Showing posts from December, 2011

Honest Conversations

My second hour speech class talked a lot. They moved around a lot.  They needed music going all the time.  They demanded my attention--good or bad.  They wanted me to notice them, to talk to them, to like them.  Many of them didn't get those things from other people  teachers. One of our last days of class together, as they put finishing touches on their "Commencement Addresses", some of us got involved in a conversation about teachers and school.  A very honest conversation. Most of them hate school and can't wait to "get out of here".  They hate homework, boring classes, and lectures. When I asked them when was the last time they liked school, they told me elementary school (except for Mr. Cocky Wrestler, who told me he never liked school).  Their teachers were nice and the work was easy.  According to them, that changes in about fifth grade. In our district, that's the year they begin switching classes and teachers--and evidently, the work gets ha

My Favorites: 2011

Want to read some other great slices?  Check out TwoWritingTeachers ! The end of 2011 is also bringing to an end my first year blogging.  Although I didn't start Coffee With Chloe until March, I started a different blog elsewhere in January.  Last night I deleted that blog.  It just didn't fit with my blogging life. As I read through many of my posts, I sometimes wondered how I had the nerve to publish some of them.  They certainly weren't very good. Others I read almost as if I was reading them for the first time--I almost didn't remember writing them. And then there were the old friends.  The ones I loved as I was writing them. And, I think that love shows in the writing of them.  I always preach to kids to write what they love--I guess that goes for me too! So, here they are, from the early ones to the latest ones. My favorites posts of this past year. Not necessarily the most popular--but the posts that I loved writing. Puppy Kisses   The first, the sc

A Peek Inside: My New Notebook

I started a new writer's notebook last month-- my geekiness is showing, isn't it? I love it.  It's actually a notebook that I sent for a year ago and GOT FREE!   A cool free notebook--does life get better than this? I have found the perfect pens to use when writing in it. The right pen is always an important component in writing in my notebook, It's got to look good... I've been playing with words in it. I did write a blog draft in it.  I am adding others writing that inspires me.  "Revolution for the Tested" by Kate Messner is one I turn to a lot. The inside cover of the notebook has a copy of a journal card that my art teacher friend gave me entitled "Introduction". Introduction  The last paragraph says, We have to be willing to be observers. To listen to leaves blow, to look for rare pennies and to be anonymous. Only then will our observations begin to unfold, as we scribble, attack, write, draw, and scribble some

Celebrations for the End of the Semester

It's here.  That most wonderful time of the year. Winter Break!  For our district it is also the end of the semester.  We've finished those projects and tests, said good-bye to those we won't have in class next semester, thrown away the trappings of the beginning of the year and are ready to move on. But before I move on, there are a few things to celebrate: As I listened to my sophomores give their graduation speeches, I was amazed at how much they had all grown.  The skills they have picked up during the course of the semester showed as they stood in front of their classmates.  Even the boys, notorious for their "Slacker Voice", stepped it up for this last speech.  Students who read their speech looked up at us and spoke with enthusiasm. The students who took the time to memorize their speech were phenomenal!  Some of the best speeches ever given.   The reflections written by my creative writing students show that I am on the right track with this class.  

Thanks for Being Tough

Dear Mrs. Day, You know how most of my speech was about victory and survival? Well, ironically, I can't believe I survived that! I mean, my speech was better than I had expected, but I would never have DREAMED  I could turn a four- minute speech into one that might just as well have been a perfect 6 minutes long! Thank you SO much for pushing me like you have in this semester! If you had gone any easier on me, my grade would be even worse than it is now (plus I would still be a chicken on the stage today!) I often feel like I've failed kids. That I haven't done enough for them.  But not this student. The student from the above email, I actually felt like I was picking on him at times. He's in a wheelchair, you see.   Spina Bifida . My instinct was to coddle him.  But I soon realized, he had had enough of that. And it was his body that was handicapped, not his mind. In addition to being in a wheelchair, he had also been home-schooled (Don&#

SIlly Snippet Slices

Check out other slices at Two Writing Teachers!  Or better yet, JOIN US! Ok. So this last week has been crazy busy.  You all know what I mean.  The end of the semester craziness of: semester projects (and getting them graded),  tests (and getting them graded),  portfolios (and getting them graded).  So, frankly, I haven't written since last week. Nope. Haven't even thought about it.  Because on top of all the " of the semester, gotta cram it all in craziness", there's also the "Christmas is coming chaos".  You know: finding the perfect gift (and wrapping it),  baking the cookies (and frosting them),   Christmas cards (scratch that--maybe next year). So not one word has escaped from my pen.  However, that does not mean I haven't thought about writing.  Here's the list of never written blog posts: I even took pictures of my notebook! I started a new writer's notebook.  This makes me inexplicably giddy.  It will have a d

