Monday, December 31, 2012

Be OK Today

So in July, I posted about being broken and how life turns you into this crazy mosaic of pieces that we gently cement back together through time.

Today as I was reflecting on a few things,  I discovered that maybe I just need to Be Ok.  Ingrid Michaelson sings a song by this title.   When I  was introduced to this song I focused on the line about giving back the broken parts.  I realized  that really that isn't me anymore.  I am past that.  Thank goodness... I just want to "be ok, feel something today, and I {really do}know that I will be okay"

My OLW is jump, I want to jump out of my box.  I don't want to be stuck.  I'm sick and tired of my own excuses of staying in the same spot.

Being broken is  my past.  I don't expect life to be perfect because frankly there is no such thing as perfect.  But,  have been given a beautiful life.  I am here for now.  Each day that I am given should be lived. And everything will truly be okay. I just need to quit over thinking things and just live today for today.

Friday, December 28, 2012

2013 OLW

One Little Word to live by has been a tradition for me...usually, but last year I took a year off. I was teaching at a new school and my 2nd graders weren't going to do it,  so I thought I would take a year and really try to get into our new routines.

I really think 2012 was about new things...traveling, meeting new people,  and finish getting me to a good safe place.

Now that I am at that point, I think my word is "JUMP."  It's time to start taking risks again.  Even if it doesn't go exactly as I planned that doesn't really mean anything...maybe it was part of the plan, just not mine. Living in a little protected bubble isn't going to help me achieve what I want so here I go. Cheers to a year of taking risks!!

JUMP:  verb
to spring into the air
to start out or forward
to move energetically  

 So here I go... 

12 Days of Christmas Break

So as a single mom who adores her girls...I have written my version of the 12 Days of Christmas. When does school start again? J/k.

On the first day of Christmas Break
my girls told me,
"You're the meanest mommy."

On the second day of Christmas Break,
my  girls gave to me,
Two tired cries
 And a "You're the meanest mommy."

On the third day of Christmas Break,
my  girls gave to me,
Three meltdowns,
Two tired cries
And a "You're the meanest mommy."

On the fourth day of Christmas Break,
my  girls gave to me
Four foot stomps,
Three meltdowns,
Two tired cries
And a "You're the meanest mommy."

On the fifth day of Christmas Break,
my girls gave to me,
Five blood curdling screams,
Four foot stomps,
Three meltdowns,
Two tired cries
And a "You're the meanest mommy."

On the sixth day of Christmas Break,
my girls gave to me,
Six arms a flailing,
Five blood curdling screams,
Four foot stomps,
Three meltdowns,
Two tired cries
And a "You're the meanest mommy."

On the seventh day of Christmas Break,
my girls gave to me,
Seven wrestling matches,
Six arms a flailing,
Five blood curdling screams,
Four foot stomps,
Three meltdowns,
Two tired cries
And a "You're the meanest mommy."

On the eighth day of Christmas Break,
my girls gave to me,
Eight rooms their wrecking,
Seven wrestling matches,
Six arms a flailing,
Five blood curdling screams,
Four foot stomps,
Three meltdowns,
Two tired cries
And a "You're the meanest mommy."

On the ninth day of Christmas Break,
my girls gave to me,
Nine costume changes,
Eight rooms their wrecking,
Seven wrestling matches,
Six arms a flailing,
Five blood curdling screams,
Four foot stomps,
Three meltdowns,
Two tired cries
And a "You're the meanest mommy."

On the tenth day of Christmas Break,
my girls gave to me,
Ten ladies leaping,
Nine costume changes,
Eight rooms their wrecking,
Seven wrestling matches,
Six arms a flailing,
Five blood curdling screams,
Four foot stomps,
Three meltdowns,
Two tired cries
And a "You're the meanest mommy."

On the eleventh day of Christmas Break,
my girls gave to me,
Eleven girls a griping,
Ten ladies leaping,
Nine costume changes,
Eight rooms their wrecking,
Seven wrestling matches,
Six arms a flailing,
Five blood curdling screams,
Four foot stomps,
Three meltdowns,
Two tired cries
And a "You're the meanest mommy."

On the twelfth day of Christmas Break,
my girls gave to me,
Twelve "She hurt my feelings,"
Eleven girls a griping,
Ten ladies leaping,
Nine costume changes,
Eight rooms their wrecking,
Seven wrestling matches,
Five blood curdling screams,
Four foot stomps,
Three meltdowns,
Two tired cries
And a "You're the meanest mommy."

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Reacting Vs. Responding

It's been one week.

Seven days.

It's amazing how our lives can change in a millisecond.  In this case the firing of a bullet.  The massacre of innocents. 

