Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Book Study

Thumbs let go of pages as they fall into the next one.  Highlighter caps click off and snap back on again.  Candy wrappers crinkle.

We're reading and studying and noting.  We're thinking and writing and reviewing.

The quasi silence is the gift of time to participate in a book study during the school day.  We are teachers and learners.  We are together.  The feelings of camaraderie and collaboration are bouncing on the air, like magic spells causing each of us to smile.

We talk.  We listen. 

We ponder.  We dream.

We plan.  We reflect.

We are inspired by what we read.  We look for the beginnings of our goals amongst the happenings of our present day.  Do you think?  Could we maybe?  What about if?

If all our time together was this intentional...

If all our time together was this treasured...

If all our time together was this positive...

We thank each other for the effort and the time and the candy.  We promise to do it all again soon.  We leave better than when we arrived.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

From my notebook...

Because I have second graders, and now first graders, trying out fiction writing, I gave it a go also.  Here is an excerpt from my notebook that I wrote in front of my second graders.

One day, Sally and Joe were at the store with their parents.  They were Christmas shopping for family gifts for aunts and uncles and cousins and such.  Sally wanted to get Grammy a new puzzle.  Joe wanted to get a new Nerf gun for himself.  Mom and Dad wanted to be done shopping.

After a while, they were all in the clothes section of the store, looking at hoodies for the cousins.  Sally and Joe decided to play Hide and Seek to help pass the time.  "One...two...three," Joe counted to twenty.  "Ready or not, here I come!" Joe shouted.  Mom gave him a look.

Joe began the search for his sister.  He looked under the cart, around his dad, and over by a stand of hats, but he didn't find Sally.  He followed his parents over to the baby section.

Meanwhile, Sally stayed still as a tree, crouching down in the middle of a hoodie rack.  She drew in her feet and hugged her arms around her knees.  She listened for Joe, keeping herself still and quiet.

I was working on telling bit by bit and writing from outside the story.  Also, my second graders reminded me to make my characters talk, so we did a little revision as we wrote there.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Snow Days?

December starts cold
precipitation promised
snow days may be many

Black asphalt, bleak, wet, and cold
Snow tumbling down, down
contact, melting, gone

pretty from inside
warm, cozy, kid-filled classroom
excited looks wander

Fluttering, falling
some drifts, tumbles, lazily lands
won't accumulate

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Cold winter mornings, too early

I hobble down the stairs, inching my hips to move down and forward.  Wrapping my arms around my middle from the cold, I squint into the kitchen brightness.

My oldest is up and ready for his day.  I mumble greetings and make eye contact.  He's not hungry.  As I make coffee, pouring the pot full of tap water into the rear reservoir, he reiterates that he wants nothing for breakfast.  After measuring out the aromatic coffee grounds and punching the brew button, I wait for the warm energy.  My patience is tested each morning.  We might have the slowest coffee maker in the world.

My teenager leaves out the patio door as the clock hits 6:00am.  I retrieve my cup, creamer, and a spoon in anticipation of the morning goodness wafting out in steamy tendrils, waking my senses and sense of humor.  By the time I've perfected my predawn treat, my husband loudly tromps down the six steps from upstairs.  I smile his way, and he wraps me in his arms.  I reach around grasping my left wrist with my right hand.  He's brought the warmth from the bed downstairs with him.  As I release him from the hold I have, he kisses the top of my head, then turns, grinning, to get his own mug of morning.

A new day to welcome and conquer.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

The Story of My Name

Today's Nerdy Book Club post by Ralph Fletcher, "Five Doors Into Memoir", inspired me to sit down and write the story of my name.

Before I was born, my mom was living in a neighboring (small) town.  She was pregnant with her first baby, a girl, and was anxiously awaiting the baby's arrival.  My mom found herself with plenty of alone time at this point in her young life, as my dad was an over the road truck driver.  She sat and dreamed of the new baby and how much she loved this little bundle, even before laying eyes on her.

My mom wanted to name the baby Jacqueline.  She was unsure of a middle name.  She thought Jacqueline was just girly enough and had an air of the exotic.  It would be a unique name for her special little girl.

My mom was one of many young moms in the area.  A couple of months before I was born, a lady down the road had a beautiful baby girl and named her Jacqueline Grace.

In an instant, the uniqueness of Jacqueline vanished, and my mom was back to dreaming about what name would best fit her new baby girl.

My mom liked the idea of an older name.  She wanted something as special as she knew her baby girl was destined to be.  She liked the idea of something that was feminine and innocent, but also strong and independent.  She didn't necessarily like the idea of recycling family names, but did like the idea of Tollie after her paternal grandmother.  One thing my mom was sure of was that she would not name her daughter Mary, her own first name shared with her mom.  In addition, she would give the baby a name that would be the name her baby was called by.  She went by her middle name, which caused confusion more often than not.  She didn't want that for her little girl.

On September 1st, Emily Gayle was born in a small town hospital.  She was sweet and precious and healthy and everyone was happy, as is the occasion with most births.

Soon after my birth, my family moved to my tiny hometown, where my mom could be very close to her own mother.  Raising a newborn is not a job for a mom living as a single lady most of the time.  That first house, which I don't remember living in, was just a half mile from my grandma and grandpa's house.

Two and a half months later, a baby girl, was born and named Emily Elizabeth.  She was beautiful and had dark brown eyes and hair.  She smiled all the time.

Emily was not the unique name my mom dreamed of, but it did bring together two girls who turned out to be lifelong best friends.  We became known as Emily².  We were name twins and cheerleaders and FFA teammates.  We were practically inseparable.  We grew up together, sharing most of our character-shaping experiences.  We shared our name and so much more.

My name, Emily, made me who I am.  Without my special name, my life would have been exceptionally different.