Showing posts from August, 2011

Things That Made Me Smile

I read a blog post today that gave some great ideas for activities in writer's notebooks. Since we are really just getting a start on ours, I thought we would try some of these this week. I apologize I'm not linking to the post. I found it on Twitter at home this morning, but when I come to school and the link is blocked by our AEA's firewall.  Grrrrrrr. But that's another blog post. Here's what we added to our notebooks today: THINGS THAT MADE ME SMILE THIS SUMMER 1. Chloe swimming in the lake for the first time. Like a kid, she dipped her toes in the water, testing it out. Then a wave came at her and she decided it needed to be attacked. Chloe spent several minutes trying to catch the waves and eat them. Slowly she started walking out and then finally swam. When she got out of the water, she shook off and then ran around in circles like crazy. 2. The grandkids swimming on the 4th.  Grandma's lake rule: You have to eat breakfast before you go outside

Anatomy of an Author-to-Be

Hair in her eyes, glasses perched on the end of her nose, ill-fitting clothes and a perpetual smile,  appearance doesn't seem to matter to Allie, who long ago decided she was going to be an author--not a writer, an author. She walks down the street today with her nose in a book and I wonder how she walks and reads without running into a tree or falling over the cracks in the sidewalk.  When I tell her that later, she giggles and tells me it has happened before. I see her sitting in class, alone, reading whatever book she is reading at the moment. She was on a steady diet of R. L. Stine when I first met her as a seventh grader. I was bound and determined to get her to read something else. Allie was just as bound and determined to read what she wanted, no matter what I, or anyone else, had to say about it. Today, she still loves her teenage horror novels or once in awhile a love story, but you still aren't going to get her to read anything but what she wants. When I happen up

The Flying Book Kids

Last Friday I wrote about how the books flew (literally) into the hands of some of my students. As an English department we talked about making sure kids have independent books to read in class and how to make sure they get some reading time every week, so that was the reason for the flying books. The kids needed them for class. I often wondered over the weekend if any of them even looked at the book or if this was just crazy Mrs. Day trying to get kids to read again. Even though I knew I had found good books for them, I worried they wouldn't give the books a chance (Coincidently, I started reading The Book Whisperer  by Donalyn MIller over the weekend. It's scary how alike she and I are.) Fast forward to Monday. One came in carrying Tears of a Tiger by Sharon Draper.  "20 pages, Mrs. Day. Good Book." The wrestler came in carrying Four Days to Glory by Mark Kreidler , a book about the state wrestling tournament here in Iowa.   He didn't comment. HE SAT DOWN


Last week I read a blog post by Angela Maiers  that made me sad (and her too!). She described a conversation with her children after their first day of school.  What did her kids tell her about their first day? Boring. Now I know that many kids say school is boring and that many teachers say they aren't there to entertain kids. However It was the fact that none of her children's teachers expressed any excitement, enthusiasm or passion for the coming year that bothered Angela--and me! And then, before school this morning, I took Chloe out in the yard for a few minutes before I left for school. She played fetch with me a few minutes, but then she took matters into her own paws.  She picked up her leash in her mouth and began to run. Chloe loves to run and I love to watch her run. She does it with such enthusiasm and joy. She runs for the love of running. And this got me thinking too. I teach for the love of teaching. Really. I could and have taught many subjects (in

The Outlaws

Last night I went to a free concert in Arnold's Park with my husband and a friend.  They are both music lover's (not that I don't like music, but not like these guys!) and my husband, especially, had been looking forward to hearing the opening band, The Outlaws.  I had never heard of them. Evidently they were around back in the 70's.  It also happened to be the Polaris Victory Rally.  A motorcycle rally. Motorcycles--something I will never understand. But it was a great night for people watching. I didn't take my writer's notebook with me, but I sure filled it in with details when I got home! Anyway, this poem comes from that experience. The Outlaws Graying, Long-Haired hippies. Faces lined with the Evidence of hard living. Trying to recapture What it was like to be Seventeen again. Or twenty-one. Or young. Dancing in place To music that resonates with them. They feel it Loud and pounding, Vibrating the ground, Crashing right to their s

Weekend Morning

It's been a week of      alarms going off      being on time      get to the next meeting      finding packed away items      teacher chatter  Then      bells      schedules      teenage laughter and      high fives Always moving on to      the next thing Always noise. Always in a hurry. But then comes      Saturday. Puppy kisses and Bird songs Wake me slowly to the day. The coffee perks and I know There is plenty of time for a leisurely cup With a piece of fresh peach pie. Neighbors wave as they head to their boats.   And the only noises I hear are The sound of The waves Gently lapping at the sand And the call of a solitary gull. Only the swallows don't  understand The need for Peaceful weekend mornings.

Flying Books

High school kids always say they hate to read--especially the boys. They proudly proclaim that they never read. Haven't read a book since 6th grade. They just watch the movie and fake it.  Lots and lots of excuses. I, of course, find it amazing that they have never read a book that they liked. Too many teacher choices, I guess. My second hour speech class is filled with those kids. I told them they had never read a book they liked because I was never their reading teacher. I said if they would be honest about it, I could find them books that would interest them. The challenge was on. "Find me one, Mrs. Day!" "Me next!" Me, Me, Me.... I started pulling down boxes and throwing out books.  Literally. (It's kind of fun to amaze them when the book actually lands on their desk.). Five boys and a girl took books with them as they left today.  Alliterate, nonreaders. Kids who may actually try to read a book because I found books that interested them.

