Sunday, March 30, 2014

#sol14 Dear Teachers, Keep On Doing What You Are Doing!

WRITE. Every day in March write a slice of life story on your own blog. SHARE. Link your post in the comments on each daily call for slice of life stories here at TWT. GIVE. Comment on at least three other slice of life stories/blogs.
Two Writing Teachers have written about the Slice of Life on their blog.  Head on over and check it out!

Dear Teacher Friends Near and Far,

Today, in church, I had the opportunity to witness something cool.  My worlds collided.  I love it when that happens for the good.  Other cool learning took place too that is connected to my life as an educator, but that is for another day.  

It began with a simple question.  "Tell me about a teacher/educator that made a difference in your life."  Honestly, teacher friends, I got nervous.  It's just when these two words collide, sometimes I end up feeling hurt by my perception that we as educators are misunderstood. So I jumped in right away out of nerves and began to talk about the amazing educators I work with everyday.  Not only do they know their content, but they know the lives of their students.

Then, my heart soared.  And you need to hear once again, how awesome you truly are.  

People told stories of great teachers that they remember.  It was a small group, but here is some of what they shared:

About the biology teacher who took the students to the beach and knew which creatures you could pick up right of the beach and munch on for a snack.  How he had such a relationship with his students, they never wanted to let him down.

The geometry teacher who opened up and shared his feelings after experiencing heart-breaking loss. 

A history teacher who was able to get a student to love history when one student walked into the room "hating it."  He helped with homecoming and she still finds the historical perspective of any story fascinating. 

They all spoke of how smart these teachers were and how passionate they were about their subjects, but in each story it was about the relationships. 

  You build relationships.  You love what you do and bring passion to your work everyday.

You are remembered.  You are loved.

Keep doing all of that.  It's continuing to make a difference.  

  Joy!
Kendra






Saturday, March 29, 2014

#sol14 ::Right Now::

WRITE. Every day in March write a slice of life story on your own blog. SHARE. Link your post in the comments on each daily call for slice of life stories here at TWT. GIVE. Comment on at least three other slice of life stories/blogs.
Two Writing Teachers have written about the Slice of Life on their blog.  Head on over and check it out!



Right Now I Am:

::thankful that at 5 AM I was able to go back to sleep for awhile.  My body has been asking for sleep, and I finally was able to restore in this way.

::stalling.   Having my 5 year old at school with me is amazing in ways I wouldn't have imagined.  However, for the past two days, I haven't accomplished much after school, so therefore I'm headed there in a little bit.

::happy to see the sun!  A run is in store for later.  

::wondering about new things in my classroom before June.  A trip to Wal-Mart/Target/Dollar Tree before I go to school?

::enjoying elastic pants too much.  About that run...

::drinking another cup of coffee

::watching my Mr. scroll through Twitter and discussing "Friends" (the TV series) with him.

::directing my sons to come out of the clothes basket before they wrestle.  

::celebrating and outlining a blog post to share some really cool things that happened at school this week.  (I'm looking at you, Jillian!)  When there is success in the classroom; we celebrate!  

What are you doing right now?  Have a great weekend!
Joy!
Kendra

Thursday, March 27, 2014

#sol14 Thankful Thursday

WRITE. Every day in March write a slice of life story on your own blog. SHARE. Link your post in the comments on each daily call for slice of life stories here at TWT. GIVE. Comment on at least three other slice of life stories/blogs.
Two Writing Teachers have written about the Slice of Life on their blog.  Head on over and check it out!


The past 15 hours have been filled with a range of emotions.  

Frustration?  Check.

Exhaustion?  Check.

Excitement?  Check.

Contentment?  Check.

Thankfulness?  Check.  Check.  

The day is early, I want to dwell on the first two, but I know I can't.  (Insert a chorus of "Let it Go" here...You're welcome.)   :) 



Things I'm Thankful for This Morning

  Coffee.

  Friends and Mentors that I've had more than 15 years.  

  A guest room.

  First graders.

  Always my husband and sons.

 Running.

  Faith and Prayer.

  Second chances and forgiveness.

  Books.  All the books.  

