Tuesday, October 31, 2017

The Morphing of Time

Character Day at school morphs into Halloween in the evening. "I'm late! I'm late, for a very important date!" as I carry a clock around with me, forgetting about the bunny ears and tail poof until a five year old exclaims, "She's a BUNNY!" in a stage whisper to their classmates. A community in which kids can run from house to house as parents saunter behind in conversation - homemade treats are still safe and appreciated. The moon glows and the pool lights glisten.

Somehow November is up on the calendar in my classroom. How is it possible that we are approaching the end of first quarter? If first quarter has flown this quickly it will be June when I next stop to think about it.

It feels like Monday (2nd day of the week in these parts) and Thursday (aka Friday to most people) all at the same time. I'm not sure how this is possible. I do know that when I realized my Wednesday morning meeting is tomorrow is how the reality of it being Tuesday and thus "Slice of Life" time already came as a surprise.

The days are shortening and I keep expecting those who mess with their time to change my timezone bingo, yet it hasn't happened yet. A childhood of October 'fall back' is engrained in my expectations so I'm thrown off kilter.

How is time going for you?

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Hashtags and a P.S.

"Family snuggles are the best, hashtag: so are my parents."

"Hashtag! What do you now about hashtags?!" I asked my eight year old.

As the grin spreads from cheek to cheek she grabs a whiteboard marker and goes into teacher mode with her easel.

"P.S. ia a note you forgot to add and hashtag is an exclamation!" she explains while she writes "#" and "P.S." in purple.

Teacher mode continues, "Hashtags are exclamations. Things like 'ice cream is best' or 'I love Hamilton'. A P.S. is like a note you forgot to write. In order to add it you put 'P.S.' first."

#  exclamations!

P.S.  note

She's never heard of Twitter, yet this third grader has an accurate working knowledge of these literary devices.

I stopped to do some research as I was writing this because I was curious the real history of each of these possibilities.

P.S. originated in the mid 16th century from the Latin post scriptum: after write.

2007 was the first time a # was used on Twitter and three days later a blogger called it a "hashtag". Twitter began hyperlinking hashtags in 2009 and the term reached the Oxford English Dictionary in 2014.

#daughters #parenting #writing

I suppose it makes total sense that my daughter knows what a hashtag is and should be a little more surprising that she has a clue about a P.S.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

This One

It's volleyball season, which means loads of volleyball around here. Friday we spent the day in Jeddah dashing between two schools - the girls' tournament at one international school and the boys' tournament at another. 

(Abaya on. In car. Through security. Abaya off. Cheer, cheer, cheer. Check schedules. Abaya on. Dash out of one gym. Repeat the process.)

At one point, during the boys second set with a team they had played (and lost to) twice previously during this tournament, they found themselves down - by ten points. Now, I get being tired, but they had won the first set so dropping this set would force the third - not a rest. If they lost this game they were out. If they won, they went on to play in the championship game.

Cheering fiercely for our boys to get their head in the game (cue High School Musical) I kept yelling, "This one! This point!"

As I watched communication break down and the ball take an angle that was better in a physics experiment than a volleyball game, I found myself thinking philosophically. Then they won that point and the next one and the momentum shifted and I was swept back up in the intensity of the moment.

I find myself thinking back on that set and how it applies to teaching; taking each day as a fresh day, "this" day. Sometimes thinking of teaching in terms of 'days' is still too huge. There are times that days are seemingly unimaginable chunks - both for us and for our students. We need to be break them down into even smaller bits of time. 

For students, maybe "this point" is writing the next sentence, solving the current math problem, recording one bit of data from an experiment, jotting  a sticky, or respectful comment in a group conversation.

For us, maybe "this one" is a deep breath before the next thing comes out of our mouth to re-direct a student or the pacing of today's mini-lesson, or trying another approach with the manipulatives. 

In all cases, for students and teachers, some of the "this one"s are going to go awry. Some of them will be aces. How do we keep our energy up and ourselves focus - letting all the previous 'points' fade from our minds and approaching "this one" as a series of focused moments to victory?

Join the community at Two Writing Teachers and Slice with us!

Monday, October 2, 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.

You will notice that September's list is sparse. After SO much reading for my #bookaday challenge over the summer I took a bit of a break from books. That's not to say I wasn't ready, loads, but it was mostly digital content; blogs, news, etc.