The Screen is Blank

The screen is blank. So is my mind, it would seem. I’ve been sitting in front of the screen for awhile now and nothing has been happening. So I have just started typing to see if anything will happen. I don’t want to let Tuesday pass by without offering a slice. Let’s try “right now.”

Right now I sit at the desk in my classroom.
Right now the building is quiet.
Right now the students are not here. They have left for the day.
Right now I hear door hinges creak as the custodian closes and locks classrooms.
Right now a colleague calls and asks about the laminator. I am no help, since I don’t use it much.
Right now I hear a plane flying by.
Right now I am imagining where I would fly to for a vacation.
Right now I just finished talking with another teacher. We need time to talk with each other!
Right now sun streams in through the window, beckoning me to go outdoors. Bye!

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A Tender Moment

Early morning. Very early. A mother and her young son were walking down the sidewalk toward the corner. They had gone to the drugstore. He carried a small bag. I wonder what they needed that brought them out before the sun was even up. At the corner, the light changed and they stepped into the crosswalk. He took his mom’s hand, as if to take care of her and make sure she was safe. They made it across the street and stepped back onto the sidewalk. Mom slowed, ducked behind her son, and walked on the street side, protecting him from the traffic rushing by. A tender moment of love.

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Smart Cookie

She was one of the last few students in the cafeteria finishing breakfast. A brand new kindergartner, she was doing OK until she tried to peel her banana. She spoke right up, asking for help. She chatted with the teacher a bit in fluent English before getting back to the business of breakfast. She ran into problems again trying to open her cereal and milk carton. She remembered to raise her hand this time to ask for help. I was impressed with how well-spoken she was. Her coffee-with-cream skin, dark eyes and dark hair were clues to her Hispanic heritage. (Half of our new kindergartners are Hispanic, and nearly 100% of them are ELLs.) As she was leaving, I told her that she spoke English very well, and I asked her if she spoke Spanish, too.

“Yes, I do,” she answered.

“You are one smart cookie!” I said.

“I’m a cookie?!?” she giggled, as if that was the funniest thing she ever heard. She took what I said quite literally!

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Choice…a word
full of potential,

Choice…a doorway
to creativity,

WHY are some
so afraid to allow
teachers… and students
to have it?

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My Cat

I’m always saying, “Oh, you silly cat!”
But I wonder, where’s the truth in that?

My cat is smart, not silly at all-
Happy chasing a spot of light on the wall,

Completely content basking in the sun
Or in full motion on a tearing run.

My cat can be so independent, but
When he wants attention, he’s insistent.

It may be silly how he sometimes acts,
But he gets my love when he curls on my lap.

That cat worked his way into my heart-
What do you think? Isn’t that smart?

Written in response to Teachers Write Mini-Lesson by Liz Garton Scanlon, author of All the World, Noodle and Lou (picture books) and The Great Good Summer (middle grades novel).
Here’s her encouraging comment:
Dr. Seuss didn’t do too badly with silly little rhymes about a silly little cat :) Thanks so much for sharing!

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A Day of Waiting

A friend, now living several states away, was scheduled to have surgery July 23 for a cancer that has come back for a second battle. Surgery to include a cutting-edge, proving to be highly effective, new treatment. Her condition took a turn for the worse, and she ended up in the hospital for several days. With no improvement happening, her doctor decided it was time Saturday to go ahead with surgery. Just surgery, no special treatment.

Another friend and I had taken a little road trip to visit her last month. Now we were chatting back and forth by text (she was on her family vacation!)- so glad we had gone, so worried about the turn of events. I started contacting more friends, called our pastor, and we all were praying and waiting. Our friend’s husband promised to call after the surgery. We sent him a few messages to encourage him during the waiting. He was there alone- or as he said, “Just B, God, and me.” We all had the comfort of our faith.

The wait for news seemed long. Finally, we got some news, late afternoon. The doctor reported the surgery went very well. A tumor was removed, and no other cancer was visible. He is optimistic that with conventional chemotherapy after recovery from the surgery, there will be another remission. The recovery will be tough, at least six weeks. The chemo will be tough, too. But it still seems like good news to replace some of the worry. We will keep praying, and the first of those prayers is thanksgiving.

Faith and friendship. These help us through our days of waiting. Faith and friendship. These inspire words of encouragement and acts of love and kindness that get us through.

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Quick Write From Teachers Write

See the Thursday Quick Write with author Tracey Baptiste at Kate Messner’s blog.

Exercise 1

She flipped on every light as she walked through the house. She stands in the doorway and reaches in to turn on the bedroom light. her hair is mussed up and hangs around her face. She is wearing her favorite bell bottom hip-huggers, the yellow and lavender plaid with a yellow bodysuit. Her coolest outfit. Grass stains on the knees.

She sees the familiar dresser, the contents of her dad’s pockets scattered across the top, Her dad’s work clothes are wadded in the laundry basket. Her mom’s pink chenille robe hangs on the bedpost.

Her parents are sleeping peacefully, her dad’s arm stretched protectively across her mom. “Mom,” she says softly. The sleeping form stirs slightly. “Mom,” she says again, a little louder, voice trembling. Her mother’s eyes flutter open, slowly registering the light and her daughter standing there in the doorframe. Suddenly she sits upright, reaching one hand toward her daughter, frantically shaking her husband awake with the other.

Exercise 2

I love God most. Family next. That might sound ordinary and boring, but it is true. I hate being afraid. But there are a lot of things I am afraid of. I try not to be jealous, but I do get jealous of the ones who get the awards I wish I could get. I mean, most of the time, I am pretty good at things- good grades, etc. But I never seem to be the best. If I could do anything, I just wish I could make my mom happy. I have never told anyone my biggest secret, and I never will.

Exercise 3 (flip the character in 2)

I don’t know if I believe in God like all the people who say they love Him. I can’t stand my family. Why wasn’t I born in a different family?! I don’t belong in my stupid family. Who am I jealous of? There are too many to name. If I could do anything, I would go to Hollywood and be a rich and famous actress.

Exercise 4

Girl: (whispering) Mom? (louder) M-m-mom?
Mother: W-what happened?
Girl: (Shaking head, walking to mother)
Mother: It’s OK, it’s OK.
Girl: (crying)
Father: What is wrong?
Mother: I’m not sure. Check the other kids.

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