It’s been a V E R Y L O N G week. The week before Spring Break. A week with a full moon. You know what that means, teachers. It felt like it should have been Friday on Tuesday. And again on Wednesday. Now we have to make it through Thursday, too, before it is F I N A L L Y Friday!
We had the statewide reading test for our third graders this week. That meant a lot of annoying computer issues. The results were not quite what we hoped for, either. Now we’ll be focusing on extra tutoring to help more kiddos pass when we have a retake at the end of the school year. We had some just a few points away. My focus will still be helping them fall in love with reading and writing, with the magic of language. That is so much more important than passing a test. And it’s a key to passing.
And when the week is over, and we are on break, I’ll be resting and renewing, getting ready to come back with enthusiasm for the final push to the end of the school year. Retirement is only a couple of years away, and I feel such a strong desire for my last years of teaching to be the best. I really did get in to teaching to make a difference. I learn more about being a good teacher each year, though- I wish I knew then what I know now.
In June I am going to a Literacy Retreat with two teacher-friends from my school. I have been excited to think of it coming up. But… last night my brother called. He was the lucky recipient of an Alaska cruise for two from his company. He and my sister-in-law are going on the cruise in June. I was being invited to be the doggie sitter and to stay in their house on the lake during the week they are gone. A great vacation for me- a week on the lake in a beautiful home, with two of my favorite canine friends. Doggone it! The dates of the conference are smack dab in the middle of the cruise dates. Now I’m a little disappointed about the PD, even though I know I will really enjoy those days with colleagues.
I got a sample of Laura Purdue Salas’ recently published poetry picture book, Snowman-Cold=Puddle: Spring Equations on my Kindle (my library’s e-collection doesn’t have it yet. I love the equations in the sample, like the one in the title. The page layouts include the equation with illustrations by and some brief facts about the equation. I like it a lot, so I’ll probably end up with the book!
I’ve had the equations on my mind, and I’ve been trying to notice small Spring moments so I can write some equations. Here is what I have so far:
early Spring mornings + birds = symphony
Robins are one type of bird that sing in the morning. (That’s my first fact. I want to research Indiana birds and their songs to get more specific.)
moon + water droplets = corona or maybe moonbow (more poetic)
This phenomenon is most often seen as the moon approaches the full moon. (I noticed it early this evening near sunset. Tomorrow is a full super moon. Again more research will add more facts to this equation.)
Even when she changes from baby to toddler, always saying that favorite new word, No!
Even when she starts school, climbing up into that big yellow bus and waving goodbye
Even when she reaches those turbulent middle school years and actually becomes a teen
Even when she walks across the stage and receives that high school diploma and then packs up and moves into her college dorm
Even when she earns a college degree and starts the first job of her career
Even when she finds her true love and gets married
You still think of her as your baby…
And it always surprises (and delights) you when she acts like an adult
I had a moment this past weekend that made me stop and think, my baby is a grownup!
Bits of lace
From the sky
Under a silky white
Just until the
Would break through
To warm her
My husband loved coffee. I like coffee. But I loved coffee when my husband made it.
For my husband, making a perfect cappuccino was an ongoing quest. I always thought each one was perfect. He would brew the coffee, steam and froth the milk, talking to himself about how the process was going. He chose a mug that was just right for the mood of the day and pour in just the right amount of espresso. Then he would spoon the frothy milk on top, taking care to create an artistic presentation. Sometimes he sprinkled on just a touch of cinnamon, nutmeg, or vanilla powder. He would deliver it with a flourish (and a kiss, the sweetest part), and step back to await the reaction at the first taste. It was wonderful, and I always tried to find new and better words to let him know. Of course, the coffee really was delicious, but it was the love and joy, the passion he gave it that truly made it special. I miss it so much, even after years.
Can you smell the coffee now? I think I do.
Over the past few days, I read a good book- The Faithful Spy: Dietrich Bonhoeffer and the Plot to Kill Hitler by John Hendrix. If you love history, and you are looking for a book to share with middle grades/YA readers to help them love history, too, this is a good book for that. A graphic novel, it explains the inexplicable- how a nation of good people fell under Hitler’s spell, and, for the young person to whom WWII seems a distant and vague event in history, it makes the story understandable. If you are inspired by faith lived, not just talked about, and you are looking for a book to share that life with a younger reader, this is a good book for that. Faithful Spy shows the development of Bonhoeffer’s faith from his youth through the untimely end of his life in a Nazi concentration camp. If you love books that combine art with words, this is a good book for that. The illustrations and artistic lettering bring the story to life.
If you like collecting quotes from books, this is a good book for that. A quote that struck a chord for me came from Bonhoeffer’s personal life. While he was held in a Nazi prison, one of the tactics used to demoralize him was the way his captors would bring Maria, his fiance, to visit him. They would be allowed to talk, but Maria would be whisked away unexpectedly. Dietrich wrote about the effect of these visits in a letter to a friend: “In my experience, nothing tortures us more than longing.” These words reveal the humanity of a “hero of the faith,” a man who seemed larger than life, but was, after all, like all of us.
If you are looking for a good book to read and share, this is a good book for that.