We all watched the images.  We all saw the names on the screen with their ages.  Tears falling down our faces as we cried for the families and at the same time silently thankful that it isn't our own child. Our child who is safely sleeping in their bed.  Our child who will open their presents next week.  We aren't the ones who will face the unopened package of hot pink cowboy boots.  Yet as our lives have painstakingly gone on so have the blogs, the facebook postings, and the twitter accounts.

For the last few days, I've been pondering the following; we have a choice as a nation.  We can either react to the event or thoughtfully respond.   Some of the reactions I've seen are abolish the second amendment and force teachers to conceal and carry guns on their person in the classroom.  When will our nation learn that at some point we can't operate at the liberal left or the conservative right.  We have to meet the middle.  This is beyond ridiculous. 

I was called a bleeding heart liberal for saying the following, "I do not think the second amendment needs to be abolished.  I do not believe that teachers need to carry guns in the classroom."

If teachers were forced to carry guns...  How will we function with heat holstered on our hip?  My second graders would freak out.  I wouldn't be able to get on the floor or hug my students. What about parents?  How intimidating would it be holding a parent teacher conference when one person has a glock on her? 

As an educator in our safety training they ask us to think and respond to a situation, rather than react.  For example, if the fire alarm is going off you don't automatically exit the building. First, you listen for instructions and go away from the fire.  Right now we are all headed to the fire.  The answer to this is not more guns in schools.  The answer is to think and respond accordingly. 

I encourage you to contact your local congressman and talk to them about responding to this rather then reacting.  It is time to band together as a nation for each other and for the 27 people who died one week ago. 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Let Us Not Forget

Newton, CT.

Twenty children dead.

Stories of heroic teachers who put themselves in danger to protect the students they love with all the fiber of their being.

Every teacher and each parent's fear was realized on Friday.  No words can even begin to touch the pain that I know the community feels. 

I can only hope that from this situation good happens. I hope discussions about mental illness and why a family needs so many weapons.  I can only hope that out of the deaths of these beautiful children our government chooses to come together to fix what is wrong.

Their deaths are tragic.  Needless.  I can only hope their voices continue to demand that change occur. 

Now it is our turn to demand it.  Let their 27 voices echo in our hearts so that change happens.  Don't just forget.  We can't let that happen. 

Friday, December 7, 2012

Crazy Thing Called Love

What is love exactly?  With the divorce rate the way it being one of those statistics.  What is love?  Does it exist?  Where do you find it...exactly?

In college I was told, "Honey, you are the type of girls men marry...not the kind they date."  Hmmm...okay?  So where does that leave me now as a 34 year old single woman who is almost 35. Sigh.   I guess in neither column?

The men out there that are datable fall into the following categories.

1)  We should get married!!

My second date after being single was with Mr. Let's Get Married Now.  We went to a local restaurant...full of life!  After our queso arrived, he looked at me with all seriousness and says, "Lynnelle, I honestly believe we are meant to get married.  My ex-wife's name was Lynnette and you are Lynnelle.  I mean how can that be wrong?"

Was he serious?  I suddenly had an urgent call from the babysitter and needed to leave.

2)  18 Shots in Less Than Hour

My date with this man started with, "How old are you 12?"  Okay, I may use make up, exfoliant, and moisturizer, but really?  He then commenced to drink 18 shots of jaiger in less than hour.  Good bye, Mr. Alcoholic.

3)  The Player

You know this guy.  The HOTT, tall dark, and handsome kind.  The kind who woo you with words and their intelligence.  Only to say see ya when you tell them you like them.  Not that you want to get married or get serious, but just that you think they are funny, cute, and can carry on an intelligent conversation.

So where does that leave a single girl?

Alone, but happy that I'm not stuck with one of these three losers...umm people. 


My blog used to be a place that I frequently used to discuss what was happening in my world as a teacher, but now it seems I mostly use it to write.  Not sure if I should change the name or not, but I know that I want to continue writing because it does a body good. I may post some on teaching, but hopefully, you won't mind if I use it more to discuss my ponderings through this crazy thing called LIFE.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Giving Thanks

My List of Thanks

thankful that I still believe dreams come true
and all it takes is to jump, believe, and trust.

thankful for two girls who make my life crazy,
fun, and filled with laughter.

thankful that I look into 22 pairs of eyes each day
and know that they need me and I need them.

thanks to the mom who taught me that being me
is a great thing.

full of thanks for an aunt that checks on me, loves me
for me, and always knows when I need just a little
something extra.

thankful that I listen to my heart more than my brain.

thankful that I can see life through eyes
that are filled with happiness.

thankful for new friends and old friends and my best friend.

thankful for the ability to laugh at myself

thankful that I've had another year to live my life
filled with love, laughter, and luck!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Love to Learn

A teacher as a
is an interesting thing...

