Saturday, September 30, 2006
Friday, September 29, 2006
A friend of mine at school read us this poem the other day. It's about sending your child off to sleep-away camp, but it applies to sending them off to college or anywhere, really. It always makes me cry.
The Summer-Camp Bus Pulls Away from the Curb
Whatever he needs, he has or doesn’t have by now.
Whatever the world is going to do to him
it has started to do. With a pencil and two
Hardy Boys and a peanut butter sandwich and
grapes he is on his way, there is nothing
more we can do for him. Whatever is
stored in his heart, he can use, now.
Whatever he has laid up in his mind he can call on.
What he does not have
he can lack.
The bus gets smaller and smaller, as one
folds a flag at the end of a ceremony,
onto itself, and onto itself, until
only a heavy wedge remains.
Whatever his exuberant soul
can do for him, it is doing right now.
Whatever his arrogance can do
It is doing to him. Everything
that’s been done to him, he will now do.
Everything that’s been placed in him
will come out, now, the contents of a trunk
unpacked and lined up on a bunk in the underpine light.
Technorati Tags: friday poetry
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
Monday, September 25, 2006
Sunday, September 24, 2006
Buddy has come down with his first cold of the season so we skipped soccer and just stayed home doing housework and playing. I love weekends that are slow and give you time to catch up and enjoy your cozy home. And I love finding a new-to-me crockpot recipe on a new-to-me blog! What did you do this weekend that gave you time to breathe?
cooking recipes crockpot
Saturday, September 23, 2006
I am taking my topography's challenge and writing one Haiku a day for the rest of September (maybe beyond...) Here is one for today -
Tails pointing out to the world;
Wait for a good wind.
Friday, September 22, 2006
circles and loops
march across my page
from left to right.
The class leans
into their pages
like factory workers;
heads go up and down;
Miss Fortin patrols
the aisles to check
our posture, the position
of our arms.
She looks at my page
of circles and loops
mixed with black smudges
and eraser holes.
She doesn't get angry;
she just lets out
a long, low sigh
like she wants to go home.
Donald Graves in Basbeall, Snakes, and Summer Squash
Technorati Tags: teaching
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
Sometimes when I watch a young child paging through an old picture book I get a visceral memory of the way those old early readers felt and smelt when I was just learning to read. The paper was thicker and the ink had a distinctive scent, mixed with the fingerprints of all the children before me. Does anyone else remember that?
Last night after I read a chapter from Little Bear by Elsa Holmelund Minarick I watched Buddy Boy go through it. He likes to read it after me, telling the story from the pictures and asking for clarifying details to make the story his own. Our copy of the book is an old library discard and it has been poured over by hundreds of children. It has those old style illustrations and the pages make a particular sound as they turn. It pulled me right back to the magic of the very beginning. I can actually remember what it was like to be a child. To adore the physical book and be entranced by the magic of reading. Unlocking the code.
Do you remember learning to read? Longing to read? Falling in love with books?
tags: kidlit storytime
Technorati Tags: technorati, tags, PLCMC
The instructions are:
Grab the book closest to you
Open to page 123-Scroll down to the 5th sentence
Post the text of the next 3 sentences on your blog
Name of the book and the author
Tag 3 people
The book sitting on my desk is the one I just got in InterLibrary Loan yesterday: Primal Wound by Nancy Newton Verrier. I didn't get to start reading last night, but here is what I found on page 123:
Remember that birracial children, especially blackk/white, frequently consider themselves and are considered by our society to be black. They will often identify more with the black culture than with the white culture and need the opportunity to do that. White couples who have no black friends should think twice about adopting a black or biracial child. At all ages parents must tell the truth about adoption and deal with reality.
On my fridge I have a quote from the priest at my old church, from a sermon of hers about a year ago:
Carry the burden of what is real, not of what is imagined.
And on the front page of yesterday's paper, a picture of the real person behind Elmo. We love Elmo. How charming to discover Elmo's inner brother!
Zoe, Brooke, and Heidi - TAGGED YA!
Technorati Tags: meme,, adoption,, race
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
Today she gave me this. On paper, of course. I think she or my dad must have found it in the print magazine and copied it. I chuckled all through reading it while cooking dinner. Perhaps the intersection of all things theological/pastorial/congregational/ecuminical and cyber-social networking will become a new facination for them. They still print out emails to make sure I get them. They print my blog and keep a file of their favorite posts, which I think is sweet and very encouraging. Now blogs are becoming part of their world, even if they do read them in print.
