Friday, April 25, 2014

Celebrating Good Things

Thanks to Ruth Ayres, we can Celebrate each week together! Tweet at CelebrateLu  Link up here!

Discover. Play. Build.
     "There are exactly as many celebrations in life as we choose to celebrate." Robert Brault.  

         I've often said my mother and I had a long distance/telephone relationship. We lived far apart, and I couldn't see her more than twice a year. I talked with her nearly every day when she was alive, and I miss the conversations. She gave me a magnet a long time ago and every time I see it, of course I think of her. It says: "Barn's burnt down...now I can see the moon." So I celebrate my mother and her upbeat attitude that I learned.


         And I must then celebrate my daughter, because now we talk nearly every day, and that too makes my life joyful. I don't visit as often, but usually weekly there's a call from my grandson and son; catching up the week and checking in is always a delight.

family phone calls 
news hums over the wires
words like hugs
Linda Baie ©All Rights Reserved
We were so happy when we finally had a phone with color!

         It was a good week of being in the classroom. Have I shared that the teacher with whom I'm working was my assistant the final two years in the classroom? We had a great week together, and I felt even more a part of the group. I enjoyed working with the students individually, I taught a lesson about questioning, trying to enhance their knowledge in narrowing the broad question into something more specific. I started a book group that's reading Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book. It's a re-read for me, and what a pleasure again to enjoy this story, and Gaiman's superb writing. The book is a wonderful book for discussing detail and words used that set mood. The students, this time fourth and fifth grade boys, love finding the juicy words used, like scabbed and scuttled. I celebrate their eagerness to find brilliant passages to share, and today one posed a question I had not ever considered! Exciting stuff!
         There is a group of teachers called "core" teachers who are the teachers in charge of each classroom, five primary, five intermediate, and three advanced school teachers. Other teachers have differing jobs at the school, but these thirteen teachers are the ones who are the classroom teachers. Each month this year I've led one meeting with this core group, discussing various parts of teaching as I see connecting with the calendar. Thursday I facilitated a discussion about teaching (can it be taught?) grit. It was a good discussion, leading to more questions as we shared what is happening now, differences in approaches among the ages, and more. Key points, if you are interested, were "slowing down enough to allow and foster habits of reflection is critical for improvement," "encouraging growth mindsets instead of fixed ones-per Peter Johnston," and "finding the 'right' words that fit each student," like "who is the one in charge here? It was difficult to stop.
          Other days were filled with granddaughters swimming, finishing most of my dental work, and writing my line for Irene Latham's Progressive Poem on Thursday. See the sidebar for all those participating. Take the time to jump to the latest post so you can read the whole poem, completed on April 30th, next Wednesday! And as you see on the list, Tara Smith of A Teaching Life is the poet who will wrap it all up. 

          The week was good!

photo credit: Mark Sardella via photopin cc

46 comments:

  1. Linda - it sounds like such a busy week. I love the perspective in the magnet from your mother. Made me smile. I can feel how inspired you are by working with the other teachers at your school. I had a meeting with a professional book club today - but it only consists of my Teacher Librarian and me! We grabbed coffees, had a little walk and talked about how the book we are reading relates to our work in Reading Workshop . It was such a great way to end our day. Have a great week!

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    1. I like hearing about your time with your colleague, Carrie, even if just the two of you. Hope you have a good week with family and students too.

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  2. It was pleasant to sit and read the flow of your words. The connection of moms, daughters, granddaughters mingling with the connections of teachers, students, colleagues. A strange connection with The Graveyard Book. I have read it as a read aloud few times. One year I had to stop after the first chapter, because a mom reported her 4th grade daughter having nightmares.

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    1. Sometimes a book just doesn't fit, I agree. We did talk about how some are uncomfortable in graveyards, but I haven't heard any negative responses so far. Thanks, Terje.

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  3. What a wonderful week indeed Linda. I love the color phone!! I am glad you are able to find such happiness and satisfaction in your work. It sounds like a very supportive and enriching environment. The progressive poem is fascinating to me. Hope this coming week treats you well.

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    1. Thanks Gigi, it was a good week, and now getting ready for that final month! So many things to do!

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  4. I love the weeks where I can say, "It was a good week of being in the classroom." Loved hearing about your discussion with the teachers. :) Sounds like it was a great week. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Thanks Michelle. Having good discussions is such a boost I think.

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  5. Thanks for sharing your BIG and little celebrations! It's amazing when we sit down and reflect on our week. There is always something to celebrate! I would have loved to have been apart of the grit and mindset conversation!

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    1. It was good to share ideas back and forth, Michelle. So often there isn't a chance during the days. I wish you could have been there, too! Wouldn't it be awesome to have a 'cross-schools' discussion!

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  6. Oh, I would have loved to have been in on the discussion about teaching "grit". I was thinking this in the context of working with new teachers, this week, Linda, as I was working through some issues with my mentee. It occurred to me how she wanted easy fixes, the "just tell me how to do it" view, as opposed to the "oh, so I have to work towards the answers, and discover through my own hard work," sort of thinking. In other words, grit! On another note - high anxiety about the final contribution to the KidLit poem. Talk about pressure!!!

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    1. Fun that you mentioned the grit of teachers, too. At the end of the discussion, we concluded that to "noodle" over these challenges, we too needed to keep going, to have "grit", & clearly we do! It is something that doesn't fit the "one size fits all" answer for sure. Yes, I know you have pressure for that line-yikes! I'm sure these next few lines will show at least a few clear paths. Best wishes!

