Tuesday, January 20, 2015

A Great Idea (I hope) and SOL

I'm gearing up for the March Slice of Life story challenge at TWT! I'm doing my best to slice every Tuesday until March and then every day in March! You should join in and Slice too!


Next week we are having our yearly professional development day at our school. Every January we have a PD day on one Monday, and I have to say most yearsit is torture. It is a day that usually is planned by Mr. Principal or an appointed committee and most often revolves around some new state mandated rule, or team building. Every year I think ugh what a waste of my time, and as I look around I see the same look on the face of others.
But this year I (and two others) are in charge of our day. I had a whole list of ideas, but decided the best direction would be to get everyone’s idea. I sent out a survey, tallied the results, made a schedule, added food, and BAM we have our day planned. I hope that this year’s scheduled day is not the day of boredom it has been in the past. If not at least we’ll have FOOD!
I had an epiphany this weekend about writing. One of the suggestions for our PD day was to have a school wide writing curriculum. Now I know I have different ideas about writing than most of my contemporaries. For one I don’t believe writing comes from a curriculum or script. Writers come from writing, and at the end of the day that is what we all want writers, not writing Getting others to understand that is the hard part.
So this weekend I was thinking of a way we as a school could get all teachers to “teach” writing without stressing them out or telling them how to “teach” it. My mind traveled back to when we wanted our reading scores to improve, and the solution was to have a time every day for nothing but reading. Silent reading. My thought was that that was what we need for writing.  A time every day that the students write. Just write. No matter what grade, what age, just write. Conventions can be taught during language, spelling, or reading.
If every grade did this every day then when they hit fifth grade and the dreaded writing test they would already be writers (which was the complaint that got me thinking). Mr. Principal thought it was a good idea. Now it’s convincing the teachers!   
I have to leave you with a picture of my new babies. I have probably been driving my facebook friends of the cuteness of them, but I just cant help myself. My pup is Darby Augustus a redbone coonhound and the kitten is Cleatus a stray Hadley brought home. They are too sweet and the best of friends!


Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Focus on 2015

Things I have learned in 2014. We can get through anything together. The people I call friends and family are always there when you need them. You learn more when you listen with your whole heart. My adult children continue to amaze me and make me so proud to call them mine. Putting yourself first once in a while is ok. No matter what your age there is always room to grow and learn and change. Faith is born in actions not words and true faith is something that comes from within you, not within walls (ok I already knew this one). My husband can accomplish amazing things with a little sweat and determination (and some encouragement from me). The ones who come when called on for help will never be able to be repaid in whole, but sometimes that’s ok, they don’t do it for that.  We may not go home for a long time but when we do it’s still home and we’re still welcome. Exercise is better with a friend. 5k is a long way, but a fulfilling accomplishment. And most importantly life is too short for regrets or worry, use your hours wisely, make your days meaningful, and your years worthwhile because it could all slip away tomorrow. 
My one little word this year is Focus. Focus on the good. Focus on the worthy. Focus on being better. Focus on the now. Focus on what matters and who matters not on what or who doesn’t.
Happy New Year. My wish for you in 2015 is a year filled with blessings big and small and the focus to know that they are. 

Friday, December 26, 2014

14 in 14 Linky Party and I decided to Play Along!


I haven’t blogged in ages but my friend Kristin aka The Teeny Tiny Teacher and her buddies are having a fun linky party and since this is the day after the best Christmas ever!  I thought a party sounded fun. It’s a 14 for 14 linky party and you should party with us.


Enough said! 
Ehh that's a hard one. I am not a lover of clothes. I mean I love wearing them I'm just not a fashionista of any kind. If I had to pick I guess I'd have to say a pair a jeans I got at Maurices last summer. They're ankle length and really faded and comfy. No pictures sorry I'm not a fan of those either. 


Since I only watched about two new movies this year I guess I'd have to say A Fault In Our Stars. It was a tear jerker for sure. 

