Category Archives: Uncategorized

PD is Over

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I planned.
I checked.
I woke early.
I checked again.
I put out the kisses.
I delivered the PD.
I reflected.
I’m tired.

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Achoo!

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Achoo!  Achoo! Achoo!

Harbingers of colds

announce a dreaded virus

will soon be taking hold.

 

Drip, drip, drip.

My nose is running now.

Faster, faster, faster.

How I wish it would slow down.

 

Kleenex dab

and dab

and dab

until my nose is raw and reddish,

until my nose is hurt-y.

 

Please bring more tissues, dear,

the ones with lotion in.

Puffs?

Kleenex?

Any…only let them have the lotion!

 

Throb, throb, throb,

Pounding is my head.

I need quiet,

I need peace,

I need Excedrin.

 

I’ll pay the price; I won’t be nice.

I’ll kill this irksome virus.

I’ll eat the zinc.

I’ll drink the lemon, honey tea.

The tea to soothe,

the tea to coat,

the tea to heal my hurting throat.

 

Friday, Saturday, Sunday

Achoo, achoo, achoo!

Monday, then Tuesday

Oh, my aching head!

So Wednesday’ll be the day for me

to rest and stay in bed.  

Achoo!

I’m an Addict

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I’m an addict.

“To what?”  you ask.

The Great British Baking Show.

About a year or so ago, I watched season one of this baking show on Netflix, but that was all there was.  The other day, my husband commented that he found it again.  Netflix brought back Season 1, and added Seasons 2 & 3.  Hooray!

Honestly, I have been chain-watching the first  half of season 2. I had to hit the pause button on the remote just to be able to think about this slice.  Can you believe I can’t even write with this show in the background?  Usually, I can sit and write and tune out the t.v. if I need to, but not with this show.  I want to learn how the bakers are conquering each new challenge.  What is working and what is not.  I just put my computer back away…

There are many reasons why I’m addicted.  One thing I really like is that the people are amateurs. Not professional chefs.  Just ordinary teachers or builders or grandmothers who love baking. People who bake for their families and friends and co-workers. They get to come prepared on the weekend (a show real people with jobs can participate in) with a “signature recipe” that meets the criteria of the week.  They can demonstrate  their ability with a recipe that they know and love.

Next, there is a technical challenge.  Usually Paul Hollywood or Mary Berry gives them a recipe with  minimal directions.  What do they know?  Do they know this or that technique?  Can they manage their time? What do they know?  They know a lot, and I have learned a lot.  Did you know that English Muffins are made on a griddle?  Did you know that most (it seems) British folk aren’t intimately acquainted with angel food cake?  Did you know that adding fruit to yeast dough can slow down the rising time?  Hmmm…me either.

Last, there is a final challenge.  It is “show stopper.”  It has to be a recipe in the theme that is over the top.  The bakers are so talented and creative.  Have you ever seen a cookie tower made to look like a Swiss lodge?  Or, a Jenga tower of shortbreads?  It’s just plain fun to watch.

In addition to the interesting things I am learning about baking, I also am learning a bit about how Americans view things differently than the British.

  1. British folk don’t seem to ascribe of the American motto of Go Big or Go Home.  Comments by the judges to participants like “Your cake is too big!” make me wonder about myself.  It looked the right size to me.
  2. The judges seem to like everything to be uniform.  “Make 24  bar cookies (that isn’t that British baking term for bar cookies, and it sounded much fancier…but I can’t remember it right now) that are perfectly uniform for this challenge.”  What American cares if the yummy bar cookies are perfectly the same size?  Just give me the biggest one!  What American doesn’t say it is better to be unique?
  3. British bakers seems genuinely interesting in baking for the fun of it.  For the joy of winning the title of  Star Baker, even just for one episode.  The grand prize is a golden spatula, not a new house or a million dollars or a new food truck.  What American would sign up for a show just to show they can do it?
  4. The British bakers have even been caught helping each other in the last stressful minutes of a challenge!  Who would have thought that possible?

I love to bake, but I have learned that baking leads to eating and eating leads to bigger  jeans and more time needed at the gym so I, sadly, have given up most baking.  I think I’m going to change that.  I want to do more than just watch people having fun baking. I want to bake. I’m sure even my “failures” will not go to waste.  (My children already have said they would be quite willing to help dispose of the “cast aways.”” So in my retirement years, I want to adopt a British philosophy.  A British philosophy of baking.  Small is O.K.  Make it beautiful and uniform.  Bake for fun.  Bake it yummy.  Bake to earn the reward from my family and friends of Star Baker!

