Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Slice of Life - Productive Effort

I'm in my ready position and my iPhone lens is carefully placed between fence lines to capture some early Sunday morning softball catching photos.  I wait for the play and before I know it, she's right in front of me!  It's not the picture I planned on capturing which unsettles me for a minute and then I realize what if she catches this foul ball, I better start snapping photos.  

Let's think about what was happening on the other side of the fence and pretend we are A.  

The pitch comes in.  
The batter tips the ball and it up, over, and behind me.  
I have to spin half way around.
I flip off my catching mask.
I turn my head to the sky in hopes of seeing where this yellow ball is.
I reach really wide in hopes of catching this ball for an out.
While flipping, looking, and reaching, I'm also moving my feet backwards and side to side.
I didn't catch that ball.
The batter got to try again.


After I capture a couple of "standard" catching photos I look back through my camera roll and see the photo above.  I love this different angle of the game.  I'm pretty proud of the quality of this shot with my iPhone6.  Then I get ecstatic!  I just captured productive effort!  A made her productive effort public.  Her coach was so excited and praising this productive effort.  

Productive effort are probably the two most important words for me in Who's Doing the Work? by Jan Burkins and Kim Yaris, which I shared yesterday.  I can't wait to share this photo and tell this story to my second graders as a productive effort mentor.  If you own the book, productive effort is discussed in the Chapter 2, Read Aloud.  

Thank you Two Writing Teachers for hosting this writing community and for encouraging us to live a writerly life.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Slice of Life - Figuring Out the New

I wasn't sure what I would do.  There was a new experience ahead of me.  I didn't want it all planned out.  I wanted to explore and have some flexibility.  I was a bit uncertain but told myself I could be confident and figure this out.  I dropped the girls off to their classes at the local art college downtown and thought, I can do this.  I can be alone and try new things in a new part of town.

I walked through the campus to a local coffee shop a friend shared on Instagram with a bag of things I could do.  I walked in confidently.  I asked the server for drink recommendations and ordered something new.  I then saw a delicious snack and added that to my order.  I found a spot to sit by the window to enjoy the sunshine and watch the sidewalk.  I did some planning for next year and wrote a blogpost.  I enjoyed my treats.  I watched what appeared to be frequent customers order and linger, enjoying this coffee house.  They weren't new to this kind of free time.  Many of them entered or met a friend, greeting them with hugs and hellos.  I've admired friends who can share such leisure moments out and about and I can now say these moments are as enjoyable as they look.  

Today I thought a little bit about that first day of school.  My students will come in probably a little uncertain.  They will be without their family.  I'm sure they will know someone in the class.  Maybe we need time to linger that first day.  Maybe we need to create moments to observe and figure out our new space.  Maybe our schedule doesn't need to be mapped out minute by minute.  We'll need time to talk and time to be quiet.  With time, I want my new students to walk in and greet each other with hellos and smiles.  I think I'll start with hugs and hello on day one.  


Thank you Two Writing Teachers for hosting this writing community and for encouraging us to live a writerly life.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Slice of Life - Rocked My World

During the past month, on and off there is has been a little slice reoccurring.  

N:  My phone won't work.
Me:  That's too bad.
N:  My phone is working.
Me:  Great news, maybe something isn't quite right.

Silence for a while, on this topic.
Repeat previous conversation.

N:  I went to the "carrier" for my phone today.
N:  They said it has water damage and it would cost four hundred dollars.
Me:  What did you do?
N:  I walked out, the phone is working again.
Me:  Silent, Phew!  Audible - Maybe you should go to the Apple store.  

Silence for a while, on this topic.  It all came crashing down today and today is an important day.  N turned 20 and had people sending her wishes and making plans for a fun night out.  Technology rocked her world.  We went to the Apple store and delayed her plans.  The outcome was superior customer service and a brand new phone for free!  There was a glitch in how it was operating not caused by the user.  Yahoo.

I got back in the car at her apartment and had a moment to reflect.  Technology rocked her world today and that's important right now for her.  It's the world we live in and can be frustrating.  However, twenty years ago she rocked my world.  She rocked my daily schedule, my thinking, my emotions, and my heart.  I still laugh at myself because I thought pre - N, my life wouldn't really change.  

I didn't expect her to rock my professional world but she did.  I arrived on time and I left on time.  I started working through lunches to take less home.  Professional development outside of the day wasn't a choice I made for a bit.  While these things cross the personal and professional line, she really rocked my teaching.  I became fascinated with what young students are able to do when they arrive at school.  I had this incredible urge to get to find out about the whole child. Observations became essential in moving students forward and learning about students.  Conferring with students was so enlightening.  Their words and conversations were daily delights because I took the time to listen about their topics.  Exploring different media for sharing learning became essential because kids are naturally curious and what we call now, makers.  These reflections are some nuggets I want to hold on to, as I start working with a new set of students in August.  Thanks N for making a difference in my life.

PS - This is just my slice and in no way intended to state I think teachers need to be parents.  

Thank you Two Writing Teachers for hosting this writing community and for encouraging us to live a writerly life.