I love the new series "How To Get Away With Murder" can you hear the lady saying that as you read it? But still my all time favorite is The Good Wife. It is a must see every Sunday night even if it's late because of football, and makes me super tired on Monday! 
Well there are not a lot of choices in our big ol town but we did get a new Freddy's this past year and I have to admit I have spent my share of time there. Other than that my kids moved to Tulsa last summer and we have learned about Osaka Grill. Yummmmo. I see a trip over the break to visit it...I mean my kids. 


My friend and I tried water aerobics this past summer and for a girl that hates water I have to say it's quite fun. I've been slacking between the holidays but we have plans to go back this Monday. I have missed it. 
That would have to be my new dishwasher. My kids planned a surprise birthday party for me this year (yes it was THAT one). They not only planned the party they got everyone to chip in and get me a new dishwasher. OH.MY.WORD. I was so surprised and so so so happy. I have ever told you how amazing me kids are? Yeah I know...but really they are! 

That's a hard one...I pin, and pin, and pin. I like to pin. I pin and then pin again. it's hard to pick a favorite...But I really like this idea for a bathroom and think I'll make it a project for this break...or spring break...or summer break...
Has to be the one about my kid's wedding. It was the highlight of my year. So amazing and beautiful! Just absolutely perfect. 
Read all about it and the first of my school year here

Has and always be my kids. I have the most amazing adult children. They were the greatest when they were young, but now that they are young adults they amaze me every day with the choices they make in their lives. Another accomplishment I am a little proud of this year was my move from first to second grade. It was a last minute move and I think I have transitioned pretty well after being  in the same grade for 12 years. I hope it's not a one year only move now that I'm getting the hang of it. 
Ohhh that for sure is a hard one. So so many beautiful wedding photos this year, and pictures of Hadley that we took this fall. Here are three, sorry I couldn't do just one. 
 I love this because it shows the joy Hadley exudes for life and for others. She is such an inspiration. You can't imagine the joy she brings to my life. 

 I love this one because this is my family, my life. 

 I love this because these two are the most important men in my life, and are such protectors and strength of this family. They are one and the same. 
The memories of 2014 are great and abundant. I don't think I can pick just one, my cup runneth over. 

My goals for 2015 are long and carry over from 2014. I want to continue to learn, and grow. I want to simplify and renew. I want to find strength when I need it, and silence when it's loud. I want to lead, and follow, give and find the grace when I need to receive.  I want find time for me and make my health a priority. I want to wander and stay put. I want to be the best me I can be. 

Focus. Focus is something I have been saying to myself every morning lately, and something I try to remind myself of often. So I think something is telling me it must be what my word should be for this year and something I need to remember. Focus! 










Sunday, November 23, 2014

What Would You Do?

Bully, bully, bully. Bullies are everywhere it seems these days. In our professional development. In our reading. In our classrooms. They are everywhere, and we are ultra-aware of their presence. We deal with them. We counsel them. We punish them. We intervene on their behalf. We develop policy for the bullies and because of the bullies. And if we’re honest we even find ourselves wanting to bully them, just to show them. So they know it’s not ok.
But then it happens. AN actual bullying event. In your classroom. With your kids. And all the professional development, all the training, all the reading, and all the policies feel useless. And inadequate to deal with what has happened.
The parents become involved. The bully’s parents deny and the victim’s parents cry. And you cry. And feel helpless and lost all over again. How could this happen on your watch? How could you not catch it, prevent it? How can you make it right? Who do you protect the child that was hurt, the parents that are outraged or the now “outted” bully that is still just a child. 
What does the policy say about that? What do the experts know about this child and the life he lives? What do you say to both sets of parents who love their children just the same?
They are both victims. Both products of their environments. One sweet and kind hearted, but in his way so is the other. One given his every wish, and praised each day for his accomplishments. The other so desperate for a friend and understanding he battles his way through every day. One that was given love from day one. The other found his love at the back of a hand.
We never learn what to do for the victims of bullies. We never understand that the bullies are victims too.    

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Knock Knock Who's Still There??

