Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Four Blessings

I am proud to be writing this blog as part of Slice of Life Tuesday over at Two Writing Teachers.  

Four Blessings

Shortly after my husband died, I received a blessing bracelet from a dear friend.  The "instructions" that came with the bracelet suggested you touch each of the four white beads while silently thinking about persons or things that you are grateful for, with the hopes that the more blessings you name, the more you would find.  I followed the directions and found comfort in naming those people and things that lifted me up in a time of such great need. I thought about my family, my home, and the colleagues that came to my side.  I reflected on the graceful heron that flew overhead at just the right moment, and the smiling children that we greeted at the door each morning.  I was finding blessings all around me, thanks to that bracelet, and I became more aware of all the gifts in my life.  

After some time I stopped wearing the bracelet, taking it out occasionally on a blue day to remind me of those wonders in my life.

But yesterday I took that bracelet out to wear again because sadly, the friend who gifted me with this bracelet lost her battle with cancer.  Putting that bracelet on my wrist suddenly took on a new meaning.  I decided for now to dwell on the gifts my friend shared with me: endless fortitude, genuine care for all she came in contact with, a gentle sense of humor, and deep love of family.  Those are certainly wonderful gifts to hang on to, and gifts that will carry me through these heavy days.

Today I say: Thank you for the love and care you gave to me and to so many others. I am blessed much more than four times because of your presence in my life. 

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Why Can't I Write?

I am proud to be writing this blog as part of Slice of Life Tuesday over at Two Writing Teachers.  Check it out! 

Why Can't I Write
Why can't I write
Why can't I write

Is it because I am thinking about the universal screener we are rolling out, the training we are completing to go along with that, the new schedules, the new teachers I want to meet with, the stack of books that need to be inventoried, stamped and distributed, the contractor who hasn't returned my phone call, the dust on my bedroom furniture (ok - I wasn't really worried about that), dinner plans?

So - yes - maybe my brain is full - too full.  But isn't everyone's brain full?  Aren't they writing a slice each week?

Why can't I write?

I really don't have an answer except I am not focused on writing at all. And I need focus to write.

Why can't he write?
Why can't she write?

Is it because he is thinking about a new classroom, new friends, new bus route, new routines, new shoes that don't fit, or no new shoes like everyone else, buying lunch in the cafeteria, snack time, and recess problems.

Or maybe it is because her brain is full of other stuff and she isn't focused on writing at all. And he needs focus to write.


What do we do when we can't focus enough to write OR when our students aren't ready to focus enough to write. 

I am dwelling on this tonight, but would love to hear your thoughts too!

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

The Power of We: A Reflection on the Celebration of 60 Years of Marriage

I am proud to be writing this blog as part of Slice of Life Tuesday over at Two Writing Teachers.  Check it out! 

The Power of We: 
A Reflection on the Celebration of 60 Years of Marriage

We traveled from near and far to the scenic and historic resort, The Mount Washington Hotel, for a long Labor Day weekend. 

We gathered 3 great grandchildren, 8 grandchildren and their spouses, 3 sons and their wives, and of course the guests of honor and the hosts for the weekend, the parents.

Showing off our t-shirts - #partyhatson

We hiked, biked, walked, laughed, cried and laughed some more.

We toasted to many years of happiness and to the upcoming additions to our families (2 more great grandchildren - Yeah!).
3 great grandchildren
We rose early to board the Cog Railway to ride to the top of Mount Washington, the "home of the world's worst weather" only to experience the world's worst weather - zero visibility, rain and 66 mph wind gusts!
It was beautiful at the base!
We had to quickly take this picture for fear of our camera blowing away

We ate and ate and ate some more - and then we played some great games, including the The Newlywed and Not-So-Newlywed Game and Cards for Humanity.

We marveled at the beauty and grandeur of the White Mountains and the wildlife it sustains, especially the bear that poked around while we had our family portraits.

