Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Slice of Life - It's dead, but wait...!

It's dead.  It sat in the corner for months, dead.  It probably died about the time school started and I just let it sit there.  I love the container it's in so I would celebrate the container and ignore the dead.  Lucky for me, the dead didn't stink.  It just turned brown and brittle.  I did slightly morn the brown and brittle dead only because when I received the beautiful green plant with orange blossoms it was unique and special.  It was an end of the year gift from a student.  However, I know if you neglect a plant and it doesn't get it's basic necessities it will die.  

I've been decorating the house for the holidays and yes both sets of parents are coming so perking things up becomes fun and a priority.  Perking things up really means get rid of the dead plant.  I decided I wanted to save the container I love.  To save the container I began to remove the brown and brittle plant.  I couldn't believe what I saw, there was green shoots just peeping through the soil?  They looked like daffodils or tulips in the spring.  

I reread the information tag and the plant is a perennial which means it will return year after year but it's a house plant so I didn't expect it to completely die.  I really think the plant has a bulb structure which means it would die off completely and return.  I like having plants and truth be told my classroom plants seem to do better than my home plants.  My students help water them and having plant support might be what keeps things alive or bring them back from a wilt-y state.

As I uncovered my fresh new green sprouts, I reflected on a few things.  If you look below the surface, you can find and/or see growth.  Plants are forgiving and students are too.   Green sprouts bring hope and looking for the small signs in my classroom can and will bring hope for each student and what they need.  I just need to look below the surface and notice closely to discover green sprouts to nurture.

Thank you to Two Writing Teachers for fostering and encouraging this writing community.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Slice of Life - rethinking a family tradition

An unexpected response came my way when I asked my youngest, "Do you want to do our holiday book a day tradition?"  She replied with certainty, "Yes!"  I was a bit caught off guard because I remember last year her interest seemed to diminish a bit as the twenty four days were passing.  I wanted to be realistic and realize my girls are growing up, things change, and it's okay if we have one less thing to do.  She is the youngest of three girls.  She is in middle school now as a sixth grader.  She warmed my heart she wanted to be my reading partner each night for twenty four days.

We've been doing a holiday book as an advent calendar since she was born.  When her oldest sister was little I didn't want an advent calendar with chocolate.  Candy was very limited in our house.  I didn't want an advent calendar with trinket toys resembling a fast food drive in kids meal treat.  Those types of meals never happened in our house.   Then one day I read about wrapping twenty four holiday books and opening one a night, perfect!

I didn't question her answer but began thinking about how could I keep her interest from diminishing this year.  I had to assess our current collection.  Our collection of holiday books is far more than just twenty four.  Our holiday book collection has fun stories and stories that retell the Christmas story.  We have simple rhyming stories and some stories that more involved picture book stories.  We have heard these stories many times over the years.  As I reflected about keeping her interest, I thought about my classroom library.  I concluded I wanted to include some favorites.  I wanted to get some new titles.  I wanted to include various genres; poetry, nonfiction, fantasy, realistic fiction, and biography-ish titles.  I also wanted to include titles with bigger messages and explanations for different traditions.  I'm really excited to have a reading partner for the next twenty two days.  

Since I wrapped the titles before writing this post I hope you will follow our reading journey via twitter @mandyrobek and consider joining me using the hashtag #holidaybookaday.  I specifically chose this hashtag so anyone, celebrating any holiday could share their reading lives.  This could be a neat way to expand our reading lives and global thinking.

Thank you Two Writing Teachers for fostering this writing community.