Love Note #SOL

Today was one of those days. Come to think of it, yesterday was one of those days, too. When I arrived home this afternoon and reached into my pockets, as I do at the end of the every day, I pulled out a magical slip of paper. I admit in all of the chaos of the day, I had forgotten all about it.

Love Note

Earlier this morning, a very special First Grader, who was in my class last year, had paid her daily visit for a hello and a hug on her way down the hall to class. She dropped her backpack on the floor and said, “I have something for you, Mrs. Wyman. Let me find it.” And find it she did. Reading her special message and thinking about this “tiny” act of kindness made all the troubles of the day slip away.

 

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Many thanks to the crew at Two Writing Teachers, and the extended SOL community, for giving us the time, space, and encouragement to live the writerly life here each Tuesday. Won’t you join us?

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It Took a Village #SOL

It finally arrived! A few weeks ago my Principal ordered a standing workstation for me. I couldn’t wait for it to come. The old rolling computer cart I’ve had for years just isn’t working for my iMac, monitor, keyboard, external disk drive, and Ladybug document camera. Too much equipment and not enough space!

parts

When I opened the box there were so many parts. An IKEA-like nightmare! How could I possibly get this put together? And I have meetings every afternoon, so not a minute to spare. I needed help. Kindergarteners to the rescue! What better use of a Genius Hour than to work on this project together. We laid all the parts out and explored them together.

helpers

Quite a few students wanted to help and I had stiff competition, including the LEGO table and painting. I was truly honored they were curious and genuinely wanted to help. And they really were helpful! They held up bits and pieces as I began to insert part A into part B and on and on it went. One young man took it upon himself to say from time to time, “Quiet everyone. Mrs. Wyman is trying to concentrate!” I admit that was helpful at times.

table

After school, when it was nice and quiet, I put the finishing touches on. The floor was a mess, but I’d done it – with a little help, of course. It was dark out now, and my helpers had gone, but I really wanted to push through get it all set up.

computers on

Tah day! Mission Accomplished! I can’t wait for my helpers to see the finished product tomorrow morning. When they left, they didn’t know what it was for. Making memories, we were.

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Many thanks to the crew at Two Writing Teachers, and the extended SOL community, for giving us the time, space, and encouragement to live the writerly life here each Tuesday. Won’t you join us?

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Giving Thanks For Young Poets #PoetryFriday

Happy Poetry Friday, everyone! Our hostess this week is Irene Latham and her blog, Live Your Poem, has had a gorgeous makeover. I hope you’ll visit her there!

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Last week I shared my poem, Brave Writer, which was inspired by my sweet Kindergarten writers. This week I’m serving up a sampler of bite-sized list poems I know you’ll have room for. These are my young writers’ first attempts at poetry — WOOT WOOT! We’ve been reading Georgia Heard’s Falling Down the Page: A Book of List Poems as well lots of list poems on Amy Ludwig VanDerwater’s Poem Farm website. These mentor texts inspired us to put pen to paper and carve up thankful list poems. Bon appetit! (Click the link below to watch a Spark video of everyone’s poem.)

https://spark.adobe.com/video/3XO2B0eMB5DdV/embed

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Thanks for wondering and wandering a bit with me and I hope you’ll join us on this lovely Poetry Friday!

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Thanksgiving Table Traditions #SOL

It’s been a few years since we actually hosted Thanksgiving at our house, but every year my husband insists on cooking the turkey for my family — and the roast at Christmas, and the lamb at Easter. He’s fussy like that. Wants it cooked just so! I can’t complain. He gets up at the crack of dawn and does his thing while I sleep in. It works and boy does the house smell amazing!

When it comes to side dishes, there are two that are always on our family’s Thanksgiving table — my brussels sprouts and my Aunt Cindy’s fruit compote. I’ve been making the same Stout and Orange-Glazed Brussels Sprouts recipe since I first discovered it in Bon Appetit back in 1994. It sounds a little unusual, but is delicious. The combination of broth, Guinness, orange juice, butter, brown sugar, and pepper boils down to a delicious glaze that you saute the sprouts in. So good, you’ve got to try it! If you are not a fan of sprouts, try this and it’ll win you over. Promise!