Let It Be Me

I saw her name on my class list.  It was one of "those" names. All teachers knew the family and the background.  I remembered her mom in seventh grade. I watched her in the halls during freshman open house as she wandered without friends from room to room, accompanied only by her step-father, himself from one of "those" families. Fearful, she figured out where she needed to go each hour. What a contrast to most of the other kids who laughed and greeted friends as they danced from room to room. I greeted the two of them as they stepped into my room. A dirty face, unkept hair, clothes that had seen their better days, it was hard to imagine she was a freshman girl. The only words she spoke were, "I'm scared to come here." My heart broke. Tears filled my eyes. Let it be me. Let me be the teacher that makes school a safe place for her. Let me be the teacher she connects with. Let me be the teacher that makes a difference in her life. Let it be me.


Exhaustion. The Good Kind. The kind of exhaustion That lets you know Your brain hasn't turned to MUSH Over The long, hot summer. Exhaustion. The Good Kind.

My New Year's Resolutions

I love the start of a new school year!  I'm already anticipating not sleeping well because I can't wait for  Thursday when the kids start! New notebooks, new pens, new classes, new students, new resolutions!  It's a clean slate. No matter how last year went, it's a chance to make the coming year spectacular! This year I resolve to: 1. Really use the technology I discovered in my Web 2.0 class earlier in the summer. I have a tendency to learn about new technology, but then let it drop as the year passes. I found several web sites that my creative writing students could use to write children's books.  Also, found some great sites that would make my classroom more interactive.  I need to consciously add these tools to my lessons! 2. Read more professional books.   I didn't read much professionally last year, and I found myself getting burnt out much earlier in the spring.  Professional reading keeps me excited. It empowers me to better myself and my classroom

All Summer in a Week

It's the last week of summer vacation and while I should be at home, traveling to school for a bit every day to work on "school stuff", I am at the lake trying to cram every last bit of summer in that I can. Why? I don't know. We'll continue to come to the trailer every weekend until mid October.  But the season is winding down ( insert sad face). We spent a lot of time outside, just enjoying the beautiful weather we have been graced with this week. After 27 days of above normal temperatures (many days of heat indexes about 100), this feels heavenly!  As the adults just sat and relaxed the kids had many adventures.  One thing I truly appreciate about our grandkids is the fact that they don't need a lot of toys to be entertained, nor do they need adults to entertain them. Especially at the lake, they find plenty to do.  Their imaginations and a few props are all they need.  Here they are, traveling by boat to some far off place. We also took a day and

All I Learned About Teaching I Learned From My Grandkids

There's six of 'em, you know.  Ages 6 to 3 1/2 months. That's a lot of learning going on when you get them all together. And I realized that they are teaching me many things that apply to my classroom (even though I teach high school kids). Here's what I know: 1. When you are truly scared of something. but confront it anyway, that's real courage. Doesn't matter if it is bugs or deep water or new situations. Just gotta do it.   I need to think about this with new speech classes. Giving speeches is hard stuff--especially for some.  I must make sure kids know I respect them for trying something new and scary. 2. Sometimes, if you want to make a new friend, you have to make the first move!   3. If you always take no for an answer, you never get to try or learn anything new.   I watched Max today go back to the same cord time after time, even though I kept saying no and taking it away from him.  I know he's exploring his world and that's never a ba

No Wussie Girls

Girls, A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a post for your brothers with all the things I hope and wish for them--things Grandma thought it was important for them to know. After reading teacherdance's blog the other day, I decided I'd better get one written for you girls too! 1. Learn some basic car maintenance--or at least know the name of one really good mechanic who won't cheat you just because you are a woman. 2. It's fun to pretend to be a princess, but in the real world, women need to take care of themselves. 3. Boys make great friends, NOT just boyfriends. 4. It's nice to have a man in your life, but don't let them become a necessity. Be with someone because you want to be, not because you have to be. 5. Bugs are not scary creatures and the ones around here won't kill you!  Step on that spider for heavens sakes! 6. Be nice to people, including yourself.  Always make time for you. 7. Stand up for yourself and others. If you know someth

Just One of Those Days

Today was just one of those days. I didn't wake up until 8:00am. Unusual for me, even at the lake. More unusual was the fact that Chloe just crawled up on the edge of the bed and slept too.  I think I got too much sleep. I didn't have any energy today. Nada. Zip. Nothing. Here's what I didn't do: Read --anything. Usually Tuesday mornings I read blog posts until my eyes bleed. Not today. Only read two or three at the most.  I also didn't read for fun or for PD. Only checked my email once and Facebook twice. Nothing seemed to catch my interest. Write --I did make a four item grocery list, but even that took more energy than I could muster. Here it is, 8:00pm and I am just getting around to posting on my blog and at Two Writing Teachers.  So not like me... Paint --I planned on painting a coat of primer in the trailer addition today.  But, nope, that didn't get done either. I did move the paint can from the floor to the table, though. Walk --Chloe and I h