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Planning for NCTE

I never realized the time, thought and commitment it takes to plan out your days at the convention. Looking over all that is being offered, I fear I will be in one session, while missing out on something great. Overwhelmed, I took a Step back to look at the big picture. I realize the excitement of being among thousands of dedicated, passionate educators is the true meaning and learning of attending this event. I am a first timer. I am imagining the energy and inspiration just radiating from like-minded teachers.
It's what lacks in my daily teaching life. I crave the conversations, connections and reflection with fellow NCTE participants from around the globe. I will embrace the knowledge and wisdom shared by mentors to continue the process of learning, growing and evolving.

I am a child, anticipating author sightings and meeting Twitter friends.   I know I will regret it if I let an opportunity to shake a hand or say hello slip away, but I won't be 
surprised if my nerves take over.  So, I apologize in advance to those I want to meet, but are too shy to approach and gush over how I appreciate you, your talents and your dedication to books, reading and writing.

Happy learning to all NCTE presenters and participants.


Discover. Play. Build.

 Finding and sharing celebrations from the week.
For more information, check out Ruth Ayres website at her  
CELEBRATE This Week page.
Planning for my first NCTE Convention.  I am eager to meet Twitter friends and be inspired.

Having leisurely breakfast with a colleague.

Meeting and chatting with Jarrett J. Krosoczka for the second time.

Hearing from a two parents that their child is loving school and looks forward to going every day.

Reading my newly purchased book, Celebrating Writers by Ruth Ayres and Christi Overman.
Join Two Writing Teachers every Tuesday for Slice of Life Writing

Supporting a team in the World Series is exhausting.  The long innings and late nights takes a toll on you especially when you are not typically a night owl.  

In my youth I was a die hard fan. I learned to love baseball from my dad.  Now when I say loved baseball, I mean cheering and watching the home team at a live game.  Watching baseball on TV is painful, and to listen to the announcers on a static AM station was torture.  The extent of my fanhood was frequenting games with my friends and family.  We made signs, designed t-shirts baring our favorite player (Fisk) , took the T (public transportation), arrived early to watch batting practice, met players and got autographs.  I knew every players name, and cheered until my voice was hoarse.   

Over the years my attention to baseball drifted, but my loyalty has always been with the Sox. I miss those days. Happily however, my son has become a Boston fan.  He knows every player and their statistics.  In turn, I am learning and can name the line up for the Sox again.  Sports is a great past time to share with my children. Instead of heading into Fenway to cheer on the players I am watching them on TV with my kids and I even found myself listening to a World Series game on the radio (could I possible turning into my dad?). Now, I know a World Series fan is different then a full-fledged season fan, but it's a start.  Maybe this will be the beginning of a rekindled love for the game. 

My prediction (and hope) is that the Sox will win in 7 games.  I will be watching, cheering and drag myself into school, exhausted, but it's worth it.  October baseball is what a true baseball fan lives for. 

Go Sox! Boston Strong. 
Image a world without a voice, when you had thoughts in your head, but you could not get them out.  You could not speak. Your words were taken away from you. Would anyone really know you, your thoughts, ideas, fears and feelings. It must be lonely to be in the that world. I suppose you could write and text, but communicating through talking is much more expressive, meaningful and more personal. Too often we take for granted what we have, our voice.  My biannual bout with laryngitis makes me reflect on that very ability and experiencing the loss. The thought of never having the ability to speak, to have my voice heard is unfathomable. Thinking of being in the classroom, teaching would be hard for me and my students. I applaud my students for being patient and understanding my struggle to speak.  I know it was a strain to understand  and really listen when all that was coming out was a whisper.

I first wrote this entry when having laryngitis. Now I am reading two books with characters who can not speak.  Melody in Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper, craves to use the words that float in her head.   She wants her thoughts, feeling and knowledge to be heard, but she is trapped within her own body.  Jacob from The Boy on the Porch by Sharon Creech does not speak.  As the reader, I do not understand his struggles (yet), but I know those caring for him struggle to completely understand him when he is unable to express himself. 

Reading of these two characters, the significance of using our voices to make a difference takes on a new meaning.  Too many children are apprehensive of sharing their thoughts, or asking questions.  They do not feel worthy or confident. We need  to instill in our children that they make a difference, they are important and their voice needs to be shared and heard. The thought of not using our voice when we are able to speak is frightening.
Being right does not mean you are better or smarter. So Why do people have such a strong need to be right? It's puzzling and a complete turn off to see the lengths people will go to to make sure they look superior or have the last word. 

Today I quite simply inquired about the content of our upcoming grade level math test. The question required a simple yes or no response "Ms. Right" responded in a "Reply All" message that was three paragraphs in length. Needless to say, she never directly answered the question. 

It is frustrating and difficult to work with those who feel threatened by questions.  Isn't that what we teach our students; think and question the world. I hope the energy she puts into arguing and defending herself is worth the stress.  I tend to think it's not.  Life is too short to sweat the small stuff.

Join Slicers at Two Writing Teachers every Tuesday
Join Slicers at Two Writing Teachers every Tuesday.

The wheels keep turning. The brain is unstoppable. It does not stop. It continues to think and wonder.  Day and night it keeps on moving like the Ever Ready bunny.

The mind is a beautiful thing. Thinking takes place in magnificent variations. We figure out problems and puzzles, imagine scenery, create pictures, contemplate situations, consider choices, reflect on actions, remember memories, study information and the list goes on.

Our brain is a blessing. But, it can also be a curse. A curse for those of us born without an off button connected to our brains. Thoughts turn into worries. Worries that keep us awake at night trying to fix the problems of our family, friends, students, and even the world.

If only I could capture some of the magic I encounter at the wee hours of the night when living a fantasy through books. I would create the missing off switch that keeps me overwhelmed and awake. I can imagine (see, there goes my brain) having moments of peace, quiet, stillness. But, I have a feeling I would miss my thinking, and I would turn that switch back on.
Join Slicers at Two Writing Teachers every Tuesday.
My pocket shook from the vibration of my phone as watching football practice. I
read the text and wondered. " Who are they talking about? What happened?"  I then noticed the spelling of my former colleague's name and my heart sank. My stomach felt sick, and it still feels sick.

He welcomed me to the fourth grade team and we worked together for eight years before he retired. He taught me the ropes of the 4th grade science curriculum, how to let children be children, and how to get past the teacher griping. Since his retirement, I have not worked with anyone so quietly dedicated to children's learning and their well-being.

I wish I had the words to share how much he was loved and appreciated by his
students, colleagues, parents, friends, and family. My heart goes out to his wife, children, grandchildren, and dog (they had an incredible bond).

Sitting here, I hear his music and his laugh. It makes me smile and I think, Sing your heart out, and give 'em hell in heaven, Bryan.
Join slicers at Two Writing Teachers every Tuesday for the Slice of Life Challenge ...

A white page 
a blank slate
an invitation 
to write 
to create
I stare off into
something will 
come to me 
Inspire me
my fingers await 
a key to press, 
on the keyboard
It’s slow 
one by one
the words appear
black and white 
I have written