She is used to constant

Sitting is not easy
in fact
D I F F I C U L T.

But learning
and her

Conferring With Readers and Writers

Ahh, I have still been searching for the best way to confer with readers and writers.  I was surfing on different teacher blogs and came across a great idea of using labels to keep the notes.  I wish I could find her blog now. :( 

When I confer with a student my job is to teach a min-lesson within that moment that will go with him as a reader or writer.   

Conferring is a time to do the following

1) Build rapport.
2) Research the teaching point.
3) Compliment
5)Send to read or write.

 I am really loving my lables.  They fit Avery 8660 .

Conferring Labels

Sunday, November 11, 2012

A Better Day

Wrapping up conferences and spending the weekend with the people I love the most helped me to realize that even though I am still yet life is perfect the way it is.  I have fabulous girls that are meeting their goals and pushing forward with their life.  I hope they see me for who I am; the one who loves them and wants only the best and is willing to sacrifice what ever it takes to ensure that they have everything they need.

Fall arrived full force today bringing rains and COLD weather...however yesterday I was able to capture day in the sun.

I am so glad that I didn't choose to allow fear to consume me and not try it on my own.  I am relieved that I have friends and family who stand by me each day.  I will not allow others to make me feel inferior.  I am happy.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Sticky Notes With Second Graders

So I've been gradually introducing sticky notes to my second graders.  All my students are currently working on individual goals set by their interest and me guiding them to what I think they need to work on.

They are keeping track of their thinking and then sharing with me.  What have I seen as a result? Excellent retellings of their text!!!!

I am so excited because this is an area that they are expected to master by the end of second grade!!

Sticky away!!!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Fenced in Friendship

Oh to have the innocence of a child when it comes to friendship. Gracie and her Mister Friend next door haven't let a fence stop them from becoming fast friends. They play every afternoon throwing the ball or chasing the dog or seeing who is the fastest runner.

This made me think of my own life how friends come and go. How connections you think are real....really aren't.

I'm a very trusting person and will give people the benefit of the doubt, but I don't want to be doormat.

Since we are all adults why can't a person say, "You know...I thought we were going to be friends, but I can't really stand being around you." Does the honesty sting a little of course, but it sure beats the angst of wondering what did I do? What did I say? What can I do to make you respond to me?

Let's face it our society is all about what can you do for me. And truly if that's why you want to be my friend then you need to go elsewhere. Because baby, I'm worth it. I stick by friends and support them. I love then with all my being. If that isn't what friendship is to you...then adios.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Arrival of a New Season

Fall isn't a time that I would normally say is a time of rejuvenation.  In fact this fall I would say is a reprieve.  A reprieve from the heat at last and a reprieve from feelings. 

I am someone who things she is too busy to feel, to love, to venture out.  I play it safe.  Or at least I did.

Summer is a blissful time. My summer was spent fulfilling dreams. Realizing there are more dreams in my heart that need to be cultivated.  Dreams are just that dreams.  Reality hits with the arrival fall.  Well, maybe I should say life arrived and reminded me that dreams are what our heart hangs onto to get through the dailies of life.  As an adult who is almost 35 I am realizing my life is half over with things undiscovered;  I want to find a balance of reality and my dreams.

 My decisions as a young adult were done in what I thought was surrounded in love.  My decisions as a middle-aged (OMG,  how I hate that word) adult can't be based on what ifs or regrets.  The facts are I am an adult with 2 little ones that miss their mommy after one day away.  So my dreams too are going to hibernate because the facts are my life isn't about me.  I can't make my dreams happen alone.  I am not going to apologize for who I am anymore.  I've done that for far too long.

i am a girl who gives her heart away to easily
i am a girl who feels so deeply that her whole body aches
i can't change who i am
someone already tried
accept me for who i am

i am a giggly girl
i am passionate
i won't change who i am
because there is nothing wrong
with who  i am

i am daring
i won't hide anymore
Fall is here.  

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Down syndrome Awareness 2/31

The world demands perfection. At least that is how I feel most of the time. Perfection. No blemishes.

In the world I live in I don't demand perfection. I expect you to give your best. Last month while listening to Pink's song perfect I began to reflect on the words and the world Emma lives in. Click on the link to read. Perfect

My view of the world comes from wanting to protect my child from pain. The world fails to see her many qualities that are unique to her.

I challenge you to learn more about people who live with disabilities. More than 3 million people in the U.S. are disabled either mentally or physically.