Family.

Super colleagues.

Basketball.

Baseball.

Hometown teams.

Spring in the Midwest.  


What are you thankful for today?

Joy!
Kendra







Tuesday, March 25, 2014

To #1stchat and Anyone Else Who has Students Blogging

Friends.  On Sunday night, #1stchat had an awesome open chat.  I was able to connect and ask some questions about student blogging.  I was so inspired!  Thank you for sharing your insights and ideas with everyone.

So I've been thinking.  I process new things a lot before I jump in and try, especially if I have the choice.  Thanks for just acknowledging that.  It's part of who I am.

Tonight, I'd like to share with you where I'm at, and ask a few questions about students who blog.  And I would love your feedback, if you would be so kind to give it.

What I Know:

I have loved blogging personally and with my dear friend, Annie.  What a release for me as I process teaching, especially writing.  I feel like my writing block has improved since I have started blogging and writing on a regular basis.

There are many reasons why I should blog with my students.  Included, but not limited to:  the voice it gives the students, the audience, the authenticity, the connections, the skills being practiced in both writing and technology.  I've been thinking about all of these.  A Lot.

My Questions:

I think I have a plan so students will have an opportunity to blog a couple times a week.  How does blogging fit into your schedule?

What change did you notice in your students as writers after they started blogging?

Are there any of you who wished you hadn't started a student blog?  Why?

Again, thanks for any feedback you are willing to give me.   This post has helped me clear some thoughts out of my head so I can move on!

Joy!
Kendra

#sol14 Another Slice of Why I Love First Grade

WRITE. Every day in March write a slice of life story on your own blog. SHARE. Link your post in the comments on each daily call for slice of life stories here at TWT. GIVE. Comment on at least three other slice of life stories/blogs.
Two Writing Teachers have written about the Slice of Life on their blog.  Head on over and check it out!


Imagine one of the most charming kiddos you know.  That's who this conversation took place with today.  

Student walks over to me, stands RIGHT next to me, and stares intently as I'm conferencing with another student on his writing.   

Me:  "Are you okay?"  "Can I help you?  What's wrong?"

Student:  "Nothing.  I just needed to check on you to see how you were doing."  
(Flashes Huge Grin and raises eyebrow.)

Me:  "Why thank you."  (Returns huge smile.  How could you not?)  

Student turns around and skips to his desk.  

Joy!
Kendra

Sunday, March 23, 2014

#sol14 How I Became a Food Allergy Mama

WRITE. Every day in March write a slice of life story on your own blog. SHARE. Link your post in the comments on each daily call for slice of life stories here at TWT. GIVE. Comment on at least three other slice of life stories/blogs.
Two Writing Teachers have written about the Slice of Life on their blog.  Head on over and check it out!

Okay, because we've been slicing together for almost a month now, I thought I would share this story of our youngest son.  It's been on my list now for awhile to share, I've been pondering how to share without writing the longest blog post ever.  Your inspiration and ideas, dear writers, has lead me to try a poem? (As I write, definitely not a poem.)  A list of slices?  I'm not sure what it is.   Anyway, here's the story of how I became a food allergy mama.  It's made me a more compassionate teacher, mama/wife, and friend.  I'm grateful for this experience.  

First, the vomiting began.  So much vomiting.  3-4-5-6 times a day.  It's not the flu.   But it's not right.  Nighttime.  Daytime.  We can't escape it.  

Doctors begin to think and try.  Acid reflux?  Try this medicine.   Give him another pillow.  Keep a food diary.  None of it is working.   

Then, the doctors start to use words like "biopsy" and "Eosinophils".  And the crushing weight of not having answers begins to take hold.  

A biopsy, 3 doctors, and a lot of prayer. 
The vomiting--after 4 endless months--stops.   Relief and the healing comes in the form of an inhaler?!?  We'll take it.    

The answers come rushing in like a tidal wave.  We can see answers in the waves of information.  
We can't get to them fast enough.  

We have to sort through the opinions of friends and family.  Some sting.  Some hurt.  Some make me want to throw down in a WWE style.  We remind each other, it's out of love.  Instead of wrestling the general population, I take up running.  

