Sunday, December 30, 2007

Things I Know For Sure

As I read my Christmas cards this year, I saw a reoccurring theme: "I miss your Sunday Message". Yes, I stopped writing it. Yes, I began blogging--irregularly. Yes, I'm way too busy. I decided that I, too, missed my Sunday Message...and writing. I can't promise I will write weekly, but I can promise to write once in a while. Who know, maybe it will be better this way. For right now I want to write: Things I Know For Sure, thoughts to end 2007 with. The idea is from The Bonesetter's Daughter by Amy Tan. (A good read about mothers and daughters.)

1.I know for sure that I am in love with my husband. I know because after 25 years of marriage, I'd still rather spend time with him than anyone else. We have so much fun together and think alike about so many things. He really is my best friend.
2. I know for sure that I was born to be a teacher. There is no greater feeling than to see a child love to read or write after you've shown him/her about your love of books.
3. I know for sure that I will never get done reading all the books I've bought. I can't help it, I just keep buying them. Even when I went to buy Darrell a book as a gift, I had to buy one for me, too! That was my favorite gift for Christmas: Barnes and Noble gift cards!
4. I know for sure that I have a deep love for my pets. Why else would I drive my orange tabby cat to the vet once a week for blood tests? Or why would I massage my elderly golden retriever's back legs after a two-mile walk?
5. I know for sure that I have the best friends anyone could ask for. Vacation is so wonderful because I get to catch up over breakfast or lunch.
6. I know for sure that I am blessed with a loving family. From a sister to cousins, to an aunt far away, to a brave, smart son and wonderful stepchildren, to all eight grandchildren, how fortunate I am.
7. I know for sure that I am blessed also to be working with the brightest and smartest people in my profession. That includes my facilitator buddies, who are so willing to share their knowledge and encourage me daily. It includes the teachers I work with in the classrooms around the district who share their knowledge as easily as their students. It includes my All Write mentor friends who provide a network for not only teaching but life itself.
8. Finally, I know for sure that I have a Savior who loves me unconditionally. Without His guidance and direction, love and companionship, I would know nothing at all for sure!
Have a wonderful, blessed New Year 2008!!! Think about what you know for sure!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Seven Things About Me as a Reader

My friend, Jen, has tagged me for this meme. Here's what I think:
  1. I absolutely love reading...anything, any time, any where!
  2. I have several books going at the same time: professional and personal.
  3. Currently I am reading Love...the sequel to Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli, plus about 3 professional books.
  4. I bought my favorite read for my mother-in-law's Christmas present: Thousand Splendid Suns.
  5. The main thing I miss about not having my own classroom is the read alouds.
  6. I am a member of a great book club. It is made up of writing teachers and we can talk forever about our current book. Our last book? See #4
  7. My favorite saying: I spend my check on books, if there is any left we buy food and clothes!

There you have it. That was easy, since I read, read, read! I will tag Ruth and Lou Ann. Now, it's off to finish Love, Oh, yes, I keep a reader's notebook, too!!!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Can you spell that?

I promised you more stories. I will give you one. For the other one I was going to tell you, go to my friend Sarah's blog. The story I will tell here, is again about a kindergarten class. It was the same day that the Bradley story happened.

The kiddos were writing their stories. I had been circulating around the room. I stopped to work with Jessica. She is a tiny, blond cherub with expressive blue eyes. As she was putting her words to her story, she stopped and looked up at me.

"How do I spell we?" she asked.
"Can you find it on your word wall?" I asked her. She wasn't sure where to look.

Just then a little girl from the table behind her spoke up confidently. "I know how to spell it!" she announced.

"You do? Then go ahead and help Jessica," I encouraged her. She moved over to be close to Jessica and proceeded to give her all the help she could.

"Jessica, you spell it like this: w-i-i!"

Then the little girl moved on to her table. I guess the techological age is here!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

It is a Workshop After All!

It has been a long time since I blogged. Life happens! It happens in rushes, it seems. But now, I'm back. Sometimes in my teacher-life things go by fast, but nothing earth shattering, or so it seems. This last week was different. So many little moments leaped out at me. Once again I thought, I HAVE to write! So this is my message board, my outlet to the world, my space to express my inner-most feelings about kids, teachers, and adventures in their lives.
My favorite experience happened in a kindergarten class. I love those babies. They are so fresh. They expect nothing from you except your attention and honesty. They give so much...hugs, smiles, and whatever is in their pockets at the moment. On this day we were going to work on basic stories. They had been reading a lot, but not their own stories. It was time to begin that. It is December after all!
I gave my mini lesson on how they read and listen to books all the time. They have stories, too. Say, why not write them like the authors do. I shared my story and wrote it for them on one sheet of paper. Didn't want to overwhelm them after all. Then I sent them out to write.
They scurried off to their tables and passed around the paper. They grabbed their pencils and began to sketch (not draw) their pictures. I went from table to table conferencing with these new writers. They didn't hesitate to begin. They all had stories. Stories about their pets, about the snow that had recently fallen, Christmas trees that had been put up the night before. They were great stories and they were eager to tell them.
But then I came to Bradley's table. Bradley had used the Magic Word of Story: ONCE on his paper. Then he had designed his picture. It was three stick figures. Two were larger that the other one. The smaller of the three was in the middle. There was a line running between all three of them.
"Tell me your story, Bradley," I said. He looked up at me with big, brown eyes.
"Well, Once I took a walk with my grandma and my grandpa, " he told me. I complemented him and then he looked up at me again.
"I need another paper," he stated.
"Okay, what do you want it for?"
"I have to add another page." I told him to go get it and he scurried off to find the paper.
Soon he came back with two more sheets of paper and began writing. As I watched, he added two figures to the second page and then three like the first page to the last.
"Tell me your story, Bradley," I said, while smiling with a heart full of pride.
"Once I went for a walk with my grandma and my grandpa." He turned the page. "Then grandma was lost. See, right here? She's gone." He turned the page. "Then she came back and we all held hands." He looked up and smiled.
He wasn't finished though. He started to search the room. When his teacher and I questioned him, he told us he now had to find scissors and a strip of paper. Why? Well, his book had to have a binder, didn't it?
Naturally, I had Bradley share with the class his book! Guess what most of the kids were making the next day! That is what workshop is all albout!!!! I LOVE IT!
I promise to tell you my other stories tomorrow!