More daylight

It’s throwing me off, the fact that it is still light out right now.  I didn’t love it this morning when it was dark on my morning run, but as I sit down after dinner and look outside into the just-dimming light, I am thankful for Daylight Savings Time.

I love the energy that comes with the later evening light.  It reminds me that spring is practically here and summer is just around the corner.  It makes me want to be outside and soak in every moment.

All in all, this spring forward time change is a pretty good deal.

Now for that evening walk…

Slice of Life

I am participating in the Slice of Life challenge to write and publish a post each day in March.   Thanks to Two Writing Teachers for creating a place for writers to share their work all month long and hosting the March Slice of Life Story Challenge!

Spring break Saturday

Inspired to write an acrostic poem by a slice I read this morning.

Sleeping in

And waking up in the light

To go for a run in the crisp morning air.

Unrestricted by a to-do list,

Ready to be spontaneous

During this first day of spring break.

Adventure awaits,

Yet relaxation beckons…

slice-of-life

I am participating in the Slice of Life challenge to write and publish a post each day in March.   Thanks to Two Writing Teachers for creating a place for writers to share their work all month long and hosting the March Slice of Life Story Challenge!

To-do list

Workday today —
What should I do first?
Clean,
sort,
sift through piles?
Meet with teachers
to plan the next quarter?

Bouncing from
task to task —
trying to stay focused
but
failing miserably.

Time ticks by…
Grade,
print,
file,
check email,
chat with teachers,
anticipate break.

Not worried about Monday
because on Monday,
I can sleep in!

The work will get done.
Eventually.

Happy Spring Break!

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slice-of-life

I am participating in the Slice of Life challenge to write and publish a post each day in March.   Thanks to Two Writing Teachers for creating a place for writers to share their work all month long and hosting the March Slice of Life Story Challenge!

A different light

Inspired by my teaching partner’s slice about the talent show today.

This afternoon, the day before spring break, was our annual school talent show.  This is its fifth year in existence, and only fourth and fifth graders can audition.  There were 19 acts this year, ranging from Rubik’s cube solving to fencing to student-choreographed dances to musical performances.

Every year, students await the spring tryouts in anxious anticipation.  Since I looped up to fourth grade this year, I had students audition.  Four of my students made the cut, and they’ve been busily (and nervously) preparing for over two months.

As we waited in our school gymnasium for the acts to begin, I could see the rest of my students craning their necks, trying to spot the performers.  Everyone settled down, and our music teacher announced the first performance: a choreographed parkour routine.  Three of my boys were in it, and as they took the stage, I could see their nerves.  I hoped they would do well.

And then the music started.  The boys started moving.  Jumping, flipping, somersaulting, rolling, running.  With each move they made, the crowd cheered.  Confidence started to bloom on their faces.  The flips got a little higher, the rolls a little bolder, the jumps a little longer.  As they continued to move and turn, the music gaining in intensity, smiles grew.  Each new move seemed more daring than the last.

I sat there in my seat watching these boys, and I felt so proud.  One of the boys is not someone who loves school.  He has grown so much as a learner the past two years and gets excited about certain parts of our day, but there are many aspects of school where he doesn’t feel capable.  To watch him on the stage, his focus obvious even from the back of the gym, was to watch his anxiety fall away and confidence take its place.  It was like seeing him in a totally different light.

I need to look for these opportunities for students to be in a different light.

A light of confidence.  A light of capability.  A light of hope.

slice-of-life

I am participating in the Slice of Life challenge to write and publish a post each day in March.   Thanks to Two Writing Teachers for creating a place for writers to share their work all month long and hosting the March Slice of Life Story Challenge!

 

Field trip exhaustion

Today, we went on a field trip.   A walking field trip, to be exact.  The Math & Science Center in town just moved to a new (and much, much better) location, which is within walking distance of my school.

The visit itself was amazing.  We all had tons of fun exploring and learning about science.  It was the walk that was exhausting.  And I don’t mean physical exhaustion.  Exhaustion that stems from getting 52 third- and fourth-graders to walk over a mile to the center and over a mile back.  Exhaustion that comes from simultaneously sounding like a cheerleader and a drill sergeant.  Exhaustion that comes from having a time deadline on either end, getting there and coming back, and watching the minutes pass as we hurried down the sidewalk.

However, there was also a lot of reward that accompanied the exhaustion.  The reward of being outside walking in the sunshine for over an hour.  The reward of helping kids work through the engineering design process to create a contraption to launch a ball of tape.  The reward of exploring the world of science with my students.

All in all, it was an exhausting day.

But it was definitely a rewarding one as well.

slice-of-life

I am participating in the Slice of Life challenge to write and publish a post each day in March.   Thanks to Two Writing Teachers for creating a place for writers to share their work all month long and hosting the March Slice of Life Story Challenge!

Reflect

Last year, my OLW was “Reflect.”  When I selected it, my rationale was that it helps me to look back to move forward.  Yesterday, my students reflected at the end of our nonfiction reading and research unit.  As I read through their reflections, I realized how much better I, and my students, have gotten at reflecting.  It’s become more natural, more instinctive.

This one made me smile.

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Even though my OLW isn’t “Reflect” this year, it has made an impact.