There are friends who have resources and experiences, and share them without hesitation.  

I cry at the grocery store.  Only once.  God smiles at me and says, "I got this.  Just feed him." 

More words from doctors, "Failure to thrive."  "Feeding tubes."  "Feeding supplements."  "Gain weight"  
The weekly weigh ins for our Tiny Champion.  I start to question, "Are you sure you've got this God?"  Silence.  I learn later; God was setting me up to see a miracle.   

Then--after almost a year--new hope.  New doctors.  Finally, some answers.  I read everything.  I pray fervently.  We start to see growth in his little body.  We always saw his spark.  

Today, it's an adventure in the kitchen.  Tiny Champion is now pouring over cookbooks with me.  We choose foods together, and calls himself "Mommy's Shoe Chef."  

I'm pretty sure I watched a miracle happen.  

Today, about 3 years later,  Tiny Champion fits right in, you will notice his spark before anything else.  His food allergies definitely do not define him.    And we are so thankful for that.  

Joy!--Kendra


Saturday, March 22, 2014

#sol14 Dear Boys In School Everywhere...

WRITE. Every day in March write a slice of life story on your own blog. SHARE. Link your post in the comments on each daily call for slice of life stories here at TWT. GIVE. Comment on at least three other slice of life stories/blogs.
Two Writing Teachers have written about the Slice of Life on their blog.  Head on over and check it out!


This past week I had the awesome opportunity to visit with some kids I love dearly.  During a quiet moment in the day, I asked one of them, "How's school going?"  To which he replied, "Okay, but the teachers are really on the side of the girls."  

As a teacher, I had to follow up on that one.  
Me--"Tell me more." 
Kid proceeds to tell me a story about a misunderstanding, in which he felt like an injustice occurred.  Knowing there are two sides to every story, I listened.  That story may or may not have happened like he said.  But his perception stuck with me.  

Man, have I been thinking about that conversation ever since.  Especially, "Okay, but the teachers are really on the side of the girls."  

In the end, that story inspired my need to write this open letter to boys in school everywhere.  You see, as a 1st grade teacher, it broke my heart that by the age of 10, a child had the words to create such a sentence.  And I just had to say something.   I'm sure there is more to say, but here's a start.  

Dear Boys In School Everywhere, 

We are on your side.  

When you need to stand up during the read aloud because we just got to the good part, we are on your side.  Go ahead and get passionate about a good book.  And keep reading.  Even if you are standing up.  Please gather around all the books with your friends.  Especially if it's one you love, even if I wouldn't choose it.  Because dear reader, I just want you to love the feeling of picking up a book.   Keep doing that. 

Yes, you can sit on the floor to work.  Stretch your legs out.  Yes, you can sit in a chair to work.  Yes, you can stand on one leg like a flamingo to work.  We need to move around too when we are working. We are on your side.  

Take a moment of quiet if you need it.  We do too sometimes.  We are on your side.  

Of course we will problem solve together if we need to.  Everyone makes mistakes.  But we are on your side.  We will hear your side of the story every time.  We will take the time to understand.  We believe in forgiveness, and new starts.  We have all been given those.  You have the right to them too.  

We are on your side at recess.  We are working hard so all of us realize how important critical it is for you to have this time to run, yell, run, jump, and run some more.  That is important for all of us!  (Teachers too!)  We have loved watching you organize your soccer games this year.  You have tremendous leadership skills.  We are so glad we got to witness this at recess this year.  We learned so much from watching you do this!  

We will hug you if you want a hug.  We will offer a high-five or a happy face if you don't want to hug.  We are on your side.

We are on your side in the classroom.  We celebrate your successes with you.  We want to cheer you on and move mountains so you can experience that success.  When you experience that success, we will rejoice with you.  

We will work to get the materials you need so you can experience the awesomeness of education. (Yes, awesomeness.)  We don't want you to be a by-stander trying to soak it in.  We are working hard so everyone knows that all kids need lots of different opportunities and avenues for learning.  We are on your side.  

Dear Boys in School Everywhere, we love you.  You bring something to our classrooms that no one else can.  School is for you, and we are on your side.  