You can be the change in the world. It only starts with one person. One voice. You decide. You make the difference.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Life with a Little Something Extra Day 1/31

Last weekend Emma had her first Special Olympic event. She had a wonderful peer buddy, Miss B.  She was FABULOUS!  What I loved most about this event is that Emma was able to shine.  She felt important.  Supported by her "team." And happy. 

I hear so often that happiness is found in people with Down syndrome.  This used to really bother me and I would reply, "Absolutely, they have found that happiness is  attritubed to her extra chromosome."  Or some other snarky comment. Now I've realized that it isn't about her happiness, but the happiness she brings to others.

She loves.  She loves innocently and whole-heartedly. 

As adults we are guarded. We know what a cruel place the world really is.  We know that when you love you lose sometimes and then comes a broken heart. 

Emma hasn't experienced heart ache yet. I wish I could protect her forever so that the innocence will stay permanently. But, alas this is a part of growing up.

But, I find happiness in the fact that she is loved by many.  She finds happiness in the safety that she is accepted....for all her wonderful things.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Time and Tenderness

As a grade level we believe it is important that students be independent.  Really isn't that one of the tenants of teacher?  We want our students to work effectively at a rate so that they are prepared to keep up with the stamina of the next grade.

This week one of my students reminded that with expectation of independence we also expect proficiency.  Students work at different rates.  This is a fact.  I sat the young person down to explain that the speed at which we finish tasks doesn't mean that the work is 100%.  We need to do our best on our work, not complete work at an exponential rate.

The look on the young person's face was priceless.  The anxiety lifted and work resumed.  Teachers, I implore you to remember the practices we use in the classroom may need accommodations in the classroom. Don't expect all the students to be the same because as luck would have it we are all uniquely different and gifted in our own areas.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Very Thought of You

Today is a day that many of us will never forget. We know exactly where we were eleven years ago when we heard the news of the Twin Towers being attacked.

I was a young teacher headed to environmental camp with 300 sixth graders. It would be two days before I saw the first pictures or heard the broadcasts of what happened.

Now, eleven years later and a few months after a trip to NYC. My heart grieves as all Americans do, however, I know that New Yorkers are devoted to their city. Filled with pride, as well they should be...because this Oklahoman fell in love with the sights and culture and color that decorates the streets.

My heart is with all of you tonight as you spend tonight remembering. I know you always remember that horrific day, but you didn't allow it to take hold of you...Beautiful NYC. You survived a moment that many cities could not which is probably why so many people love NYC. She burns with such passion that she ignites it from the deepest depths of our souls. We have no choice but to heed her impulse. Her desire. Her survival.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Reader's Workshop

Establishing routines within your reading workshop is just as important. My reading time is divided between specials/lunch.  I teach my mini-lesson within my chapter book and do guided practice with the chapter book and then I allow the students time to practice independently when they return from lunch.  This saves me time and gives the students purpose during their independent reading time.

Our current focus is visualization.  Not just drawing the picture, but also writing in a few sentences what they are seeing as we are reading.  We are reading Charlotte's Web.  Today's was about the warm manure pile...lots of great pics!! However, we are still working on getting the details in our writing and sketches. 

Read, read, read!

Write, Write, Write

As we are building routine it is really important that your students understand they are to write, write, write.

We have discussed

1.  What is a small moment?
2. Writers think before they write
This led to brainstorming people, places, and heart topics

Tomorrow I am going to talk about how sometimes we come in with a story we must get down.  My story is about what happened to me on Labor Day.  I have my writing pieces written for the week, but I am revamping for the teachable moment at hand.  Let's face it...we all have stories we MUST tell. Mine involves blood, stitches, and a trip to urgent care so I am sure it will spur several other stories.

Happy Writing!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Family Time

Those of us in the Midwest have already started school and I know those in the East are starting soon. Today was a fun day of family time.  The last few weeks in my classroom have been focusing on routines and beginning assessments.  I've fallen in love with the new 22 faces in my room.  It didn't take long. So enjoy your restful day!!  Have a great work week and don't forget to document your life! Write!!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Say It's Only a Paper Moon

Tonight a friend
learned her baby
girl will be here

Tonight her heart
hopefully started
to heal from a
sister lost.

Tonight the
man in the moon
proved hope
 and love.

The Glorious Moon.

Monday, August 20, 2012


Tonight as I was driving home I was listening to Pink's Perfect (clean version).  Emma was in the back seat.  Singing away at the top of her lungs.  I stopped singing and began to listen to her sing...