All of this because two people fell in love and fostered this family focused on we. They have celebrated love and life, overcome great loss, and walked gracefully through the years, all 60 of them!  What a celebration and a testament to what true love is all about!  

We thank you for all of this and We love you Lois and Bob!

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Lessons Learned at a Writing Retreat

The idea came to me months ago - a teacher's summer writing retreat - held at my lakefront home, where teachers could sit leisurely and write and think and spend time discussing toolkits and student engagement.

The retreat wound up being one of the highlights of my summer. The six of us wrote, and laughed, and even cried together.  We wrote and read our small moment stories and our not so small moment stories.  We supported and commented and read some more.  And then we reflected. 

What did I discover today? 

The answers were very similar among us all:  

  • I need to write more.
  • I want to capture those small moments in a journal as they happen so I won't forget.
  • Talking about writing is extremely helpful.

Then the big question was asked:  How will the work of today guide me as a teacher of writing? 

The answer was unanimous:

I need have have my students write more, journal more, and talk more!

I call that a successful writing retreat!

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

A Letter to My Grandson on the Occasion of His First Birthday

It's Slice of Life Tuesday at Two Writing Teachers and I'm posting along.  Won't you consider joining this community of writers?

A Letter to My Grandson on the Occasion of His First Birthday

Dear George,
Happy 1st Birthday!

I can not believe that you are 1 year old today! I recall that hot August day last year waiting for that call to say you have arrived.  And finally you did: All 8 pounds and 15 ounces of you! You were a true bundle of joy that loved to be rocked and rocked and rocked.  You needed to keep on moving, and still do!

How delighted I was to hear your name for the first time: George David.  Named after two very important men in our lives: your great grandfather and your grandfather.  Both of these men have the same twinkle in their eyes. Both of these men love adventure and travel.  And both of these men are looking down on you and smiling at the love and joy you are bringing to this family!

George, you are quick with a smile and a hug.  Your chunky cheeks beg to be kissed over and over again.  And apparently you love these kisses too, as when I stop you always lean in for more.  Don't stop being a love bug!

And you are so friendly too: saying hi to everyone that passes your way, especially your own reflection in a mirror or window! Don't stop being so friendly!

You are a mover and an explorer, frequently wondering what's behind that chair or around that corner.  Your curiosity keeps us running and laughing.  You are indeed a Curious George!  Don't stop wondering!

Happy First Birthday George!  I love you more and more each day.

Love, Bebe

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

#cyberpd - Dynamic Teaching for Deeper Reading: week 4

Week 4 - The final week of the #cyberpd book study on Dynamic Teaching for Deeper Reading by Vicki Vinton

I am once again amazed at how social learning is!  If I had to read this book on my own this summer I would have been overwhelmed with the contents of this book.  I would have taken notes, highlighted text, and stickied page upon page.  My learning would have been immense, but it would have been my thoughts on this idea or that.  And I probably would never even consider how to bring this to life in a classroom.  

Because of this wonderful #cyberpd group, I had to wanted to go deeper.  I needed to synthesize and reflect on my reading before creating my post.  My learning grew by leaps and bounds because of the time I spent dwelling on what I read.  But more importantly I was "privy" to the deep-thinking of so many wonderful professionals.  Reading through the posts each week made the learning even more profound.  I now have access to a classroom of deep thinkers at all times and forever.

I am so grateful for this #cyberpd group.  You have shown me the meaning of real reading and given me the opportunity to participate in a wonderful learning community! Thank you!

Below are my thoughts for this final week.  I am sorry for the light colors!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

#cyberpd - Dynamic Teaching for Deeper Reading: week 3

It's week 3 of the #cyberpd book study on Vicki Vinton's book: Dynamic Teaching for Deeper Reading.  I am once again synthesizing my take aways and quotes using a sketch note technique and in the process I am learning how to simplify my thinking in a visual format that will be easy to recall the big gleanings from this text come fall.
This week I am also adding a few lingering questions to my notes. I welcome any help or ideas to guide me in answering these questions.