Thursday, October 12, 2017

The Connections

When we read a picture book with social justice themes, we do a lot of talking about it.  This week, we talked about The Case for Loving, about the Supreme Court case of 1967 that ended the ban on interracial marriage in Virginia.  It's a good book. Before we started writing, I read over the list of connection writing topics that the Thirdlanders had jotted down on their partner chat sheet.  The majority wanted to write about weddings they've attended, but there were some other original topics offered like:

  • I love people, too.
  • Someone tried to stop me from doing what I want before.
  • I want to end racism.
  • Black lives matter.
We got out our notebooks, grabbed our snacks, turned down the lights and put on some quiet music.  As we started writing, a Thirdlander yelled out, "I'm changing my topic because I want to end racism too. I want to write about that." 
"Sounds good," I told him and we all got into gear.  I wrote as well. Not about anything fascinating---just some memories of adults telling me to stay away from certain kids when I was little.  A pleasant start to our day. I'm really liking this class.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

The Felines

 Let's backtrack to the weekend.  Exotic Feline Rescue Center. The home of the rescued Big Cats. My mom's in the golf cart with the guide.  Husbandman, D.A.D., Li'l Sister and I are walking along.  There's one young woman in the party with a long braid.  I don't know her name.  I think about introducing myself, but what would be the point really?

This braided gal loves the big cats.  She keeps getting off the trail to approach the fences to speak to the cats in a babyish voice.  I keep my eye on her the entire time, anticipating the use of Husbandman's belt as a tourniquet for her bloody stump of an arm. This really detracts from my big cat enjoyment.

During the tour, the guide shares horror stories about the cruelty of the circus and the stupidity of people who buy tiger cubs.  At the end, we are checking out a couple of servals when braidedGal says, "But why can't they be pets?  Why would it be bad?"

We are silent, until Li'l Sister takes over. "They spray all over your house.  Smell that?  You want your house to smell like that?"
Braidedgal asks, "But can their glands be removed somehow?"
Li'l Sister stares at BraidedGal for a hot second and says, "They're. not. pets.  Not Pets."  She shakes her head and glares at Braided Gal. The tour guide echoes Li'l Sister's words. "They're not pets,"  she mutters as she drives golf cart down the trail.

We leave BraidedGal and the Big Cats behind. As we drive home, BraidedGal is our main subject of conversation.  You can probably imagine some of the stuff we say about BraidedGal.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

More Favorite Frogs and some Fan Fiction

Ruth showed up unexpectedly with a 50 pound ham in a box.  It was cooked and cut in a spiral pattern. She was also grappling with a six pack of PibbXtra.
"That's a large ham," I said.  She told me it was a 50 pounder.  I said, "I didn't know hams could be that large." 
"The record is 180 pounds for a ham.  Look it up," she said in a combative tone I found unnecessary.
"PibbXtra?" I asked, changing the subject.  "Is that like Mr. Pibb?"
"Same drink, new name.  Can you move so I can come in please?"

Ruth walked into the kitchen to set down the 50 pounder and the Pibbs.  I wondered what to say because I didn't eat ham and I was pretty sure Ruth knew that.  She popped a Pibb and found her way to the livingroom, settling on the couch in front of the tv. I texted people I knew who might come over to eat ham on a whim. Within 20 minutes, people started arriving.  I created a macaroni salad while people collected around a Judge Judy episode I was sorry to be missing. 

All in all, it ended up being a pretty good last night of vacation.

Saturday, October 07, 2017

The Frogs

I took a bunch of great frog photos awhile ago.  I'm probably going to post all of them, bit by bit.  I'm on fall break.  My mom, dad, and sister are here.  Great times.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

The Cards

In Thirdland, I'm seen as someone with quite a bit of street cred when it comes to Pokemon.  #1 Son collected the cards way back when, so I shelled out quite a bit of cash for the cards, watched the show every day after school and came to have my own favorites, including Squirtle and Bulbasaur.  Sadly,  I had to put the kibosh on the whole shebang of Pokemon at the school site by announcing to the Thirdlanders that Pokemon is now banned.  They weren't surprised.  The trading had reached a feverish pitch and even they could see that they needed someone to step in and get control of the situation.  These kids were trading like they worked on Wall Street.  Recess became a hyped up Let's Make a Deal show.