Other cheerful topics:
I heard this on NPR this morning driving to work. Our bodies our toxic waste sites?
Also I read about Darfur in the paper last night and at Phantom Scribbler today.
Then there was Jabari Asim's column in the paper last night about life expectancy for black men. Based on a study put out recently, I am wondering if one of my sons' can expect to live to 77.9 and the other two can expect only to get to 72.9?
Any good news out there in blogland?
Monday, September 18, 2006
Proverbs 3:1-30 (GNT)
My child, don't forget what I teach you. Always remember what I tell you to do. My teaching will give you a long and prosperous life.
Never let go of loyalty and faithfulness. Tie them around your neck; write them on your heart. If you do this, both God and people will be pleased with you.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Never rely on what you think you know.
Remember the Lord in everything you do, and he will show you the right way. Never let yourself think that you are wiser than you are; simply obey the Lord and refuse to do wrong. If you do, it will be like good medicine, healing your wounds and easing your pains.
Honor the Lord by making him an offering from the best of all that your land produces. If you do, your barns will be filled with grain, and you will have too much wine to store it all.
My child, when the Lord corrects you, pay close attention and take it as a warning. The Lord corrects those he loves, as parents correct a child of whom they are proud.
Happy is anyone who becomes wise—who comes to have understanding. There is more profit in it than there is in silver; it is worth more to you than gold.
Wisdom is more valuable than jewels; nothing you could want can compare with it.
Wisdom offers you long life, as well as wealth and honor.
Wisdom can make your life pleasant and lead you safely through it. Those who become wise are happy; wisdom will give them life.
The Lord created the earth by his wisdom; by his knowledge he set the sky in place. His wisdom caused the rivers to flow and the clouds to give rain to the earth.
My child, hold on to your wisdom and insight. Never let them get away from you. They will provide you with life—a pleasant and happy life. You can go safely on your way and never even stumble.
You will not be afraid when you go to bed, and you will sleep soundly through the night. You will not have to worry about sudden disasters, such as come on the wicked like a storm. The Lord will keep you safe. He will not let you fall into a trap.
Whenever you possibly can, do good to those who need it. Never tell your neighbors to wait until tomorrow if you can help them now.
Saturday, September 16, 2006
For me blogging gives opportunities to make the connections as I think about what I’m reading, write about it and read what others think of the text and my writing about the text. I think the way we use hyperlinks to refer to other pages/posts/text has changes the way I think while reading. Have you noticed that? Have any of the rest of you thought about blogging in this way? Used it in teaching?
It’s not just readers that make these connections. Infants and todders learning language are building schema for new words every day. Punkin knows “banana” and loves them; the other day he saw me cutting a pear and demanded a taste by calling out “nana!”. Yesterday he didn’t want to eat his meatloaf and potatoes but wanted more peach slices so he shouted “Nana!” when I took away his bowl. For him fruit is ‘nana; he has the schema of fruit and sweetness and he is building on that.
Buddy is learning to be a reader by listening to my reading aloud to him every night. I chose the Bible story and he chooses the second book. We are reading a children’s story Bible that has one short paragraph and a picture on each page. The other night it was the story of the prodigal son. He looked at the picture of the father hugging his homecoming son and listened to me tell the story. His response: “I wish I could see my dad. I am sad and I miss my daddy.” Text-to-self ouch.
He is still on a Berenstain Bears kick and lately it has been The Trouble with Strangers. Papa Bear tells Sister the story of Willy Coyote and Silly Goose, where Silly Goose gets eaten after foolishly visiting Willy’s lair. Buddy response: “Well he’s not going to eat me because I’m special!” Text-to-self youthful immunity.
What connections do your kids make to the stories you are reading with them? What does it tell you about their world, their understanding and their inner life?
Friday, September 15, 2006
I have been using Technorati to tag my posts for poetry and a few other things all summer. I am not sure how useful it has been, but it helps me find past poetry posting in any case. For a while I used "Friday Poetry Blogging" as a tag, and wondered why so few others showed up on the list when I know a lot of folks were posting Friday poetry. Then I realized some people use "Friday Poetry" and some don't tag at all. So it's kind of hit or miss.
Also I am tired of going to the site to look up the tag code for every post I would like to tag. I tried to download the widgit to create tags quickly but it didn't work on my home Mac in Firefox and I usually don't download freeware on work computers (it is frowned upon...) I will be happy when I move to Blogger Beta and my posts are in catagories that automatically become tags!
