Carvel

Carvel. The ice cream store.

A memory. Out of nowhere.

A short walk from my house. On Kings Highway. In Brooklyn.

We walk there after dinner.

For the best soft ice cream in the world.

My parents. Younger.

Me. Younger.

My mother rarely buys her own cone. Eats at least 1/2 of my father’s ice cream.

Chocolate. Vanilla. Nothing fancy.

We walk out of the store.

Ice cream cones in hand.

The sun is bright in the sky.

Summertime.

A memory.

And just like that.

It’s gone.

 

Cross posted to the Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life Tuesday.

 

 

December

December is a stressful month in schools.

It’s report card season. All told, from beginning to end, teachers probably spend four weeks working on report cards. Is it worth it?

In December there’s an unusual charge in the air and although it’s the same every year, it still catches us by surprise. The children sense it, but can’t control it so they let it control them.

Everyone is stressed out.

The office lights are dimmed.

Holiday shopping may cause anxiety for some who’ve lost jobs or are experiencing hardship.

Interruptions to classroom routines increase as more children leave early or come late. There are planned and unplanned rehearsals for winter concerts and plays.

The halls are full of charitable collections of canned food and clothing for those in need.

And, we can’t seem to slow down. In fact, it seems as if in December we intentionally speed up to get to the finish line faster.

And, when we finally slide into our own end-of-year celebrations, we do so with eyes wide open: this winter break is just a quick stop and then we’re off again in January.

Here’s to the seventh inning stretch!

Crossposted to the Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life Tuesday Challenge.

 

Naive, gullible – That’s Me

I have always been very naive.

Gullible.

Too trusting.

Stupid, even. And, I don’t say this lightly, so let it sit for a while.

Stupid, even.

I can’t imagine why anyone would deliberately undermine me. Especially not someone I interact with every day. Someone I consider a trusted friend or colleague.

When something happens to shake my trust in the world, I shrink back. I enclose myself in a protective shield. Then, because it’s exhausting or because it feels safe again, I start trusting again and I do something to expose myself once more.

And I never learn my lesson. At least I haven’t learned it, yet.

So, it’s no wonder that when I think I can trust someone, I find out that the opposite is true. But then it’s too late: I’ve bared my soul. I’ve made myself vulnerable.

I can’t seem to find a middle ground.

This situation feeds on my self-confidence.

So, wouldn’t it be better if I stayed in the shadows? Hidden? Not saying anything? Protecting myself? Redirecting my energies elsewhere?

Wouldn’t it be better?

Two Writing Teachers Tuesday Slice of Life Challenge

 

A Revelation

I had a revelation this afternoon

You know. One of those aha! moments that is only possible when I write. When I take the time to reflect and write on what’s happening around me, it will come. That revelation. That aha! moment. That sense of: “Duh! But of course! Why didn’t I see that before?”

So, what I realized today, as I was writing in one of my many notebooks, was that a recurring theme in my writing is about organization, routines, and habits. How to get organized. What to do first, second, third. When to do that and for how long. What are some good routines and how I can stick with them. What habits do I want to change, eliminate, and/or replace with better, more productive ones?

And, in all of this writing and thinking, it occurred to me that I spend too much time perseverating about how to change this and that…instead of changing this and that. When I’m done perseverating (or in this case, writing), I have very little energy left to actually carry out the new organization plan, routine or habit.

What should I do, then? I will find other topics to write about. No more writing about organization and developing a writing habit. I will not spend my precious time coming up with a rigid plan for how to get there that is bound to backfire. No. I’m done with that.

Now, I’ve got to come up with a viable list of topics for writing. Just like I encourage my students to do. I’ve been in a writing rut and I will pull myself out by venturing outside my comfort zone and exploring other topics. Some will be topics that I have been avoiding because they’re too painful or not easy to think about.

But, I have no other choice. I’m excited to begin this journey in earnest.

Cross posted to the Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life Tuesday.

 

I am a teacher

I am a teacher.

I touch minds and hearts.

I work hard, long hours, especially during the summer.

I am a teacher.

I love what I do even when no one notices.

As I inch towards the end of my teaching career (I can’t imagine not teaching so I can’t think about retirement, yet), I have no regrets that this is what I chose to do with my life.

I’d do it all over again if I could.

And, I wish I could.

I am a teacher.

I’ve had the privilege of hanging out with quirky, unpredictable, smart and kind kids for most of my life.

Even though I’ve been teaching for over 30 years, I am forever becoming a teacher.

There is no magic wand to get it right. Whatever that means.

It’s only me and my students.

Sometimes we work well together and sometimes we don’t.

Sometimes we apologize and promise to do better.

Sometimes we laugh and work hard.

I am a teacher.

Cross posted to Two Writing Teachers Slide of Life Tuesday.

What Went Well…What Didn’t Go Well..

What went well today in our classroom:

  • Children sharing in jigsaw groups what they have been learning about one of the six regions of Canada.
  • Children writing headlines (a visible thinking routine) to highlight something interesting or important about a region of Canada that someone else shared.
  • Conversations around division: does the larger number always appear first in a division problem? When a smaller number is divided by a larger number is the answer a negative number?
  • Using the pictures from The Mysteries of Harris Burdick to spark writing during our 5 minutes of silent writing.
  • Starting to set norms around more effective conversations in class: wait a few seconds after someone has spoken; say something before having your say.
  • Dictation of a simple Spanish poem: what sounds/words are my students hearing when they listen to Spanish? How are they translating that into writing?
  • Weekly status of the class preceded by 3 minutes of writing to these two prompts: I am at the part where…I’m thinking…
  • I’m spending less time giving instructions so kids can work.

What didn’t go well today in our classroom:

  • I’m having a hard time sticking to my time limits.
  • Because I have too many tabs open, it takes me a long time to find what I need when I need it.
  • I still talk too much.
  • I’m not consistent with guidelines for group discussions.
  • I could make better use of my prep time.

Plans for improving tomorrow:

  • Set a timer for mini lessons.
  • Do even more turn and talk.
  • Enforce guidelines for group discussions.
  • Push all my open tabs to One Tab.
  • Stay positive.

Cross posted to Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life Tuesday.