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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Thirteen Sips

A funny little moment.

I was right in the middle of teaching when, "HICCUP!"
Okay, hiccups and teaching don't mix. I tried to control myself, "HICCUP!"
Well that wasn't working.
I went to find my water. Of course while I'm doing this the class is a bit oblivious but chaos slowly begins to creep in. I am distracted and they see an opporitunity.
I'm looking, I'm looking everywhere and it's getting loud. Students are restless.
Of course while I'm looking, "HICCUP, hiCCUp, HIccUP!"
I'm getting annoyed all the while knowing that teaching a mini-lesson and hiccups will not work.
Okay, found the water. Then I suddenly hear one of my softest spoken little girls yell out over the chaos, "THIRTEEN SIPS, Mrs. Hubbard!"
A little startled, I look out into what feels like a sea of little beings all spread around the carpet, "Who said that?"
"Thirteen sips, I said it!" said little Jolie. She was beaming a bit and everyone had kind of stopped in their tracks at her exclamation.
"Thirteen sips?" I asked. Then her story told me that apparently not everyone was oblivious to my hiccuping.
"Yeah, that's what my grandma told me. When I got the hiccups for the first time we were at her house. She got me a glass of water and told me to take thirteen sips. It really worked and that is what I always do when I get the hiccups. Try it!" She said.
"Uh, okay." So I took thirteen sips. The class counted along, and sure enough it was like magic. It was as though someone had waved a wand saying, "hiccups be gone!" And they were gone.
I waited a moment, you know you do this. You question, are they really gone. You don't want to be fooled. I waited. The class waited. I took a breath and went back to work.
We moved on and I learned a little something from Jolie's perfect little small moment, thirteen sips is all it takes!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

An All Week Celebration

I was lucky this week. I got to celebrate triumphs and struggles all week long with parents during conferences. Struggles are a celebration as well. We get to see where the child is going. What will they do next? What is their next hurdle to jump and triumph to share?

I won't gloss it over too much. Students have struggles. Struggles that have as much to do with school as they do with their whole life. We all focus on these at times. However, I don't always see this focus as a bad thing as long as we have an ending goal in sight. My mom always says, "What we focus on expands." She is right. If we only focus on what is wrong and despair in this weakness it will grow like a weed in a rosebush.

It was my challenge this week to focus on all that was going well but to also share honestly.

I shared. Parents and I walked through all the content areas and learned where their child excels. Some are really good at Social Studies. Some are showing strength in science. Others are reading well above grade level. Students are growing and learning everyday.

During the conferences, if the students were present, I had them share their writing with their parents. It didn't matter what level the writer was, I did not see a single parent sit quietly or disgusted when their child shared their words. They were proud. They had every right to be proud. The evidence of growth from their once four or five year old, now five or six year old was there; right on the page. Everyone was smiling.
This is what I love about being a teacher of writers. The growth and evidence are always right in front of me. Sometimes with math or science it is harder to show a change over time with evidence. A unit test? It just doesn't have the same effect as a piece of writing from a once four year old to a year later.

Another celebration: Apparently there are rumors going around about me among students and their parents.
I had one parent ask, "So this looping thing, when does that end?"

I was a little taken aback. Uh oh, not sure I like the sound of this. I responded, "Well, after this year they will go to second grade and have a new teacher."

I had thought based on their tone maybe they were unhappy with the looping process. Wrong assumption.

"What? Why? I thought you were going to have them until fourth grade!?"

Upon further questions and discussions with parents, some thought I would continue with their child next year or through third grade, the misconceptions were plenty and I was a little bit touched by their responses. These parents are so invested in me and their child's education. We have a bond. One that will be hard to say goodbye to at the end of the year. I feel a tear already.

