Slice of Life Tuesday: Way Behind on Writing!/Reflections on this School Year

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I looked back on my first year as a school librarian (21st year of teaching middle school), and I have to say—no matter what happens to me next year or beyond—I was successful THIS year. NOTHING to do with TEST SCORES, but I built up readers and spread the book love.

On April 7th, Kwame Alexander surprised a child reader (and his teachers) from my soon-to-be-closed school. He and Hafeez and Randy drove the REBOUND bus to this 5th grader’s house and allowed this child to see firsthand what meeting an author and being a reader means. Reading saves lives. Reading is fun. Reading can and will lead you to a successful future.

Even though I couldn’t be there, these awesome teachers and a Newbery-winning author made this child’s day! THANK YOU, Kwame and Hafeez, for all the coordinating and all the bugging you had to put up with (from me) to make that day happen. THANK YOU for coming to South Bend, IN! THANK YOU for supporting students and reading.

LOVE LOVE LOVE from this school librarian.

Slice of Life Tuesdays: Good Things

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I pondered these paragraphs from Henry David Thoreau’s essay, “Walking,” today:

      “I can easily walk ten, fifteen, twenty, any number of miles, commencing at my own door, without going by any house, without crossing a road except where the fox and the mink do: first along by the river, and then the brook, and then the meadow and the woodside. There are square miles in my vicinity which have no inhabitant. From many a hill I can see civilization and the abodes of man afar. The farmers and their works are scarcely more obvious than woodchucks and their burrows. Man and his affairs, church and state and school, trade and commerce, and manufactures and agriculture even politics, the most alarming of them all—I am pleased to see how little space they occupy in the landscape. Politics is but a narrow field, and that still narrower highway yonder leads to it. I sometimes direct the traveler thither. If you would go to the political world, follow the great road—follow that market-man, keep his dust in your eyes, and it will lead you straight to it; for it, too, has its place merely, and does not occupy all space. I pass from it as from a bean field into the forest, and it is forgotten. In one half-hour I can walk off to some portion of the earth’s surface where a man does not stand from one year’s end to another, and there, consequently, politics are not, for they are but as the cigar-smoke of a man..
      In literature it is only the wild that attracts us. Dullness is but another name for tameness. It is the uncivilized free and wild thinking in Hamlet and the Iliad, in all the scriptures and mythologies, not learned in the schools, that delights us. As the wild duck is more swift and beautiful than the tame, so is the wild—the mallard—thought, which ‘mid falling dews wings its way above the fens. A truly good book is something as natural, and as unexpectedly and unaccountably fair and perfect, as a wild-flower discovered on the prairies of the West or in the jungles of the East. Genius is a light which makes the darkness visible, like the lightning’s flash, which perchance shatters the temple of knowledge itself—and not a taper lighted at the hearthstone of the race, which pales before the light of common day…
      In short, all good things are wild and free. There is something in a strain of music, whether produced by an instrument or by the human voice—take the sound of a bugle in a summer night, for instance—which by its wildness, to speak without satire, reminds me of the cries emitted by wild beasts in their native forests. It is so much of their wildness as I can understand. Give me for my friends and neighbors wild men, not tame ones… 

      While almost all men feel an attraction drawing them to society, few are attracted strongly to Nature. In their reaction to Nature men appear to me for the most part, notwithstanding their arts, lower than the animals. It is not often a beautiful relation, as in the case of the animals. How little appreciation of the beauty of the land-scape there is among us! We have to be told that the Greeks called the world Beauty, or Order, but we do not see clearly why they did so, and we esteem it at best only a curious philological fact…”

 

I’ve been seeking nature lately; I’m not sure why, but it may be because the world seems overwhelming right now. However, the sun shined today right as I left school, after a grey, snowy 24 hours. And the moon is most mysterious and beautiful this winter, making me mindful of nature again and again. I walked around the driveway tonight in the freezing cold, looking…allowing Thoreau’s words to sink in. Getting back to nature — ah! Life! Love! Bliss!