I have noticed that I get some new readers from technorati, so maybe I am just not aware of the full effects of using it. I remember reading at one of the blog review sites that some people complain having technorati tags makes your blog page load slower. I don't know if that is true or not but I found my flickr badge and my zoomcloud slowed my page loading so I took them off the sidebar. No sense in adding frustration! Anyway I would love to hear from your perspective how technorati works for you. What are the advantages? Please leave your thoughts and observations in the comments here.
Technorati tags: "Learning 2.0" PLCMCL2
Under the mottled shell of the old tortoise
beats the heart of
a young dancer.
Read the rest here... Book Buds review.
Thursday, September 14, 2006
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
Good Boy, Fergus! By David Shannon. Shannon’s books never sit still on the shelf for long. They are the ones that tend to be overdue with a waiting list of eager, impatient patrons who come in asking about them every day. Today is probably my only chance to read this new one. I am tempted to sneak it home for Buddy Boy because I know he will love it. Fergus is an adorable doggy; always into mischief and completely lovable. The text and illustrations are delightfully well balanced and the humor is irresistible.
Little Mama Forgets by Robin Cruise; pictures by Stacey Dressen-McQueen. A lovely, musical story about the special relationship a young girl and her grandmother share within a large family. We are introducing Spanish lessons in our kindergarten through fifth grades this year so it is wonderful to add delightful books like this one with a sprinkling of Spanish words and phrases.
I Lost My Tooth in Africa by Penda Diakite; Illustrated by Baba Wague Diakite. Baba Wague Diakite says there is a proverb in Mali: “Raise a child is like planting a tree. When it is tended well, you will enjoy its shade.” He shares this with us in the brief biographical sketch at the back of this book written by his daughter. This is the story of a young girl visiting the family home in Mali when her tooth comes out. The tradition is that the African tooth fairy leaves a chicken in exchange for a tooth. How exciting for her to receive and care for her very own chicken! The illustrations are delightful and the authentic details of Mali family life are refreshing.
The Three Silly Girls Grubb by John and Ann Hassett. A take off on the three billy goats, this story of how to deal with a bully will have your children giggling and grinning with relief. A great beginning of the year book for opening playground discussions and building community.
Landed by Milly Lee; Pictures by Yangsook Choi. Based on a true story of Chinese immigration in the 19th century, this book tells the story of 12 year old Sun going to America with his father. In order to pass the exams required at Angel Island by the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act Sun must study details of his house, family history, and village in order to prove he was a true son of his father and enter the country. This book would be a great addition to a unit studying immigration in upper elementary or middle school grades.
The Life and Times of the Ant by Charles Micucci. Anyone studying bugs? Here is a non-fiction book about ants full of interesting facts and detailed illustrations allowing even pre-readers to absorb fascinating information.
Crossing Bok Chitto; a Choctaw Tale of Friendship & Freedom by Tim Tingle and illustrated by Jeanne Rorex Bridges. The Choctwas of Mississippi are a story-telling people. Tim Tingle says “we live by our stories” This book is the written down story song of a little girl named Martha Tom and a little boy named Mo. It is the story of friendship, hope, and sharing a way to freedom. The opening paragraph makes my spine tingle:
There is a river called Bok Chitto that cuts through Mississippi. In the days
before the War Between the States, in the day before the Trail of Tears, Bok
chitto was a boundary. On one side of the river lived the Choctaws, a nation of
Indian people. On the other side lived the plantation owners and their slaves.
If a slave escaped and made his way across Bok Chitto, the slave was free. The
slave owner could not follow. That was the law.
Beautifully illustrated by an award-wining Cherokee artist, this book should find an honored place in every children’s book collection. This is a part of American history that has been unheard and untaught for too long… pass it on to a child you know and take it into your own heart as well.
Tecnorati tags: kidlit
I always start the year off with a determination to find a half an hour in the day when I can get outside and take a walk. Although the library is beautiful and engaging, I need the air and sunshine and wind of the outside world to wake me up and keep me humming. That is one reason I like doing recess duty (the kids being the other reason). In the first week of school this year I managed to get outside with my camera a few times.
Friday, September 08, 2006
On the Other Side of the Door
I can be a different me,
As smart and as brave and as funny or strong
As a person could want to be.
There's nothing too hard for me to do,
There's no place I can't explore
Because everything can happen
On the other side of the door.
On the other side of the door
I don't have to go alone.
If you come, too, we can sail tall ships
And fly where the wind has flown.
And wherever we go, it is almost sure
We'll find what we're looking for
Because everything can happen
On the other side of the door.
