Sunday, March 3, 2019

#DWHabit - Difference

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I think everyone wants to make a difference in their life or the life of someone else. I know that we wish for our children and students to want to make a difference.  We are starting our unit on the Holocaust and Anne Frank.  The whole idea behind this unit is to hopefully instill in my students the desire to make a difference in their world.

I hope they learn about some of the things that took place in the past and how people like Anne Frank chose to see the good in others and the world around her even with the terrible things happening to her and people like her.  I want there to be some reaction that lets me know that I can feel confidence that these students are my future.

Saturday, March 2, 2019

#DWHabit - Shiny

Why is it that kids will always go for something shiny without knowing what it is, or its real value. I am reminded of the Disney show "Moana". The crab was all about being shiny. How many people go for something "shiny". It is something new that they think will make them stand out in the crowd. It could be a new job or position. It may be something they don't really want, yet they think it will put them in a better or higher position.  I guess I have never been the one that wanted something so new and  shiny. Having said that I think it is important that we let what is inside of us shine. Maybe we need to be the "shiny" thing that someone else is looking for to help them improve their own life. Maybe what we have inside  is what we need to focus on. who knows.

Friday, March 1, 2019

#DWHabit - Glow

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The word glow can mean so many things and is used in so many ways.

We speak of a glow a woman has when she has just given birth or learned she is pregnant. When walking down the aisle the bride is often described as glowing. We associate it with words such as passion, warmth, brilliance.

We have the warm glow of a sunset as it sinks beneath the horizon. My favorite is the warm glow of the summer sun that is just beginning to rise. It  colors not only the world but our mood and thoughts.

For me the glow of that child who has just accomplished something they thought they could never do, is what is special to me. It doesn't matter if that child is one, eleven or older. There is a genuine glow that comes with success. So why do parents, teachers and society try so hard to stop that glow with their words and attitudes? Is it something we do unintentionally?  What will it take to say those words of encouragement to make our kids glow again.  It seems to me that the world would be a brighter place with more light within it. Don't you agree

Thursday, February 28, 2019

#DWHabit - Bubbles

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There is something magical about bubbles.  Kids love them. Adults love them because it brings out the kid in them.  I get my grand-kids bubbles every year for Christmas. It has been the one gift that they always love.  They can't wait to get outside and play with them.  I love the giggles that come from them.  When my children and their children were babies I would blow bubbles at them just to watch them clap and hear them giggle. When they were old enough to toddle around I would watch them chase after them and try to catch them. Even our pets would get in on the action they would try to jump and catch them in their mouth.  Yest there is something magical about bubbles. I used to wish I could climb into a giant bubble and soar into the sky. I would get a rainbow view from inside of the world. I would be carried where ever the wind would take me. Yes, I definitely still love bubbles

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

#DWHabit - Summer

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Today's word of the day for my classroom was "summer". My students were making comments that they couldn't wait for summer.  For me as a child I loved summer because we were free to go camping or visit far away cousins. I spent most of my summer outside since we lived in the country.  At least once a week we got to go to town and swim in the public pool.  This would be a three to four hour adventure if we were lucky.  My mom would spend time with her sister. Summer was a time of imagination, running and playing. It was a time I would spend in the rafters of our corn crib reading and writing.

Then there was the garden. I couldn't wait for the tomatoes to grow large and ripe enough to eat them. We would take two buckets to the garden. One was empty for the tomatoes and the other was filled with water to wash them. There is nothing better than a hot tomato from the garden. We carried a salt shaker out with us to salt our tomatoes.

When I was in tenth grade we moved to Florida. I loved sitting on a beach listening to the waves roll in. My sunburns were more severe down here. I found I had to limit my time in the sun. We tried a garden down here. I found that the food didn't taste near as good as it did up north. I personally believe it has to do with growing food in the sand as opposed to  rich soil up north. So what do I do now that I am much older?  We have a yard swing. I love going out first thing in the morning and sitting with my writing journal and my sketch pad. I usually take a cup of coffee with me. I listen to the sounds as the day wakes up. I sketch whatever comes to my mind. This usually lead to me writing something. Summer is the time when we get to spend more time with the grand kids. I love summer and like my students, can't wait for it to get here.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

#DWHabit - Imagine

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Imagine a class full of students, most of them hating to write. Imagine giving them a sticky note and telling them to write five words that they like, or they think are funny, or whatever. When they return the you type them onto a list of words you are collecting to use for their Word of the Day journal entry.

That is what I did today. I decided I would let them give me the words and then put them in a random list generator. One of my students gave me the word "Iridocyclitis". I had never heard of the word. I asked him if he knew what the word meant and he said yes. It is an infection of the iris of the eye. I asked him where he had heard the word and why he chose it. It was on a meme of a spelling bee he had seen. He thought the way the kid in the video pronounced it made it funny and it stuck.  Yes I did put the word on the list.  