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  7. I absolutely love the line on your magnet, "Barn's burnt down...now I can see the moon." I have a few friends who need this line right now, I think I will share it with them. :) And what a school you are in! I would love to be in on those conversations.

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    1. Thanks, Katherine, I think the quote says it all, doesn't it? I imagine you would be an asset to the conversations, too!

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  8. I, too, LOVE the magnet! My mom and I joke about ultimate optimism. I'll have to tell her about that one. Your celebrations in teaching this week sound wonderful!

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    1. Thanks, Holly-it surely is the 'ultimate' optimism!

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  9. You post makes me smile. The budget line for long distance phone calls to Mom and sisters was an important one in my early married life. I loved talking to them, and today I'm delighted that I get to talk with daughter, son, sisters, brother and friends with no worries about the minutes. I too talk with my daughter almost daily. Although our west coast/east coast time differences can make it a bit challenging.

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    1. I'd forgotten that we used to say, "well, this is running up", didn't we, Ramona? We are lucky, although my Verizon bill probably takes care of it compared to th yesterdays.

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  10. Those conversations with family are so important. I enjoyed hearing about the magnet too. What a great attitude. :)

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    1. Thanks, Crystal, happy you can take the magnet saying and perhaps remember it.

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  11. I love finding silver linings in things! It's a great way to not let the sadness or the negativity get us down too much. It reminds us there's always still good in the world! Have a great week! -Earl!

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    1. You're so right, Earl. Those silver linings can be found if we look hard enough. Thank you, and hope your week is good too!

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  12. Your quote at the top really speaks to me. What an exceptional life we live! Big and small celebrations bring joy to our lives.

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    1. I loved when I found that quote, Elsie. It fits us Saturday celebrators well, doesn't it? Thanks!

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  13. I so relate to the daily phone conversations with my mother and her undying positive attitude. And like you, I tend to chat with my girls nearly everyday. Certainly a cause to celebrate.

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    1. Those conversations were just like a real visit, and I guess they had to be since we were far apart. Glad you connect too!

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  14. Your entire celebration is great....and your poem....moves me to tears - the happy kind!

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    1. Thanks Anita-the phone is a blessing we take for granted. I'm glad you enjoyed the poem.

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  15. I read this right after a phone call with my mother. I needed to stop and take a moment of thanks for her still being here.

    Love the conversations you are having with students and teachers, keeping them on their toes, thinking and thinking about thinking. Process is valued.

    I love being a small part of the Progressive Poem project, but forgot to celebrate it. So glad you did !

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    1. Oh Margaret, how nice that you gave a thought to those phone calls. I do count them as special. The process conversations are good, and sadly, too few. There just isn't enough time in the days! And the Progressive Poem takes us through April with such excitement. I loved your line, and can't wait for the rest of these days!

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  16. Where did I recently hear about teaching "grit" to students? Was it on NPR? Maybe a TED talk? I bet the staff meeting was a huge success! I wish I could have heard the conversation! I'm glad you are enjoying your time in the classroom. :)

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    1. Thanks Susan. Lisa D. told me she heard Paul Tough talk about grit. I still need to look for it, so maybe that was it. The meeting seemed like a good one to me, wish you could have been there!

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  17. So much in this post to celebrate. What a rich life you've built and maintain with phone calls, magnets and memories. Your discussion with the "core" group of teachers sounds fascinating. I'm so interested in the idea of teaching grit and questioning. Can grit be modeled. Yes! So maybe it could be taught.

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    1. We did discuss the modeling, too, Julieanne, and wondered if sharing the steps (in reflection) afterward might be a kind of teaching. Thanks! Hope you're having a good weekend!

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  18. Sounds like great reflections! I try to remember to celebrate my family, and I need to do it more often. And a great week at school! May you have another great week!

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    1. Thanks Michele-another busy week coming up, but it'll be fun I'm sure. I wish the same for you.

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  19. Linda, your post has small celebrations and big celebrations! Love them all!

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  20. Ohhhhhhh...What a great saying! "Barn's burnt down...now I can see the moon."

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    1. Oops! Had to delete one...My comment went on twice! :0)

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  22. Thanks Loralee, it speaks loudly to a way to live, doesn't it? Happy you like it!

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  23. Linda, I always love reading your posts. It sounds like a busy week, yet one full of happy things. I've been hearing a lot about grit too and am wondering the same thing...Is it really something we can teach? It sounds like an interesting conversation. Have a good week!

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    1. Thanks Julie, I also imagine the conversation will be continued-process, process!

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  24. What a sweet, accurate little poem! I can completely connect. Even in high school, I grew close to my mom via the telephone. She and my dad were already fighting lots then, so they stayed at our vacation home in Wisconsin a lot to shield us from it. I still believe I am closer to my mom as a result of these conversations. Sometimes a voice on a telephone feels closer than a face across a kitchen table.

    I love that you included some snippets of the conversation about grit--a conversation we all want to be part of, and here you've invited us right inside.

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    1. Thanks Christy, phone calls are definitely a part of my life, from the beginnings when we really did have to watch how long we talked, to now skyping with some. The calls kept us together in a different way than it seems texting does, although I do text my grandson. Interesting that you grew closer via the phone.

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Having a conversation is a good thing!