I really want to write, really I do. I think about it all the time. I think I should write this. Or maybe this. Oh I know I’ll write about that. And then I don’t. I don’t know why. Really I don’t I have time. I have ideas (sorta). I just haven’t. I have probably been expelled from the blogging community. But that is ok. I can start over. Sometimes starting over is fun. That’s what I’ll do I’ll begin againagainJ.
Hello my name is Tammy and I teach first nope second grade this year. And all I have to say about that is itttttttssssss harrrrrddddd. Can you hear the whine? I don’t mean it’s hard in the way first grade is hard because there is so much to get through AND teach the kiddos to read. I mean it is hard in the way that the kids areare.areolder? Different? Less lovey? Less needy? Yes that’s it. They just don’t need ME as much L. I KNOW! It is SO hard!
Really I have to say it is kind of refreshing to let them go earlier than you do in first grade. Sometimes. It’s exciting to watch them do more (especially knowing I was part of what got them there). It’s rewarding to have them take the lead on many things.
This month I am giving them their chance at being the teacher. Because you know they ALL want to be the teacher. I have given them a few subjects to choose from to research and “teach.” I have been so impressed! They have done an amazing job. We will be doing it again next month with a few Christmasy topics. It should be fun!

I’ll leave you with a few photos of my room this year. This is another change that I am in love with. I have been in this room before. Ten years ago. I hope I don’t have to move for another ten!




I have learned that the Expo Neon markers make for great writing on my windows. The fire marshal came early this year and was quite picky, so anchor charts are at a minimum, so my windows have become my anchor charts! Those and my super cool blackboard cupboards!

Sorry I’ve been gone so long. I will try to do better!   

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Fifty Reasons to Love the New Season

Joining up with the Two Writing Teachers for the weekly Slice of Life writing challenge. 


It is not easy to pull something over on me. But this weekend my kids pulled it off. They threw a surprise birthday party to end all surprise parties. They had food. They had wine. They had cake. They had my brother and sister in law from Tennessee and my cousin from Arizona along with my closest of family and friends all crammed into my kitchen on Saturday.
It was momentous. I was shocked, surprised and shaken by the outpouring of laughs, love and just flat out fun.
I cannot put into words the amount of love I feel for my kids, my family and the wonderful people I call friends. I am beyond blessed.







A new season has dawned this week. Long gone are the summery shadows on my patio and in its place are drifting leaves and lonesome dragonflies. Like the season this week finds the finality of my forties. Thursday is my fiftieth birthday.
I’m not sure how I feel about that number. If I feel anything about it at all. Many say my life is about over, that my seasons will be coming to an end. Others say my life is just beginning, that the best is yet to come. I say we’ll see.
If this decade is anything like the last I am in for amazing things. In my last decade I watched my children go from the sweetest kids to amazing young adults. I celebrated more than twenty nine years of marriage, graduated two children from high school, one from college (so far), and acquired a new daughter in law.
I have achieved and grieved, loved and lost, learned and languished, and felt jubilation and sorrow. It has been a decade like no other, a season to remember.
But I can’t see what this new one brings!   

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Let There be Voice SOL


I'm linking up with the Two Writing Teachers Weekly Slice of Life. I am late, and I have been gone far too long. But the great thing about this community is that they always welcome you home! 

Today was a good day in Writer’s Workshop! This week we started a study on “voice” and how writers use voice when they write.
We have been doing a Laura Numeroff study in class and she was a great way to kick off the unit on voice.
Yesterday I read Mo Willems Don’t Let Pigeon Drive the Bus to show how voice can make a story. I first copied a few lines from the story on chart paper and read it out loud. I then read the story and we compared the two. This helped them start to understand the importance of voice in writing. 
Today was what really hit home though. I had the kids sit in front of me, but with their backs to me. I told them I was going to read some books and when they recognized the “voice” of the author they should raise their hands.
I started with an easy one “The sun did not shine, it was too wet to play.” Boy did the hands shoot up.
I did the same with Laura Numeroff, Jan Brett, Mo Willems, and more. They LOVED it. And they loved comparing the different authors and their type of voice.
When it was time to “have a go” they were off and running. They each wanted to give their own voices a shot, and did they ever!
It was  good day in second grade today, and I can hardly wait to see what’s in store for tomorrow. 

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