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7/5/15

My Final Blog Post

I wrote my first blog post four years ago. I was going back into teaching primary kids after years of working at non profits and middle school ELA. I didn't know much about blogging. I read other people's blogs and copied them or followed along.

After the first year, I realized how online communities work. I noticed that the more I commented on blogs, the more I gained followers and commenters. I asked a blogger friend to create a blog format that was recognizable and true to who I am. Thanks to Barbara Leyne, I've had a blog that is instantly noticed and loved. She and I have become friends who hope to meet in real life for sure.

Throughout my four years of blogging, I've met a few of my online friends in real life. I've also learned massive amounts about education, technology, poetry, books, and writing from every person who takes the time to blog and share what they know online.

Some of my favorite posts

Some of my favorite bloggers

I have loved blogging. I've been changed by blogging and by the many connections I have made, but I know it is time for me to move on from this blog. I want to write more and get paid for it. I am hoping to use my new learning to help me create a life for myself I've only dreamed of.

So thank you all. I hope you know how much you've meant to me. I hope I'll follow you through google plus and blog hopping. I know you'll be in my heart and my mind forever.

7/3/15

Poetry Friday: The Trip


It's 58 degrees.
Our sweatshirts 
hug us close.
The sun peeks through
the clouds.
We have sandwiches and towels
in our backpacks.
My son hops around looking 
for the mailboat.
We're going to spend all day
on Little Cranberry Island.
Where the rocks are round
and time has stopped.
Where we can eat our lunch
at eleven and study tide pools
at eleven fifteen.
My eye catches my daughter's
and we smile 
as we step on the boat.

6/30/15

Big Decisions

I'm approaching a shift, a change. I have seen the signs before. I know myself well.

I am starting to feel more like a writer and less like a teacher. I love teaching and I always will. I especially love teaching writing because it is so cathartic and self-building. More and more , I find myself wanting to stick to Memes as a way to practice writing on my blog. On Tuesday it's SOL, on Friday it's Poetry, on Saturday I celebrate, and on Sunday I think of new ways to foster technology creation. That's four solid days a week.

I used to write about what I was teaching. I used to blog about how you could do what I was doing. The teachers I used to follow all began to make things on Teachers Pay Teachers, but I didn't want to do that. I don't like to laminate or create games. I think it's easier to keep my room simple than decorative.

The shift I'm making is subtle. Yes, I'm writing more, but I'm also telling people I'm a writer more than I tell them I'm a second grade teacher. I'm not sure what that means. One thing I've been thinking about is starting a different blog this year for my students to follow what I'm reading and what I think about each book. I'm also thinking of giving this blog a break. Just to see if I miss it. It's been four years. A blog is unlike a journal in that it never ends, the pages don't run out. You can't put it in your closet and bring it out when you are nostalgic. It looks so sad when someone doesn't write on their blog--like those days are gone.

I must give it some more thought.
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It's Tuesday, so I'm writing alongside Two Writing Teachers for Slice of Life.

6/28/15

DigiLit Sunday: Nutshell

Today I'm joining DigiLit Sunday with Margaret Simon, but I can't figure out how to embed my Nutshell video. It is easy to share on a Social Media site but apparently they don't want you to make videos and keep them. I used the Nutshell app to create a video about the books that I've been reading  by Deborah Wiles. I am falling in love with her with each book. She must be kind and funny, I think, to have been able to write such kindness and humor that is completely character driven. She never tells her readers what to think, she shows them who her characters are and it's powerful. I can't wait to get to the library tomorrow to get the first of her 60's trilogy.

I think kids would love the opportunity to create videos from three pictures for an author study.




6/27/15

Celebrate

Today I am celebrating my marriage. It is my anniversary. Dick and I were married in an 18th century house in Southern Maine. I walked down the stairs where he was waiting by a huge stone hearth. My father walked me down too quickly and I had to remind him that I would only be doing this once in my life and I would like to slow it down a bit. We wrote our own vows together.
With this ring, I give you my promise that from this day forward you shall not walk alone. May my heart be your shelter and my arms be your home. May you always be blessed. May we walk together through all things. May you feel deeply loved, for indeed you are.  With this ring, I give you my heart. I have no greater gift to give. I promise I shall do my best. I shall always try. I feel so honored to call you husband. I feel so blessed to call you mine. I am so very thankful. May we feel this joy forever.
We both choked up and cried all the way through our vows. That "I have no greater gift to give" line was a good one. This has been a good week for love. 