Thursday, September 07, 2006
The first day of school starts in such a rush of excitement and anxiety. We teachers have to get to school earlier than usual, so all of us with small children at home have to do the day care drop offs earlier than usual, while our little ones are not yet used to being dropped off into the hands of their new teachers. I always wish there was a way to do this transition without me and my children going through the adjustment phase at the same time. The boys started going back to day care on Tuesday, so they have had a few days of practice, but it is not enough to make us totally comfortable and easy about it. There is no way to say good bye without bringing that anxious, worried, tearful look on your baby’s face into your heart, into the car with you as you drive away.
All of us special teachers always have the duty of greeting the school buses on the first day, collecting information about who is really riding the bus and how they are getting home that first day. It is an elaborately coordinated effort, getting through all this newness in just a few short hours. This year the music teacher, the gym teacher, the science teacher and I stood together in the early coolness commiserating about how difficult it was to leave our little ones. The buses were slow in arriving, and then it was all a mad dash to keep the cars of families dropping off kids moving through car pool and out of the school bus lanes, catching the buses as they came through, directing new students to their classes, checking names off our clipboards. Twenty minutes of whirlwind and then half an hour to have another cup of coffee and see if the computer lab is prepared for my first class.
The brightness and eagerness of the children’s faces on the first day is dazzling. Their hair is freshly done, their clothes are new, their shoes squeak. They want to tell you what new computers they got this summer, where they traveled, who is new in the class. It is difficult to think of settling down and actually focusing on a task, but at the same time they are ready to get in there and get to work. After the first few minutes we are humming along as if we never left for vacation. It is hard for me to remember what grade they have come to, the ones I have known for five or six years. They are taller, more mature, but so familiar as they slide back into their chairs and reach for keyboards. The rhythm comes back smoothly, a relief for them when their classroom is all new and they have been listening to new teacher’s voices all morning. Here in the media center they know where they are. The scattering of new students in each class is welcomed, offered guiding hands, enfolded into friendship.
By the end of the day we are all exhausted, none the less. The dismissal can be as confusing and anxious as the first few minutes of the day. The youngest students, who have long since forgotten what their mothers told them about pick up or after school or which bus to ride look to us nervously, expecting that the grown ups will direct them to the way safely home. I collected my assigned bus room students and waited with them until their bus was called. I was amused to overhear the eight graders giving words of wisdom to the sixth and seventh graders. Watch out for that math teacher, and the science teacher gives hard homework but he will give you more time if you beg. The best tip: he is always good for a pass to the library.
After the students left for the day teachers all over the building reached for chocolate and sat down to breathe. The first page is turned.
Wednesday, September 06, 2006
One of our friends living in the Village has been volunteering in our school for about ten years. She and her husband come to visit the fourth grade every week and they have so much to share with our students. She is in her 80s and wheelchair bound, but that doesn't slow her down at all as she is also the head of the co-ordinating committee for the intergenerational program. When she had to have some surgery done this summer she asked one of our teachers for some book recommendations. She read a stack of children's books and young adult fiction. She returned the books this week, with sticky notes attached give one sentence responses and summaries of the stories, just to share her thoughts on the books. In our reading program the teachers have taught the students to use sticky notes to record thoughts and questions and responses as they read, in the way of Lucy Caulkins and others. It is a quick and meaningful way of making sense of the text and preparing to share one's thoughts with others in conversation, which gives depth and focus to the reading process for our students. It is charming to see our Village friend learning to adapt a young learner's strategy to her own reading and sharing.
Here are the brief comments from our Village friend on her summer reading:
Wild Man Island by Will Hobbs. Kind of book I love, especially the Newfoundland dog - would it appeal to girls... too much archeology?
Conrad's Fate by Diana Qynne Jones. Harry Potterish but an absorbing read. A bit complicated.
The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau. An absolutely wonderful book - an allegory on so many levels. Really great.
The Winter People by Joseph Bruchac. Very good - especially as it relates to Rogers' Rangers...
The Arrow Over the Door by Joseph Brochac. Good & somewhat easy read - great Quaker message.
Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry. Good but not her best.
The Giver by Lois Lowry. Marvelous! Too old for 4th grade -but all kinds of good stuff.
It is delightful for me, as a librarian, to come back and find her notes on the books as I check them in and prepare to reshelve them. I will be able to tell the children asking for good books what she has said about these, and I am sure they will take her opinions seriously. Who has shared their summer reading with you as the seasons change and we get back into our fall schedules? What conversations have you had about your summer books, and how has that delighted you?
