where that hair clip is? I go on a search yet again. I know I have it but have no idea where it could be. I open my trunk of kept things. Moving two teddy bears, some newspaper clippings there is a small basket with a frog lock on the front. I easily open the basket, the frog lock useless. There it is. Like someone took me to it; the clip is in my hand, I squeeze it, the leaves of the wooden flower cut into my skin a bit. This is my sentimental item that holds a story inside its petals.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

All I Have

I am reflecting today as I was given terrible news of a colleagues hardship. I have worked with her for the past ten years watching her grow into a wonderful second grade teacher who is loved. This past school year her daughter was diagnosed with stage four cancer. She is a first grader now, a friend to my own daughter and a little fighter. She has made great progress in her battle and continues to be well taken care of by her parents, doctors and family. However, this morning the family's home burned down and they have lost everything. The family is safe and have a community rallying to care for them in this time of need. There is a wealth of people just waiting to do what they can for this family who is in so much need of support as they face again, another battle. I ask you today to please be reminded of all you have. I have been reminded today after hearing of so much loss and hard times this family has ahead.


Saturday, January 4, 2014

Snow!




I am celebrating snow. I know, who does that? I wouldn't have thought of myself as a celebrator of snow but now I can add it to my list. I went snowshoeing for the first time today and really enjoyed it. I went by myself and trecked on a trail at a local park. I know I want to go again. I could hear birds and wind. The trees were beautiful and they made a crackling sound as the tops of them clanged together. It was an almost silent celebration.