6/26/15

A Sea of Regret

I'm a bit long winded today, but there is a poem at the bottom. :-)

Because of the way I'm wired or because of how I operate (I'm not sure which--maybe both), a great deal of opportunity comes my way. My typical response when I achieve exactly what I've been going after is to accept and then shortly thereafter call them to tell them I've decided to do something different. I've thought about why I do this and can only come up with fear.

When I lived in Houston Texas, I taught at a lovely Episcopal school called St Francis. I was the 8th grade Dean and I taught 8th grade English and 6th grade Humanities. It was a great job, but I was lonely in Texas. I didn't connect with people the way I had in the Northeast. So when my twin brother suggested I move to LA to be nearer to my family who had relocated to California one by one while I was in college, it seemed like a good idea. I applied for a position at a great school called Oakwood. Part of the interview was to teach a class of 4th graders. My lesson was about the Blues. I played BB King, and Etta James, and Dr John. I handed out lyrics. I talked about how people who are sad or thinking about big topics write the Blues. Then I had them write their own. A team of 8 adults sat in the back of the room observing. One little guy couldn't write fast enough and when I asked for shares, he raised his hand stood and spilled out a sad story of what clearly was his life. I got the job. Apparently that little boy was selectively mute because of a trauma. They had never seen him do any work, nor speak for the entire year. Within a week, I emailed them to say I'd decided to stay in Houston. The thought of figuring out a new life in California seemed overwhelming. My twin brother was devastated.

The next year I met an amazing guy who was the Head of School at Lancaster Country Day in Pennsylvania. He had a 9th grade position open. My dream has always been to teach high school English. He flew me out there and I interviewed. I think they didn't think I was qualified enough as they had top candidates who had majored in English from Yale and Princeton. As we were walking out of the building I started telling the woman interviewing me about a book I was reading called The Archivist. It tells a story alongside the true story of TS Elliott. In it there is a poignant scene where a 60ish year old man holds the frail wrist of an 18 year old girl. It is much much sexier than any sex scene I had ever read. My discussion of this book turned the tide. They felt I would inspire 9th graders to love to read. I got the job and two weeks later, I called to say I'd changed my mind.

Occasionally I lie in bed thinking about the things I may have gained had I kept my promises to those schools. I don't know how my life would have been changed--I'll never know.

I leave you with a part of TS Elliott's The Love Song of Alfred J Prufrock
http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/poem/173476
And indeed there will be time 
To wonder, “Do I dare?” and, “Do I dare?” 
Time to turn back and descend the stair, 
With a bald spot in the middle of my hair — 
(They will say: “How his hair is growing thin!”) 
My morning coat, my collar mounting firmly to the chin, 
My necktie rich and modest, but asserted by a simple pin — 
(They will say: “But how his arms and legs are thin!”) 
Do I dare 
Disturb the universe? 
In a minute there is time 
For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse. 

6/23/15

Racism is Not Dead

It's Tuesday and so I am writing alongside Two Writing Teachers with my
I'm finding it hard not to think about those lovely nine people in Charleston who just wanted to be a part of their community. We are told that if we do the right thing, good things will happen. I want to believe that is true, but I see so many contradictions. I do good work every day. I try hard to do good things. I think about my students, my family, my community and what they need. I try to help where I can. I work hard to remember things people tell me. Today I remembered that one of my sitters told me she is going for her license tomorrow. So I make it a point to send her a good luck text. All this to say that I go the distance in this life. After reading about each of the nine people senselessly gunned down at their sweet church, I can say they went the distance as well.

A part of what I teach in second grade is Civil Rights. I read lots of amazing books. My students are outraged when I tell them what it "used" to be like. In Maine we don't experience a whole lot of current racism because quite frankly there aren't a whole lot of different races living around here. It is this "used" to be like part which saddens me most. It's not over. If it were over, we wouldn't be hearing about these atrocities still. 

I don't know what will happen as we move forward, but I do know that when I read to my students and my own children I spread the knowledge that racism is never okay. If I show over and over again that people are the same regardless of circumstance, color of skin, and religious conviction, I hope they will be different. I hope they will believe. Here are some books that are worth checking out of the library and reading to yourself and anyone else who will listen.