My classroom is not a quiet, orderly place.
Students are constantly moving, thinking, talking, reading and writing.
I do my best to help my students find success.

November 10, 2015

Finding the groove #SOL15

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Two Writing Teachers
It's November.  Time for the air to get chilly, the sun to set early, and my head to 

Now don't get me wrong, my head exploding can be a good thing, a bad thing, or a bit of both.

It's the feeling of wanting to jump on EVERY SINGLE good idea I hear and wanting to be part of

all the cooooool


                                       and new books

                                                         and shared reading experiences 

                                            in classrooms around my building.

But, I have my own programs and students and testing and reading and learning to do as well.


It's a good problem to have.  

In other news....

I'm finally finding my groove.  I've got a mess of data and notes that need to be organized
 (same mess, new school!)
 I have a rhythm to my day.
(and there's a few minutes for a bathroom break!)
My students are gems
and my coworkers have accepted me into the tribe.

It's November. Time to make sure we all take care of ourselves, soak up ALL the sunshine we can, 
and take time to smell the Mr. Sketch markers.

October 27, 2015

Morning Effort #SOL15

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Two Writing Teachers
I'm really excited to be working in a new school this year.

I'm really exhausted since I'm working in a new school this year.

I'm back in the reading support game, but lots of new materials, procedures, people and spaces.

Today I slid out of my car, feeling every day of my forty-six years.  The humidity, cold air and dark morning did nothing to make me feel better.  I reallllyyyyy didn't want to get out of bed this morning.
I left my bags in the car and slowwwly walked over to my colleagues at the car line.

"Hello, pumpkin!"  called Michelle L.

"On the struggle bus today, Chris?" teased Michelle Z.  (She knows I tend to drive the struggle bus!)

I whined a little lot and considered getting back in my car.  MZ offered to tell the office I was going home sick.  ML encouraged me to do what I needed for me.

I decided to stay.

What changed my mind?  My 3rd graders.  They are my final two groups of the day, yet they come each day (mostly) without whining or complaining.  They are eager to have their reading time, write with pens! and leave with a pile of books each day.  If they could have stamina, so could I.

(D does ask every few minutes, "Is it 5:00 yet?"  He knows he is released from small group at 2:25, so we need to work on his clock-reading skills, hee, hee) 

I welcomed a bunch of kiddos to school, went back to my car for my bags, and I walked in with a kindergarten student who was dragging tail (and his Alvin backpack).

"I'm glad you came to school today," I told him.

"You, too," he said.

October 6, 2015

Push and pull #SOL

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I've had some interesting conversations with fellow parents of teenagers, especially those in their senior year of high school.  We've decided that we may be the WORST parents in the WORLD, but then again, maybe it's just the stress as we consider that our children are graduating.  In a few months.  Oh. No....

We've talked about the stress the kids are under:
peer pressure,
social media,


I don't envy any of these kids.

Some of the kids are "push" kids... these kids just need a little push to get their motors started and rolling down the right path.  Other kids (like some of this year's seniors) are "pull" kids.  The kids who we have pullllllled through homework and social skills and making good choices and helping them develop their lacking executive functioning skills.

Ugh.  I'm tired.

It's time, fellow parents of HS seniors.  Let us release the ropes of parenting (or in my case, cut the enabling cord) and let our kids FALL.  We've done it before.  Remember when they were learning to toddle around the house?  We let them!  We were there to pick them up, kiss the scrapes and help them move on.  We can do it again.  Really.

Well, we can at least try.

We can be there for each other when the stress gets to be too much.  We may even laugh about this school year one day, MANY years from now.

It's time to let them figure it out and find out what they are made of.

They can do it.  So can we.

September 1, 2015

Giddy about Gardening #SOL

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C'mon.. you can do it!
One day in June the family piled into the car and went to Home Depot.  We usually don't shop the home improvement stores as a unit, so we must have decided to randomly stop after a meal out.

As we wandered the store, we came upon the seed rack in the garden section.  We started looking at seeds.  "It's too late," my husband warned, "but you should see what will grow in the back yard."

Ah, the backyard.  Our neighbors installed a stone retaining wall two summers ago.  We have not decided what to plant at the foot of the wall on our side, so we've just been mulching the area.  

Hmmm - could this be a place for a garden?  