 

Slice of Life Tuesday: Mixed Feelings

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Low point = Staff meeting called to tell us that our school is closing in June 2018

High point = NCTE Annual Conference and reunion with all my PLNs from afar

I’m exhausted tonight. Mentally and physically exhausted. I think the past 7 days have given me that full gamut of emotion that makes me want to just get under the covers and sleep.

Sleep to escape.

Sleep to dream new dreams.

Sleep to re-adjust, renew, and rekindle the fire.

Sleep.

 

Image: http://www.clipartmasters.com/clip-arts/sleeping-clip-art-65739.png

 

 

Slice of Life Tuesday: Just write it!

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I worked all day (every period full of life and middle school drama) and met up with a former colleague after school (always nice to catch up). When I got home I did some laundry, put the dishes away, talked to my husband for a while, and started watching the Cubs. But there’s one thing I didn’t do today…

I didn’t write.

So, there I was, scrolling through Facebook and Twitter, all the while thinking, “I should write my Slice today. I need to get that done.” I watched more TV, and checked my email. Then I opened Twitter again. After all day, here’s what I found:

 

 

 

 

So here I am, typing my Slice. Sometimes you need a good kick in the butt. Thank you, Jess Keating and Kelly Gallagher, for motivating me to write tonight. Now I intend to watch more of the Cubs, but I’m more likely to fall asleep within the hour.

Slice of Life Tuesday: Book Birthday Bash!

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I’ve been waiting for this day for a while now. It’s a “Book Birthday” bash today — lots of new releases for October 3rd! (I wish my wallet could keep up.) Here’s what I’ll be reading in the next few weeks:

After the Fall (Picture Book) by Dan Santat — Oh, how I love Humpty! I hope he’s okay and gets back up again!  

Snappsy the Alligator and His Best Friend Forever (Probably) by Julie Falatko — THE BFF story of the year  

The Perfect Score by Rob Buyea — If you know me, you know I cannot stand standardized testing. Let’s see…

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban: Illustrated Edition by J.K. Rowling and Jim Kay — for beauty!

Ahimsa by Supriya Kelkar — highly recommended, and a lovely, colorful cover. I can’t wait!  

La La La by Kate DiCamillo — because it’s KATE!  

The Ship of the Dead (Magnus Chase series continues) by Rick Riordan — it’s a series, people!

Before the Devil Breaks You (YA/adult) by Libba Bray — I’m not sure about this one, but I’ll try.

Talking As Fast As I Can (From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls and Everything in Between) (adult) by Lauren Graham — because I’ll need my relaxing, TV fix

Manhattan Beach (adult) by Jennifer Egan — I may never get to this one!

There are so many book releases today. These are the titles I want to tackle. October is the month of great reading this year; I can see that clearly.

What will you read next?

 

 

Slice of Life Tuesday: What a Day! What a Week!

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What a day! (What a week!)

  • Banned Books Week – September 24 – 30. Emails sent; display table of banned and challenged books in the library; talks with classes about the right to read and choosing to read. Oh, yeah! READING challenged and banned books. 
  • Librarian meeting for Battle of the Books — Gear up! 20 books ready to go for students who want to read and compete. This is going to be so much fun!
  • The Way to Be a by Kat Yeh and Wishtree by Katherine Applegate — this day of reading a new book and revisiting a book for its book birthday = happy reading girl!

Slice of Life Tuesdays: Computers Don’t Teach

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I’ve been thinking

about thinking and learning, you see

and what I have found (between you and me) is

Computers Don’t Teach.

(But no one is asking me.)

 

Reading books is worthwhile, you see

and what I have found (between you and me) is

it’s something to see —  faces light up when you say,

“I have a new book for you all today!”

 

“I don’t have time to read it, though.

We only have 10 more minutes to go.”  Get back to the screens —

Focus! Don’t play! We must make you learn! You must pass…(you did?) Hooray!

What I have found (between you and me) is

Computers Don’t Teach.

(A research-based statement? Yes/Maybe, someday!)

 

Thank you to the TWO WRITING TEACHERS blog for allowing me to read, write, and share my thinking. Maybe someday my research will show how students think, learn, and succeed in school…and in life. 

 

 

 

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