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Archive for the ‘Celebration Saturday’ Category

Find more celebration posts at Ruth’s blog.

Recently I have connected with Jennifer Laffin of Teach Write.  She invited me to be a part of a team encouraging teachers to write.  Our monthly Twitter chats occur on the first Monday at 7:30 PM EST with the hashtag #TeachWrite. (Our next chat is Oct. 2, 2017.) I subscribed to her personal blog as well as her professional one at Sweet Writing Life.  She wanted to commit herself to a more disciplined daily writing routine, so she started a daily word prompt.  She tweets the word at #DWHabit.  This was today’s tweet:

 

I am not sure I will have the time to respond every day, but today, I took the word explain for a walk.  My students teach me over and over again that sometimes I need to stop, take a breath, and backtrack before moving on.  Sometimes more words just muddy the waters. This is a first draft poem.

Explanation

I don’t want to explain again
and again.  Words hit the air,
make waves that dissipate,
fall
before your ears
catch them.

I’d rather you look
into my eyes
to understand,
feel in your heart
a knowing.

My breath is tired
of moving
so fast, so I stop.
Pause.
Fingers to my lips
forbid me to move on.

When I hit the reset button,
I can hear your confusion.
I am the one
who needs to retrace my steps,
start over,

and listen.

Thanks for this prompt, Jennifer.

If you choose to join Jennifer and me practicing our daily writing muscles, tune in to #DWHabit or follow Jennifer on Facebook.

 

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Find more celebration posts at Ruth’s blog.

Dawson is new to gifted classes, but he is not new to helping others.  I found out on Friday that he had a bake sale on Thursday to benefit a local diner.  I asked him to tell me all about it.  We talked about the efforts that went into the process, talking with the principal, advertising, and making all the treats.  His goal was $50.  Selling each treat for 50 cents takes a while to reach $50, but he was determined.

He wrote this on his Kidblog post:

I’m so excited I can’t wait till I get to see the happy looks on the homeless people’s faces! I just can’t wait. By the time the 4th, 5th, and 6th graders come, I will have no more food. Some of the comments they gave me were ” Delicious brownies Dawson”, and ” Wow, great cookies Dawson”.

When Dawson finished his post, I asked him what else he was passionate about.  Without hesitation, he said “Reading.”  He had figured out a way to get all his AR points by reading every night before bed.  He also learned that reading before you go to sleep actually creates melatonin and helps you sleep better.  Did I mention that Dawson is in 4th grade?

As a teacher of gifted kids, I am used to being blown away every day.  They can say the most amazing things.  But Dawson’s only been in my class for 2 weeks, and already he is showing the kind of leadership I can work years to instill in my students. I couldn’t help myself; I had to egg him on.

In the end, he created this public service announcement that we recorded and emailed to all the teachers.  What a joy!

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Find more celebration posts at Ruth’s blog.

My birthday was yesterday and while birthdays can be a big deal, this one made me celebrate the little things.

Like a poem from a student:

So much depends upon the teacher,
clad in happiness
sharing with her students
the secrets to life’s success.

–Lynzee, 3rd grade

Lynzee also brought a birthday banner to hang on my desk for the day.

 

Erin brought me a mug for tea that was a funny play on words: “Go with the Flow” and “Manatee” tea infuser.

 

One of our favorite bands (Nouveau String Band) was playing at one of our favorite places in Breaux Bridge (Joie de Vivre).  Many of our dancing friends came to my “birthday party” and even brought birthday cards.  May Louise’s card was so sweet.  On the front was a cute hair clip that I put in my hair.  The message on the card: “Some people were born to stand out. Happy birthday to one of them…”

Daughter Maggie points to the hair clip in this selfie.

I certainly did stand out at Joie de Vivre last night.  The band played a waltz in my honor and sang Happy Birthday to me.  We’ve grown to be a family of friends.  I’m not usually the center of attention, but for my birthday, why not?  I soaked up all the good energy, good wishes, and love.

A show off turn in the waltz.

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Find more celebration posts at Ruth’s blog.

I need to celebrate today.  I think the days when it is hardest are the days when celebration is needed the most.  Today I am celebrating in pictures from my phone storage.

I saw this scene as I was driving home.  I stopped, got out of my car, walked across the street to the bridge to capture the sunset.  I celebrate that every day there is beauty in the world.