Mistreated, misplaced, misunderstood
Miss “no way it’s all good”
It didn’t slow me down
Always second guessing
Look, I’m still around…
Pretty, pretty please
Don’t you ever, ever feel
Like your less than
Less than perfect
Pretty, pretty please
If you ever, ever feel
Like your nothing
You are perfect to me

This had real signficance for me because many people look at my daughter and see imperfection.  A genetic fluke.  A mistake.  Basically, less than perfect. As she sang these words I felt like she was saying to the world watch out here I come.

So often people cast her aside because her speech isn't clear.  Or because she has almond shaped eyes. Really it boils down to this. Many people choose to see the extra chromosome that is in 48% of her body.  It saddens me really.  The little something extra that she possesses isn't a death sentence.  If anything it forces her to enjoy life for exactly what it is.  To celebrate the joys in the little things and the big things.

Perfection nowadays is often seen as a size 0 who walks down the runway.  Long blonde hair with a swagger.  However, I beg to differ. Perfection is giving a 110% to learn how to talk and walk and never give up.  Perfection is laughing and giggling with little sister over a "tea" party.  Perfection is in the eyes of my child.  Perfection.

So next time you see a child or adult who society deems as less than worthy I challenge you to look past society's definition of perfection.   And think of Pink and think of Emma.  Perfection.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

There are 22 People Missing!!

My room is ready to go.  Organized. Clean. Supplies Purchased.  The only thing missing are my 22 second graders. 

My interactive word wall is ready to go! I am so excited about this new component this year.  It is right next to my book nook which creates a perfect small group area.  So I have three effective small group areas in the classroom.  Two will be areas that are teacher directed.  One with me, the classroom teacher, and the other will be manned by my teacher's assistant.  My new assistant has a teaching degree.  This will be a wonderful opportunity for her and for my students.

The area that has my work displayed will have charts around it. These charts will help students remind them about certain parts of the workshop atmosphere.  

I sincerely hope everyone has a great 2012-2013 school year!!!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

What I've Always Imagined

When Emma was born I had to adjust my dreams for her.  I still have dreams and goals for her.  They are just different now.  She had a great first day of 3rd grade!  What I love is I heard from one of her teachers that she had a wonderful day!  She saw her favorite paras and friends!!  To me that is a perfect day in 3rd grade.

One of things in life I never expected was to hear that my youngest child had language delays.  I mean this can't happen twice can it?  Instead of sweeping them under the rug. I asked for help.  Found a private school that would be able to meet her needs. Hired a speech pathologist for the summer.

 Today was astounding.  I heard about the book that was read by her teacher.  The beginning, middle, and the end.  This is the first time EVER Grace has talked about real reading at school.  I am so happy. My child received a happy face.  This mommy has a huge happy face.  SUCCESS!!! Grace was zipping around the house. Skipping and singing about loving Miss Ward and school. I wanted to weep for joy.  This is what school should be like for kids. 

This is where I want to get on my soapbox.  As constituents we need to contact our State Legislatures and let them know how class size effects how children perceive themselves and their teacher.  This has just been one day.  One day in a class that has a reduced size and my child already feels the difference.  The Dentist Baressi can't expect teachers to perform miracles in the classroom.  She needs to fund the schools at the level that is expected.  Allow the professionals to do their jobs with the money they need.  Ms. Baressi is receiving her money...allow the schools to receive theirs.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Happy 2012-13 School Year

To my two sweeties who start 3rd grade and Pre-K today. I love you!!!  May this year bring new friendships and fun learning!!

Words, Words, Words

Last night as insomnia gripped me, but really to better explain it would be the excitement of my two children starting school and my school year beginning was too much for my brain; so I began to trudge through you tube videos of Taylor Mali.  As I watched him perform his poetry I began to think about my own presentation that I knew would take place on Thursday about word study and grammar.  Then I began to Facebook.  I ran across A DIY Interactive Word Wall tutorial.

Teaching 2nd grade I want my students to interact with words.  As they study the spelling words I want them to be engaged and motivated to learn the uniqueness of the language.  English is not an easy language, but at the same time I want them to learn that "playing" with words leads to wonderful discoveries. 

So my midnight FB find turned into a task for today. I've started the process, but not finished. My teacher's assistant and I worked on many different things today.  But, my favorite is the interactive word wall.

How do your students use word walls in your classroom?

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


Summer is fading.  With it the memories of the best week of my adult life.  As I begin to mentally prepare for the school year, my heart is getting excited to meet my new second graders.  I am also anxious to see my newly turned third graders.

The things that stuck with at TCRWP have been percolating in my mind.  The changes I plan to make and all the things I need to to in preparation for the arrival of my little ones. 

What I am most pleased about is my renewed focus on my own writing.  Last year was an adjustment.  New school. Making new friends. Learning new curriculum.  This year I feel as if I am making my own way. I understand the way things are done at the new school, and now I can add my own special flavor to the mix.

