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.

June 26, 2012

Keeping busy

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Two Writing Teachers

Whew!  I think I need a vacation from my summer vacation!

I've been a crazy cleaning machine this summer:

  1. Open closet.  
  2. Purge.  
  3. Organize (sort of...)
  4. Put some stuff back.  
  5. Repeat.

It helps that my youngest, who likes to keep things, is at summer school and poms camp for most of the day.  She came home to a leaner closet the other day.  Too bad my oldest wants to deal with her own stuff, on her own time.  (She is our most organized family member)

I haven't called many friends to get together because I've been too busy trying to dig out my house from the school year.  Of course, the office and the bookshelf haven't been touched.  I think I have selective procrastination!

When will I run out of steam?  I'm not sure.  I wish I could handle some of the things on my husband's honey-do list, but I think he's a much more capable carpenter.  I still have to leave him a few things. (Sorry, Jeff!)

How many weeks of summer left?  I'm sure I won't run out of projects!

June 19, 2012

Book love!

I went to the library today.  HOORAY!  It was a cool respite from the oppressive heat in Illinois today.  I had placed a book on hold and was hoping it was still on the reserve shelf, but it wasn't.  I raced back to the juvenile section and checked the shelf.
Not there.
I checked the computer.  "Being held for someone" was the status.
Back to the reserve department to interrupt the lady at the desk.
"I was 10 minutes from putting this book back into circulation. It's your lucky day!"
(Really, I have transportation and a library card - it's always my lucky day!)

The book I was lucky to get is See You at Harry's by Jo Knowles.

How do I describe this story?  It's realistic fiction, at it's best.  You believe that the characters could be the family that lives next door.  The emotions are raw, the experiences believable. The dialogue carries you quickly through the book.

I didn't want to rush through this book, but I had to finish it today.  I couldn't find a good stopping point. I had to keep reading.  I tried to choose my favorite character (Ran? Fern?  Holden?), but I couldn't.  I understood and could relate to them all.  

It's hard to describe what the story is about without giving away too much, but Holden is dealing with starting high school and fitting in, Fern is stuck watching her little brother on top of middle school woes.  Their family runs a restaurant and deals with stress on a daily basis.  You'll feel like you're part of the family as you read.

Don't miss this book!

June 15, 2012


I spend summer in a bit of chaotic state - no rigid schedule most days.  I do relish the hours to do what I need to do, but more importantly, I can choose what I want to do.  This year, I've agreed to walk with my neighbor Cindy each morning after the kids head off to summer school.  We've walked three days straight, for nearly an hour each time. 
Do our legs hurt?  A little.  Do we count the miles?  Nah. 
Do we talk and laugh WAY too much?  Yes!
I told Cindy the second morning, "What if we run out of things to talk about?"
She replied, "Not possible!"

Chatting makes the exercise easier.  No subject is off limits.  I wonder what some of the neighbors think when they hear snippets of our convos as we walk past their open windows!
Will our walking streak last all summer?  Who will be the first to stay on the couch?  
(Probably me, but we won't judge!)

Stay tuned!

June 12, 2012

Summer Plans

Since my girls are teenagers, my time commitment as "cruise director" is dwindling.  This leaves me with LOTS of time over the summer to do things that I enjoy (and/or need to do).

Here's my list of summer plans:

  • Inspire my teens to read each day - this may have to include bribery or threats ("If you want to keep your pool pass, you'll put text in front of your face!") but I hope to keep it positive!
  • Ride my bike if I need to run an errand or visit the library.  I got a new bike and a cool bag that connects to the side (fancy!).
  • Try to limit my trips to the kitchen! (I'm a snacker!)
  • Read The CAFE book by the Two Sisters, cover to cover, and make some written plans to implement CAFE strategy mini lessons for my 4th and 5th grade small groups this fall.
  • Participate in the #cyberpd book club hosted by Cathy, Jill and Laura.  I always come away with great knowledge from the book we read (this year:  Opening Minds by Peter Johnston) and our great discussions
  • Read LOTS of  books for the #bookaday and #summerthrowdown challenges, and post what I read on Goodreads and Twitter, and (hopefully) this blog!!
  • Organize the paperwork stuffed in the drawer and the pictures in my coffee table...maybe!
  • Enjoy time with my family and friends, without the stress of heading to work each day!!!!

June 5, 2012

"I'll Miss You!"

Today I quipped to our kindergarten assistant, "I must be wearing a shirt that says HUG ME!"  I couldn't make it two steps into the hallway, as the kindergarten groups passed by on their way to fine arts and gym, without getting at least 5 hugs.

I signed over 50 yearbooks during our 5th grade softball game, and I heard many times, "I'll miss you this summer."

As one of the first graders left school today, she asked if she could give me a hug.  Usually she's very preoccupied with everyone else, but today she wanted to let me know, "I don't know what I'll do this summer when I can't see you."


I only work directly with 25 students during a year.  Of course, I'm pretty talkative and I know many of our 400 students by name.  The students who needed to give and receive hugs weren't any students I work with on a daily basis.

I think it's sinking in for our students that they are leaving our warm, caring environment.  They won't have teachers to talk with.  Some won't see their friends very often (or at all).  A few know they will be at home with their siblings, inside until a parent returns from work.


I'm all about enjoying a lengthy summer vacation (I need to recharge!), but for many of the students at our school, that means a disconnection from people who care about them; a change in their routine; a really quiet stretch of boring days.

My friends tease me about my "seasonal job."  I tell them that it's time we rethink the calendar and find a way to keep kids learning and engaged year-round.  Not everyone has the means or the time to head to the zoo, lay on a beach or dine out during the summer.

I'll miss the students, too.