What I am grateful for this week:
- A snow day (even though I will regret it in June). You cannot beat the childhood thrill of learning snow is coming.
- Getting home safely from school in the treacherous snow (the day before The Snow Day). Despite slip-sliding and a nearly empty gas tank (hmmm).
- Being warm and inside in the midst of a bitter freeze.
- Beginning a new year with new beginnings.
- Coke, couch, blanket and books.
I am not an organized reader. I am not an organized person. The fact that I have remained so faithful to my Goodreads account for so long astounds me. Upon writing this, I think it is the only record-keeping form that has not (so far) been abandoned, forgotten or lost.
I track my Reads but…I cannot commit to the To-Read shelf. The thought of an ever-growing list makes me hyperventilate. An avid follower of teacher/library blogs, I could easily see myself filling the shelf with hundreds of titles that want to be read and should be read. I falter under Expectation.
I confess to keeping a to-buy list on my Amazon account. My shopping cart is never empty. I tell myself I have to put pre-orders there because I have no memory. Some favorite author titles are included, and maybe, a few (10 or so…20?) book recommendations (via blogs) that somehow slip in. And a couple of titles I find from Amazon's "Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought…." But that's it. The looming Shopping Cart icon with the running total keeps me in check. And then I realize the cart is overflowing and some purchases must be made: For the Good of the Cart.
Skyping with Barbara O'Connor today was thrilling. The kids came prepared with questions and were excited. We focused on "The Fantastic Secret of Owen Jester" which is nominated for our district's Young Readers Award.
Our fourth- and fifth-graders are beholden to Barbara O'Connor's generosity.
Some Skype visuals:
Okay, tomorrow is the big Skype Visit with Barbara O'Connor:
1. Email tech to make sure Skype software is working. Check.
2. Reassure self. It will work. No problem. Check.
3. Scoff at reports about snow (more snow?). As long as it starts after 10:30, we don't have to care.
4. Book trailer for "The Fantastic Secret of Owen Jester" viewed. Check.
5. Readers Theaters scripts performed. Check.
6. Ordered more book copies. Check
7. Students excited. Check.
8. Teachers excited. Check.
9. Oops. Late in confirming visit. Check.
10. We are ready. Check.
Have you ever thought "Wouldn't it be awesome if…." and never imagining it would happen?
Well, the awesome is happening. Our fourth and fifth graders will be skyping with Barbara O'Connor. The Barbara O'Connor. The author of so many fabulous books including: How to Steal A Dog, Greetings from Nowhere, and The Small Adventure of Popeye and Elvis.
Our upper-grade students are reading twelve titles nominated for a Young Readers Award. One of the titles is O'Connor's The Amazing Secret of Owen Jester.
I told the librarian about the possibility of trying to arrange a Skype visit with O'Connor. We agreed that it was short notice, her schedule was probably jam-packed, it was totally unrealistic but….wouldn't it be cool?
And, wow. Barbara O'Connor responded within days. She is graciously squeezing us in. The librarian and I jumped up and down. There is a waiting list for Owen Jester.
We can't wait!
* Snow on the weekend
* A sister bearing salt and sand for the driveway
* Downloaded songs
* Reading the last of a trilogy that does not disappoint
* Sunday papers bearing book reviews
Such a long, tough week. The kind that makes you yearn to stay in bed with the covers over your head. And decide that maybe all those horrible jobs you had before education were not so bad after all.
Yet every morning, you get up and go in. A student, who is self-conscious and embarrassed about his reading, excitedly shows you a five-foot long rainbow loom strand he made. You agree it is the longest loom rope you have seen in the whole school and are rewarded with a brilliant smile.
The smile carries you. He tells you that you don't have to worry. He won't get distracted by the rope, his wonder. He carefully puts it in his pocket, smiles again and opens his book.
Despite the onset of December craziness (and a soon approaching Full Moon), there are moments that ground you and make you grateful:
❄ making snowflakes as part of a spontaneous school-wide challenge to decorate our windows. Paper and scissors. Sitting and cutting. Cool.
❄ watching the snow transform the school playground and knowing there was insufficient accumulation to cause parking lot problems.
❄ realizing an afternoon meeting was canceled.
❄ writing just to write.
❄ being welcomed home with a smile.