Monday, November 16, 2009


As Thanksgiving approaches, I like to take some time to consider the things for which I am thankful...

A husband who is truly my other half and supportive in ways he doesn't even know
My children...who wonder, think, laugh, play and have kind generous hearts at such a young age
Colleagues who smile at work even when things get tough
My dad...who has shown me the importance of standing up for what I believe in...even if it isn't popular at the time
My sister...who always has my matter what!
Teachers who love to have powerful conversations about learning and see the importance of still growing as teachers/learners
Friends who keep close even when life gets crazy
The promise a new day brings to see the good in the world

Above all, I am thankful that the work we do as teachers, can make a huge impact on the future.

For these things...and more, I am thankful!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Unexpected Advice

"Just slow it down, Ma'am."
Five words I heard loud and clear from the officer. I had been pulled over going 10 miles an hour over the speed limit. The thing of it was, I knew that I was speeding. When I got to the stop light, I had the thought that I was going too fast. I guess I was not alone in that opinion because the red and blue lights behind me confirmed that!

There were lots of things racing through my head...should I tell him I was late picking up my kids...should I mention I had a rough day at work...should I tell him my brother-in-law was a police officer and I knew better??? All these things were true, but I couldn't do it. I knew I was speeding and I needed to own up to it! After the usual stuff...licence and registration please...wait...wait. The kind officer said, "Just slow it down, Ma'am!" No ticket...that was such a relief.

His warning really struck me though...I keep hearing it over and over. Just slow it I have been. I have been slowing down to enjoy the moments with my kids at home. I have been slowing down to talk to a great colleague about an exciting idea...I have been really intentional about slowing down to think about what I am doing. Life gets busy...for all of us. The thing is, we need to slow down and be home and in the classroom. When we slow down enough, we see things differently. That's a good thing!

Now, I am slowing down and making sure I connect with fellow staff members, kids that can't wait to tell me about their dog and my own family. That way, I am hoping I am not missing a teachable moment.

So, thank you to the officer that gave me the is so much better now that I have slowed down to savor the moments!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


AH HAAAAA!! Talk about a moment of clarity! Last night, I was spending some time devoted to writing. I have been using The Writing Diner writing program with a few third grade classes this year and had made a commitment to myself that I would write whatever they were asked to write. Ideas for my stories came easily. As a mom of boys and someone who loves adventures, I have lots of potential stories that happen around me ALL the time. I worked on a piece using "binoculars" keying into my senses. I played with a piece about my 4 year old and his frogging using similes. Then...I got to a lesson that used a prompt. No problem, I thought.

The prompt, modeled to look like our state standardized test, went like this:

It is nice to have friends. It is also nice to be some body's friend.
Choose one of the following:
Write about a time when you were a good friend to somebody else
Write about a time when somebody was a good friend to you
Write about a time when you were not a good friend to somebody else
Write about friendship in your own way I reread the prompt....hmmmm again. I sat there thinking about ways that I might have been a good friend...the thing was harder than I thought!! I had pages written about things I wanted to write about...things I was an expert about...and then...STUMPED!

As I sat there thinking about what I was going hit me. This is what our kids are going through too...and maybe even worse. If it stumped me and really made me uncomfortable, then I could only imagine how it is for a 2nd or 3rd grader to try and do.

My life lesson that I took away was simple...we need to continue to write with our kids...model what we expect. Grapple with the same tasks to become better at teaching writing. I am walking away with more insight about writing to a prompt than the stack of professional articles I have read about prompts by this simple writing experience. WOW!!

After thinking about it for quite some time...I did manage to come up with an idea. Maybe I'll post it when I am done. I am very thankful for my ah ha moment though...I love that there is ALWAYS room to grow!