The Elf on the Shelf

Thirty years ago an elf made an appearance at our house. He didn't look quite as fresh and new as this one. Especially as the years went by. Playing with two young boys tends to take a toll on an elf. But, even with all the abuse he took,  he was an annual visitor to our home. Elf generally made his appearance on December 1st.  All of a sudden, he would just appear somewhere in the house.  We've never had a fireplace, so we knew he didn't come down the chimney,  We lived in  small towns and didn't lock the doors much, so I suppose he could have gotten in that way.  However he got in, his arrival was always an annual event. Elf would spend the month with us, making sure the boys behaved themselves in those crucial days before Christmas.  It was hard to keep track of him because he moved about the house at will. Sometimes he showed up in the playroom to watch the boys at play. Other times he sat in a kitchen window sill to make sure they ate all their supper.  He li

Saturday Morning

Hot coffee Warm blanket Paper read Writing done Homework Avoided. A whine Nose in lap Put that computer down Writer's notebook, be gone. I need some morning hugs. And it's cold with my new Haircut Share the warmth What? Another cup of coffee? I'll just go sleep on the couch.

No Gifts With Cords

I am a  "What I Want for Christmas" list maker. My husband is not.  I love to make long wish lists of things I would love to receive. My husband does not. I love getting other people's "What I Want for Christmas" lists. You guessed it--my husband does not.  My philosophy is if you make the list long enough, you won't know what you are getting, but at least it will be something you really will enjoy. My husband believes it takes all the fun out of opening gifts because you already know what you got. We "argue" about this every year.  It happened again over the weekend as I left a "wish list" of books and music on the kitchen table. Problem was, at the time, there was only one CD on the music list.  Evidently, it the one he was going to buy me. So don't buy it. Look at the list of 15 or 20 books that are at the top of my book list. I'd rather have those. Now, I'm sure some of you are thinking I'm being selfish, greedy,

A Special Thank-You "You Matter"

Just had to show off my new "You Matter" picture.  The wonderfully talented Christy Rush-Levine made if for me (she also made herself a new header for her blogs).  Of course, then I had to redesign my blog again to go along with it. Christy is starting a new blog also for her former students--students who want and need books to read now that they are in high school.  It's called Reading Beyond the Middle . I love that she is going out of her way to make sure they have good book recommendations to keep them reading long after they have left her classroom. So this week's You Matter goes to Christy for going out of her way to make sure her students know they  matter.

Middle of the Night

3:22am Ferocious barking coming from the kitchen. Not your " Oh my gosh, I saw a dog (reflection) in the window! Why won't that other dog play with me?" bark. Not "How dare that squirrel, rabbit, stray cat run across my yard!" kind of bark.  This bark was of the "Danger! Danger Will Robinson!" variety (of course, at 3:22 in the morning, all barks could sound like that). Chloe never barks in the middle of the night.  Never. I sit straight up in bed and let the sound register in my head.  I walk to the front window and look out. So does Hubby.  A red truck is backing out of our driveway. A red truck I have never seen before. "Good girl, Chloe,"  I say.  "This is a good time to bark in the house." She wags her tail and leans against my leg, seeking comfort. "Did you see that red truck go down the driveway?" "Yea.  Maybe they were just backing out to turn around." "No. They were all the way up to


Time is what prevents everything from happening at once.  ~John Archibald Wheeler My life is chaotic right now. I'm so tired at the end of the week, I can hardly wait for bed on Friday night. However, I put all the blame on the clocks in my life.  This is how this morning went as I tried to make it to school on time for a 7:30am rehearsal (anytime kids are willing to rehearse at 7:30, I am going to be there!). got up, according to my bedroom clock, at 6:14am (never mind that my dear hubby sets his clock 15 minutes ahead. So that clock is at 6:34!) walked downstairs and it was 6:21am  (I'm slow in the morning, but not that slow!) Start coffee and take a shower.  6:34 when I head to the living room, according to the clock on the stove--the one on the wall actually tells me it's 6:36 After checking email, Facebook, Twitter, and drinking a cup of coffee while watching the morning news, I left the living room at 7:04am and walked to the bathroom to dry my hair--a