Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Development

I'm very sorry to tell all of you that the professional development day I attended on Wednesday was sub-par. The theme? Teacher Leaders. It's a good theme I suppose, but we spent most of the day talking about some very basic articles in a large group of 60 people. Not a good idea, fyi. I wasn't too, too annoyed because I didn't make sub plans, just showed up. And I spent a little time reading an article I need to read for NCTE, on the sly. I left some important work behind, but I don't have the crazy time table of yore, so I wasn't too anxious about that. Sometimes I don't think my new gig is that interesting, but then I wonder if I have these feelings because I'm somehow attached to a frenetic frazzled pace and this flexible kind of day doesn't really suit me. But there are bennies: I'm neither frazzled nor frantic 100% of the time. I'll focus on those perks for now.

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Intentions

My dad and my big brother came up this weekend. They visited us on their way back from watching a football game in South Bend. We loved having them here. Lots of good chat and chuckling. Now we move back in to the fray. The moving finger writes and having writ moves on.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Woods

I learned about squirrel hunting from 2 4th graders this week. We were going to read a short book about the Appalachian Trail so as a pre-read, we wrote about "In the Woods." Both kiddos wrote about squirrel hunting. They've killed quite a few squirrels in their day.
Curious, I asked, "Isn't it hard to shoot them? They're so small and fast?"
"No, you just get 'em as they're eating on the ground," a Friendly Fourthie replied. "Skinning them is the hard part."

Saturday, October 17, 2009

The Book

Phew.  I've been thinking I'm heading toward aliteracy lately, but this giftie from SeattleKin has restored my confidence.  I love Nick Hornby.  His characters communicate annoyance with the world really well.
I'm working on the NCTE talk.  It's slow going as always, but it's warm and cozy here on the blue couch and I'm having a go.  
Husbandman nearly forgot about the yearly tradition of making me a pumpkin pie for my birthday.  But once I reminded him he headed right out to the shop to get the ingredients and he's making it right now.  That was a close one.  "How could you forget about this tradition?" I asked him, but he simply said, "I don't know.  Maybe it's because of my knee problems."  He truly has been having knee problems, but I'm not sure that would really make a person forget about an important tradition.  I'm going to cut him some slack, especially since he's almost putting the pie in the oven right now.  Yes!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Efforts

This week needs to hurry up and get done.  It's report card week and the teachers are capital T for tense.  That used to be me.  I got very stressed during report card time, but was I grouchy to people?  I certainly hope I was not! But let's face it, I probably was.  I wish all the teachers could be happy and relaxed.  I wish I could give them a huge party or a grand vacation. I feel guilty that I'm not in the trenches with them any more.  


Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Wagon

Here are some eggs in a little wagon.
I read a great piece in the nyt book review about Where the Wild Things Are. I've been working on a writing project (possibly podcast project) with some third graders about Sendak's book and Banned Books Week. The writer didn't like the book and neither did his kiddos. Then he talks about classic books that some people didn't like. It's a pretty good piece and it makes me admire Wild Things even more. It's been both kicked and kicking for awhile now.

The review of Prose's new book about Anne Frank's diary is also very good. I love the concept of the "afterlife" of the book and the wonderful young writer.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

The Job

I'm in awe of kindergarten teachers.    When I walked into Kland today, they were all making #'s, using shaving cream on their tables.  After helping k's make #'s with their little pointy fingers, it was time to clean up.  I was helping with hand washing when our asst. prin brought in a little recalcitrant who had been in the office for jumping off the stage during music class.  When she saw one k still shaving, she said she wanted shaving cream too, but she was told that she was too late for the activity.  (Due to her recalcitrance.)  The kid zipped over to the remaining little shaver, and started smooshing her hands all over the remaining cream.  I corralled her over to the sink for hand washing.   After  I shut off the water, she kept running around me to turn the water back on.  I reminded her that I was a teacher and that I was basically in charge.  
The K had to sit away from the group during free choice time because she used up her free choice time about a zillion times that day.  I sat with her and offered to read to her.  She was getting into the book and I was super relieved, when another K walked over and said solemnly, "I'm sorry to tell you this, but I saw our teacher writing a note to your mother over there and she wrote a sad face on the paper."  Recalcitrant ran over to confront her teacher, but after some futile arguing she returned to the book.  The book invited the reader to pretend to be different animals.  She was cool with the mouse bit, quietly hopping next to me.  Snake simulation involved some serious slithering.  By the time we got to goat, the k was running around the room screaming at top volume.  The teacher looked over at me, but I just kept reading, hoping the kid would return at some point. 
Finally free choice was over and the saintly k teacher brought the kiddos together for a circle of compliments.  That's when I slipped out, grateful to still be alive.
Good thing I was there to help with another literacy adventure at the school site. 

Saturday, October 03, 2009

The Car

We will probably have a new Honda Civic soon.  Today we did some test driving.  
I should have done a million things today, but instead I napped.  And watched a muted Animal Planet show on killing.  I saw fish being killed by sea lions, whales, bald eagles, grizzlies, and human beings.  
The whales jumped clear out of the water when they killed the fish, making a showy display.  The grizzlies simply stood there and salmon jumped into their mouths.  I'm heading out to a lovely vegetarian dinner now, thanks to Mitz.  More like the grizzly than the whale.  

Thursday, October 01, 2009

The Park

Well, we had an absolutely splendid afternoon at the park, with our celebrity readers and our cool little kid listeners.  Good Pal Menosky read about Dumpy LaRue, a porker with passion.  Much fun.  Thanks, GPM! 
Our celebration was prompted by some higher test scores from last spring's test, but GPM and I focused on all the great reading and writing we're doing at our school.  It was time to have some fun.  

The Astronauts

 From a Lynda Barry book, I've used the idea to have the Thirdlanders draw self portraits on occasion.  Draw yourself as Batman, a monst...