Now onto the fruit compote. My Aunt Cindy has been gone for while now. We lost her –my dad’s kid sister — far too early from a brain aneurism when she was in the prime of life with two young boys. They are grown now, with children of their own, but every year we honor her legacy by enjoying her “famous” fruit compote, a concoction of canned pineapple, peaches, and pears swirled around in a bowl with cranberry sauce. It’s divine served with a dollop of fresh whipped cream, the perfect complement to the Thanksgiving bird.

What’s on your table, that you couldn’t live without?

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Many thanks to the crew at Two Writing Teachers, and the extended SOL community, for giving us the time, space, and encouragement to live the writerly life here each Tuesday. Won’t you join us?

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Brave Writer #PoetryFriday

Happy Poetry Friday, everyone! Linda at TeacherDance is our hostess this week. She has a review of the adorable new Sleep, My Bunny by Rosemary Wells and a giveaway opportunity. Don’t miss it!

While my 20 Kindergarten writers were the original inspiration for Brave Writer, as I pondered, poked, and prodded my poem in place, I realized all writers and poets will identify with the emotions one goes through when staring at a blank page.

Brave writer

I intentionally excluded a joyous eureka moment at its conclusion. Every time I open my notebook, I wonder where to begin. Don’t you?

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Thanks for visiting and join us on this Poetry Friday!

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First Ever Data Meeting #SOL

“Data meetings? We’re doing data meetings?” “What’s a data meeting?” Yes, that was pretty much the range of responses from colleagues when our district announced late this past summer that we’d be embarking on a new journey — data meetings. One more thing. Ugh!

Last week I attended my first data meeting…ever. I know for some of you this is a regular routine, but in our district it’s something new. Sure, we’ve always assessed kids (have we ever!), discussed results in grade level meetings, and the odd Child Study Team meeting. We’ve implemented interventions here and there, but what’s different this time is that everyone is coming to the table. And I mean everyone. It’s no longer just the grade level teachers, an administrator or two, and a service provider that happens to be available after school. In these meetings we are looking at the whole child, not just one area of need. Our team consists of:

  • Principal (meeting convener)
  • School Adjustment Counselor
  • Team Chair/SPED Coordinator
  • Occupational Therapist
  • Physical Therapist
  • Speech/Language Pathologist
  • Math Curriculum Specialist
  • ELA Curriculum Specialist
  • Science/Social Studies Curriculum Specialist
  • Instructional Coach
  • Math Interventionists
  • ELA Interventionists
  • Grade Level Team Members

The team is enormous I know! Everyone on the team, apart from the grade level teachers, attended for the entire day — from 8:00 AM-4:00 PM. Grade level teams attended for 90-minute blocks, a team of substitutes moving from grade to grade providing classroom coverage. It really was quite something.

Prior to the meeting, each classroom teacher filled out a Google Sheet with required assessment data and additional information for each child we had concerns about. By the end of our team’s 90-minute block, we left with a plan for each child we had concerns about. In January, we’ll return to share updates and make new plans. The cycle will continue two more times as the school year progresses. Fingers crossed, we can make a difference and support students better than we have in the past.

Does your school conduct regular data meetings? I’d love to learn about your process!

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Many thanks to the crew at Two Writing Teachers, and the extended SOL community, for giving us the time, space, and encouragement to live the writerly life here each Tuesday. Won’t you join us?

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Watercolor Cakes #PoetryFriday

Happy Poetry Friday, everyone! Michelle Barnes at Today’s Little Ditty is our hostess this week. As she notes, it’s been a challenging week for so many. I found solace in focusing on my joyful Kindergarten students, parent conferences, my writing, and creating this week.

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The stunning trees bursting with color that brighten our school grounds and my drive home each afternoon inspire me. While sitting at our classroom art table with a tray of fresh watercolors the other day — fun for my students, therapeutic for me — an image of a new watercolor palette brimming with gorgeous fall hues came to mind.

autumnal watercolor cakes

I’ll be sharing this poetic seasonal postcard with Carol Varsalona for her #AbundantAutumn digital gallery. Might you have something to offer? To find out more, click here.

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Thanks for visiting and join us on this Poetry Friday!

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