Looking back to move forward.

slice-of-life

I am participating in the Slice of Life challenge to write and publish a post each day in March.   Thanks to Two Writing Teachers for creating a place for writers to share their work all month long and hosting the March Slice of Life Story Challenge!

 

My Life as a Reader

This morning, I saw a blogger write a list of 11 things about her life as a reader for the Slice of Life.  I’ve never read Amy Krouse Rosenthal’s The Book of Eleven, but it’s now on my to-be-read list!

Inspired by that slice, here are 11 things about me as a reader:

  1. I was the kid who read by the nightlight at night.  When I was five or six, I would pull up my little plastic chair next to my ceramic angel nightlight and hunch close to the pages, hoping my parents didn’t walk in and catch me.  When I got older, I strategically plugged my nightlight into the outlet next to my bed so I could read while snuggled under the covers.  Though I frequently got in trouble from my parents and had books taken away from me, now we laugh about it and blame those late nights for my bad eyesight.
  2. I am an avid series reader.  Once I begin a series, I have to follow it through to completion.  From Little House on the Prairie to The Boxcar Children to the Thoroughbred series, I loved series as a child.  Today, I love Margaret Peterson Haddix‘s fantasy series and anything by Karen Kingsbury.
  3. My favorite form of nonfiction is biography.  I just finished Vincent and Theo and The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.  I also love reading picture book biographies with my students!
  4. Historical fiction is my all-time favorite genre.  Books related to World War II are ones I tend to gravitate towards, but I also just read Refugee, which was an incredible text about several different periods in history.
  5. My least favorite genre is fantasy that involves animals or creatures of some sort.  I enjoy many different dystopian-type books, but not so much the talking animal or dragon variety.
  6. I love checking out books at the public library.  Lately, I’ve been putting so many books on hold that my arms are full before I even get into the bookshelves!
  7. My Amazon purchases mostly consist of books.  Professional texts, books for my classroom, books for me…I love seeing the Amazon Prime box arrive on my doorstep.  But as much as I love the convenience of Amazon, I LOVE visiting bookstores.  Whenever I travel, I try to find a small (or large) bookstore.  Who needs other sightseeing opportunities when you can peruse the shelves and then curl up to preview a new book?
  8. I enjoy audiobooks while I run or drive.  On long runs, music doesn’t keep my mind occupied the way that a well-written story does.
  9. Typically, I go to the juvenile fiction section and find the new books there before I read books written for adults.
  10. I love reading with a pen in hand (if the book is my own) so that I can star or bracket powerful sections to revisit later.  Sometimes I even dog-ear the corner of the page if it’s a quote I know I want to re-read.
  11. Even through college when I had stacks of reading to do each night (English literature minor = tons of reading), I had to read “for fun” before bed.  No matter how late it is, I have to read at least a chapter or two before I’m ready to fall asleep.

slice-of-life

I am participating in the Slice of Life challenge to write and publish a post each day in March.   Thanks to Two Writing Teachers for creating a place for writers to share their work all month long and hosting the March Slice of Life Story Challenge!

Colorado springtime

This morning, I woke up to the sound of wind outside my window.  Yesterday had been sunny and almost sixty degrees, but it was supposed to get colder today.

On my run, it was alternately sunny and cloudy, with wind gusts against me, making me squint and wish I had my sunglasses to block the wind.

An hour later, I looked out the window at church and, to my surprise, saw large snowflakes swirling around, buffeted by the blowing wind.

And by mid-afternoon, it was sunny again, albeit a bit chilly.

Welcome to Colorado in the springtime!  Sun, wind, clouds, snow, and everything in between.

slice-of-life

I am participating in the Slice of Life challenge to write and publish a post each day in March.   Thanks to Two Writing Teachers for creating a place for writers to share their work all month long and hosting the March Slice of Life Story Challenge!

 

 

 

Authentic conversations

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I love reading biographies with my students.  Every year, it’s one of my favorite units for read-aloud.  This year, since I looped with my students, I had to find some new ones.  And the conversations that have stemmed from these texts have been incredible.  The connections and insights are amazing to hear.  The compassion that arises as they learn about injustice in the world gives me hope for our future.

“I can’t believe people thought men were better than women!”

“Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King, Jr. are really similar.  They both fought for peace and equality and were so brave.”

“Even if you’re locked up [like Zeni], you can make something beautiful.”

“Stay strong and never lose hope.”

I have a stack of texts I’d still like to read before the year is over.  Every text inspires and emboldens students to be better people.  The question is: Which text will be next?

slice-of-life

I am participating in the Slice of Life challenge to write and publish a post each day in March.   Thanks to Two Writing Teachers for creating a place for writers to share their work all month long and hosting the March Slice of Life Story Challenge!

 

Small snippets of beauty

The full moon presiding over the barely-lit sky.

Clouds tinged with pink and orange beckoning me into Friday.

The smell of coffee brewing, perfect for a Friday morning.

Fresh strawberries that burst in my mouth, reminding me of summer.

Tulips poking up through the rich soil, ready for springtime.

Smiling faces of students coming before school to slice.

 

Recognize moments of beauty.  Relish each one.

Happy Friday!

slice-of-life

I am participating in the Slice of Life challenge to write and publish a post each day in March.   Thanks to Two Writing Teachers for creating a place for writers to share their work all month long and hosting the March Slice of Life Story Challenge!