Tuesday, October 18, 2016

My Megan Mum

Thank you Two Writing Teachers for creating this space for me to share my corner of the world.

I love fall.  I love every single thing about it.  

The sweater weather, 
the pumpkin spice, 
the sound of crunching leaves, 
the first fire,
the color palette.

But there is one thing that doesn't love me - mums.  Have you ever tried to grow mums?  For me, it is not easy.  Yes, I have them sitting in pots on my porch, and many times I have tried to plant them in the ground in hopes that I could enjoy them the following year.  But in most of my efforts, I have not been successful.

When I was pregnant with my son 20 years ago, my mother-in-law bought my daughter, Megan, a flower.  It was a mum, a "Megan" mum. (Yes! That really is its name!)

Knowing my luck with planting mums, I decided to plant it NOT in the landscape by the house, but down in a place that we call the point, just in case it didn't make it.  I have wild Black-eyed Susan's and monkey grass planted there.  It is an intentional place that doesn't need much maintenance.  

Well, that little Megan mum has come back year after year after year...

for 20 years.  

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Why I Stopped Reading Ms. Bixby...For Now

Ms. Bixby's Last Day has been a book of false starts for me.  

According to Goodreads, I started this book on September 3rd, and it is now October 16th.  I would read a few chapters, and then another book would find its way on a higher rung of the To-Be-Read ladder, leaving Ms. Bixby back on the nightstand.

I had read the reviews from other teachers, and I knew this was my kind of book - heart fiction, the books I devour.  I even learned the author was from my home state of Indiana.

But the book still sat on the nightstand...until last night.

I decided to give it another try, and this time, I could not put it down.

I read to page 232.  

And I stopped.  

And I cried.

"We all have moments when we think nobody really sees us.  When we feel like we have to act out or be somebody else just to get noticed.  But somebody notices, Topher.  Somebody sees.  Somebody out there thinks you are the greatest thing in the whole world.  Don't ever think you're not good enough."

I fear how this book is going to end.  And a part of me doesn't want it to end.  But I stopped because I want to be Ms. Bixby.  I want to be one of the good ones.

I thought about those students who sit in my classroom day after day and feel unnoticed or act out in order to "be seen."  I want to see them, really see them, maybe for the very first time.  In my mind I went through the roster of former students, and I saw Steve and Topher and Brand looking back at me.  I want to think I made a difference, but I aways question, "Was it enough?"

My heart has been altered by reading this book, which is one of the reasons why I read.  I have always believed in the power of relationships.  When I read a book about a teacher like Ms. Bixby, it reminds me of why I became a teacher in the first place... 

and all that I aspire to be.

Thank you John David Anderson.  

Friday, October 14, 2016

Change - Celebration #21

Each week Ruth Ayres extends an invitation to share and celebrate events, big or small, from our week.

Change brings celebrations.

Our first grading period ended.  We get to take a few steps back to reflect and refocus so that we can take steps forward.  Any time we we get to start again, whether it is the changing of a new day, a new week, a new season, it is a celebration.

Fall poked its head out this week.  Temperatures dropped, delighting us with a slight chill in the air.  Color kissed the edges of the tree lines, leaving behind its lipstick stain among the green. But fall is such a tease, because warmer temperatures are returning later this week.

I am working on a one day workshop that I will be presenting in January.  It focuses on teachers as writers and the impact on instruction in grades 3-6.  Because all of you are writers, you understand why we write.  But many teachers do not.  They are not comfortable teaching writing or feel they are not effective writing teachers.  My hope is that this workshop will give them the confidence to become a better teacher of writing through experiencing the process of writing, building their own community of writers, and understanding how this will impact their students' learning.  I have a lot of work to do, but I am celebrating.

And celebrations bring about change.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Passion - Celebrate #20

Each week Ruth Ayres extends an invitation to share and celebrate events, big or small, from our week.

Today I celebrate passion.  

The subject of a Twitter chat this week was creating literacy communities.  This topic just happens to be my favorite to talk about.  I guess you could call it a passion of mine.

Passion is like kindling.  It sparks an idea into action.  It flames the fire of action into a movement.  And the results of a movement can be life altering.

I think about those teachers who have shared their passion with me.  When we share our own passion, we build passion within others.  When we fan those flames, potential for a wildfire exists.  When we don't, we are left only with small sticks in our hands.

I love to share my passion for literacy with others, especially when I never know how it might be that spark for another teacher.

This week I received this message from a friend who is a curriculum direction in a county school.  She has a friend who is a teacher in other part of the state.  

Little did I know this teacher was watching my tweets and following my passion.

I shared this tweet again this week during the chat. I have shared this many times before, and I even said I am sure teachers are tired of seeing my door!

But this tweet got 15 retweets and 55 likes, more than any other time I have tweeted it.  

It's NOT about sharing my door; it is about sharing my passion.  And for me, that never gets old.

I love this quote about purpose and passion.  I know Ruth is trying to finish her book and share her passion for writing and story with others.  Her work builds my passion.  

And we must continue to do the same for others.