With this reflection and new confidence for this year I am so excited to meet my 22 second graders!!  So cheers to new pens, new ideas, and learning we each have a voice!!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

August is Here

Not that anyone is Oklahoma can go outside and have any fun with our 112 degree days.  When the weathermen tell us we are 11 degrees warmer than Death Valley there is a problem.  On that note, I have officially started school mode.  Getting my lists started on what I need to do and where I need to start on my classroom.  Getting excited to meet my 21 2nd graders!!!  But the first thing on my to do list is go out and buy felt tip pens for my writers, gel pens for revising and editing, and to go up to the school and start making a plan. 

Happy Planning!!

SOLC: The Parched Soul

Tonight as I watched little children play at the splash pad.  We were all trying to not dry up.  The Earth is beaten down.  We all seem to be crumbling like the leaves on the trees as the heat unmercilessly beats upon us each day.  Pounding us with no relief. No water.  Just the painful heat. 

But tonight there was relief. Whether it was in the tiniest of puddles or in the muddy depths pretending to be a GI defending his fort.  Eventually the people at the splash pad faded and we were the only ones left.

My inner child could no longer withstand the longing to be in the water.  I ran out and jumped into the water.  Giggles exploding from my throat as I raced to beat J to the water.  My skin prickling as the water hit my hot skin.  Washing away the day.  The unbearable heat. Laughter from the kids echoed in my ears.  "Look out!"  Soon we were in a water war.  More giggles!  Belly laughs all around. 

The soul needs nourishment just as the Earth does.  I've been lucky I've found my mine whether through writing, friendship, or music. My soul finds what it needs.  There are times that it is troubled.  But, I was lucky this summer.  This summer my soul found solace in a place.  It found its muse again.  To that I'm very thankful.  The last year I've felt lost and as I begin to refocus on the school year and turning "35."  And figuring out how to accomplish my dreams.  Hoping they lead me to best place for my girls and I.  To the places and people I need to be around. 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


Loser, She is.

Sitting alone.

Left waiting again.

Purple dress.

Beautifully blown out tresses.

Long eyelashes.

Nerves of steel.

Tapping of the heels.

Thank goodness for Facebook.

How long do you wait?

Stood up.

Slip out,

Hopefully unnoticed.



Loser, He is.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

SOLC Friendship

What exactly is friendship?  I would define it as someone who has been with me through thick and thin since I was 18.  The person who I met the first day of New Student Institute and we just knew that her Minnesotan attitude and my Oklahoma drawl belonged together.

Fast forward 16 years.  She 3 children later. Me two children and a divorce later; trying to figure out where and what my world has become. She always picks up her phone. She always answers her texts. She is there.  Always.

She knows what to say. When she doesn't she is still there.  Listening.  Tonight when I called her and she listened and we talked. I realize I am so glad that we have this friendship that has lasted 16 plus years.

She is my sister. She is my friend.  She is my confidante.  She tells me to believe in myself. She believes in me.  I love her.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Memoir Monday: The Hudson

Many people think of NYC as mostly steel buildings, honking of the taxi cab horns, no greenery, and swarms of people.  But, when I think of NYC, I will always think of my last night there walking along the Hudson River. 

The wind rushed across the water and created an aquatic breeze.  The lights of the city danced on the water and seemed to twinkle knowingly at you as you gaze over the water.  Looking up and down the walkway were couples talking, laughing, and who knows what they were thinking.

As we continued to walk I was able to listen to all the rich history of the friend I had made the day before.  He described some of the events that had taken place along this stretch of walkway, like the landing of the plane that we all had seen on television a few years ago.  The George Washington Bridge was off in the distance lit up and it took my breathe away.  But more than that I loved listening to this person describe his love for the city of his childhood.

Ellis Island is located in NY. Years ago  my family years ago came there before trudging across the Appalachians, crossing the Mississippi, and staking their claim in Oklahoma.  Southerners always claim to be the friendliest in the land, but I will say this New Yorkers are honest, they will help out anyone, and they aren't fake.  (Which I love!) They tell it like is and expect you to do the same.  

NYC is a magical place.  It has Central Park, the Empire State Building, but more than that it's the people who live there who love their fair city.  Jokingly I had asked him if he was a tour guide in his spare time, but then he said, "It's civic pride."  Who wouldn't be proud of such a city with it's history.  NYC is so accepting of everyone. It doesn't matter who you are, you are welcome. 

