Arrggh! My plan to make walking everyday somewhat palatable proved foolhardy.
I reasoned that listening to audio books addressed the boring aspect of walking. Time would just fly by. As a bonus, I could catch up on reading.
But…I underestimated my book addiction. Once I start listening, I can't stop. I cannot let go of the story. Wait another day? Not possible. I am now committed to finishing the book. Errands are ignored. Work at home gets set aside. I find myself sitting in my car in the parking lot, just listening. Just one more minute. If I have to, going to bed is ruled out.
When reading print, I somehow accomplish more. I have more control. Not so with audio.
Once I am done listening, I now struggle. Should I download another book? Or should I stop walking?
I am faux brave. In school, with students, I talk about the importance of being brave all the time. I advise my first graders to take risks and figure out those tricky words. With the older students, I urge them to be brave in their thinking. Outside my door, a "Be Brave" sign is posted. I wrote about being brave. I talk the talk.
Yet, I know. Starting a blog terrified me. I still struggle and worry about what to write and what type of blog it should be. I find it easy to get caught up with teaching and everything else and forget (and ignore) this anxiety-inducing, wishy-washy blog.
After months of reading about twitter and its benefits to educators, I decided to stop my endless lurking and sign up. Within seconds of creating an account, I shut my laptop down, my introvert heart pounding. I remember feeling exposed and convinced that something was going to fall out of the sky and hit me. I only knew one person on Twitter and was too afraid to reach out. I wanted a slow roll out…and for weeks had zero followers.
I mastered retweeting. The retweets were all interesting resources, thoughts and links about teaching and books. I pretended I was my own follower -- "Oh, retweet that! She would like it."
And then, I answered an invitation from a person I did not know…Niki Ohs Barnes (@daydreamreader). I woke up the next day and had all these followers. Amazing. I will always remember her generosity in reaching out.
I still resort to retweeting and lurking but, once in a while, I step up and jump in.
Oh, and nothing has fallen on me yet.
+ Lying beneath the covers
Knowing another hour
lay ahead. Sweet inertia.
+ Walking around the pond
Fall is fading.
+ A spontaneous hug from
a student after Thanksgiving
+ Welcoming colleagues.
+ Singing "Miss Mary Mack"
with first graders. A happy-feeling,
The Full Moon, a couple of weeks late. I wonder why the camera fails to capture what is seen with the naked eye. I know there must be a practical, technical reason for this. Something to do with angles, lens and scientific principles that make my thinking shaky-hazy.
The camera image (iPhone, I admit) I believe, diminishes the sky's wonder and beauty. As I failed repeatedly to capture the visual I wanted, it got me thinking. How could I use this with students? An example of appearance versus reality? The variable nature of perception? Using the image as a writing prompt?
Or maybe I needed to just stop and notice. And enjoy the moon.
"Oh, everyday is a beautiful day."
- Elwood P. Dowd, Harvey
Three views right before a day of Professional Development. Within a ten-minute period.
Words Found In My Reading That I Know But Want To Use More Frequently
gambol - Asked about recess duty, I will say the kids gamboled all around the hard top.
plangent - I admit to a partiality of plangent songs on my iPod. Melancholy reigns.
mollify - Come August, I need to mollify all those teacher fears about getting ready for school in time.
I am currently reading Book Love: Developing Depth, Stamina, and Passion in Adolescent Readers by Penny Kittle. This is the second post, so far. I can't praise this book enough.
"Life lessons live in fiction. Reading a book takes us inside a time, a place, or an idea." (p. 22)
I remember working with a group using a poem from "Baseball, Snakes and Summer Squash" written by Donald Graves. The poem focused on the speaker's difficulty learning multiplication facts. The students shared predictions, visualizations and connections written on post-it notes. In the middle of the conversation, I realized that, despite these strategies, none of them understood what was going on in the poem. They grasped just bits and pieces but not enough for any real meaning.
This is not a knock on teaching comprehension strategies. I believe reading strategies are important tools to teach and use. A disconnect existed, though, for some students, especially in the upper grades. I observed a lot of discussions. I talked with teachers. It dawned on me (I can be slow, sometimes) that these kids were reading passively, even with strategies. They read without being "in the book." Ohh! They were missing as Kittle says "The power of a reading life."
I began to talk about my reading life. I explained my experiences of being whoever that character was or the feeling that I was part of the story. I shared important characters who felt like/are real people enabling me to fee and see the world through their eyes. I admitted that many of these characters were my friends.I talked about places and things I learned about just through reading. And how I would write letters in my head to authors if I disagreed with a decision they had made in their writing. Or, how I carry certain book scenes with me always and how they have an impact on my thinking and my actions.
I learned, as Kittle says with such conciseness and clarity: "It is through the complexity of the story that we can be changed." This is what we need to show our students.