The Things Kids Say

Being on duty at the cafeteria door for breakfast every morning, I get to hear some great stories (in spite of the fact I’m reminding everyone to come in quietly). Just last week an irrepressible kindergartener came skipping in, chattering along the way. He definitely had a story to tell, and he was telling everyone. I couldn’t resist. I wasn’t going to say “Shh!”

He said, as excited as could be, “They shooted my tooth!” Then he grinned as wide as he could to reveal the shiny silver “bullet” on his tooth!

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Gifts on the Porch

When I got home from school today, they were there on my porch, in a box with a smile, waiting for me. I’ve been waiting to get these gifts for quite awhile. They are from two good friends of mine. You might be thinking it’s my birthday. No. But it is a birthday. A book birthday! For two of my favorite authors, Kate DiCamillo and Yuyi Morales. Today is the publication day for Good Rosie! and Dreamers.

These gifts were worth the wait. Rosie is a good dog who lives with George. She gets lonely when she gets to the bottom of her silver bowl of kibble and sees a dog who never answers when she says hello. She isn’t lonely when George takes her on a daily walk, until the day they look up and see a cloud that looks like a dog. That dog doesn’t answer Rosie and she feels “silver-bowl lonely.” George has an idea. He takes Rosie to the dog park. I won’t tell you what happens, but it is a happy ending. I can’t wait to share this book with my second grade friends whose teacher is dog-crazy. They are going to love it! I’m sure they will write some happy “Good Dog!” stories of their own, too. Kate DiCamillo has given us a dog as lovable as Winn Dixie. Illustrator Harry Bliss helps us picture her perfectly.

In Dreamers, Yuyi Morales shares her own immigration story and the magic of a neighborhood library. Not a “Dreamer” in the current use of the word, she reminds us all immigrants are Dreamers as they arrive in a new country dreaming of a better future. I look forward to sharing this with my ELLs and their classmates. I think it will help build bridges of understanding. The illustrations are vibrant, and Yuyi’s unique style shines. Author’s notes and artist’s notes give us details of her immigration story and background explaining the media used in the artwork and the meaning it has for her. There is also a lovely list of inspiring books Yuyi found at the library.

I hope you will look for these gifts in your library or bookstore! You could pretend it’s your birthday!

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Celebrating Hopeful Messages

I take hope in messages I have received this week…

Such strong, hopeful, and faith-filled moments throughout the memorial services for John McCain- even in the midst of heart-wrenching grief (and despite politics)

My pastor’s sermon this morning, which reminded us that that the truth of the gospel gives us hope for our world (a message that touched me after hearing discouraged teachers wondering how to reach seemingly jaded students this past week at school- and the question coming to me, “How can I see our students and families in a hopeful way?”)

Terje’s message about sharing the joy she sees with her students

And Ruth returning with a celebration this week… and her refrain, it’s usually unseen, faith. Yet it also comes clearly at times we most need it.

I feel a celebration, a hope, in all this.

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A Budding Reader

It was a party for his fourth birthday. The kids had all been playing, and his face was red from the heat and he was wound up from the activity. Then it was time to calm down and open presents. That was exciting, too. Dad was helping him and making sure he remembered his manners, opening and reading the cards first. He didn’t have much patience with that. He took matters into his own hands. He grabbed a card and opened it himself. “I love you. I love you. Happy Birthday!” he read.

Yes, you guessed it. The next card had the same message. And the next.

Pretty smart reader!

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Celebrating a Student

When I first knew him, he was a first grader, going through the long line of students coming in off the buses as I was on hall duty. I greeted students as they came in and often heard little bits of their news. He didn’t speak much, and when he did, his speech was unintelligible. He had things to say, but he couldn’t get anything out. I heard snippets of his tragic family story and how everyone wanted to help him. One year he was in a small tutoring group I worked with. His speech was barely improved, and he could barely read. Now he is a fifth grader. He has been a victim of bullying, being made fun of because of his speech, his tight, curly hair, and his long, gangly feet. In a recent writing activity, the students were working with partners, doing interviews in preparation for writing acrostic name poems about each other. His partner was absent, so I sat with him to interview him. I was thrilled when he spoke- slowly and deliberately, he responded to the questions. He was determined to share his thoughts. He even took me back to previous questions to clarify and add details. He was firm in his opinions. He was forthcoming and honest, giving more than just surface answers. At times, his words were halting or stuttered, but they were clear. I was very touched.

I celebrate this student and his growth despite the obstacles he has faced. I celebrate the resilience of the human spirit.

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Celebrating a New Walk

Have you received enthusiastic applause just for walking down the hall in the middle of a regular school day? It happened to me this week.

“Look at you go, Mrs. Anderson!” crowed on of my fellow teachers, “You are really speeding along!”

“You are going faster than I am now,” chimed in our principal, who was standing nearby.

At the end of last school year, I was limping along the halls. People would offer to go pick things up for me. I was sitting more often than standing. Someone would always roll over their office chair for me. My hip was giving up on me, and I was just hanging on until my surgery day.

I had a total hip replacement and recuperated over the summer break. As we shared our summer adventures coming back to school, I joked that I spent the summer in my recliner. Of course, there was also physical therapy. My therapist, with his sense of humor (and compassion) made those sessions a happy part of summer vacation, too.

Now back at school, I am amazed and grateful daily for the difference in mobility. And I have been flooded with encouragement from my colleagues who are also amazed at the difference. Sometimes, there is even applause!

I celebrate my new walk!

I wrote this on Saturday- now it is Slice of Life Tuesday, and I have another celebration of my new walk. This evening, my daughter (who was my “coach” when I had surgery) and I are going to a “reunion” dinner for those who had joint replacement surgery in the same month. It will be good to see others who have gone through the same experience and share our stories. I also look forward to another opportunity to thank the caregivers who were so kind and encouraging while I was in the hospital. I hope I never take for granted this renewed health!

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O Summer Tree

It’s not a tree, really. It’s a Rose of Sharon bush. But as I noticed it one day recently, with the sun shining on it, it reminded me of a Christmas tree. So here is a photo and a song.

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O Summer Tree

O summer tree, o summer tree
How bright and green your branches

O summer tree, o summer tree
How bright and green your branches

Your flower blooms so soft and pink
Adorn the branches all around

The sweetest blossom high atop
Glows in the sunshine like a star

O summer tree, o summer tree
How bright and green your branches

O summer tree, o summer tree
How bright and green your branches

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