Hi.  My name is Barbara, and I’m addicted to The Great British Baking Show.

Here Will Be There

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I woke up today, my mind churning with excitement.  In three days, I’m on my way to Ohio State University for professional development.  The other literacy coaches in our district and I are lucky enough to be given the privilege of going. Twice a year.  It is like a spring breeze in the dead of winter.  A time to recharge.  A time to learn new things.  A time to collaborate with others who understand the challenges of being a literacy coach.

I made my to-do list, longer than usual for a lazy Saturday.  What fun I had crossing off item after item.  Wash-check.  Edit Franklin stories-check.  Pay bills-check.  Go to bank-check.  Check, check, check.  Today it seemed like fun and not drudgery-all because soon I’ll be there.

Here I sit near the end of this long, busy day.  Here on the loveseat where I love to write my “slices”.  Here.  Though I struggled to begin; now my ideas are flowing.  The same energy that propelled me through the tasks of the day seems to be making my fingers fly over the keys.  Here I sit.  Here I write.  Soon, here with be there!

 

“A Nest of Robins in Her Hair”

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The silhouetted tree who this morning wore a sparkling sheath of knitted snowflakes and sunlight stood stripped bare and alone in the fading sun.  Sadly, I looked at her and mourned her diminished state, her rich robes so recently lost.  My eyes lifted to her twiggy branches reaching upwards to the darkening sky; vague thoughts of bygone summer days flitted dreamily in my mind.  Verdant leaves whispering to the wind. Chirping friends celebrating life and promise.  Squirrels racing delightedly up and down her trunk, daring her not to laugh with wild abandon.  But now, alas, her glory departed, only a shadow of her former self remained.  Turning to go, an abandoned nest caught my eye.  No, two. No, three.  Three nests in her branches!  Then, unexpectedly, a specter of words wafted in my thoughts…a specter of a poem long forgotten, but deeply loved.  “…A tree that may in summer wear a nest of robins in her hair…”

My melancholy vanished like mist in the sun.  

Trees
I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.

 

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;

 

A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

 

A tree that may in Summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;

 

Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.

 

Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.

Let’s Begin With ABC

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A new beginning

Being a writer

Creating pictures with words

Daring to share

Everyday

For me…and for others

Gaining confidence day by day

Hoping hearts are touched

Inspired by others

Just slices of life day by day

Keeping on keeping on

Letting thoughts flow into words into stories

Memories are seeds of stories

Never stop writing

Open to new ideas

Publishing

Quietly encouraging others

Ready to comment

Sharpen your senses

Tears may flow

Understanding yourself

Vile villains vanquished (Hey, I needed phrase!)

Work, work, work

eXtraordinary satisfaction

Yearning

Zoom…the month is over.

A Reflective Stance

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As a literacy coach, I have the opportunity to enter many classrooms and get an intimate view of each teacher’s “home” for 8 hours each week day.  Interestingly enough, it continually surprises me that teachers do not always welcome another set of eyes, another pair of ears, another “other” with whom to reflect on the teaching and learning.  In my own teaching practice, I truly welcome a non-judgmental friend to think together with me about how to refine my craft and improve my instruction.  Often, after teaching a lesson, my mind ruminates over and over and over on the lesson, the student responses, and the subsequent outcomes.  What can I do differently next time?  How can get that reluctant learner to engage?  Were the students able to apply what they learned in the mini-lesson?  

I know I am blind to some of my weaknesses.  (Aren’t we all?)  But, I want to get better.  I want to keep learning each day.  I want to keep pushing myself forward in my professional practice.  When my university trainer came to coach me, I met her for coffee after school and spent several hours picking her brain on how to improve.  (Actually, she kept prompting me to reflect with her on the teaching and learning.)  My trainer often repeats that we need to take a reflective stance when teaching.  I want to be that person.  I want to help my teachers take that stance, too.

With that goal in mind, I continue to build relationships.  I continue to take personal risks, like modeling a Word Study lesson for a teacher, even when I haven’t taught Word Study mini-lessons all year because the Word Study block is during my intervention time.  Oh well, I hope I also modeled how to reflect on my teaching and reflect on ways to improve.  I continue to nudge teachers to reflect with me.  I continue to encourage them to invite me in.  I continue…

My hope for you, my dear friend, is to join me in taking that reflective stance!

