It's a NEW YEAR Still the same School year But a NEW YEAR! Last time I blogged it was 2014 If I don't hit "new post" and then "publish" now, another month might go by! I blog in my head sometimes, when I think I'll open my laptop after the kids go to bed. I have Celebrations of running (5 whole miles! Me!) Slices of fun and mess on Christmas Day My baby turning 5 I want to share Reflections from my Winter Book-A-Day A lesson comparing Letting Swift River Go to a piece on Global Warming Refugees and how just today I procrastinated grading late work by cleaning off my desk to make room for my new beach. I know I need to choose ONE WORD and my #nerdlution promises But, for now I just decided to break the cold 2015 ice I just decided to write.
Part of Slice of Life by Two Writing Teachers. Head over there for information and links to more Slicing!
I love the ocean. I love all bodies of water, but to me the ocean is the absolute. I must admit that when I’m enjoying a lake or a dam or even a bay, I’m also thinking that it is beautiful and peaceful and calm because it is almost like an ocean. I look at the ripples as the water meets the sand or dirt, and I compare them to ocean waves. I strain my ears to hear the sounds of the water, hopeful to feel the same sense of peace that I get from the sounds of the sea crashing wave after wave.
On our beach vacation last week, I took a short bike ride (all by myself! amazing!) and came to a trail head near the marsh. The marsh has always been a beautiful piece of scenery at the beach. But the main attraction is the ocean. As I rode down the one lane gravel path, I watched the grasses sway and wave in the wind. I thought about how this place wasn’t beautiful because it was almost an ocean. It was an ocean.
An ocean of bright green vegetation, and birds and soft wind. This idea of “almost an ocean” played over and over in my mind as I rode. I started to list in my mind all of the things that I am almost (almost a runner, almost reading a book a day, almost vegan, almost did enough school work this summer, almost finished cleaning the house before I left, almost relaxing on my vacation). I guess I am a marsh – almost an ocean. I saw that ahead of me was some water, and when I got to it, I laughed.
A beach. It was peaceful, quiet aside from bird calls and breeze. I didn’t find myself thinking about how it was almost an ocean. I didn’t try to hear the waves, or put my feet in the sand. I just stood there and breathed in the beauty.
I wondered about my almosts. I turned them around in my mind like the marsh beach. Not almosts anymore, but things I know I am. I know I run, I’m reading a ton, I eat a plant based diet, I have worked on schoolwork this summer, my house is fine. I’m relaxing. Right now!
No doubt, my deep thoughts on my bike ride were thanks to having just finished Absolutely Almost by Lisa Graff. Have you read this book? You should. You will fall in love with Albie, and maybe start thinking about your “almosts.” You might find that you can use the life reminder from Lisa Graff’s Albie, “You couldn’t get where you were going without knowing where you’d been. And you couldn’t be anywhere at all without having been almost there for a while.”
Visit Teach Mentor Text and Unleashing Readers to learn more about It's Monday! What Are You Reading? and Nerdy Book Club for information about the Book A Day challenge.
Oh #BookADay… I’ve been rereading a lot of books on my bookshelf to my kids this past week… some are old favorites, and some are just books my 4 year old chooses.
I’m also still plugging away at The Mindbody Prescription: Healing the Body, Healing the Pain, which is a reread. It’s fascinating though – given to me by a friend who couldn’t say enough good things about it. I have always felt that our minds and bodies are so connected, and it is nice to read some scientific evidence by a doctor about just that. My back is still bothering me though – and I think I may need to focus just a bit more on the book. I know that a great deal of my back pain has to do with stress.
I have Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead started too.. and I love it. I keep not reading it though- trying to save it as a little reward for after The Mindbody Prescription.
At some point this week I realized that I wasn’t being as successful at my #bookaday goal as I wanted to be. But, I also realized that I am reading every day, that the goal is to average a book a day, and that picture books count! So, that made me feel better.