We decided on the spot that we would plant seeds in our new garden.  My husband picked cilantro and peppers (he loves pico de gallo), I picked carrots, and the girls chose watermelon, cantaloupe and spinach.

That day the seeds went into the ground.  Weeks later the sprouts came up.  Then flowers... and ... you get the picture.  We were actually growing a GARDEN!  We added a tomato plant and jalapeno pepper plant.  (Jeff really wanted to make pico!)

We've been pretty good about taking care of these little plants.  I've been completely mesmerized as I've watched tiny seeds grow into seedlings, sprouts, plants, flowers and now FRUITS and VEGETABLES (thank you, first grade science curriculum, for the inspiration and vocabulary).

Will we ever get to eat a juicy watermelon this year?  Doubtful.  I don't even think the cantaloupe will get past the flowering stage.  We have enjoyed tiny carrots, lots of cilantro, and some spinach.  We may try fried green tomatoes, and I'll have to find out how the peppers grew... I don't eat jalapenos!  I can't wait to plan what we are planting NEXT year!

Tomato plant





August 25, 2015

"That's the Lady!" #SOL

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Today was day five of school, and I've been in lots more classes, and assessing more students.  I'm quick to smile and wave at kids in the hallway, and when I quietly slide into classrooms, I have many kids volunteering to read with me.  (How awesome is that!?!?)

I'm also one of the people who works the morning car line.  With four of us directing traffic and receiving kids, it's getting easier each day.  It's fun to treat kids like celebrities as they arrive at school.  I make sure to have a smile, help little ones exit the car, and wish their parents a great day.

Today as I walked past some primary kiddos, one girl pointed at me and called out to her classmates, "That's the lady!"

"Who me?" I replied.

"That's the lady who took me out of my car today!" she told her friends.

"Did I do a good job?" I asked her, with a sheepish smile.

"Uh huh!" was the answer.

Day.  Made.

August 22, 2015

Connections. Passion. It's all good.

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After six days of new teacher orientation, staff meetings, unpacking boxes and learning names, I was READY to welcome students to school this week.  I joined the Car Line Crew in the mornings, and I have the opportunity to greet students as they arrive at school.  I joked that I felt like I was a footman at a gala event with a red carpet!  I grab a door handle and out pops a celebrity student who has been delivered for a day full of learning.  

My new school services preK four-year-olds through fourth graders, so the kids are adorable and excited to be at school.  They are lined up very early each morning.  The students and staff have such connections to each other - it's really a big family.   At the end of this week I received two hugs from kids passing by me as I sat in the hallway assessing other students.  They had just met me!

(Side note - I have been smiling so much that my face hurts!  I feel like Dug from "Up")


All of the staff - returning, veteran, new and seasoned - have a passion for teaching, a driving force to help our students succeed, and a helpful attitude.  Everyone has been patient and good listeners as I tell them my goals and my background.  Even though they may not be excited about some assessment or instructional directives, they are keeping the students in mind.  It shows!

It's all good.

To take a quote from Pete the Cat, it's all good.  Students are wondering who I am, but they are quick to return a smile.  I've walked the wrong way to my classroom and passed one room twice trying to find a teacher.  I am trying to be respectful when making suggestions, realizing that the way I've done assessment, grouping and data mining may not be the only way.  I'm working extra hard to keep my former students and colleagues in my heart and off my mind, but I feel their encouragement.  I can do this.

August 4, 2015

New beginnings #SOL15

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I made a decision this winter to pursue a reading position.  To get back to my passion, and to work as a resource teacher again.  I started sending out resumes and writing essays, and I started to feel lighter and excited.

I went on a good amount of interviews.  While I was nervous, I also felt content.  I love to talk about books and reading.  I feel confident about working with teachers to help grow their craft.  I know in my heart that a resource room is my comfort zone.

Then I was offered a job.  I agreed to work at a school far from my other district.  Away from my friends and students who I've worked with for twelve years.

How am I feeling?  A mix of excitement and nervousness.  I have a million questions and thousands of ideas.  I'm sorting my books and making notes and getting excited.

I've got my friends, Michelle and Karen on Voxer, so I'll have my literacy support system at my fingertips.  I also have my PLN on Twitter and all the slicers. (right!?)

I can't wait to get started this year!

From Crazypaperfreak