Friday, May 29, 2015

You know you're a nerd when...

Yesterday I was outside watering my plants and I heard the delivery truck coming down the street. I instantly knew I needed to run down the driveway, despite my still tender barefeet and the 89 degree temps, to meet him because I was expecting a special delivery... 

What a nerd I am! But I am not disappointed!

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Getting Out of the Way

It's crunch time in both our professional and personal lives as we close out the school year. Things have been so busy lately that I seem to be tripping over my own two feet.  When I saw this video it reminded me that sometimes I simply need to move aside and get out of my own way.  I need to remember to slow down - everything will get done! 

Monday, February 2, 2015

Every Reading Skill is a Life Skill ~ Thank you Lucy Calkins

Last week I was fortunate enough to attend the Coaching Institute hosted by Teacher's College Reading and Writing Project. The four-day long institute opened with Lucy Calkins speaking in her usual eloquent and passionate manner.  Her words often propel me forward and cause me to pause and think about literacy in some profound way.  This time was no exception as she stated: "every reading skill is a life skill."  I took note and thought about the reading skills that are also my life skills: predicting, questioning, synthesizing and even envisioning. I tweeted the quote and tucked the thoughts away for a while until this past weekend when I was in my backyard in the 30+" of snow and loading up the toboggan with firewood to haul onto the deck.  
We were struggling and pushing the sled towards the deck when my daughter proclaimed that she felt like Laura Ingalls Wilder.  I chuckled and immediately thought of Lucy's words:  "Every reading skill is a life skill."  Probably not quite the way Lucy intended it but it made me smile as I recalled all the great stories we read to our children as they were growing up.  The precious moments of snuggling in bed with a great read aloud whether it be Good Night Moon, Pat the Bunny or Little House on the Prairie, left lasting impressions on us, parent and child. I thought about the life skills we taught our children as we read to them each night: love, concern, thoughtfulness and patience.  I am grateful for those days and memories and know without a doubt that every reading skill is a life skill.  Thank you Lucy!    

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Wording is Everything

Last night I went out on our deck to get wood to fill our wood stove for the night and I noticed that the pile contained only a few more logs, not even enough for the next day.  I came into the house feeling overwhelmed as I thought about my long to do list.  I had not included time in the next day to put wood on the deck for the upcoming cold weekend. When I awoke the next day, I considered my list and thought if I just place ten wheelbarrow loads on our deck I would get a little workout and place enough logs on the deck for at least the weekend.  Once I shifted my thoughts from filling the deck with wood to adding ten wheelbarrows of wood I began to feel optimistic and hopeful. My outlook was brighter and the load seemed lighter and more do-able.  The number ten wasn't a magic number by any means, but it turned out to be enough to seemingly and magically fill the deck with more wood than I needed for the weekend, possibly even two weekends of warmth and comfort. 
Taking that heavy thought of filling the deck with wood and changing it into smaller chunks, ten wheelbarrow fulls, reminded me of the importance of perspective.  By changing the words from "filling the deck" to "ten wheelbarrows" made the work seemingly easier and the task less daunting. I began to think that I could try the same technique at work when I get overwhelmed. 
My thoughts go immediately to the big tasks that I face when I get back to school in a few days: professional development to plan, new coaching sessions to schedule and family nights to coordinate. I can easily get overwhelmed with these to dos.  How can I think about these tasks in a way that will seem less daunting?  How can I break these tasks into smaller tasks so I can shift my mind and make the activities more palatable and seemingly less stressful? 
As I reflected on this further I began to think about those students who get overwhelmed with empty writing pages, or a new book. How can I shift my words to ease them into their overwhelming tasks.
Filling my deck with wood gave me lots to think about as I head back to school. At least I have a warm living room to sit and ponder this task!

What do you do to overcome big tasks that seem overwhelming to you? to your students?