Saturday, February 28, 2015

Celebrations - February OLW Reflection

February has crept slowly by with several snow days and bitter cold temperatures. My OLW perspective was at the forefront, as I had to adjust my thinking several times both with the weather and in my classroom. My celebrations begin with the weather.
  • I'm celebrating an amazing and thoughtful husband who has driven me to work several times with a smile because he wanted to not because he had too.  
  • I love snow days, time to read, look out the windows at our beautiful backyard searching for the wild life. 
  • When I'm not driving in the snow, which isn't often, I love snow I really do.  Individual snowflakes, looking at all the different tracks around our property, beautiful cozy fires and the sun gleaming down on our frozen pond are all celebrations for me.
Celebrations continue with school.
  • My students completed the LA PARCC testing this week - wow they worked hard, used their time wisely and gave their absolute best effort! All I could ask for as their teacher.
  • I celebrate that I know I did not prepare them for a test. I continue to prepare them for loving books, building lifelong readers, exploring the idea of a writer's notebook and creating a community of learners each day.
  • Conversations with my colleagues. My writing group who picked me up and encouraged me to keep writing. 
  • Dublin Literacy Conference- the BEST ever! Wow the presenters were amazing, the conversations were fantastic and the chance to see my friends near and far is perfect.  
Finally I celebrate prayers, the chance everyday to say thank you and remind myself that I am not on this journey alone. All week in my bible reading, there's been a consistent message about God holding my right hand, and I definitely need that. Thanks to Ruth for encouraging us to celebrate and reminding me about my OLW as I read her blog posts. Here is the link up for this week .

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Slice of Life: The Choir Has Listened

Can you hear the choirs singing loudly, "Alleluia?" I sure can, and it's sounds beautiful.  Yesterday I spent most of the day "talking" to my class about their Just Right books (JR) through Kid Blog.  I've been struggling where to write my comments.  On the rubric or on their weekly reading reflection.  At about 1:15 yesterday, I somewhat screamed "Alleluia," no one was listening, but I am sure the angels in heaven joined me on a verse.

 I've been preaching for several weeks about how to write a reading reflection NOT a reading book report.  Through read aloud, I've been asking, "Did you hear how Andrew Clements repeated that line over and over?"  During poetry Friday, "Did you notice how the author chose her words to strongly state her opinion about segregation?"  During conferences, I inquire, "Did you try and make connections with another book you've read?"

Enter this amazing and yes very mature reading reflection, not only did she take my hint about switching genres late in the year, but she took every other lesson I had preached several times.  It's so exciting when all the choirs sing in one beautiful voice.  Thank you to Two Writing Teachers for hosting Slice of Life.  I always enjoy sharing and reading along with my fellow bloggers.  Happy slicing with a tune in your heart!!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

An Honest Perspective (OLW)

I'm in a quandary.  I am not sure if I should "Slice" or "Celebrate." What a pleasant problem to have. I'm not complaining actually I am thankful to finally have something to write about on my blog.  It's been an enigma lately too me.  Enter my OLW.

School, lesson planning, has been a challenge lately.  How lately? The past month. I try, honestly I do, I try to stay positive, but I haven't accomplished that lately. If not for several BES friends and thanks to another friend for your email "if you want to come to just hang out...maybe we can reboot your confidence."

I haven't found it, but I am feeling better just tonight.  As I have posted several times on Facebook, I am a huge fan of Ruth Ayres, Celebrations. Her words speak to me as well as her faith. Remembering to "love right through the hard."  

My OLW helps me and haunts me. It is constantly sitting on my shoulder like Jimmy Cricket, "How can you approach this with a better attitude?" I've been told my much smarter colleagues than myself to stick with what you know.  It's going to be a hard year - your first year in Common Core.  Remember it's about the students. Stay the course.  I almost have although there have been several tidal waves (more in math I must confess) but still I am used to smooth sailing or at least only a few waves.  

It's interesting where I found my peaceful perspective.  Reading and grading 23 narratives. Realizing the power, again, in strong mentor texts along with scaffold mini lessons and conferences. Oh my those conferences....but so worth it.  I am thankful for this moment in time I have found my perspective.  Who knows what will roll in with the tide tomorrow as I open the door to a new day?