Love, The Teachers Everywhere Working Hard So You Believe This.  


Joy!
--Kendra

Friday, March 21, 2014

#sol14 Hello There!

WRITE. Every day in March write a slice of life story on your own blog. SHARE. Link your post in the comments on each daily call for slice of life stories here at TWT. GIVE. Comment on at least three other slice of life stories/blogs.
Two Writing Teachers have written about the Slice of Life on their blog.  Head on over and check it out!


The end of spring break is near.  I've been inspired by many of your blogs to write and share some more stories.  However, today calls for a frantic attempt to accomplish a few house cleaning items.  We've had fun this week, because I used my long winter days wisely.  I'm a little more thankful for those long winter days.  I really did use that time to clean some things out.  

So this post is inspired by Deb Day's post.  I was saving Hello There! for when I was wanting to slice quickly.

**Friends!  An update!  Also, yesterday I was reading Leigh Anne's Blog and made a note to write this type of a post.  When I sat down this morning, I couldn't remember who I had visited yesterday in all my slicing action, and didn't give her credit for inspiration as well! 

i am a wife, mom, first grade teacher

i keep books even when it's clear they should be recycled

i wish  I could wake up in the morning in an easy fashion

i love deeply

i dance in the kitchen when I'm cooking dinner

i sing at my house, in my car, and when I'm running

i think we need to be more forgiving to ourselves

i really wish I was better at managing time

i need to run outside

i should be cleaning something right now

i can play piano 

i like school

i make an abundance of food when I'm home on breaks

i always hug my family before I leave them


Originally came from this blog  http://the-girl-who-chased-the-moon.tumblr.com/

--Kendra

Thursday, March 20, 2014

#sol14 Late Nights, Crabby Mornings, Happy Endings

WRITE. Every day in March write a slice of life story on your own blog. SHARE. Link your post in the comments on each daily call for slice of life stories here at TWT. GIVE. Comment on at least three other slice of life stories/blogs.
Two Writing Teachers have written about the Slice of Life on their blog.  Head on over and check it out!


It's 11:07 PM, and I'm still awake. Way too late for a girl like me.  And my mind is racing.  This class.  Online.  Driving. Me. Crazy.  

I love the idea of studying behavior strategies to help kids.  Especially our kids who need the most love and consistency we can provide them.  I don't love taking a subjective topic and trying to cram it into an objective course.  (Whew!  I feel better already.)  Having this experience has made me wonder what I'm doing in my own classroom that makes kids want to pull their hair out and text random strings of thoughts to their closest friends at 11:08.  Again, way too late for a girl like me.  

Fast Forward to 6:28 AM. I hear the Thump-Pitter-Patter-Thump of a 5 year old.  In a shouting whisper that only he can make, "Who will snuggle with me?!?!?!"  My Mr. hops up and offers the 5 year old his pillow as he starts his day.  My first thought is, "No!  It's too early!"  Before that thought even leaves my brain, he's up on the bed.  Kicking and stretching out.  Patting my forehead. Rearranging my hair.   Was that a finger in my eye?  
 "Mommy!??!?!"  (Shouting whisper.)  "Are you awake?!?!?!?"  

I want to capture a few more moments of sleep, but I think of the dog who spent the night in his kennel down the hill and know that he's waiting for me to bring him some freedom!  I roll out of bed.  Ugh.  My eyes are blurry and I need my coffee.  The dog is more than happy to see me.  Such a funny puppy.  He's extra pushy this morning.  Ouch!  Back to the kennel for a bit until later today when we will walk.  

I return home, back up the hill.  "What's on the agenda today mom?"  "Can I have cheese toast for breakfast?"  "Let's play puppy and you throw me the Frisbee."  I want to shush them all, but I don't.  But I know I have to be honest about my feelings at this point, so I don't yell. Because I'm so tired.   Why, as a mom does that always bring a little bit of guilt?  "Mom needs a moment to sip some coffee, wake up, and figure out an agenda."  