I have been reading so many things that aren’t books. Not just twitter, mind you. I’ve been close reading many things. There were directions for this bag my daughter and her friends made at her birthday party:
And this bill, for my sweet cat, Susie:
Yikes. I know. At midnight during my daughter’s sleepover party, Susie jumped on the table and chewed on the lilies that I had put there. (Yes, I knew they were toxic, but my cats haven’t cared about the lily garden in my backyard for the past 12 years, so I distractedly thought the table would be fine for a vase of lilies that a friend brought over…) So, I had to rush Susie over to the emergency vet. She’s still there, getting IV fluids, and we are still praying that they can flush the poison out. I love this cat so much, and feel so terribly guilty.
PSA time! Don’t bring lilies into your house if you have cats! I have found out that cats who ignore lilies outside will often try to eat them inside. This has been a scary time around here – so please be careful! This poster was in the exam room at the emergency vet, and I wish I had been more vigilant!
Today, after visiting my sweet Susie (or Suserelly as we often call her) and doing about a million other family errands, I arrived home to a wonderful package that I had forgotten was coming! So, now I am adding another book to my TBR pile!
This was a wonderful gift from winning one of the many prizes given out during the March Slice of Life Challenge! That challenge gave me so much, and winning this book was just the icing on the cake. I’m looking forward to reading Still Writing, and paying more attention to my “Creative Life.”
I brought home a giant bag of books to read from my classroom. (I think it is supposed to be a laundry bag, but it works perfectly for bringing home summer reading, or weekend grading.)
This morning I sorted through the books – it feels good to have things organized in piles. So good in fact that I’m wishing I had the money to just buy all the other books on my many lists… just to pile them up in To Be Read piles!
I have three categories.
Professional books to read, to help me plan my year. Everything from my new Math Teacher Resources (I only brought 2 home so far…) to Thrive which I started and haven’t had time to finish, and Lively Learning for my classroom planning in general. Essential Questions to help me on the ELA curriculum committee. How to Talk So Kids Can Learn and Strategies That Work, both of which I can’t believe I haven’t ever read…
Fiction… I still have the Traveling Pants series (2 more!) to finish, a few books off of my classroom shelf, and Anne Lamott’s Operating Instructions which has been on my Someday list for months.
Then, there are the books I’ve already read, but I need to dive into this summer for planning. My Social Studies textbook and The Story of the World will help me get up to speed for Ancient Civilizations this year. Reading in the Wild, Falling in Love with Close Reading, The Joy of Planning, Join the Club, Genre Connections and Comprehension Connections round out my Reading planning for the summer. Next year I will have two sections of Reading, and I feel the need for a lot of planning! I’m looking forward to digging in. I better stock up on post its…
All of this reading. . . I’m thinking my house won’t be getting any cleaner this summer. That’s a consequence I guess I’m willing to live with.
As an added bonus, I have this wonderful card given to me by a student last week, that makes the perfect bookmark.
My husband asked me this morning when I was “…done with school.” I said “Never.” He snorted and asked again. I gave him a run down of all the stuff coming up in the next 2 weeks and he said he was going to go check up on me to see if other teachers were still working… He will be disappointed if he thinks it’s only me!
Part of my work this summer is my taking on the Nerdy Book Club challenge of Book-a-Day. Challenge guidelines can be found here. I wasn’t planning to start my book-a-day today. But the windows were open to a almost chilly breeze. The sunlight was peering into my living room, but not heating it up. There was a glider and ottoman involved, and even the afghan my mom crocheted for me last year. There was my favorite bookshelf, and the bag of books I borrowed from my classroom and my friend’s classroom too. Having nothing to do with the backlog of dusting, vacuuming, laundry and dishes, I slowly made the decision to give the day over to reading.
I was not disappointed. Yesterday, my friend was surprised I had never read The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares. I added it to my pile, with an inkling that this was becoming the Summer of reading books that I should have already read. (Also on my list are The Secret Life of Bees, and Anne of Green Gables, which I started when I was young, but never finished. I was too in love with the movie.)
So today I read The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and it was every bit as good as my friend had promised. I think I’m a sucker for stories about friendship and growing up. I was worried when a sick younger child entered the story, but the author handled it somehow in a way that made me sad without collapsing in a pile of tears. I have the other 3 books in my bag as well, which I’ll probably read because I’m a series finisher. I have friends who can stop after the first in a young adult series. They know enough to recommend the series to their students, but save time to read new titles. I don’t have this kind of discipline.
I’d love to hear your must reads so I can add them to my plans!