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#SOL18 It's a Noisy World After All

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The click of the light switch.
The tap tap tapping of my fingers on the keyboard.
The tick, tick, tick of the car indicator. 
The rip of a paper towel. 

These are sounds I've just begun to hear again since donning hearing aids as of last week. Under 40 years old, I have made the decision to wear hearing aids as I have a fairly significant loss in my left ear and some hearing loss also in my right ear. Coming to the decision to get hearing aids wasn't easy.

I first realized I had a hearing loss over 6 years ago. I would be on the phone and could barely understand at all when the receiver was held to my left ear. I started switching to the right but was troubled by this. My father's family all had hearing loss and most of his siblings started wearing hearing aids in midlife too. While I was pregnant with my daughter Megan, I went to an ear, nose and throat doctor and had my hearing evaluated. The doctor was stunned that I had as much loss as I did, especially on the left. He sent…

#SOL18 No Mud, No Lotus

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I've been listening to the most interesting, inspiring stories of redemption and success after adversity. I follow Rachel Hollis, the author of Girl, Wash Your Face and the founder of a multi-media company (which she created, as she likes to say, "with a high school diploma and a Google search bar.) Rachel's "Rise" podcast is perfectly named, as every episode I've listened to has a person who has had the worst Good Fridays become a life of Easter Sundays. In other words, people who have had trying or difficult circumstances have taken their pain and made something beautiful, or helpful, or inspiring. 

The most recent episode I listened to featured Scott Harrison, the founder of Charity: Water and the author of a new book called Thirst: A Story of Redemption, Compassion, and a Mission to Bring Clean Water to the World. His story was completely captivating. It began with a move to a new home when he was 4 and a carbon monoxide leak that left his mother forever …

#SOL18 This Is Just To Say (Sleeping in)

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(Apologies to William Carlos Williams)

I stayed in bed
when the alarm 
beeped loudly
in the darkness

and pressed "snooze"
and cuddled close
to the little blonde haired girl
who ran into my room
somewhere at 3 am.

Forgive me
for not writing 
a better post
this morning

Before I was Your Mom

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For Alex

Before I was your mom, it was all I wanted to be.
Every month when the pregnancy test was negative, my heart broke. 
Blood tests and doctors and specialists and odds against my dream.
Early morning drives to the fertility doctor
Blood levels measured and waiting for the perfect timing. 
Before I was your mom, I wanted you with all my heart. 

Before I was your mom, I was a young-ish kindergarten teacher. 
I found out I was going to be your mom in my classroom closet.
A voicemail from the doctor saying, "Congratulations, you are pregnant!"
while I stood among the crayons and construction paper. 
It was the best phone call I ever, ever received.
Before I was your mom, I wanted you with all my heart.

Before I was your mom, I never imagined how I would know you from the start,
How seeing your round little face after you were born was like seeing someone I've known my whole life.
How you would turn at the sound of my voice.
How calling myself your mom would be my favorite title ever.

#SOL18 It Was The Summer

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It was the summer of two wheelers without training wheels (Alex) and a new two wheeler with training wheels (Megan). 

It  was the summer of camp and wet towels and bathing suits every day.

It was the summer of too much money spent on ice cream from the same truck we saw each afternoon at camp. 

It was the summer of front teeth lost. 

It was the summer of pools and cousins and tie dye shirts with beads. 

It was the summer of catching baseballs and kicking soccer balls. 

It was the summer of a new watch, a new phone, a new car. 

It was the summer of movie theaters and a Broadway show.

It was the summer of the Long Island Rail Road into Penn Station.

It was the summer of candy (not me) and packing veggies (me).

It was the summer of reading books for grown-ups and finding new mentors. 

It was the summer of reconnecting with friends.

It was the summer of Uber rides and cocktails. 

It was the summer of pushing myself out of my comfort zone. 

It was the summer of healing. 