My students told me it was hard to write from a single word. I told them I understood it. It meant I was allowing them to be creative and to do their own thinking instead of spoon feeding what I wanted them to read and write.  One of the other students popped up with,  "Yeah, she is trying to help us become autonomous." That was one of their vocab words this week. They struggled with that word. Suddenly when he said that, they all got it. Several said, "Oh, she's trying to teach us to be independent thinkers."

I am so glad that I picked up Word of the Day again. I had no clue what I was going to write until Hector gave me that word and told me the reason he chose it was because it sounded funny. I want words to sound funny and wonderful to my students. I want them to learn to love them. Having them contribute to creating the list of words gave them buy-in. Wish I'd thought of this at the beginning of the year.  I will do this at the beginning of the year next year.  This will give me enough words for at least two school years.

Monday, February 25, 2019

#DWHabit - Perfect

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Today was the perfect day to begin something new with my class. For the rest of the year their journal at the beginning of class will be a "Word of the Day" I have a calendar hanging so if they miss a day they can go back and see what it is and write. I will also post the word on Schoology so if they check it from home they will be able to see the word. 

I chose the word perfect because we often expect our students to do their work as close to perfect as possible. One student wrote "What is perfect? I know I never think my drawings are perfect."  I used her as an example of what to do. They seem to accept this form of writing easier than a lot of other writing. The reason it is so difficult to get my students to write is because they are being bombarded with essay writing. I hate that our district does this to them. They prefer round robin writing or stories attached to things like candy canes where all the prompts attached to them are about candy canes. I have a special one for them before spring break. I have key prompts tied to antique looking keys.  I can't wait to see where that one takes them. Kids don't hate writing. They hate being told what to write and being told how to make it perfect. They don't buy into this lie because they have a teacher like me who tells them we can improve it but it will never be perfect. Maybe that is why they don't fight me on the writing

Sunday, February 24, 2019

#DWHabit - Sing

It is a pleasure to wake up each morning early enough to hear the birds sing. This morning there seemed to be a whole choir of them. I could hear the twitter and chirps as they called to each other. Then there was the singing of the wind as it wafted through the trees and bushes. Even the planes that fly over add their voices to the morning choir. People leaving for church and places unknown form the background music for all of this. As the sun rises more and more and the day progresses those voices become less and less. From the time I was a child, growing up on a farm in Indiana I always loved being awakened by the sound of the birds or other farm animals. I live in Florida now and it is no different. I love waking up in the summer and going out to my yard swing and listening to the birds and dogs. I watch our bees flit in and out of their box and listen to their harmony of buzzes. The lizards make no sounds that I am aware of, but their dances with each other make me feel alive.  May I never grow too old to enjoy the singing of the world as it awakens each day.

Saturday, February 23, 2019

#DWHabit - Word of the Day - Return

To Come Back Again.  This is my first writing post since July 11. A lot has happened since then. School ended at the end of May last year. My plan was simple, read and write a lot. Plans have a way of falling apart. My mom's health went down hill quickly. I spent the entire summer either at a hospital or rehab facility. I would come home too tired to look at material for teaching a new subject the coming school year. Reading and writing were out of the question. I talked books. I talked ideas, but when I picked up that pencil to write I could not. I felt like a well that had run dry. I wrote examples with my students at school but it never went any farther. I tried to write during NaNoWriMo but just couldn't. I chided myself because writing had always been my outlet. I found that I was just going through the motions day in and day out. I couldn't sleep. I felt the harder I tried to read a book or write the more repulsed I felt.  That drove me nuts because reading and writing are my passions. This last month my assistant principal asked me to facilitate a writing initiative at my school. I went to the training and even though I was sick the day of the training, I was excited to be asked to do this. Inspiring others to write it what it is all about. Trying to inspire teachers who don't usually teach writing, to write with their students was a challenge I looked forward to.  For some reason, talking to and encouraging my students to encourage those teachers by being attentive to this writing initiative opened that stopper for me.


Return to the familiar
What is that you ask?
You know the familiar,
that takes away your mask.

Those things like reading
That send you far away.
Yet  have a hint of familiar
to connect you to today.

Then there is the writing
that allows you to create.
Worlds and characters
for people to love or hate.

Return to the scary
the part that you must share
It shows students you have
courage to let them know you care.

Let this be my mantra
that I will write each day.
Let it be the candle
that brightly shows the way.

Return to the unfamiliar
to those things you dare to do.
Those things will one day blossom
into something beautiful and new.

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