Sunday, December 30, 2012


Don't get me wrong, I am loving this brief winter break from teaching.  But, in all honesty, I miss my kids and I am itching to get back to Minneapolis to work with them! Last week I had a meeting with my advisor and we analyzed the data I've collected so far on my students and looked at where they are academically and where they need to be by the end of the year.  I feel the urgency!

These quotes help trigger more momentum for 2nd semester...

"Once you learn to read, you will be forever free."  Frederick Douglass - one of my role models

“Frederick Douglas taught that literacy is the path from slavery to freedom. There are many kinds of slavery and many kinds of freedom, but reading is still the path.”  Carl Sagan

"Feeling without judgment is a washy draught indeed; but judgment untempered by feeling is too bitter and husky a morsel for human deglutition."  Jane Eyre

The following song is a song that my students LOVE. Big time. They call it, "When I get older." Hearing them sing this song always makes me so happy.  I don't think they realize right now at their young age the weight of the lyrics, but some day I think they will. 

1) Me and Lenny before Christmas.  His red eye is ridiculous.
2) Pops visiting me in Minnesota. Just a young college kid at heart.
3) Momma in Florida.
4) Self-explanatory.
5) Dad in Florida.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Bear Hug

Yesterday was a good day, a real good day.  It was the last school day before winter break.  Everyone was a little anxious and the school felt a little chaotic, but people were genuinely happy.  Kids were doing crafts and there were winter movies playing in the background.  I wrote each of my kids a note just simply saying how proud I was of them and how lucky I felt to have them in my life. Seeing their wide grinning smiles as I helped them read their individual letters felt so calming and my spirits were high.  Each of them hugged me and my student DW said to his friend on the way out of my room, "I can't wait to show this to my grandma and hang it on the fridge."

Bus dismissal is always crazy. Kids are running to catch their buses as they clunk over snow banks.  They drop their art project. They say, "Wait, I think I need to go the bathroom." My response: "There's no time, little one. There's no time." They say, "Oh man," and continue to clunk along, their hat too big for their tiny head and their mittens almost slipping off their tiny hands.  They attempt to make snowballs and then get shut down.  They try to sneak off their bus so they can run in the snow. Again, shut down. They press their faces up against the glass, totally unaware of the germs, and mouth, "Bye, teacher!!!!" with an over-enthusiastic wave.

I was hurriedly trying to find my student M because he got his first 100% on a spelling test and I really wanted him to be able to take it home to show his parents.  As I'm frantically stepping on and off each of the 7 buses trying to find him, I suddenly hear a soft voice a few feet behind me.  Who is it? M of course. His big ole hat is shading his eyes, and his oversized fleece jacket drapes his small frame.  His pants sag a little, not because he is trying to be cool, but because his pants are too big for him and his green belt doesn't tighten tight enough.  Exasperated, I say, "M, I've been looking for you!"and I hand him his graded spelling test. He then says quickly in reply, "I've been looking for you too, Ms. B."  He then does his oh-so-adorable, gap-toothed smile and gives me a big bear hug and hands me a note that simply says, "To Ms. B... Love M" and it has a picture he drew of the two of us reading a book.  He then gave me the sincerest, "Merry Christmas," I've ever received and another hug.  "I'll miss you over break!" he shouted.  Before I could even reply, he was turned around running after his bus, his hands holding onto his pant loops to keep his pants from falling.  I love that kid.  I really do.

A song.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Runaway Train

{Just proudly sitting on a tree branch circa 1993}
{My brothers. No wonder I ended up being a goof. Look at my role models}
{A photo my ma took a few years back in the woods by our house}

In 1993 I was 4 years old, rocking a boy haircut and goofy grinning left and right.  A few states away, in Minnesota, these 
guys were jamming away. 19 years later... I drove down Lyndale Ave and this song came on. 

Beautiful. Not exactly relevant to my life right now, but a nice song to listen to on the way home from an evening with friends.  

5 days until I'm home for winter break. One. Step. At. A. Time. 

Saturday, December 8, 2012

I once was a kid with the other little kids

That's me as a kid with all the other little kids.  The ridiculous photo of me with the balloons is from when I was in 5th grade and broke my nose.  I believe this is the only photo that exists of me with my nose cast. A wonderful, shining moment in my life. Top photo: Kindergarten graduation on far right in the white dress with navy trim next to two of my besties to this day, Sam and Anne.  2nd photo: Preschool play date in the jean dress. 3rd photo: 1st day of Kindergarten in the green and blue checkered dress. 4th photo: Just being a preschool beauty. 

You know you are a kid when:  
You can't stop obsessing over the mechanical pencil your teacher took away from you when you were play fighting with it during breakfast. You only rest assured once she promises to return it at the end of the day.

You know you are an adult when:
You forget how important/cool a mechanical pencil is to a first grader, and forget to return it to said first grader at the end of the day even though you promised. 

*Mechanical pencil has been returned and teacher/student relationship is intact. 

Sunday, December 2, 2012


Black and White - Genoh - Minnesota photographer
Emma's Rug - A favorite book of mine growing up by Allen Say
Painting of Minneapolis skyline by Dave Lechko

I really want to have a little conversation with the man or woman who decided that a 5:2, week:weekend ratio was a good idea. What were they thinking? It just seems like yesterday I was packing up my teacher belongings from my classroom and looking forward to the weekend. And now? Weekend has come and gone.  But, rather than complaining about the inevitable, I'll instead be grateful that I had a wonderful, relaxing weekend. 

A funny movie has great powers to ease the annoyingness (not a word) of dealing with grad school work that managed to pile up.  Breakfast with friends for laughs and a sense of calm. Chocolate peppermint bark ice cream just because it made sense at the time and I don't regret it for a second.  Weekly library outing with my students. Brief Panera stops with them for good measure. Buckling down and getting lesson plans finished efficiently.  Finding a picture of your mom with a perm and a picture of your brother in high school rocking a similar look. 

I haven't done any writing in awhile.... 
I live there. No, not there. There. Behind the brick building. Not the one with the ivy. Not the one with the porch. The cracked window. The rusty lawn chair sitting in yesterday's snow.  With an American flag from 4th of July, Summer '99. With wrappers in trees, glistening in the dusk's lullabying sun. Where the babies are crying. Where I hold my little brother's hand as we watch cartoons. Where the sidewalk has crumbling curbs.  Where yesterday's news is yesterday's news.