The greatest parts of our lives are when we meet people who change them, even if it is briefly.  I firmly believe that people are brought into our lives for different purposes.  It is our responsibility to do with it what we will and hopefully grow from it.  That night led me to down a path I had been refusing  for different reasons. But, I don't want to live my life with regrets anymore. 

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Just Around the Corner

It's just around the corner, my favorite time of year where I get to meet my students and parents.  But first, I have a lot that I am still soaking in from TCRWP.  When I met with a friend last week she said if I could narrow down my focus to three things what would they be. This is what I told her--

1.  An interactive spelling and grammar notebook.
2.  A writing center with pre-stapled booklets differentiated for writers in my room.
3.  A peer conferencing station designed so that the students have a set place to discuss once the peer group has been established.

Word Study/Grammar

One of the areas I need to work on is word study (spelling) and grammar.  This needs to be explicitly taught at the younger grades.  We can't expect students to understand it through osmosis.

There are several programs you can use. I plan on using Making Words as my focus and words sorts.  Then holding kids accountable in their interactive word wall and notebooks for these words. (More as I get that figured out.)

In regards to grammar,  it too must be taught outside of writer's workshop.  Then students must be held accountable.  If they are expected in 1st grade to use beginning and ending punctuation, then the first day of 2nd grade they should be doing this. 

I plan on handling this, by saying, "You are a beautiful writer and I would hate for the meaning of your piece to be lost because you didn't use any punctuation." Then hand it back to the writer.

Differentiated Writing Center

I will have a chart of ideas of several things students can write including what we are currently studying.  But, I want students to see that writing looks many different ways.  Also, I will include booklets of  blank writing pages starting with a set of 3 pages, 4 pages and 5 pages.  Then a stack with loose pages.  This station will include a stapler (along with a lesson on how to use a stapler properly), pens, markers, and colored pencils.

Peer Conferencing Station

Last year after my writing partners were established and students began using them correctly I allowed students to meet without me facilitating.  As you know they become very comfortable and Ms. Hartman had a great idea on how to remedy this.  She suggested to set up a conferencing station with a timer.  Students could request a conference with their partner and set the timer for 5 minutes to discuss their agenda.  Perfect!! Problem solved.

Enjoy your last few weeks of summer!!! Rest, relax and recoup because our little sun shines arrive soon!!!

Friday, July 27, 2012

TIred of Broken

A few weeks ago Single Dad Laughing posted this poem, "I'm Broken," Says She.  As a single mom and on my fifth year as a divorcee it spoke to me.  In fact, so much so that it inspired me to really reflect at how I've chosen to live my life the last years since my divorce.

I've tried a few times to get out and "date" so to speak, but most of them have been disasters.  So it was just easier to throw myself into my work and motherhood.  It essentially protected me.  Until it didn't.  It left me lonely, alone, and abandoned.

For years, I was told I was the problem and even after two years of therapy I guess my heart still believed it.  Even with a bestie who tells me I'm fabulous which is obviously her job...I still saw myself as damaged goods...broken.

When I read Dan's poem I was shocked at how I identified with Dan's girlfriend.  The unworthiness of being loved.  Then  I read how Dan saw her. I had someone tell me once that I had strength and that I was beautiful. When I heard him say it. I actually believed it this time.  The question I have to ask myself is do I believe I have the strength or do I just want to continue to be broken?

The answer I have found is a definitive NO.  Broken is no way to live.  Broken leaves you scared.  Broken leaves you lonely. Broken leaves you shattered in pieces with no hope of being put back together.

I believe that sometimes life sucks.  We can choose each day if we want to live a broken life or a life with the pieces cemented back together.  The problem with that is that every once in while the pieces have to be put back.  Once you're broken you are never the same.  But, you  must decide to put the pieces back together. You can either recreate yourself  with a new job or a move or a new lover, but you aren't the same any more.

Now, as I begin this part of my journey. I'm thinking about the future and what risks I need to take. I know that one of those is in my dating life.  I have other risks to take too in my professional life, but those are to come later and we shall see what happens.

If you are broken, I encourage you  to choose to live a life that is cemented back together.  It's truly worth it. A beautiful mosaic of life will occur.

Monday, July 16, 2012


Last week I began my summer camps. I was looking forward to working with some future second graders and in the afternoon the young poets. I still have been reflecting on my time in NYC at Teacher's College.  Trying to put it all in perspective.  When I uttered something to a friend, "I just want someone in my corner." His smart reply was, "You're in your corner. You don't need anyone else."  His retort wasn't what I expected.  It shocked me. It literally made me stop in my tracks with my thinking.

Here I had arrived back from this wonderful trip from NYC that was supposed to be soul rejuvenating, but left me feeling as if a piece of my soul is missing.  I can't seem to get my groove back.  So, I was really hoping that going back to a semi-quasi routine would help.