Saturday, September 02, 2006
I am really glad to see the Learning 2.0 public Bloglines list so I can keep up with all the other participants. With over 240 blogs participating, it is just about impossible for me to add them all to my daily/weekly reading. Being able to skim and scan on blogroll is wonderful. Every once in a while I find a great new blog like this or this, and then I am ROFLOL, learning new stuff, amazed and hooked on reading every word. I don’t know why some people think reading blogs is not like being with real people… the writers of blogs are about as real as you can get, and then some.
I have had a Bloglines account since about last May, when I learned about it from other bloggers. If you really get hooked on reading blogs it can start to take over your life. I sometimes spend hours surfing and reading and thinking and commenting. Sometimes I force myself to quit when the baby is asleep and Buddy is watching PBS, just so I can take a shower. Then in the shower I think of something I should have said and I have to quickly get back online and join another conversation.
Having a Bloglines account saves a lot of time because you can see in a glance which bloggers have updated since your last reading. I sort my list into categories so I can choose to read adoption blogs, library blogs, mom blogs, academic blogs, knitting blogs, etc. Then I can pace myself and budget my time.
I have the subscribe button on my menu bar, so to add a new subscription for a blog I have just found and like all I have to do is click and chose a folder. You can get the quick subscribe button by following the link at the bottom of your My Feed’s list in the left pane. Easy sneezy! If I later find that the blog isn’t as interesting as I thought, it is easy to remove by using the editing buttons along the top of the summary page that opens when you click the blog in your list.
I also have a Blogroll account. I use my Blogroll to power my links list that appears on my blog page. I opened it to compare with Bloglines, and because some of my favorite bloggers use it. When I added links one at a time by putting the URL into my blog template it took a lot longer and I tried to keep them in alphabetical order. I learned a lot about HTML doing it that way, but since I have dyslexia it was a real chore. I am much happier using a feed reader to do it automatically. I have a button to add blogs to my Blogroll on my browser menu bar too. Usually I keep new blogs on Bloglines for a while before I decide to add them to Blogroll, because Blogroll is my public list of blogs I want to share with my readers. I like to test drive them for a few weeks or months first. Yesterday I added two new photography blogs right off the bat because I loved the photos and writing so much.
It is also possible to sort Blogroll into categories, but I didn’t do that because I don’t want to have to figure out what category to put people in. If the blogger is an academic, writing, adoptive mom who is also a librarian, a first mom, an adoptee and a knitter, where would I put her? And what if I only had one poet in the list, does he need a separate category? I’d rather let my blog visitors explore serendipitously, figuring out who they are meeting on their own terms; so no categories in the public list!
I was glad to see you can set Blogroll up so that new posts within the last 24 hours are indicated with any character you choose (I use a *). The list is sorted with most recent updates at the top, so it is easy to see what you need to read. One big problem with using Blogroll: I see that only the Blogger blogs show updating. If the blog is from typepad, wordpress, or something else it doesn’t show updating. Very frustrating! Does anyone know how this works and how I can get Blogger to show recent updating of all the blogs in the list? This is annoying enough to me that I hardly ever read blogs from the Blogroll. I am afraid I am missing out on some great posts because of this, so I always start with my Bloglines list. I am sure there must be a trick I am missing. Any suggestions?
Tags: learning 2.0
Friday, September 01, 2006
I got tagged by A Year of Reading for BlogDay 2006. It sounds like fun, so here goes:
Happy BlogDay 2006! Here's how you can participate:
1. Find five new blogs that you find interesting.
2. Notify the five bloggers that you're recommending them on BlogDay 2006.
3. Write a BlogDay post today with a short description of each blog, and a link back to each one.
4. Add a BlogDay 2006 Technorati tag and/or link back to the Technorati BlogDay 2006 page.
5. Link to the BlogDay website.
So here are my five blog choices:
- Whoopsy Daisy; knitting and beautiful garden pictures
- Reading, Writing Living “…trying to do it all: reading writing mothering spousing daughtering working living”
- Informations Wants to Be Free “A librarian, writer and tech geek reflecting on the profession and the tools we use to serve our patrons”
- Spotted Dog Turn “Looking for the happy balance between Calamity Jane and Martha Stewart.”
- Red, W[h]ine and Boo! “Two friends, two baby girls, one grammatical nightmare”
One flower at a time, please
however small the face.
Two flowers are one flower
too many, a distraction.
Three flowers in a vase begin
to be a little noisy
Like cocktail conversation,
A crowd of flowers is a crowd
of flatterers (forgive me)
One flower at a time. I want
to hear what it is saying.