Thank you, Summer 2018, for space…

#SOL18 Calendar Filling Up

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My summer calendar was pretty open. A few appointments here and there but mostly stretches of sunny days without many to-do's. We haven't turned the calendar to September yet, but my September calendar is full! Doctor's appointments, sports, activities, back to school nights for my kids, back to school nights for me. I'm feeling a rising panic about how much there is to do and how to fit it all in, like a jigsaw puzzle I can't seem to place properly. 

When I was kid-free, I would spend weeks getting my classroom ready. Now, with two school-age kids, that type of time isn't available. I'm grateful for two amazing Grandmas who are willing to take the kids for pockets of time so I can set up. But even that feels like the crunch- appointments sandwiched in between those hours to make sure my hair is back to school ready, too.  Playdates set up so the kids can have some fun with their school friends before heading back to class next week. The days aren't an e…

#SOL18 Flexible Seating, Flexible Thinking

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I am so lucky! I am one of the classrooms in my district piloting brand new, beautiful furniture that emphasizes flexible seating options. Today I had the opportunity to see my new furniture for the first time in my classroom. Helpful custodians assisted me in rearranging a few items and now everything is in place- furniture-wise. There is still so much to do in regards to organizing, decorating, and getting the classroom ready for my 24 third graders. There is also much to do in the way of thinking through potential problems and possible solutions. 
Name tags taped down on the desk or table always helped students initially find a spot on the first day of school. It also helped me get to know students' names and match their faces to the name. Students are assigned a number and they learned their number because it was on their name tag. How would I learn their names without desk tags? How would they learn their numbers? How would I match names to faces without the name tag? 
Thinking…

#SOL18 Just a Number

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As I padded down the hallway in the early morning light, I visualized the scale reading a certain number. A number that would put me in a decade of numbers I haven't been in quite some time ( 8 years!). I'm so close! I worked so hard yesterday and I just FEEL thinner. I step on the scale, hold my breath and am crushed to see it exactly the same as the day before. Which means an ounce less and I'll be in that new decade. But stuck I am here, in this one I desperately want to leave behind. 

Since May, I've been following a program called 2BMindset through BeachBody. It's a deviation from the usual BeachBody programs which mostly focus on the workout and then an eating plan that accompanies it. 2BMindset was created by Ilana Muhlstein and it focuses on the mindset you need to lose weight as well as the strategies she offers. Ilana herself has lost 100 pounds and is beautiful and inspirational. The program doesn't involve points or containers and is quite common sen…

#PB10for10 Books to Build Community

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I've been reading a lot this summer. Books for "fun" and books for professional learning, which I also find fun! I read Being the Change by Sara K. Ahmed as part of #cyberPD and I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson as part of a teacher book club. You can see the other books I've read by clicking on my Buncee shelf.  Many of the books I read circled back between the themes of identity and then community. Knowing yourself, appreciating who you are and then honoring other people's identities within a community. 

For this year's #PB10for10, I decided to select 10 books that will help me build a strong classroom community. The books I selected tap into students' identities and beliefs about themselves. They also will help begin conversations about respect and what it means to be part of a community of learners. 

Without further ado, here are the ten books I will read to foster identity and community in the beginning of the school year. 

1. All Are Welcome by…

#SOL18 What Do You Love About Teaching?

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Recently on Twitter, author Lauren Tarshis posed a question: "Teachers...what do you love most about your work? What inspires you?" I saved this question to come back to because it is a compelling one. 

I've been a teacher since 2001 but dreamed of being a teacher long before that.  A high-achiever and a hard-worker, I've had some internal conflicts about my decision to stay in the classroom rather than "climb the ladder" and seek a position with more respect, more authority, more clout. More money. More prestige. Shouldn't one keep striving for higher dreams and goals? Have I been complacent by staying in the classroom? 

The thing is, I love being a teacher. There is always more to learn, so you never really feel complacent or like you are stagnating. When I switched from teaching kindergarten to third grade, it was like getting a totally new job! There were so many new lessons to learn and it felt exciting and scary but not at all boring. Kids are just …