Tuesday, February 28, 2017

The Lull Before The Storm

Anyone else having a hard time believing that March is tomorrow?!?! Within this community that means something else than it does elsewhere, but I am not even talking about the March challenge. I am simply in shock that somehow we have made it to four week left until Spring Break. All of us who teach know the period of time from Christmas Vacation until Spring Break to be the longest chunk of the year, regardless of how many weeks it contains. I feel like once the page is turned to March we've made it. Heck, once Spring Break is over it is a mere blink of an eye until June - so really, we are basically staring down summer! (OK, I agree - that is taking it too far, but you know what I mean.)

For me, March brings several things.

Yes, Two Writing Teachers host the March Slice of Life Writing Challenge where we get our writing on for 31 days straight. (Today can either be seen as a preamble, or simply the start of 32 days of writing.) Many of the teachers amongst us are writing, at least were initially, because we ask if of our students. The notion of 'teacher writers' was reinforced when I read this article today where a college professor wrote about using his own draft work with students stating, "I want my students to see my own work in process". He would fit right in!

I'm not the only one in my room gearing up to Slice in March. My students have their blogs ready and can't wait to have the gates opened to the land of slicing. I have had classes slice before, but only in notebooks. This year we are jumping in with blogs and expectations of writing and commenting and hopes of connecting across the globe.

March is also the month which contains the Iditarod. I worked in Alaska in a previous life and met people who ran "The Last Great Race". Those people, and by extension the race, came to have a special place in my heart. Each year I expand the world of my students by delving into the race by incorporating different aspects of the curriculum into the grandeur of Alaska. (Which is really mind expanding when you realize I teach in the Middle East and most of my kids have never even seen snow.) If you don't know much about the race, check back between March 11th - 19th (perhaps a bit longer, my crystal ball isn't working).

To pile it on, March is also time for the local science fair that is a part of NVSF5th (NESA Virtual Science Fair). I will spare you details right now, other than to say there are experiments all over my classroom, research papers being written, and group dynamics doing what group dynamics do when you assign 10 and 11 year olds to groups.

The capstone of this year's March is that my mom is coming nearly 8,000 miles to spend the month with us. She is flapping her arms right now (and will still be flapping when I write tomorrow's post).

Bring it on!

Monday, February 27, 2017

What Are You Reading?

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA! 
It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme started by Sheila at Book Journeys and now hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. It is a great way to recap what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. It's also a great chance to see what others are reading right now...you just might discover your next “must-read” book!
Jen at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee of Unleashing Readers decided to give It's Monday! What Are You Reading? a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children's literature - picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, anything in the world of kidlit - join us! We love this meme and think you will, too. We encourage everyone who participates to visit at least three of the other kidlit book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them.

Here are my February books...

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Little One's Wisdom

We have been working on getting things ready around here: reading lamp over the guest bed installed, drawers and shelves cleared out, quilt hung on the wall, couple more piece of IKEA furniture purchased and assembled, another shoe rack put up, and my daughter not only cleaned her room, but also reorganized her library. 

Why all the fuss? Grandma is coming! She is spending the month of March here and then going on Spring Break with us.

After this weekend's round of accomplishments my daughter and I were flopped down on her bed.

"I'm ready for Grandma to come. What about you?"

"Mom, we already bought the tickets. It would be really expensive to have to buy other ones. You are just going to have to wait."


She's been paying attention.

Guess now's not the time to tell her about 'change fees'.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Should I or Shouldn't I?

"Kristi, how are you feeling?"

The answer to this should simply be, "Better, thank you". So why do I continually find myself launching into an explanation as to why I wasn't at school? I have found myself reflecting on both my actions, and my reactions to those actions, for the past couple of days.

The calendar called for a "Teacher Work Day". Generally I am responsible for at least one session or leading some form of teacher training. This is the first time where I had no responsibilities. There were committee meetings I was scheduled to attend and a chunk of time allotted for recording data. However, there were no students (fifth grade nor adult) expecting me. No lesson plans were needed. In essence, the perfect day for a teacher to miss school.


3:38 a.m. is what the clock said when I first awoke with a migraine. I took my first round of pills, propped myself up in my recliner, tucked the fleece blanket around me, set the volume to low and pressed play for Whittington on OverDrive, and settled in, waiting for the pain to subside to the point that I could lie down again.

I will spare you the blow by blow - by the time my alarm would have gone off I had yet to go back to sleep. My husband came by to kiss the top of my head and ask if I needed anything. "Are you going to school?" he inquired. I grunted some sort of non-committal reply.

This was not the first time the question had crossed my mind. Usually the medicine kicks in after 20 - 30 minutes, if the first round is going to do the trick. When we had passed an hour, and a subsequent dosage, I had started to think through the upcoming day and realizing that I really could not go in. 

I spent the next chunk of time trying to justify to myself why it would be OK to stay home. I then wondered if this was typical of all teachers or all women or... - noticing that at no point did I think it was outside the realm of normal. 

The thoughts continued.
If I had a fever, of course I would stay home, I thought. I
'm not contagious so what's my excuse?
am functional, this is normal for me and I never even consider staying home. 

And so on.

I found this distinction to be very interesting; if others were counting on me I would go, yet at the same time realized that being able to sleep off the migraine hangover would be what was best for my health. 

And the internal debate continued.

It was about this time that I was medicated enough that I could lie down again and go back to sleep, so I went up stairs and crawled into bed while my husband was in the shower. I still hadn't made a decision. When I rolled over it was 1.5 hours after we leave for school and I was alone in the house. "I guess I'm not going to school." I 'WhatsApped' my husband. "Should I send a driver?" came his reply.

Ugh. Now I went through the entire cycle of should I vs. shouldn't I again.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

"Old" Moms

A childhood friend posted a picture on Facebook to show how much she loves a new lipstick. The color was fabulous and vibrant, but that wasn't what caught my attention. In fact, it took me several moments to even register what the words were saying because the picture, I was sure, was of her mother - although it wasn't. 

The smiling woman looked like the mother of my six year old friend, but we were six decades ago. I did the math and realized that we ARE about the age our mothers were when we were six. The woman with the lovely lipstick looked to be in her mid forties!

I had to stop and let that sink in for a while. 

It isn't that I don't know that I'm in my mid forties. I am well aware and am loving this decade of life. I don't know why the picture and my realization struck me so profoundly, but it did. I find myself flooded with memories of being six and playing with this friend - and wishing we weren't so far apart now. I would love to get on a plane and spend a few days with her, sharing all that God has done in our lives since we went separate ways after high school, though to be honest, we haven't been particularly close since elementary school. It may just be me, but I still feel particularly tied to her and I don't know why. Perhaps that is part of the wonder of childhood friends - and their 'old' moms.