The boys smile, which warms my heart instantly.  They understand.  They throw themselves into trying tunes on the piano, sorting Pokemon cards, and watching a little TV.  We take a moment to fill out 5 Year Old's NCAA bracket.  He might do better than all of us!  

I've had my moment to reset.  I've written.  I've responded.  Breakfast.  Coffee.  More Coffee.  Hugs from all the boys.  I smile.  They really are my happy ending.  


Now for that agenda....

--Kendra


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

#sol14 A OLW Update.

WRITE. Every day in March write a slice of life story on your own blog. SHARE. Link your post in the comments on each daily call for slice of life stories here at TWT. GIVE. Comment on at least three other slice of life stories/blogs.\
Two Writing Teachers have written about the Slice of Life on their blog.  Head on over and check it out!



After reading Michelle Haseltine's Blog yesterday, as well as Jaana's Writing Blog, I was inspired to do a little reflecting on how it's going with my One Little Word.  

First of all, I'm surprised at how quiet Strong is.  I'm also learning that it's not always what I think Strong should be.  

When I'm being firmly held and established, being industrious, showing determination, many times it has been with the mundane.  

Your husband's working every Saturday in January?  Use that time to be industrious around the house, so you don't get too far behind with life.  I'm reaping the benefits of my January work now that it is spring break.  I'm not having to completely dig out of every room!  

It's so cold outside even your dog is protesting?  Show some determination and get out of the stretchy flannel pants!  Work out.  Do some yoga.  Take the kids on an outing!  This determination certainly did make a challenging winter a little more enjoyable.  

My church has been studying The Story this year.  I'm learning that I am firmly held and established in faith, a great shift after a couple years of wondering.  It has also cemented an already Strong relationship with my husband, as we are studying the same things.  It's lead to some great conversations.  

And when there was a little burn out right before break and "things" just kept piling up?  Being able to recognize things weren't going well and use the same determination to keep going.  This too, shall pass.  

Now as the year progresses; some ideas for continuing to be strong:
I want to work on being strong physically.  More motivation to work hard in this area this time of year.  I have a good routine from Aprilish-Late November.  From December to March-ish, I tend to avoid working out all together.  Now that Spring is arriving, I want to think about how to make that time more physically active, so I can be strong for my family.  

Also, I'm looking to spend more time reflecting on my word.  Looking at Pinterest, I'm enjoying the creations that people have taken the time to make to reflect on what they are working towards this year.  Perhaps later this spring on a weekend, or even in the summer, I would like to do some creating as well.  

If you have a OLW, how is it going?  What reflections do you have?  

--Kendra

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

#sol14-What Really Goes On During Spring Break.

WRITE. Every day in March write a slice of life story on your own blog. SHARE. Link your post in the comments on each daily call for slice of life stories here at TWT. GIVE. Comment on at least three other slice of life stories/blogs.\
Two Writing Teachers have written about the Slice of Life on their blog.  Head on over and check it out!

I have a 2 page "to-do" list for this week.  It's day 5 of my break, if you count the weekend.  Please ask me what I've accomplished off this list.  

Two.  Two items.  

This morning, as I contemplate what to do next, I want to curse the "to-do" list and ditch it all.  

I wouldn't classify the list as unrealistic for a spring break.  It involves a vacuum, dusting, organizing, planning for school, etc.  Some items didn't even make the spring break list, because I worked on them in January when my husband was working crazy long hours.  (Hooray!)  

However, this break, I'm relishing in the quiet.  Here's what my break list really should look like:
1.  Talk to my husband.  Eat dinner with him in public.  Twice.  :)
2.  Read.  Read.  Read.
3.  Take care of neighbor's puppy as a reminder of why we aren't ready to get another dog quite yet.
4.  Take boys to "The Lego Movie."  Enjoy watching their faces almost as watching the movie.
5.  Eat breakfast and lunch with friends.  Have long, uninterrupted conversations.  
6.  See my family.  
7.  Cook lunch.  A healthy one.  Sit down at the counter and take 30 minutes to eat it.  
8.  Watch my sons play this morning, turning off the TV on their own.
9.  Sleep until 7.  (That is like the middle of the day for us usually.)
10.  Read your amazing blogs.  Attempt to write a few myself.  