Routines are just that a routine.  Seeing my young poets grow each day was wondrous.  By the end of the week, reading their work was pure joy. 

Then when my friend uttered those words it hit me.  I'm in my corner. I decide when I get out of my post NYC funkilicious issues.  I decide. I decided what happens next. I decide. Not anyone else.  It's not like I didn't know that, but to here the bluntness of it.  The underlining stop trying to please others and do something for yourself was also there.  I decide.  So I decided.

Tulsa is not NYC. It never will be.  But pining for a city thousands of miles away is only going to make the soul lonely.  I could choose to pine away and forget the rejuvenation or choose to use the muse it was and let my soul fly.

I'm in my corner.  Use the things I miss the languages, the culture, the colors and let it be My Muse, feed my soul.  I'm in my corner is now what echoes when I begin to feel as if I can't take it another minute.  I'm in my corner.  The reminder.

My Muse was fed and she was rewarded.
The Farm

A new born chick is born!
Peep, Peep
Stacks of hay
Horses, cows, ducks, 
Nay! Moo! Quack!
The smell of bacon
The taste of eggs (fried).
On the ground
Watch out the babies are here!

By: Third Grade Young Poet

Monday, July 9, 2012

Reasons to Write

Today as I was writing my letter to my "Welcome to 2nd Graders" summer class and pondering an email I needed to send. I don't particularly enjoy writing emails anymore.  In fact I rarely write them unless it's for a specific purpose such as for work or bills.

I can remember getting my first email address.  When all my "mail" so to speak was snail mail. And now all my mail is mostly spam in my email.

I can remember sending pages and pages of email and now I send lines and lines of text.

How I used to love to hear the sound of "You've Got Mail" and now it has been replaced with the sound of the tweet on the iPhone. 

Time changes things. 

It's the same way I suppose in my life as a writer.  I have times where I feel very inspired to write and have filled writer's notebooks quickly and with urgency.  Then it seems that my life takes a different spin and I can't find the words to put on paper.  They are stuck.

Time changes things.

As I begin to write again with a new fervor, I find myself finding dreams and thoughts hidden and I'm not afraid this time to expose and discuss them. I don't know what makes it safe this time around, but as I fill the pages of my writer's notebook I am looking forward to the new things that time allowed.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Princess to Bumpkin

Empire State Building
My last night in  NYC I couldn't sleep knowing I was leaving. Leaving behind the dream.  NYC has a pulse the entire city pulses sometimes quickly and other times slowly, but it has a constant life pulse.  I had felt like a NYC princess all week. Okay yes most of the week New Yorkers new immediately I wasn't from the area, but the more I explored the city and I do mean explored.  Hopping on a train knowing where I wanted to end up, but no expectations of who I would meet or what I might do when I arrived.  Just living to the pulse of the city.  I began to blend in more.  In fact three times I had several ask me what part of New York I was from.  It made my heart fill up and giggle with glee. Part of my heart wishes it was still there and still is there wandering the streets heading toward my favorite places.  Not the touristy places, but the neighborhood spots.

View from the 86th floor of the Empire State Building
The pulsing of the city is what haunted me this morning as I awakened with my two gorgeous girls beside me.  For this NYC princess overnight turned back into the country bumpkin.  My city doesn't pulse it mostly sways.  I had never thought of it before.  Pulsing and swaying. This city sways every bending never breaking.

It made me think of my classroom and how I like my classroom to have the constant pulse like NYC.  Who new my teaching heart had already created NYC in the classroom.  That when you are lost you can stop and ask for help and everyone  is willing to help.  There are different places to catch your interest all throughout the room. A bright yellow wall that catches your eye (Thank you Jose!) Tons of books to keep your interest and inform.  Places to talk to your friends.  And of course a spot for us all to come together as a family and meet and greet and talk and giggle. Yes, this teacher giggles! 

Central Park
NYC has always been my dream and as I sat realizing that my dream was accomplished and wondering what lies ahead. My ever dreaming heart kept saying learning more, learning more, learning more.  But I know that dear old Oklahoma does not have the program I long for.  I would be settling. I yearn to learn from the experts in my field and more from those that are missed.  The ghost of the NYC princess haunts me and begs me to listen to her to go back.  She is pulsing in my mind and heart.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Mother's Day

I know... I am a very bad blogger....another story!  However, I found the cutest idea for my second graders on Pinterest click here for the original link, but needed to create a template for it.  So for all those teachers out there. If you need an idea for Mother's Day. Here you go!  Feel free to use!

Top Ten Reasons I Love My Mom

Top Ten Reasons Why i Love My Mom