Monday, March 31, 2014

SOL Reflection (31/31)

I had a lot of time to think and reflect today. Today was the first day of my Spring Break and the second day of my baby girl being sick. I forgot how miserable and heartbreaking it can be to watch your 1 year old be sick. You are limited on what you can give them and how you can help. My little lady is not much of a cuddler and wanted nothing to do with slowing down today. She stumbled over her toys and was exhausted all day. Poor baby!

While I tried to comfort my sweet girl, I took time to reflect on this years Slice of Life challenge. This year was a struggle for me to put quality writing down. Why? My life is just as hectic as it normally is. Why was this year so much harder? I pondered this question all day and wasn't satisfied with any answer I could give. 

I'm finding that free time is becoming less and less as my boys get older. Sports take up more time, homework needs to be reviewed and talked about, those quick picture books at bedtime are now replaced with longer chapters, and nighttime routines just take longer. Having a little one in the house requires me to be on my toes and to be cleaning up small toys often. I love how busy my life has become but my writing time has suffered. My days of jotting down a post and saving it to review later are long gone. I used to go back to my writing and add descriptive details before hitting that orange publish button. 

What I've learned? There are small pockets during my day that could be used better. I need to take these moments to foster my writing. It helps me reflect on my many blessings and it also helps me be a better teacher. 

Thank you for the opportunity to participate in this challenge. I look forward to having richer writing next year. 

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Harry Potter (30/31)

photo  ©2010  Halle Stoutzenberger, Flickr
It has been a Harry Potter movie marathon weekend. My husband and I can't help but keep it on constant rotation all day long. These movies remind us of a special time together before our lives got busy with children. 

My husband and I had just started to date after the second book in the series came out. I was so excited to share this new, amazing series with him. You know how the early dating stage works, you're willing to try anything to get to know the person you love. Well, my non-reading husband was willing to give it a try. We would read them together at night, one chapter at a time. 

This ritual followed through the whole series. We pre-ordered books and read them together at night. It was the perfect way to finish the day and a great way to bond together. The last book came out when he was out to sea. I read it as quickly as I could and then sent it to him. We emailed and wrote letters back and forth about the twists and unexpected turns. 

I can't help but be flooded with these memories as I watch these movies. I watch the wonderment and excitement in my boys eyes as well. Maybe it's time to break out those well-loved hardbacks and start the tradition over again with the newer loves of my life. 

These books have easily withstood the test of time. I know that my boys will cherish them as much as my husband and I do. I'm sure that my little girl will have a wonderment and love for them when she is older too. I look forward to the next series that grabs generations of readers.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Showers with a Pop (29/31)

Rain can be an interesting thing when it comes to color. It can make bright colors pop and light colors seem dull. 

It is a wet day here in the Pacific NW but it is stunning at the same time. When I look out my window, I can see the vibrant green of freshly cut grass. It has been dormant for the winter and is finally able to stretch its arms out of the soil and show off its skin. 

The newly bloomed cherry trees show deep cherry hued leaves with soft delicate tufts of bubble gum pink blooms. These two color pop out at you with a dusty blue background. 

The sky has touches of blue but is almost white with a hazy filter across it. The deep greens from the evergreen belt breaks apart the colors and adds a bit of contrast. 

I am tempted to go out and capture them with the camera but the warmth of home and the constant drizzle keeps me inside for now. I'll just admire from the cozy blanket covering my lap. . 

Friday, March 28, 2014

Decisions (28/31)

They beckon to me from all sides of the room.

Choose me! 

Choose me!

I lift each one up. A gentle whisper of a touch. 

I carefully turn each page as I browse through the colorfully thought out pages. 

I must choose wisely or I may get an earful for a large purchase. 

An award has been earned for a long week of conferences and trying to teach eager children while Spring taunts us from the window. 

My arms get heavy with a top contestants. I must narrow it down to at least. 3. 

One more read through and the competition is narrowed down. 

Could I use any of these for multiple lessons? Why of course...but which ones will stand the test of time and attract children of all learning styles? 

Four books remain in my arms. I feel good about them as I approach the book fair check out line. I smile as children look to see what I have hidden in my arms. 

It is time to read them to my children first. But which one? The decisions never stop. 

Books purchased: Creepy Carrots, Ladybug Girl, That is NOT A Good Idea, and a great nonfiction book called Curious Critters by David FitzSimmons.  

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Time with my Littles (27/31)

I am blessed to be able to job share this year. I teach in the afternoon all week with a focus on reading and writing. My teammate and I work closely to make sure that we are supporting each other with topics that we are both teaching. It has worked out wonderfully and gives me the opportunity to spend some one-on-one time with my daughter. During conference weeks, we alternate days (early release) and then share the conferences together. Today, I did not have to teach and we are finished with conference. This gave me the whole day with my youngest munchkins (Kindergartners don't go to school during conference week) and my daughter. 

It was so nice to have this time with them. We headed to the grocery store after dropping off my oldest son. J and I got something tasty at the Starbucks and began our trip. With each stop in the aisle, came a huge bear hug. 

"I'm so glad that we get a special day together mama!" 

My heart just about melted. My son is such a loving, sweet little man. I am so lucky to have him as my son. When he was younger, we used to take trips to Barnes and Noble to have breakfast and look at books. I miss that time as was reminded of how special it was when we were together today. 

We got home and snuggled on the couch and talked about plans for Spring Break. He is such a smart and thoughtful young man. He put a lot of thought into the events he'd like to attend. I am so excited to have calm, not rushed, fun time together. One more day, and then let the vacation time begin!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Pretty Pipes (26/31)

Bath time is one of my favorite times of day with my little ones. I would spend so much time talking with my boys and watching them play in the tub when they were younger. Now it's my daughters turn and things are so different. 

The boys crashed boats, threw superheros, and splashed until tsunami sized waves splashed out the sides of the tub. My little lady has no interest in her toys unless she is sucking the water out of them. Normally she is trying to stand up, pour water into her mouth, or splash while sitting down. Today she discovered something new. 

After washing her hair and getting water in her eyes, she decided that she needed to share a piece of her mind. With a loud squawk and a furrow of her brow, she sent that message loud and clear. She was expecting the furrowed brow that was returned to her but her ears did not anticipate the return of noise. 

With a smirk on her face, she let out another sound...this time a roar. ROAR!!! Her echo returned and another smirk revealed her new eye teeth. 

UP, UP, UP!!! I went to reach down to lift her out of the tub and she grunted. Oh, obviously I had misunderstand. She was just testing out her new pipes. They sure do sound pretty in her fancy new recording studio. 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

20 Conferences (25/31)

We are on day 2 of conference week and my co-teacher and I have met with 20 families. We will finish up tomorrow. My brain is exhausted and I think that I may be sound asleep on the couch as soon as my body is hugged by the soft cushions. Here is a spewing of what is on my mind. 

20 second grade families

Giggles over silly mistakes and fun stories

Growth and strengths shared

Struggles discussed and goals set

Serious behavior conversations have been had

Reassurances that grade level targets will be met

Tools shared on how to help children be successful

Celebrations over growth and past goals being met

Smiling families leaving

Exhausted teachers dragging bags home

The life of a teacher can be challenging at times but rewarding in so many ways. I love and dread conferences. I love sharing successes and fun stories. I love letting families know that I've taken time to truly know and appreciate their child. I hate being the barer of bad news and having to point out areas of concern. It breaks my heart for children to see a grade they don't want....but we get to set goals to change those areas. 1/3 of the year is left and I plan on sharing more successes before summer.