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Showing posts from December, 2012

Build It and They Will Come

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Reflections on  Book Love  by Penny Kittle I'm participating in not one, but two online discussions about this book. I read it as soon as it came out, but these groups are giving me time to reflect and shape my thinking.  I don't know what I was thinking when I left most of my first classroom library in the junior high where I taught.  Did I think high school students didn't need books? Did I think high school students only read classics? Did I think high school students didn't need easy reads? I don't know. But I left most of that library on the shelves for the next reading teacher ( bangs head on desk) . I moved into my new room at the high school, a room I shared with another teacher. She taught freshmen English in the mornings while I was in another room. I taught speech there in the afternoons. Roomie and I are very compatible, so the arrangement worked great.  At some point, we began bringing our books into the room. And that is how the se

The Pathway to Difficult Reading Begins With Books They Enjoy

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Reflections on Book Love by Penny Kittle I'm participating in not one, but two online discussions about this book. I read it as soon as it came out, but these groups are giving me time to reflect and shape my thinking.  Introduction and Chapter 1 I started my career as a seventh grade teacher. I was somewhat shocked that all students didn't love to read like I did. So we would talk. They told me they didn't like to read. They liked to hunt and skateboard and play video games. Some were musicians, others liked to sing or draw or act. I taught football players, volleyball players, basketball players, runners and wrestlers. But I didn't teach readers. Reading has been a part of my life forever. I don't remember not knowing how to read. And, as a child, I was surrounded by it. Both of my parents and most of my grandparents were readers. I read everything I could get my hands on. As I like to tell my students on the first day, I'll read the cereal box

Two Sides to Every Story....

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It all started because I forgot to take my blood pressure pills and vitamins Monday morning. What started?  I don't know what she's talking about.  I was just entertaining myself. I went home during my prep because I left my pills and vitamins on the counter. The last time I did that, Chloe got the bottle  off the counter and got the lid off.   Thankfully, she didn't eat any of the pills, but I found the bottle and the pills on her  blanket, just outside of her kennel. I was  worried she'd do it again, so I went home. Really, shouldn't she have to warn me when  she's coming home early?  I mean, when do  I get a little privacy in this place? I walked into the house. The first thing I saw were chewed up kleenex on the rug. Great. She's gotten into the bathroom  garbage. At least there wasn't a huge mess. Maybe I'll pretend to be asleep. If I don't come out of my kennel, she won't yell at me

Words That Are Speaking to Me

Words that are speaking to me: "Writing, painting, singing--it cannot stop everything. Cannot halt death in its tracks. But perhaps it can make the pause between death's footsteps sound and look and feel beautiful, can make the space of waiting a place where you can linger without as much fear. For we are all walking each other to our deaths, and the journey there between the footsteps makes up our lives."      From Reached   by Ally Condie

They Were My Kids Too

It's not that I wasn't touched by the movie theatre shooting or the mall shooting or the temple shooting. I was  (How sad is it that I don't have to be specific in naming those events?). But today's shooting  massacre in Newtown, Connecticut had me in front of my computer all day close to tears and tonight in front of my TV letting those tears fall. It's not that those other shootings weren't horrific. They were. It's not that those other shootings didn't affect me. They did. It's not that those other shootings didn't leave families in mourning. They did. But this was a school shooting. And I am a teacher. Those were MY kids. That was MY classroom. It doesn't matter that I teach high school kids and the victims were babies. THEY WERE STILL MY KIDS. And I'm not sure that anyone who is not a teacher understands the depth of feelings in a teacher's heart tonight. We have lock-down drills in my high school. Practice for

12/12/12: My 12 Favorite Christmas Ornaments

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I love decorating my house for Christmas, and, just like my grandma, I have LOTS of ornaments. It's only natural then that my 12/12/12 post is about my 12 favorite Christmas ornaments. The Noel Angels I love these little angels because they remind me of home.  I got them out of "Grandma's Garage" after she passed away. My mom also has a set that my sisters and I played with. For years, my mom was the N, I was the O, my sisters were the E and L.  My brother was born when I was 8 and we all moved up an angel. Poor mom was kicked out of the angel club.   Santa Baby Toy My oldest son was born a week before Christmas and this was his very first toy of any kind. It was given to him by someone who was a dear friend during this time of my life.  Although I gave both sons all the Christmas ornaments that were theirs when they married and moved out on their own, this one I kept. It holds lots of memories. Old Fashioned Santa This is

Snow Dog

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It snowed here on Sunday. Big fluffy flakes. Picture postcard perfect flakes. Beautiful for a first snow, although I'm sure the same snow in February or March won't be near so beautiful or perfect. I don't think Chloe remembered what that white stuff was. At first she just went out, did her business and came back in. It wasn't until we went in the back yard to play that she really got the white stuff figured out. And then she went nuts. I tried to play fetch, but the cold air made her frisky. She growled and jumped and did her happy, crazy race around the yard. She stuck her nose in it, tasted it and rolled in it. And then, I tried to make a snowman. I start the perfect ball. Get it rolled just right. Put it in the perfect spot. Chloe thought the ball was for her. It must have looked like a fun toy. Surely if she picked it up and ran, I would chase her. Every time I made a ball, she dove in. Sometimes she tried to eat it. Sometimes she tried to roll it with

The Unwritten Vow

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It wasn't part of our wedding vows, but it should have been. I dealt with poopy diapers and poop in the yard.  I dealt with puking kids and puking animals. I kept turtles and frogs and fish in the house when everyone knows those creatures live in the wild (I drew the line at snakes). I killed my share of spiders and other creepy crawlies. BUT I will not deal with mice and dead critters.  That's his job. (I'm sure it's written in a husband handbook somewhere.) And it is a hard and fast rule in our house (It tops my No gifts with cords rule). So when I saw the tell-tale signs of a mouse in the house, I followed the rule and told my husband about it. "Oh, no. Are you sure?"   Am I sure? Really? As I am taking all the dish towels out of the drawer and washing them (I'd really like to throw them all and get new ones, but that may be a little extreme), he asks me if I'm sure. I give him "the look". "OK. I'll get something