And finally, I think I shared a bit of this is a previous celebration. Here is a video of my school's middle school boys football team showing the world what it means to be a champion. I had several of these boys in kindergarten. Talk about needing a kleenex, go get one before you click the link.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013


Sometimes it still shocks me what my students do and say at writing workshop. Today we had a schedule that deviated from the norm. There were fire trucks for fire safety, a tornado get the picture. Among all the chaos we had to fit in writing workshop. I knew I would have to cut it a little short, mind you we are up to sometimes more than an hour when all is said and done. When I say cut it short, there is still lots of time. Anyway, one of my little boys had been planning away, had been working on his story diligently and I had to give a "five minute sign" warning. It was just about time for lunch. His response was priceless. You would have thought he lost his dog. Shoulders slumped, sad eyes, a pout, and to top it off a moan...picture it AaaaAAaaAAah!
I looked at him, kind of unsure why he was upset. I mean really, this was a bit over the top.
"Dylan, what is it?" I asked him.
"I wanted to keep writing," in the whiniest voice he could muster.
Then I think my face mirrored his a bit because I felt so sad that I had to tell him to stop soon. He kind of tossed his pencil in frustration and began to clean up. I wasn't going to mention he still had five minutes, he was at the point of no return. But I stood back a moment and felt proud. My kids really love this time of day. It is probably their favorite. They love it so much they would rather write than go to lunch. I call that a big WIN!

Saturday, October 19, 2013


I watch milestones happen everyday. I am lucky that I get to watch children grow. This week I listened as one student jumped a reading level. I watched another beam at her "spelling power!" I witnessed another student reach out to a child suffering. As I stood back at writing workshop this week students were awesome. I saw a lot of good writing this week and we get to start fresh again on Monday. I saw students taking care of each other, having fun and continuing a community we formed long ago. I continue to be happy with my decision to loop with my students this year. It is a celebration that I get to watch them grow another year older, wiser as human beings and more caring for others as they mature.

Another celebration...I get to run a half-marathon tomorrow that I have been training for since June! Wish me luck. :)

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Warning: A Flood is Approaching

I'm smiling. I'm happy.

I watched a video at my staff meeting this morning that praised our eighth grade boys for showing a special bit of kindness at a football game to a student with special needs. It actually was a story on a local news channel.

Eyes a little misty.

One of my students got a compression vest today. Her response, "I LOVE it!"

Teared up a bit.

I listened to my student who has struggled with apraxia say the words "Chicago is a city," with practically perfect articulation during a speech therapy session.

Starting to feel small pools form in the corners of my eyes, but I am still smiling!
I am waiting. Waiting for the moment to happen where tears of joy begin streaming. So many happy things can bring up so much emotion. Especially when I watch students with needs beyond my imagination struggle each day and leave smiling. There are a lot of things to get a little misty over and even more things to smile about. What made you smile today?

Saturday, October 12, 2013


Ruth Ayres from Discover. Play. Build. is starting a new movement, Celebration Link-Up. On each Saturday share your celebration(s) from the week, link it to her blog and comment on other celebrations shared.

One of my celebration from the week was seeing joy on my students faces. Sometimes we do the simplest things to find joy and leaf hunting was the ticket on Friday afternoon. We each went and found two leaves for leaf rubbing. Then students got creative with colors and designs. I wish I had taken a picture but instead I will invite you to go find a leaf and do a crayon rubbing yourself. It is bound to make you smile.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Sometimes They Just Know

Just like we are always in tune with what they need each day, they are tuning into us as well. Sometimes little pick-me-ups come at the right time. I was feeling a little defeated today at writing workshop. I wasn't seeing what I wanted to see and was forgetting what it is all about. Then little Kaylee gave me this:

Poem for Mrs. Hubbard

I love Mrs. Hubbard
I think she is nice
I love her

To say the least, I was no longer defeated but proud and touched by her sweet poem. 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

A Speechless Slice...Is That Possible?

I start this slice...
I realize I am a bit speechless.
I feel a little lost.
A little stuck.
A little speechless.
Like I am in a field of sunflowers.
I wonder what is beyond each one.
I keep turning corners and there is yet another.
Another beautiful sunflower full of opportunity.
I am wandering.
I am grinning.
I am speechless
with petals in my hair.
My ears are full of sun.
My mouth is full of words
ready to escape.

I really enjoy writing a story this way. I did not know where this was going, only that I was feeling speechless today. Then all these images started to flood into me and now I must go draw them.

One perspective of my thoughts. A bit different from what I was envisioning but a visual perspective none the less.