This bulletin board is outside my room at one of my three schools.  This school has a Disney theme this year.  I celebrate the students who helped me create this board and I celebrate that the letters are running over the edge of the border and I’m OK with it. I had to “Let it go!” (That’s from another Disney movie, isn’t it?)

This sign was stuck to the mirror at another school.  I celebrate the positive messages I’ve received this week from colleagues and friends.  They are my rainbows.  I received this text on the first day of school: “Just thinking about you and wishing you a very good year at school.  I hope your travels to three school goes smoothly.”

Sunsets. Mermaids. Rainbows.  Positive, magical messages that make me happy.

What are some of the positive messages you’ve received this week?

 

 

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Find more celebration posts at Ruth’s blog.

Empty classrooms
echo sights and sounds
of children.

Each knickknack evokes
a memory of a child.

I move desks to their places,
reconnect computer cables,
staple border on bulletin boards,
roll out the rug,
dust shelves,
arrange books,
and wonder who
the first bell will bring.

Tall pencils in a jar,
blank notebooks in the cubbies,
sticker charts wait.

Empty classrooms
invite, inspire, invoke
a spirit of expectedness,
elasticity to expand
for new voices, new hearts,
new children to embrace.

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Find more celebration posts at Ruth’s blog.

 

Bunk Johnson mural at Da Berry Fresh Market

 

I look forward to Thursdays.  Carl gives me a call to remind me to pick up my vegetables at Da Berry Fresh Market.  I signed up for this CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) in June, but it’s taken awhile for me to remember the pick-up day.

Each week Carl packs up fruits, vegetables, herbs, and a little surprise jar of something.  This week the surprise was a jar of pickled green tomatoes.  Last week there were 2 jars, honey and balsamic fig and blueberry jam.  This weekly supply inspires fresher and more inventive meals.  Last night I sautéed eggplant in shallots to go into delicious Yum Yum bowls for my family. (The girls are home for the weekend.) The meal was a big hit.

Daniel and Carl of Da Berry Fresh Market

Envision da Berry is the brainchild of Phanat Xanamane.  He came back home to ‘da Berry (New Iberia) to make a difference. The da Berry Market is just one way he has brightened up this area.  Phanat and Envision da Berry believe “combining art and technology in public space has the power to open Iberia Parish up to a new world of economic and cultural possibility.”  The glow on both Carl’s and Daniel’s faces not only reflect the heat, but also the joy and pride they take in their work.

And yes, I feel better about myself as a consumer buying fresh food from local farmers.  This is a positive for all, the community, the farmers, and me. To find out more, visit Da Berry Fresh Market at 520 Hopkins Street, New Iberia or follow their Facebook page. 

 

 

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Find more celebration posts at Ruth’s blog.

Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “Do the thing that scares you.”  Armed with years of experience and a strong conviction that writing teachers should write, I did the thing that most scares me…teaching teachers.

I led a weeklong teachers writing institute.  In March I set up a meeting with the curriculum coordinator for elementary schools in our district.  I pitched my idea.  While she was enthusiastic, I never heard back from her.  So I got the guts to send an email inquiry.  Yes, she was still interested, but I needed to meet with the middle school coordinator.  Nearing the end of the school year, I had approval and sent out the flyer.  Surprising to me, the workshop filled quickly.

Since today is about celebrating, I will not go into my disappointments.  I just want to capture the shining stars and bask a bit in their glow.

  • A new teacher, second career, only man in the class said his 17 year old daughter waited each day to read what he wrote.  His father told him to submit his essay to Reader’s Digest.  He is entering his first year of teaching confident that he is a writer.
  • A colleague from the gifted program told me I was a natural.  She said, “You seem so relaxed.  You make us feel comfortable.”  She could not see or feel the nerves churning inside.
  • Following Katherine Bomer’s book, The Journey is Everything, became a guidebook to writing a final essay.  Most teachers wrote an essay they were proud of.  We read and celebrated the writers we had found together.
  • Catherine Flynn joined us by Skype to teach us about visual literacy. (The idea to connect with her came from this post.)  Teachers took notes and talked about ways they could use art with their students.  Thanks, Catherine.
  • On the last day, tears were shed as we got into the deep trenches that writing can take us.  Sharing your own words is an act of faith.  We had become a community of writers.

Writing and sharing on our writing marathon in downtown New Iberia.

I gathered words and phrases from our writing marathon into a collaborative poem.

 

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