Now, as I reflect on the time I've had to refresh, I know that I'm ready to tackle that to do list.  I'm not always great at to-lists, but as I've taken time to reflect, I know that I'm pretty good at prioritizing what really matters.  Now, if you'll excuse me, there is some orange cleaner and a kitchen full of cabinets waiting for me.  

If you are on spring break, how are you taking time to refresh?  
--Kendra

Saturday, March 15, 2014

#sol14 Saturday

WRITE. Every day in March write a slice of life story on your own blog. SHARE. Link your post in the comments on each daily call for slice of life stories here at TWT. GIVE. Comment on at least three other slice of life stories/blogs.\
Two Writing Teachers have written about the Slice of Life on their blog.  Head on over and check it out!


I woke up early.  Too early.  The first thing I did was ask myself, "Don't you know it's Saturday?  And the boys are gone?!?!?  Go back to sleep!"  But I couldn't.  

I throw on a sweater.  I love March.  I'm mindful that I'm not freezing or thinking about oppressive wind chills.  It's also still crisp enough in the morning to need a sweater.  I toss that on, and stumble down stairs.

Coffee?  Yes please.  I sip and peek at social media and turn on the news.  It hums in the background and I ponder what to do first.  

I consider what books I'm going to read this weekend.  (Why not?  There are always books!)

I looked at my graduate class.  It's dragging on forever.  It's time to be done.  Really done.  A plan to finish this within a week--complete.  

I read some of your blogs.  I am loving hearing your stories as we work through #sol14.

I keep waiting to hear the thump of the feet telling me my kidlets are up.  That won't come today as they are with family.  

Not an ordinary Saturday.  I'm continuing to savor the quiet.  
Happy Saturday.  

--Kendra


Friday, March 14, 2014

#sol14 The First 24 Hours of Spring Break

WRITE. Every day in March write a slice of life story on your own blog. SHARE. Link your post in the comments on each daily call for slice of life stories here at TWT. GIVE. Comment on at least three other slice of life stories/blogs.\
Two Writing Teachers have written about the Slice of Life on their blog.  Head on over and check it out!


1.  A pizza party with family.  My favorite part?  When "Angelina Ballerina"--my niece--came barreling down the stairs dressed as Captain America. She's so funny.  The cousins are now enjoying a sleepover.  

2.  Drinks and Cheese Balls with my husband to watch a basketball game at a local sports bar.  Who leaves their house at 8 PM on a Thursday night to go somewhere fun?  We did.  :)

3.  Breakfast with "my ladies."  My favorite quote to one of us?  "Why are you dressed?"  Translation:  "You are showered and wearing matching clothes."  (She was going to buy a car after eating breakfast with us.)  To teachers on spring break, this just brought uproarious laughter.  Which I love.  

4.  Breakfast ran right into lunch with another friend who I hadn't seen a couple of weeks.  

5.  Shopping for a few hours sans kids.  Some new additions for my classroom from the teacher store, and a new pair of jeans for me!

6.  A nap, followed by quiet time.  

7.  Texting with my sister-in-law who works at a book store about Flora and Ulysses.  I love books.  I'm getting ready to start A Snicker of Magic.  

8.  Local tacos and a trip to the bookstore?  (I may have a problem. )  Yes please!  

I hope that you are finding ways to stay renewed and refreshed.  Happy Spring!  

--Kendra


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

#sol14 What Firsties Talk About in the Morning.



WRITE. Every day in March write a slice of life story on your own blog. SHARE. Link your post in the comments on each daily call for slice of life stories here at TWT. GIVE. Comment on at least three other slice of life stories/blogs.\
Two Writing Teachers have written about the Slice of Life on their blog.  Head on over and check it out!


Here are the first three things that were said to me as the first grade friends entered the classroom:

1.  "My birthstone is an amethyst.  It's beautiful."  

2.  "My shirt glows in the dark.  And Old Navy has more if you like it."

3.  "Do you have a goblin shark?"


#2 and #3 were said by the same student, as if it was one sentence.  

This is just a tiny slice of why I love my first graders.   

--Kendra