Don't worry about the ban. They'll get in to something new soon, and after awhile, they'll start wreaking havoc with it. That's just how we roll. In Thirdland.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

The Podcast

Photo Credit:  Heinemann 
Well, yesterday was a big day.  We had a celebration for Back and Forth.  We ate tamales and cake and drank wine.  The house could barely hold all the friendship and fun that frolicked through the place yesterday eve.  I wish my handful of blog readers that couldn't be here for the party could be here now.  I would give you leftover tamales and we could samples some of the fabulous wines that were gifted to us last night.  Fun times.  And one more thing.  Have you listened to the Heinemann podcast yet?  Brett did a great job of telling the story of the book with his questions and editing.  I do a bit too much laughing as I talk but does that really surprise anyone???? I'm so glad I went to Florida to tape the podcast.  I hope you don't think I'm going overboard with blogging about the book, but you've been with me through the hard times and I want you here now during the good times.  Thanks, good friends.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

The Herons

So first off, let me tell you
that everything's going well here in the heartland.  My colleagues threw me a surprise party for the book on Friday morning.  Funnest time ever. We saw U2 on Sunday night and that also was the funnest time ever.  And C., I took these photos of the mysterious green heron a few weeks ago. Life's just rolling along and I'm basically just singing my song.

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

The Bees

The 3 day weekend is over, but my illness isn't.  I spent the weekend on the couch, watching movies and sleeping.  Yesterday I pulled it together to write the ILA proposal, so that's good.

Frankly, I'm irked, but I know things could be worse and I should just be happy that I didn't have to write sub plans for this illness which I'm calling Fatty Fatigue Syndrome.  I hope you don't get it, because it really knocks you OUT.

Still feeling punky, to tell you the truth, but I'm heading in to teach because I'm teachering up and that's how we roll.

My weekend was not the bee's knees.  It was just the bees.

Friday, September 01, 2017

The Fries

I'm thinking of calling any blog I write on Fridays, 'The Fries.'  Good idea?  Let's see.

Recap of the week's highlights, in a bulleted list.

  • Open House went well.  I talked with most parents about our tarantula.  I enjoyed that.
  • Katie Wood Ray agreed to present with me at ILA next summer.  I started working on the proposal this week. 
  • A copy of Back and Forth arrived at the house.  To be honest, I'm in love with it.
  • Judith gave me a cupcake.
  • My gentle yoga class was effective at calming both my mind and my body.
  • The Thirdlanders are making some awesome creations at our Well, well, well inquiry centers.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

The Enjoyment

My mom was born 87 years ago.  She's not feeling as spry as in her heyday, but she gets up every morning, exercises, writes letters to friends, and watches our president's antics on the news with appropriate scorn and disdain. She looks after all of us and makes sure we're doing okay.  When I called her on Sunday from school, she said, "Lee, I thought you were going to try not to go to school on the weekends anymore."
I gave my usual excuses about Open House coming up blah blah blah but then I stopped and said, "Who am I kidding, Mom?"
"Only yourself," she answered.
She's right.  I'm kidding myself that x y or z will happen and then teaching will be all sewn up by 4pm and I can go off on my merry way.  I'm not doing anything wrong.  My job's not a mystery to be solved. Teaching requires lots of teacher time outside of the school day and that's how it is. It's a good job and I enjoy it. That's someone else's mantra, but I may need to borrow it. No one can tell me what's enough though. Only I can do that.  We got all the stories done and a Thirdlander said, "Is this the only thing that's going to be on display at Open House?"
"Yes, these excellent Best Year Ever pieces are the only pieces on display."
Of course then I got the great idea to take photos of the writers, so I have those too to put up during lunch.
And there's a slim chance that we might do our wild thing monster heads today if there's time.
Who am I kidding? It's time to embrace the workload. And it's also time to roll out the new mantra of the school year:  Enough's enough.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

The Ponderosa

Here's what I'm pondering.  Do I want a blog to tell people about the book or do I want an actual web page?  I'm thinking on this daily and doing some casual explorations on the internets, as seen below.

I like this LITLEARNACT wordpress blog a lot, but once I tried to create a wordpress and it didn't turn out so great. But let's face it, how hard can it be?  But maybe I should stay loyal to blogger. These blogspot blogs REFLECT AND REFINE and CATHY MERE are excellent and really get the job done. 

Sam and Quinn use web pages to send their stuff out into the world and I like their pages, Sam Quinones and Quinn Sternberg

I made this weebly for my classroom press last year, but I didn’t add to it because our district blocked Weebly, for some reason. 

So I'm all over the place.  Please weigh in. If you feel like it. 

Friday, August 25, 2017

The Bests

I'm not kidding.  I've got to get those Best Year Ever pieces done today.  This is no joke.  

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

The Papers

 Open House is coming up and I don't feel like putting any student work up on my walls.  We are working every day on stuff, but I can't guarantee any of it's going to be finished by Tuesday night.  I'm thinking of having Open House catered.  If I carry around trays of sushi and small glasses of sake, I doubt anyone's going to care that much that their kid doesn't have stuff on display.  I decided to take a "gentle yoga" class.  Tonight was the first session.  There were moments where I thought, "NOT GENTLE! NOT AT ALL GENTLE!"  But most of it was fine.  It's important to take yoga classes and not worry about posting student work.  Teachers in Finland don't go crazy with the hallway displays.