Transformation: Teacher of Writing…to…Writer

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The biggest paradigm shift I have made in the area of writing happened as a result of participating in the SOL16 March Challenge. Before that time, I was a teacher of writing. I read about writing. I attended writing classes. I had a writer’s notebook in which a few demonstration seeds had been planted and I tried out a few ideas (also for the purpose of teaching)-that’s it.

After I participated in the SOL16, I knew what it meant to BE A WRITER! I was on the look-out for writing ideas all throughout my day. My camera was my friend. My notebook was in my purse, awaiting scribbles of ideas. I was thinking about writing almost every minute of the day. And…I wrote each day. (Interestingly enough, these have been mini lesson topics in my class!)

How do I know I’m a writer? I write. And…I tell everyone about my writing experience. It may sound lame, but I am excited about writing! I have shifted my teaching ideas. I want my students to experience what I did and the transformation it brought. I want my students to know what it is to write like that: to scour their world for ideas, to publish for others, to write for an audience that READS what they write, to be on pins and needles waiting to read others’ comments, etc.

I think to shift students’ thinking from the task of writing in Writer’s Workshop to the idea of, “I am a writer”, they have to experience what I experienced. To this end, I am working on developing a small “replica” of the SOL challenge. I’ll let you know what students think when they are done.

P.S. Thanks Two Writing Teachers for transforming me so that I can now say, “I am a writer.”

The ABCs of Slicing

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A is for ALL done.  It is hard to believe a month is done!  I am conflicted-I’m happy and sad.  

B is for BABY steps.  Everyday I blog my best slice for that day and time.

C is for CARRYING on.  I didn’t  give up when the words didn’t come.  I kept on carrying on.

D is for DREAMS. Dreams spread their wings when I write.  Where will they take me?

E is for EXTRAORDINARY slices.  I have read extraordinary slices from slicers everyday!

F is for FUN!  Who knew slicing and commenting could be so much fun?

G is for GARDEN.  Writing is like growing a garden of ideas.

H is for HARD.  Writing everyday is rewarding, but hard.

I is for INVITE.  Who can I invite to join Slice of Life 2017?

J is for JOY!  I find I have joy when I write!

K is for KIDS who can give lots of ideas for slices.

L is for LIGHTER.  I wrote some slices that made me laugh; some made me cry.  Whether with smiles or tears, writing makes me feel lighter inside, freer, more alive.  

M is for MEMORIES.  A thought, a sight, a sound can trigger a memory.  Memories become slices.

N is for NOT enough time.  Even though 3 comments are required, the wonderful slices I read drew me in each day.  There was not enough time to read them all.  For this I am sorry.

O is for OPEN.  When I first began to write, my heart began to open.  All the thoughts, dreams, and ideas that were buried inside came pouring out.  I’m glad.

P is for POETRY.  Poems are the whispers of the heart.

Q is for QUIET.  Slices can be quiet, peaceful, or …not.

R is for REVISE.  Revise, revise, revise.  But still the slice may not feel “perfect” when I push publish.  

S is for SLICERS.  Slicers are encouraging, caring, thoughtful, and long-distance friends. Slicers are those who comment.  Thank you for blessing my life.

T is for TRAVEL.  Writing allows me to travel through time and space and distance.

U is for UBIQUITOUS. The upcoming day’s slice had an ubiquitous influence on my thoughts each day.  My notebook was my constant companion.  

V is for VULNERABLE.  One day I pushed “publish” and then immediately regretted it.  Why did I share that hurting spot inside?

W is for WATCH the time.  Remember the 11:59 P.M. EST deadline!  Don’t be late.

X is for X marks the spot.  The spot is https://twowritingteachers.wordpress.com.  Thanks for hosting this great event.

Y is for YEA!  A big shout-out to all my fellow slicers who made it 31 straight days!
Z is for ZEST.  Writing gives me new zest for life.

The Wings of Spring

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Warm is the wind,

Balmy is the breeze

On which the wings of Spring fly.

 

Green is the grass,

Verdant is the field

On which the feet of Spring tread.

 

Rustling is the leaf,

Whispering is the tree

On which the lips of Spring hum.

 

Gurgling is the brook,

Babbling is the stream

On which the voice of Spring sings.

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Gurgling brook across from Mom’s property.